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”

Top 5 Kansai Christmas Illuminations

If you are lucky enough to be in Japan in the holiday season, there are some stunning illuminations and displays in Osaka and Kyoto. While not quite as numerous or as crazy as in Tokyo, they are definitely worth checking them out while you do a bit of Christmas shopping. Japan may not be a Christian country, butContinue reading “Top 5 Kansai Christmas Illuminations”

Top 10 Christmas and New Year’s Illuminations in Tokyo

Tokyo, while not really a religious city in comparison to many, has some really good ‘illuminations’ and ‘light-up’ displays around Christmas and New Year’s. What makes Tokyo so great is that all the main shopping centers, malls and department stores have entered a battle to see who can make the best illuminations. There are allContinue reading “Top 10 Christmas and New Year’s Illuminations in Tokyo”

Zao Onsen

Zao Onsen (蔵王温泉) is a popular ski resort and hot spring town in Tohoku. The resort is known for its excellent powder conditions and also for its ‘snow monster trees’. Budget travel tips Works well with trips to Yamagata and Yamadera. Contact your hostel or hotel to see if they have rental discounts for guest.Continue reading “Zao Onsen”

When to go to Japan

There are pluses and minuses to any season in Japan, but there is always a lot to do whatever time you decide to come. Because Japan is such a long country from north to south, you don’t need to worry as much as for other countries. Spring (March to May) Spring is a great time toContinue reading “When to go to Japan”

Beautiful temples in snowy mountains – Koyasan Day 2

After our first day in Koyasan, I we went to the west side to see the famous Buddhist temples and pilgrimage trails that have made this place a UNESCO World Heritage site. Day 1 report can be found here. This is Daimon, at the entrance to Koyasan’s west side. After Daimon, we went on aContinue reading “Beautiful temples in snowy mountains – Koyasan Day 2”

Koyasan

Koyasan will really take your breath away. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a town of Buddhist temples in the mountains south of Osaka.  Even if you have seen many temples before, Koyasan will really seem like it’s in another league with it’s huge structures and massive graveyard.  English support, maps and signs are great. Budget travel tips AlthoughContinue reading “Koyasan”

Shinjuku Christmas Lights

Shinjuku, in central Tokyo, has some great Christmas lights this year.  Stunning winter illuminations line the Southern Terrace, near the Takashimaya department store and Tokyu Hands (great for a bit of cheap Christmas shopping). Access: Take the Southern Terrace exit from Shinjuku station. In Tokyo Opera City Walking along the Southern Terrace Just outside Takashimaya department store More ChristmasContinue reading “Shinjuku Christmas Lights”

Tokai Winter Illuminations

The Tokai area of Japan, which is a sub-region of the Chubu area, and includes Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Mie Prefectures, is a famous spot for winter illuminations. The winter illuminations seem to get bigger and more elaborate every year and are a great way to celebrate the Christmas period in Japan. Here are someContinue reading “Tokai Winter Illuminations”