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Visit Kesennuma, Miyagi

Kesennuma is located on the Sanriku Coast in Miyagi Prefecture in the north of Japan’s main island, Honshu. The city has a large fishing port and its fish market is one of the biggest in Japan. Oshima island is part of the city. The tsunami caused by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake hit Kesennuma’s waterfront area hard, but the city has been recovering. Now there are again many places where you can enjoy delicious local seafood and sake. For good views of the coast and the port, walk up Mount Anba. There are several viewpoints along the trail to the summit.

View Coast Eat Seafood Sake

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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Things to do in Tokyo on a budget

Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis with a number of iconic landmarks. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building has two free observation decks with an excellent view of Japan’s capital and its surroundings. Other landmarks and shopping complexes also have good views. Caretta Shiodome overlooks Tokyo Bay and Tokyo Solamachi includes a terrace at the base of Tokyo Skytree. The tall tower has the highest viewpoints in Tokyo. Popular places to visit and take pictures range from futuristic architecture like Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harujuku to traditional landscaping like the beautiful Rikugien Gardens. Explore the cityscape. Tokyo is always changing and reinventing itself.

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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

Sapporo, rugby legend's visit

Sapporo is the largest city in Hokkaido. It is an excellent base for exploring Hokkaido’s mountains, ski resorts, coastal towns, and wildlife. In Japan, Hokkaido is known for its good food made with local ingredients like dairy, meats and seafood. Sapporo is known for its food scene, beer, ramen noodles, and grilled “Genghis Khan” mutton and vegetables. For a great view of the city, visit the large Moerenuma Park and go up Mount Moere. Sapporo is also famous for its Snow Festival with large sculptures made of snow and ice on display in the city each winter.

Eat Play Park Art View

Kobe, rugby legend's visit

Kobe is a major port city in western Japan and the capital of Hyogo Prefecture. It is one of the main cities in the Kansai region next to Osaka and Kyoto. The port opened up to foreign traders in 1868 whose influence can still be seen in old buildings. Kobe is famous for its excellent beef and sake, products of its beautiful natural surroundings dominated by the Rokko mountain range. Go up Mount Rokko for a great view of Kobe and Osaka Bay. Fun districts to explore are Nankinmachi Chinatown and Kobe Harborland, which is all about shopping and entertainment.

Fun Nature View Eat Sake Wagyu beef

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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Central Tokyo, rugby legends' visit

Japan’s capital Tokyo is a city of contrasts where the old and new live side by side. Tokyo Tower has a great view, overlooking temples, old buildings, and modern architecture. Meiji Jingu Shrine for example is one of the quiet spots in Tokyo, but next to it is the kawaii, pop, and futuristic Harajuku district. A visit to Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku and Tea Ceremony Room Toko-an are worlds apart, but at both places you can experience Tokyo’s culture. The city is also changing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and now has the new Japan Olympic Museum.

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Tokyo westside, Yamanashi and Kanagawa

Tokyo’s west side is green and scenic and has many easily accessible day trip destinations. Explore Lake Sagami, take a boat out on the lake and visit the “Art Town” Fujino, famous for its huge outdoor Love Letter installation. For a panoramic view of the area and Mt. Fuji, go to the top of Mt. Iwadono in Otsuki. The unusually shaped Saruhashi Bridge here is a nationally designated place of scenic beauty. In Tsuru, water from Mt. Fuji creates the Taro Jiro Waterfall. And Kikuchi Wasabi Farm uses the fresh water to grow wasabi, an essential ingredient for making sushi.

Nature Hiking View Art Architecture Wasabi

Travel to Mt. Fuji, Yamanashi

Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and has long been worshipped as a sacred place. Pilgrimages to the top traditionally started at Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine near Lake Kawaguchiko in the Fuji Five Lakes region (Fujigoko). You can find some of the best views of Mt. Fuji here within easy access from Tokyo. Great places to take pictures include the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway and Arakurayama Sengen Park Chureito Pagoda. Another fun highlight in the area is Fuji-Q Highland, one of Japan’s best amusement parks with a huge haunted house and several record-breaking roller coasters and rides.

World heritage Nature View Shrine Play Lake Mountain

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

Discover Yokohama, Kanagawa

Tokyo’s neighbor Yokohama is Japan's second largest city and a great destination for a day trip. It has historic districts and modern ones like Minato Mirai 21. The large Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel here has an excellent view of the bay. Yokohama has long been an international trading port and its atmosphere sets it apart from Japan’s capital. If you are a foodie, visit Cup Noodle Museum Yokohama, Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum and Yokohama Chinatown’s approximately 500 restaurants and stores. Great with kids, Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is a whole island of fun including an aquarium and an amusement park.

Play Eat Ramen Museum 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.

View Eat Shopping Temple Shrine History Mt. fuji

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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Tokyo westside

For a day trip away from the busy districts of Tokyo, take a train to the green western side of the city. Mt. Takao is a popular destination for hiking. Different trails lead to the summit - trail #1 goes past Mt. Takao Monkey Park and Takao-san Yakuo-in Temple. From the summit of Mt. Takao you can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day. After a long walk, relax with a leisurely onsen bath. Akigawa Keikoku Seoto-no-Yu is an onsen spa located near Ishibune-bashi Bridge, a spot known for its gorgeous view across Akigawa River in the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park.

Nature Hiking National park View Temple Monkeys Onsen

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.

Nature National park Hiking Skiing Castle View History Samurai sake

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.

View Culture History World heritage Temple Shrine Architecture Bamboo Monkeys

Things to do in Hakone, Kanagawa

Hakone is a beautiful nature spot, close enough to the big cities for a day trip from Tokyo or Yokohama. The area is known for its views of Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, and onsen hot springs. The Torii gate built in the water of the lake belongs to Hakone Shrine hidden in the forest. Hakone’s mountain scenery also serves as background for the art exhibited at the Hakone Open-Air Museum. And in Owakudani Valley volcanic activity brings hot springs, bubbling mud, and steam to the surface. Getting around is part of the fun. Catch different views from Hakone Ropeway or the boats crossing Lake Ashi.

Nature Shrine Lake Museum Art Mt. fuji View

Tokyo must see places

Japan’s capital Tokyo is a huge metropolis that is continuously reinventing itself. It is the main hub for Japan travel and offers seemingly endless options for eating out and shopping. Tokyo is also rich in culture, from traditional to kawaii, pop, and futuristic. The city combines new and old. From its iconic landmarks Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree you can see how modern architecture and historic structures sit next to each other in the sprawling cityscape. The forested grounds of Meiji Shrine for example are surrounded with some of the busiest districts.

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