Mount Fuji

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the view from the top of Mount Fuji has to be seen to be believed.  While it can get very busy, this will probably be your most memorable experience in Japan. It’s not too pricy to get there and the route up is easy to understand but challenging. ItContinue reading “Mount Fuji”

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”

Shikina-en Garden

Shikina-en Garden (識名園), another unique World Heritage site in Okinawa, is a stunning garden containing the old villa of the Okinawa royal family. Information Open: 9:00-17:00 (October-March), 9:00-18:00 (April-September) Price: 400 yen How to get there Take a bus from Kinjo District (15 mins). Map

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”

Kamigamo Shrine

Kamigamo Shrine (上賀茂神社), twinned with Shimogamo Shrine to the south, is an important Shinto shrine in northern Kyoto. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known across the country for its iconic Tatesuna & Saiden sand cones. The shrine is also surrounded by a picturesque primeval forest. Budget travel tips Visiting shrines can getContinue reading “Kamigamo Shrine”

Daigoji Temple

Daigoji Temple (醍醐寺) is a picturesque Buddhist temple in south Kyoto. While a bit run down in places, the main pagoda and red bridge are iconic sites that set Daigoji Temple apart from all the other countless temples in Kyoto. It is also quieter than the other ones, due to being about 30 minutes fromContinue reading “Daigoji Temple”

Yakushima

Yakushima (屋久島) is a World Heritage listed subtropical island in southern Kyushu. It is usually accessed from Kagoshima and is a great way for tourists to get away from the bustling and busy streets of most Japanese cities. Budget travel tips Buses go every hour our so, but be sure to check your bus timesContinue reading “Yakushima”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺), meaning The Temple of the Dragon at Peace, is a World Heritage listed “dry landscape” garden and temple. It is considered to be one of, if not the best, examples of these in Japan.This garden style features large rock formations with pebbles raked in linear patterns to help in meditation. Budget travel tips Note thatContinue reading “Ryoanji Temple”