Rediscovering the Wonders of Japan!

Mike's Tips

"Don't assume that this place is just an onsen--there are games, massages/spa treatments, a wide variety eateries, etc. I would schedule at least 2 hours, but if you're prepared to take it all in, 4-5 hours is a good amount of time there."

2017-05-21 18:54:06 - Oedo Onsen Monogatari

"It's a beautiful shrine on its own, but be sure to plan a same-day trip out to the Kamiiso-no-torii Gate along the coast line to maximize your time in the area!"

2017-05-06 06:24:46 - Oarai Isosaki Jinja Shrine

"Mito offers a lot of historical attractions, so this is a nice complement to that. Be sure to plan to visit the Art Tower if you're in the city, and check the website for event schedules. Occasionally, they will have recitals and concerts that are free for public viewing."

2017-05-06 06:22:33 - Art Tower Mito

"If you are staying in Tsukuba and want a nature retreat, head out to Kasumigaura-ko. It provides a wonderful contrast to the modern city of science and is only a relatively short trip away."

2017-05-06 06:20:35 - Kasumigaura Lake

"This is not unlike many other fish markets you'll visit, but as always, it is best to look for the local specialties. For Ibaraki, try to find the Anglerfish!"

2017-05-06 06:15:29 - Hitachi Osakana Center

"This is a fun place to get some hands-on experience, but be sure to reserve a spot ahead of time (check the website for details). Also, you'll need to provide an address for them to ship the completed item after it's fired (usually takes a couple of weeks to get to you)."

2017-05-06 06:13:34 - Kasama Kougei-no-Oka

"One of the most photogenic spots in Ibaraki. I recommend checking the tide schedules to maximize your viewing (and photographing) experience."

2017-05-06 06:11:20 - Kamiiso-no-torii Gate

"This is a quirky place. If you are not a fan of Mentaiko, it probably won't offer too much for you, but if you even remotely enjoy it, this can be an extremely interesting and fun place to visit."

2017-05-06 06:10:00 - Mentai Park

"Tsukuba is the science hub for all of Japan (a deliberate move by the Japanese government), so the Expo Center is an awesome place to see what sort of innovation and discovery has taken place there."

2017-05-06 06:08:23 - Tsukuba Expo Center

"This place is beautiful. More than just a statue, there are well-manicured gardens, a museum on site for other interesting artifacts, and a modest shopping area with local treats and souvenirs. Also, if you take a picture from a distance, it looks like the Buddha is doing a Kamehameha from Dragonball."

2017-05-06 06:06:55 - Ushiku Daibutsu

"If you are traveling in February and lament that you're missing out on the Cherry Blossoms, plan to come here. This is the best park in Japan when the plum trees are in bloom (which I think are more beautiful than Cherry Blossoms)."

2017-05-06 06:01:56 - Kairaku-en Park

"This is a beautiful spot for flower viewing, but occasionally there will be concerts and other events. Be sure to check the website while planning your getaway to see what events may be taking place."

2017-05-06 05:59:59 - Hitachi Seaside Park

"5 stars for quality of the site, but 1 star for accessibility as a tourist. Be sure to look for bus tours, but there are several other locations where you can see Kannon that are much easier to reach."

2017-05-06 03:01:00 - Jorakuzan Mantokuji Temple

"One of the best collections of Shodo works in the country, but certainly only a place to visit if calligraphy or art is a major interest of yours."

2017-05-06 02:43:00 - Narita Museum of Calligraphy

"The Ostriches are surprisingly docile. Not that you want to go and snuggle up with one, but you should not be afraid to feed or take pictures with them (makes for interesting memories). Just be sure to hold food out with an open hand unless you want pinched fingers!"

2017-05-06 02:41:17 - Ostrich Kingdom (Sodegaura Farm)

"If you plan on surfing out here, be sure to have a wetsuit. The waters will be cold most of the year. Also, be careful with the breaks at Ichinomiya--there are some inconsistencies in the sandbar that can leave you tumbling. Watch the locals and see where they're surfing."

2017-05-06 02:37:23 - Ichinomiya Beach

"There are advantages to eating at the hotel if you can get a package deal that includes meals, but don't stress about booking such a package--there are more than enough eateries next door at Ikspiari!"

2017-05-06 02:34:17 -

"This hotel is dated. You can't beat the proximity to the gates, but avoid this hotel if you cannot stand musty cigarette smell (holdover from years of lax rules on smoking indoors)."

2017-05-06 02:28:05 - Narita Airport Rest House

"A few years ago, you could find Funnasyi goods all over Japan, but as other Yuru-characters have grown in popularity, Funassyi has lost out to some in competition. Still, this store will satisfy all of your Funassyi needs!"

2017-05-06 02:23:40 - Funassyiland

"Avoid the Outlet Park on Sundays. Saturdays can be crowded, but Sundays are wall-to-wall. Also, be aware that there are few Japanese domestic brands, but if you're in the market for foreign labels (Puma, Adidas, Ray-ban, etc.), Mitsui Outlet Park can provide some good deals."

2017-05-06 02:20:51 - Mitsui Outlet Park (Kisarazu)

"DisneySea is decorated to match every major holiday celebration. The best are Halloween and Christmas!"

2017-05-06 02:10:28 - Tokyo Disney Sea

"Don't be worried about taking a bus to Disneyland--there are multiple train lines that will get you to Disneyland with no problems. Just use and you can route your way."

2017-05-06 02:08:44 - Tokyo Disney Land

"The castle ruins nearby are neat to visit if you are interested in Nobunaga and the period of Warring states, but this museum is a jewel for history buffs. It is one of the best available for history on Nobunaga's push to unify Japan."

2017-05-03 06:17:58 - Shiga Prefectural Azuchi Castle Archeological Museum

"The Museum itself won't offer a lot for folks uninterested in ancient Japanese history, but its location is fantastic. It is situated right across the street from Onjojicho, which is a large area with several prominent temples."

2017-05-03 06:15:38 - Otsu City Museum of History

"The garden is best visited early in the morning. While Hikone is not overly crowded with tourists, this garden is most peaceful in the earlier hours and offers better photo opportunities. Like Tara mentioned in her comment, it is best to pair a trip to the garden with a visit to Hikone castle."

2017-05-03 06:12:28 - Genkyuen Garden

"This makes a perfect complement or substitute for visiting Iga village in Mie Prefecture--the other ninja mecca in Japan. This is the easier to access and offers commensurate experiences, though smaller and less diverse than what Iga offers."

2017-05-03 06:10:35 - Koga No Sato Ninja Village

"This is a very charming area of town, and something that you should plan to walk in conjunction with your visit to Hikone Castle."

2017-05-03 06:03:16 - Yume Kyobashi Castle Road

"If you are trying to make the rounds with castles, this is a great stop between Nagoya and Osaka. Start at Okazaki Castle in Aichi, then Nagoya Castle in Nagoya, then Nagahama Castle in Nagahama, Hikone Castle, and then down to Osaka castle from there!"

2017-05-03 06:01:36 - Hikone Castle

"This makes an awesome side trip if you are planning a trip to Nagoya. You can enjoy wonderful views of Lake Biwa while taking in the rich history of Hideyoshi and his efforts to unify Japan. "

2017-05-03 05:58:05 - Nagahama Castle Historical Museum

"I would recommend this as a necessary pilgrimage for any history or samurai buffs. If not, there are other castles in Aichi Prefecture relevant to Nobunaga."

2017-05-03 05:45:52 - Azuchi Castle Remains

"This is a BIG lake, so don't expect every part of it to be picturesque--much of it is surrounded by bustling cities. Still, if you can find a slice of tranquility, it can yield a very serene experience."

2017-05-03 03:19:21 - Lake Biwa

"This is a great place to visit, but if you are planning to hike up to the temple, it is better to start the hike from the Kyoto side of the mountain."

2017-05-03 03:17:17 - Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple

"This is an average fish market unless you're going for seafood that is very specific to the Shimizu area. I'm not a big fan of shirasu (tiny, salty fish), but I'm told that Shimuzu is home to some of the best shirasu in Japan."

2017-04-13 11:53:56 - Shimizu Fish Market Kashi no Ichi

"While this is a wonderful shrine to visit, it is not necessarily a destination unto itself. Make it part of your Shimoda trip by stopping at Shirahama en route to Shimoda Bay and other popular destinations in the Izu peninsula."

2017-04-13 11:52:09 - Shirahama Jinja Shrine

"This is an iconic and photogenic location. Try to avoid peak season in the middle of summer to ensure that you can snap some good pics. May is the best month to go to Shirahama."

2017-04-13 11:49:11 - Shirahama Beach Torii

"This waterfall is among the most beautiful in all of Japan. However, it can be difficult to reach unless you plan ahead. It is best visited by rental car or bus tour."

2017-04-13 11:47:39 - Shiraito Falls

"This is a must- see place if visiting Hamamatsu. The Unagi Pie Factory is the only one like it in all of Japan, and it produces the confectionary for which the town is the most known."

2017-04-13 11:43:53 - Unagi Pie Factory

"There is a long-standing battle between Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures as to which one is the true home to Mount Fuji. If you can, try to view the iconic mountain from both prefectures, since each offers its own unique perspective."

2017-04-13 11:38:00 - Mount Fuji

"One of the most beautiful locations in all of Japan. A must-see. If you visit, I recommend stopping the store at the entrance to the pine forest that leads to the beach and sampling one of the unique flavors of soft-serve ice cream. I had Shirasu, which are tiny fish--you can probably avoid that one!"

2017-04-13 11:34:21 - Mihomasaki Beach

"This beach can be very crowded in the middle of summer. Outside of peak season, it is a good place to do some surfing (bring a wet suit). If you just want to enjoy some sun and nice weather, late May is the best time to visit Shirahama."

2017-04-13 10:45:02 - Shirahama Ohama Beach

"If you visit the temple in May, the flowers will all be in bloom. To me, the fragrance and beauty of the flowers and the history of the place make this my favorite temple to visit in late Spring!"

2017-04-13 10:30:01 - Ryosen-ji Temple

"This is a great place for shopping, but I recommend balancing your Karuizawa plans with the broad and fantastic array of cultural options that the city offers. This can also off a valuable home base for travel groups that want to split up to do different things and then meet up somewhere later."

