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”

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”

Kochi

Kochi (高知) is a large city in southern Shikoku containing the usual attractions of shrines and a castle, but with a few very unique, and often shocking, tourist spots such as the dog fighting culture. Budget travel tips Make sure you bring and show your passport at the Tourist Information Center outside Kochi station whenContinue reading “Kochi”

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”

Narita City

Got some time to kill before or after a flight at Narita Airport? Narita City (成田) has a few things to check out, and can definitely occupy a good day of travel. Budget travel tip When booking with an LCC airline, don’t be afraid to book the cheapest flights if it means a short stayContinue reading “Narita City”

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”

Daikaku-ji Temple

Daikaku-ji (大覚寺) is a quiet temple in northern Kyoto. Not many people come here compared to others in Kyoto, and while it won’t blow you away it is a great contrast to others. Budget travel tips Just behind Daikaku-ji Temple is the free Gosha-myojin Shrine (五社明神), which is shown above. Take a right before the entrance, thenContinue reading “Daikaku-ji Temple”

Tenryuji Temple

Tenryuji Temple (天龍寺) is ranked as one of Kyoto’s top temples and a World Heritage site. The large, but fun to navigate complex houses a beautiful pond surrounded by well manicured gardens and stone decorations. Budget travel tips Combine a trip here with the bamboo forest next door. Make sure you get a ticket for the gardens and buildings,Continue reading “Tenryuji Temple”

Sanjusangendo Temple

Sanjusangendo Temple (三十三間堂) is a completely breathtaking temple containing one thousand life-size, golden Kannon statues. This place really has to be seen to be believed, and of course photos are prohibited! Budget travel tips If you don’t have a Kyoto bus pass, you can walk here (see below). Come early to avoid the tour buses.Continue reading “Sanjusangendo Temple”

Toji Temple

Toji Temple (東寺) is one of the two ‘guardian temples’ that was built when Japan’s capital was moved from Nara to Kyoto. Toji translates as ‘east temple’. It is a World Heritage listed Buddhist temple, famous for its grand 5 story, 54.8 m high pagoda, which is the highest wooden tower in Japan. Budget travel tips Walk to the temple from Kyoto stationContinue reading “Toji Temple”

Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺), meaning The Temple of the Dragon at Peace, is a World Heritage listed “dry landscape” garden and temple. It is considered to be one of, if not the best, examples of these in Japan.This garden style features large rock formations with pebbles raked in linear patterns to help in meditation. Budget travel tips Note thatContinue reading “Ryoanji Temple”

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”