Shurijo Castle

Shurijo Castle Park (首里城公園) is a world heritage listed national park and castle near Naha city center. With spectalar views over the city’s downtown, this is a must visit. The castle used to be the home of the Ryukyu Dynasty, which reigned from 1429 to 1879, so the architecture is different from other castles inContinue reading “Shurijo Castle”

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”

Takamatsu

While Takamatsu (高松) is sometimes missed out of an average persons Shikoku trip, it has a few things to keep visitors occupied for a day or so. A well done Japanese garden away from the crowds of other cities, good shopping and small castle grounds are a nice way to kill a bit of time. InContinue reading “Takamatsu”

Marugame

Marugame (丸亀) is a large city in northern Shikoku, and a good stop-off before visiting the shrines in Kotohira, heading west to Matsuyama, or visiting the nearby islands. Things to do Kotohira-gu Shrine A great one day trip from Marugame, Kotohira has one of Japan’s premier shrines. A mysterious group of ancient buildings up aContinue reading “Marugame”

Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen

Matsuyama (松山) is a popular tourist city in Shikoku, best known for Dogo Onsen (道後温泉). Considered to be the best hot spring town in the prefecture, it makes the city a great place to spend a day. Located on the north-west of Shikoku, it Matsuyama is also easily accessible from the main island (such as via cheapContinue reading “Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen”

Kochi

Kochi (高知) is a large city in southern Shikoku containing the usual attractions of shrines and a castle, but with a few very unique, and often shocking, tourist spots such as the dog fighting culture. Budget travel tips Make sure you bring and show your passport at the Tourist Information Center outside Kochi station whenContinue reading “Kochi”

Okayama

Okayama (岡山) is a large city in Chugoku, known across the country for it’s Korakuen Garden, a superb example of Japanese gardening. It’s not just a transportation hub to Chugoku and Shikoku, and can take up a good day. Budget travel tips As Okayama is an major commercial and transportation hub, it’s a cheap place to stayContinue reading “Okayama”

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”

Sendai

Sendai (仙台) is one of the biggest cities in Tohoku. It is not an essential visit, but offers cheap accommodation and many side trips. There are also some interesting things to do in the city if you have some spare time between travelling. Budget travel tips Head up north to the World Heritage site of Hiraizumi.Continue reading “Sendai”