Exploring Yanaka

Yanaka is a peaceful neighborhood that is perfect for a morning stroll and that rewards exploration. A straightforward walk from Ueno to Nippori will take you along quiet streets of undamaged pre-war buildings, quiet temples and an eclectic selection of contemporary artist’s studios and galleries. Most notable among them is the Asakura Museum of SculptureContinue reading “Exploring Yanaka”

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”

Kurashiki

Kurashiki (倉敷) is a historic town near Okayama known for its merchant past and old-fashioned canal, which dates back to the Edo period. The area has some interesting museum, cafes and restaurants to experience, most of which are housed in tastefully converted merchant buildings. A lovely place to spend a relaxing day, just strolling around andContinue reading “Kurashiki”

Ogijima

The smaller brother to Megijima, Ogijima (男木島) is also worth a visit if you have the time. The small size means that budget travellers can get around just on foot. It’s a very compact island, and a good spot for hiking. Budget travel tips If you get an early morning ferry, it is perfectly possible to doContinue reading “Ogijima”

Megijima

The best Shikoku island for budget travellers, Megijima (女木島) has beaches, caves and art on offer. The Ogre Island, as it is also called due to the ogre legends in the caves, has something for all tastes.  Go off to nearby Ogijima as well if you have time. Budget travel tips If you get an early morning ferry,Continue reading “Megijima”

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”

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”

Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen (草津温泉) is a hot spring town in the Japanese Alps, and popular with Japanese tourists. Foreign visitors should not expect to find they are the only non-Japanese tourists here, but the town is one of best for hot spring experiences. The stunning hot spring water that flows though the centre of town isContinue reading “Kusatsu Onsen”

Izu Peninsula

Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島) is a famous hot spring and sightseeing destination, and a popular side trip from Tokyo. While not that popular with foreign tourists, it is becoming increasing well-known. A host of passes make it a great travel idea for budget travellers. Budget travel tips The Minami Izu Free Pass is great for travel in andContinue reading “Izu Peninsula”

Narita City

Got some time to kill before or after a flight at Narita Airport? Narita City (成田) has a few things to check out, and can definitely occupy a good day of travel. Budget travel tip When booking with an LCC airline, don’t be afraid to book the cheapest flights if it means a short stayContinue reading “Narita City”

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go (白川郷) and nearby Gokayama (五箇山) are secluded World Heritage villages known for their vernacular farmhouse-style houses called Gassho-Zukuri. These unique buildings have their style to withstand the heavy snow in the winter. Definitely a place to bring the camera. Budget travel tips If coming from Osaka or Nagoya, the Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass is a great wayContinue reading “Shirakawa-go”

Goddess of Kannon

The Goddess of Kannon (仙台大観音) is a spectacularly huge statue of Kannon, the Deity of Mercy, near Sendai in Tohoku. It is over 100 meters tall and visitors are able to enter and walk up for views over the city and pacific ocean. It is the sixth tallest statue in the world! Budget travel tips There is a MOS BurgerContinue reading “Goddess of Kannon”