Top 10 Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan

Here are the best places for cherry blossom viewing, also known as ‘hanami’, in Japan: Ueno Park A huge park with seemingly hundreds of cherry blossom trees.  Very, very busy, but great atmosphere. Ueno travel guide More in Tokyo Himeji Castle Himeji Castle is breath-taking during the cherry blossom season.  It’s free if you justContinue reading “Top 10 Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan”

Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass

The Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass allows unlimited travel on JR (national rail) trains for 5 days within Kansai and southern Chugoku, from Miyajima in the west to Nara in the east. This includes the use of trains to major cities such as Hiroshima, Himeji, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. What does it cost? 5 days: Adults 13,000 yen (about $105/€95),Continue reading “Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass”

The best cherry blossom spots in Tokyo

Here are some of the best places for Sakura in Tokyo: Ueno Park A huge park with seemingly hundreds of cherry blossom trees.  Very, very busy, but great atmosphere. Ueno travel guide. Shinjuku Gyoen Garden A very easy to access park.  Much quieter than the other main parks. Shinjuku Gyoen Garden travel guide Inokashira ParkContinue reading “The best cherry blossom spots in Tokyo”

Osaka and Around Kansai in 1-2 Weeks

While Tokyo and the surrounding areas are great, a holiday down south around Kyoto and Osaka has its own charm and delights. This itinerary uses a few bus/train passes for each tourist area, so you probably don’t need a  Japan Rail Pass or  Japan Bus Pass.  For long distances use a night bus. Cost: 120,000 yen – 140,000 yen per person DayContinue reading “Osaka and Around Kansai in 1-2 Weeks”

Japan Cherry Blossom Forecasts for 2014 (Updated)

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) is fast approaching and the Japan Weather Association has just posted their updated forecasts for each area.  They will probably blossom a little earlier than usual this year. The best time for seeing the cherry blossoms are usually about a week after the expected opening.

Miyajima

Miyajima is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site near Osaka and Hiroshima.  It’s often near the top of the list for most travelers, and offers and easy to access and peaceful rest from the big city. Budget travel tips Download the free tourist map here, or pick one up at the Tourist Information Center (see map). Everywhere is within walkingContinue reading “Miyajima”

Hiroshima

Hiroshima (広島) can be an extremely emotional, sad place, but it’s one that must be visited. During World War 2 a nuclear bomb destroyed Hiroshima and most places for tourists are related to this.  It’s best as a one day trip from Kyoto. Budget travel tips Get a free tourist map from the Shinkansen exitContinue reading “Hiroshima”