Marvellous Mingei : Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu

Mingei, meaning the art of the people, is a style that is born from the local people’s everyday lifestyle, making it a product of nature and tradition. Items made in the Mingei style of Matsumoto are familiar, comfortable, simple yet beautiful, and the passage of time just adds uniqueness to their character.

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This philosophy clearly shows in the Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu. Located within a stone’s throw away from Matsumoto Castle, this classic hotel is a convenient and comfortable time capsule. Step into its elegant interior and let yourself be wrapped in the romance of vintage Mingei that is unique to Matsumoto.

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The guest rooms are comfortable and beautifully furnished.

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In their restaurant [I;caza] (which charmingly means “Let’s go” in Nagano dialect), you have the choice between their fantastic Japanese or Western fare.

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Don’t forget to visit the clean and pleasant bathing area to complete the experience.

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Check out our Matsumoto articles for all the fantastic things to do in the area.

Information

main_松本ホテル花月Address: 4-8-9 Ote, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
Access: 15 min. walk from Matsumoto station
URL: http://www.matsumotohotel-kagetsu.com/index-english.html

Lake Yamanaka: The Perfect Weekend Getaway

Lake Kawaguchiko is probably one of the most known out of the Fuji Five Lakes, but we decided to explore Lake Yamanakako. In the morning, the bus ride from the Fuji 5th Station to Mt. Fuji Station, plus the bus ride from Mt. Fuji Station to Lake Yamanakako, together takes only 30 minutes. This summer resort town is the perfect place to unwind!

Once arriving, we made our way to PICA Yamanaka Lake Village (for those spending the night, check out their cabins), where we rented vintage-like, colorful bicycles. Crossing the street over to Lake Yamanakako, we found a safe bicycle lane that goes around the entire lakeside (about 14 kilometers), making it the perfect family activity. Along the way, we passed cafes, a craft shop, an antique shop, parks, and docks where you can board pedal boats in the shape of swans or tea cups. Also, there are multiple spots where you can park your bicycle to take picturesque photos of the lake and Mt. Fuji, so you will want your camera out all times!

Being adventurous, we strayed from the path to visit Yamanakako Hana-no-Miyako Park, where we were met with a vast field of colorful cosmos (when the weather cooperates, you even get a stunning view of Mt. Fuji!).

cycling-along-lake-yamanakako
Hana-no-Miyako-
cycling-along-lake-yamanakako

Making a full circle, we decided to have lunch at FUJIYAMA KITCHEN, which is also located in the PICA Yamanaka Lake Village. Here they serve fresh, healthy meals; perfect after a day of fun summer activities! On such a beautiful day, we decided to enjoy our meal on the patio, overlooking a garden where they grow vegetables for their dishes. With the lake breeze, it was the ultimate resort experience!

fujiyama-kitchen

Do you ever find yourself wanting to take a take a nap after a good meal? Well PICA Yamanaka Lake Village also offers a cafe where you can order a refreshing drink while swinging in a hammock. For those who want to explore, there is also a tree house where you can take your drinks.

PICA-Yamanaka-Lake-Village
PICA-Yamanaka-Lake-Village-2

With our stomachs fed and our bodies rested, we were off to catch the Lake Yamanakako Pleasure Cruiser “Swan Lake,” which was in the form of a queen swan! The elegant interior designed by the famous Japanese industrial designer Eiji Mitooka, it feels as though you are royalty. You can either relax in comfort with the indoor seating inside or enjoy the fresh breeze on the dock upstairs. Taking you across the lake in just 25-minutes, it is the perfect place to look back and share the highlights of your trip!

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After being fully rejuvenated, with a heavy heart we made our way back to Tokyo by catching a Fuji-Q Highway Bus from Lake Yamanakako. Throughout this adventure, the transportation and attractions were so well thought out for visitors that it was truly a stress free trip! Lake Yamanakako is the perfect summer resort destination for those looking for a weekend getaway!

Although we have to make our way back to Tokyo from here, Fuji-Q Highland is a strongly recommended attraction. First, hop on a local bus headed for Fuji-Q Highland here. After reaching Fuji-Q Highland, you can tour the premises with a free shuttlebus, stopping by Fujiyama Museum to appreciate paintings of Mt. Fuji and enjoy images of Mt. Fuji’s four seasons projected on a gigantic screen. You can even experience the Fuji Airways virtual flights. Enjoy Mt. Fuji to the fullest even on rainy days by visiting the two attractions.

PICA Yamanaka Lake Village

Address: 506-296 Hirano, Yamanakako-mura, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture
URL:http://yamanakako.pica-village.jp/en/index.html (English)

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Mt. Fuji Pass can be used on
–local bus
–pleasure cruiser “Swan Lake”
–Fujikyu railway
–Fujiyama Museum
–Fuji-Q Highland (admission + attraction pass)

Discount fare: 10,240 Yen (2 days). As the two-day bus pass costs 8,000 Yen, you save 2,240 Yen immediately with Mt. Fuji Pass.
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Go back to DAY ONE

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

Mt. Fuji and Its Less Known Gems

During the summer, many head to Mt. Fuji to either visit the Fuji 5th Station or climb to the summit, but we decided to switch things up and explore less known spots around and on Mt. Fuji.

We started our journey at Shinjuku Station, transferred at Otsuki Station, and finally arrived at Fujisan Station. For those exploring the area, the Mt. Fuji Pass is the perfect way to travel with ease as it can be used on local transportation and other tourist attractions and facilities (including entry to Fuji-Q Highland!) in the area.
※Since the Japan Railway Pass is not valid between Otsuki Station and Kawaguchiko Station (Fuji Kyuko Line), purchase the Mt. Fuji Pass in addition, to discover the area around Mt. Fuji to its fullest.

mt.-fuji-pass

From Mt. Fuji Station, we took a local bus to Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinjia Shrine, which was originally the starting point for pilgrims climbing Mt. Fuji over 500 years ago. Walking up the peaceful path lined with enormous cryptomeria trees and moss-covered lanterns, you feel as though you stepped into a magical realm. After saying a prayer at Fuji Sengen-jinjia Shrine, we purchased a shuincho (translates as “red seal booklet”) where you can collect seals from government registered shrines. It’s truly mesmerizing to watch the penmanship as the shrine’s name is inscribed before the seal is stamped.

shuincho,-red-seal-booklet
Fuji-Sengen-jinjia-Shrine

Walking back to Mt. Fuji Station, we came across a charming street with a historical vibe called Fuji-michi. Here, oshi (lodges for pilgrims) use to line the road, offering a place for pilgrims to rest and bath (in water from Mt. Fuji) before their religious journey up the holy mountain. We stopped by The Togawa Oshi House to learn more about the history of the Mt. Fuji pilgrims and oshi, giving us a new perspective of the significance of Japan’s iconic mountain.

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rest-house-Okuniwaso

We hopped on the bus headed for Fuji 5th Station and got off at the Okuniwa Bus Stop to explore the Okuniwa National Park First. The 40-minute walk from the bus stop to the park is a very family-friendly trail. As we walked down the moss covered forest, we came across a rest house (Okuniwaso) where many bird watchers gather. Here we stopped to have lunch, which entailed a feast of homemade Japanese cuisine with kokemomo juice (cowberry). Perfect way refuel for our hike ahead!

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lunch-at-okuniwaso
kokemomo-juice-(cowberry)
Ochudo-trail2

Next off, we crossed the street over to the Ochudo trail, which is said to be the border between the human and spiritual realm. We walked for 70 minutes to get to Fuji 5th Station and this was a journey that left us in awe. Never a dull moment, this family friendly trail offers scenery that is continuously changing with every blinking moment, revealing mother nature’s grandness. It is the perfect way to enjoy Mt. Fuji without having to climb to the summit!

climbing-mt.-fuji-views
hiking-mt.-fuji

After a peaceful time hiking, we are met with civilization again at the Fuji 5th Station where there is the Fuji Komitake-jinja Shrine, gifts shops and restaurants. What better way to let your family and friends know about your adventure than by sending a postcard from Mt. Fuji Post Office!

Mt.-Fuji-Post-Office

We called it a day at Unjo-kaku, where we spent the night at their lodging where they offer capsule beds, showers and toilets. Ever sleep in a capsule before? Well, FUJIKYU UNJO-KAKU offers spacious and comfortable cocoons for a good night’s sleep! After picking our Fuji-themed souvenirs at the gift shop on the first floor, we enjoyed a warm and nutritious meal at the restaurant on the second floor while reflecting our experience that day.

Unjo-kaku-5th-station
capsule-hotel-mt.-fuji
mt.-fuji-souvenirs
mt.-fuji-souvenir

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3a.m. time to wake up! Yes, we woke up in the middle of the night to hike to Fuji 6th Station to see the sunrise; completely worth it! It’s chilly and dark as you hike up the somewhat challenging trail, so it is wise to dress warm and take a headlamp. Watching as the sky slowly lights up in many shades of colors with the grand entrance of the sun was the perfect way to start the day for our next adventure!

Fuji-6th-Station-sunrise
Fuji-6th-Station-sunrise-nice

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Mt. Fuji Pass can be used on this route.
— local bus
— bus headed for Mt. Fuji
——————————————-

Continue reading, go to DAY TWO

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

Another 3 hr trip – Ueno

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another-3-hrs-trip-red

How to Make the Best of 3 Hours in Tokyo

It is the last day of your trip and you have three hours left before departing for the airport. Don’t know what to do with the time? WAttention did the homework for you. Here is a three-hour itinerary that will leave you entertained, refreshed and with lots of memories of Japan!

UENO

Making the most of your time in Tokyo’s Shitamachi

Ueno Station is one of Tokyo’s gateways to Narita Airport and the northern part of Japan. If you still have some time in your hands after visiting Ameyoko shopping street and the various museums in Ueno Park, why not experience a different side of Ueno? To save time getting from one place to another, just hop on the local mini Megurin bus!

1-purple Start from Ueno Station
Catch the Megurin bus at the number 2 bus stop in front of Ueno Station’s “Koenguchi”. The bus runs every 15 minutes and the fare is 100 Yen each way for both adults and children.
See Tokyo National Museum, Kaneiji Temple, Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street and many other attractions from the bus window (20-minute ride). Get off at Sendagi Station at bus stop number 13 Walk for 5 minutes
Hours: Depart all 15-20 min
Fare: 100 yen
Access: Various stops within the area.
Url: http://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/kurashi/kotsu/megurin/rosenzu.files/eigo_1.pdf
Megurin-bus

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Nezu-Shrine Otome-Inari-Shrine

2-purple Nezu Shrine and Otome Inari Shrine

Nezu Shrine
is a historic shrine known for its natural beauty. Surrounded by lush green trees and 3,000 azaleas that come in full bloom every spring, this photogenic shrine is popular among couples as a traditional Japanese wedding venue.

Otome Inari Shrine
Famous for thousands of bright red torii gates that form an impressive tunnel, is on the grounds of Nezu Shrine. Otome means “maiden” in Japanese, so many single women visit to pray for a good marriage. Walk for 1 minute

Hours: ~6pm (Mar – Sep), ~5:30pm (Feb & Oct), ~5pm (Nov – Jan)
Access: 5-min walk from Nezu Station ・ Sendagi Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line), Todaimae Station (Tokyo Metro Namboku Line)
10-min walk from Hakusan Station (Toei Mita Line)
Address: 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.nedujinja.or.jp/ (Japanese only)

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3-purple Nezu-no-Taiyaki
Taiyaki is a sea-bream shaped waffle-like snack filled with a sweet paste and often found in traditional pastry shops in Japan. Located within a five-minute walk from Nezu Station, Nezu-no-Taiyaki serves homemade taiyaki fresh off the iron grill. The outside is light, crisp and nicely browned while the inside is filled with rich, sophisticated red bean paste to the very tip of the fish’s tail. Be sure to factor in waiting time because there is always a long line in front of the shop. Walk for 1 minute
Nezu-no-Taiyaki

Hours: 10:30am – sold out
Closed: Tuesday, Friday & other days occasionally
Access: 5-min walk from Nezu Station Exit 1 (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: 1-23-9-104 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Url: https://twitter.com/taiyaki_nezu (Japanese only)

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Hantei
4-purple Hantei
The area in front of Nezu Shrine used to be bustling and filled with store fronts. Hantei is an establishment representative of the area’s historic character. This classical, wooden three-story building, renovated in the Meiji period, now doubles as a fun, modern sweets shop and a kushiage (fried foods) restaurant.

Hours: 11:30am – 3pm (Last Order 2pm), 5pm – 11pm (Last Order 10pm)
Closed: Monday
Access: 3-min walk from Nezu Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: 2-12-15 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://hantei.co.jp/ (Japanese only)

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Nezu Ginza Dori

The slope between Shinobazu Dori and Kototoi Dori is called Nezu Ginza Dori. It is a shopping street that locals like to frequent. Offering a mix of old and new shops, the street radiates both nostalgia and vibrancy. Walk for 1 minute

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6-purple Kayaba Coffee
Beloved by locals and visitors alike, Kayaba Coffee has been serving aromatic coffee and comfort foods in the Yanaka neighborhood for 70 years. Their bestseller egg sandwich, warm and hearty, is a must try for starters. This two story nostalgic, wooden building has traditional Japanese seating on the second floor, which people often line up for.
Kayaba-Coffee

Hours: 8am – 10:30pm (Tue – Sat), 8am – 6pm (Mon & Sun)
Access: 11-min walk from Nippori Station
Address: 6-1-29 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://kayaba-coffee.com/top.html (Japanese only)

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Shitamachi-Museum
7-purple Shitamachi Museum
Shitamachi Museum showcases the history and life of Tokyoites between late 19th century and early 20th century. Shitamachi is the Japanese word for “downtown” or the low-lying parts of the city. Although the museum is small, it is worth visiting for its fascinating displays of houses, informative boards and multilingual guides who always greet visitors with a warm smile, just like in the olden days.

Hours: 9:30am – 4:30pm
Closed: Monday
Admission: 300 yen (adults), 100 yen (elementary school, junior high-school, high-school students)
Access: 5-min walk from Ueno Station
Address: 2-1 Ueno-koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.taitocity.net/zaidan/english/shitamachi/
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8-purple Get on the Megurin bus at bus stop number 17 facing the Shitamachi Museum. The bus runs along Shinobazu Pond, a famous attraction that dates back to the Edo period. The pond is often seen in ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese art that flourished from the 17th century. 15 minutes by bus.

Another 3 hr trip – Ginza

ginza-intersection

another-3-hrs-trip-red

How to Make the Best of 3 Hours in Tokyo

It is the last day of your trip and you have three hours left before departing for the airport. Don’t know what to do with the time? WAttention did the homework for you. Here is a three-hour itinerary that will leave you entertained, refreshed and with lots of memories of Japan!

GINZA STATION

 

Unlike most streets in Tokyo, which are nameless and often curve off, the ones in Ginza are laid out like a grid. Every street has a name as well as a history worth investigating. Besides being awe struck by impressive business complexes and international fashion brand that line the main streets, why not take a stroll to discover the best that Ginza has to offer?

ginza-monument-at-chuo-dori

1-redOrigin of Ginza
The name Ginza originated in the Edo period as a site for silver coin mint. In Japanese, Ginza literally means the “place where silver is minted”. The monument that marks the origin of Ginza can be found on the east side of Chuo-dori.

Access: 2-min walk from Ginza-itchome Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
Address: 2-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

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2-redNoritake Ginza Store
Noritake, a leading Japanese ceramic company with more than 100 years of history, is loved by people all over the world for its chinaware. Visit the Noritake Ginza Store to get a glimpse into the dedication behind their artistic collections and see how beauty is defined through dinnerware.

Noritake-Ginza-Store

Hours: 11am – 7:30pm
Closed: around new years
Access: 2-min walk from Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Hibiya Line, Marunouchi Line)
Address: Bunshodo Bldg. 2F, 3-4-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.noritake.co.jp/eng/
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namiki-dori-ginza

3-red Namiki-dori
Namiki-dori is a shopping street that features a red granite path bordered by tall lime trees. Feel the authentic atmosphere of Ginza on this iconic street lined with high class fashion flagship stores.

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4-red Mikasa Kaikan
After passing the Harumi-dori, you will see Mikasa Kaikan, an old restaurant complex that serves as a Ginza landmark. Dedicated to introduce authentic western cuisine to Japan, Mikasa Kaikan first opened in 1925 and has had a branch in Ginza since 1947. Choose from all kinds of cuisine, including Japanese, Italian and more, here.
Mikasa-Kaikan

Hours: Vary by restaurant
Access: 3-min walk from Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Hibiya Line, Marunouchi Line)
Address: Mikasa Kaikan Honten, 5-5-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: https://www.mikasakaikan.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
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shiseido-building
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Ginza Shiseido Building
The headquarters of Japanese cosmetic maker Shiseido is also located on Namiki-dori. This modern architecture cleverly incorporates the tsubaki (camellia) motif symbolizing Shiseido and embodies the company’s sense of aesthetics and beauty.
Hours: Vary by store
Access: 6-min walk from Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Hibiya Line, Marunouchi Line)
Address: Shiseido Head Office, 7-5-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

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6-red S. Watanabe Color Print Company
Founded in the Meiji period, this old standing woodcut print store collects works by famous ukiyo-e masters like Utagawa Hiroshige as well as modern artists. Get your hands on not only rare collections but also reasonably priced art as a gift for friends back home.

watanabe-printing

Hours: 9:30am – 7:30pm (Mon-Sat), 9:30 – 5pm (national holiday)
Closed: Sunday
Access: 4-min walk from JR Shimbashi Station
Address: 8-6-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.hangasw.com/map/index.html (Japanese only)
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7-red Ginza Konparu-dori
Walk to the very end of Namiki-dori and wander back on Konparu-dori, a nostalgic street where geishas used roam, to immerse in a different atmosphere. This street got its name in the Edo period, when the area was home to the estate of the Konparu School of Noh Theater. Today, Konparu Festival is held on August 7 every year. Compared to Namiki-dori, Konparu-dori is lined with shop smaller in scale, but equally rich in traditional and personality.

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Ginza-brick-town-monument
red A monument commemorating Ginza’s past as a brick town
In the old days, Ginza used to be a large brick town that extended for as long as 10 kilometers. Although most brick buildings were destroyed by a fire caused by the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, there is a monument to remind people of the past.
Access: 6-min walk from JR Shimbashi Station
Address: 8-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

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9 Konparu-yu
Konparu-yu is a sento, or public bath house, with rich cultural heritage. In the Edo period, Tokyoites loved hot baths and that love has contributed to the making of sentos in the middle of busy commercial districts today. When founded in 1863, Konparu-yu was a wooden establishment. Now it has taken up the space of a modern building. The old fashioned bathhouse has tile paintings of Japanese carp fishes and a wall painted with Mount Fuji—something you don’t come across every day.
Konparu-yu-sento

Hours: 2pm – 10pm
Closed: Sunday, national holiday
Admission: 460 yen (adults), 180 yen (elementary school students), 80 yen (preschool children)
Access: 5-min walk from JR Shimbashi Station, 5-min walk from Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Hibiya Line, Marunouchi Line)
Address: 8-7-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www002.upp.so-net.ne.jp/konparu/index.html (Japanese only)
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Irizake-no-Mikawaya
10-red Irizake-no-Mikawaya
Located on Konparu-dori, Mikawaya is a one-of-a-kind shop selling condiments that most people in the Edo period would recognize. Irizake and Ninukijiru are popular food seasonings among Japanese women, who are keen to learn the secret of Japanese cuisine and want to give more variations to their cooking rather than just using soy sauce and miso paste as main ingredients. There are a lot of counter-style restaurants on Konparu-dori serving oden, yakitori, sushi and various Japanese street food. How about giving your taste buds a tasty treat?