2017-04-11 12:35:25 - Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza

"There a great many things to do in Karuizawa, but if you are interested in architecture or a Christian, this is a must-see. Do yourself a favor and take some time to visit this one-of-a-kind church!"

2017-04-11 12:32:25 - Uchimura Kanzo Stone Church

"The stadium is a must-see for Olympics fans or if there is an event taking place--otherwise it's good for a drive-by visit. Check the stadium's website before traveling to Nagano to see what may be on while you're there."

2017-04-11 12:28:35 - Nagano Olympic Stadium

"Prepare wisely for your visit to Ontake. Be sure that you have an emergency contact that knows you will be on the mountain. Also, hike smart--wear proper footwear and attire. One of the problems in the last eruption is that folks were ill-prepared for a quick descent. Finally, be mindful of any seismic activity in the area, which is often a precursor to a volcanic eruption."

2017-04-11 12:26:08 - Mount Ontake

"If you love Japanese cuisine, this is almost a must-visit for you. Miso is central to so many different "washoku" (Japanese) dishes. Be sure to plan a couple of hours for the visit here if you are planning the tour or the miso-making experience."

2017-04-11 12:22:16 - Kokuhei Miso Brewery

"This is one of Japan's most picturesque waterfalls (taki, in Japanese). If nature is your thing, be sure to add this to your list of scenic destinations in Nagano (of which there are many)."

2017-04-11 12:19:04 - Shiraito Falls

"There are not many places in Japan that are able to cultivate Wasabi given the root's finicky nature. If you are in the area and want to see it, this is a cool place to visit. Otherwise, the Izu peninsula in Shizuoka provides an alternate wasabi destination."

2017-04-11 12:16:39 - Daio Wasabi Farm

"This is a fantastic ski resort, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be mindful of the trails. Skiing in Japan is not the same as skiing in places like Colorado or Utah where back country skiing is commonplace. Many places off trail in Hakuba are prone to avalanches and claim many careless skiers. Stay on the designated courses to protect yourself and any would be rescuers!"

2017-04-11 12:15:05 - Hakuba Happo-one Ski Resort

"If you are an alpine and/or mountain biker, this is a terrific place to visit. Crowds are scarce and the courses are well maintained. Be sure to keep Hakuba in mind if you are a mountain biker!"

2017-04-11 12:12:30 - Hakuba47 Winter Sports Park

"This place is incredible, but be sure to visit when you can see the place lit up at night. It loses it's mystique if you only see the ice huts in the daylight (the just look like snow mounds)."

2017-04-11 12:09:40 - Kamakura no Sato Village Festival

"There is actually a pretty decent hike to get to the actual Monkey Park from the nearest parking lots. Be sure to wear proper footwear (something you don't mind getting muddy if it's spring/summer, or something that is good on snow if you're going in autumn/winter)."

2017-04-11 12:08:29 - Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park

"The excellent thing about this place is that it offers outdoor exhibits. Of course, that means you need to plan around weather to maximize your enjoyment. Fans of railways should stop by the railway museum in Saitama before heading out to this complementary site in Gunma."

2017-04-10 12:02:14 - Usuitoge Tetsudo Bunka Mura

"Ask most Japanese for the two best onsen towns and they will likely tell you Beppu and Kusastsu. Kusatsu is certainly closer to Tokyo than Beppu, and also offers some amazing autumn and winter scenery that Beppu cannot. Kusastsu is best done via bus tour or overnight stay. Either way, be sure to book well in advance!"

2017-04-10 11:54:42 - Kusatsu Onsen Hot Spring Town

"Great for a lot of things--the bungee jump is just one of them. If you have done bungee jumping in places like New Zealand, this will not be as exciting, but for first time jumpers, this is a safe, well-regulated way to experience some adventure!"

2017-04-10 11:51:12 - Bungy Japan (Minakami)

"Best to see this from a distance, as it is a mountain to look at, not one to look from. I recommend making this a stop on your way to Karuizawa, one of Gunma's best cities."

2017-04-10 11:47:11 - Mount Myogi

"Time your trip correctly to maximize your experience. Since all of the shops are mom and pop establishments, they can have varying hours and days open. Also, be sure to bring cash with you. Finally, plan your trip ahead of time to make sure that you know which experiences you want to try (glass work, bamboo work, print making, etc)."

2017-04-10 11:41:38 - Takuminosato

"There are lots of little walking trails worth exploring. Keep your eyes peeled (and cameras ready) for wild monkeys--I have seen them frolicking in this area!"

2017-04-10 11:20:06 - Sakurayama Park

"It's a small but beautiful shrine. The best time to visit is in autumn when the leaves are changing. If not in autumn, I would not go out of your way unless you happen to be in the area anyway."

2017-04-10 11:16:54 - Myogi Jinja Shrine

"Best if seen from afar. Don't bother driving up to it or trying to hike it--head to one of the "Michi no Eki" via rental car or bus tour. Akagiyama will offer a beautiful backdrop as you sample local cuisine and shop for locally manufactured goods."

2017-04-10 11:14:03 - Akagiyama

"Bring some change with you. Mizusawa Kannon has a bell that you're allowed to ring if you offer 100 yen. It's fun to do if you've never rung a temple bell before. This place is especially beautiful in the autumn when the leaves are changing and anytime there is snow."

2017-04-10 11:11:59 - Mizusawa Kannon (Mizusawa-ji Temple)

"This is an interesting place if you want to see how silk is spun or if you are interesting in history/Meiji-era Japan. If you are keen to shop for silk products, however, there are many other places that will offer a wide variety of silk products."

2017-04-10 10:42:33 - Tomioka Silk Mill

"This is a fantastic place to visit...if you have a car. While the bus options are nice, you may as well just visit Tama Park near Tokyo proper. Still, if you can grab a rental vehicle, this place is incredible because you have the freedom to see what you want at your pace."

2017-04-10 10:26:03 - Gunma Safari Park

"Located in Iwate Park, there are a few other museums within a close walk. I recommend pairing this with visits to those other museums to maximize your time!"

2017-04-06 22:07:39 - Iwate Museum of Art

"This is a very interesting place, but it is off the beaten path. You'll have to take a bus to get there from Morioka station. I do not recommend taking a taxi, as it is about a 20 minute drive from Morioka station."

2017-04-06 22:03:50 - Iwate Prefectural Museum

"If you are only staying for a short time in Morioka, this offers a one-stop option for insight into Morioka's cultural side. It is geared more towards domestic than foreign audiences, however, so museum options in town may be better if you have more time to explore."

2017-04-06 21:58:24 - Morioka Machiya Monogatarikan

"If you're in Morioka and want to take a trip back in time, this is a must see. It is such a beautiful and interesting symbol of history for Morioka. The best time to visit is in Autumn when the leaves are changing, but it is open year round."

2017-04-06 21:51:11 - Nanshoso

"When in Morioka, taking a stroll along this avenue is a great way to spend your time. It runs along the river, and along with the interesting statues, there a number of shops and cafes worth visiting."

2017-04-06 21:48:43 - Ihatov Avenue (Zaimoku-cho Street)

"True, this museum is focuses on two poets and scholars, but it also provides insight into an interesting period of transition in Japanese history between the Meiji and Showa eras. It's worth a quick stop. 30 minutes to an hour should suffice."

2017-04-06 21:46:29 - Morioka Takuboku and Kenji Seishunkan Museum

"The Brewery is open from 9:00-16:30 (last entry at 16:00). The tour lasts about 20-30 minutes. The only scheduled closure dates are 31 December and 1 January (for New Year's). "

2017-04-06 21:14:53 - Asabiraki Sake Brewery

"When you're in Morioka, you have to visit the Castle Park. There is barely anything from the castle left (basically the foundation and a few reconstructed bridges) but it is such a beautiful and serene park. Also, the park is central to all of the other major sites in Morioka, so it makes for a wonderful home base as you branch out to all of those other sites!"

2017-04-06 21:10:26 - Morioka Castle Site Park (Iwate Park)

"This is an interesting museum, but best when added as a stop along your full day in Morioka. Start with a stroll through Morioka Castle park, view the interesting architecture at the Bank of Iwate cross the bridge from the museum, and then visit the museum to provide context for all the things that you just saw."

2017-04-05 21:53:21 - Morioka History and Culture Museum

"This place reminded me of Tokyo Station--very picturesque. It's not a standalone destination, but it's great to visit when strolling through Morioka Castle Park."

2017-04-05 21:50:58 - The Bank of Iwate Nakanohashi Branch

"It's hard to believe that so many of Japan's most iconic heroes were the brainchild of Ishinomori. Visit this museum to catch a glimpse of his influence on Japanese pop culture. While you're there, be sure to support the disaster-stricken town of Ishinomaki that is rebounding from the triple disaster on 3.11."

2017-04-04 22:39:19 - Ishinomori Manga Museum

"Date Masamune was a fascinating figure in Japanese history. Iconic for his crescent moon helmet and his eye patch, Masamune was also interesting for his unique relationship with the Tokugawa Shogunate. He had to balance his allegiances, his clan, and his faith (Christianity). This museum offers an interesting glimpse into this singular figure's life and history."

2017-04-04 22:37:24 - Michinoku Date Masamune History Museum

"Sendai's history is so dynamic, including an expedition by the Date family's orders to visit the Pope in the Vatican, and this museum offers a glimpse of that. Pair this with a trip to the Aoba castle ruins. There are buses and taxis that run from the museum to get you where you need to go next."

2017-04-04 22:29:14 - Sendai City Museum

"Just be aware that the foxes are still wild animals and can react erratically if startled. This warning is more relevant for travel parties with younger members. In any case, this is a must see for nature lovers."

2017-04-04 22:21:47 - Zao Fox Village

"One of the most beautiful places I have visited in Japan. Plan to give yourself at least an hour within the Zuihoden just to enjoy the natural serenity and the incredible architectural beauty."

2017-04-04 22:20:01 - Zuihoden Mausoleum

"This is a must-see for fans of art and architecture. It also offers a nice contrast to the history that Sendai offers at Aoba Castle and the Zuihoden."

2017-04-04 22:17:32 - Sendai Mediatheque

"This is a must-see for fans of art and architecture. It also offers a nice contrast to the history that Sendai offers at Aoba Castle and the Zuihoden."

