Located in the Tochigi Prefecture, the city of Nikko is also the entrance to the Nikko National park. Visitors to this city can enjoy a wide range of activities. If they want to explore the scenic beauty of the area or if they want to see some of the man-made sites, they will have plenty to do. The area has been a center of the Shinto and Buddhist culture for many years and the sites around the area reflect this culture. Visitors often split their time exploring the natural flora and fauna of this mountainous region along with the magnificent buildings that date back centuries. It is possible to see wild monkeys running around while touring this area. It is important to come up with a list of things to do before traveling to this area so that you do not miss the best things it has to offer.
1. Rinnoji Temple – Often considered to be the most important temple that can be found in Nikko, this temple was Shodu Shonin. He is the monk that brought Buddhism to the region over 1300 years ago. The temple consist of the main building and several other buildings. The highlight of the main building is the large wooden statues of the three gods that are important in the Buddhist history of Nikko. The temple offers many different exhibits and a small garden for its visitors to tour.
2. Nikko Botanical garden – The University of Tokyo is responsible for this botanical garden. It is very open and offers its visitors paths that allow them to see the 1500 different species of plants that can be found in the garden. The park is open from (9:00 to 4:30 and is closed from December 1 to April 14.
3. Kanmangafuchi Abyss – The paths of this site allow visitors to walk through the gorge that was created by the eruption of Mount Nantai. The trail also has 70 statues of Jizo along the way that many visitors enjoy taking their pictures with. The natural beauty of this gorge is something that visitors should not miss.
4. Shinkyo Bridge – This sacred bridge is the entrance to the shrines and temples of Nikko. It has been named one of the three greatest bridges in Japan. It was built in 1636, although there were other bridges that preceded it. Thanks to renovations that took place in the past 20 years, the bridge is open to the public that can use it to cross to see the shrines and temples.
5. Toshugo Shrine – This is the mausoleum that was built for Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the individual that is credited as the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The grounds are ornately decorated and there are more than 12 buildings in the complex. The buildings are decorated with very detailed wood carvings and gold leaf to add to the lavishness of the shrine. The best way to gain admission to this shrine is to buy a combination ticket that gives you admission to this shrine along with the Rinnoji Temple, Taiyuinbyu and Futarason Shrines
Huangshan means Yellow Mountains and this city is named after the mountain range that are in the western part of the city. Tourists come to this city because of the scenery along with the cultural and historical sites that it has to offer. Tourists enjoy the sub-tropical weather of the area and are able to see over 3,000 different types of plants and almost 500 different species of animals in the area that surround this city. There are four seasons in this city, but the relatively mild winter makes it a great tourist destination year round. There are plenty of things to do and see when visiting Huangshan, but it is possible to narrow the list down to a few must-do things.
1. Xidi and Hongcun Ancient Villages – Touring these areas is a favorite thing to do for many of the visitors. These cities allow people to get a taste of what China looked like over 1000 years ago. The architecture of the home represents the era that they were built in perfectly. A walk around Hongcun Village will let people see examples of Ming and Qing style cottages. The detail that can be seen in the carvings of wood and stone are something that will amaze anyone that sees it. The villages can be reached by bus or car and have all of the amenities that tourists would expect.
2. Tangyue Memorial Archway – This is not one arch, but is actually a complex that consists of 7 arches. They are considered to be the biggest and most well preserved example of arches in the province. The 7 arches were built during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The first was built in the 14th century. All of the archways have stories attached to them that explain what they symbolize. One represents a woman that remained chaste as she raised her step child after the father died. Its name is the Chastity Archway. Tourists can admire the beauty of the arches as they learn the story behind each one.
3. Tunxi Ancient Street – This street used to be the home of the seat of government in the 12th century. century. The buildings here show the architecture of that era. The flagstone streets allow tourists to walk leisurely and enjoy the many shops that are located there. There are also two museums that can be visited along this ancient street. Many of the shops that can be visited are like museums themselves and have been in place for over 100 years.
4. Flower Mountain – One of the five sacred Taoist mountains in China, Flower Mountain is a place where tourists can see the natural beauty of the area. The wide variety of flora and fauna that can be seen here are the major reasons that tourists spend a day in the area. Tours of the mountains and the Enigma Caves are popular outings for anyone that visits Huangshan. You can choose to take a guided tour or you can search the area on your own.
Tokyo is the capital of Japan and is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. Tokyo was called Edo prior to 1868 and was but a small castle town throughout the 16th century. However, it became the nation’s center of politics in 1603. Edo was later named Tokyo (Easter Capital). Today it is considered a world class city on par with the likes of London, Paris and New York City.
