Secret garden in Tokyo – Meiji Jingu’s Inner Garden

Even though I have been in Japan for over 5 years, I have never ventured into the Inner Garden in the grounds of Meiji Jingu in Harajuku. There is just so much to do around Harajuku and the gardens seemed almost hidden from everything else. In reality, it’s not that hard to find, and only costs 500Continue reading “Secret garden in Tokyo – Meiji Jingu’s Inner Garden”

The best hot spring in Japan? Nyuto Onsen, Akita

Tsuru-No-Yu Hot Spring (鶴の湯温泉) is the most famous hot spring in Nyuto Onsen, and one of the most iconic in the whole of Japan. It takes a few bus trips, or a hike to get here, but it’s totally worth the wait. Tsuru-No-Yu Hot Spring is filled with very silky, almost milk-like water that is saidContinue reading “The best hot spring in Japan? Nyuto Onsen, Akita”

Matsushima

Matsushima (松島) is famous bay not far from Sendai. What makes this place unique is that the bay is dotted with beautiful little islands, the most famous of which has a shrine on top. You can view the islands by walking around the bay or by using traditional Japanese bridges to access the 2 main islands. Budget travel tips Taking aContinue reading “Matsushima”

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”

Japan’s most beautiful temple – Chuson-ji, Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi really does have a lot to offer. After becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011, Hiraizumi has gone from strength to strength, full of seasonal events and well maintained, interesting shrines. There are plenty of free ones around, but the main ones are definitely worth the entrance fee. In the north part of Hiraizumi is Chuson-ji, which is part ofContinue reading “Japan’s most beautiful temple – Chuson-ji, Hiraizumi”

Hiraizumi

While Japan’s other World Heritage sites get more attention, Hiraizumi (平泉) is the one to see if you want to do something a little different. Most famous is its golden hall in Chuson-ji Temple, but the town is full of mini-temples, plus some impressive gardens and lakes. Top Tips Pick up a free map from theContinue reading “Hiraizumi”

Exploring the beautiful, luminous Tazawa Lake

Tazawa Lake really took our breath away. Before going I thought it was just a big lake, but Tazawa Lake is really unique and worth going all the way to visit. What makes it so unique is that all the hot spring water feeding it has given it a strangely luminous, sometimes transparent, appearance. The boatContinue reading “Exploring the beautiful, luminous Tazawa Lake”

Kakunodate

Kakunodate (角館) is an old samurai town with a rich history and lots to see. Near Lake Tazawa in Tohoku, Kakunodate has plenty of traditional samurai and merchant houses, as well as museums, cherry blossom spots and lots of free samples! Budget travel tips There is a really helpful Tourist Information Center next to the station. Head thereContinue reading “Kakunodate”

Nyuto Onsen

Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉) is one of the most famous hot spring towns in Japan, with it’s silky white water and traditionally styled hot spring buildings. It’s a great place to spend some time relaxing or hiking in Tohoku. Budget travel tips Most hot springs only open from 10AM to 2/3PM for non-staying guests. Bring a towel,Continue reading “Nyuto Onsen”

Lake Tazawa

Lake Tazawa (田沢湖) is a luminous blue lake in Tohoku and the deepest lake in Japan. It’s a great place to spend a morning or afternoon. Even during the busy holidays, it remains a quiet and relaxing place to visit. Budget travel tips Be super careful with train times, as local trains to Lake Tazawa are not veryContinue reading “Lake Tazawa”