2017-04-04 22:17:30 - Sendai Mediatheque

"If you miss a chance to visit Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo but are heading up to Tohoku, this is a great place to visit. The fish mongers are a lot friendlier and willing to engage customers and tourists!"

2017-04-04 21:57:34 - Shiogama Fish Market

"This is a site of pristine natural beauty, but be aware that you'll need a car or bus to get there. Also, be sure to plan your trip keeping the seasons in mind--this is best in late spring, summer, and early autumn."

2017-04-04 21:49:04 - Okama Crater

"My top recommendation is to time your trip right so that you catch both the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri and the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori in a single weekend (should be first weekend in August). If you do that, you will have the best festival weekend that Japan has to offer!"

2017-04-04 21:44:17 - Sendai Tanabata Festival

"Some may argue that Ise Shima in Mie Prefecture offers Japan's most beautiful ocean view, but Matsushima Bay definitely takes top prize. If you want to catch a glimpse of Japan's natural ocean beauty, this is a must-see."

2017-04-04 21:38:54 - Matsushima Bay

"Unfortunately, the Tokugawa Shogunate destroyed the castle as a means to prevent an uprising. Still, the Ruins are a must-see for anyone who has an interest in samurai or Japanese history. Further, the Date Masamune statue is iconic. The best way to get here is either driving or taking the bus. The hike is pleasant, but can wear you out."

2017-04-04 21:36:26 - Aoba Castle (Sendai Castle Ruins)

"If you're visiting Owaku-dani, be sure to stay a night or two in Hakone and see the rest of the sites. There is a ropeway that will take you up to Owaku-dani from Hakone proper."

2017-04-04 21:28:05 - Owaku-dani Valley (The Great Boiling Valley)

"This is a great stop on the way to go see the Gassho houses at Gokayama, however, it won't be much use unless you are driving or on a bus tour."

2017-04-04 10:09:47 - Michi no Eki Taira (Gokayama Washi no Sato)

"If you are in a bind and limited on time, the station is a great place to do some souvenir shopping. A Must-Buy is Toyama-style sushi, which is basically a large platter of sushi rice topped with raw fish, wrapped in leaves in order to preserve the food. This was the original Hokuriku sushi used for travelers who needed food on the go."

2017-04-04 09:57:32 - Toyama Station

"The best glass art museum in Japan. If you are heading out to Toyama, this is a must-see, along with Toyama Castle."

2017-04-04 09:55:28 - Toyama Glass Art Museum

"If you are going to take the Kurobe Gorge Railway, it is worth it to take it all the way to Keyakidaira in order to maximize your photo opportunities. Just be aware of the timing for the trains before departing from the mountain base to ensure that you time your trip up and back appropriately."

2017-04-04 09:54:08 - Keyakidaira Station

"There are three Holy Mountains in Japan: Fujisan, Hakusan, and Tateyama. Be aware that it is common for there to be frost and snow at the top of Tateyama even in the warmer seasons. Be sure to bring proper clothing and footwear."

2017-04-04 09:52:40 - Mount Tate

"The best view of the bridge is on a walkway that is accessible from an entry adjacent to the gorge railway station. It's only about a five minute walk to a great overlook of the bridge and the surrounding gorge."

2017-04-04 09:50:29 - Shin Yamabiko Bridge

"Kurobe Gorge is one of the most beautiful in Japan. I recommend taking a short walk down to get some interesting views of the iconic railway bridge."

2017-04-04 09:49:00 - Kurobe Gorge

"This is a beautiful route, but the best way to enjoy it is via bus tour, especially in the winter time."

2017-04-04 09:46:52 - Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

"Having tried to walk the path all the way to the top, I will tell you that the walk is good to see the bridge, but if you want to get to the top, take the rail!"

2017-04-04 09:45:17 - Kurobe Gorge Railway

"Unlike many castles in Japan, Toyama Castle has a real history of use, having been the site of many battles. Although it is a recreation of the original, it is a fascinating place to visit, and a great stop along your way to Takaoka and the rest of Hokuriku."

2017-04-04 09:44:16 - Toyama Castle

"While the park is not the best as a standalone destination, it is only a stone's throw away from the Takaoka Great Buddha. Definitely pair the two together to maximize your time in Takaoka City."

2017-04-04 09:38:11 - Takaoka Old Castle Park

"While Shirakawa-go gets the most advertising as the place to go to see "Gassho"-style houses, Gokayama provides a welcome alternative, especially if you're traveling along the new Hokuriku Shinkansen. You won't be missing out on anything if you travel here instead of Shirakawa-go."

2017-04-04 09:32:09 - Gokayama Historical Village

"When you go to Beppu, this is a must-see. It's fascinating to see the different types of hot springs that nature produces, between the bubbling mud pits to the red hot springs, among others. "

2017-04-03 22:16:43 - Oniishibozu Jigoku

"If you're not staying overnight in Beppu and can only stop at one onsen, make it this one. This is the coolest onsen in all of Beppu and really lets you feel like you're stepping back in time."

2017-04-03 22:14:31 - Takegawara Onsen

"Beppu has a number of hot springs that showcase the natural colors and beauty of mother earth. This is one that really earns its name of "Blood pond" because of its color. Be sure to visit the others hot springs in Beppu as well."

2017-04-03 22:13:02 - Chinoike Jigoku

"I'm a big Ghibli fan, so this was a cute stop in the floral village, but like other destinations in Yufuin, it's not a standalone destination; rather, stop by the bakery in between stops to the wonderful onsen in Yufuin."

2017-04-03 22:09:47 - Kiki's Bakery

"I am a Snoopy fan, so this was a fun stop in between onsen visits. Certainly, seeing the mashup between Snoopy and Japanese culture is fun even if you don't stay for the tea and food."

2017-04-03 22:00:48 - Snoopy Tea House (Yufuin)

"In between Onsen stops, it's nice to visit the Floral Village, which have lots of little boutique shops. Still, I would not recommend it as a standalone destination."

2017-04-03 21:59:21 - Yufuin Floral Village

"This is a fantastic stop for history buffs. It really feels like you've stepped back in time to catch a glimpse of what 20th century Japan was like. This is a good stop in-between Fukuoka and Beppu, if that is where your travels are taking you."

2017-04-03 21:54:32 - Bungo Takada Showa no Machi

"A must stop for travelers with younger members, those who love Hello Kitty, and those who are seeking to enjoy some Japanese "kawaii" culture. There are buses that run regularly between the train stations and the park."

2017-04-03 21:52:20 - Sanrio Character Park Harmonyland

"This is a must-stop on your walking tour. When you get to Beppu, be sure to grab a walking tour map. The maps can be found at any visitor center site, but most shops carry them as well as a community effort to encourage foot traffic through the town."

2017-04-03 21:50:48 - Tatsumaki Jigoku

"This is a nice alternative to soaking in onsen all day when you're at Beppu. It is just as relaxing and worth the visit if you're trying to forget all about your stress and worry."

2017-04-03 21:49:36 - Beppu Beach Sand Bath Municipal Hot Springs

"Known as the best town in Japan for onsen. What they don't mention is how good steamed food is here. The best are the nikuman and sweet potatoes--definitely try some when you're here!"

2017-04-03 21:48:17 - Beppu

"This is a must stop for all Kumamon fans. If you're not a fan, this is still an important place to visit for gifts and souvenirs. Kumamon has become such an important icon for Kumamoto Prefecture, and Kumamon Square is a fun place to see how he is incorporated into other aspects of Kumamoto's history and culture."

2017-04-03 21:20:19 - Kumamon Square

"This is a site more for history buffs and UNESCO-site seekers. The best way to enjoy this site is to pair it with a trip to Nagasaki Prefecture to see the other Meiji Industrial Revolution site, Hasima Island ("Gunkanjima")."

2017-04-03 21:18:14 - Miike Coal Mine Manda Pit (UNESCO)

"An interesting cultural stop if traveling up to Mount Aso. Some bus tours will offer stops at both the shrine and the mountain, otherwise you'll need to take a trip into the city and then hitch a ride to the mountain from here."

2017-04-03 21:16:06 - Aso Jinja Shrine

"The Hosokawa family has been one of the most important in Japan since the Edo Period (1603-1868). In fact, a descendant was even Prime Minister from 1994-95. It is fascinating to go back and see how what sort of residence housed such an important and influential family."

2017-04-03 21:14:18 - Former Hosokawa Residence (Gyobutei)

"This is a worthwhile stop, but certainly should not be at the top of your priority list if you have limited time in Kumamoto. Enjoy it if time permits; if not, do not forsake the castle or some of Kumamoto city's other important sites."

2017-04-03 21:07:31 - Suizen-ji Joju-en Park

"This is a beautiful and iconic stop if you're traveling by car or bus between Kumamoto and Oita. Also, if you are a cyclist, there is no greater place to ride in Japan!"

2017-04-03 21:05:35 - Laputa's Road

"It's a beautiful sight to see, but off the beaten path. Be aware for your plans that you'll need a bus tour or a car to get there."

2017-04-03 21:04:22 - Tsujun Bridge

"Kumamoto is best known for its Basashi, "raw horse," so if you're brave enough, you should try it in one of the restaurants here. The story behind basashi is that the castle was besieged and the people had nothing left to eat but their horses. Soon after, the besieged warriors fought back and achieved victory over their attackers. Ever since, basashi has been held in high regard in Kumamoto."

2017-04-03 21:03:12 - Sakuranobaba Josaien

"The Visitor's Center is a fantastic place to stock up on souvenirs and gifts. Also, go to the second floor for some delicious soft cream and a beautiful panoramic view of Aso."

2017-04-03 20:58:31 - Mount Aso

"The castle experienced damage after the 2016 earthquake in April. Still, it has held up well and stands as a symbol of Kumamoto's resilience. One of the best castles, if not the best, in Japan."

2017-04-03 20:44:33 - Kumamoto Castle

"This is a must-stop along the Japanese pilgrimage for history buffs. Lafcadio Hearn place among influential westerners in Japan is among the top!"

2017-04-03 20:42:42 - Lafcadio Hearn's Former Residence

"This is a beautiful temple. If you are into literature, I recommend reading Yukio Mishima's Temple of the Golden Pavilion. It is certainly a more abstract style of prose, but it is considered on of Japan's greatest literary works in the modern era, and it centers on this iconic location."

