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”

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”

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 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”

Goddess of Kannon

The Goddess of Kannon (仙台大観音) is a spectacularly huge statue of Kannon, the Deity of Mercy, near Sendai in Tohoku. It is over 100 meters tall and visitors are able to enter and walk up for views over the city and pacific ocean. It is the sixth tallest statue in the world! Budget travel tips There is a MOS BurgerContinue reading “Goddess of Kannon”

Uji

Uji (宇治) is a popular tourist spot known for it’s many centuries old shrines and temples, 2 of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. While it is famous for these sites, Uji has also been blessed with amazing nature and is a good place to come for an easy walk or hike. BudgetContinue reading “Uji”

Obama Hot Spring

Obama (小浜町) is an interesting little town on the route between Nagasaki and Unzen. While it does share its name with a American president and has a cheesy statue of him outside the Tourist Information Center, Obama is a laid back area and a great way to escape the crowds. Budget travel tips Obama isContinue reading “Obama Hot Spring”

Unzen Onsen

Unzen Onsen (雲仙温泉) is the most famous hot spring resort near Nagasaki. After experiencing city life, it’s a great place to spend a few days, relaxing in the baths and going on some interesting walks. Budget travel tips Book as early as possible, as prices can get super pricey. If the weather looks bad, beContinue reading “Unzen Onsen”

Otaru

Otaru (小樽) is one of the main tourist hotspots in Hokkaido, well known all over Japan for its lovely, quiet canal. While there are plenty of tour buses and touristy shops, the town has a really laid-back feel and is definitely worth a visit. Budget travel Pick up a free map from the station beforeContinue reading “Otaru”

Matsushima

Matsushima (松島) is famous bay not far from Sendai. What makes this place unique is that the bay is dotted with beautiful little islands, the most famous of which has a shrine on top. You can view the islands by walking around the bay or by using traditional Japanese bridges to access the 2 main islands. Budget travel tips Taking aContinue reading “Matsushima”

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”

Japan’s most beautiful temple – Chuson-ji, Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi really does have a lot to offer. After becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011, Hiraizumi has gone from strength to strength, full of seasonal events and well maintained, interesting shrines. There are plenty of free ones around, but the main ones are definitely worth the entrance fee. In the north part of Hiraizumi is Chuson-ji, which is part ofContinue reading “Japan’s most beautiful temple – Chuson-ji, Hiraizumi”