Tag:History / Japan Travel Videos

Iya Valley and Wonders, Tokushima

Tokushima Prefecture is one of the four prefectures of Japan's Shikoku Island. Surrounded by mountains, the Iya Valley and Oboke region seems a world away from modern Japanese cities. This remote area has spectacular scenery with steep gorges and is famous for its Kazurabashi Bridges made from vines. Near Okobe Gorge, you can take in the landscape from a boat or from the quiet of an onsen bath. Time seems to have stopped here - Ochiai Village has preserved its traditional old farmhouses. To see more historic Japanese architecture, take a walk through the Udatsu Townscape of Wakimachi in Mima.

Nature History View Scenery Mountains Onsen

Scenery in Miyazaki

Miyazaki Prefecture is part of Kyushu Island in southern Japan. It is known for its stunning scenery, beautiful coastline, and good surfing. Many of Miyazaki’s scenic spots are linked to Japanese history and mythology. The Mimitsu Historical District is lined with historic buildings from when this was a busy port trading with Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto. Near the dramatic Takachiho Gorge is Amano Iwato Shrine. According to legend, the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu hid in a cave here. Another place surrounded by legends is Aoshima Island. Visit at low tide to see its unique rock formations called the devil’s washboard.

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Must-visit destinations, Niigata

Niigata is one of the prefectures on Japan’s main island that are located along the Sea of Japan. Sado Island, off the coast of Niigata City, is known for its music festival and has a Taiko Centre where you can learn all about Japanese drumming. Explore Niigata’s coast or go hiking and skiing in the mountains - the region around Minamiuonuma is one of the world’s heaviest snowfall areas. And try the local cuisine. In Japan, Niigata Prefecture is known for its high-quality rice and sake. You can taste some of the leading local brands at the Ponshukan Sake Museum.

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Highlands in Nagano

Nagano Prefecture is located in the center of Japan’s main island. It has highlands and mountains with stunning scenery and excellent hiking. Kamikochi is one popular resort in the Northern Japan Alps with beautiful landscape. Take a walk along the river from Taisho Pond to Kappa Bridge or venture further up into the mountains. Away from the big cities, Nagano’s highlands like the Utsukushigahara plateau have stunning night skies. And Achi Village in Southern Nagano is known as the best place in the country for stargazing. For history, visit Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto City, the oldest existing castle in Japan.

Nature Hiking History Views Mountains Stargazing

Journey to Iwate

Iwate is the second-largest prefecture in Japan, located in the Tohoku region in the northeast of the country’s main island. Iwate is known for its stunning landscapes from mountains and valleys to a spectacular coastline. Take a masterclass in Japanese culture and folk tales in Tono Valley, explore the Ryusendo Cave and its underground lakes in Iwaizumi, or visit the seaside. The coast is part of the Sanriku Fukko National Park that stretches out along the Pacific Ocean. In Miyako City, a main fishing port, you can enjoy local seafood and scenic spots like Jodogahama Beach and the Blue Cave.

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Kanagawa day trip, feeling of discovery

Kanagawa Prefecture is situated next to Tokyo. Yokohama, Kamakura, and Hakone in Kanagawa are popular destinations for short trips from Japan’s capital. Kanagawa’s coast along Tokyo Bay has many beautiful spots you can explore. Sarushima Island is one place with excellent views of Tokyo Bay. Kamakura is also located on the coast. The many shrines and temples here let you explore Japan’s history and architecture. More traditional buildings can be seen at the open-air museum Nikon Minka-en. Another destination in Kanagawa is Lake Ashi in Hakone. It has great views of Mount Fuji, that you can enjoy during a cruise.

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Kumamoto, rugby legend's visit

Kumamoto Prefecture is located in southern Japan, in the middle of Kyushu Island. At its center prefecture is Mount Aso, an active volcano. The Aso Unesco Global Geopark has an exceptional landscape with one of the largest calderas in the world. Explore the area cycling or go hiking on the peaks and plains here. Kumamoto also has a beautiful coast and onsen hot springs. Kumamoto City is the seat of the prefectual government. Its symbol is Kumamoto Castle, which sustained significant damage in the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes and is being restored. Another historic site in the city is the landscape garden Suizenji Park.