2017-03-31 13:05:42 - Kinkaku-ji Temple

"This is a fantastic stop in Kyoto, and even more meaningful because Tokugawa's castle in Tokyo no longer exists. Pair this with the Imperial Palace tour so you can compare and contrast between the Shogun's residence and the Emperor's residence, keeping in mind that in the 1600s, the Tokugawa clan was more than happy to let the Imperial Palace to go unmaintained!"

2017-03-31 13:03:25 - Nijo Castle

"For the brave travelers out there, there is a decent hiking trail to walk up to the Enkaku-ji at the top of Hieizan. It is a pleasant hike and you'll even pass by an old abandoned ski slope (very small one, I might add). Just stop by the Kyoto Tourism Center at Kyoto Station and the attendants can provide a full terrain map and directions to the trail head."

2017-03-31 12:58:17 - Hieizan

"You can get a great view of it from Kyoto Station. Actually, Kyoto tower is more interesting to be looked at rather than looked from. If you are looking for a great panoramic view, Kyoto Station, Kiyomizudera, and Fushimi Inari all offer great options!"

2017-03-31 12:55:33 - Kyoto Tower

"They offer Japanese and English language tour options. Unless you are wedded to staying close to the hip of the tour guide (hard to hear him or her otherwise), it won't really matter which option you choose. Read up on the history of the palace before you go to give you more context--I will make the experience more enjoyable."

2017-03-31 12:53:45 - Kyoto Imperial Palace

"I thought this was a fantastic stop. The fact that they converted an old school to make the museum adds to the ambiance. Check the website ahead of time to see if they have any special events on-going. When I visited, they had a free manga art instruction class. I am not a good artist, but with their help, I thought I did all right with my drawing (see pic)!"

2017-03-31 12:50:41 - Kyoto International Manga Museum

"Take your time here. The essence of Ryoan-ji are the simplest details. Sure, the rock garden is symbolic of that, but take a look at how time has affected the color of the walls, and how the nature blends with the architecture. It's a very serene place."

2017-03-31 12:48:07 - Ryoan-ji Temple (Kyoto)

"It's beautiful, but try to go there VERY early in the morning to beat the crowds, otherwise all of your peaceful photos will have to be taken skyward, lest you want thousands of passer-bys in the shot!"

2017-03-31 12:46:28 - JR Arashiyama Station

"What a fantastic place to visit at night. The only trick is finding transportation to/from the shrine. Make sure to check the train schedules, because they can be infrequent at night. Otherwise, be sure to have a taxi company number handy!"

2017-03-31 12:44:35 - Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine (Kyoto)

"This is a fantastic temple, and you really should treat yourself to a cup of green tea and some Japanese confectionary in the pavilion near the water flow area. It is so peaceful and serene, and definitely worth taking your time."

2017-03-31 12:42:28 - Kiyomizu-dera Temple

"Similar to the Shigeru Mizuki Museum (Ge-Ge-Ge creator) that is also in Tottori, the Goshi Aoyama Manga Factory is a fantastic stop for Conan the Detective or Anime fans in general. Conan the detective has been increasing in popularity even more over the past few years, so it is a neat opportunity to capitalize on seeing this place when in Tottori."

2017-03-30 12:37:16 - Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory

"For Ge-Ge-Ge fans and anime fans in general, this is a fantastic stop along your Tottori journey. The best way to enjoy this is by strolling down the Mizuki street in a crescendo to the museum. "

2017-03-30 12:33:07 - Shigeru Mizuki Memorial Museum

"This is easy to overlook when focused on the Todaiji and the Big Buddha, but when you're there, don't forget to stop by the Nigatsu-do, which is fascinating in its own right. Just a quick stroll away from the main Todaiji area."

2017-03-30 12:29:47 - Nigatsu-do Temple

"For history buffs, this is a must see. Since you can spend an entire day in Nara Park alone, if you have another day in the city, it is convenient to visit the Heijo Palace and then make your way over to the Toshodaiji."

2017-03-30 12:26:36 - Heijo Palace

"There are great restaurants and cafes in the area, but if you're coming out from a long hike through Nara Park, this plaza offers a consolidated area in which to find someplace to eat and/or relax. "

2017-03-30 12:24:09 - Yume-Kaze Plaza

"This is one of the more photogenic of temples in Nara Park, making it a must-see for any camera jockeys out there. The main structure also has a design different from the others that is worth seeing up close. Make it part of your plan during your Nara Park day!"

2017-03-30 12:20:05 - Kofuku-ji Temple

"When you need a break from the temples of Nara, this shopping street provides a nice return to modernity. Lots of shops, vendors and cafes. When you are there, try the Akebi fruit--I haven't seen it sold anywhere else in Japan!"

2017-03-30 12:17:55 - Higashimuki Shotengai Shopping Street

"If you are limited on time, use it to visit all of the different temples that are in the vicinity of the museum, since they tell the story of Nara even better than the museum can. Of course, if you have the time, this museum can fill some important gaps between the structures that surround it and the history and culture of the area."

2017-03-30 12:12:06 - Nara National Museum

"The only downside to this temple is the relative distance from Nara Park. Like the Toshodaiji, the Horyuji is steeped in history. If you have the time to make the trek, try to hit both the Toshodaiji and the Horyuji in the same trip, and save all of the Nara Park temples for another day."

2017-03-30 12:09:45 - Horyu-ji Temple

"There are two temples in Nara that are not in close proximity to the park that are worth visiting--Horyuji and Toshodaiji--but for different reasons. This temple has a more interesting backstory. Since they're both off the beaten path, try to visit both in succession to compare and contrast two of the oldest temples in Japan."

2017-03-30 12:06:58 - Toshodai-ji Temple

"Try to visit Kasuga Taisha around late afternoon/sunset. The way the sun breaks through the trees, the interesting sloped architecture, and the numerous lanterns is simply stunning. A great plan for the day is to hit Todaiji in the morning and walk to Kasuga Taisha in the afternoon!"

2017-03-30 12:03:20 - Kasuga Taisha Shrine

"One of the three major bronze buddhas in Japan (the others are in Kamakura and Toyama), but this is by far the most impressive because of the building that houses him. This is a must see not only for Nara, but for all of Japan!"

2017-03-30 11:59:06 - Todai-Ji

"Interacting with the deer here has been one of my favorite experiences in Japan, although be forewarned that they can be a little pushy (or bitey!). You can buy deer osembe (crackers) for a few hundred yen, but don't leave them in pockets because the deer will go for them!"

2017-03-30 11:57:12 - Nara Park

"Probably the most iconic place in Osaka thanks to the Glico man and other lighted signs. This may be an out-of-left-field tip, but watch "Black Rain," the 1980s Michael Douglas film to get a great glimpse of what Ebisubashi (and Osaka as a whole) was like back in the 80s. It's fascinating to see how the character remains the same even if the technology has grown up around it."

2017-03-30 08:47:34 - Ebisubashi

"Osaka has a relatively large ethnic Korean population, and Osaka's Korea Town is one of the few places in all of Japan to enjoy an authentic blend of Japanese and Korean culture. If you are interested in the intersection of cultures, this is a must-visit in Osaka."

2017-03-30 08:43:48 - Osaka Tsuruhashi Korean Town

"This is one of the coolest castles in Japan. The best part about it is that it is relatively close to places like Dotonbori. A great way to spend the afternoon is spend the early afternoon at Osaka Castle and then head out to Dotonbori in the evening for dinner and an opportunity to enjoy the night life."

2017-03-30 08:34:34 - Osaka Castle

"This certainly is the most iconic crab restaurant in all of Japan. As such, it fills up quickly during peak hours. Unless you're a crab fan, it may be best to snap a few pics and stroll down to another great restaurant along Dotonbori!"

2017-03-30 07:23:34 - Kani Doraku (Dotonbori Honten)

"Some towers are better to visit during the day (Tokyo Tower is a good example), but this one is definitely better suited at night. Osaka is such a bright and vibrant city at night that a trip to the Tsutenkaku can offer you a panoramic glimpse of that energy."

2017-03-30 07:21:36 - Tsutenkaku

"What I consider to be the heart of modern Osaka. It is a must visit for most travelers and especially vibrant at night. You will not be wanting for choice for restaurants and bars, but just be aware that on the weekend and holidays they can fill up quickly. If you stay flexible, you'll find a good place!"

2017-03-30 07:18:04 - Dotonbori

"It is an excellent amusement park if you don't mind crowds. Recommend getting there at least an hour before the park opens if you are planning on buying a ticket at the gate because the lines will swell and they do sell out of tickets quickly!"

2017-03-30 07:15:01 - Universal Studios Japan / USJ

"This is a great place to visit for parties with younger travelers because of the old timely feel and games. Otherwise, I would recommend getting a feel for Osaka Takoyaki by visiting one of their well-established takoyaki restaurants."

2017-03-30 04:21:06 - Osaka Takoyaki Museum

"Just like Universal Studios Japan, the CityWalk can be crowded. Instead of fighting the crowds here, I recommend taking in the sights as you head back toward Osaka's city center, where the night life is more vibrant and captures the essence of Osaka."

2017-03-30 03:59:43 - Universal City Walk Osaka

"This is the best aquarium in Honshu. If you are planning to travel to multiple cities in Tokyo, save your aquarium day for Osaka!"

2017-03-30 03:53:10 - Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

"If you go to Ise Shima, you have to get this panoramic view, since it is what gives you the quintessential view of Ise Shima and its characteristic islets. It may be off the beaten path, but there are buses and taxis that can deliver you to this beautiful view!"

2017-03-29 22:36:52 - Ise Shima Skyline

"The next Yuru-Chara Grand Prix (where mascots like Kumamon and Funassyi square off for top prize) will be held here in Fall 2017. Be sure to time your trip right so you can see it!"

2017-03-29 22:34:43 - Nagashima Resort

"A mecca for motorcycle racing enthusiasts. More than other tracks in Japan, this is a must-see for racing fans."

2017-03-29 22:33:35 - Suzuka Circuit

"It's fascinating the see this traditional practice in action. This is especially relevant if you pair it with a visit to the Mikimoto Pearl Island."

2017-03-29 22:32:31 - Amagoya Osatsu Kamado

"If you are a student of Japanese literature and poetry, this is a significant stop along your Japan journey. If not, the Basho museum is an interesting but not critical must-see."

