Osaka Station Sky Farm and Japanese Garden

Ever wanted to visit a Japanese garden and do a bit of farming at the top of a skyscraper above a huge train station? Ok, maybe not, but I’m sure you can admit the idea of Tenku No Noen (Sky Farm) and Yawaragi no Niwa (Healing Garden) are pretty cool. They offer good views over theContinue reading “Osaka Station Sky Farm and Japanese Garden”

Sumiyoshi Taisha

Sumiyoshi-taisha (住吉大社), or the Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, is Osaka’s most famous shrine. It is the headquarters of over 2000 Shinto shrines across Japan and believed to enshrine 3 gods, for protecting the nation, sea voyages and waka (31-syllable) poetry. Registered as a national treasure, it also has a few unique aspects to it. The most interestingContinue reading “Sumiyoshi Taisha”

Shimogamo Shrine

Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社), linked to the northern Kamimono Shrine, is part of the world heritage sites in Kyoto. It is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, thought to be dating back to the 6th century. Not one of the most popular shrines, but worth visiting if you have done the most famous ones alreadyContinue reading “Shimogamo Shrine”

Kyoto Railway Museum

Kyoto Railway Museum (京都鉄道博物館) is a brand new museum showing off all the latest train technology, as well as in-depth exhibitions on railway history in Japan and abroad. The museum all hosts plenty of hands-on experiences for all ages, from train simulators to model trains, plus visitors can ride on a steam train. Budget travelContinue reading “Kyoto Railway Museum”

Minoo Park

Minoo Park (箕面公園) is a popular day trip from Osaka, a great place to go hiking or enjoy some local food and buy some souvenirs. It is what Mount Takao is to Tokyo, a very accessible and inexpensive to access hiking area, with all sorts of hiking routes for all sorts of difficulty. Most people takeContinue reading “Minoo Park”

Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉) is a popular hot spring town in Kansai. The town is full of ryokans (Japanese style lodge) and hotels that have their own hot spring baths, plus there are 7 public baths around town to enjoy (600-800 yen). Kouno-yu is the oldest and our favourite with its open-air bath, but others are splendidContinue reading “Kinosaki Onsen”

Mount Shosha

Mount Shosha (書写山) is a 371 metre tall mountain near Himeji, the top of which is full of Buddhist temples of the Tendai sect. The most famous is Shoshazan Engyō-ji (書寫山圓教寺), which is often used when filming historical movies and dramas due to it’s authenticity and total lack of modern blemishes. Mount Shosha offers an excellent chance to getContinue reading “Mount Shosha”

Ninna-ji Temple

Ninna-ji Temple (仁和寺) is yet another awesome World Heritage listed temple in Kyoto. The temple was founded in 888 by the reigning emperor and has many interesting features. Highlights include a five story pagoda and elegantly painted Japanese doors and walls in the head priests building. Top Tips Ryoanji temple is only a short walk or bus away,Continue reading “Ninna-ji Temple”

Daikaku-ji Temple

Daikaku-ji (大覚寺) is a quiet temple in northern Kyoto. Not many people come here compared to others in Kyoto, and while it won’t blow you away it is a great contrast to others. Budget travel tips Just behind Daikaku-ji Temple is the free Gosha-myojin Shrine (五社明神), which is shown above. Take a right before the entrance, thenContinue reading “Daikaku-ji Temple”

Tenryuji Temple

Tenryuji Temple (天龍寺) is ranked as one of Kyoto’s top temples and a World Heritage site. The large, but fun to navigate complex houses a beautiful pond surrounded by well manicured gardens and stone decorations. Budget travel tips Combine a trip here with the bamboo forest next door. Make sure you get a ticket for the gardens and buildings,Continue reading “Tenryuji Temple”

Sanjusangendo Temple

Sanjusangendo Temple (三十三間堂) is a completely breathtaking temple containing one thousand life-size, golden Kannon statues. This place really has to be seen to be believed, and of course photos are prohibited! Budget travel tips If you don’t have a Kyoto bus pass, you can walk here (see below). Come early to avoid the tour buses.Continue reading “Sanjusangendo Temple”

Toji Temple

Toji Temple (東寺) is one of the two ‘guardian temples’ that was built when Japan’s capital was moved from Nara to Kyoto. Toji translates as ‘east temple’. It is a World Heritage listed Buddhist temple, famous for its grand 5 story, 54.8 m high pagoda, which is the highest wooden tower in Japan. Budget travel tips Walk to the temple from Kyoto stationContinue reading “Toji Temple”