Hours: 11am – 8pm
Closed: Sunday, national holiday
Access: 7-min walk from JR Shimbashi Station
Address: 8-8-18 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.ginza-mikawaya.jp/ (Japanese only)

Another 3 hr trip – Tokyo

shibuya

another-3-hrs-trip-red

How to Make the Best of 3 Hours in Tokyo

It is the last day of your trip and you have three hours left before departing for the airport. Don’t know what to do with the time? WAttention did the homework for you. Here is a three-hour itinerary that will leave you entertained, refreshed and with lots of memories of Japan!

TOKYO

Explore Japan’s Wall Street


Not many people know that the financial district, considered the hub of the Japanese economy, lies just a stone’s throw away from Tokyo Station. While it’s mainly a business area, visitors can still spot well-established old shops that have inherited traditions and ways of living from the times when Tokyo was still called Edo.

1-green Start at Tokyo Station / Yaesu Shopping Mall
Yaesu Shopping Mall, directly connected to Tokyo Station Yaesu exit, is an underground shopping mall boasting close to 180 top-class shops and restaurants. If you walk away from Tokyo Station all the way across the shopping mall, you will reach Chuo Dori Avenue. To your right, lies Ginza, to your left, Nihonbashi. Since the Edo period, Chuo Dori Avenue has long been considered Tokyo’s most prestigious street. Continuing along this avenue, you will see a lot of high-rise buildings, but you can still find many shops with a long history. One historic and imposing building stands out in particular, Nihonbashi’s Takashiyama Department Store. We will return, so for now, let’s keep moving along. Five-minutes walk.
tokyo-station-yaesu-exitHours: Differ by facility
Access: Direct access from Yaesu Central Entrance, Yaesu South Entrance and Yaesu North Entrance of JR Tokyo Station.
Address: Floor B1 & B2, 2-1 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.yaechika.com/english/index.php

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haibara
2-greenHaibara / Shugyoku Bunko Gallery
Haibara is a store with a chic, black and modern facade and decorated with a noren, a traditional Japanese shop curtain that somehow suits it well. Surrounded by taller buildings, this washi or traditional Japanese paper seller has been in the area for more than 200 years. The store’s hand-made beautiful stationery products made with washi are certainly eye-catching. The history and culture of washi paper that Haibara has cultivated is showcased to the public at its Shugyoku Bunko Gallery. 12-minutes walk

Hours: 10am – 6:30pm (Mon-Fri), 10am – 5:30pm (Sat-Sun)
Access: Direct access from Nihombashi Station Exit B6 (Tokyo Metro Ginza Lina, Tozai Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
Address: Tokyo Nihombashi Tower, 2-7-1 Nihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.haibara.co.jp/en/

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3-greenKabuto Jinja Shrine
If you continue walking on the same direction you will reach Nihonbashi. Then, turn right at the intersection in front of you. After passing the highway, you will find yourself at the Kabuto-cho area, home to Tokyo’s financial district and filled with banks and securities companies. This area is also considered the birthplace of Japanese banks. Here you will find Kabuto Jinja, a small shrine frequented by people working in the financial industry. One-minute walk
Kabuto-Jinja-Shrine

Access: 6-min walk from Nihombashi Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Lina, Tozai Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
Address: 1-12 Nihombashi Kabuto-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
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Tokyo-Stock-Exchange
4-greenTokyo Stock Exchange
Located to the south of Kabuto Jinja Shrine is TSE Arrows, a space offering information about the stock exchange as well as tours that anyone can join. See the economy in motion as Japanese companies trade in real time. Guided tours in English are offered twice per day. Six-minute walk

Access: 5-min walk from Kayabacho Station Exit 11 (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line), 7-min walk from Kayabacho Station Exit 7 (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line), 5-min walk from Nihombashi Station Exit D2 (Toei Asakusa Line)
Address: 2-1 Nihombashi Kabuto-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.jpx.co.jp/english/
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5-greenKabutocho・Kayabacho Machikado Museum
Traditional festivals have long been held in this area. But even if no festivals are scheduled when you visit, this musem’s year-round exhibition features the wonderful mikoshi and floats used during the festivals.10-minutes walk
Hours: 8:30am – 8pm
Access: 2-min walk from Kayabacho Station Exit 12 (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Tozai Line)
Address: 15-3 Nihombashi Kabuto-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://chuoku-machikadotenjikan.jp/tenjikan/kabutocho_kayabacho/
machikado

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takashimaya-department-store
8-greenNihonbashi Takashimaya department store
The final spot on this tour is the previously mentioned Nihonbashi Takashimaya department store. This famous building is an interesting blend of European elements and Japanese construction methods and has been designated an important cultural property. From the marble colonnade at the entrance to intricate decorations, there is much to admire. The store’s duty-free counter and tablet assisted, multilingual interpretation service make your shopping experience more comfortable. 10-minutes walk

Hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm (restaurants open until 9:30pm)
Access: 5-min walk from JR Tokyo Station (Yaesu North Entrance)
Address: 2-4-1 Nihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Url: https://www.takashimaya.co.jp/tokyo/store_information/index.html

Another 3 hr trip – Asakusa

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How to Make the Best of 3 Hours in Tokyo

It is the last day of your trip and you have three hours left before departing for the airport. Don’t know what to do with the time? WAttention did the homework for you. Here is a three-hour itinerary that will leave you entertained, refreshed and with lots of memories of Japan!

 

ASAKUSA

 

Senso-ji temple, one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist spots, teems with tourists all year round. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and spend some quiet time in the area, stroll through the park that lines the Sumidagawa River, or go across it and tour temples, shrines and the old sweet shops of the Mukojima area.

1-yellowAsakusa Culture and Tourism Center
A tourist information center located inside a unique building in front of the Asakusa Kaminarimon Gate. The building is designed by Kengo Kuma, one of Japan’s best-known architects. The building’s ceiling and interior are quite interesting so don’t consider skipping a visit. The night view of Asakusa from the observatory on the 8th-floor terrace also comes highly recommended.
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Hours: 9am – 8pm
Access: 1-min walk from Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
Address: 2-18-9 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://tic.jnto.go.jp/detail.php?id=1078
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The Sumida Park covering the east bank of the Sumidagawa River is a waterfront oasis. It’s known for its cherry blossoms, and except from that season, it’s the perfect place to escape the crowds and relax. Let’s continue upstream along the river.

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sakurabashi-bridge
2-yellowSakurabashi Bridge
Sakurabashi is a unique pedestrian bridge crossing the Sumidagawa River. Approximately 170 meters in length and forming a unique “X” shape, it connects both banks of Sumida Park. The bridge features an original sculpture based on a design by well-known Japanese painter Ikuo Hirayama. Cross the bridge and head toward the east bank of the river.

Access: 15-min walk from Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line), 15-min walk from Hikifune Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Address: 1-5 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
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3-yellowChomeji Temple and Sakuramochi While continuing upstream along the east bank, take a look at the old night-light that once doubled as a lighthouse for boats crossing the Sumidagawa River. You will then find Chomeji Temple, made famous by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty. He held the natural spring water inside the temple in high regard, saying it granted drinkers a long life. But, perhaps more famous than the temple itself, are the sakuramochi sweets sold in front of its gates. Sakuramochi are rice cakes wrapped with the pickled leaves of cherry blossom trees from the embankment of the Sumidagawa River. The pickled cherry tree leaves perfectly match the sweetness of the anko or red bean paste and the sweet is as popular now as it was back during the Edo period.
Chomeiji-templeHours: 8:30am – 6pm
Closed: Monday
Access: 12-min walk from Hikifune Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Address: 5-1-14 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://sakura-mochi.com/ (Japanese only)

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kototoi-dango
4-yellowKototoi Dango
Sweet tooths can stop by another shop carrying a local specialty: “Kototoi Dango”. This business started inadvertently after a local gardener made some dango (sweet rice dumplings) which became really popular. Customers are served white, black and yellow dango on a plate, instead of the more common way of skewered on a wooden stick. Hurry, however, as the dango often sell out by 3pm.

Hours: 9am – 6pm
Closed: Tuesday
Access: 11-min walk from Hikifune Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Address: 5-5-22 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://kototoidango.co.jp/index.html (Japanese only)

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5-yellowKofukuji Temple A temple with a Chinese-style gate is on left-hand side. It belongs to the rare Buddhist school of zen called Obaku. The temple features a unique stone statue called Seki no Jijibabason that is believed to prevent the common cold.
Access: 11-min walk from Hikifune Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Address: 5-3-2 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://ko-fukuji.wixsite.com/kofukuji/home
Kofuku-ji-Temple

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Kawahara-no-Abe
6-yellow Kawahara no Abe Facing Kofukuji Temple is Kawahara no Abe, a restaurant offering a popular and generously sized tendon (tempura over rice bowl). Do not miss out on a new popular dish from the area, the Mukojima Burger (take-out only). Perfect for munching on while walking, small shrimp and lotus root fritters are stuffed in a grilled onigiri (rice ball). Please note credit cards are not accepted.
Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm

Closed: Wednesday
Access: 11-min walk from Hikifune Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Address: 5-24-2 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Url: https://www.facebook.com/%E6%B2%B3%E5%8E%9F%E3%81%AE%E3%81%82%E3%81%B9-226270354070266/ (Japanese only)

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7-yellowAoyagi Seike Keep walking to then find a Japanese sweets shop located inside an elegant building. The sweets here, inspired by the four seasons, are great with a cup of matcha green tea. Monaka, a Japanese wafer sandwich filled with sweet bean jam, and sweet chestnut jellies are the must-try items on the menu. The latter keeps well, which makes it an ideal souvenir.
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Hours: 9am – 7pm
Closed: Sunday, national holiday
Access: 12-min walk from Hikifune Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Address: 2-15-9 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://www.aoyagiseike.jp/en/

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Mukojima area

Mukojima

Renowned as a popular spot for flower viewing and natural beauty, this area has been beloved by writers and artists since the Edo period. Their presence in the area sparked the construction of several ryotei, or luxurious Japanese restaurants, where rakugo performances and haiku poetry meetings would be held, giving birth to a legion of geisha to entertain guests. During the Edo period Mukojima was a lively geisha quarter filled with high-class Japanese restaurants. Next to Aoyagi Seike is a ryotei where you can indulge in high-class dining.

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Mimeguri-Shrine
8-yellowMimeguri Shrine
Further beyond lies Mimeguri Shrine, traditionally associated with local farmers who used to visit and pray for rain. A must-see here is the torii gate with three columns called Sankakuishitorii. This is extremely rare and gives the place a special and mysterious power.
Access: 8-min walk from Tokyo Skytree Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Address: 2-5-17 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

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9-yellowUshijima Shrine
This shrine, located in a corner of Sumida Park on the east bank of the Sumidagawa River, has a Miwa Torii. The ultimate torii gate, this unique gate features two smaller torii gates on each side attached to the main central one. The shrine also features a popular cow statue known as nadeushi, said to heal your ailments if you caress it. Inside the shrine you can also see many koma ushi, protective stone statues of cows, instead of the more usual koma inu, or lion-dog commonly found outside shrines and temples.
Access: 7-min walk from Tokyo Skytree Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Address: 1-4-5 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Ushijima-Shrine

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Sumida-Park
10-yellowSumida Park
The park spans both sides of the Sumidagawa River; however this side of the river and the Asakusa Temple side have completely different atmospheres. Featuring a splendid Japanese garden with a pond, this area originally housed the residence of the Mito Tokugawa family, who belonged to the Tokugawa Shogunate. Visitors can contemplate this unusual, yet harmonious landscape combining a traditional Japanese garden and the modern Tokyo Sky Tree.

Access: 5-min walk from Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tobu Skytree Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
Address: 1-2-5 Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Url: http://visit-sumida.jp/spot/6133/ (Japanese only)

From here, visitors can head back to Asakusa Station by crossing either the Azumabashi Bridge or the Kototoi Bridge, or continue in the direction of the Tokyo Sky Tree.

Best Autumn Fruits to Enjoy

Workshop for dried persimmons (Takahashi Fruit Land in Kaminoyama)
Workshop for dried persimmons (Takahashi Fruit Land in Kaminoyama)

Sample some of Tohoku’s best autumn fruits by taking a train that travels through a forest of autumn colors! Get off at Furukawa Station on the Tôhoku Shinkansen and take the Rikû-East Line. This runs through Naruko, a hot spring village with more than 1,000 years of history. Naruko has a cluster of five hot springs—Naruko, East Naruko, Nakayamadaira, Kawatabi and Onikobe—and is home to Naruko Kyo(Gorge), the Tohoku region’s most scenic of gorges. From Naruko-Onsen Station, the train travels along the Araogawa River before climbing up a slow slope toward Naruko Gorge, where colorful foliage decorates rocky cliffs in autumn. This is absolutely one of the best scenic train trips in Japan! (Foliage viewing season is from late October to early November.)

train in autumn leaves Kaminoyama: Get off at Kaminoyama-Onsen Station (JR Yamagata Shinkansen)

Shinjô is the last station on the Rikû-East Line. After foliage viewing, why not take the shinkansen to Yamagata Prefecture for a feast of seasonal fruits? Known as the Fruits Kingdom, Yamagata is the number one producer of cherries and pears in Japan. Apples, grapes and many other juicy fruits are also grown here. Tourists can visit orchards, hand pick grapes (early September to late October) and pears (October), and even have a try at making dried persimmons. Tourist orchards can be found in Yamagata’s Kaminoyama and Tendo cities.

Autumn foliage at Yama-dera Temple
Autumn foliage at Yama-dera Temple

Yama-dera:20-min ride from Yamagata Station (JR Yamagata Shinkansen) until Yamadera Station (JR Senzan Line)

Another must-visit spot is Risshaku-ji. The temple, also called Yama-dera, consists of 30 big and small halls. A moss-covered stone staircase starts from the foot of the mountain and goes all the way to the majestic halls and temples on rough, stony cliffs. The heavenly landscape, coupled with red leaves, looks just like a painting on a Japanese wooden screen.

View of Naruko Kyo
View of Naruko Kyo
In Yamagata, you can enjoy pear picking (mid-September until end of October)
In Yamagata, you can enjoy pear picking (mid-September until end of October)
Make your own parfait at Takahashi Fruit Land (Kaminoyama, Yamagata ken)
Make your own parfait at Takahashi Fruit Land (Kaminoyama, Yamagata ken)

Apple Kingdom

Apple Kingdom
Apple Kingdom

Mount Iwaki, also called “Tsugaru Fuji” (Tsugaru describes the western region of Aomori ken), is in Aomori, Honshu’s northernmost area. Autumn is the best season to enjoy a variety of colours at Oirase Mountain Stream and Lake Towada, as well as the lush red apples growing in abundance at the foot of the mountain; Japanese apples are famous for being quite large and flawless in taste and texture. The cultivation of apples in Aomori began at the start of the Meiji Restoration by unemployed samurai. In 1875, the region, which had not been used for apple cultivation before, received three apple saplings from the West. Samurai, who had lost their social status, exchanged their katana (single-edged swords) with pairs of shears and refined the technique of sentei (pruning). Hence, Aomori became Japan’s best area for producing apples. These ripened fruits, which survive harsh climate conditions such as heavy snow and drastic temperature differences between day and night, offer a unique harmony between sweet and sour, giving them an especially rich flavour.

Hirosaki’s apple pies
Hirosaki’s apple pies
Hirosaki's apples
Hirosaki’s apples

Hirosaki, the pioneer city for apple production, features about 50 shops which produce apple pies. Growing popularity among the tourists are the “Apple Pie Map,” showing all the shops selling this delicacy, as well as the baking event where an apple pie with the diameter of three metres is made. Including the production of apple juice and cider, this fruit plays an essential part in Aomori’s culture.

After enjoying the picturesque scenes of autumn colours at Oirase Mountain Stream, Lake Towada and from the Hakkoda Ropeway, set off to Hirosaki and get a taste of Aomori’s local speciality!

An apple orchard in front of Mount Iwaki
An apple orchard in front of Mount Iwaki
Oirase Mountain Stream’s Choshi-Otaki Waterfall
Oirase Mountain Stream’s Choshi-Otaki Waterfall
View of Hakkoda Mountain Range from Towada’s water-lily pond
View of Hakkoda Mountain Range from Towada’s water-lily pond

Taste of Mt. Fuji: a short hiking adventure

View from the north shore of Lake Kawaguchiko

You don’t need to climb all the way to the top of Mt. Fuji to experience the beautiful alpine nature and breathtaking landscapes that Japan’s tallest peak has to offer.

The iconic volcano is easily accessible with the Fuji Five Lakes Sightseeing Bus Tour “Highlights Fujisan-Go” (AM Course), which departs from Kawaguchiko Station and takes visitors through a lush forest and all the way up to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, which is the highest point on the mountain that is reachable by car and where most hikers start their ascent to the top.

The area features the Komitake Shrine, where a special festival is held annually at the start of the climbing season on July 1st. Visitors can also find the Unjo-kaku tourist facility, the perfect place to purchase souvenirs and have a heartwarming meal. Holders of a “Highlights Fujisan-Go” ticket, can get 10% off their meals here.

From there, visitors can either start the long ascent to the top or enjoy a short hike to Fuji-Yoshida Trail 6th Station and admire the changing landscape as trees begin to thin. You can also get glimpses of Lake Yamanakako as well as a great variety of flowers. It is an easy and beautiful hike, perfect for a short excursion to Mt. Fuji with friends or family.

Three of our WAttention Ninja had the opportunity to join the Bus Tour “Highlights Fujisan-Go” (AM Course) and hike from the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station to the 6th Station. This is what they had to say about their trip.

Ivonne Pereyra

Our adventure began with a train ride from Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station. It was a long ride, but my friends and the beautiful landscape made it so much more enjoyable. At Kawaguchiko Station, signs in English made it easy for us to find our way to join the Bus Tour “Highlights Fujisan-Go” (AM Course), which took us all the way to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station. When we arrived, it was a littler cooler than I expected because of the higher altitude, but I had come prepared! A light jacket was more than enough for the occasion. We then hiked up to the 6th Station, which was a little tiring but also worth the effort with the beautiful scenery along the way. After returning to the 5th Station, we bought souvenirs and soaked up the breathtaking landscape surrounding us. Before we knew it, it was time to take the bus back to Shinjuku Station!
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We got up early to take a train at Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station, where we joined the Bus Tour “Highlights Fujisan-Go” (AM Course). It was really fun to learn about the area while enjoying the astonishing landscape. When we got to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, we decided to have lunch at a restaurant inside the Unjo-kaku, where we stocked up on the calories with delicious chicken karage. Afterwards, we took the easiest route and hiked up to the Fuji-Yoshida Trail 6th Station. At one point, we thought we would never reach our destination, but we had fun together as we sang and took many pictures along the way. Surprisingly, the hike back to 5th Station went so much faster! Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we wanted to make sure we bought some souvenirs before heading back to Shinjuku. Our trip came to an end with a two-hour bus ride back to Shinjuku Station, which was very comfortable and enjoyable with AC and free Wi-Fi.

