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”

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go (白川郷) and nearby Gokayama (五箇山) are secluded World Heritage villages known for their vernacular farmhouse-style houses called Gassho-Zukuri. These unique buildings have their style to withstand the heavy snow in the winter. Definitely a place to bring the camera. Budget travel tips If coming from Osaka or Nagoya, the Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass is a great wayContinue reading “Shirakawa-go”

Kaga Onsen

Kaga Onsen (加賀温泉) is a collection of easily and cheaply accessible hot spring areas. Each area has its own distinct feel and is worth visiting even if you are shy about hot springs due to the many foot baths and relaxing scenery and cafes. Budget travel tips Get a CANBUS pass for unlimited bus travel toContinue reading “Kaga Onsen”

Three of the Best Flower Parks in Japan

The Chubu area of Japan, which is the central region of the main island of Honshu is home to three of the best flower parks in Japan. The parks are truly spectacular in each of the four seasons in Japan, but really come alive with the colours of spring during April and May. You canContinue reading “Three of the Best Flower Parks in Japan”

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”

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”

Kakunodate

Kakunodate (角館) is an old samurai town with a rich history and lots to see. Near Lake Tazawa in Tohoku, Kakunodate has plenty of traditional samurai and merchant houses, as well as museums, cherry blossom spots and lots of free samples! Budget travel tips There is a really helpful Tourist Information Center next to the station. Head thereContinue reading “Kakunodate”

A kingdom of cherry blossom trees – Showa Memorial Park

While Showa Memorial Park is a little far way from central Tokyo, it’s worth heading out to see it during the cherry blossom or autumn colour seasons.  The park was opened in 1983 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the last emperor.  As it was created during Japan’s economic boom, it has been well developed, settingContinue reading “A kingdom of cherry blossom trees – Showa Memorial Park”

Lovely, endless cherry blossoms in Inokashira Park – Kichijoji, Tokyo

Inokashira Park in Kichijoji is a great place for cherry blossom viewing in Japan.  It is often packed with people having picnics, taking photos and relaxing on little boats in the lake.  We went there on the weekend and had a great time. Inokashira Park (井の頭恩賜公園) and Inokashira lake were established during the Edo period and became oneContinue reading “Lovely, endless cherry blossoms in Inokashira Park – Kichijoji, Tokyo”

Free, beautiful and colorful! Chinzanso Garden in Tokyo

Chinzanso Garden has to be the best garden for those that want to see cherry blossoms without spending any money. It’s near to Shinjuku, and is a very, very posh park open to average folks like me and you! The walk along the river from Edogawabashi station is lined with cherry blossom trees. It reallyContinue reading “Free, beautiful and colorful! Chinzanso Garden in Tokyo”

Chinzanso Garden and Shinedogawa Park

Probably the best free Japanese garden in Tokyo, Chinzanso Garden (椿山荘の庭園) is an amazing garden in central Tokyo. It’s part of a very posh hotel, but everyone is free to enter the garden.  There are Japanese tea houses, a pagoda and lots of nice features you would expect from a real, traditional Japanese garden. Budget travel tips VeryContinue reading “Chinzanso Garden and Shinedogawa Park”

Rikugien Garden

Rikugien Garden (六義園) has to be one of our favourite Japanese gardens in Tokyo.  It’s got it all; cherry blossoms, autumn colors, a reasonably priced tea house, stunning lake and lots of interesting paths to take. Budget travel tips Sakura Hot Spring is a 5 minute walk away, so it’s best to combine the two.Continue reading “Rikugien Garden”