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  • 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...
  • Enomoto Takeaki

    Tokugawa admiral and Meiji statesman Enomoto Takeaki (榎本武揚, 1836-1908) was born in Edo into a family of gokenin, direct vassals of the Tokugawa shogun, and attended the prestigious Shōheikō (昌平校と藩学 Shōheizaka School and Domain Studies) academy. In 1853, he went to study rangaku (蘭学, “Dutch...
  • 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 surrounded by the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The islands are generally subdivided into the Okinawa, Miyako, Yaeyama, and Senkaku groups....
  • 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 Kumamoto-ken) Nagasaki (長崎県 Nagasaki-ken) Oita (大分県 Ōita-ken) Kagoshima (鹿児島県 Kagoshima-ken) Miyazaki (宮崎県 Miyazaki-ken) Okinawa (沖縄県 Okinawa-ken) Kyūshū...
  • 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 surrounding islands. It comprises the following prefectures: Map of Shikoku Ehime (愛媛県 Ehime-ken) Kagawa (香川県 Kagawa-ken) Kochi (福島県 Kōchi-ken) Tokushima...
  • Chugoku Travel Guide

    The Chūgoku Region (中国地方 Chūgoku-chihō) comprises the prefectures of Chugoku Region Hiroshima ((広島県 Hiroshima-ken) Okayama (岡山県 Okayama-ken) Shimane (島根県 Shimane-ken) Tottori (鳥取県 Tottori-ken) Yamaguchi (山口県 Yamaguchi-ken) Geography Chugoku encompasses the entire western tip of Honshū, the...
  • Shiga Prefecture

    Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県) is part of the Kansai Region and borders the prefectures of Fukui, Gifu, Mie and Kyōto. Shiga is one of the eight landlocked prefectures of Japan and takes the form of a basin surrounded by mountains on all sides. Lake Biwa (琵琶湖 Biwa-ko), in central Shiga, is the largest...
  • Minakuchi Castle

    Minakuchi Castle (水口城 Minakuchi-jō), located in Kōka, Shiga Prefecture, is a hirayama-style (lit. "hill-top on a plain") castle also known as Hekisui-jō (碧水城, "deep blue water castle"), a reference to its reflection on the surface of the moat. It was constructed between 1632-1634 under Tokugawa...
  • Todaiji Temple

    Tōdai-ji (東大寺, Eastern Great Temple) is a major monastery-temple belonging to the Kegon sect of Buddhism. It was erected by order of Emperor Shōmu (聖武天皇, 701-756) in the eastern part of Nara, the capital of Japan between 710-784, to become the most important religious institution within the...
  • Kyoto Prefecture

    Located in central Honshū, Kyoto Prefecture (京都府 Kyōto-fu) is bounded by Fukui, Shiga and Mie prefectures on the east, Nara Prefecture on the south, and Hyōgo and Ōsaka prefectures on the west. It faces the Sea of Japan to the north. The prefecture is divided roughly into two parts, north and...
  • Kinkakuji Temple

    Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, formally known as Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺 “Deer Garden Temple”), is located in Kyōto’s Kita Ward and belongs to the Shōkokuji (相国寺) branch of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. Kinkakuji is built on the site of an estate of the aristocrat Saionji no...
  • Ginkakuji Temple

    Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺), the Temple of the Silver Pavilion, formally known as Jishō-ji (慈照寺, “Temple of Shining Mercy”), is located in Kyōto’s Sakyō Ward and belongs to the Shōkokuji (相国寺) branch of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. Ginkakuji stands on the site of an abandoned Tendai monastery, the...
  • Kyoto Travel Guide

    The ancient Imperial Capital of Japan is one of the few places that is a must on almost any itinerary. With a wealth of temples, shrines and Nijō Castle (二条城 Nijō-jō, built by the former Tokugawa shogunate), Kyōto has enough to keep a temple- and history-freak occupied for a week or more. Nearby...
  • Ryoanji Temple

    The Ryoanji temple (竜安寺 or 龍安寺, Ryōan-ji, “Temple of the Peaceful Dragon”) is a temple in the Ukyō Ward of Kyoto, belonging to the Myōshinji branch of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. It is most famous for its rock garden in the karesansui (枯山水, “dry landscape”) style. Among its patrons were the...
  • Kiyomizudera Temple

    Kiyomizudera (清水寺 “Clear Water Temple”) is a temple of the Hossō sect of Buddhism. It is located on a high hill in the Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto. Officially called Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺), it was founded around 788 by the monk Enchin with support of Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (758-811), a...
  • Shoshazan Engyoji Temple

    Shoshazan Engyō-ji (書寫山圓教寺, "Temple of Complete Teachings") is a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism located northwest of Himeji City. History Engyō-ji was founded in 966 on top of Mount Shosha (371m) by the priest Shōku Shōnin (性空上人, 910-1007) in what was then known as Harima Province...
  • 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), comprises the prefectures of Kansai Region Shiga (滋賀県 Shiga-ken) Mie (三重県 Mie-ken) Nara (奈良県 Nara-ken) Kyoto (京都府 Kyōto-fu) Wakayama (和歌山県 Wakayama-ken)...
  • Kakegawa Castle

    Kakegawa Castle (掛川城 Kakegawa-jō) is a hilltop (hirayama-type) castle located in Kakegawa City in western Shizuoka Prefecture. Listed in the Top 100 Castles of Japan, it is considered to be one of the finest examples of reconstructed Japanese castles. Kakegawa Castle in August 2015 History...
  • Kaichi School Museum

    In the wake of the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent drive to modernize the country, the newly founded Japanese Ministry of Education introduced a revised school system based closely on the American model. Private Buddhist schools (寺子屋 terakoya, “temple schools”) were nationalized and schools...
  • Matsumoto Travel Guide

    Matsumoto (松本) is located in central Nagano Prefecture and used to be a provincial capital from the eighth century. It was the base of the senior branch of the Ogasawara clan (小笠原氏), the shugo (守護, military governors) of the Shinano Province during the fourteenth and the fifteenth century and...
  • Matsumoto Castle

    Matsumoto Castle (松本城 Matsumoto-jō) is located in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, and is one of the most famous Japanese flatland castles (平城 hirashiro). It is also called “Crow Castle” (烏城 Karasu-jō) due to the dark outer walls of its keep and the roofs that resembled spreading wings. The...
  • 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 Japan, Kōshin’etsu, the Central Highlands, and Tōkai on the Pacific Seaboard, encompassing the following prefectures: Map of Chūbu Region Hokuriku (北陸地方...
  • Nagano Prefecture

    Nagano Prefecture (長野県) is located in central Honshū and borders the prefectures of Niigata, Gunma, Saitama, Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, and Toyama. Nagano is one of only eight landlocked prefectures. The terrain is largely mountainous. The major ranges include the Hida (飛騨山脈), the Kiso...
  • Aichi Prefecture

    Aichi Prefecture (愛知県) is located in central Honshū and borders the prefectures of Gifu and Nagano prefectures to the north, Shizuoka Prefecture to the east, the pacific Ocean to the south, and Mie Prefecture to the west. The eastern section is largely covered by the Mikawa Highland (三河高原...
  • Nagoya Travel Guide

    Nagoya (名古屋市), Japan’s fourth-largest city, is the capital of Aichi Prefecture, located in central Honshū on Ise Bay, as well as the political, financial, and cultural centre of the Chubu Region, halfway between Tōkyō and Ōsaka. History Located on the fertile Nōbi Plain, the region was early...