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Travel

Articles and travel guides on famous and not so famous destinations in Japan

Most Popular

  • Shikoku Travel Guide

    The Shikoku Region (四国地方 Shikoku-chihō) consists of Shikoku (lit. “four provinces”), the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, and numerous...
  • Tokyo Subway Guide

    Tokyo’s subway map may look challenging, but it is actually very easy to negotiate. Each line has a different colour, there are alpha-numeric...
  • Kanto Travel Guide

    The Kantō Region (関東地方 Kantō-chihō) is Japan’s most heavily populated region and the political, economic and cultural center of the nation. It is...
  • Regions of Japan

    Japan consists of eight regions. While these regions do not constitute administrative or political units, they play a traditional role in history,...
  • Okinawa Travel Guide

    Composed of a chain of some sixty islands generally referred to as the Ryukyu Islands (琉球諸島 Ryūkyū-shotō), Okinawa is located south of Kyūshū and...
  • Doraemon Museum

    In the middle of a quiet residential area of Kawasaki’s Tama Ward, a new must-visit landmark has opened its gates: the Doraemon Museum, officially...
  • Kansai Travel Guide

    The Kansai Region (関西地方 Kansai-chihō), sometimes coterminous with the official geographical designation “Kinki Region” (近畿地方 Kinki-chihō),...
  • Kyushu Travel Guide

    Kyushu (九州 Kyūshū, lit. “Nine Provinces”) comprises the following prefectures: Fukuoka (福岡県 Fukuoka-ken) Saga (佐賀県 Saga-ken) Kumamoto (熊本県...
  • Chubu Travel Guide

    The Chūbu Region (中部地方 Chūbu-chihō) is the central part of Japan’s main island Honshū and consists of three subregions, Hokuriku on the Sea of...
  • Hokkaido Travel Guide

    Hokkaidō (北海道) is the northernmost and the second largest of Japan’s four main islands. It is separated from Honshū to the south by the Tsugaru...
  1. Ogura Castle

    Ogura Castle (小倉城) is a Sengoku-era hilltop castle located in Tokigawa Town, Saitama Prefecture. It stretched over three mountain ridges and was situated just 600 meters from the Tsuki River, forming a natural stronghold that allowed to monitor the traffic on the river. It was fortified with elaborate stonewalls, an unusual feat for most Sengoku castles in the Chichibu region. The map is based on Google Earth. The location of the enclosures may not be completely accurate. It is not quite clear who constructed the original castle. Some claim it was Toyama Mitsukage (遠山光影), a vassal of the...
  2. Mount Omuro

    Mount Omuro (大室山 Ōmuroyama) is a volcano south of Ito City on the eastern coast of the Izu Peninsula. Extinct for 3,700 years, the cone-shaped mountain is completely covered in grass and has a circular trail around its crater mound at an altitude of 580 meters. The trail is about one kilometer in length. The Ōmuroyama Volcano Geosite is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park (富士箱根伊豆国立公園 Fuji-Hakone-Izu Kokuritsu Kōen) that spans Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Kanagawa and parts of Tokyo. The summit of Mount Ōmuro can only be accessed by chairlift (about 5 minutes) and offers spectacular...
  3. Tenjinyama Castle

    This article is about castle ruins that are a little bit different from what we usually explore. Tenjinyama Castle (天神山城) is located in Nagatoro, Saitama Prefecture, on top of a hill on the eastern bank of the Arakawa River. The map is based on Google Earth; the location of enclosure may not be absolutely accurate. The castle was constructed around 1540 by Fujita Shigetoshi (藤田康邦, 1513-1555), a vassal of the Yamanoue branch of the Uesugi. After the Hōjō clan defeated the Uesugi in the famous "Night Battle of Kawagoe" in 1546, the Fujita clan served the Hōjō. Hōjō Ujikuni took over the...
  4. Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise

    Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise (横浜・八景島シーパラダイス Yokohama Shīparadaisu) is an amusement park with an aquarium, shopping malls, a hotel, marina and amusement rides. It is located in Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Japan and was opened on May 8, 1993. Aerial view of Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise View from Hakkei Bridge; the Aqua Museum is in the background. The Western side of the bay near Hakkeijima Aqua Museum The Aqua Museum exhibits over 500 different varieties of fish with more than 100,000 sea creatures and is one of the largest aquariums in Japan. It features an immense three-story...
  5. Hachigata Castle

    Hachigata Castle (鉢形城), located in Yorii-machi, Saitama Prefecture, is a hilltop castle (山城 yamashirō) that formed a natural fortress between the Arakawa River and the Fukazawa River. Modern-day Yorii is an important traffic hub where JR Hachikō Line, Tōbu Tōjō Line and Chichibu Railway intersect, and Kanetsu Expressway runs nearby. In the Middle Ages, it played an important role not only as an administrative center to control the Northern Kantō area along the Kamakura Highway by linking Kozuke (present-day Gunma Prefecture) and Musashi (present-day Saitama and Tōkyō), but also as a...
  6. Koga Castle

    Koga City is situated on the westernmost tip of Ibaraki Prefecture, at the confluence of Tone River in the south and Watarase River in the west. The town prospered as an important traffic point along the Nikko Highway. Koga Castle (古河城 Koga-jō) was built in the late Heian Era on the banks of the Watarase by Shimokobe Yukihira (下河辺 行平), a warrior of the Minamoto clan. In the wake of Minamoto no Yorimasa's (源頼政, 1106–1180) defeat in the Battle of Uji (1180) and his subsequent seppuku the Shimokobe brought Yorimasa's head to Koga where it was interred in a Shinto shrine. In 1455, Ashikaga...
  7. Masugata Castle