Hina Alvarez

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Julie Dricot

Our train ride from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station was enjoyable with the scenic view along the way. When we arrived at Kawaguchiko Station, we then joined the Bus Tour “Highlights Fujisan-Go” (AM Course), where our tour guide shared many interesting historical facts about the area, and for those who don’t speak Japanese, a GPS-based automated multilingual guidance system explained the sights in English, Chinese and Thai. All the way up to Fujikyu Unjo-kaku, located on the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station, we couldn’t help but admire the beauty of Mt. Fuji! Upon arriving at the 5th Station, we took our time to explore the area, including Komitake Shrine where we witnessed an incredible view overlooking the beautiful landscape of the area. We then took the easiest route up to Fuji-Yoshida Trail 6th Station. Though we quickly got tired, it was so much fun and rewarding when we finally reached our destination. I’m glad to have experienced this with my friends and would highly recommend it to people seeking an adventure around Mt. Fuji.
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Sample schedule for a day on the Fuji-Goko Bus Tour (AM Course) and a short hike from the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station.
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Fuji Five Lake Sightseeing Bus Tour “Highlights Fujisan-go” Mt.Fuji 5th station observation route (AM course)

Available dates: Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays from April 22nd to November 19th, 2017 (Except from May 3rd to 5th)
Cost: Adults 2,800 JPY, Children 1,400 JPY for either the AM or PM course.
Adults 4,500 Children 2,250 JPY for both the AM & the PM courses.
Address: Kawaguchiko St.
3641 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0301
Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station
Fujisan 8545-1 Narusawa-mura, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0320
URL: Visit this website to make an online reservation *Reservation closes 30 min before departure, however if there are available seats, you can buy your tickets at the ticket counter.


Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

A Relaxing weekend around Lake Kawaguchiko with your family

DAY 2


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Start your day with a well-balanced breakfast on the top floor of Highland Resort Hotel & Spa and enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji from large panorama windows. Get ready and make your way to the Fujikyu Highland Station on the Fujikyuko Line, and get off at Kawaguchiko Station or you could also take the free touristic bus connecting the hotel to Kawaguchiko station.

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After exploring the vicinity of the station, set off for a 46min walk to the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko. A stunning view of cherry blossoms embracing Mt. Fuji awaits you.

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After a 43min walk back to the eastern shore, hop onto the Kachi Kachi Yama Ropeway, which will take you to Kawaguchiko Tenjo-yama Park.

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Starting from the foot of Mt. Tenjo at Kawaguchi-Kohan Station, the ropeway takes you to the summit at Fujimidai Station within three minutes. Enjoy a superb view of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko, and if you are lucky, even the Southern Alps!

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Mt. Tenjo (1,075 meters) is the setting of the Japanese folktale, “Kachi-kachi Yama” by Dazai Osamu, in which a rabbit outwits an evil tanuki (Japanese raccoon) by setting him on fire and letting him drown in a river. In theme with the story, the ropeway as well as the observation area is decorated with cute cartoon characters of the rabbit and tanuki.

These pictures are from before the restoration.

The observatory facility, with its souvenir shop and heart-shaped bell, is under construction until summer. The pictures shown here are from before the renovation.

If you only purchased a one-way ticket, enjoy the 45min hiking trail down Mt. Tenjo, and pass the Nakabadaira observation area, which features a monument of Osamu. During summer season (mid-July through the beginning of August), you can enjoy a hundred thousands of hydrangea flowers blooming in a dozen different colors.
After arriving at the foot of the mountain, make your way back to Kawaguchiko Station and take the train to Shimoyoshida Station.

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From there, signs will lead you to the Arakurayama Sengen Park, which houses the five-storied Chureito Pagoda. The pagoda is located about 400 steps apart from the Arakura Sengen Shrine and was built in 1963 as a peace monument. Surrounded by cherry blossoms, with Mt. Fuji in the background it’s the perfect photo spot!

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Read about convenient accommodation and shops near Mt. Fuji by clicking HERE

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Convenient accommodation and shopping options near Mt. Fuji

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CABIN & LOUNGE HIGHLAND STATION INN

Are you traveling on a low-budget? Then we have the best solution for you and your friends! Whether you plan an exciting hiking adventure, or you want to have fun at Fuji-Q Highland, the Cabin & Lounge Highland Station Inn provides you with a comfortable accommodation for a reasonable price! This recently opened capsule hotel is just a minute walk from Fuji-Q Highland Station. The Hotel is divided by a women’s and a men’s floor, which is only accessible by a security card.

The floors have their own lounge, and the cabins are equipped with comfortable semi-double size mattresses, USB and power outlets, as well as dimming lightning and free wi-fi.

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The lobby lounge on the first floor is the perfect place to relax as you plan your next adventure with the large selection of guidebooks and pamphlets available.

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For guests who plan to visit the Fuji-Q Highland on the same day as checking in into the Hotel, the entrance for the amusement park will be free of charge!
Around the hotel’s vicinity includes a convenience store, karaoke, restaurants, a camera and mobile phone shop, the bus stop, and a climbing equipment rental shop.

LA MONT MOUNTAINEERING GEAR RENTAL SHOP

The La Mont Mountaineering Gear Rental Shop right next to the Cabin & Lounge Highland Station Inn, equips you with the best and necessary equipment for your hiking adventure.

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The friendly staff gives advice on how to correctly use walking sticks, as well as how to choose the right hiking boots or jacket for you. They also provide women and men clothing in a variety of colors.

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At the sales corner, you can even buy barely used goods for a fair price.

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The shop also provides a powder room for women to get ready for their hikes, as well as lockers where you can store your luggage! Next to the entrance is the guidance counter for foreign tourists, which provides you with information about the area.

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If you are not able to visit the store itself, a convenient rental service is available online. Choose your preferred outfit, pay the rental fee, and have it delivered to your house.

FUJISAN STATION HOTEL

Footsteps away from the Mt. Fuji Station

If you have decided to visit the Mt. Fuji area, but haven’t a clue where to stay for the night, FUJISAN STATION HOTEL is a great option, as it is only two minutes’ walk away from Mt. Fuji Station.

FUJISAN-STATION-HOTEL

The hotel offers single, twin, double and triple rooms to cater to single travelers as well as family groups. Although designed in the modern style, FUJISAN STATION HOTEL preserves a great mountain atmosphere. Also available are guest rooms with a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji.

FUJISAN-STATION-HOTEL-room

The hotel has a nice restaurant with a spacious, open air feeling. Enjoy the breakfast here with a stunning view of nature.

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The hotel staff is ready to help guests with tourism information. A variety of pamphlets are available in the lobby for those who want to do some homework before setting off.

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FUJISAN-STATION-HOTEL-reception

With its convenient access and excellent service, FUJISAN STATION HOTEL is the place to relax at your own pace and explore the Mt. Fuji.

FUJISAN STATION HOTEL

Address: 2-7-12 Matsuyama, Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture
Access: Two minute walk from Mt Fuji Station
URL: http://www.fujisanstation-hotel.com

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

Image_

Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

A Relaxing weekend around Lake Kawaguchiko with your family

DAY 1


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Make your way straight to Fuji-Q Highland amusement park by taking the Fuji-Q Highway Bus – Resort Express from Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, Shibuya Station (Mark City), or directly from Haneda Airport. The amusement park is located in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, on the foothills of Mt. Fuji! The comfortable bus ride takes 1hr40min to your destination, and free wifi is also available.
As you get closer to Fuji-Q Highland, a stunning view of Mt. Fuji can be enjoyed from your seat! To experience this area to its fullest, a stay of two days is recommended, and the Highland Resort Hotel & Spa, which is located right in front of the gates of Fuji-Q Highland, is the best to relax after an exciting day.

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A marvelous view of Mt. Fuji or the thrilling rides of Fuji-Q Highland are guaranteed from your room. Choose between Japanese-style rooms, the popular character rooms (such as the Lisa and Gaspard Rooms or the Thomas Rooms that feature items from the character’s adventures), or indulge in the luxury of the Grand Executive Floor, where the rooms are designed to be in perfect harmony with Mt. Fuji which is majestically displayed in front of the panorama window.

This room resembles Lisa’s apartment in the Pompidou Centre, the institute of culture in Paris.  ©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre
This room resembles Lisa’s apartment in the Pompidou Centre, the institute of culture in Paris. ©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre
 A reproduction of Gaspard’s apartment in Paris. ©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre
A reproduction of Gaspard’s apartment in Paris. ©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre

A room at the Grand Executive Floor with a view at Mt. Fuji.
A room at the Grand Executive Floor with a view at Mt. Fuji.

Start your adventure in the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park at the Ferris wheel and be ready for the impressive view of Mt. Fuji, which awaits you on the top!

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Besides the many thrilling rides and haunted houses, get on a 4D flight simulator “Fuji Airways”, chairs surrounded by a large screen, and engage in a flight around Mt. Fuji! Experience the sacred mountain during all the four seasons thanks to footage of drones and motor paragliders carrying 6k cameras. The ride even features an original orchestral work named “Mt. Fuji,” by famous composer Joe Hisaishi.

Fuji Airways
Fuji Airways

Another popular attraction is the Thomas Land, which is themed after the British children’s book series, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends!

©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited

This family friendly theme park is designed for all to have a good time! Get on a train ride with Thomas or one of his friends, ride the mini roller coaster or climb through a 3D maze, among many other exciting attractions!

©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited

Don´t forget to take a picture at the Thomas’ Monument and try out the many different snacks and dishes at the cafés and restaurants, which are cutely shaped in the form of Thomas and his friends!

©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited

Even if you are not aware of the characters yet, you will definitely fall in love with them in no time!
Stroll through La Ville de Gaspard et Lisa, located right in front of the park’s entrance, and meet Gaspard and Lisa, two famous French picture book characters. With traditional French architecture and a small replica of the Eiffel Tower, this space offers visitors with a lively European atmosphere.

©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre

The two-tiered merry-go-round provides the perfect view of the entire town. Stop by at the cafe BRIOCHE, and get your hands on some cutely designed breads and pastries! The most popular item is the custard filled bread shaped like Mt. Fuji.

©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre

At the souvenir shop, purchase park-limited, as well as official Gaspard and Lisa themed items. On the second floor, you will find a reproduction of Georg Hallensleben’ atelier, the creator of Gaspard and Lisa. Learn more about the characters, or watch the animated seriesin a small cinema.

©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre

If you are craving sweets, make your way to the patisserie and get your hands on pastries in the shape of Mt. Fuji or cookies in the design of Gaspard and Lisa.

©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre
©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
©2017 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre

Subsequent to La Ville de Gaspard et Lisa, the Fujiyama Museum houses a collection of paintings focusing on Mt. Fuji by prominent modern artists. The mountain has been a graceful yet majestic motif for artists throughout all centuries, and this museum owns a collection of traditional and modern paintings. See the works of the famous ukiyo-e artist, Hokusai Katsushika, as well as Hiroshige Utagawa and Yayoi Kusama. You can also purchase some unique Mt. Fuji souvenirs, relax at the café or participate in craft workshops.

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After your adventure filled day, unwind at Fujiyama Onsen (hot spring) next door, which provides free admission to hotel guests of Highland Resort Hotel & Spa!

Continue to DAY 2

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Touring the best of Mt. Fuji Five Lakes area in just one evening

View from the north shore of Lake Kawaguchiko
View from the north shore of Lake Kawaguchiko

Calmed waters inhabited by koi fish and swans, adorable thatched roof cottages, open fields carpeted with tulips or sunflowers and serene torii gates nestled in the forest, these are just some of the sights found in the Fuji Five Lakes area with the iconic Mt. Fuji at its center. The most convenient way to reach the area from Tokyo is on the Holiday Rapid Fujisan No. 1, which departs Shinjuku station and takes passengers directly to Kawaguchiko without the need to transfer to any other train or the need to pay any express rates. At Kawaguchiko, there are sightseeing bus tours that offer visitors the opportunity to make the most out of their time by taking them to the most iconic spots in a comfortable bus including transportation and admission fees as well as an automatic audio guide in English, Chinese and Thai.

There are two different courses available, both starting from either the Fuji Q Highland Highway bus terminal or Kawaguchiko Station. The “AM” course is a morning tour that goes to the 4th station of the Fuji Subaru line for impressive views at the observatory, then on to the 5th station where visitors can grab a bite and visit the nearby Komitake Shrine. Passengers have the option to stay in the area to explore or come back to Kawaguchiko station.

The “PM” course takes visitors across Ohashi Bridge for postcard views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko and then heads to Lake Yamanakako where tourists get off the bus and board a boat shaped like a giant white swan to cruise its calmed waters. The bus then passes Hana-no-Miyako Park, where depending on the season, enthusiast photographers can snap a picture of fields covered in flowers. Passengers also visit Oshino Hakkai Village, with its traditional houses and clear ponds. The tour ends with a visit to Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja shrine, a sacred place that marks the beginning of one of the routes to climb Mt. Fuji.

Three of our WAttention Ninja had the opportunity to experience the PM course and this is what they had to say.

Janina Karlman

I felt so relaxed when we arrived at Kawaguchiko, like we had just found a refuge from Tokyo’s big city life. First we strolled around the streets, took a lot of pictures, especially near the Lake Kawaguchiko where the cherry blossoms greeted us with their presence!
Later, we visited a Kimono rental shop, where the professional staff helped us with both hair and kimono and the final result was stunning! Afterwards, we headed back to the bus station to join the “Fuji Five Lakes Sightseeing Bus Tour”. The tour was in a comfortable bus, with friendly staff and an audio guide in several languages, to help those whose Japanese is not so great (like me). We did so many fun things, like getting on a big Swan-shaped boat across Lake Yamanakako, we walked around Oshino Hakkai Village, where locals asked us if they could take our picture because we were wearing kimono. I felt like a rockstar. But my absolute favorite place of the tour was the Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine. It was very beautiful and I enjoyed the sacred atmosphere of the shrine.
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The day started well as we enjoyed the view of the countryside and the beautiful nature on the train ride from Shinjuku station to Kawaguchiko. We walked around the lake enjoying the fresh air and the wonderful natural landscape. We then stopped by a kimono rental shop, where we picked out a kimono to wear for the day. Afterwards, we joined the sightseeing bus tour, which took us to the nearby Lake Yamanakako, where we boarded a swan-shaped boat. We took a seat at a sofa in the corner of the boat and sipped coffee, which we bought at the bar of the boat as we enjoyed the calmed 20 minute ride. We then headed to Oshino Hakkai Village. What a beautiful place! with its small ponds and crystal clear water. Here, I felt like a model because lots of people wanted to take our picture with the cherry trees in the background. Finally, after a few more minutes in the bus, we arrived at Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine, where we enjoyed the beautiful nature and the peaceful atmosphere it gave the shrine.

Dagmar Warnecke

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Marie-Louise Straub

The day started at Shinjuku station where we took the Holiday Rapid Fujisan No.1 to Kawaguchiko. We arrived approximately two hours later and had some time to explore the town and its beautiful lake. We especially enjoyed taking pictures of cherry blossoms. After a small lunch and visiting a kimono rental shop to dress up for our tour, we joined the PM course of the “Fuji Five Lakes sightseeing tour”. Our first destination was Lake Yamanakako, where we enjoyed taking pictures of koi fish swimming near the pier of the “Swan Lake” pleasure boat. After the wonderful boat ride, we went back on board the bus and headed to Oshino Hakka Village, where we spent time at a nice little stream bordered by cherry trees taking pictures. The bright colors of our kimonos matched perfectly with the cherry blossoms. Our last destination was Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine in Kitaguchi. The road was lined with cedars that led to the shrine, it was impressive and gave us the opportunity to take more nice pictures. After spending time at the shrine and buying omikuji, fortune-telling paper strips, the bus took us back to Kawaguchiko.
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Sample schedule for a day using the Fuji Five Lake Sightseeing Bus Tour
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Fuji Five Lake Sightseeing Bus Tour “Highlights Fujisan-go”

Available dates: Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays from April 22nd to 19 November, 2017 (Except from May 3rd to 5th) and National Holidays from April 22nd to 19 November, 2017 (Except from May 3rd to 5th)
Cost: Adults 2,800 JPY, Children 1,400 JPY for either the AM or PM course.
Adults 4,500 Children 2,250 JPY for both the AM & the PM courses.
Address: Kawaguchiko St.
3641 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0301
Fuji-Q Highland Highway Bus Terminal
5 Chome-6 Shinnishihara, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi-ken 403-0017
URL: Visit this website to make an online reservation for the AM course and this website for the PM course. *Reservation closes 30 min before departure, however if there are available seats, you can buy your tickets at the ticket counter.
Kimono rental:Kimono Rental Kotobukiya
Phone: 0555-72-2911 (available only in Japanese)

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

Enjoy viewing Mt Fuji from Lake Yamanaka in winter

A view of Mt Fuji from Lake Yamanaka
A view of Mt Fuji from Lake Yamanaka

Mt Fuji has long been regarded as an emblematic symbol of Japan. It is an object of worship and source of artistic inspiration for Japanese artists and poets. Over the past centuries, the sacred mountain has become a must-visit destination for both locals and foreigners. Visitors can unveil its mystique charms either by appreciating it from afar or by climbing to the top. Join WAttention editors as we set off from Tokyo to discover the multifaceted beauty of Mt Fuji!

Holiday Rapid Fujisan No. 1
Holiday Rapid Fujisan No. 1

Mt Fuji straddles the border of two prefectures, Shizuoka and Yamanashi. Popular attractions include the five lakes located on the Yamanashi side—Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Motosu, Lake Sai, Lake Shoji and Lake Yamanaka. To discover the richness of Lake Yamanaka, WAttention editors hopped on Holiday Rapid Fujisan No. 1 (operating on weekends until June 25) headed for Fujisan Station from Shinjuku.

Fujisan Station
A two-hour ride from Tokyo takes you directly to Fujisan Station. The roof of a shopping center linked to the station is a secret spot only the locals know about. Buy a taiyaki, or Japanese fish-shaped cake with red bean paste filling, from the souvenir store next to the station and enjoy it while appreciating Mt Fuji. You can also get a souvenir ticket in the shape of Mt Fuji here and bring it home with you as a keepsake.

