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”

Hagi

Hagi (萩) is a castle town, little visited by foreign tourists. The town is full of history, particulary from the Meiji Restoration period. The town is also known for its traditional pottery, called Hagi-yaki. Budget travel tips It’s quite a journey to get here, so seriously consider taking a night bus or use a Limited Express trainContinue reading “Hagi”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is a recently rebuilt castle in central Osaka.  There is a large park surrounding the complex, plus a historical museum. Because of it was built recently, the innards contain features such as elevator access, so it’s not the most stunning castle in Japan, but still worth a visit if you have time. BudgetContinue reading “Osaka Castle”

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”