Shimabara

Shimabara (島原) is a small castle town, from which tourists can take a ferry to Kumamoto. It has a few attractions to visit while you wait or relax before the very, most famous of which is one of the best castles in Kyushu. Budget travel tips Book early, as budget options are sometimes limited. NotContinue reading “Shimabara”

Sendai

Sendai (仙台) is one of the biggest cities in Tohoku. It is not an essential visit, but offers cheap accommodation and many side trips. There are also some interesting things to do in the city if you have some spare time between travelling. Budget travel tips Head up north to the World Heritage site of Hiraizumi.Continue reading “Sendai”

Himeji

Himeji is most famous for it’s castle, which became a World Heritage Site in 1995.  It’s a great place to check out on the journey from Osaka to Hiroshima. Budget travel tips If you reserve a week in advance, you can get a free English language guided tour of Himeji Castle.  Contact the information centre (linkContinue reading “Himeji”

Nagoya

Most people will just transfer trains here or continue past to Osaka and Kyoto, but there are a few things to do here if you have some free time. From Nagoya you can go north to Takayama in the Japanese Alps, or south to Ise (one of the top shrines areas). Things to do NagoyaContinue reading “Nagoya”

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is a recently rebuilt castle in central Osaka.  There is a large park surrounding the complex, plus a historical museum. Because of it was built recently, the innards contain features such as elevator access, so it’s not the most stunning castle in Japan, but still worth a visit if you have time. BudgetContinue reading “Osaka Castle”

Hiroshima

Hiroshima (広島) can be an extremely emotional, sad place, but it’s one that must be visited. During World War 2 a nuclear bomb destroyed Hiroshima and most places for tourists are related to this.  It’s best as a one day trip from Kyoto. Budget travel tips Get a free tourist map from the Shinkansen exitContinue reading “Hiroshima”

Nijo Castle

Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Nijo castle is another must see in Kyoto.  The free Japanese garden is nice to walk around, and the castle buildings provide plenty of photo taking opportunities. Budget travel tips Come here early, as it takes a while to explore. It’s best to take the bus here, as the subwayContinue reading “Nijo Castle”

Imperial Palace East Garden

The East Garden, right in the center of Tokyo, is a free park within the Imperial Palace complex.  Highlights include Ninomaru Garden, a traditional Japanese garden, and the remains of the former castle tower. Budget travel tips A walk around the whole Imperial Palace is highly recommended, allowing you to see the different buildings, defensive walls,Continue reading “Imperial Palace East Garden”