I wanted to go to Kyoto tower in the evening in the hope to get a nice view of the city by night but I was unfortunately 4 minutes late to buy my ticket. (Closed at 9:30 I think!). I ended up walking around the tower and the train station, Kyoto-Yodobashi.
I stumbled upon this shrine while walking in Gion, the famous district where one can observe Geishas in Kyoto. I was definitely impressed by the atmosphere created by all the lanterns. I really recommend to visit if you happen to be around, especially in the evening.
Nozawa Onsen is a small village located in Nagano prefecture. It is a very popular onsen and ski resort. There are about twenty public onsen (hot bath) in the village and they are free to use. Each has different temperature and chemical properties. You can get a stamp book and collect stamps from every onsen, each has a unique illustration. I was told that at one of those Onsen the water temperature is close to the boiling temperature of water (the water is at 95C)! If you do not fear warm water, a trip to Nozawa Onsen is a relaxing and enjoyable experience!
Nagano was the host city of the 1998 Olympic games. The building presented here is the stadium of the opening ceremony with the Olympic torch still on display. Olympics facilities for hockey, speed skating, figure skating are scattered throughout Nagano whereas the ski events were held in Hakone. The Olympics were a profoundly marking event for the people of Nagano. It created an accelerated development of the town (notably the arrival of the Shinkansen rapid train) with a sudden increase of the infrastructures and also a cultural opening to the world.
The Odawara Castle is located close to the Odawara train station (10 min walk). An armor and weapon collection is presented in the renovated inside as well as a picture gallery of other famous Japanese Temples. The view of the city and ocean from the upper floor observatory is worth the visit.
If the weather is good, one can observe mount Fuji from the Shinkansen rapid train. Be sure to sit on the right if travelling towards Kyoto or to the left while travelling towards Tokyo. The station shin fuji propably offers one of the best views. I was offered a window seat by Japanese Salaryman who probably saw it so many times already. The picture taken represents reasonably what you can expect to see, the exact location it was taken is not certain though.
The bombardments during World War II brought great destruction to the castle. The main donjon was fortunately fully reconstructed. Reconstruction of the Honmaru Palace begun in 2009 and is expected to be completed by 2017. The Nagoya castle is recognised for its golden dolphins on the castle’s topmost roof. Each of them (male and female) contain approximately 45 kg of gold. The keep is the main attraction at Nagoya Castle with fully modern facilities and exhibits relating to the castle’s history. The panorama of Nagoya from the upper level observatory is also quite impressive.