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Shizuoka, rugby legend's visit

Shizuoka Prefecture is located west of Tokyo on the Pacific Coast and is home of iconic Mount Fuji and the Izu Peninsula. The Old Tokaido Road linking Tokyo and Kyoto runs through Shizuoka. Now Shizuoka City, is situated just between Tokyo and Nagoya on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. At the city center stand the remains of Sumpu Castle, built by Japan’s first Shogunate Tokugawa Ieyasu. Shizuoka is the top producer of green tea in Japan and also known for its excellent food. Many places on the coast such as Nihon-daira have fantastic views of Mount Fuji.

Castle Garden History View Park

Saitama, rugby legend's visit

Saitama Prefecture is located just north of Tokyo. Omiya in Saitama City is easily reached from major stations in the capital. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine gives Omiya its name, literally meaning large shrine. The city is also known for bonsai. The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum showcases the Japanese art of cultivating small bonsai trees. Kawagoe is another popular day trip destination in Saitama. It is known as “Little Edo” because of its traditional architecture and old-fashioned streets and shops. Edo is the old name of Tokyo and here you experience a little bit of the Edo Period (1603-1867).

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Oita, rugby legend's visit

Oita Prefecture is part of Kyushu Island in southern Japan. Onsen hot springs are found throughout Oita and the seaside city of Beppu on the Seto Inland Sea has the highest amount of onsen water in Japan. The Hells of Beppu are scalding hot onsen with different qualities and colors, a fascinating display of the force nature. Yufuin, a little inland from Beppu, is another popular onsen resort. Down the coast in Usuki, the Usuki Stone Buddhas carved into the rocks are designated National Treasures. Explore Oita’s towns, unwind in its many onsen baths and enjoy the tasty local cuisine.

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Fukuoka, rugby legend's visit

If you travel by Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Kyushu Island, you will first come to Fukuoka Prefecture. Its capital Fukuoka City is a former castle town and now the biggest city on Kyushu Island. Ohori Park is located on the old castle grounds. The Kyushu National Museum has an excellent collection showing Japanese art and history. It is located nearby in Dazaifu, the former governmental center of Kyushu. The Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is the national headquarter for all Tenmangu shrines. Also in the Fukuoka area is Munakata Taisha, UNESCO World Heritage and one of the oldest shrines in Japan.

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Nagoya, rugby legend's visit

Nagoya is the third biggest cities in Japan and the capital of Aichi Prefecture. It is an excellent base for day trips and Japan travel, located between Tokyo and Osaka on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Nagoya played an important role in Japan’s history. Nagoya Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogunate in the Edo Era (1603-1867). Today, Nagoya is an important industrial center and home to Toyota Motor Corporation. The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Toyota Techno Museum) is one of several interesting museums here where you can learn about Japanese cars and manufacturing technology.

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Tokyo, rugby legends' visit

Tokyo is a huge metropolis where old and new co-exist. It has many different areas. Roppongi Hills for example is the modern Tokyo, which you can see from Tokyo City View observation deck. In contrast, the Yanesen area is an old district with a retro feel that has escaped development. Tokyo has thousands of good places for eating and shopping and also excellent museums. The Samurai Museum is all about history, while a visit to the Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless is like taking a trip to the future. Explore both sides of this fascinating city

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Osaka, rugby legend's visit

Osaka is the second biggest city in Japan and has been an important port. It is a city of merchants and traders and famous for its local food. Try Osaka-style "kuidaore" that means eat until you drop (literally eat yourself broke). Visit the Kuromon Market to see the produce that goes into preparing Osaka’s specialties like savory okonomiyaki pancakes, deep fried kushikatsu skewers, and takoyaki octopus dumplings. And visit Dotonbori for street food, restaurants, and neon lights. For a good city view, go to the Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory or Osaka Castle’s observation deck, which has a 360 degree view.