Fujisan Station
Fujisan Station
Get a souvenir ticket in the shape of Mt Fuji at Fujisan Station
Get a souvenir ticket in the shape of Mt Fuji at Fujisan Station
Japanese fish-shaped cake tastes all the more delicious with a spectacular view of Mt Fuji.
Japanese fish-shaped cake tastes all the more delicious with a spectacular view of Mt Fuji.

Shinobi-no-sato Ninja Village
The village’s Japanese garden is in perfect harmony with Mt Fuji in the backdrop. If time permits, take the time to soak your feet in the outdoor foot bath area overlooking this magnificent garden. As the name of the theme park suggests, you also get to push through hidden doors, shoot star blades and see real ninjas in action. Come and experience the secret world of ninja for yourself!

A view of Mt Fuji comes in sight with traditional Japanese garden at Ninja Village
A view of Mt Fuji comes in sight with traditional Japanese garden at Ninja Village
Have a foot spa while enjoying the spectacles of the garden
Have a foot spa while enjoying the spectacles of the garden
Ninja show is also something you don’t want to miss
Ninja show is also something you don’t want to miss
Too many taste bud tempers to choose from at Ninja Village
Too many taste bud tempers to choose from at Ninja Village

Lake Yamanaka Swan Cruise
View Mt Fuji from different angles on a swan-shaped cruise that takes you around Lake Yamanaka, the largest of the five lakes surrounding Mt Fuji. While on the boat, don’t forget to get one of the Mt Fuji cookies. For those not so much into cruises, get a picturesque view of Mt Fuji with the elegant swan cruise, blue skies, white clouds and clear waters in the background.

The swan cruise puts a smile on every face
The swan cruise puts a smile on every face

Get a bite of Mt Fuji from the shop inside the boat
Get a bite of Mt Fuji from the shop inside the boat


Fuji-Q Highland
Fuji-Q Highland is a renowned amusement park with several Guinness World Record breaking roller coasters. For those who are brave enough to ride on top of the roller coasters, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking Mt Fuji before you drop speed fast.
Next to Fuji-Q Highland is a theme park featuring cartoon characters Lisa and Gasper. This unique place offers a truly authentic French atmosphere with Lisa and Gasper at every corner and every turn. Fans would not want to miss Les Rêves Salon de thé, a gorgeous French style café where afternoon tea can be sampled, and the gift shop which sells Lisa and Gasper goods.

Fuji-Q Highland offers the perfect dose of adrenaline rush
Fuji-Q Highland offers the perfect dose of adrenaline rush
The one and only Lisa and Gasper Town in Japan is located on the way to Fuji-Q Highland
The one and only Lisa and Gasper Town in Japan is located on the way to Fuji-Q Highland
Lisa and Gasper is at every corner of the town to welcome you
Lisa and Gasper is at every corner of the town to welcome you
Limited edition goods
Limited edition goods
Enjoy afternoon tea at Les Rêves Salon de thé
Enjoy afternoon tea at Les Rêves Salon de thé
The elegant afternoon tea menu makes one feel as if one is in France
The elegant afternoon tea menu makes one feel as if one is in France

Hotel Mt Fuji
Located on a hill overlooking Lake Yamanaka, the hotel offers an unobstructed view of Mt Fuji from its courtyard. On clear summer mornings from December to early March, the rising sun shines off the surface of Mt Fuji, giving it a unique red color. For a limited time from mid-October to late February, you can see the sun shine at the peak like a diamond. February is a good time of the year to visit because the weather is relatively stable and, if lucky, you get to see both views of Mt Fuji. Free shuttle bring guests to the firework display venue Lake Kawaguchi during winter.

Be greeted by a view of red Fuji from the guest room
Be greeted by a view of red Fuji from the guest room
Breakfast is tastier with Mt Fuji in view
Breakfast is tastier with Mt Fuji in view
The hotel boasts a view of Mt Fuji
The hotel boasts a view of Mt Fuji
Check out the sunset and sunrise time at the front desk
Check out the sunset and sunrise time at the front desk

Oshino Hakkai
Oshino Hakkai is a natural treasure consisting of eight ponds fed by clear spring from Mt Fuji. You can get great views of Mt Fuji here on a clear day. If luck is on your side, you can see a marvelous image of Mt Fuji reflected on the surface of a pond called Kagamiike. Without a doubt, Oshino Hakkai is the perfect place to encounter the mysterious power of nature.

Oshino Hakkai and Mt Fuji together is photogenic from every angle
Oshino Hakkai and Mt Fuji together is photogenic from every angle

WAttention editors recently visited Hatsushima, the nearest island from Tokyo, on an interview trip. We boarded ile de Vacances Premier from Atami and were amazed by the stunning view of Mt Fuji on the way. Soaring seagulls under the blue skies and clear waters, coupled with Mt Fuji, is as beautiful as a poem. Japanese people always ask for the direction of Mt Fuji when touring an area within the viewing distance of the sacred mountain. This is because Mt Fuji has so many different faces, changing its character every minute.

Setting sail for Hatsushima from Atami
Setting sail for Hatsushima from Atami

Mt Fuji sits serenely in the background as waves break on rocky shores at Hatsushima. This picturesque view can be compared to the Grave Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese artist of the Edo period.

Mt Fuji comes into view on the way to Hatsushima
Mt Fuji comes into view on the way to Hatsushima
Hatsushima also has a nice view of Mt Fuji
Hatsushima also has a nice view of Mt Fuji

Island Resort is an on-island resort with many leisure activities, such as tropical plant viewing, ocean spa, outdoor camping and various adventure courses. Get a cocktail while sunbathing at Asian Garden R-Asia, or experience the rush of adrenaline by walking on SARUTOBI’s six-meter high suspension bridge—an enjoyment suitable for all ages.

Island Resort is an on-island resort with many leisure and entertainment facilities
Island Resort is an on-island resort with many leisure and entertainment facilities
Tropical plants are in full bloom at Asian Garden R-Asia
Tropical plants are in full bloom at Asian Garden R-Asia
Sipping a refreshing cocktail when sunbathing
Sipping a refreshing cocktail when sunbathing
SARUTOBI adventure begins!
SARUTOBI adventure begins!
Experience the thrill of walking on a suspension bridge six meters high
Experience the thrill of walking on a suspension bridge six meters high
Jump from the top and slide to the ground
Jump from the top and slide to the ground

The camping area offers a majestic glimpse of Mt Fuji. Yellow rape flowers, pink cherry blossoms and snow-capped Mt Fuji from a fantastic landscape in early spring. This is the ideal destination for those into glamping activities.

Great view of rape flowers, cherry blossoms and Mt Fuji
Great view of rape flowers, cherry blossoms and Mt Fuji

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

Bonsai Master Kunio Kobayashi

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Besides gardening on a large scale, Bonsai refers to the act of creating miniature potted plants. Since nearly every plant species can be transformed into a Bonsai, you can enjoy beautiful cherry- or plum blossoms during spring, as well as colored leaves in autumn without leaving the house. Bonsai spread a calm and refreshing atmosphere. Japan is the country of pine trees being the most cultivated and traditional one created into a Bonsai. In countries like Spain or Italy, people use olive trees which give a unique touch.

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Originally this specific art of gardening came from China during the 8th century and was called penjing, referring to the special technique of growing dwarf trees in containers. It used to be a task practiced only by the elite of the society, spread throughout China as luxurious and extravagant gifts. This tradition made its way to Japan during the Kamakura period as a religious souvenir. Japanese people used deeper pots, so this kind of gardening was called hachi no ki 鉢の木, the tree in a bowl. It became a hobby practiced by the whole society. With the beginning of the 19th century, the tree was renamed as Bonsai to show the difference between conventional created hachi no ki and carefully grown trees made by people following Chinese art. In the late 19th century, Bonsai made its debut in the west and it is more and more becoming a hobby also among the younger generation.

Bonsai means Life

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Kunio Kobayashi, world-famous’ Bonsai master runs his school and museum in Tokyo’s Edogawa ward. At the age of 28 he dedicated his life to Bonsai and gained the required skills due to self-study. Growing up in a nursery he already was familiar with the beauty of plants and nature, but one encounter set him off his determined path in life. During an exhibition he spotted a Japanese white pine formed as a Bonsai tree. Fascinated by its elegant shape showing life´s dignity, the young Kobayashi decided immediately to start creating such graceful trees himself. “Bonsai is art” and can be described with the three words of individuality (個性 kosei), harmony (調和 chowa) and elegance (品位 hini). It takes years of learning and practice to become a professional Bonsai master. From creating very clear and beautiful Bonsai trees, he changed his style after 40 years to show several aspects of the tree which you have never seen before. “Aji no aru (味のある) Bonsai”, a Bonsai tree transmitting depth and graze. With this new form you directly feel the Japanese culture of wabi-sabi 詫び寂び, the quiet simplicity and subdued refinement.
While scraping off parts of the bark, leaving a stem with just a thin string of life reaching the leaves, the dry wood turns white. This combination of life and death shows the beauty of “Aji no aru Bonsai” and presents you with life energy and a new way of sensing the power of life.

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Left: Clear and beautiful bonsai / Right: Aji no aru bonsai

Kobayashi has more than 200 apprentices and international students studying and following his advice. For already more than 20 years he represents his skills during lectures in over 20 countries around the world. The Bonsai museum offers a special one month program for international followers to learn directly from the master. You will live together with Kobayashi’s family and other apprentices to learn and observe the traditional way of creating Bonsai trees. No need to worry as explanations can be provided in English or Chinese.

The Shunkaen Bonsai Museum was opened 15 years ago and displays over 1,000 Bonsai trees.

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The garden is designed with typical Japanese elements and the museum itself is a Japanese house with tatami-mat flooring and paper sliding doors. One whole room is dedicated to each of the most elegant trees, displayed in the typical tokonoma 床の間, an alcove in the wall of Japanese homes. Since it is a museum, the tokonoma features two steps instead of one. An inscribed kakejiku 掛け軸, a hanging scroll and a viewing stone, called suiseki 水石 create the perfect balance of simplicity to show the Bonsai tree’s most esthetic side.

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While strolling through the garden you have the chance to observe the master and his apprentices during their work and suddenly you have the feeling to be a member of the team.
Get yourself dressed in wonderful kimono and explore the garden or drink a cup of delicious green tea on the porch of the wooden museum which you have prepared yourself during the offered tea ceremony. This museum provides the full set of Japanese cultural experiences in one single place within a breathtaking setting. It is an experience which you should not miss!

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We met Benjamin and Philipp from Germany, wearing beautiful kimono and carrying katana-swords, looking like real samurai from the past. They told us that the Shunkaen Bonsai Museum was the best place they have visited in Japan!

Information:

Shunkaen Bonsai Museum

Hours: 10am – 5pm
Closed: Mon.
Admission: 800 yen including a cup of green tea (adults); 600 yen (students)
Address: 1-29-16 Niihori, Edogawa-ku, 132-0001 Tokyo
Access: 16-min bus ride from Koiwa Station (JR Sobu Line) until Keiyo-guchi bus stop / 7-min bus ride from Mizue Station (Toei-Shinjuku Line) until Keiyo-guchi bus stop

Bonsai Lesson: 3,800yen per person (admission to the garden included)
Tea ceremony: 4,000 yen per person for 30min
Kimono experience: 5,000 yen per person for 30min
Tea ceremony and Kimono experience: 9,000 yen per person for 1hr

Please make a reservation via “Japanese Culture Visit” (Mrs. Ichimi)
Tel: 090-2409-2742
E-mail: [email protected]
URL: http://www.japanese-culture-visit.com/english.html


WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

Image_

Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Spring events in Saitama

Days are becoming warmer and flowers are starting to bloom, this is the perfect time to visit Saitama city and see Japanese traditional crafts and beautiful Spring scenery!

Every March, Saitama city offers several events related to Hina dolls at the town of Iwasuki as well as several places to admire the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

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The town of Iwasuki in Saitama city is particularly known in the Kanto region for their Hina dolls. Lots of events are held before and after Hinamatsuri, or the Doll Festival, celebarted on March the 3rd. One of them is Machikado Hina Meguri, where you can see a beautiful parade of dolls and Taiko drums performances. During the festivities, you will be able to not just see the dolls but also try to make your own, learn to cook the local food and experience real Japanese culture. There are endless activities for you to enjoy.

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Event Information
The 14th Hina Doll Street Festival and the Machikado Hina Meguri
Date: February 25-March12
Place: Shopping streets around the East Exit of Iwatsuki Station.

At the beginning of March, the most popular places to admire the cherry blosoms start preparations to welcome guests. This year’s blooming forecast predicts that the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom around March 25th. Due to it’s proximity to Tokyo, Saitama city offers many beautiful and unique cherry blossom landscapes visited by thousands of people every year.

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Iwatsuki Joshi Park Sakura Festival (About 600 Sakura trees)
Date: April 1-2
Time: 10:00-16:00
Place: Iwatsuki Joshi Park
Cherry Blossoms Night Illumination
Date: Mar. 19-Apr. 9 (subject to changes in cherry blooming times)
Time: 18:00-21:00
Place: Iwatsuki Joshi Park Ayameike Pond

Saitama City’s famous Cherry Blossoms spots

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Omiya Park: About 1,000 cherry trees bloom from late March to early April. They are lit at night when in full bloom.
Access: 20-min walk from JR Omiya St., 10-min walk from Tobu Omiya Koen St. or Kita-Omiya St.

Saitama Stadium 2002
Every year you can admire beautiful cherry trees in full bloom just outside the stadium.
Access: 15-min walk from Urawamisono St.

Shirakami Sanchi – Aomori, Akita

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Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, this expansive wilderness is one of the last remaining untouched beech forest in Japan. Shirakami Sanchi, stretching from Aomori to Akita Prefecture, boasts myriad hiking trails leading to breathtaking, panoramic views, along with waterfalls. Escape the heat from the city during the spring and summer seasons when the area turns green.

Access: 55-min by bus from JR Hirosaki Station
URL: http://www.en-aomori.com/scenery-014.html

Oirase Keiryu – Aomori

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Oirase Keiryu, a picturesque stream flowing from Lake Towada, is representative of Japan’s unique beauty. You will never be bored by the enchanting waterfalls and stunning rocks along the 14-kilometer trek between Lake Towada’s Nenokuchi and Yakeyama. Be it the lush greens of summer or brilliant shades of red in autumn, the gorgeous sight itself is well worth the journey.

Access: 50-min by bus from JR Hachinohe Station to Yakiyama (Nearby lake Towada)
URL: http://towadako.or.jp/towadako-oirase/ (Japanese only)

Oga Peninsula – Akita

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The rugged peninsula, projecting west into the Sea of Japan, is home to the Namahage ogres (demon-like characters) in traditional Japanese folklore. Some of the breathtaking vistas include extensive cliff coastlines, the “Godzilla Rock” and a shrine with a flight of 999 steps, said to be built by the ogres themselves.

Access: The trip from JR Oga Station around the peninsula takes about two hours (excluding sightseeing time).
URL: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/akita/ogahantou.html

Tono – Iwate

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Tono – Iwate

Tono is the place to go and see how people live in beautiful harmony with nature, as Japan’s traditional landscape is perfectly preserved here. With old Japanese farmhouses and unchanged rural landscapes, you can discover ancient traditions and folklore in this countryside village beloved by all Japanese.

Tano-village

Places of Interest

Tono tourism association office
Hours: 8am – 7pm
Adress: 5-8 Shinkoku-cho, Tono-shi, Iwate
Access: Right outside JR Tono Station (Kamaishi Line)
URL: http://www.tonojikan.jp/Several_languages/english/english.html

Sasagawa Nagare – Niigata

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Breathtaking coastline with a beautiful contrast between the clear blue sea and white sand. The strange name “Sasagawa Nagare” roughly translates to “Sasagawa Flow” and is meant to express the waves brushing the coastline and flowing back between the complex rock formations like a mountain stream. You can gaze upon the rocks towering above the coastline from a leisure cruise.

Access: Area around Kuwagawa Station (Uetsu Main Line)
URL: http://www.sasagawanagare.co.jp/ (Japanese only)

Zao – Yamagata, Miyagi

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Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, this expansive wilderness is one of the last remaining untouched beech forest in Japan. Shirakami Sanchi, stretching from Aomori to Akita Prefecture, _boasts myriad hiking trails leading to breathtaking, panoramic views, along with waterfalls. Escape the heat from the city during the spring and summer seasons when the area turns green.

Access: 55-min by bus from JR Hirosaki Station.

Hatsushima, an island full of adventure


A thrilling escapade away from bustling Tokyo


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There is an island off the shore of the city of Atami in Shizuoka prefecture with the rare virtue of combining adrenaline and relaxation. The Hatsushima island adventure starts at the Atamiko port, where visitors ride either the “Ile de Vacance Premier” or “Ile de Vacance III”, the two high-speed vessels that serve the island with departures several times a day. It’s a 30-minute pleasant ride that gives passengers the chance to admire the breathtaking view of Sagami Bay and feed the sea-gulls that try to catch up with the boat.

Hatsushima offers a variety of amazing outdoor activities such as the Asian Garden “R-Asia”, where you can relax in a hammock and admire a great variety of flowers such as daffodils, the bird of paradise flower, and even early cherry blossoms, allowing visitors to Hatsushima to enjoy the quintessential Japanese flower as early as mid-February!. Inside the garden, adrenaline lovers can also join the SARUTOBI experience, an adventure course featuring bridges, webs and ropes hanging from the top of the trees that you have to complete wearing a special harness.

For lunch, there are many restaurants offering a great variety of dining options and seasonal dishes. For example, from February 4th to March 12th, visitors can taste the time limited Donburi Gassen, a delicious bowl of rice with fresh and tasty fish caught by local fishermen. Visitors can also take a relaxing dip in the ocean bath “Shimano-Yu” and admire the breathtaking view at the ocean pool during summer.

At Hatsushima, you can also get a glimpse of majestic Mt. Fuji on a clear day from the top of Hatsushima’s lighthouse or go underwater for scuba diving, spend the night in the camping site, go fishing or visit the local Maritime Museum. You will never run out of things to do.

Two of our WAttention Ninja got the opportunity to experience a full day of adventure at Hatsushima island and this is what they had to say about the trip.

Santiago Basterra

To say that my day at Hatsushima Island Resort was thrilling and exciting would not make it justice, it was so much more! The restaurants had such a friendly atmosphere, small and traditional with top notch food and great attention. The miso was delicious! The Sarutobi adventure was my favorite part though, the first course was exciting and good for people who are not used to obstacle courses. Meanwhile, the second course was amazingly challenging, with the zip-line at the end being the cherry on top of the cake as you celebrate having completed the hardest course! Afterwards, the ocean bath was exceptionally tidy, everything was perfect and the water deliciously warm. Special mention to the sakura in the garden which were already blooming despite the fact that it was only February!
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We took a 30 minute boat ride from Atamiko port to Hatsushima island, and as soon as we arrived, we saw the great variety of restaurants offering Hatsushima’s delicious sea food. We got to try the Donburi Gassen, a special, time limited dish made with shrimp, fresh fish, rice and accompanied with miso soup. We then headed to Hatsushima Island Resort to join the Sarutobi experience. The staff was always there to help us put on our safety gear, and there is also a brief orientation where they explain the dynamic of the activity. After that, we were confronted with two courses, an easy one, where you can test your abilities and then a hard one, only for those who feel comfortable going further. At first, it can be a bit scary because of the height and the difficulty level that increases as you go along, but after a while I felt excited and had an amazing time.