2017-03-29 22:31:17 - Basho Memorial Museum

"This is a great place for souvenirs. It's also extremely photogenic and has quirky little set pieces throughout the area, like the sleeping cat pictured below!"

2017-03-29 22:29:38 - Oharai-machi

"A must-see for ninja fans. The staff are passionate about maintaining the traditions and practices of the ninja. Also interesting other than the museum itself if the surrounding area, which offers reminders of the area's roots in ninja history. "

2017-03-29 22:28:26 - Ninja Museum of Iga-ryu

"Definitely targeting pearl enthusiasts, but it provides interesting insight into the composition of pearls, how they are cultivated, and how the transition from natural find to beautiful ornament."

2017-03-29 22:26:30 - Mikimoto Pearl Island

"This area is far more interesting when there are festivals taking place (though it can be very crowded). Be sure to check the website ahead of time for event schedules."

2017-03-29 22:25:05 - Ise Jingu (Geku)

"Every twenty years, they rebuild the main buildings of the shrine, swapping between two locations that are adjacent to each other. Although you cannot enter the older area, you can catch a glimpse of it, and it's interesting to compare the old and the new."

2017-03-29 22:23:05 - Ise Jingu Shrine (Naiku)

"I thought the best way to enjoy this park was to do so in the area immediately around the Toshogu Shrine. A great walking day is to start from the Nikko town center, walk past the Shinkyo, up to the Toshogu, and around the park to enjoy the nature. It can be a very serene and pleasant experience."

2017-03-29 10:45:46 - Nikko National Park

"One of the must-visit places in Nikko. It's best in Autumn and spring. Summers can be very hot, and winter can feel a bit desolate."

2017-03-29 10:43:43 - Lake Chuzenji

"This was a fun place for a few hours, but it was pricey. If you are traveling with pre-teen kids, this can be a fun place to spend some time and impart knowledge on perspective and how to use images, but older crowds probably won't be able to justify the price of admission."

2017-03-29 10:39:38 - Trick Art Museum

"Utsunomiya is one of the few Japanese cities that is actually expanding. The tower gives some good perspective of the expansion."

2017-03-29 10:36:30 - Utsunomiya Tower

"This is an iconic bridge and can be very beautiful. However, it is not a major draw by itself, so I recommend taking a stroll from central Nikko to Toshogu to enjoy the view of the Shinkyo. It's a bit of a hike, but Nikko is worth taking in at a leisurely pace."

2017-03-29 10:33:02 - Shinkyo

"Not only Tosho-gu a fascinating place because of its history, it is also where the famous "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" monkeys can be found along the Shrine's latticework."

2017-03-29 10:30:56 - Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine

"This is a fantastic place to visit. However, I would advise that if you intend to travel there, take the bus or a taxi. While the train is doable, we had to go to the general store across the street to buy tickets and the trains do not run frequently. The bus and cabs are frequent and easy to use!"

2017-03-29 10:29:32 - Tobu World Square

"To me, this is the best park in Tokyo. The nature is beautiful, it has a zoo, the surrounding neighborhoods have wonderful cafes and restaurants, and the Ghibli Museum is nestled in the back of the park. The easiest way to get there is the Chuo Rapid line from Shinjuku to Mitaka or Kichijoji station, or the Keio Inokashira line to Kichijoji. "

2017-03-29 10:24:55 - Inokashira Park

"I've been going to Shimokitazawa for over twenty years now. It has grown much over the years, but it has maintained its character--one of the few places in Tokyo where you can find cute cafés, boutique shops, second hand shops, game centers, and restaurants."

2017-03-29 10:15:38 - Shimokitazawa

"What do you do when you need to build skyscrapers in Tokyo and don't want to lose the historical buildings? Move them out to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. That was the concept, and it is a great one. Although the focus of this museum is architecture, it offers some insights into other aspects of life in the Edo, Meiji, and Showa periods. Definitely worth a visit."

2017-03-29 10:09:54 - Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

"It's a great place to visit if you have history buffs or younger members in your travel party. Otherwise, I recommend spending the time to visit some of the other interesting places along the same bus route, like Tobu World Square."

2017-03-28 22:11:15 - Edo Wonderland

"Ashikaga is renowned in Japan. If you can make it there for the illumination or when the flowers are in full bloom, it is a must-see. If timing is not right, it is best to spend your time elsewhere."

2017-03-28 22:09:43 - Ashikaga Flower Park

"When you arrive at Nikko station, you can commission a taxi to take you to all the major sites. Often times, the taxi drivers speak English and act as tour guides as they take you from place to place, including Kegon Falls. It costs a few thousand yen (up to 50 dollars), but can be worth it, especially on a drizzly day."

2017-03-28 22:08:09 - Kegon Falls

"Yasukuni shrine has the best "hanami" (cherry blossom viewing) of any shrine in Tokyo. That said, it is important to bear in mind the history that Yasukuni portrays and the controversy that it holds with victims of Japanese imperial aggression. Yasukuni and the adjoining Yushukan present its version of the history of the Japanese military. I issue no judgment in saying so--simply informing you who may choose to visit the shrine."

2017-03-28 12:39:33 - Yasukuni Shrine

"Definitely get a full meal ahead of time--the bento they serve is mediocre, at best. An interesting experience, but best for ages 18-35."

2017-03-28 12:22:57 - Robot Restaurant

"I love Studio Ghibli, and while I enjoyed the museum, it is a tough place for folks who are not the biggest fans. Even with staggered entrances, the museum gets crowded quickly. That said, it is a must-see for Ghibli fans. Get tickets in advance at any Lawson store using the "Loppi" machine (looks kind of like an ATM), or see the website for other details."

2017-03-28 12:21:07 - Ghibli Museum

"This is a cool, historic building in its own right. There is a fantastic viewing area up on the 5th floor, and a delicious sushi-go-round (kaiten sushi) restaurant on the 3rd floor. "

2017-03-28 12:18:16 - Kitte Marunouchi

"If you have to choose between catching a game at the Tokyo Dome or one at Meiji Jingu Stadium, go for Meiji Jingu. The atmosphere is better, the seats are roomier, and the Swallows are more of an underdog than their crosstown rivals that call the Tokyo Dome home, the Yomirui Giants."

2017-03-28 12:15:48 - Meiji Jingu Stadium

"They have been cracking down on photographers clogging up the busy aisleways. Be quick with your snaps!"

2017-03-28 12:05:59 - Tsukiji Fish Market

"The most interesting museum in Tokyo. You can spend a few hours or a whole day here. The museum is right next to the National Sumo Stadium, so go eat some Chanko Nabe after you visit here!"

2017-03-28 11:48:12 - Edo-Tokyo Museum

"More like a giant arcade/game center, it is probably better suited for the 10-24 year old age group. Still, if you are gamer, you will probably thoroughly enjoy Joypolis."

2017-03-28 11:24:55 - Tokyo Joypolis

"Definitely a better option than Skytree--less crowded, more iconic, and with the option to climb the stairs to the top! Make sure you time it right for the stair climb, though--check out the website for the dates."

2017-03-28 11:23:29 - Tokyo Tower

"Tokyo Station is the most photogenic in Japan. It is also well-situated next to some other important locations like the Imperial Palace, the Daiichi Seimei Building, and a number of great eateries and shops. This is a must-visit locale."

2017-03-28 11:19:55 - Tokyo Station

"DisneySea is definitely the cooler of the two Disney options in Japan. Be sure to order a souvenir popcorn container--it is cheaper to refill than to order new popcorn every time, and that way you can try all of the different flavors of popcorn they offer at DisneySea (strawberry, butter, curry, and others!)"

2017-03-28 03:13:32 - Tokyo Disney Sea

"There are few amusement parks that warrant multiple visits, but Tokyo Disneyland and the surrounding area definitely offer more than what can be enjoyed in a single day. No need to stay in one of the overpriced hotels in the immediate area--the trains are convenient enough to do out-and-backs each day."

2017-03-27 21:32:45 - Tokyo Disney Land

"This is a fascinating look into Japanese tradition, but be mindful of who you are bringing along for the tour. It may be difficult for pre-teen children and/or anyone who may be squeamish when it comes to birds or fishing."

2017-03-27 13:30:10 - Cormorant Fishing On The Kiso River

"This offers a wonderful promenade along which to stroll either at day or night. It runs parallel about a block away to a major shopping street, so you can divert at any time if you need to seek a restaurant or a shopping fix. Otherwise, you can continue down the park to the iconic TV tower."

2017-03-27 13:26:04 - Hisaya Odori Park

"It's a bit off the beaten path, so getting there can be somewhat difficult. Still, if you are interested in cars, in Toyota, or in a rags to riches story, this is a fascinating museum that shows how the Toyota family built the world's largest auto manufacturer out of a textile industry."

2017-03-27 13:24:05 -

"The towers are spectacular and a testament to architecture. However, unless exceptional architecture is a draw for you, the towers do not offer much that other towers in Japanese cities can provide. Worth a stop if you're in the area, but no need to go out of your way."

2017-03-27 13:21:07 - JR Central Towers

"The Castle also serves as Okazaki city's cultural center. When we went, there were four separate events on-going, each with their own charm and appeal. Definitely a worthwhile stop for the history and for the glimpse into modern Japanese life."

2017-03-27 13:19:06 - Okazaki Castle

"Check out the view from the tower during the day, and the view of the tower at night! The daytime panorama of Nagoya is beautiful, and the tower offers a beautiful piece among the rest of the Nagoya skyline."

2017-03-27 13:17:19 - Nagoya TV Tower

"A great place to stop while in Nagoya. The place continually updates its decor to keep up with the seasons, so you're bound to see something new and interesting each time you go!"

2017-03-27 13:15:23 -

"Probably one of the top three most picturesque castles in all of Japan. I recommend walking to the castle from city center. There are lots of great places in between."

2017-03-27 13:13:30 - Nagoya Castle

"This is a fascinating place. Don't think it is only about cars--it is really about developing new technologies. Great for adults and kids (ages 7 and up) alike."

2017-03-27 13:11:38 - Toyota Kaikan Museum

"Best wings in Japan! You may be tempted to try something other than the wings, but I urge you to start with the signature dish, which is fantastic, before moving to the other dishes, which are good, but not necessarily great."

