Category Archives: Japan

Exploring the Arashiyama District of Kyoto

On the last of our 3 days in Kyoto, we decided to explore the Arashiyama district, a mountainous, forested region in the western outskirts of the city. We were initially drawn to this popular sightseeing district by photos of its famous bamboo grove, but quickly discovered that Arashiyama has far more to offer, both in…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine- Traditional Starting Point for Climbing Mt. Fuji

In the midst of a dense, old growth forest at the foot of Mt. Fuji, sits a small shrine complex with a special connection to the sacred volcano. Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine (Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine) is the traditional starting point of the Yoshidaguchi Climbing Trail. Pilgrims would come here to pray before beginning their…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Saiko Iyashi no sato Nenba- A Charming Open Air Museum of Japanese Crafts and Culture

On the northwest side of Lake Saiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes, is a charming village called Saiko Iyashi no sato Nenba. This traditional Japanese village was once a small farming community until it was destroyed by a typhoon in 1966. It has since been recreated and turned into an open air museum where…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Oshino Hakkai- 8 Sacred Ponds in the Fuji Five Lakes Region

Oshino Hakkai was a place I missed out on during my first visit to the Fuji Five Lakes region, so on my second trip I made it a priority to visit. What piqued my interest was a photo I saw of thatched roof houses on the shoreline of a pond, backed by a snow-capped Mt….

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Exploring the Fuji Five Lakes- Things to Do Even When You Can’t See Mt. Fuji

Perhaps no other place in Japan is iconic as Mt. Fuji. The allure of this sacred volcano attracts many tourists to the Fuji Five Lakes, an ideal area for viewing Mt. Fuji’s perfect cone. There’s just one problem. Mt. Fuji is notoriously shy, often hiding behind low hanging cloud. Where are you Mt. Fuji? I’ve…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Visiting Meiji Shrine- Tokyo’s Most Important Shinto Shrine

Early on an August morning, while Tokyo was just beginning to wake up, I was already standing in front of the large wooden torii gate marking the entrance to Meiji Shrine. Breathing in the fresh morning air, I happily began walking down the wide graveled path leading to the main shrine building. Shaded by tall…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

How to Spend 4 Days in Tokyo- Our Itinerary

Ah, Tokyo. Just hearing the name conjures up images of densely packed skyscrapers, streets lined with larger-than-life advertisements and crowded public spaces. Yes, that vision is correct, but there is much more to Tokyo than first meets the eye. Tokyo is a city where the past, present and innovations for the future co-exist in perfect…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Visiting Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park- One of Japan’s Largest Flower Parks

I love visiting gardens on my travels, so it’s no surprise that the Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park was a highlight of my 3 day trip to the Tottori prefecture of Japan. With about 50 hectares, the Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park is one of the largest flower gardens in Japan. There’s a wide variety of flowers…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Guide to Buying and Using the Japan Rail Pass

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, you may have heard about the Japan Rail Pass. It’s a convenient, easy to use pass designed for tourists who will be travelling by train in Japan. We decided to buy a Japan Rail Pass to use on our 2 week trip to Japan since train was going…

2 comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Paula - Hi!
    I was researching about JRPass and on their website is possible to add Hiroshima to the route, as it is considered part of JR line. Is it possible that they changed it during 2017?December 19, 2017 – 6:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - You can use the JR Pass to get to Hiroshima, but only on certain types of trains. We took a Nozomi train, which the pass is not valid on, but chose it because it left at the time we wanted and got us there faster than the other trains. Had we chose a different train (other than Nozomi and Mizuho trains), we would have been able to use our pass.December 27, 2017 – 4:48 pmReplyCancel

Visiting the Edo-Tokyo Museum

It’s not very often that I go out of my way to visit museums when I travel, but once in a while I find one that interests me enough to pay a visit. The Edo-Tokyo Museum was one of those that caught my attention. Even though this was my second trip to Tokyo, I still…

2 comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Annika@457 Australia - EDO-TOKYO Museum reminds us of how did Japanese people live long time ago. Thanks for sharing. I just realize how gorgeous their ways of living is.October 10, 2016 – 11:47 pmReplyCancel

  • M - love all your “Tips”. excellent blog. Immensely helpful. Great photosDecember 21, 2017 – 11:24 pmReplyCancel

The Tottori Sand Museum- Around the World in Sand

Walking into the Tottori Sand Museum I was dripping with sweat, having spent the last hour or so across the street exploring Japan’s largest sand dunes. I was eager to get into the museum not just for the cooler temperatures (although, that was a big part of it), but also because I was curious to…

1 comment
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Miriam - Incredible what they have been able to create just from sand and water! What an amazing museum!August 25, 2016 – 5:14 amReplyCancel

The Tottori Sand Dunes- Enjoying Japan’s Largest Dunes

Wait a minute…I’m still in Japan, right? I scan the scenery surrounding me- it’s all sun, sand and sea. This looks nothing like what I saw on my first trip to Japan a year earlier. Where were the castles, the temples, the shrines, the forests? Instead, here I am, standing at the edge of the…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Climbing Mount Mitoku- The Trek to Nageiredo

Walking up a smooth, well-worn stone staircase to Sanbutsuji Temple, I instantly hoped the whole trail up Japan’s Mount Mitoku wasn’t going to be this steep. Looking back now, that was the easiest part of hiking Mitokusan. My adventurous hike (or should I say climb) up Mount Mitoku began simply enough. I met with the…

1 comment
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

How to Spend 3 Days in Tottori, Japan- My Itinerary

Stretching along the Sea of Japan, in the San’in region of Western Honshu, is a coastal prefecture that’s largely untouched by foreign visitors, at least for now. But once the secret gets out, I’d expect that to change. Tottori prefecture is an ideal area of Japan to visit for people, like myself, who prefer smaller…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Feeding Deer in Nara Park, Japan

Entering into the heart of Nara Park we are greeted by a small, friendly deer wandering freely throughout the grounds. Approaching us, the deer bows its head down, as if to say hello. “Oh, so cute! Look how she’s bowing her head,” I enthusiastically announced to Mike. “I think she’s politely asking for some deer…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Exploring Nara Park- Temples, Shrines and Deer!