    Masugata Castle (枡形城 Masugata-jō) is located in Tama Ward, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. The castle was constructed on a hill facing the southern banks of Tama River. (This map bases on Tokyo Terrain Map powered by gridscapes.net ) The castle site formed a formidable stronghold, surrounded by steep cliffs about 60 meters above the river. It was Inage Saburō Shigenari (稲毛三郎重成), son of Oyamada Arishige (小山田有重), who was said to have built the first fortification on the site in the early days of the Kamakura shogunate. In 1504, the castle saw action when Hōjō Sōun (北條早雲, 1432-1519, also...
  8. Kozukue Castle

    The remains of Kozukue Castle (小机城 Kozukue-jō) are located in present-day Kōhoku Ward, Yokohama. The castle was thought to be built by the Uesugi clan during the Eikyō Rebellion (永享の乱 Eikyō-no-ran) in 1438/39. The Uesugi were a powerful samurai family that descended from the Fujiwara and that was most influential during the Muromachi and the Sengoku periods, holding the positions of shugo (守護, provincial governors) and Kantō kanrei (関東管領, deputies of the shōgun in the Kantō region) until 1552. Later, in 1478, the castle re-entered the spotlight of history when Nagao Kageharu (長尾景春,...
  9. Sakura Castle

    Sakura Castle (佐倉城 Sakura-jō) is located in the city of Sakura in Chiba Prefecture and was constructed on the 30-meter-high Kashima plateau. Due to its elaborate use of the natural topography it was an impregnable location surrounded by marshes and rivers. The map is based on Google Earth. The location of enclosures or others are my speculation, so they may not be correct. Built on the unfinished remains of Kashima Castle that had been started by the Chiba clan in the Sengoku Period, Doi Toshikatsu (土井利勝, 1573-1644), a high-ranking official in the Tokugawa shogunate and advisor to the...
  10. Usui Castle

    Usui Castle (臼井城) is a hilltop castle near present-day Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture. Its ruins are now part of Usui Castle Park. The castle is located on a plateau overlooking Lake Imbanuma to the north-east. According to legend Usui Tsuneyasu (臼井常安, 1106-1168) founded the castle. The Usui were descendants of the Chiba clan and ruled over the castle until 1561. In that year, Masaki Tokishige (正木時茂, 1513-1561), a retainer of Satomi Yoshitaka, who came to support Uesugi Kenshin in his siege of Odawara, attacked and put Usui Hisatane (臼井久胤) to rout. The castle was then taken over by Hara...
  11. Konodai Castle

    When you cross Edo River on Keisei Line toward Chiba, you can see a huge plateau on the opposite bank. This is the Kōnodai (国府台) plateau with its long history that not only encompasses a Sengoku-era castle but reaches back to Paleolithic settlements. (This map bases on Tokyo Terrain Map powered by gridscapes.net) The castle is said to have been constructed by Ōta Dōkan (太田道灌, 1432-1486) who established a temporary camp there. Kōnodai turned into an important strategic point between the provinces of Musashi and Shimōsa and into a battleground of the Kantō warlords. Kōnodai was the...
  12. Setagaya Castle

    Once upon a time, right in the center of Tōkyō's Setagaya Ward near the present-day ward office, there was a small fortress called Setagaya Castle (世田谷城). The ancient castle was located on the tip of a tongue-shaped plateau that stretched south from the hills between Gōtōkuji (豪徳寺駅) and Kyōdō (経堂駅) stations on Odakyu Line, surrounded by Karasuyama River (now a culvert). This map is based Tokyo Terrain Map powered by gridscapes.net Nowadays, the former inner bailey (本丸 honmaru) is located on the grounds of the adjacent Gōtōkuji temple, and the south-eastern enclosure of the castle became...
  13. Inohana Castle

    Inohana Castle (亥鼻城 ), also known as Chiba Castle, is located in Chiba City and was constructed on the Inohana Plateau, close to the present-day Chiba Prefectural Office. The Chiba clan (千葉氏), a cadet branch of the Kanmu Heike clan,* established a fortification there as early as 1126. For some 330 years, the town prospered as an important commercial and cultural center in Kanto area, along with Kamakura. In 1455, Makuwari Yasutane (馬加胤持) a retainer related to the clan, defeated the Chiba and took their name. Yasutane's son Suketane abandoned Inohana Castle and moved to Motosakura Castle...
  14. Miharu Castle

    Miharu Castle (三春城) is located in Miharu-machi in the Abukuma Mountains, 10km east of Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture. Being an old castle town, Miharu has many temples and a picturesque town center held in traditional Japanese style. The castle lies on a hill called Shiroyama and faces the eastern boroughs of the town. Almost none of the original buildings survived, only the Hanko Gate (Hanko was a school founded by the Tamura clan) is still on display at the entrance to Miharu elementary school. During the Edo Period (1600-1868) the residence of the daimyō was situated on the grounds...
  15. Tsuchiura Castle

    Tsuchiura Castle (土浦城 Tsuchiura-jō) is a flatland castle (平城 hirajiro) located in the wetlands along the western shore of Lake Kasumigaura, at the mouth of the Sakuragawa (桜川), in Ibaraki Prefecture. It is also known as Kijō (亀城, Turtle castle), because in times of severe flooding it looked as if the castle buildings emerged from the water, like a turtle floating on the surface of the sea. (This map is based on Google Earth. The location may not be completely accurate.) According to folk tradition the first castle was built in Tsuchiura in the Heian Period. Around 1430, Wakaizumi Saburō...
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