Top 5 Cherry Blossom Spots in Hokkaido

Coming to Tokyo or Kyoto a little bit too late for the cherry blossoms? Maybe coming to Hokkaido is your solution. The season starts here from around mid-April to the end of the month. There are a host of cheap and free places to check out the sakura trees, but here are our highlights! GoryokakuContinue reading “Top 5 Cherry Blossom Spots in Hokkaido”

Latest Japan Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Forecasts for 2017

Here are the latest Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) forecasts! It’s one of the best times to visit Japan, when all sorts of people relax and drink under the trees. The timings seems to be later than last year, so you may have to wait about a week more for them to start blooming this year. Try to allow someContinue reading “Latest Japan Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Forecasts for 2017”

Sumiyoshi Taisha

Sumiyoshi-taisha (住吉大社), or the Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, is Osaka’s most famous shrine. It is the headquarters of over 2000 Shinto shrines across Japan and believed to enshrine 3 gods, for protecting the nation, sea voyages and waka (31-syllable) poetry. Registered as a national treasure, it also has a few unique aspects to it. The most interestingContinue reading “Sumiyoshi Taisha”

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”

Hagi

Hagi (萩) is a castle town, little visited by foreign tourists. The town is full of history, particulary from the Meiji Restoration period. The town is also known for its traditional pottery, called Hagi-yaki. Budget travel tips It’s quite a journey to get here, so seriously consider taking a night bus or use a Limited Express trainContinue reading “Hagi”

Tsuwano

Tsuwano (津和野), often called “little Kyoto”, is a small castle town in Chugoku. Budget travel tips Like nearby Hagi, a great place to explore on foot or bicycle (800 yen per day) in a day. Things to do Site of Tsuwano Castle The towns castle was a huge mountain top one, and the remains areContinue reading “Tsuwano”

Bitchu-Takahashi

For some reason completely unknown to most tourists, including Japanese tourists, Bitchu-Takahashi (備中高梁) presented one of the most surprising castles we have ever visited. After visiting nearby cities and towns such as Okayama and Kurashiki, Bitchu-Takahashi  was a breath of fresh air. It’s an average town, but with a scattering of fascinating and traditional relicsContinue reading “Bitchu-Takahashi”

Tottori

Tottori (鳥取) is the most popular city in northern Chugoku, best known for its sand dunes (the largest in Japan) and associated sand museum. Budget travel tips Pick up a Look Kirinjishi Bus pass from the train station Tourist Information Center, which takes visitors to all the main tourist spots. Available on weekends, national holidaysContinue reading “Tottori”

Kurashiki

Kurashiki (倉敷) is a historic town near Okayama known for its merchant past and old-fashioned canal, which dates back to the Edo period. The area has some interesting museum, cafes and restaurants to experience, most of which are housed in tastefully converted merchant buildings. A lovely place to spend a relaxing day, just strolling around andContinue reading “Kurashiki”

Iwakuni

Iwakuni (岩国) is a castle town in southern Chugoku near Hiroshima, famous for it’s iconic Kintaikyo Bridge. It is known as one of Japan’s top 3 bridges with it’s special multiple arched design. The wooden bridge was built without the use of a single nail. Budget travel tips Iwakuni is a nice place to stop offContinue reading “Iwakuni”

Ogijima

The smaller brother to Megijima, Ogijima (男木島) is also worth a visit if you have the time. The small size means that budget travellers can get around just on foot. It’s a very compact island, and a good spot for hiking. Budget travel tips If you get an early morning ferry, it is perfectly possible to doContinue reading “Ogijima”

Takamatsu

While Takamatsu (高松) is sometimes missed out of an average persons Shikoku trip, it has a few things to keep visitors occupied for a day or so. A well done Japanese garden away from the crowds of other cities, good shopping and small castle grounds are a nice way to kill a bit of time. InContinue reading “Takamatsu”