1. Situated north of Tokyo, Nikko is a much smaller town that sits at the entrance to Nikko State National Park. It is well known for Toshugo, a meticulously decorated shrine of legendary shogun Tokugawa Leyasu. It has also the center of Shinto and Buddhist worshippers for hundreds of years. The park offers beautiful lake views, water falls, hot springs and even has its own population of wild monkeys. The area is also a favorite travel destination in autumn because of the many beautiful colors which adorn its trees as the seasons change.
2. If you would like to hang with Tokyo’s young and hip crowd then Harajuku is an area you may wish to check out, Takeshita Street in particular. It is considered a focal point for some of Japan’s cutting edge cultural provocateurs and fashionistas. It is also a great place for shopping and historical sightseeing as well. For shopping, you may wish to visit LaForet Harajuku, a trendsetting complex with seven floors. IMeiji Jingu, a major shrine, is located just of the train tracks and shares space with Yoyogi Park.
3. Though Tokyo is filled with many sites that are certain to make your stay a memorable one, Tokyo’s Akihabara district is also where you can find some of the most cutting edge electronic devices in the world. Also, Akihabara is where fans of anime and manga can shop for some of their favorite merchandise as well. The area is also being positioned as a global center for technology and trade by local authorities. You will need to be aware of voltage requirements as some products are designed to only work in Japan.
4. Another place to visit if you are looking to interact with Tokyo’s “in” crowd is Shibuya. The name itself refers to the city ward, but the area that gives this ward its notoriety is situated around Shibuya Station. It is jam packed full of shops, fine dining and night clubs. It is considered fertile ground for Japan’s fashion and entertainment culture as virtually all of the nation’s most popular trends originated on the streets of Shibuya.
5. The Imperial Palace is located on the grounds of what was once Edo Castle. Located in the center of Tokyo, the imperial palace is surrounded by moats and stone walls. It is also the official residence of Japan’s Imperial Family. It used to be the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogun who reigned over Japan from 1603 through 1867. The Imperial family was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo after the overthrow of the shogun. Like many ancient sites located in metropolitan areas, the Palace was destroyed during World War II but rebuilt in the same style later on. Prominent features are Nijubashi Bridge, the Imperial Garden and Kokyo Gaien.
The city of Kyoto served as the residence for the emperor of Japan for more than 1000 years. It is the 7th largest city in Japan and is located on the island of Honshu. The area has many things to see packed into a somewhat smaller area. The tightly packed neighborhoods are full of amazing examples of the history that this city has. Tourists can take their time searching the different areas of the city to find all of the wonderful sites or they can narrow down the way they look by dividing the city into 5 sections.
In the eastern part of the city, tourists can find the Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Nicki Market. At the market they will find vendors selling the fresh food of the region in over one hundred different stores sand restaurants. This market has been operating since the 14 are some shops that have been run by the same families for hundreds of years. The Imperial Palace allows visitors to see a glimpse of how the Japanese imperial family lived until the late 1800’s. The palace was rebuilt in 1855 after it had been damaged by fire. It is located in the middle of the Imperial Park and allows its visitors an opportunity to see the beautiful landscaping along with the amazing architecture of the site.
In this area, tourists can visit temples such as Kiyomizadera and Ginkakuji. The first one is famous for its large wooden terrace and the second amazes visitors with its beautiful moss gardens. Other temples to visit include the Nanzenji Temple and the Sanjusangendo Temple. A visit to the Geisha district in Gion and the historic district of Higashiyama are also favorite destinations.
The moss temple of Kokedara and the Katsua Villa are the two most common places on people’s list to see. The natural beauty of the landscaping of these locations allows visitors to stroll around and take it all in. The Katsua Villa is another imperial villa.
If you want to see a temple covered in gold a trip to Kinkakuji is a must. Tours the imperial villa at the Shugakuin Villa or the Ninnaji Temple that was turned into an imperial residence are also very interesting. Kurama is a nearby town that has a hot spring and allows people to see what the rural life in the area is like. The rock garden at the Ryoanji Temple attracts plenty of people as well.
The Byodoin Temple allows its visitors to see the amazing Pure Land Garden located on its grounds. The Tofukuji Temple is a great place to visit in the fall when the colors of the leaves are the most spectacular. The one thing that should not be missed is the Torii Gates that are located at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. In addition to all of the sites that can be seen in Kyoto all year long, there are also many festivals that occur in this city at certain times of the year. It is worth scheduling a trip to this city that coincides with one of the many festivals that take place.