2017-03-27 13:10:18 - Yamachan (Main Store)

"Like many historic areas of Japan, the streets are narrow and often crowded. If you are traveling to Kawagoe and trying to decide between a bus or train, opt for the train. The station is convenient and you will not have to fight the traffic that inevitably awaits all cars and buses heading to/from Kawagoe!"

2017-03-27 10:39:32 - Kawagoe Station

"This is a great way to get a sense of the grandeur and fun that is the Kawagoe Festival even if you are unable to be there at the right time of year to see it in action. It's not the biggest Matsuri Kaikan in Japan, but it's worth a stop while in Kawagoe."

2017-03-27 10:35:46 - Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan

"Although cat cafes are fantastically quirky, be prepared to pay for the pleasure of the company. There is a set entry fee that comes with one drink and a set time. Additional time, drinks, and food are available, but can be pricey compared to normal cafes."

2017-03-27 10:33:53 - Nekoya

"The Kawagoe Shrine Sale is one of the best in all of Japan, and like the synopsis for this spot states, it is held on the 28th of each month. Two tips for the Kawagoe Shrine Sale: 1) Get there early! 2) Be ready to haggle. Negotiation is not just okay, it is expected!"

2017-03-27 10:28:40 - Naritasan Kawagoe Betsuin Temple

"If you are a fan of ancient history, this is an interesting place to visit. However, if not, this may not be worth the trip unless you happen to be out in the area for other reasons."

2017-03-27 10:26:36 - Hundred Caves of Yoshimi

"If you are a fan of MMA, there are a number of major MMA events held here throughout the year, including the annual UFC fight night in Japan. It is a fantastic venue and a mecca for Japanese MMA fans."

2017-03-27 10:20:17 - Saitama Super Arena

"This is such a timeless (no pun intended) symbol of the Edo period in Japan. If you are a photographer, this alone would make the trip to Kawagoe worthwhile, but for the average tourist, it is icing on the cake for a fascinating Japanese town."

2017-03-27 10:17:33 - Toki no Kane (Time Bell Tower)

"For military enthusiasts, this is a fantastic place to visit. There are few places in Japan that offer such a ready and open display of defense force equipment. I have been several times now and it never gets old."

2017-03-27 10:15:18 - Japan Ground Defence Force PR center

"I've been to many folk areas in Japan, and this is one of the few I have encountered that offers this variety of beans. These make interesting and relatively cheap edible souvenirs for friends back home!"

2017-03-27 10:13:06 - Mamekichi Honpo (Kawagoe)

"Depending on what day you travel to Kawagoe, this café can fill up rather quickly. Try to beat the lunch rush if you can, but it is also a pleasant place for an afternoon coffee."

2017-03-27 09:55:21 - Kawagoe Art Cafe Elevato

"There are a lot of railway museums in Japan, but this is far and away the best. There is even a "taiken" (experience) where you can "operate" a full scale train!"

2017-03-27 09:51:53 - The Railway Museum

"Mt Fuji's climbing window is limited only to a few months in the summer time. There is good reason for that based on extreme weather changes and the difficulty of the terrain when there is snow. I have known some folks who want to climb Fuji in the off months, which I advise against. Not only is it in violation of regulations, there will be no obligation to support you if you are lost or injured. Please be mindful to adhere to ALL the rules and regulations on Fuji--they are there for your safety so that you and everyone else can enjoy this splendid mountain."

2017-03-27 07:50:47 - Mount Fuji 5th Station Yoshida Entrance

"For roller coaster enthusiasts, Fuji-Q Highland is a must visit. Be aware that there is not a lot immediately around Fuji-Q, so if you are traveling to the park from Tokyo or elsewhere to make this the focal point for your trip. Of course, if you want to maximize your trip, try to stay somewhere in Kawaguchiko and you can enjoy the Lake, the surrounding museums, and the other sights."

2017-03-27 07:11:53 - Fuji-Q Highland

"The museum's location and special exhibits are more of a draw than anything else, but if you are staying in the area, it is a great stop. It is also close to the Music Forest, so you can build a great afternoon starting with this museum."

2017-03-27 04:11:15 - Kawaguchiko Museum of Art

"I used to get a reasonable rate for this magnificent ryokan, but I had to book months in advance. Be sure to check early and often for availability. If you time your booking right, you may also be able to view the Kawaguchiko fireworks from the ryokan rooftop."

2017-03-27 04:09:27 - Konanso

"The festival has food and drink stands available, so bring some cash with you to be able to enjoy some of the local fare. They do have a dining tent set up, but be aware that seats are limited and can fill up quickly."

2017-03-27 04:04:35 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival

"The ほうとうどん (Hōtō Udon) is a must-eat while in Yamanashi as it is the representative type of noodles for the prefecture. The noodles are much thicker than normal udon noodles, and the broth almost resembles what you would see cooking in a stew rather than an udon bowl. Delicious, though!"

2017-03-27 04:00:58 - Hashimoto-ya

"This is certainly a weather-dependent location, so try to time it for the right season and a clear day (easier said than done). If you are driving, be aware that there are some tight roads that you must take to make it to the pagoda."

2017-03-27 03:53:53 - Arakura Sengen Jinja Shrine & Chureito Pagoda

"For roller coaster enthusiasts, this is a must-ride. For everyone else, the thrill is somewhat short-lived, so if you are limited on time, hit up the classic Fujiyama and some of the other, more dynamic rides at Fuji-Q."

2017-03-27 03:52:39 - Dodonpa (Fuji-Q Highland)

"If you like amusement parks and want to see Fuji, Fuji-Q highland is the way to go. There are plenty of buses that will take you there, but it is also fairly easy to access by train. "

2017-03-27 03:51:23 - FUJIYAMA (Fuji-Q Highland)

"I personally think this is the best lake from which to view Fuji, and the fact that it frequently has fireworks shows contributes to that opinion. Check the city website to see their fireworks schedules!"

2017-03-27 03:50:04 - Lake Kawaguchi

"There are often concerts and special events at the Music Forest, so be sure to check the website before heading out so you can time your arrival, whether to avoid or to join the crowds!"

2017-03-27 03:47:52 - Kawaguchiko Music Forest

"When on Miyajima, it is best to take your time so you can enjoy both the low and high tides at Itsukushima Shrine. Omotesando is a great place to spend that time. When there, the two definite things to try are the momiji manju (maple leaf shaped bean cake) and the anago (Hiroshima is famous for its conger eel)."

2017-03-26 22:41:13 - Miyajima Omotesando Shopping Street

"When in Hiroshima, you must try Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki, and there is no better place to do that than Okonomimura. There are many restaurants, however, so it is best to scope it out on their website before heading in so you can have a few particular shops in mind, otherwise you'll be overwhelmed by choice."

2017-03-26 22:39:02 - Okonomimura Village

"This is another part of the whole Hiroshima A-Bomb experience that you should see while in Hiroshima. Plan to make it part of your trip to Memorial Park."

2017-03-26 22:36:59 - Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims

"If you're on Miyajima, you should head to the top of the mountain. It is best in Autumn, but still worth a visit during the other seasons. The walk to the ropeway is very pleasant."

2017-03-26 22:34:28 - Mount Misen

"A definite must-see. I recommend timing your trip so that you can be at the shrine both for high tide and low tide. Hide tide gives you the iconic water shot, but low tide lets you walk out under the Torii itself!"

2017-03-26 22:33:06 - Itsukushima Jinja Shrine

"One piece of the puzzle that provides the picture of Hiroshima's tragic history with the atomic bombing. As such, this is a must visit location when in the city."

2017-03-26 13:40:42 - Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims

"This is actually one of the more photogenic castles in Japan from afar (Nagoya and Himeji are close competition). Certainly, as a reconstructed castle, the interior is less interesting than other castles in Japan, but the historical exhibits will satisfy history buffs. Certainly worth getting close enough to take pictures even if you do not have time to take the full tour."

2017-03-26 13:37:39 - Hiroshima Castle

"You should schedule at least an hour and a half for this museum, though if you take the time to read all of the exhibits and some of the testimonies of the survivors, you can spend far longer here. Plan on taking some time to walk through the park afterwards, since this museum will inevitably place a heavy weight on your heart and shoulders."

2017-03-26 13:33:33 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

"I recommend scheduling enough time to walk around this park once you have gone to the museum. When you leave the museum, you will invariably feel a heavy weight on your shoulders, and the stroll through the park helps to offer a renewed sense of calm and hope."

2017-03-26 13:29:13 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

"A beautiful stadium! If you are heading here to watch the Hiroshima Carp play, make sure to get seats in the outfield. Sure, the seats on the baselines give a better view of the game, but the outfield seats are always electric, with fans singing songs, waving flags, and urging the home team on to victory. It is a vastly different experience and one you should not miss!"

2017-03-26 13:27:25 - MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium, Hiroshima

"This is a definite must-see in Hiroshima, and I recommend starting here on your path to the Peace Memorial. The easiest method of transit to the A-Bomb dome is trolley/tram."

2017-03-26 13:25:05 - Atomic Bomb Dome

"This is the newest shopping center in Okinawa. There are a lot of great shopping areas on the island, but if you are looking for a one-stop-shopping experience that includes some of the famous stores and brands from Honshu, then this is a must-stop while on-island."

2017-03-26 12:25:34 - Naha Aeon Shopping Center

"If you enjoy A&W and are planning to trip around to other prefectures, better make sure you get your root beer fix in Okinawa first. Root Beer became popular in Okinawa because of the large American presence on the island after the war, but it has not taken root (pun intended) anywhere else in Japan."

2017-03-26 12:23:30 - A&W All American Food

"I am not the biggest fan of Awamori, but it makes the perfect souvenir or gift for folks who enjoy alcohol since it is quintessentially Okinawan. I also recommend picking up a pair of awamori glasses from which to enjoy the drink."

2017-03-26 12:19:29 - Helios Distillery

"This is a beautiful cape, but it is certainly off the beaten path. If you are up on the northern part of the island for other activities, it is worth the trip. If not, there are other beautiful locations to see in the south that do not require a long drive."