Samuel Estribi

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Sample schedule for a day in Hatsushima Island
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Hatsushima Island

Open: Asian garden “R-Asia” 9am to 4pm (varies according to the season), Sarutobi experience 10am to 5pm, Ocean Bath Shimano-Yu 10am to 9pm, Lighthouse from 9am to 4pm.

Address:(Atamiko Port boarding place) 6-11 Wadahama-Minamicho, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0023. (Hatsushima Island resort) 1113 Kamifuruji-no-yama, Hatsushima, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0004.

Phone: Hatsushima Island resort, PICA Reservation center 0555-30-4580

Price: the Asian garden “R-Asia” is 900 JPY, Sarutobi experience is 1,700 JPY for adults and 1,300 JPY for children, the Ocean Bath Shimano-Yu is 900 JPY for adults and 600 JPY for children, Lighthouse is 200 JPY for adults, free for children and the Atami – Hatsushima round-trip high speed boat is 2,600 JPY for adults and 1,300 for children.

Website: http://www.hatsushima.jp/en/

Access: From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen Kodama for Atami Station and then take the bus bound for Atami Port & Korakuen from Bus Stop #8 (15 min). At Atami Port, get on boat named either “Ile de Vacance Premier” or “Ile de Vacance III” to reach Hatsushima.

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
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・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

Sagamiko Resort, fun comes in many forms

With so much to do at Sagamiko Resort, the fun is guaranteed

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If you ever find yourself undecided or at an impasse with your friends over what to do on weekends, consider this: nobody will have to compromise if you go somewhere that offers something fun for everyone like Sagamiko Resort. Located in Sagamihara city in Kanagawa prefecture, this amusement park is just 50 minutes away from Shinjuku station by train. It offers a variety of attractions divided into different areas. On Pleasure Forest you will find around 30 different attractions including a Ferris Wheel located at the top of a mountain with amazing views of the surrounding area. At Wild Cooking Garden you can make use of the BBQ facilities to enjoy a relaxed meal with friends on a sunny day, and even if it’s raining, you’ll be able to cook your BBQ inside the indoor facilities. And at night, the Illumillion decorations turn the park into a colorful wonderland as six million color light bulbs create a breathtaking landscape.

For people who want to get in touch with nature, Sagamiko offers Paddington Bear™ Campsite, with different kinds of lodging options and everything you might need to enjoy a night outdoors, as well as mountain bicycle courses and one of Kanto area’s largest radio-control car courses.The park also offers the on-site Ururi onsen, with an open-air bath, bedrock bath, a restaurant and resting areas among other facilities.

Three of our WAttention Ninja got the opportunity to experience a full day of fun at Sagamiko Resort and this is what they had to say about the trip.

Kerstin Thies

The first thing that amazed me was the view on the mountains all around the resort. It was a nice alternative to the bustling streets of Shibuya and the tall skyscrapers in Shinjuku. Since we arrived at lunch time, we had a barbecue lunch at the campsite and we even got to try a dutch oven where we cooked a tasty chicken. One of the highlights of the trip was the mirror maze, since it was something I had not done before and made me and my friends laugh a lot. But by far, the most amazing thing was the decorations once it got dark. The whole park was illuminated by pink, red, gold, blue and green lights in all shapes and sizes. There was even a field of glowing flowers and a light show. Soon after watching the show and taking pictures, we went to Ururi onsen. It was my first time in an Onsen and it was a great experience. It felt great to soak in the hot water after being on the move all day. I left Sagamiko Resort with a softer skin and a lot of beautiful pictures and memories.
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We started our day with a delicious BBQ lunch, where we got to test our cooking skills. After our tummies were full, we went on to the attractions. The mazes were a lot of fun, especially the mirror maze. It was challenging and confusing at the same time but we had a lot of fun. We then visited the Ferris wheel which offered an amazing view. As the sun was setting, the “Illumillion” show started and the whole park lit with many beautiful colors, it was such an amazing sight. After a nice walk around the park, our bodies were tired so we decided to go to the onsen. It had many different kinds of baths with different temperatures to fit everyone’s preference. After an hour-long, relaxing bath my skin was very soft and my body felt really good and filled with energy. We then rode a direct bus from the park to Shinjuku, which was very convenient for us. This was an amazing experience, and I made really good memories.

Maren Steine

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Romina Bonilla

I had an amazing day at Sagamiko Resort with my friends. We arrived around lunch time and we headed straight to the BBQ area, where we had a delicious meal and even got to use the dutch oven, which I had never used before. We then spent a few hours enjoying the many attractions that the park has to offer. My favorite one was the Ferris wheel because of the amazing view. At night, I was impressed by the beautiful lights that decorate the park. We also had the chance to soak in the onsen and I was surprised to feel that my skin was very smooth and relaxed. I would definitely like to come back soon, I highly recommend it for anyone looking to have an amazing time!
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Sample schedule for a day in Sagamiko Resort
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Sagamiko Resort

Open: Open daily except Thursdays from 10:00am to 9pm on weekdays and from 9:30am to 9pm on weekends. Operation hours vary according to the season.
Address: 1634 Wakayanagi,Midori-ku,Sagamihara,Kanagawa 252-0175
Phone: 042-685-1111
Website: http://www.sagamiko-resort.jp/(in Japanese)
Access: Get on the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku station bound for Otsuki and get off at Sagamiko station. Then, get on the bus no. 1 bound for Mikage and get off at Pleasure Forest Mae. You can also take a direct bus from Shinjuku bus terminal to Pleasure Forest. (Operates only during Sagamiko Illumillion display season).
Price: Park admission 1,700 JPY for adults, 1,000 JPY for children and 1,000 JPY for pets
Free pass including park admission and unlimited rides to all attractions is 3,900 JPY for adults and 3,100 per children.

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

Miharu Takizakura – Fukushima

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Blossoms cascade like a waterfall from the top of one large benishidare (weeping cherry blossom) tree, leaving a stream of petals on the ground. During its nocturnal light-up period, this sakura is especially beautiful; all will be moved by such a magical sight.


Miharu Takizakura – Fukushima

Hours: 6am – 6pm
Admission: 300 yen (free for junior high students and younger)
Address: Sakurakubo 91, Taki, Miharu-machi, Tamura-gun, Fukushima
Access: 30-min by bus from JR Miharu Station
URL: http://www.tif.ne.jp/lang/en/sightseeing/topic.html?id=41&category=4

Kitakami Tenschochi – Iwate

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About 10,000 sakura (dating back more than 90 years) form a magnificent, 2-km long tunnel along the Kitakami river. Enjoy the intertwined someiyoshino (hybrid sakura), yamazakura (mountain sakura) and yaezakura (double cherry blossom) from the sightseeing carriage at a leisurely pace.

Kitakami Tenschochi – Iwate

Hours: 24/7
Address: Chiwari 10, Tachibana, Kitakami-shi, Iwate
Access: 12-min by bus from JR Kitakami Station, get off at Tenshochi bus stop
URL: http://www.kitakami-kanko.jp/english/events.php?itemid=47

Matsushima Bay – Miyagi

Sakura in Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park and Matsushima

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Saigyo Hoshi, a renowned Japanese poet during the 12th century, expressed his love for cherry blossoms, as evidenced by his famous poem, “let me die under the blossoms in spring”. From Yukari no Koen (Yukari Park) you can see the wonderful contrast of the bursting blossoms of someiyoshino cherry trees with green pine trees and the blue waters of Matsushima Bay, considered to be “one of the Three Views of Japan.”

Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park

Hours: 24/7
Address: Inuta 10-174, Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi
Access: 5-min by car from Matsushima Kaigan Station
URL: http://sendai-travel.jp/places/saigyo-modoshi-no-matsu-park/

Matsushima Bay – Miyagi

Hours: 10am – 4pm
Admission: Between 1000 yen – 1500 yen for a cruise
Address: Chonai 98-1, Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi
Access: 10-min walk from JR Matsushima Kaigan Station
URL: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/miyagi/matusima.html

Nebuta Matsuri

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Nebuta Matsuri Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture
Aug. 2 – 7
Highlight: fireworks festival on the final day

Aomori city comes alive every summer to celebrate the Nebuta festival. Historically the festival functioned as a means of keeping harvesters awake as they worked in the fields gathering rice and other produce. As dusk approaches the parade begins and many floats feature illuminated lanterns with various designs and shapes.

Look for sweets made by locals with plenty of love

Expect a vibrant spring and summer after the long and formidable winter!
Be amazed by Tohoku’s sweets and fruits.

Babahera

The sight of ice cream being sold under colorful parasols on the streets may be reminiscent of tropical countries and seaside resorts, but here in Akita prefecture, the sight of little old ladies selling ice cream on a regular roadside is commonplace.
This ice cream is called Babahera, a specialty of Akita. “Baba” refers to an elderly lady, while “hera” is the spatula that they use to shape the pink (strawberry flavor) and yellow (banana flavor) ice cream into a flower with practiced ease.

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Cherry Parfait

A variety of Yamagata’s delicious cherries top this luxurious parfait. Dig deep to discover the different unique ingredients that make up this multi-layered treat and compare the various cherries. The only time to enjoy this piece of art is during the cherry season, which usually starts in June.

Pilgrimage to the 33 Kannon Buddha Temples


Aizu Culture through the eyes of a pilgrim


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Aizuwakamatsu, or Aizu for short, is a historic castle town known as the “land of the last samurai” in the Aizu district of Fukushima Prefecture in Tohoku. The people of Aizu were people of good faith and had a custom of paying respect to all 33 Kannon Buddha temples in the form of a pilgrimage. More than a tough, ascetic ritual, though, this pilgrimage was for entertainment.
In the Edo period, people would journey to the temples for sightseeing; even now, many people make the pilgrimage with friends. The image of Kannon makes its appearance everywhere, from wonderful temples in the city to the stone Buddhas in the mountains. Follow us on our journey as we visit some of them.

Visit the 33 Kannon Buddha Temples around Aizuwakamatu

Kannon, known as Kuan Yin or Goddess of Mercy to the Chinese, was known to have 33 manifestations. Most of the temples are modest, wooden structures, each dedicated to the various manifestation of Kannon. For example the Eryu-ji temple is dedicated to Juichimen Senju Kannon, the eleven-faced, one-thousand armed Kannon. The massive statue, standing at 8.5 meters high, was carved out of one single tree by Kobo Daishi (Kukai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism, in 808. It is designated as a National Treasure of Japan.

The temple itself was built in 1190. The statue is guarded by 28 Busyu divine generals and the gods of Wind and Thunder. The temple is believed to help visitors to overcome their negative attitude in life.
Another unique temple on the trail is Sazaedo Temple on Iimoriyama Hill, built in 1796 with an extraordinary, 16.5 meters high, three-storey hexagonal structure with a sloping double-helix ramp. Visitors ascend the ramp in a clockwise direction and descend anti-clockwise, thus not retracing any steps in their spiral track. It is an ingenious design.
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Sazaedo

In a forest on a remote mountain in Aizumisato, built in 830 at an altitude of 380 meters high, stands a simple but important rustic wooden temple called Sakudari Kannon Temple that is wedged against a rock face. It is said that Kukai founded this temple and carved its 80 centimeters high principle image, Kubinashi Kannon, which is placed upon an altar in a grotto concealed from public view. Not only is the structure of the temple truly amazing, the view is simply breathtaking.

Sakudari Kannon Temple
Sakudari Kannon Temple
Aizumisato
Aizumisato
Sakudari Kannon Temple
Sakudari Kannon Temple

Road to the Edo Period

The main street of Ouchi-Juku
The main street of Ouchi-Juku
There is a place where you can still enjoy the same experiences as a traveler from long ago: Ouchi-Juku, which lies south of Aizuwakamatsu on an old road called “Aizu Nishikaido.” The village is reminiscent of the old post towns on the ancient trade route in the Edo period; merchants and feudal lords would pass this way to rest and refresh. It is a living museum of old traditional houses with thatched roofs and bustling shops selling food, drinks and souvenirs. Here, you can experience and enjoy how the people of Aizu spent their everyday lives and lived their faith.

Another Japan Heritage

Aizu is a region steeped in samurai culture and natural beauty. One of the many scenic spots here is Lake Inawashiro, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountain ranges. It is a popular place for recreation for the local people, and also serves as the lifeline of the area by providing water for agriculture and hydro-electricity. The building of the canal during the Meiji era lead to the agricultural development of a previously barren land, and is considered a Japanese heritage site.
Lake Inawashiro
Lake Inawashiro
Tsuruga Castle
Tsuruga Castle
Eryuji Temple
Eryuji Temple
Sazaedo
Hours: 8:15am – sundown (April through December), 9am – 4pm (January
through March) Admission: 200 yen (middle and primary school students), 300
yen (university and high school students), 400 yen (adults)
Access: 4-min by
Akabe bus from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, get off at Imoriyama shita.
Sakudari Kannon Temple
Access: 12-min by car from Amaya Station (Aizu Railway Line)
Ouchi-Juku
Access: 15-min by car from Yunokami Onsen Station (Aizu Railway Line)
Lake Inawashiro
Access: Area around Inawashiro Station (Ban-etsu-West Line)
The interior of a local restaurant in Ouchi-juku
The interior of a local restaurant in Ouchi-juku

Japan Heritage
http://www.bunka.go.jp/seisaku/bunkazai/nihon_isan/pdf/nihon_isan_pamphlet_english.pdf

There are two other Japanese Heritage sites in Tohoku.

In this edition, we briefly mentioned “The waterway that cleared the way to the future” (Fukushima Prefecture), and the “Culture honed by Date Masamune” (Miyagi prefecture) inspired by Sengoku warlords, these will be featured in our next publication of WAttention Tohoku 2017 Autumn & Winter Edition.
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Nature and worship “A journey of rebirth”


In The Realm of the Gods at Dewa Sanzan

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In many cultures, mountains often have religious significance and are regarded as abodes of the gods. Tohoku has three holy mountains, known collectively as Dewa Sanzan, that is regarded as one of the most sacred sites in the country. Its landscape is defined by the stunning natural beauty of mystical mountains, volcanic lakes, hot springs and farmlands. This is where the soul of Japan lies in its traditional and religious culture, and where ancient mountain worship is still very much practiced. Against this background, we embarked on an epic journey to trace the footsteps of pilgrims who are followers of Shugendo.

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The Three Mountain Blessings

Shugendo is an ethnic religion influenced by Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism and spiritual faith. Its main purpose is to strengthen the connection between people and nature, reaching enlightenment in this way. Practitioners preach the teaching that “nature is a manifestation of the gods and we should live alongside it with respect.” Mountains and forests have paramount importance in Shugendo. The Dewa Sanzan mountains of Mt Haguro (419m), Mt Gassan (1984m) and Mt Yudono (1504m) are the centres of pilgrimage in the region. The followers, known as Shugenjas or Yamabushi (mountain monks), have been following the rites of worship for the last 1,400 years. Followers embark on long pilgrimages and practice austere feats of physical endurance of natural elements as an ascetic rite of passage to gain spiritual power. We had the privilege of experiencing the immersive ceremony of Shugendo first hand by visiting the three sacred mountains that represents the present, death and rebirth at Mt Haguro, Mt Gassan and Mt Yudono respectively.

Praying in the Official Shinto Style at Mt. Haguro
We arrived at Mt. Haguro as dusk was setting in and, after a short visit to Ideha Museum nearby to get an insight of Shugendo and Dewa Sanzan, we entered the sacred site through the torii, a wooden gateway that is found in all sacred sites in Japan. A long flight of stone steps, known as the Ishi-Dan, led down to an enchanting forest with towering cedar trees along the ancient pilgrim route. The 1.7km trail built in 1648 has 2,446 steps leading to the Sanjin Gosaiden shrine at the summit. There are 33 carvings etched on the steps and it is believed that if you can find all 33, your wishes will come true. As we were pressed for time, we could only follow the sacred path as far as the 600-year-old Goju-no-to, the five-storied pagoda, a recorded national treasure. In the gloom of the forest, the ornate pagoda exuded an air of mysticism that lent to the belief that a deity of the forest lives in it.
The Ishi-Dan, Mt. Haguro
The Ishi-Dan, Mt. Haguro

When we arrived at Sanjin Gosaiden, the main shrine at the summit, we were met by a Yamabushi dressed in his traditional religious garb. He sounded a horagai, a religious conch trumpet, as a welcome and to ward off bad spirits. We were led to the inner sanctum of the shrine. There, a monk dressed in a splendid ceremonial robe with motifs of cranes performed a special ceremony accompanied by a beating taiko drum, followed by space clearing of malevolent energy around us by wafting a pole with white paper strips attached to the end and ringing bells to cleanse the air. He then chanted some mantras in a trance-like voice, which reverberated around the room, sending powerful vibrations into the ambience. We felt blessed and awed as we bowed twice, clapped our hands twice and bowed once again, completing the ritual where we were “spiritually born.”

Sanjin Gosaiden, Mt. Haguro
Sanjin Gosaiden, Mt. Haguro
Shukubo, Mt. Haguro
Shukubo, Mt. Haguro
We stayed the night at a shukubo, a traditional temple lodge owned by a Yamabushi and his wife, who welcomed us graciously by kneeling Japanese style where they sat on the floor with their legs folded behind them. The delightful lodge was immaculately clean and the minimalist décor was the personified tranquility that we badly needed after a long journey. I would highly recommend staying in a shukubo to attain a Zen state of mind. Early next morning, our landlord performed a Shinto ritual prayer to bless us and wished us a safe journey to Mt Gassan and Mt. Yudono.

Stepping to Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono

We headed to Mt. Gassan in howling wind and rain to visit a shrine. The pilgrimage trail was officially closed for the season, but we braved the elements by treading precariously on the path of a slippery, wooden walkway laid across a marshland of dwarf bamboo and grassland.
After twenty minutes’ walk, we reached a small shrine presided by a giant stone rabbit, the guardian of the mountain.

Mt. Yudono
Mt. Yudono
This mountain symbolized the path to death and it was apt that the short journey we took in the inclement weather seemed to convey that message. In the summer, pilgrims could hike to the summit, where the main shrine lies; from there, they could also hike to Mt. Yudono, the last mountain on the holy trail.
Our visit to Mt. Yudono was an epic experience where we were sworn to secrecy by the priest about the ceremony of “rebirth” that we underwent to symbolize being spiritually reborn to start a new journey in life. It is a taboo to divulge the secret of the ritual, but suffice to say that the experience is something I will always remember.

Dewa Sanzan is a pilgrimage, but mere mortals with spiritual interest will find the journey enlightening and soul stirring. Reflecting on my own awesome experience of the religious encounter, I now appreciate why mountains belong to the realms of the gods.

