If you are after some hidden gems in the Chūgoku area, then come to Sōja City (総社市) in Okayama Prefecture the beautiful nature spots that the non-locals might not be aware of. Apart from the scenic places, you will also find a castle that used to house demons. And at the other side of the city, there is this shrine that has the most unique wooden plaques in Japan!Read more
Kaga City (加賀市), also commonly referred to as Kaga Onsen (加賀温泉) can be sub-divided into six areas, including three main onsen towns, each with unique selling points. The hot spring resorts have a history dating back 1,300 years. There are onsen ryokans with a high-quality of service, and various beautiful, local handicrafts waiting for you to discover and even bring a few back home!Read more
People who hold a bit of knowledge of Aomori prefecture will most likely have heard about the famous Hirosaki City. What they might not know or hear of is its sister-like city – Kuroishi (黒石市) that prospered with Hirosaki city as Hirosaki Castle’s castle town.
The residents of Kuroishi city are proud of the number of historical and cultural assets that the city owns. They even branded themselves as a lived-in museum. Instead of ones which cram all showpieces into a small building, with various local shops specialising in different traditional folk arts and historical architecture here and there, the city itself is a museum! They even have a smaller version of Kyoto’s Arashiyama, called Ko-Arashiyama (≧▽≦).Read more
The Noto Peninsula (能登半島) in Ishikawa Prefecture is rich with nature. The entire peninsula is designated as a national park. The diverse landscape created a unique rural culture that differs from the close-by popular destination – Kanazawa. The best way to explore the peninsula is to do a loop course and discover what each town or city has to offer.Read more
Kamikōchi (上高地) in Japanese literally means “the ground that God descends upon”. It is the perfect name to describe how beautiful this area is. It is the ultimate tourist destination for nature lovers because you will be surrounded by the magnificent Northern Japanese Alps. There is not a single day that Kamikōchi looks the same because nature changes as the seasons pass through.Read more
Akō (赤穂) is a rural city that isn’t too far away from the most elegant castle in Japan – Himeji Castle. Whilst it is certainly not a top must-see destination in Japan, it does have its own charm. One of the top 100 Castles in Japan is located not too far away from the major train station in the city. In spring, it is the place that you want to be there for its beautiful cherry blossom in the coastal area with moderate crowds.Read more
Hiraizumi town (平泉町), once Kyoto’s rival for its refined culture and elegant surroundings in the 12th century, still retains its charm and traces of former greatness. If you are after a cultural and scenery feast, it is the destination that you don’t want to miss!
Apart from the famous Chūsonji Temple (中尊寺) and the Motsuji Temple (毛越寺), also discover the Takkoku Saikoji Temple – Bishamondō (達谷窟毘沙門堂) that has a huge Buddha image carved on the cliff wall in its grounds.Read more
From ancient times, the people who lived in Beppu (別府) suffered from the heat generated by volcanic activities. Crops could hardly be grown on the field causing serious food shortage problems. And because the terrifying landscapes shaped by volcanic activities are nowhere to be found elsewhere in Japan, various myths and legends emerged that stopped people from approaching the town. This is also why the area has been called Jigoku (hell).Read more
The 14 km Oirase Gorge (奥入瀬渓流) in Aomori prefecture is known as one of Japan’s most scenic spots. No matter which season you visit Oirase Gorge, you will definitely be amazed by its beauty.
Apart from the walking tracks that are artificial, the whole Gorge remains its original form. The virgin forest, the rocks (big and small) covered by various moss, multiple meandering streams flowing on the riverbank, and not to mention the waterfall here and there, all will make you want to stay there forever!
And the best thing about this Gorge is that there aren’t too many bugs!!! Don’t we all hate being stung by those mosquitos…(´▽｀*).Read more