A lot of people know that Itsukushima Shrine, the shrine that has a torii gate standing in the middle of the sea, is a World Heritage Site. But do you know it isn’t just the shrine itself that was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
And when you ask where to find deer in Japan, most people will tell you to go to Nara. But what about Miyajima? There are also deer walking freely around this sacred island, and the deer can be a lot more friendly and cheeky than those in Nara (≧▽≦).
Hida Furukawa (飛騨古川), a quaint, unassuming town, has become a lot more lively since Makoto Shinkai’s movie – Your Name (君の名は) hit the theatre. The town serves as the inspiration behind many iconic scenes from the film! It can be accessed just 2 stations away from Hida Takayama City, which is a popular tourist destination in its own right. Whether you are like us, big fans of the movie, or if you simply want to enjoy the traditional atmosphere of the Kami-Sannomachi of Takayama, but dislike the crowd, Hida Furukawa will surely give you a deep and pleasant impression!
Since its listing on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1995, Shirakawago (白川郷) in Gifu Prefecture has been considered as one of the most popular getaway spots in Japan. Located in a remote mountainous region in central Japan, the villages and its people were known to be isolated and hidden from the rest of the world. However, due to the tourism industry boom, it has become a lot easier for people to get to this charming part of Japan!
No matter what season you visit Shirakawago, the villages in the river valley surrounded by rugged high-mountain will definitely be the ultimate escape from the chaotic urban lifestyle (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ
Mt. Shirakami, or Shirakami Sanchi (白神山地) is a vast mountain area of 130 hectares that spans from the north of Akita Prefecture to the south of Aomori Prefecture. Mt Shirakami has been listed as a world heritage site as of 1993. It is also a Pilgrimage site for Studio Ghibli fans as the forest in the movie “Princess Mononoke”, is inspired by Mt. Shirakami!
This 8,000 years old mountain area is the home of the world’s largest virgin beech forest. Because this area is almost untouched by human activities, you will find a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna here (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
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.
When people talk about Himeji, they talk about the beautiful all-white Himeji castle and the Kokoen garden next to the castle. Both attractions can be easily accessed from the Himeji Station. However, whilst both the castle and garden are well-known attractions, we recommend that you should also extend your visit to one of Japan’s hidden gems – Engyōji Temple at Mt Shosha (書写山)!
Nowadays, many Japanese castles have been included in the World Heritage Register. But, when it comes to the ranking determined by the Japan Castle Foundation, there can only be ONE castle that is ranked first place.
Himeji Castle (姫路城), also known as the White Heron Castle or Shirasagi-Jō (白鷺城) in Japanese, got its nickname as the castle’s white walls and white roofs are reminiscent of a heron gracefully expanding its wings. This castle with such an elegant appearance, together with some other factors, was again chosen to be the best castle amongst hundreds of castles in Japan in the Foundation’s latest release!