Ikushimatarushima Shrine

The Ikushimatarushima Shrine dates from the 9th century. The main prayer hall is built on a small island in the middle of a pond and most of the structures are of the classic vermillion red which is used to decorate shrines throughout Japan. The shrine structures, water elements, and vegetation blend beautifully.

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Zenkoji Shopping Street

To reach Zenko-ji temple from Nagano station, one can walk on Chuo Dori (literally meaning central street) all the way north until in front of the temple. On that same street just north of the first gate of Zenko-ji temple are located many small stores. It is a great place to buy Omiyage (gifts) to family or friends.

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Mitsuike Park

Mitsuike park is located in between Tokyo and Yokohama along the Toyoko line. It is known as being one of the best Ohanami (Cherry blossom viewing) spots of Japan. The name, Mitsuike, means three ponds in Japanese because of the three separate ponds found in the park. It is a great place to relax and disconnect from daily city life.

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Nagano Zoo

This small zoo is located not far from Zenko-ji temple. It is operated by the city of Nagano and is free to access. Many species of birds, reptiles and mammals are on display. A small monorail and a go-kart track will please kids and the young at heart. 

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Okinawan Food – Restaurant Shimujo

Restaurant Shimujo is located on a hill north of the Shiritsu station of the Yui monorail. On the menu: traditional Okinawan fare including the popular soba, a noodle soup dish which comes with delicious pieces of slowly cooked pork. Everything on the menu is freshly prepared and menu items become sold out quickly. If you don’t want to miss the chance to eat delicious Okinawan food, come wait in line early (try 11:30AM to be safe) to reserve your table. 

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Yatai Street in Naha

A small section of Kokusai dori recreates the atmosphere of Yatai, the Japanese street food stalls (Yatai are especially popular in Fukuoka). Although they are not Yatai in the strict sense because they are permanent establishments, the restaurants of Yatai street are small and offer different culinary specialities with an atmosphere reminiscent of the Yatai. Of course, plenty of alcoholic beverage are available from beer to Awamori, the local strong alcohol. 

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Shuri Castle

Shuri Castle was the palace of the Ryukyu kingdom from 1429 to 1879. The current castle is a reconstruction of the original which was destroyed during the war. In addition to the visit of the castle keep, traditional Okinawan dance demonstrations are given for free on the premises of the castle.

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