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”

Yamadera

Yamadera (山寺), meaning Mountain Temple, is a small town well known for its beautiful, scenic Ryūshaku-ji (立石寺) temple. The town is a great spot for Autumn colours, but is excellent any time of the year. Walking up the temple area provides a great view over the town and forests, as you check out many different religiousContinue reading “Yamadera”

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”

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”

Hiraizumi

While Japan’s other World Heritage sites get more attention, Hiraizumi (平泉) is the one to see if you want to do something a little different. Most famous is its golden hall in Chuson-ji Temple, but the town is full of mini-temples, plus some impressive gardens and lakes. Top Tips Pick up a free map from theContinue reading “Hiraizumi”