Hagurosan

Access: 40-min by bus from JR Tsuruoka Station, get off at Zuishinmon.
55-min by bus to the summit.
URL:http://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/47/

Gassan

Hours: Closed late September until June
Access: 1h30-min by Shonan-
Kotsu bus from JR Tsuruoka Station to Gassan Hachigome.
URL:ttp://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/48/

Yudonosan

Hours: Closed late September until June Admission: 500 yen
Access: 1h30-min by Shonan-Kotsu bus from JR Tsuruoka Station to
Yudonosan.
URL:http://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/49/

Mountain and sea delicacies that you can’t get in cities

Local dishes you’ve never had before!

Today, restaurant chains are so popular that there seems to be no diversity in the food and experience wherever you go. But this is not true in Tohoku, where food is reflective of local weather conditions and the region’s rich cultural heritage. Prepared to be greeted with an array of unique dishes that you have never heard of nor seen before. Time to challenge your taste buds!

Shark

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Your jaw might drop at the thought of eating shark meat, but in Miyagi prefecture they use every part of this marine mammal. Prepared in a multitude of ways, such as sashimi or shark fin soup, shark meat’s endless possibilities will surprise you.

Tuna Steak

The number one place to find tuna in Aomori prefecture is Fukaura Town, where natsu maguro (summer tuna) is available for a long period every year. This tuna has an exquisite taste both raw and cooked, and is most commonly found as part of a “tuna steak bowl.”

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Hoya (sea squirt)

Hoya looks like it’s part of another animal, but it’s actually a species of its own. The sea squirt is also called “sea pineapple” because of its thorny appearance, but its taste is anything but tropical. Being described as “the flavor of the ocean,” expect a surprising mix of sweet, salty, sour and sharp.

Hokki (surf clam)

The flavor of this ocean critter is said to reach its full potential when lightly cooked. In Miyagi prefecture, the favored way to eat hokki is as hokki meshi, a rice dish with thin slices of hokki.

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Shojin Ryori

This all-vegetarian Buddhist cuisine is part of monks’ daily lives. Buddhism teaches not to hurt any living creature and Shojin Ryori is an extension of that belief. Even so, this cuisine’s menu is not as meager as you might imagine. From pickled and braised wild mountain vegetables to bowls of miso soup with silken tofu, centuries of Shojin Ryori culture in this area has led to a variety of flavorful dishes. Yamagata’s three holy mountains are a famous pilgrimage spot and the abundance of mountain vegetables makes it a top location for experiencing the life of a Buddhist monk.

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Himemasu (landlocked sockeye salmon)

You don’t have to travel to the ocean to find fresh salmon. Himemasu can be found inland, making it a sweetwater fish with a different taste from saltwater salmon. Lake Towada is the top spot for this fish, where it is mainly served as sashimi to bring out its sweetness and soft texture.

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Discover the warmth of Japan’s No.1 rice


Japan’s best rice
from Niigata


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Rice is an essential part of Japanese cuisine. The rice cultivated in Japan (also known as “Japonica rice”) has a rounded, oval shape, is very sticky and features a slight sweetness. After making the effort to come all the way to Japan, don’t you want to sample the most delicious rice available? “Japan’s rice” is said to be produced in Niigata Prefecture so, for Japanese, Niigatamai (Niigata’s rice) is a very attractive brand. If you are familiar with Niigatamai, you’re already well on your way to becoming an advanced Japanese chef!

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WAttention events

Hirosaki Castle – Aomori

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This is one of Japan’s three major sakura spots. The castle, as a backdrop to the flowers, provides the area with a reminiscent image. Not to be missed during full bloom are the flower petals on the castle’s outer moat, resembling a flower carpet. While the castle tower is under renovation this year, the beauty of the sakura stays unchanged.


Hirosaki Castle – Aomori

Hours: 9am – 5pm (paid area, closed from Nov. 24 – Mar. 31)
Admission: 510 yen (adults) and 160 yen (children) for full access to all paid areas
Address: Shimoshirogane-cho 1, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori
Access: 9-min by bus (Konan Dote-machi loop line) from JR Hirosaki Station, get off at Shiyakusho Mae (City Hall) bus stop
URL: http://www.hirosakipark.jp/en/

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Kyushu

Kyushu is located on the southernmost tip of Japan and has a warmer, more tropical climate than the rest of the country. Peppered with lovely beaches, hot springs, and historical spots, this area also prides itself with unique food, festivals and culture.

Okinawa : Spots 1 ~ 9

Quick jump links:

3Nakijin Castle Ruins
End of January to early February
4Nago Central Park
End of January to early February
7Manko Park
End of January to early February

Go to Okinawa list top

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa

Okinawa 1~ 9

 

1Yaese Park (八重瀬公園) in Yaese Town

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Beautiful view of southern Okinawa including cherry blossoms. Light-up of 500 cherry blossom trees during the evening.
Access: About 60min by car from Naha airport
Address: Tomori 1607, Yaese-cho, Shimajiri-gun, 901-0402 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
goryokaku-tower.co.jp

 

2Yaedake Sakura-no-mori Park (八重岳桜の森公園) in Motobu Town

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: 7000 Ryukyu Kanhi cherry blossoms will color the mountain view. Cherry blossom light-up during the evening.
Access: About 120min by car from Naha airport
Address: 921 Namizato, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, 905-0222 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


3Nakijin Castle Ruins (今帰仁城跡) in Nakijin Village

Viewing preiod: End of January to early February
Details: Ocean view including Kanhi cherry blossoms. Light-up during the evening.
Access: About 90min by car from Naha airport
Address: 5101 Imadomari, Nakijin, Kunigami-gun, 905-0428 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com


4Nago Central Park (名護中央公園) in Nago City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details:The entire area has 200,000 cherry blossom trees. Enjoy look at them while walking a 2km long path to the castle.
Access: About 90min by car from Naha airport
Address: 5511 Nago, Nago-shi, 905-0012 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawa-information.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


5Yogi Park (与儀公園) in Naha City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: 400 Hikan cherry blossom trees could be seen along the riverside.
Access: About 20min by car from Naha airport
Address: 1-1-1 Yorimiya, Naha-shi, 902-0076 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp.e.wp.hp.transer.com


6Darumayama Park (だるま山園地) in Kumejima Town

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: You can enjoy Hikan cherry blossoms and beautiful flowers surrounded by the sea.
Access: About 4 hours by ferry from Naha city
Address: Uezu, Kumejima-cho, Shimajiri-gun, 901-3138 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
ritou.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


7Manko Park (漫湖公園) in Naha City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Nice view of a large row of bright pink-colored cherry blossom trees together with a river.
Access: About 10min by car from Naha airport
Address: 3-23-1 Kohagura, Naha-shi, 900-0024 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


8Sueyoshi Park (末吉公園) in Naha City

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Watch Hikan cherry blossoms by hiking through the jungle-like path.
Access: About 20min by car from Naha airport
Address: Shurisueyoshi-cho 1-3-1, Naha-shi, 903-0801 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


9Kunigami Forest Park (国頭村森林公園) in Kunigami Village

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Fantastic view from the top of the hill surrounded by cherry blossoms.
Access: About 120min by car from Naha airport
Address: 1094 Hentona, Kunigami-son, 905-1411 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

Winter Illumination at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture

Not even 2 hours away from Tokyo by train you can watch Japan’s No.1 Illumination Show at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture. 3,5 million warm and sparkling lights will surround you at this spectacular event during the cold days. Enjoy different carefully prepared themes to walk through. This event is divided into three main events:
1. “Collaboration of lights and flowers”  (October 22nd – middle of November);
2. “Flower Parks’ Christmas” (end of November – end of December),
3. “New Year Illumination” (beginning of 2017 – February 5th).

We visited the park in the middle of November and had the chance to see the first event of the season as well as some Christmas elements.

First you will enter a big hall full of flowers and decorations that you can purchase. The flowers and decorations match the current season so during winter you can see hundreds of red shining poinsettias, cute Christmas decorations and many more.

After entering the actual park, you will see booths selling delicious hot amazake (a traditional sweet, non-alcohol drink made from fermented rice). Warm up yourself before exploring the park. Aside from that, several food stands as well as a restaurant with a nice garden view provide local specialties.

Enjoy the compilation of pictures of the most beautiful spots

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Wisteria trees are decorated with thousands of LED lights to enjoy these beautiful flowers even during winter.

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Red roses and water lilies out of LED lights offer beautiful picture spots.

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Take a stroll through the lavender garden with its LED wisteria flowers.

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Flowers placed inside big lanterns out of glass on the pond.

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A Christmas tree made from LED lights, as well as more water lilies.

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The rose garden features hundreds of color-changing LED roses.

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A huge wall with changing themed illuminations, all related to winter and Christmas.

If you liked the pictures, don´t hesitate and plan your next trip to the Ashikaga Flower Park!

Information

Illumination Period: October 22nd – February 5th
Hours: 3:30pm – 9pm (weekends & national holidays until 9:30pm) [closed on December 31st]
Admission: 800yen (adults); 400yen (children)
Address: 607 Hasama-cho, Ashikaga-shi, 329-4216 Tochigi
Access: 13min walk from Tomita Station (JR Ryomo Line) [Take the JR Utsunomiya Line from Ueno Station into Koganei direction and get off at Oyama Station (1h15min; 1,317yen). Change the train and get on the JR Ryomo Line into Takasaki direction until Tomita Station (32min; 583yen).
Tel: 0284-91-4939
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.ashikaga.co.jp

Ninja ID: nene16


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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Tobu Treasure Garden in Tatebayashi (Gunma Prefecture)

The Tobu Treasure Garden located in Gunma Prefecture about 55km away from Tokyo, can be reached within only 1hour from Asakusa Station (Tokyo) and is perfect for a day trip during spring, summer or early autumn. It´s especially popular for its beautiful Rose Garden, the moss phlox flower fields and the Blue Garden.

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The entrance buildings are made out of bricks and resemble an English residence covered in rose bushes.

After entering the park you will be welcomed by a fountain and a small canal which leads you to the Sakura-Tunnel, entangled by hundreds of small pastel pink roses.

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After strolling through the tunnel you are inside the Rose Garden and the English Rose Garden.

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Enjoy looking at many different kinds of roses blooming in dozen of shining colors.

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Relax in the shadows of white roses which bloom during May and June.

The main spot of the park features the pink moss phlox flowers fields.

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Beautiful pink and white moss phlox flowers in front of blooming cherry blossoms. (Please refer to the image of the pamphlet ;D)

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The next path leads you to the Brilliant Garden which features many colorful flowers arranged to a nice pattern. The lavender blue is one of the main colors for this theme.

 

 

Take a break in the Victorian House and enjoy some delicious food, buy souvenirs at Koruri’s or purchase original Treasure Garden goods at Mary´s Room.

Besides taking a visit to the park, you can also knot the tie with your beloved one in the chapel next to the park. You can book the full wedding-service and enjoy your special day surrounded by nature in the middle of a beautiful garden ambience.

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The St. Peter & Paul Church was built and based on an original church from England and offers the best and most unique wedding location in this area.

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A big rose window, typical curch stained glass windows, a pipe organ, pews and much more will let you experience a typical proper western wedding ceremony.

Tobu Treasure Garden Info:
Hours & Admission for 2017:
☆Moss phlox Festival: March 25th (Saturday) – May 7th (Sunday); 9am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 600yen – 1000yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 200yen – 400yen (primary school students)
☆Rose & Garden Festival: May 8th (Monday) – June 30th (Friday); 9am – 5pm (las entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 1000yen – 1800yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 400yen – 800yen (primary school students)
☆Autumn Rose & Garden Festival: Early October – Early November; 10am – 4:30pm (last entry 4pm)
Admission: 800yen – 1000yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 200yen – 400yen (primary school students)
・July – September & Middle November – March closed due to maintenance
Address: 1050 Horikou-cho, Tatebayashi-shi, 374-0033 Gunma
Access: 15min walk from Morinji-mae Station (Tobu Isesaki Line) – 80min from Asakusa Station (Tokyo) station; 10min taxi ride from Tatebayashi Station (Tobu Isesaki Line) – 60min from Asakusa Station (Tokyo)
Tel: 0276-55-0750
URL: http://treasuregarden.jp/en/

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WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

WATTENTION AUTUMN TRIP REPORT

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Never underestimate Japan.

It’s a mistake to confine yourself to the sprawling, labyrinth-esque borders of Tokyo on a visit to Japan. The incessant gleam of neon lights has a sedative effect that easily, and willingly, captures travelers, but make no mistake; as electrifying as the bustle is, it can nevertheless act as a prison as well. To spend a vacation enjoying the Tokyo mirages, without escaping to the other prefectures surrounding Japan’s capital city, would leave a visitor undeniably, and yet naively, happy. People just are not aware of the quiet and unassuming magnificence of the lesser known areas Japan has to offer.

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Just a few short weeks ago, I myself was one of them. Naturally, traveling to other areas in Japan was on my itinerary. Of course I would visit Kyoto. Of course I couldn’t leave Japan without setting my sights on Fuji. It would be criminal to have lived in a country as alien to America without having a first-hand encounter with a ryoukan, a traditional style of housing, akin to a bed-and-breakfast.

T. Bondさん(@james.blonde8)が投稿した写真

These are the places in Japan to escape Japan, the kind of safe haven that is pure without the crowds of tourists seen pulsating like a hive in Tokyo or Kyoto. Each prefecture surrounding Tokyo, while not distinctly well-known on their own, possess an unbelievable amount of charm and splendor that make traveling there well worth it. With mountains, beaches, waterfalls, and anything a traveler’s heart can desire, these areas on the outskirts of Tokyo are a dream simply waiting to be explored.

Ninja ID: james.blonde8

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

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Enclosed by the Japanese Alps, (an embarrassing moniker according to the local tour guide, as he directs our focus to back to the manicured vineyards of Koshu grapes and the glimpses of Mt. Fuji in the distance) Yamanashi can be accessed easily from Tokyo, and yet traveling there seems worlds away. The air is crisp, chilled by the high altitude, and the only haze comes from the thin trails of fog still crawling in the mid-morning atmosphere. Yamanashi is a prefecture that at gives the impression of a safe-haven that has remained pure and natural. It bears fruit in a variety of seasons, attracting visitors who desire to pick their own harvest. It has a variety of waterfalls, such as the Ootaki Waterfall near Kofu City, gorges, and onsen, and wildlife as varied as bears and boar.

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Seeing Fuji is indescribable. Like some fictitious beast breaching through the clouds, Fuji-san is unavoidable and commands all attention. Our group stayed at the viewing point, on the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, for over an hour, watching in a trance-like awe as the sun set behind the mountains. Around the area, there are many sites and experiences based upon Fuji. Iconic locations, such as Chureito Pagoda, while originally intended to honor the souls lost in WWII, have reached notoriety for having picturesque views of Fuji on a clear day. While the clouds covered Fuji on the morning we went, the sight was nonetheless impressive.

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Even the air itself in the Minami-Izu Peninsula is saturated by the ocean; warm sea-breezes, soured with the taste of salt, course through the fields of pampas grass lining the shore, tossing back hair and loose hats alike. This power is strong enough to be harnessed as energy, and so even the views from Mt. Omoro are littered with wind turbines that, oddly enough, seem to fit in with the landscape. From the summit, seven surrounding islands, such as Ooshima, can be seen on a clear day. Known for their tangerines, the entirety of the area possesses a still excitement, like the charged energy that foretells a storm.

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Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

While in Japan, there are a seemingly unlimited amount of temples and shrines to visit; the Inozaki Cape, though small, offers stunning views and a peaceful solitude that comes from the alienating intensity of the wind. A trip to the Ishimuro-jinja there oddly begins to mimic “Jurassic Park.” The path down is covered by an expansive, leafy overpass that winds past weathered buildings long since abandoned; it is all too easy to imagine that one of the large spiders stretched across the high branches preying upon a visitor who strays too far from the route. To fully experience the site, visitors much trek down a steep staircase and walk out across the ocean to a lone-standing rock; from there, surrounded on every side by infinite views of the sea, and separated from others by a noise-stealing sea breeze, it feels as if you are on the edge of the earth.

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This area also boasts the opportunity to onsen on the beach. The beach, already the epitome of relaxation, is close enough to natural hot springs that visitors can enjoy submerging themselves in the hot water while enjoying ocean views. The beaches in Minami-Izu are worth spending hours experiencing, and while locals may know of their existence, many visitors are completely unaware of what they might be missing out on. Green cliffs, such as the ones seen in Cape Aiai in Yusuge Park, that jut off the coasts are incredible to see, but especially incredible to view at sunrise or sunset.

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

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Yokohama is the haven in Kanagawa prefecture that Tokyo citizens often escape to for a day-trip when their everyday life becomes overwhelming. The port city, located only a mere 45 minutes from Tokyo’s city center by train, boasts a variety of activities, sightseeing opportunities, and nightlife for any visitor to enjoy. In Minato-mirai, right along the water’s edge, visitors can easily walk from the Cup Noodle Museum to the Cosmo World amusement park to the Red Brick Warehouse shopping center, all within a few minutes of each other.

Yokohama’s Chinatown is impeccably clean, yet still retains the vibrancy that comes with vendors calling out their fares and the sight of various types of meats hanging bare in the windows. While undoubtably impressive during the day time as well, the neon landscape of Chinatown after the sun goes down is something that should not be missed.

T. Bondさん(@james.blonde8)が投稿した写真

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

Of course, no trip to Japan would be complete without spending time in Tokyo. In actuality, there is never enough time a person could spend in Japan’s capital city to let them do and see everything; the city, brimming with its own unique wards and sections, could take weeks, or even years, to successfully navigate in its entirety. For instance, the stark contrast between a modern, eccentric area such as Harajuku, a mecca for pop fashion and desserts as sugary as the clothes people wear, and a traditional relic such as Asakusa, which is supported by the ancient frames of the old market that gives visitors a taste of what life in Tokyo might have been like in the past, gives visitors a full spectrum of Japanese flavor. While the connotation that goes alongside with the Tokyo name might not include a rich historical background, the market area of Asakusa, which has an expansive layout of outdoor stalls that direct traffic towards an ancient temple, is among Japan’s finest. Here, guests can enjoy a rickshaw ride or sample local flavors, all while experiencing a view of the SkyTree as well.

On your next trip to the Tokyo-area, don’t confine yourself to only the hypnotic energy of Shinjuku or Shibuya; while exciting, Japan has more to offer than only these experiences. Without ever straying too far from Japan’s capital, visitors can travel to warm beaches, onsen mountain retreats, vineyards, and almost anything else imaginable. Make the move to explore the Japan less traveled, and I guarantee you, you will never regret it.

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WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Taylor Bond
Taylor Bond is a freelance writer and photographer. By day, she writes, but by night, she visits as many tabehodai restaurants as she can find. Despite what her visa says, her true ambition in Japan is to become a professional eater.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo

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Get into the right mood for Christmas as you take in the decorations and have your fill of festive food and drinks as these spots in and around Tokyo are transformed into magical Christmas wonderlands.