2017-03-26 12:16:47 - Cape Hedo

"Blue Seal has been adopted as the de facto Ice Cream parlor for all of Okinawa. There are very limited locations off-island in other prefectures, so if you can try some in Okinawa, you should go for it. The best flavors are Chinsuko (Okinawan Salt Cookie) and Beni-Imo (Okinawan Sweet Potato)."

2017-03-26 12:08:51 - Blue Seal Ice Cream Parlor (Owan on Kokusai-dori)

"This is an interesting sight to see, but no need to make an exceptional tour to see it--just make sure you catch it when you go to visit Shuri Castle."

2017-03-26 12:06:31 - Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate

"For context, I recommend visiting the Okinawa Peace Memorial prior to coming to this Museum. This is a worthwhile stop, but the Okinawa Peace Memorial provides the context for what the Himeyuri Museum is all about."

2017-03-26 12:04:14 - Himeyuri Peace Museum

"When you visit Kokusai-dori, the two things you should be sure to do are (1) pick up some souvenirs for family and (2) get some Blue Seal Ice Cream. For both (1) and (2), I recommend getting Okinawan salt cookies (some to bring back home, and some Salt Cookie ice cream, which is delicious)."

2017-03-26 12:02:18 - Kokusai-dori Street

"After visiting so many castles in other prefectures, Shuri-jo provided a welcome change of scenery. If you enjoy Japanese castles, you should aim to visit Okinawa and this impressive castle. It also offers some great views of the surrounding city!"

2017-03-26 11:58:55 - Shurijo Castle Park

"This is a must-see location while in Okinawa. Over 125,000 Okinawan civilians lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa, and the names on the monument bring a palpable sense of the tragedy and loss that the island endured. If you go nowhere else, go here."

2017-03-26 10:19:42 - Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

"This is an excellent Aquarium. However, if you have children with boundless energy (like us), let them burn some of it off in the playgrounds and parks that are right outside the Aquarium!"

2017-03-26 10:12:10 - Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

"The Fujiya Hotel can be a little pricey if not booking it through a third party. Try Japanican or to see if you can snag a better deal on rooms there!"

2017-03-25 13:04:17 - Fujiya Hotel

"Surfing works up quite an appetite, so there are tons of great eateries around Shichirigahama. My personal favorite is @LeafCafe, which offers one of the best burgers in Kanagawa prefecture!"

2017-03-25 13:01:48 - Shichirigahama

"If you want to maximize your chances of seeing Fuji, I recommend traveling to Ashinoko in February. It's cold, but February offers the most days with clear skies around Fuji."

2017-03-25 12:55:26 - Lake Ashinoko

"This is a must-see for train and model enthusiasts. It is not the largest venue, so you could make it a quick stop along your journey through Yokohama, but if you really examine the intricacy and detail, you could spend hours there. If you are not a fan of miniatures or railways, this probably will not hold your interest too well."

2017-03-25 12:49:41 - Hara Model Railway Museum

"Good breakfast spots that open early are hard to come by in Japan, so Bill's fills a void for us early risers out there. Be sure to arrive at least a few minutes (15 should do it) to be close to the front of the line that will invariably form, otherwise you may be stuck waiting for a table."

2017-03-25 12:46:49 - Bills (Yokohama)

"A definite must-see, but be aware that other than a few gift shops around the area, there is not much for travelers directly around the Daibutsu. For that reason, plan ahead wisely so you do not burn too much of your precious time in this one part of Kamakura."

2017-03-25 12:44:15 - Great Buddha of Kamakura (Daibutsu)

"Cosmo World is a pay-as-you-go amusement park, meaning there is no exceptional entry fee, just payment per ride. For anyone looking to travel on the cheap, Cosmo World offers an affordable option. Also, if you're in town for New Year's Eve, Cosmo World is the focal point for the countdown."

2017-03-25 12:41:59 - Cosmoworld

"For some (like me) who love Cup Noodle, no additional justification is necessary for going to this museum. However, some of you may want to overlook this museum because it focuses on Cup Noodle; still, I think the museum is actually about innovation and perserverence. Sure, the product was Cup Noodle, but the lessons are universal. Worthwhile to visit just for that piece alone. (Of course, who wouldn't want to make their own personalized Cup Noodle?)"

2017-03-25 12:38:35 - Cupnoodles Museum

"With the recent uptick in tourism in Japan, Yokohama Chinatown has seen a rapid rise in the amount of people who flow through the area, even on weekdays. If you are planning to go shopping or just to see the sights, I recommend getting an early start. If you are game for the hustle and bustle, lunch time and dinner time are the busiest in the area."

2017-03-25 12:35:15 - Yokohama Chinatown

"Enoshima is a good home base for any surfers traveling to Japan, as there are decent surf spots up and down the beaches from Enoshima. If you do plan to surf, make sure to bring or rent a wet suit--the water is not bitter, but uncomfortably cold most of the year."

2017-03-25 12:31:24 - Enoshima

"Always check the website before heading out there to see what special events will be taking place at the red brick area. Some of the most popular are Oktoberfest and the Winter ice skating rink!"

2017-03-25 11:30:41 - Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

"This is a wonderful area in which to sojourn while in Kobe. There are plenty of department stores and restaurants, as well as fun statues and exhibits lining the walkways. Although you could probably walk the entire area in a few hours, it is best to spend at least a full day here."

2017-03-25 03:58:47 - Kobe Harborland

"Kobe is such a beautiful and vibrant city now that it is hard to believe that only a little over twenty years ago in 1995, it was the site of one of the most devastating earthquakes in Japan's modern era. When in Kobe, the Earthquake Memorial Museum is a must-visit because it provides more than just history on the 1995 earthquake and progress in disaster management, but context for the Japanese spirit that drives the people of this nation to rebuild after disaster and to strive continually to make things better."

2017-03-25 03:51:39 - Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum

"Yokohama Chinatown is often characterized as the most vibrant and interesting Chinatown in Japan, but that is probably just because of its proximity to Tokyo. Kobe Chinatown, however, offers the king Chinatown for the Kansai region. If you'll be in both Yokohama and Kobe, it is worth visiting both Chinatowns to compare the two as representatives of the port towns."

2017-03-25 03:45:47 - Kobe Chinatown (Nankinmachi)

"The tower itself is worth a visit, but I enjoyed the area directly around the tower as well. When visiting the tower, be sure to walk around and see the standing exhibits from Kawasaki and the memorial for the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake."

2017-03-25 03:42:53 - Kobe Port Tower

"This site is worthwhile, but tricky. It is definitely something to view from afar rather than visiting directly. The allure of the Takeda Castle remains is the fact that it looks like a "Castle in the Sky" or Japan's Machu Picchu, but the best way to get that effect is to view it from the Fujiwa Pass about twenty minutes down the road. Your best shot is to see it at sunrise or sunset."

2017-03-25 03:38:40 - Takeda Castle Remains

"Kobe is a city with a colorful and cosmopolitan history. While you can see the product of western influence in motomachi and at Meriken Park (literally named after the Japanese manner of pronouncing "American"), it is valuable to check out this museum which offers additional insight into the fascinating history and culture of Kobe. "

2017-03-25 03:36:08 - Kobe City Museum

"A must-see location when traveling to the Kansai region of Japan. It captures the cosmopolitan history of this important port town. You can even enjoy a variety of food, including authentic Turkish ice cream which is hard to find anywhere else in Japan (see picture)!"

2017-03-25 03:30:31 - Meriken Park

"This is an impressive bridge, although unless you are driving over it or you are a huge fan of engineering, I would not recommend an exceptional trip just to see the bridge. If you are driving over it, there is a great highway oasis on the Awaji-island side of the bridge that provides excellent panoramic views of the bridge and the surrounding cityscape."

2017-03-25 02:55:54 - Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

"A lot of travelers may be tempted to take a bus or cab to Himeji Castle, but if you are traveling via train to Himeji station, I recommend walking down the main promenade to Himeji-jo. Himeji castle is best appreciated from the outside, so the walk up provides wonderful contrast between the castle and the surrounding city."

2017-03-25 02:50:51 - Himeji Castle

"This is a fantastic refuge for parents with young children, but it really is better suited for kids between 1 and 5. Kids 6 and older will probably be too big for the types of play areas that this Anpanman museum offers."

2017-03-25 02:32:45 - Kobe Anpanman Children's Museum & Mall

"Tottori is home to two major Manga/Anime heroes in Japan: Conan and Ge Ge Ge. If you are an anime fan traveling through Tottori, you have to visit the Conan Bridge and the Ge Ge Ge street. For those of you who do not know Conan the Detective, you can check out the manga/anime on youtube and amazon."

2017-03-24 23:23:49 - Conan Ohashi Bridge

"If you visit Lake Towada, you have to go out onto the lake to appreciate the beauty of the natural surroundings. As such, the boat terminal is a must-stop when visiting Towada-ko."

2017-03-24 23:19:48 - Lake Towada Sightseeing Boat Terminal

"This is one of the most famous and beautiful lakes in Japan. However, it is off the beaten path with limited options for traveling there by public transportation. Traveling with a tour group makes visiting the Lake much easier. Of course, if you are road tripping through Japan, this is a worthwhile stop."

2017-03-24 23:17:20 - Lake Towada

"If you are a fan of history, this is a great stop in Aomori. It provides some perspective on what it would have taken to traverse between Hokkaido and Honshu before air travel and underground train tunnels. Sometimes we travelers take things like that for granted--the Hakkodamaru helps remind us how lucky we are these days!"

2017-03-24 23:10:40 - Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship Hakkodamaru

"If you are a back-country skier, be very careful. Japan has strict rules against off-trail skiing, and if you are lost or trapped, the services they will be able to provide you are limited. Stick to the designated slopes and you'll be fine!"

2017-03-24 23:06:59 - Naqua Shirakami Ski Resort Aomori Spring

"There is strong competition between Nagano and Aomori for which prefecture offers better apples. There is no better way to settle a dispute than to try for yourself. When picking apples, the ones with a duller hue to the skin are tastier than the ones which have a shine to them."

2017-03-24 23:04:42 - Hirosaki Apple Park

"This is an amazing festival, but it draws huge crowds. I recommend booking a spot to see the festival through a travel agency. Travel agencies actually have reserved spots in the festival, so although it will be crowded, you will be guaranteed a place with which to enjoy the sights."