Our one day in Nara was spent almost exclusively at Nara Park. I usually like to explore as much of a city as possible, but there were so many sights in this one park that I didn’t even feel guilty for not branching out into Nara’s other areas. Nara Park is very large and packed…

5 comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Danial - Looks like you had a great time there! I’ve never had contact with tame deers before so the deer feeding experience would be great.July 15, 2016 – 8:44 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Oh yes, it was really fun to get to interact with the deer. Back home in Canada that would be a big no-no!July 18, 2016 – 2:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Frank - Really beautiful and I love the deer. We’re going to Japan in November and I’d love to see this place.
    Question: did you stay overnight and did you do a day trip from Kyoto?

    Frank (bbqboy)July 21, 2016 – 2:01 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - We stayed 2 nights in Nara. One day we explored Nara Park and the second day we did a day trip to Yoshino. I’m so excited for you to visit Japan!July 21, 2016 – 11:19 amReplyCancel

  • Frank - I meant “OR did you do a day trip from Kyota?”July 21, 2016 – 2:02 amReplyCancel

Nikko Toshogu Shrine- Japan’s Most Lavish Shrine

When I hear a place described using the words “best” or “most”, I become skeptical of the claim. Sometimes I’m even disappointed upon visiting, since not every place warrants such high praise. However, that was not the case with Nikko Toshogu Shrine- it absolutely lives up to the hype of being called Japan’s most lavishly…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

A Day Trip to Nikko, Japan

For our last day in Japan, we decided to ditch the hustle and bustle of modern Tokyo, and head to the forested area of Nikko for one last opportunity to experience the traditions, spirituality and natural beauty of Japan. Nikko is a Buddhist-Shinto religious centre, its shrines and temples scattered among the hilly woodlands. At…

5 comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Frank - Very nice Rhonda. What time of year did you go? I’m guessing late November or even December judging by the trees.
    We’re planning to have our first trip to Japan in November, hopefully see some Fall colours which haven’t seen in a few years. Nikko would be interesting as a day trip.

    Frank (bbqboy)June 28, 2016 – 2:30 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - We were in Nikko second week of April. We did a spring trip to catch the cherry blossoms, but I would love to go back in the fall for the autumn colours as well. I actually want to move to Japan but I can’t convince Mike.June 28, 2016 – 4:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Nuna - Hey.. May I ask how much does it costs going around Nikko by public transport? Including the train from Tokyo.

    I’m considering to rent a car since there are 4 of us. But I’m not sure which is cheaper.

    Thank youOctober 25, 2016 – 11:40 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Hi Nuna. I honestly don’t remember how much it cost to take the train from Tokyo and we didn’t use public transportation in Nikko. We like to walk as much as possible. Sorry I can’t be of more help.October 28, 2016 – 2:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Christine Stone - Hi Rhonda, Thanks for sharing your trip.

    We are planning on being in Nikko in April. Do you remember if there are frequent trains from Nikko to Shinjuku Station? Or if there are frequent bullet trains from Tokyo station? I’m just concerned that there may only be 1 or 2 a day.?
    We are thinking of taking the bullet train from Tokyo station one way and then the limited express the other way. I understand there will be a train change for the bullet train but we want to ride a bullet train and it will be our only opportunity. We will not have a JR pass as our transportation will be provided the rest of the time we will be in Tokyo. We will be able to buy tickets at the stations, correct? Do you think it is necessary to get them ahead?

    We also want to go to Lake Chuzeji & see Kegon Waterfall. I think we will skip the Imperial Villa and the Abyss in order to do this.
    Do you have any thoughts about that?

    I know that’s a lot of questions!
    Thank you so much!
    ChrisFebruary 2, 2017 – 7:30 amReplyCancel

Photo of the Week: Sake Barrels at Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine

As we travelled around Japan, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful sake barrels that were piled on top of each other at Shinto shrines. Called kazaridaru, these “decoration barrels” are physically empty, but hold immense spiritual significance. Sake (Japanese rice wine) has long been an important part of Japanese culture. Traditionally, sake is seen…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Himeji Castle- A National Treasure of Japan

“Ooh…it’s so elegant,” I exclaimed as we approached Himeji Castle, the largest castle in Japan. Its bright white walls, delicate decorations and grey roof tiles gleamed brightly, even through the light mist of a rainy spring morning. Himeji Castle, as we would soon find out, is a popular place. It survives as one of Japan’s…

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Welcome!

We are Rhonda and Mike, a Canadian couple who make it a priority to travel every chance we get!

We describe our travel style as "laid back luxe" and enjoy a mix of outdoor adventures and historic sites.

Learn more...

Join 84,000 Others Following Our Travels

Quarterly Newsletter

Get exclusive updates, content and travel tips we only send to our subscribers.

Our Trusted Booking Sites

Support Travel? Yes Please! by booking through the sites we use and love!