1Tokyo Christmas Market – Hibiya Park

The Christmas Market in the Hibiya Park resembles the traditional German one the most. Last year a 14m high Christmas pyramid was imported from Germany to add to the traditional cozy atmosphere. Enjoy typical German dishes, hot wine and chocolate, art crafts as well as live performances with guests from Germany.

Date: December 16th (Friday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 10pm
Place: Hibiya Park – Water fountain area
Admission: free
Access: 1min walk from Hibiya Station – Exit A14 (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line); 5min walk from Kasumigaseki Station – Exit B2 (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line); 5min walk from Uchisaiwaicho Station – Exit A7 (Toei Mita Line); 20min walk from JR Tokyo Station – Marinouchi Exit; 10min walk from Yurakucho Station (Hibiya Exit)
Address: Chiyoda-ku, 100-0012 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
gardenplace.jp


2Christmas Marché – Yebisu Garden Place

This Christmas market leans on the typical Christmas market from France and provides hot mulled wine, typical dishes, seasonal crafts and decorations. As a highlight you can even buy items and Christmas themed clothes for your dog. A giant Christmas tree is set up right next to the stalls and sparkling illuminations provide the right mood.

Date: November 5th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 12:00 – 8pm
Place: Yebisu Garden Place – clock square
Admission: free
Access: Access: 5min walk from JR Ebisu Station (East Exit) via the “Yebisu Skywalk”
Address: 4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, 150-6018 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★★
gardenplace.jp

Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo


53rd World Christmas Festival

The 3rd World Christmas Festival in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park provides Christmas food, drinks and music from all around the world. Dance performances are held as well!

Date: December 24th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 6pm
Place: Yoyogi Park – Event space
Admission: free
Access: 3min walk from Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line) or Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda Line), a 3min walk from Meiji-Jingu-mae Station (Chiyoda Line or Fukutoshin Line), or a 6min walk from Yoyogi-Hachiman Station (Odakyu Line)
Address: Yoyogi Kamizono-cho 2-1, Shibuya-ku, 151-0052 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
yoyogipark.info


6Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market

This authentic Christmas market sells traditional German dishes like schnitzel, sausages, gulasch, stolen cakes, mulled wine, beer and much more. Also traditional decorations and wooden dolls directly from the Erzgebirge in Germany are on sale. The highlight of the market will be the huge Christmas tree which provides the perfect atmosphere for a cozy evening.

Date: November 26th (Saturday– December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 10pm
Place: Red Brick Warehouse
Admission: free
Access: 10min walk from Bashamichi Station (Minatomirai Line)
Address: 1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, 231-0001 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★★
yokohama-akarenga.jp

Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo


3Roppongi Hills Christmas Market

This year is the 10th anniversary of Roppongi Hills’ Christmas Market. It´s based on the biggest Christmas market located in Stuttgart, Germany and features a total of 11 stores lining up under the “O-Yane Plaza” and offer a lot of traditional Christmas decorations, like Christmas pyramids, Christmas tree decorations and many more. Mulled wine and sausages add to the typical German Christmas flair.

Date: November 26th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 9pm (Friday, Saturday and the day before a public holiday open until 10pm)
Place: O-Yane Plaza
Admission: free
Access:
Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line) Exit 1C (direct access)
Roppongi Station (Toei Oedo Line) Exit 3 (4min walk)
Azabu Juban Station (Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line) Exit 4 (8min walk)
Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line) Exit 5 (10min walk)
Address: 6-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, 106-6108 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
roppongihills.com


4Tokyo Midtown Marché de Noël

©Tokyo Midtown Management Co., Ltd.

Tokyo Midtown’s Christmas market is located on the first basement floor of the Galleria shopping center. You can purchase tableware, gifts, cards and much more with beautiful Christmas prints and designs. After shopping, go out and enjoy the beautiful illumination show in the starlight garden.

Date: November 15th (Tuesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 9pm (December 22nd (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday) open until 10pm)
Place: Tokyo Midtown – Galleria B1 – In front of DEAN&DELUCA
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line; Toei Oedo Line); 6min walk from Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, 107-0052 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tokyo-midtown.com

Kapibara-san theme Café at Tokyu Plaza Omotesando

Another limited-time café came to Tokyo in the beginning of November and enchants its guests with cute dishes featuring Kapibara-san a fluffy capybara and his friends.

Located on the 5th floor of Tokyu Plaza’s Omotesando Building, the Tokyu Hands Café is holding a special collaboration event with a carefully made menu featuring cute dishes in the shape of Kapibara-san.

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The place is nicely decorated with panels and stuffed animals, …

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…as well as cute welcome messages at the entrance.

The collaboration menu covers two main dishes, one dessert and two different drinks. Of course you can also choose out of the normal menu.

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We decided for the Teriyaki-Chicken Sandwich plate (1,380 yen including tax), the apple pancakes (1,280 yen including tax) and the Marshmallow Latte (700 yen including tax).

Everything was really delicious and carefully decorated!

After enjoying your meal how about spending a relaxed evening at the Starbucks Terrace on the 6th floor and view the illuminations and the sunset over Shibuya?

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Information

Date: November 1st (Tuesday) until November 30th (Wednesday)
Hours: 11am – 9pm (L.O. 8:30pm)
Tel: 03-3478-0717
Access: 4min walk from Harajuku Station – Omotesando Exit (JR Yamanote Line); 1min walk from Meiji Jingumae Station Exit 5 (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin Line); 7min walk from Omotesando Station Exit A2 (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon Line, Ginza Line)
Address: Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku 5F, 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 150-0001 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tokyu-hands.co.jp

Ninja ID: nene16


WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo

 

15Yomiuri Land Jewellumination

The whole theme park is covered in beautiful colorful lights and makes a normal visit even more special.

Date: October 14th (Friday) – February 19th (Sunday); Park is closed on January 17th (Tuesday) – 19th (Thursday) and January 24th (Tuesday) – 26th (Thursday)
Hours: 4pm – 8:30pm (December 17th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday) until 9pm)
Place: Yomiuriland
Admission: 1,800Yen (adults), 1,500Yen (junior-high and high-school students), 1,000Yen (children)
Access: 5-10min ride with the Sky-Shuttle gondola or 5min Odakyu-Bus ride from Keio Yomiuri Land Station (Keio Sagamihara Line)
Address: 4-4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi-shi, 206-8725 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
yomiuriland.com


WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


13Venus Fort Christmas Projection Mapping “FROZEN VENUSFORT”

This year’s projection mapping features the popular Disney movie “Frozen”. Creative company NAKED Inc. created a spectacular show which you can only enjoy at Venus Fort. Music and illumination takes you into another world where you will feel like a character directly popped out of a fairy tale. The Venus Fort is a shopping center designed in the style of an old cityscape of the Middle Ages.

Date: November 3rd (Thursday) – middle of march / The show “Melting Story” around the water fountain takes place on November 3rd, 5th , 12th, 13th , 19th, 20th , 23rd , 26th and 27th ; in December on the 3rd, 4th, 10th , 11th ,17th , 18th , 21st , 22nd , 23rd , 24th and 25th.
Hours: “Melting Story”: 11:30am / 12:30 / 1:30pm / 3:30pm / 5:30pm / 7:30pm
Place: Venus Fort
Admission: free
Access: 3min walk from Aomi Station (Yurikamome Line) or Tokyo Teleport Station (JR Rinkai Line)
Address: 1-3-15 Aomi, Koto-ku, 135-0064 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
venusfort.co


14Showa Memorial Park “Winter Vista Illumination”

The area between the Tachikawa-entrance gate and the Fureai open space is covered in sparkling warm lights. Showa Memorial Park illumination theme changes every year. This year’s highlight will be a champagne glass tower made out of 15,000 glasses and located in the middle of the canal area located in the entrance of the park. You can enjoy a magical world of lights, featuring the light-up of the parks symbol, the big water fountain, and the alley.

Date: December 3rd (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 5pm – 9pm (admission until 8:50pm)
Place: Between the Tachikawa-entrance gate and the Fureai open space area
Admission: 410 yen (adults); 80 yen (primary – and middle – school students); free for children; 210 yen (over 65 years old)
Access: 15min walk from Tachikawa Station
Address: 3173 Midori-cho, Tachikawa-shi, 190-0014 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
sp.jorudan.co.jp

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


11Meguro River Minna no Illumination

Gotanda Fureai Waterside Square and the cherry trees along Meguro river will be decorated with light pink LED lights to create the image of blooming Sakura – Cherry blossoms during winter. The electricity used for this event will be extracted from edible oil which comes directly from restaurants and citizens living in this area.
Date: November 18th (Friday) – January 9th (Monday)
Hours: 5pm – 10pm
Place: Gotanda Fureai Mizube Hiroba and along Meguro river
Admission: free
Access: 6min walk from Osaki Station (JR Saikyo Line, JR Yamanote Line, JR Shonen-Shinjuku Line) or Gotanda Station (JR Yamanote Line; Toei Asakusa Line; Tokyu Ikegami Line)
Address: 2-9 Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, 141-0022 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
minna-no-illumi.com


12DECKS Tokyo Beach Illumination “YAKEI” in Odaiba

This all year-around Illumination takes place around Odaiba’s Shopping mall “The Decks” and offers the best view of Tokyo Bay, including the Rainbow Bridge, as well as Tokyo Tower. About 40 trees are decorated with LED lights, one 20m high tree sparkles in all colors and the first 360° Projection-Mapping tunnel, the “Illusion Dome” shows you another world.

Date: all around the year
Hours: sunset – 24:00
Place: Decks Tokyo, Seaside Deck 3F
Admission: free
Access: 2min walk from Odaiba-Kaihinkoen (Yurikamome Line); 8min walk from Tokyo Teleport Station (JR Rinkai Line)
Address: Seaside Deck, Decks Tokyo Beach 3F, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, 135-0091 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
odaiba-decks.com

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


9Omotesando Hills

The trees of the wide sidewalks of Omotesando are decorated with warm lights to make your shopping adventure even more special and luxurious during Christmas season. Don´t forget to pop into Omotesando Hills’ and enjoy their beautiful Christmas decoration. Due to Omotesando Hills’ 10th anniversary a sparkling 10m high Christmas-star-tree will be set up. The theme “Find your stars – A starry Christmas” features 15,000 LED lights and mirror balls reflecting and producing the twinkling and shooting stars.

Date: November 9th (Wednesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 11pm
Place: Omotesando Hills
Admission: free
Access:
Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon Line) Exit A2 (2min walk)
Meijijingu-mae (Harajuku) Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin Line) Exit 5 (3min walk)
Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line) Omotesando Exit (7min walk)
Address: 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 150-0001 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
omotesandohills.com


10Ebisu Garden Place

Ebisu Garden Place features two illumination events, the “Baccarat Eternal Lights” shows a 8,4m tall and 4,6m wide crystal chandelier and the usual illumination event with its huge Christmas tree decorated with French ornaments.
Date: November 5th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Place: Ebisu Garden Place
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from JR Ebisu Station (East Exit) via the “Yebisu Skywalk”
Address: 4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, 150-6018 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
gardenplace.jp

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


7Tokyo Tower – Winter Fantasy ~ONE PIECE Snow Dome Illumination~

Beside the yearly illumination and the light-up of the tower, this year’s special illumination collaborated with Tokyo Towers One Piece Tower and created a huge Snow Dome which features one of the episodes of the popular anime One Piece called “The miracle Sakura which blooms during winter”.

Date: November 3rd (Thursday) – February 28th (Tuesday)
Hours: Snow Dome Show: every full hour between 1pm – 10pm for 5min; Illumination: 4pm – 11pm
Place: Tokyo Tower (Shiba-Park), in front of the entrance
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from Akabanebashi Station
Address: 4-2-8 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, 105-0011 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
onepiecetower.tokyo


8Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

The 888m long Shinjuku Terrace sparkles in warm Christmas lights, featuring 300 Christmas ball ornaments and 235,000 LED lights.

Date: November 9th (Thursday) – February 14th (Tuesday)
Hours: 5pm – 24:00
Place: Shinjuku Terrace City (Within the HALC building (Shinjuku Station west-exit); Odakyu Ace building; within the Shinjuku – My Lord shopping mall; Odakyu Department Store; My Lord Mosaic Street; Shinjuku Southern Terrace; Flags)
Admission: free
Access: Shinjuku Station (South- and West-Exit)
Address: 1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0023 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
odakyu.jp

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


5Roppongi Hills – Artelligent Christmas – Keyakizaka Galaxy Illumination

The main illumination takes place along Keyaki slope on the Azabu side of Roppongi Hills. The illumination covers two themes, the “Snow and Blue” one and the “Candle and Amber” one. 1,200,000 LED’s turn that place into a romantic illumination spot including a view of Tokyo Tower. Beside this illuminated street, you can also enjoy the Christmas Market inside of Roppongi Hills, featuring German decorations and traditional food.

Date: November 14th (Monday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 5pm – 11pm
Place: Roppongi Hills
Admission: free
Access:
Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line) Exit 1C (direct access)
Roppongi Station (Toei Oedo Line) Exit 3 (4min walk)
Azabu Juban Station (Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line) Exit 4 (8min walk)
Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line) Exit 5 (10min walk)
Address: 6 Roppongi, Minato-ku, 106-0032 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
roppongihills.com


6Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination

With the 150th year of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy, this year’s theme for Tokyo Dome City’s Winter Illumination features the Italian folklore of Befana, an old woman delivering candy and chocolates to children throughout Italy in the night of January 5th, the Epiphany Eve. Besides that, the official title of the event “Fall in love ♡ Italy” describes the different love-powerspots of Italy which attract many customers from all over the world. This theme will take place at the Tokyo Dome Area.

Date: November 10th (Thursday) – February 19th (Sunday)
Hours: 4pm – 1am
Place: Tokyo Dome City
Admission: free
Access: 1min walk from Korakuen Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line); 5min walk from Suidobashi Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line; Toei Mita Line)
Address: 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, 112-0004 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
tokyo-dome.co.jp

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


3Marunouchi Bright Christmas – The marvelous story of “The Nutcracker”

The main event takes place at the Marunouchi-Building and features a 15m high and 65m wide Christmas theater. The theater begins above the walkway of the 3rd floor along the window wall, which will act as the screen for the Projection Mapping “The Nutcracker”.
On the 1st floor of the Marunouchi-Building, a 7m high Christmas tree with the images of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince will be prepared. Within the Marunouchi area many more attractions featuring this story are set up. Also a Christmas market and illuminated streets transform this area into a magical Christmas world.

Date: November 10th (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Place: Marunouchi Building, New-Marunouchi Building, Marunouchi Brick Square, etc.
Admission: free
Access: 1min walk from Tokyo Station (Marunouchi South Exit); 4min walk from Tokyo Station (JR Keiyo Line); direct access from Tokyo Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line); direct access from Nijubashi-mae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line); 3min walk from Otemachi Station (Toei Mita Line); 8min walk from Yurakucho Station (JR Yamanote Line; JR Keihin-Tohoku Line; Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
Address: Marunouchi Building, 2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, 100-6390 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
marunouchi.com


4Tokyo Midtown Illumination – Starlight Garden, Starlight Road and Tree-Illumination

The Starlight Garden which is located in the Midtown Park Square is the main spot of this event and features up to 180,000 LED lights. With its blue and white sparkling lights it represents the image of the cosmos and attracts a lot of guests every year. This year’s highlight contains four spotlights reaching up to 100m.
As a memento of this romantic event, a special Illumination Photo Service will capture your photograph in front of the Starlight Garden. It´s a limited service between 23rd November (Wednesday) and December 18th (Sunday) only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 6pm to 8pm. (The taken photograph can be purchased online for 1,080 Yen)
Between November 26th (Saturday) and December 18th (Sunday) on Weekends at 1:30pm, 3pm and 4:30pm for 30min each, you can enjoy Christmas classical live performances within the Galleria building.

Date: November 15th (Tuesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 5pm – 11pm
Place: Tokyo Midtown
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line; Toei Oedo Line); 6min walk from Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, 107-0052 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
tokyo-midtown.com

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo

1~ 15

While many people come to Japan in spring and autumn, winter in Tokyo is made special with the many illumination lights on display throughout the season. WAttention presents you with the top spots in Tokyo to enjoy these romantic and fabulous spectacles.

(Click on the markers on the map below to preview and get the quick jump link to each spot.)


1Caretta Illumination

This is one of the top Illumination spots in Tokyo and attracts thousands of light-up lovers every year. The theme of this year’s show is called “Canyon d’Azur ~Blue mystical forest” and features about 270,000 LED lights. The show takes place in a time interval of 20minutes starting at 5pm.

Date: November 17th – February 14th (closed on January 1st and 2nd)
Hours: 5pm – 11pm (January & February 2017; 6pm – 11pm)
Place: Caretta Shiodome
Admission: free
Access: 2min walk from Shiodome Station (Toei Oedo Line; Yurikamome); 7min walk from Shimbashi Station
Address: 1-8-2 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, 105-7090 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
dreamchristmas2016.jp


2Tokyo Skytree Town – Dream Christmas

Around the Skytree, a Christmas market will be set up with typical German decoration, food and a big Christmas tree. While strolling around the Christmas market, you can enjoy a special made projection mapping, as well as beautiful illuminated decorations made out of 350,000 LED lights.

Date: Illumination: November 10th (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday); (Illuminations until March 5th (Sunday) / Projection Mapping: December 10th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday); Between 5:30pm and 8pm all 30min / Ice Skating Park: December 10th (Saturday) – March 5th (Sunday); 11am~
Place: Tokyo Skytree
Admission: free
Access: 20min walk from Asakusa Station, Direct access from Tokyo Skytree Station (Tobu Skytree Line); Direct access from Oshiage Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, 131-0045 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
dreamchristmas2016.jp

Ninja ID: nene16

Autumn Foliage Hunting in Hanno, Saitama!

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Wanna go hiking in the golden season of autumn leaves? There is no lack of such hiking routes in suburban Tokyo! To show you what Tokyo has on offer, students from the graduate school of tourism in Rikkyo University took a Seibu Railway train to Hanno in Saitama prefecture (adjacent to Tokyo). Our trip features not only autumn leaves, hiking, and onsen, but also surprises for anime fans!

Anime pilgrimage: Yama no Susume

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Speaking of anime pilgrimages in Saitama, the top destination might be Chichibu, which is the place featured in “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day”. While in Hanno, the talk of the town is “Yama no Susume”.

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Hanno Ginza shopping street

Departing from Hanno Station, we walked through the main shopping street and arrived at Kannon Temple, one of the locations featured in “Yama no Susume”. Be sure to check out those “Emas” (small wooden plaque on which worshippers write their wishes) and a distinctive statue of a white elephant featured in the anime. Take a group photo and see how it compares with the scene in the anime!

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(C )しろ/アース・スターエンタテイメント/「ヤマノススメ」製作委員会

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Ascending Mt. Tenran for its panoramic views and autumn foliage

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Mt. Tenran (a small mountain at about 200 meters above sea level) and Noninji Temple are famous for their autumn leaves, especially when the leaves are expected to be in full glory from the end of November. Though we were here a bit earlier (first weekend of November), we still had a whole lot of fun taking loads of pictures!