2017-03-24 23:02:32 - Aomori Nebuta Festival

"This is a must-see from a cultural/historical perspective, but keep in mind that there is little-to-no shade as you walk around the site. Be sure to bring sunscreen, water, and/or a parasol, especially in the middle of the summer."

2017-03-24 22:59:32 - Sannai-Maruyama Site

"This is a great museum, especially for its special exhibits. When we visited, there was a Miffy exhibit on display. Be sure to check out the website to see what the special exhibit is for the season."

2017-03-24 22:57:20 - Aomori Prefectural Museum of Art

"This is a definite stop if you want to get a panoramic view of Aomori and the Tsugaru strait. I like the A-Factory more for omiyage, but ASPAM offers a more traditional selection of confectionary and goods."

2017-03-24 22:55:12 - Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center (ASPAM Building)

"Definitely stop by the A-Factory if you're visiting the Nebuta House Wa Rasse. It is a stone's throw away and offers a wonderful variety of edible gifts. It also has a delicious café that serves galettes and a variety of Apple ciders."

2017-03-24 22:52:41 - A-Factory

"The Nebuta Matsuri has become one of the most crowded and commercialized festivals in Japan. Rather than fighting the crowds, I recommend visiting the Nebuta House Wa Rasse, where you can learn how the incredible floats are constructed while taking your time to appreciate the displays. Also, they always display something quirky and pop culture related (see the pic!)."

2017-03-24 22:48:02 - Nebuta House Wa Rasse

"This is a must-see from a cultural perspective. However, be aware that the facility is not very family friendly. If you are traveling with children in a stroller, you may need to reconsider stopping here, unfortunately. Still, if possible, this important museum is worth a visit!"

2017-03-24 22:44:07 - Hakodate Museum of Northern Peoples

"This turned out to be my favorite spot in Hakodate. If you (or a member of your party) are a history buff, this is a must-see. The tower includes historical exhibits on the ground floor as well as up in the tower itself. Further, there is an excellent curry restaurant on the second floor of the tower that I highly recommend. "

2017-03-24 22:40:16 - Goryokaku Tower

"My friends from Hokkaido describe Lucky Pierrot as Hokkaido "soul food." For those of you familiar with soul food, you know that it is heavier, stick-to-your bones kind of food. While this is essential in the winter time, I would order light on a hot summer day."

2017-03-24 22:35:58 - Lucky Pierrot Bay Area

"A bottle of Nikka whiskey makes the perfect travel gift for a friend back home (who is of age, of course!). You can ask the staff to pack it up to keep it from breaking in transit. Pick something that is in the middle range for pricing, and you cannot go wrong."

2017-03-24 22:33:25 - Nikka Whisky Distillery

"If you need to try to beat the crowds (say you have a large family or you have difficulty in crowded spaces), I advise traveling to Sapporo a few days before the formal start to the snow festival. Most of the sculptures will already be complete, so you can still marvel over them, but you will only have to compete against a fraction of the hoard of people that will be there once the festival formally begins."

2017-03-24 22:30:41 - Sapporo Snow Festival

"Be sure to traverse the various alley ways in the warehouse area. There are often additional vendors and performers that set up shop there. In one case, a gentleman simply wanted to present his rabbits that he claimed were television stars because they had been on TV before. It just adds an extra bit of charisma to an already charming place."

2017-03-24 22:27:21 - Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse

"Certainly with the amount of snow in Sapporo, the underground passages make for a warm and easy to traverse space. However, one of the fastest ways to run yourself down as a traveler is to constantly transition between super cold and warm temperatures. Try to plan ahead so you are not constantly transitioning between above ground and below ground spaces in the winter time. "

2017-03-24 22:25:00 - Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Space

"Make sure you go on an empty stomach. One of the characteristics of "Genghis Khan" meals is the large quantity of food that is served. Make sure to get a reservation before hand, since this is a popular spot for tour buses and the place can fill up quickly!"

2017-03-24 22:22:50 - Sapporo Beer Garden

"One of the best morning markets in all of Japan, but two tips: (1) get there early to beat the crowd; and (2) get there on an empty stomach and fill up on fresh seafood when you get there!"

2017-03-24 22:20:47 - Hakodate Morning Market

"Hokkaido is renowned in Japan for its milk. When getting soft cream at the farm, you may be tempted to try one of the other flavors, but you have to try its straight milk flavor to see what all the hubbub is about!"

2017-03-24 22:16:47 - Hokkaido Farm

"A lot of people will take a bus or cab to the Mt. Hakodate ropeway station, but if you are able and willing, I recommend walking there from the bottom of the hill. The area around the ropeway is full of history, and waiting in line for the ropeway will be much more tolerable if you've already maximized your time in the area."

2017-03-24 22:09:01 - Mt. Hakodate

"The best parts of Perry Road are the art shops. The prints there offer another glimpse into the Japanese perception of the Black Ships and this new chapter of Japanese history."

2017-03-24 14:45:09 - Perry Road

"Thanks to some skillful politicking, Kanazawa station boasts one of the largest and most beautiful train stations in Japan. The best part of the station (other than the Motenashi dome) is the logical and well laid out bus terminal. Since Kanazawa relies mostly on buses for public transit around the city, this makes life far easier for the average tourist. Be sure to use Kanazawa station as home base as much as possible, since all roads in Kanazawa lead there, and all buses follow those roads."

2017-03-24 14:25:15 - Kanazawa Station

"As far as seafood/produce markets go, this is among the better ones in Japan. If you are in the market for something, your best bet is nodoguro, which is a speciality for this area."

2017-03-24 14:21:43 - Omicho Market

"This is a nice shrine, but not easily accessible except by bus. I would recommend pairing a stop to this shrine with a stop at the Katamachi area of Kanazawa for some delicious food (lots of good restaurants) and/or night life."

2017-03-24 14:18:49 - Oyama Shrine

"This is a sight to behold. It is one of the coolest pieces of architecture that you will see in Japan. Now that the Shinkansen is finished, most travelers to Kanazawa will be able to see this by virtue of their mode of transport. However, if you are traveling by plane or car, you need to put the Motenashi Dome on your list of must-sees."

2017-03-24 14:15:27 - Tsuzumi Gate

"If you are a student of philosophy, this is a must-see museum. If you are not, there may be other places that are more worth your time if time is limited. Still, I would argue that the museum offers some unique insights on life and the layout and design of the building are delightful. "

2017-03-24 14:13:07 - D.T. Suzuki Museum

"Higashi-chaya is one of the must-see locations in Kanazawa. If you are looking for gifts for the women in your life, stop by one of the jewelers that specializes in kinpaku, or gold leaf. Speaking of gold leaf, you have to try one of the gold leaf soft creams when you are there!"

2017-03-24 14:10:22 - Higashi Chaya District

"This is one of the highlights of Kanazawa. Be sure to check out the solarium and the unique elevator that brings people up from the garage level to the museum level. Also, make sure to look all around, since there are lots of exhibits that are displayed in places you might not expect."

2017-03-24 13:48:37 - 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

"This is a great place to visit...but only if you are stopping by the Kenrokuen. There is not enough of the castle left to make it worth visiting on its own, but as a package deal with the Kenrokuen, it is a must-see for Kanazawa."

2017-03-24 13:44:41 - Kanazawa Castle

"I thought this was a fantastic place to visit. The interesting architecture continues to fascinate me. The one downside was that the staff does not allow photos inside. Please just be aware and stow the cameras."

2017-03-24 13:43:21 - Myoryu-ji Temple (Ninja-dera/Ninja Temple)

"It is a wonderful garden that is best visited in spring and winter. Be aware that summers can be oppressively hot at the Kenrokuen, so be sure to bring water and a parasol if you like to stay shaded."

2017-03-24 13:41:27 - Kenroku-en Garden

"This is only about a 20-minute drive away from the Tottori Sand Dunes. If you plan to be in Tottori city and you have a car, making the trip out here makes a good way to round out a travel day."

2017-03-24 13:28:47 - Uradome Coast Island Hopping Dock

"There are other shrines built into cliff-sides in Japan, but this hidden temple is by far the most serene and beautiful. If you are seeking a spiritual adventure and have some flexibility in terms of time and transportation, you definitely should put this one on your list."

2017-03-24 13:26:36 - Mitoku-san Sanbutsu-ji Temple Nageire-do Hall

"Tottori offers beautiful sights, but like Mount Daisen, they can be difficult to reach if you do not thoroughly plan ahead. Tottori does not have any shinkansen that run through there, and there are only limited flights into/out of the prefecture. This is a great place to stop if you are road tripping through middle Japan (chugoku)"

2017-03-24 13:23:08 - Mount Daisen

"This brewery offers a tour that lasts about half an hour. Although walk-ins are acceptable, they prefer a reservation by email or phone beforehand. A good email address is [email protected]"

2017-03-24 13:20:50 - Chiyomusubi Sake Brewery

"Tottori is famous for its crab. If you plan on picking something up, "Matsuba" crab is the way to go!"

2017-03-24 13:14:23 - Sakaiminato Fish Center

"For those of your who grew up watching and reading Ge Ge Ge no Kintaro like me, you will recognize all of the characters. For those of you who are new to this quirky anime/manga, the show is available on Amazon prime at, and the manga is available online as well. You should check it out before seeing this cool part of Tottori!"

2017-03-24 13:11:31 - Shigeru Mizuki Road

"The story behind the castle ruins is far more interesting than the site itself. If you are a history buff like me, I recommend the Jinpukaku that is a short trip away."

2017-03-24 12:48:02 - Tottori Castle Ruins

"One of my favorite places in all of Japan. For those who want a more extreme experience, there is the option to do some sand boarding (check it out at "

2017-03-24 12:46:27 - Tottori Sand Dunes

"They offer options to ride or simply to step up and take photos on the camel. If you've never ridden a camel, it's worth the experience, but if you have, it's best to save some money and just grab a few snaps since the ride is relatively short and won't offer any views you can't enjoy on foot. (In our case, it was the first-ever camel ride, so we splurged)"

2017-03-24 12:44:09 - Rakudaya

"One of my favorite places! The Tottori Sand Museum is only open for a limited amount of time. If you can travel right when it opens in late April is the best because Tottori's weather is perfect that time of year, and you will narrowly miss the Golden Week crowds."

2017-03-24 12:40:05 - Tottori Sand Museum