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”

Top Cherry Blossom Spots in Kyoto

There are so many great places to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto, so here are some of my highlights! You could save some money and walk between them all, so use our Google Map below or circle them on one of the free tourist maps that are available from tourist information centers and stations allContinue reading “Top Cherry Blossom Spots in Kyoto”

Top 5 Kansai Christmas Illuminations

If you are lucky enough to be in Japan in the holiday season, there are some stunning illuminations and displays in Osaka and Kyoto. While not quite as numerous or as crazy as in Tokyo, they are definitely worth checking them out while you do a bit of Christmas shopping. Japan may not be a Christian country, butContinue reading “Top 5 Kansai Christmas Illuminations”

Top 20 FREE things to do this summer in Japan

Summer is upon us and Japan has a host of things to do for budget tourists. We have compiled our list of the best free things to do. Enjoy! Tokyo Walk along Todoroki Valley Take a light walk along this hidden away paradise just outside central Tokyo. The water is stunningly luminescent in summer. MoreContinue reading “Top 20 FREE things to do this summer in Japan”

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”

Kyoto Railway Museum

Kyoto Railway Museum (京都鉄道博物館) is a brand new museum showing off all the latest train technology, as well as in-depth exhibitions on railway history in Japan and abroad. The museum all hosts plenty of hands-on experiences for all ages, from train simulators to model trains, plus visitors can ride on a steam train. Budget travelContinue reading “Kyoto Railway Museum”

Top Ten Free Activities In Kyoto

By Tom Fay, author of Must-See Japan (blog: http://www.thomasfay.com) The undoubted culture capital of Japan, Kyoto is always high on the agenda for most visitors to the country. But with so many temples, shrines, gardens, historic buildings and other attractions dotted around Kyoto’s varied and distinctive districts, it can be difficult to decide where toContinue reading “Top Ten Free Activities In Kyoto”

Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass

The Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass is a new rail pass, introduced just after the Hokuriku Shinkansen was finished. This new line extends the Shinkansen all the way to Kanazawa from Tokyo. The pass therefore takes visitors on an arch route from Tokyo to Osaka via the northern coast. It includes tourist hotspots such as Kanazawa, Kaga Onsen, Kyoto, Kobe, and NaraContinue reading “Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass”

Free Tour Guides in Kyoto

Kyoto is one of Japan’s best cities to visit, but with all the great shrines and temples it can be a bit confusing. Which ones are best? How do I find out about the histories and beliefs behind them? There are so many ways in which a volunteer travel guide can help. Sakura Volunteer GuideContinue reading “Free Tour Guides in Kyoto”

Top 5 Free Tour Guide Services in Japan

Just about to book that expensive tour guide to show you around Japan? No need! There are hundreds of FREE volunteer guides in Japan. Here are our top groups and organisations: Goodwill Guides The official, national organisation for free guides in Japan. The volunteers are Japanese people who want use their foreign language skills toContinue reading “Top 5 Free Tour Guide Services in Japan”