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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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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. 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 in 1945 and...
  2. 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...
  3. 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 large expanse of lawn in the centre, the remains of the donjon in the northern part and the magnificent watch tower, the Fujimi-yagura, and an orchard planted by the imperial family in...
  4. Masakado Kubizuka

    Masakado's head mound: appeasing a vengeful spirit Located in the heart of Tōkyō's buzzing business district of Ōtemachi, just a stone's throw away from the Imperial Palace, lies a speck of land that has remained largely untouched for centuries. For whenever it had been touched tragedy would befall those who had angered the spirit of Japan's "first samurai", Taira no Masakado. Kubizuka (首塚, "head mound") is a monument to Masakado's head: after he had lost it in the Battle of Kojima in 940 his cranium had been on display in Kyōto where it was hung from a tree for three months. Night after...
  5. Sugiyama Castle

    Sugiyama Castle (杉山城 Sugiyama-jō) was a hilltop castle located in modern-day Ranzan, Saitama Prefecture. Constructed on a mountain ridge at the edge of the Kantō plain it was overlooking the old Kamakura Highway, the modern-day Kanetsu Expressway. Making perfect use of the steep topography more than ten enclosures consisting of dry moats and clay walls were built across an area of eight hectares. The designers of the castle used complex earthworks and moats as well as sophisticated construction techniques such as yokoya-kakari (横矢掛かり or 横矢掛り), structures that allowed defenders to attack...
  6. Konno Hachimangu Shrine

    Kon’nō Hachimangū (金王八幡宮) is a Shinto shrine just a stone's throw from Shibuya Station. Founded in 1092 by the Shibuya clan who gave their name to the modern-day Tokyo ward, it was built right inside of what once was Shibuya Castle. History In 1051, Kawasaki Motoie (河崎基家), a descendant of the Chichibu clan, had been awarded the territory of Yamori-no-Sho (谷盛庄, located in Musashi Province and corresponding to present-day Shibuya Ward) honouring his support for Minamoto Yoshiie, the governor of Mutsu Province, against branches of the Kiyohara clan in the Gosannen War (1083-1089). Yoshiie...
  7. Sugaya Castle

    Sugaya Castle (菅谷城) is located in Ranzan, Hiki District, in Saitama Prefecture and allegedly the site of the former residence of Hatakeyama Shigetada, an important retainer of the Kamakura Shogunate in the early Kamakura period (1185-1333). The castle was designated a National Historic Site in 1973 and has been added to the "Continued 100 Finest Castles of Japan" (続日本100名城) on 120th position in April 2017. The castle is situated close to the confluence of the Tsukigawa and the Tokigawa River, a large tributary of the Arakawa River. Its location was of strategic and commercial importance,...
  8. 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...
  9. 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...
  10. 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...
  11. 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...
  12. 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...
  13. 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...
  14. 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...
  15. 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,...
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