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”

Yasaka Shrine

A large complex of well maintained, stunning shrines, pagodas and other Shinto monuments and buildings. Occasional festivals and events occur throughout the year. Budget travel tips Combine this with a walk around Gion. There are a few other shrines and a pagoda in this complex, so explore around it. How to get there From KyotoContinue reading “Yasaka Shrine”

Tokyo City Walk: East Tokyo Historical Walk

A nice route through the quiet, but traditional side of Tokyo.  This route takes you from Kiyosumi Garden and Fukugawa Edo Museum, via traditional neighborhoods, to Sumida river and the Edo-Tokyo museum. Can be used as a cycling route as well. Walking time: 3-4 hours Go to Monzen-nakacho Station on the Oedo Line (purple Metro line)Continue reading “Tokyo City Walk: East Tokyo Historical Walk”

Harajuku

Harajuku (はらじゅく/原宿), between Shinjuku and Shibuya, is a heartland of youth fashion and activity.  It will provide plenty of splendid culture shock for an visitor, young or old. Budget travel tips Be sure to explore the smaller streets, full of fashion shops and nice cafes.  See the map for a recommended route, but it’s aContinue reading “Harajuku”

Ueno

Ueno (うえの/上野) features one of the biggest parks in Tokyo and is one of the main ‘cities’ within the megalopolis that is Tokyo.  There many museums in the park, and the area is full of brightly lit streets and stores. Budget travel tips Asakusa is a nice city walk from Ueno, via Kappabashi.  We recommendContinue reading “Ueno”

Kawagoe

Kawagoe (かわごえ/川越) is a beautiful traditional down less than an hour away from central Tokyo.  It features a famous authentic old tower and shopping street, which is why many people call it ‘Little Edo’ (Edo was the old name for Tokyo).  A great place for a nice one day trip away from the skyscrapers ofContinue reading “Kawagoe”

Sengakuji temple

Sengakuji temple is a beautiful Buddhist temple near Shinagawa station.   This is the location of the Revenge of the Forty-seven Ronin, when 47 masterless samurai murdered a feudal lord. Their master was forced to commit suicide after attacking the lord, so with no master the Ronin planned their attack.  They eventually killed the lord, andContinue reading “Sengakuji temple”