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Meet My Kagawa

Kagawa is one of the four prefectures that make up Shikoku Island. It is famous for its udon noodles and often called Udon Prefecture. Major attractions besides the tasty local food are historic shrines, temples, and scenic spots. Kagawa faces the Seto Inland Sea and has many beautiful places on the coast such as Chichibugahama Beach and Shodoshima Island’s Angel Road sandbank. The “Henro” pilgrimage route to 88 temples in Shikoku includes 23 temples in Kagawa, among them Zentsuji Temple. Other famous destinations are Kotohira-gu Shrine (Konpira-san) and Ritsurin Garden, one of the most important landscape gardens in the country.

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Things to do in Nagoya

Nagoya is the capital of Aichi Prefecture, located in the center of Japan’s main island Honshu. In the past, Nagoya was an important castle town. On the castle grounds stand the reconstructed main keep and the palace of the ruling lords. Present day Nagoya is one of Japan’s industrial centers and home to both traditional and modern manufacturers like Toyota. Toyota’s museums focus on the development of automotive technology while the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park is all about Japan’s trains. Located on the Shinkansen Tokaido Line between Tokyo and Kyoto & Osaka, Nagoya is an excellent base for Japan travel.

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Fukuoka in a Day

Fukuoka is the biggest city on Kyushu Island in Southern Japan. It is an important harbor and a hub for Japan travel. In the Edo Period (1603-1868), Fukuoka Castle was the largest castle in Kyushu. It was torn down, but its castle walls remain in Maizuru Park, a popular cherry blossom spot in the spring. Fukuoka is famous in Japan for its culinary culture and cuisine, its many food stalls (yatai) and Hakata Ramen - thin noodles in pork-based tonkotsu soup. Visit the Yanagibashi Rengo Ichiba (fish market) and the yatai in the Nakasu area to try Fukuokas’s best foods.

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Takayama, old town in Gifu

Takayama City, known as Hida Takayama, is located in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture’s Hida region. In the past, this was a thriving merchant town. In the historic Sanmachi Suji district many stores and buildings date back to the Edo Period (1603-1868). The former local government office (Takayama Jinya) is the only one of its kind that still stands. It is now a museum where you can learn more about the history of the region. The Takayama Festival is known as one of Japan’s three most beautiful festivals. It takes places twice a year, April 14-15 and Oct. 9-10.

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Best places in Kyoto

Japan’s imperial capital from the 8th century until 1868, Kyoto exemplifies Japanese history and culture. Now an extremely popular tourist destination, the old city is famous for its fine cuisine, geisha district, architecture and garden design. The UNESCO World Heritage “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” include Ryoan-ji Temple and its famous rock garden, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and Kinkaku-ji Temple with its iconic Golden Pavilion. Other outstanding places to visit among Kyoto’s thousands of shrines and temples are Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine with its long rows of torii gates and Sanjusangendo Temple with its 1001 statues of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy.

World heritage History Shrine Temple Garden View

Day trip to Kanagawa

Kamakura, Yokohama, and Hakone are very popular day trip destinations from Tokyo, all located in Kanagawa Prefecture. Yokohama is an international port and Japan's second largest city. Yokohama Chinatown is famous for its hundreds of restaurants. In contrast, Kamakura has an old city atmosphere with many temples and shrines like Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine and Kotoku-in Temple, home of Kamakura’s iconic Great Buddha. Hakone is famous for its nature and landscape. Hakone Shrine is hidden in the forest near Lake Ashi, a famous viewpoint for Mt. Fuji. On clear days Mt. Fuji can also be seen from Yokohama Landmark Tower.

