Snowy Buddhist mountain town – Koyasan Day 1

Koyasan is a secluded town south of Osaka, full of temples for people to stay in and view. I went here last week and had one of my holidays in Japan. This UNESCO World Heritage site is so stunning in the winter.  Day 2 report can be found here.  Here are some highlights from my trip:Continue reading “Snowy Buddhist mountain town – Koyasan Day 1”

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”

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”

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”

Mount Aso

Mount Aso (阿蘇山) is Kyushu’s most famous volcano and symbol of the prefecture as the “Land of Fire”. The national park contains huge forests, beautful lakes and some superb hot spings. The crater basin the the largest of it’s kind in the world, at 25km in length and 18km in width. Various walks around theContinue reading “Mount Aso”

Mount Mitake

Mt. Mitake (御岳山) is considered a sacred mountain by many Japanese, who frequently make a pilgrimage from Tokyo to the shrines up the mountain and on top. The 929 metre tall summit is easily, and cheaply, accessible from the big city and provides great views of Kanto. Alongside Mount Takao, the best mountain for hiking inContinue reading “Mount Mitake”

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”

Todoroki Valley

Todoroki Valley (等々力渓谷) is a wonderful retreat from all the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Not far from Shibuya, it offers lush forests and occasionally luminously blue waters. Not sure why this place isn’t on more tourist maps! Difficulty: Easy Length: 1.2km Time: 30 mins How to get there From Shibuya station, take the TokyuContinue reading “Todoroki Valley”

Mount Daisen

Mount Daisen (大山) is a volcanic mountain in the Chugoku region with amazing views over the northern mountains from 1,729 metres above sea level. This makes it the highest in the region, so it has a lot of significance to Japanese people. The mountain is therefore dotted with stunning shrines and temples, and has becomeContinue reading “Mount Daisen”

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”

Tokachi Onsen

Tokachi Onsen (十勝岳温泉) is a famous hot spring area in Hokkaido. Quieter than places such as Sounkyo Onsen and with a less touristy feel, it’s a great place to come for some hiking and relaxing. Budget travel tips Bring some food with you, as there is no big shop here and the restaurants can be aContinue reading “Tokachi Onsen”