Best of Kyoto Travel

Kyoto, the wonderful old capital of Japan, never ceases to amaze. Ancient and sophisticated, Kyoto has a lot to offer from historical sites, splendid gardens to luxurious hotels and restaurants. For a taste of Japanese tradition, Kyoto is the place to go!

Tenryi Ji Temple
Tenryi Ji Temple

TENRYU-JI TEMPLE One of the best day trips from Kyoto’s city center, the Tenryu-ji temple is located next to Arashiyama’s famous bamboo grove. The temple is surrounded by a majestic garden that survived the ages.

Yasaka shrine, japanese lanterns
Yasaka shrine, japanese lanterns

YASAKA SHRINE Many shrines and temples in Japan are not accessible after sunset, but the Yasaka shrine, next to Kyoto’s famous Gion district, is open all night and is beautifully illuminated. The shrine becomes especially festive in the Cherry blossom season, with lots of food and beer stands.

Two Maiko in Gion (Kanamitsu and Chikayuki)
Two Maiko in Gion (Kanamitsu and Chikayuki)

GION, GEISHA DISTRICT Geisha’s are an iconic symbol of Japan’s sophisticated traditional entertainment industry. The art of Geishas is still alive in Kyoto. Gion is one of the most famous district where Geishas are found in modern Japan. As the sun sets, it is relatively easy to see Geishas and Maikos walking on Gion’s streets, heading to their appointments.

Kiyomizudera Entrance
Kiyomizudera Entrance

KIYOMIZUDERA TEMPLE The Kiyomizu-dera is an amazing temple overlooking the city of Kyoto. The temple is famous for its large wooden structure that allows it to stand above the surrounding forest.

Walking In Higashiyama District
Walking In Higashiyama District

HIGASHIYAMA HISTORICAL DISTRICT Higashiyama is a preserved historical district located on the Eastward slopes of Kyoto. The district has kept its traditional charm. The streets are lined with craft stores, cafes, and the ubiquitous souvenir shops.

Japanese Red Gates Of Fushimi Inari
Japanese Red Gates Of Fushimi Inari

FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE Fushimi Inari is an iconic shrine of Kyoto made famous for its thousands of red torii gates. Climbing mount Inariyama is a truly special experience found nowhere else in Japan.

Best of Nagano Travel

Are you tired of Tokyo’s scorching summer heat or simply want to escape the crowd? Nagano Prefecture is located only a short shinkansen ride north of Tokyo and has a lot to offer. Onsen, georgous mountains and monkeys are only few of the landmarks of this area of Japan. Here’s some of GaijinGoJapan’s recommendations:

Monkey Scratching Head
Japanese Snow Macaque
JIGOKUDANI The japanese snow monkeys are probably one of the most emblematic figures of Nagano prefecture. Located at Yudanaka onsen, the snow macaque enjoy the volcanic hot springs of Nagano’s mountain range. They bath all day, only waiting for you to visit them!

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Zenkoji Temple
ZENKO-JI Nagano city is not particularly recognized for being a town with historical landmarks, but Zenko-ji temple will surprise you. The Dalai Lama visited Zenko-ji, so why not you?

Lake Nojiri and mount MadaraoLAKE NOJIRI AREA Lake Nojiri is a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. It is especially popular among Germans who apparently have a small community of cottages along the lakes’s shore. I think lake Nojiri area has a lot to offer to non-Germans as well, anybody can enjoy gorgeous scenery, right?

Nozawa Onsen snowNOZAWA ONSEN Nozawa Onsen receives lots of snow in winter, and happens to have lots of volcanic activity too. This makes Nozawa a ski and “onsen” Mecca of Nagano prefecture. Dozens of those hot baths are located around the city and the best: they are available for free.

Bridge Crossing Wasabi Field
Bridge Crossing Wasabi Field
WASABI FARM You like this Japanese mustard that burns its way straight to your nose? Ever wondered where is comes from? Wasabi is actually a root that is cultivated in a well-irrigated bedrock. Come see how its done and taste it at wasabi farm.

Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto Castle
MATSUMOTO CASTLE Matsumoto Castle is one of the rare preserved castles in Japan. By preserved, I mean that the structure is the same as when it was built: no fancy elevator will bring you to the top. Instead, one must climb its way up using the original steep wooden stairs. A lot of fun!

View from Murodo StationTATEYAMA MOUNTAIN AND KUROBE DAMM This one is technically not in Nagano prefecture, but the journey starts there so it might count as well! The Kanden Tunnel Trolley bus takes you from Nagano prefecture to the Kurobe Damm and mount Tateyama in Toyama prefecture. Lots of breathtaking mountain scenery on the program!

Best of Tokyo Travel

You have booked your plane ticket to Japan already and you know you will be spending several days in Tokyo. You are about to visit the most populous metropolitan area in the world, you certainly don’t want to waste your time and miss the best Tokyo has to offer. Here’s GaijinSan’s suggestions of the best things to do in Tokyo. Those attractions are not necessarily listed in order and are all pretty awesome in their own ways.

Gundam Odaiba
ODAIBA Odaiba is Tokyo’s futuristic entertainment island with buildings of rather unusual shapes, giant Gundam robots, Ferris wheel, cinemas and large shopping centers. As a plus to visiting Odaiba, you’ll get to cross the iconic Rainbow Bridge and have a fantastic view of Tokyo from the bay.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tower
TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT BUILDINGThe Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building provides two free observation decks to visitors from which one can observe Tokyo’s skyline from the modern business district of Shinjuku.

Taking photos of Tokyo Imperial Palace
TOKYO IMPERIAL PALACE Japan is still a Monarchy and the Emperor and Empress live in their palace at the heart of Tokyo. Access to the palace is forbidden but one can still observe parts of the palace from afar. While you are there you should also see the The Imperial Palace East Gardens and take a stroll in the Marunouchi business district.

Lights of Roppongi Hills by night
ROPPONGI HILLS Roppongi Hills is a modern urban complex that caters to your entertainment needs. The main attraction of the tower is the observation deck from which you can have an awesome view of Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Odaiba, Rainbow Bridge, Haneda Airport, and not the least, Mount Fuji.

Taiko drum of Meiji Jingu
MEIJI JINGU SHRINE Meiji Jingu is the most important shrine of Tokyo. It is surrounded by a large park and offers an insight on Japan’s religious traditions. Don’t forget to purify your hands at the well before entering the premises.

Sensoji front door
SENSOJI TEMPLE ASAKUSA Sensoji Temple is the most important temple in Tokyo. It is located in the old district of Asakusa where the feeling of old Tokyo is best preserved. Whether you visit the region during the day or the night, it has a lot to offer, especially for tasting local food.

View Of Tokyo From Tokyo Skytree
View Of Tokyo From Tokyo Skytree

TOKYO SKYTREE Tokyo Skytree is now the tallest tower in the world and the highest building in Japan. Not bad for a country constantly shaken by Earthquakes! From its upper observatory at a respectable 450m above see level, Tokyo Skytree offers without any doubt the best sight of Tokyo’s skyline.