Kakunodate – Samurai Town

Kakunodate is cool place for a day trip in Akita, Tohoku. The town is well-known for its well-preserved samurai houses, many of which are open for visitors to enter. I got a chance to visit the town, and spend a good day exploring it with a free map available from the station. There are signsContinue reading “Kakunodate – Samurai Town”

Meiji Jingu Gaien Autumn Leaves

One of the best places in Tokyo for autumn colours is Meiji Jingu Gaien. Located next to Gaienmae on the Metro Ginza line, this widely advertised street near leading to the Royal Palace and grounds is a spectacular sight. We went last week, and while the golden leaves were sometimes not in full bloom, most seemed toContinue reading “Meiji Jingu Gaien Autumn Leaves”

Free hot spring in deep mountain forest – Fukiage Onsen

Although hardly mentioned in travel guides, particularly English ones, Fukiage Hot Spring (onsen in Japanese) is probably the best hot springs I have been to. The nearby Tokachi Onsen is well known, and featured in many guides. Looking for something I bit more off the tourist tracks, I went on Google and searched for おんせん (onsen/hot spring) and FukiageContinue reading “Free hot spring in deep mountain forest – Fukiage Onsen”

Get out of the big city! Relaxing day at Otaru Canal

Otaru is a big, but quiet town near Sapporo, in Hokkaido. The name Otaru means ‘River of Sands’ in the native language of Ainu. It grew as a harbour and port town and during the early development of Hokkaido experienced a boom as it was one of only a small number of ports on theContinue reading “Get out of the big city! Relaxing day at Otaru Canal”

The best hot spring in Japan? Nyuto Onsen, Akita

Tsuru-No-Yu Hot Spring (鶴の湯温泉) is the most famous hot spring in Nyuto Onsen, and one of the most iconic in the whole of Japan. It takes a few bus trips, or a hike to get here, but it’s totally worth the wait. Tsuru-No-Yu Hot Spring is filled with very silky, almost milk-like water that is saidContinue reading “The best hot spring in Japan? Nyuto Onsen, Akita”

Exploring the beautiful, luminous Tazawa Lake

Tazawa Lake really took our breath away. Before going I thought it was just a big lake, but Tazawa Lake is really unique and worth going all the way to visit. What makes it so unique is that all the hot spring water feeding it has given it a strangely luminous, sometimes transparent, appearance. The boatContinue reading “Exploring the beautiful, luminous Tazawa Lake”

Cheap snowboarding and amazing mountains – Hakuba report

If you want to experience snowboarding or skiing on the cheap in Japan, Hakuba is the best place to go.  We recently went there, and enjoyed not just hitting the slopes but also checking out the town. Arrived to see this Japanese graveyard totally covered in snow.  Tried to walk through, but it was impossible!Continue reading “Cheap snowboarding and amazing mountains – Hakuba report”