Bitchu-Takahashi

For some reason completely unknown to most tourists, including Japanese tourists, Bitchu-Takahashi (備中高梁) presented one of the most surprising castles we have ever visited. After visiting nearby cities and towns such as Okayama and Kurashiki, Bitchu-Takahashi  was a breath of fresh air. It’s an average town, but with a scattering of fascinating and traditional relicsContinue reading “Bitchu-Takahashi”

Matsue

Matsue (松江) is a pleasant castle city, known as the ‘city of water’ due to its spiralling canals and setting on a lake. Best known for its original castle due to the previous status as a feudal stronghold, Matsue also has some fascinating local history and is a lovely city for a quiet stroll. Budget travel tipsContinue reading “Matsue”

Kanazawa

Kanazawa (金沢) is one of the major cities in central Japan, and is a good place to take a rest, fill up one some cheap food and continue on your adventure. Wait! It also has the best Japanese garden we have ever been to. Spend a day here and take your time in this specialContinue reading “Kanazawa”

Kumamoto

Kumamoto (熊本) is a medium sized city in Kyushu well known for it’s wonderful castle, and now also famous for its mascot, Kumamon. Thousands come here to pick up Kumamon souvenirs and to enjoy this quiet city. Budget travel tips A useful Information Center is located in the main Kumamoto train station. They have various dealsContinue reading “Kumamoto”

Shimabara

Shimabara (島原) is a small castle town, from which tourists can take a ferry to Kumamoto. It has a few attractions to visit while you wait or relax before the very, most famous of which is one of the best castles in Kyushu. Budget travel tips Book early, as budget options are sometimes limited. NotContinue reading “Shimabara”

Himeji

Himeji is most famous for it’s castle, which became a World Heritage Site in 1995.  It’s a great place to check out on the journey from Osaka to Hiroshima. Budget travel tips If you reserve a week in advance, you can get a free English language guided tour of Himeji Castle.  Contact the information centre (linkContinue reading “Himeji”

Matsumoto

Matsumoto (松本) is a large city in Nagano prefecture.  The castle and shopping streets make for a nice day, so many people stop off here if before snowboarding/skiing in Habuka. Budget travel tips Pick up at free tourist map at the Tourist Information Center in Matsumoto station (3rd floor) It’s quite possible to walk everywhere, andContinue reading “Matsumoto”

Nijo Castle

Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Nijo castle is another must see in Kyoto.  The free Japanese garden is nice to walk around, and the castle buildings provide plenty of photo taking opportunities. Budget travel tips Come here early, as it takes a while to explore. It’s best to take the bus here, as the subwayContinue reading “Nijo Castle”

Imperial Palace East Garden

The East Garden, right in the center of Tokyo, is a free park within the Imperial Palace complex.  Highlights include Ninomaru Garden, a traditional Japanese garden, and the remains of the former castle tower. Budget travel tips A walk around the whole Imperial Palace is highly recommended, allowing you to see the different buildings, defensive walls,Continue reading “Imperial Palace East Garden”