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Nikko National Park, Tochigi

Nikko National Park has gorgeous nature with waterfalls, lakes, and forests. Among its famous scenery are Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. The park includes the UNESCO World Heritage “Shrines and Temples of Nikko”. One iconic spot is the red lacquered Shinkyo Bridge. Nikko is a popular trip from Tokyo and great as a two-day excursion. Stay overnight at Kinugawa Onsen and relax with onsen baths and local cuisine. In nearby Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura you can experience the Edo Period (1603-1868), walk the recreated Edo-period streets and dress up like a Samurai.

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Things to do in Osaka

Osaka developed as a merchant city. It is a hub for Japan travel and known for its food, fun, and attractions. Ride the iconic red HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel for great city views. Located at the waterfront are Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan - one of the largest aquariums in the world - and Universal Studios Japan. At the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living you can walk through Osaka’s streets as they looked 200 years ago. And in Takimi Koji you can try the food Osaka is famous for in retro surroundings looking like the 1920s cityscape.

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Osaka attractions

Osaka is the economic center of the Kansai region and a main hub for Japan travel. Go up to the observatory of the Umeda Sky Building for great city views. In the center stands Osaka Castle with great views over the city. Compared to Tokyo, Osaka has a different atmosphere and its citizens speak the Kansai-ben dialect. Osaka also has its own flavors and is known for good eating. Try local favorites like savoury okonomiyaki pancakes, takoyaki dumplings, and kushiage skewers in the Shinsekai and Dotonbori districts. Lively Dotonbori is famous for its restaurants with their flashy signage and neon billboards.

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Narita Airport transit & stay programs, Chiba

Within easy access from Narita International Airport are several interesting destinations for a short side trip. Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is one of Japan’s largest temples. Omotesando Street leading up to it has many traditional shops and restaurants. Stroll the historical streets of Sawara and enjoy the old Japan atmosphere of this merchant city. In the past goods where transported to Edo (Tokyo) by boat through its canals. Visit Tako Town and walk or cycle through its surrounding rice fields. Nichihon-ji Temple here is famous for the many hydrangea flowers on its grounds. Visit Boso no Mura museum in Sakae where you can walk through a town from the Edo Period dressed in kimono or as a samurai or ninja.

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Love Fukushima

Aizu is the westernmost region of Fukushima Prefecture. In the past, feudal lords ruled the area with their samurai warriors from Tsuruga Castle in Aizu Wakamatsu. The museum inside the reconstructed castle explains Aizu’s history. In Ouchi-juku you can feel like a traveller in old Japan. This post town was a stop on the route to Edo (Tokyo). In Kitakata, try local sake and the city’s famous ramen noodles. Lake Inawashiro near Aizu Wakamatsu is one of the largest lakes in Japan. It belongs to the Bandai Asahi National Park where you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and watersports.

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Best places in Hiroshima

Hiroshima is one of the largest cities in Western Japan located on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea. Every year, millions visit its two World Heritage sites, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Itsukushima Shrine. In 1945, Hiroshima was the target of the first atomic bomb and the Peace Memorial Park commemorates this. Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island is famous for its Torii gate that looks like it floats on the water.

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Kyoto travel guide

Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital from the 8th century until 1868, stands for history and culture. It is famous for its architecture, temples, shrines, gardens, geisha district, and fine cuisine. Kyoto’s large collection of World Heritage sites include Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion. Also very famous are the bamboo grove of Arashiyama and the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine with its long rows of shrine gates. Throughout the year, various festivalsare held in Kyoto. The traditional that has maintained its place in modern city life here makes Kyoto one of the most popular destinations in Japan.

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Seki, home of master sword makers

Seki City is located in Gifu Prefecture, in the center of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Seki is known for its master sword makers. Skilled craftsmen have been creating Japanese swords, knives, and tools of the highest quality here for over 800 years. At Hamonoya Sanshu / Seki Cutlery Museum you can learn about the process of forging blades and buy locally produced knives. To explore Seki’s beautiful natural surroundings, take a walk in the mountains outside Seki up to Nichiryubuji Temple. Or visit the Kabusugi Giant Cedar Forest with old trees that look like the enchanted world of Japanese anime.

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