Travel

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

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  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Tokyo Subway Guide

    Tokyo’s subway map may look challenging, but it is very easy to negotiate. Each line has a different colour, there are alpha-numeric codes for...
  • 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 centre of the nation. It is...
  • 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...
  • 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,...
  • 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. Nihon Minkaen

    Nihon Minkaen (日本民家園), the Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum, is located in Tama Ward, Kawasaki, and displays minka, traditional Japanese vernacular houses from all over Japan. It was established in 1967 for the conservation of 'folk houses' from the Edo Period (1603-1868) and holds 25 buildings and other structures on about 30,000 square metres. The Nihon Minkaen consists of three areas: the Kantō Regional Village, the Post Town, and the Tōhoku Regional Village; visitors can enter almost all of the buildings which have been designated important cultural properties of either Kawasaki,...
  2. Visiting a hedgehog café in Tokyo

    Animal and pet cafés remain very popular in Tokyo, for locals and tourists alike. They are now to be found in almost every neighbourhood. The range of animals to be touched, fed and cuddled is wide and not any longer restricted to the usual cats and dogs. Depending on your preferences for fur, feathers, quills or naked skin, you may visit cafés for bunnies, owls, hedgehogs, snakes or other reptiles. Hedgehog cafés seem to be particularly successful. Not without reason: These furry and stingy friends are not only funny and endlessly cute but also extremely photogenic. Most hedgehog cafés...
  3. Kannonzaki Park

    Cape Kannon, located in the city of Yokosuka just south of Yokohama, is the easternmost part of the Miura Peninsula. Kannonzaki Park (観音崎公園) offers a lot of attractions and sights and is a beautiful place to spend a day of fun and relaxation if you live in Tokyo or Yokohama. Kannonzaki is of cinematographic fame: it is the location where the film monster Godzilla made its first landfall before heading for Tokyo. It is also assumed to be one of the places mentioned in Jonathan Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels'. Although "Xamoschi" the small town where Lemuel Gulliver landed might have been in...
  4. Kameido Tenjinsha

    . Kameido Shrine (亀戸天神社 Kameido Tenjinsha) is a Shintō shrine in the Kōtō Ward of Tōkyō. It was founded in 1662 and enshrines the deified spirit of Sugawara no Michizane, the patron of scholars and artists, who is worshipped by students at the time of their entrance exams. Michizane was a prominent political figure and scholar in the Heian Period who died in exile in Dazaifu (in modern-day Fukuoka Prefecture) where he had been banished by the powerful Fujiwara clan. He was later worshipped in Dazaifu Tenman-gū (太宰府天満宮) Shrine. In the mid-17th century, Sugawara Ōtori no Nobusuke, the head...
  5. Futagamiyama Castle

    Futagamiyama Castle (二上山城 Futagamiyama-jō) is located in Iwami Town in Tottori Prefecture. It was a fortress constructed by Yamana Tokiuji (山名時氏), a commander of the Nanboku-chō Period (1336 to 1392) when the Northern Court, supported by Shogun Ashikaga Takauji, and the Southern Court, established by Emperor Go-Daigo, confronted each other. Futagamiyama Castle was the base of the Yamana clan in Inaba Province (modern-day eastern Tottori) in 1350’s until 1466. The Yamana were most influential during the Muromachi Period when they served as shugo (military governors or constables) over...
  6. Nirayama Castle

    Nirayama Castle (韮山城 Nirayama-jō) is located in the northern neck of Izu Peninsula, in present-day Izunokuni. In 1493, Hōjō Sōun who had risen to power in Kokokuji Castle defeated Horikoshi-kubō Ashikaga Chachamaru who had ruled Izu and put the entire peninsula under his control. He rebuilt Nirayama Castle and moved there from Kokokuji Castle, setting it up as his new headquarters. Later, Soun captured Odawara Castle and extended his rule over the provinces of Sagami and Musashi. However, he maintained Nirayama Castle as his power base until his death. When Sōun's son Ujitsuna...
  7. Nagahama Castle (Izu)

    Nagahama Castle (長浜城 Nagahama-jō) is located on the southern edge of Numazu City in Izu Peninsula (Shizuoka Prefecture). The hilltop castle was a naval base built in 1579 by the Late Hōjō. After the invasion of Suruga (modern-day Shizuoka) in 1569, the Takeda finally had access to the sea and immediately started to build up naval forces they could deploy against the Hōjō in the east and the forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the west. The Hōjō constructed Nagahama Castle to confront the Takeda navy. The site was ideal, as it was located in a secluded bay with deep water that also allowed larger...
  8. Kokokuji Castle

