Izu’s Kawazu-zakura Festival – Early Blooming Cherry Blossoms

Kawazu-zakura are unique hybrid cherry trees that bloom earlier, and for much longer, than the famous Somei Yoshino species. For an entire month, usually from around February 10 to March 10, a festival showcases 8,000 trees that line the Kawazu River in Southern Izu. Although it takes about 2 – 2 1/2 hours to reach … More Izu’s Kawazu-zakura Festival – Early Blooming Cherry Blossoms

‘Little Kyoto’ – Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture

Many of Japan’s best tourist destinations have been preserved due to their locations well off the beaten path. The town of Tsuwano sits in a valley in western Shimane Prefecture near the border with Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is known as the Little Kyoto of the San-in Region and is highly recommended for travelers willing to … More ‘Little Kyoto’ – Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture

One Night in Matsumoto

Matsumoto, a lovely small-sized city in Nagano Prefecture, is home to one of Japan’s most beautiful castles and is well worth a visit.Matsumoto-jo has the oldest donjon remaining in Japan – construction began in 1592. It is one of five castles designated a ‘National Treasure of Japan’. It has also earned the name, Karasu-jo, or … More One Night in Matsumoto

The Hakone Circuit

If you have only one day to visit Hakone and are traveling by mass transportation, the ‘Hakone Circuit’ is the best way to see many of the area’s top sights. Starting and ending in Hakone Yumoto, travel is in a circle, with no backtracking, and is easy to follow even if you don’t speak or … More The Hakone Circuit

‘Maguro-lovers’ day trip to Misaki Port & Jogashima

Only 90 minutes from Shinagawa, the quiet town of Misaki is an easy and enjoyable day trip from Tokyo. As a base for maguro fishermen, this is ‘the’ place to enjoy tasty, (incredibly) reasonable tuna. Misaki is a ‘rough around the edges’ fishing port that has a lot of charm. Nearby Jogashima boasts a scenic … More ‘Maguro-lovers’ day trip to Misaki Port & Jogashima

‘Meguro’s Best’ – Cherry Blossom River Walk & (Much) More

Cherry blossom viewing is especially popular along the Meguro River. Most people don’t realize, however, that there are many interesting sightseeing spots to visit along, or near, the route – the Meguro Sky Garden, Sugekari Park, the Sato Sakura Museum, Rakanji Temple, Meguro Fudo-son, Meguro Gajoen, etc.  Here is a detailed, do-it-yourself tour of ‘Meguro’s … More ‘Meguro’s Best’ – Cherry Blossom River Walk & (Much) More

Best ‘Ascendable’ Tokyo Area Giant Buddhist Statues

There are two main types of giant Buddhist statues in Japan, Daibutsu (Giant Buddha) and Dai-Kannon (Giant Goddess of Mercy). Older statues are made of bronze or stone.  Newer ones tower over local landscapes, are made of reinforced concrete, and can be explored – internally. Five impressive ‘ascendable’ statues surround Tokyo and all are worth … More Best ‘Ascendable’ Tokyo Area Giant Buddhist Statues