    Kokokuji Castle (興国寺城 Kōkokuji-jō, also known as 根古屋城 Negoya-jō) is located in Numazu in Shizuoka Prefecture. It was constructed sometime between 1469 and 1487 and given to Hōjō Soun (or Ise Shinkuro at that time) for services rendered to the Imagawa clan. The rise of the Late Hōjō in the Kantō region began right here. However, the Hōjō did not rule the castle continuously; when Soun invaded the Izu Peninsula in 1491 it was handed over to Imagawa Yoshimoto who later renovated the castle. In the following decades, the castle changed hands several times between the Imagawa, the Hōjō and the...
  9. Lord Kira's Residence

    Located in Ryōgoku, Sumida Ward, just west of Ryōgoku Elementary School, lies Honjo Matsusaka-cho Park (本所松坂町公園), a small memorial site for Kira Kōzukenosuke Yoshihisa (吉良上野介義央, 1641-1703), a court official at Edo Castle and infamous villain in the popular story of Chūshingura, the literary account of the incident involving the Forty-Seven Rōnin. Kira's residence, 86 times larger than the current park, was the location of the Genroku Akō incident, in which the 47 rōnin, former retainers of Asano Naganori, the daimyō of Akō, avenged their master's death. Yoshihisa, daimyō of Mikawa, held...
  10. Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History

    The Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History (神奈川県立歴史博物館 Kanagawa Kenritsu Rekishi Hakubutsukan), also known as Yokohama Museum of Cultural History, is located in Bashamichi Dori in Naka Ward of Yokohama City. The historic building is the former headquarter of Yokohama Specie Bank (横浜正金銀行 Yokohama Shōkin Ginkō) founded in 1880. The building was constructed between 1899 and 1904 in the neo-baroque style of steel, stone and bricks and survived the Great Tōkyō Earthquake in 1923 thanks to its solid construction (only the dome of the building burned down). In 1947, the building became...
  11. Kogane Castle

    Takagi Taneyoshi (高城 胤吉, 1484 or 1501-1565), a vassal of the Hara clan, built Kogane Castle (小金城) in 1537 by order of the Chiba clan, themselves descendants of the Taira and rulers of Shimōsa Province (in modern-day Chiba). The Takagi controlled large lands in northwestern Chiba, including present-day Matsudo, Ichikawa, Funabashi, Kashiwa and Abiko at the end of the Sengoku Period, and held the castle for three generations. The Takagi supported the Hōjō in both battles of Konodai (1538 and1564) and fortified the castle in 1560 against the advancing Uesugi clan. In 1566, the castle held...
  12. Mount Nokogiri (Nihonji Temple)

    Mount Nokogiri (鋸山 Nokogiriyama, lit. "sawtooth mountain") is located in the Bōsō Hills in southern Chiba Prefecture and faces the Uraga Channel, the waterway connecting Tokyo Bay and the Gulf of Sagami. Composed of sandy tuff, Mount Nokogiri's distinctive features are its sawtooth-shaped ridges created by the extraction of building stone during the Edo period. The cliff-like western side of the hill is the location of Nihon-ji (日本寺 Nihonji) temple, officially called Kenkon-zan Nihon-ji (乾坤山日本寺), founded in 725 by the priest Gyōki (668–749) at the behest of Emperor Shōmu. In Kantō,...
  13. Nogi Shrine and former Nogi Residence

    Nogi Shrine (乃木神社 Nogi-jinja) is a Shintō shrine located on the grounds of General Nogi's former residence in Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tōkyō, close to Roppongi's Mid-Town Complex. It was established in November 1923 and dedicated to Nogi Maresuke and his wife Shizuko who both took their lives on the day Emperor Meiji was interred. General Nogi is enshrined as a Shintō deity and venerated in several shrines across Japan (in Kyōto, in Shimonoseki where his family hailed from, in Tochigi where he served as a commander, and in Saitama). The shrine was destroyed in the Tokyo air raids of 1945 and...
  14. Hie Shrine

    Hie Shrine (日枝神社 Hie-jinja) is a Shintō shrine located in Nagatachō, Tōkyō. It is a popular venue for Shichi-Go-San (七五三) celebrations and famous for its Sannō Matsuri (山王祭), a festival held on June 15 and - along with the Kanda Matsuri and the Fukagawa Matsuri - one of three great festivals of Edo (the former name of modern-day Tōkyō). History: Hie Shrine in Tōkyō, also known as Hiyoshi Sannō-sha, Hiyoshi Sannō Daigongen-sha, Edo Sannō Daigongen among others, is one of 4,000 Hiyoshi shrines all over Japan. The principal shrine, Hiyoshi Taisha (日吉大社), is located in Ōtsu, Shiga...
  15. Imperial Palace East Gardens

    The Imperial Palace East Gardens (皇居東御苑, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen) are a part of the inner imperial palace and open to the public since 1968. In the 17th century, the current palace was the location of Edo Castle, the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate. The East Gardens comprise the former honmaru (inner bailey), the ninomaru (second bailey) and the sannomaru (third bailey) and cover some 210,000 square metres with a vast expanse of lawn in the centre, the remains of the donjon in the northern part and the magnificent watchtower, the Fujimi-yagura, and an orchard planted by the imperial family in...
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