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An easy autumn hiking trip to Lake Miyazawa

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Departing from Mt. Tenran, we continued our casual hiking trip to Lake Miyazawa. The air was refreshing and the forest a perfect location for taking pictures. It took us about 90 minutes to get to the lakeshore. Shall we rent a boat and fish on the lake, or take a walk along the lakeshore path? Well, taking a soothing hot spring bath maybe the first priority!

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Reminder:

  1. Get some food around Hanno Station or refuel halfway in the super market near the Seibu Railway elevated tracks.
  2. Though this hiking route is beginner-friendly, there are some up-hills and down-hills that may become slippery after raining.

Enjoy a lakeside hot spring bath

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Our last stop is Lake Miyazawa Onsen “Kirari”, a hot spring facility boasting lake views from both the open-air hot spring bathhouse and the restaurant. After refreshing our mind and body with a soothing hot spring bath and a good meal, we hopped on a bus and returned to Hanno Station. What a perfect day!

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How do you like our trip? For those interested in walking and hiking, do check out Seibu’s pamphlet for various hiking trips departing from stations of Seibu Railway. Hope it will be helpful during your next trip to Japan!

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Lake Miyazawa Onsen “Kirari”
Hours: 9:00~24:00
Admission: from 1,000 yen (towel included)
Website: click here (Japanese)

Other useful information

Hiking route and map from Hanno Station: click here (Japanese)

Bus Schedule from Lake Miyazawa to Hanno Station (bus departs every an hour or so, takes about 10 minutes and the fare is 180 yen)

Seibu Railway Walking & Hiking Pamphlet (online version)

**For more information about tourist attractions along the Seibu Railway lines, check out Seibu Railway’s English website and facebook page!

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka

Osaka 30~ 38

 

30Katsuo-ji (勝尾寺) in Minoo

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: Mo – Fr 8am – 5pm; Sat 8am-5:30pm; Sun & holidays 8am – 6pm
Access: 20min bus ride from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line) until Katsuo-ji; 30min bus ride from Senri-Chuo Station (Kita-Osaka Kyuko Railway Namboku Line, Osaka Monorail Main Line) into Hokusetsu-Reien direction until Katsuo-ji
Address: 2914-1 Aomatani, Minoo-shi, 562-0021 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
minohfalls.com

 

31Minoo Falls (箕面大滝) in Minoo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Recommended Spots: Hitome Senbon
Access: 40min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: Minoo Park, Minoo-shi, 562-0002 Osaka

Ranking: ★★★★☆
minohfalls.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


32Saiko-ji Temple (西江寺) in Minoo

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 5min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: 2-5-27 Minoo, Minoo-shi, 562-0001 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp


33Ryuan-ji Temple (瀧安寺) in Minoo

A photo posted by lemonlime (@lemonlime0828) on

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: 15min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: 2-23 Minoo Koen, Minoo-shi, 562-0002 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osaka-info.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


34Sefuku-ji Temple (施福寺) in Izumi

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: March – November 8am – 5pm ; December – February 8am-4pm
Access: Nankai-Bus ride from Izumi-Fuchu Station (JR Hanwa Line) until Makio Chugakko-mae. Change into the Orange bus until Makio-san (35min walk)
Address: 136 Makiosan-cho, Izumi-shi, 594-1131 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


35Matsuo-ji Temple (松尾寺) in Izumi

A photo posted by uripon_uriuri (@uripon_uriuri) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Access: Nankai-Bus ride from Izumi-Chuo Station (Semboku Rapid Railway) until Matsuo-dera (10min walk)
Address: 2168 Matsuoji-cho, Izumi-shi, 594-1154 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
osaka-info.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


36Kyuan-ji Temple (久安寺) in Ikeda

A photo posted by Rina (@rinana.o) on

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: Bus from Ikeda Station (Hankyu Takarazuka Main Line) until Kyuan-ji (direct access)
Address: 697 Fushio-cho, Ikeda-shi, 563-0011 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osaka-info.jp


37Mount Ushitaki (牛滝山) in Kishiwada

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Daiitoku-ji Temple
Event: Ushitakiyama Autumn Color Festival
Date: November 23rd (Wednesday)
Details: Tempura and local alcoholic beverages are on sale, lottery with exclusive prizes
Access: 50min Nankai-Bus ride from Kishiwada Station (Nankai Main Line) until Ushitakiyama (direct access); 40min Nankai-Bus ride from Kumeda Station (JR Hanwa Line) until Ushitakiyama (direct access)
Address: 1178-1 Osawa-cho, Kishiwada-shi, 596-0114 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


38Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園) in Osaka

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the Beginning of December
Access: Direct Access from JR Osaka-jo Koen Station and JR Morinomiya Station, as well as Subway Station Morinomiya Station and Tanimachi Yonchome Station
Address: 3-11 Osaka-jo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, 540-0002 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osakacastle.net

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kansai

Kansai is located in the southern central part of Japan’s Honshu island and consists of six prefectures: Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Wakayama. Often cited as the true cultural and historical heart of Japan, Kansai boasts a variety of cultural, historical, and gastronomical wonders that will leave you hungry for more.

Kyoto : Spots 1 ~ 29

Quick jump links:

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6Bishamon-do
Mid to end of November
m_158517_TN
13Arashiyama
Mid November
m_158043_TN
17Daigo-ji Temple
Mid November
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20Kiyomizu-dera
Mid November

Go to Kyoto list top

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto

Kyoto 1~ 29


1Zenporitsu-ji Temple (善法律寺) in Yawata

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the Beginning of December
Hours: 9am – 3pm
Access: 15min walk from Yawatashi Station (Keihan Main Line)
Address: 88-1 Yawatababa, Yawata-shi, 614-8085 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


2Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu (石清水八幡宮) in Yawata

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Hours: January-March 6:30am-6pm; April – September 5:30am -6:30pm; October 6am-6pm, November-December 6:30-6pm
Access: 3min ride with the Otokoyama Cable Car from Yawatashi Station (Keihan Main Line) until Otokoyama-sanjo Station (5min walk)
Address: 30 Yawatatakabo, Yawata-shi, 614-8005 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


3Yokoku-ji (楊谷寺) in Nagaokakyo

みーさん(@yakimachiri)が投稿した写真

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Access: 20min taxi ride from Nagaokakyo Station (JR Kyoto Line); 15min taxi ride from Nishiyama Tennozan Station (Hankyu Kyoto Line)
Address: 2 Donotani, Jododani, Nagaokakyo-shi, 617-0855 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nagaokakyo-kankou.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


4Komyo-ji (光明寺) in Nagaokakyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 10min Hankyu-Bus ride from Nagaoka-Tenjin Station (Hankyu Kyoto Line) until Asahigaoka Homu Mae (3min walk); 20min Hankyu-Bus ride from Nagaokakyo Station (JR Kyoto Line) until Asahigaoka Homu Mae (3min walk)
Address: 26-1 Saijonai, Ao, Nagaokakyo-shi, 617-0811 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


5Kuwayama Shrine (鍬山神社) in Kameoka

A photo posted by Lieb*Eva | Eva Lee (@liebeeva) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up!
Date: November 10th (Thursday) – November 16th (Wednesday), 5pm-6pm
Admission: 300yen (adults), free for children
Access: 10min Community-Bus ride from Kameoka Station (JR Sagano Line) until Kuwayama Jinja-mae (direct access); 40min walk from Kameoka Station
Address: 22-2 Kamigaichi, Kamiyada-cho, Kameoka-shi, 621-0856 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


6Bishamon-do (毘沙門堂) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 8:30am – 5pm
Access: 20min walk from Yamashina Station
Address: 18 Anshuinariyama-cho, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto-shi, 607-8003 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


7Shouji-ji Temple (勝持寺) in Kyoto

京都 長岡京 勝持寺の紅葉その9🍁 勝持寺の境内、不動堂へ #京都紅葉 #勝持寺 #kyoto

A photo posted by Hiroshi Noguchi (@noguchibiyousitu) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 400yen (adults), 300yen (Junior-high-school students), 200yen (Elementary-school students)
Access: 25min Hankyu-Bus ride from Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Minamikasuga-cho (20min walk)
Address: 1194 Minamikasuga-cho, Oharano, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1153 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


8Yoshimine-dera (善峯寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 8am-5pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 300yen (High-school students), 200yen (junior-high-school & elementary-school students)
Access: 30min Hankyu-Bus ride from Mukomachi Station (JR Kyoto Line)or Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Yoshimine-dera (8min walk)
Address: 1372 Oshio-cho, Oharano, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1133 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kyoto.travel/en


9Oharano Shrine (大原野神社) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 25min Hankyu-Bus ride from Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Minamikasuga-cho (8min walk)
Address: 1152 Minamikasuga-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1153 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


10Kosho-ji Temple (興聖寺) in Uji

A photo posted by 拓🍃風 (@sohkai_works) on

First colors: End of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 20min walk from Uji Station (JR Nara Line); 10min walk from Uji Station (Keihan Uji Line)
Address: 27-1 Yamada, Uji, Uji-shi, 611-0021 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


11Mimuroto-ji Temple (三室戸寺) in Uji

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: April-October 8:30am – 4:30pm; November – March 8:30am-4pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 300yen (children)
Access: 15min walk from Mimurodo Station (Keihan Uji Line)
Address: Shigatani 21, Todo, Uji-shi, 611-0013 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


12Izumo Dai-jingu Shrine (出雲大神宮) in Kameoka

A photo posted by @mina08128 on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 15min Furusato-Bus ride from Kameoka Station (JR Sagano Line) North Exit until Izumo Jinja Mae (direct access)
Address: Izumo, Chitose-cho, Kameoka-shi, 621-0002 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kyoto-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


13Arashi Yama (嵐山) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Togetsukyo Bridge
Access: 10min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8383 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


14Rokuo-in Temple (鹿王院) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 400yen (adults), 200yen (junior-high-school & elementary-school students)
Access: 5min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: 24 Sagakitaboricho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8367 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
pref.kyoto.jp


15Joujakkou-ji Temple (常寂光寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 400yen
Access: 15min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: 3 Ogura-cho, Sagaogurayama, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8397 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jojakko-ji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


16Nison-in Temple (二尊院) in Kyoto

A photo posted by LOVE❤KYOTO (@kyoto_mkssk) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: 500yen; free for children
Access: 15min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line); 45min Kyoto Bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Saga Shakado-mae (10min walk)
Address: 27 Chojin-cho, Saganison-in Monzen, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8425 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


17Daigo-ji Temple (醍醐寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 800yen (adults), 600yen (high-school & junior-high-school students)
Access: 10min walk from Daigo Station (Subway Tozai Line)
Address: 22 Daigohigashioji-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1325 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
daigoji.or.jp


18Kurama-dera (鞍馬寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 5min walk from Kurama Station (Eizan Kurama Line)
Address: 1074 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1111 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
insidekyoto.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


19Kyoto Botanical Garden (京都府立植物園) in Kyoto

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 200 yen (adults), 150 yen (high-school students), children (free)
Hours: 9am – 4pm
Access: Direct access from Kitayama Station (Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line)
Address: Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-0823 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


20Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 6am-5:30/6:30pm
Access: Bus ride from Kawaramachi Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) or Gion-Shijō Station (Keihan Main Line) until Kyomizu-michi (10min walk)
Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0862 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kiyomizudera.or.jp


21Choraku-ji Temple (長楽寺) in Kyoto

#fujifilm#fujifilmxt10#fujinon#紅葉#姨捨#長楽寺

A photo posted by かず (@zutemasquerade) on

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Admission: 500 yen (adults), 200 yen (children)
Hours: 9am – 5pm (Closed on Thursday)
Access: 20min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station
Address: 626 Maruyama-cho, Yasaka Toriimae Higashi-iru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0071 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


22Tofuku-ji Temple (東福寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am – 4pm
Access: 10min walk from Tofuku-ji Station (Keihan Main Line, JR Nara Line)
Address: 15-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0981 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tofukuji.jp


23Kodai-ji Temple (高台寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 600yen (adults), 250yen (junior-high- school & high-school students), children are free
Hours: 9am – 5:30pm
Access: 5min bus ride from Gion-Shijo Station (Keihan Main Line) into Kujoshakomae direction until Higashiyama Yasui (5min walk)
Address: 526 Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0825 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kodaiji.com


24To-ji Temple (東寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 8:30am – 4pm
Access: 15min walk from JR Kyoto Station; 10min walk from Toji Station (Kintetsu Kyoto Line)
Address: 1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-8473 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
toji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


25Genko-an Temple (源光庵) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 400 yen (adults) [during November 500 yen], 200 yen (Children)
Access: 15min bus ride with Busline Kita 1 from Kitaoji Station (Subway Karasuma Line) until Takagaminegenkouan-mae (1min walk)
Address: 47 Kita-Takagamine-cho, Takagamine, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, 603-8468 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


26Eikando Zenrin-ji Temple (永観堂 禅林寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Event: Autumn Night Time Visit
Date: November 8th (Tuesday) – December 4th (Sunday), 5:30pm – 8:30pm (closed 9pm)
Admission: 600yen (adults)
Access: 15min walk from Keage Station (Subway Tozai Line); 25min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Nanzen-ji ・Eikando-michi (3min walk)
Address: 48 Eikando-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8445 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
eikando.or.jp


27Nanzen-ji Temple (南禅寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: December – February; 8:40am – 4:30pm / March – November 8:40am – 5pm
Admission: No admission fee for the temple precincts.
Hojo Garden: 500yen (adults), 400yen (high-school students), 300yen (children)
Sanmon Gate: 500yen (adults), 400yen (high-school students), 300yen (children)
Nanzen-in: 300yen (adults), 250yen (high-school dtudnts), 150yen (children)
Access: 10min walk from Keage Station (Subway Tozai Line); 25min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Nanzen-ji・Eikando-michi (8min walk)
Address: Nanzenji Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8435 Kyoto

Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


28Enko-ji Temple (圓光寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 400 yen (Junior-high-school & high-school students), 300 yen (children)
Access: 15min walk from Ichijoji Station (Eizan Main Line), 35min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Ichijo-ji Sagarimatsu-cho (7min walk)
Address: 13, Ichijojikotani-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8147 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
enkouji.jp


29Sanzen-in Temple (三千院) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: March – December 7th, 8:30am-5pm / December 8th – February, 9am-4:30pm
Admission: 700yen (adults), 400 yen (Junior-high-school & high-school students), 150yen (children)
Access: 1hour bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Ohara (10min walk),
Address: 540 Ohara-Raigoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1242 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Niigata Prefecture

Niigata 1~ 6


1Dragondola (ドラゴンドラ) in Yuzawa

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: End of October
Details: Long gondola that gives you a panoramic view of the mountains in full fall beauty. The ropeway connects Naeba ski resort and Tashiro ski resort, so even in the winter this is a good visit. The gondola is the longest and fastest in Japan (5,5 km, 6m/s). Also visit the nearby Prince Hotel for the 1,800 yen all-you-can-eat buffet.
Festival: October 31st (Monday) – November 1st (Tuesday). Autumn appreciation day.
Access: 35min bus ride from Echigo-Yuzawa Station (JR Joetsu Line; Hokuetsu Express – Hokuhoku Line)
Admission: 2,400 yen (adults) / 1,200 yen (children) for a return ticket
Address: 202-4 Mikuni, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata 949-6212
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


2Okutainai (奥胎内) in Tainai

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Details: This valley in the Bandai Asahi National Park is virtually untouched by human hands.
Special sight: One of Japan’s best photo spots for crystal clear water. Nearby hut to enjoy nature.
Access: By car: 50min from Nihon-kai Tohoku Expressway Nakajo IC
90min from JR Uetsu Matin Line “Nakajo Station”
Address: Okutainai-san, Shimoarasawa, Tainai-shi, 959-2816 Niigata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or

Sanrio Puroland

I guess there are just a few people left who haven´t heard about the white fluffy cat with its big round eyes which enchants her fans since 1974!
In  the western part of Tokyo you can find an indoor theme park dedicated to Hello Kitty and her friends. Opened in 1990, Sanrio Puroland attracts more than 1.5 million visitors a year.
If you want to treat your kids to a magical experience, or if you are curious about Japan´s popular characters itself, don´t hold back and immerse yourself into a whole new world full of cute adventures.

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The entrance is a huge hall decorated with lovely artwork featuring the main characters of Sanrio Puroland.

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After entering the park you will be welcomed by one of the many characters which whom you can take a memorial picture with. Further, at the merchandise and souvenir booth located near the entrance, you can transform yourself into one of your beloved characters while purchasing its characters hairband with attached ears.

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Now you will take the escalator and reach Hello Kitty´s magical world.
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Beside having the chance to take a sneak peek inside Hello Kitty´s and Little Twin Stars house, you can also make a trip through Mariland with My Melody´s newest ride attraction.

While Cinnamoroll invites you to an exciting boat ride through the world of Sanrio Characters….

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….Hello Kitty takes you to see her fantastic musical at the “Märchen Theater”.

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It´s a magical place not only for families and children, also couples and friends can enjoy a pleasant day at Santrio Puroland.

Sanrio Puroland Info:
Hours: The opening hours and closing days differ from month to month, please check the website in advance.
Address: 1-32 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo 〒206-8588
Access: 5min-walk from Tama Center Station, Keio Line
Keio Line: Central Exit / Odakyu Line: West Exit
Tel: 042-339-1111
URL: http://en.puroland.jp/

Ninja ID: nene16


WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Fukui Cosmos fields

Not so many years ago the locals of Miyanoshita in Fukui had to decide what to do with a large piece of barren ground. One of the options was to turn it into a construction site, but the local council made the final decision. Eventually the whole area got turned into a beautiful field ten times bigger than the Tokyo Dome and full of cosmos flowers.

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The reason for choosing cosmos flowers is that it’s a strong flower not in need of much maintenance. They come in a variety of colors and can be left to bloom as is. It was Miyanoshita’s hope that the cosmos field would attract tourists and give the area a relaxing atmosphere. We must confirm that they succeeded, as the whole area looks peaceful with the Mt. Hakusane range as a backdrop.

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During our visit the cosmos weren’t yet in full bloom, but there were already plenty of visitors and kindergartens on school outings to check the earliest flowers. There are separate patches dedicated to single color flowers and there’s an area for the cosmos festival held from mid-october until the end of october. The activities include tractor rides and a fresh market all organized by the locals.

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If you’re in the area during fall, don’t forget to visit this flower field.

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Information

Dates: from the beginning of October until the end of October
Location: Miyanoshita Cosmos Park
Address: 12-16 Goshogaichicho, Fukui, Fukui Prefecture 910-3112
URL: info.pref.fukui.lg.jp (PDF)

Eiheiji, the temple Steve Jobs wanted to study at

In Fukui there are two well known temples, Daianzenji and Eiheiji, that differ very strongly from each other. Eiheiji Temple belongs to the “Soto Zen” school of teaching and its name literally means temple of eternal peace. The founder, Dogen Zenji, adopted Zen practices from China and applied them to his own “way of the Buddha” in Japan. In 1244 he built a mountain temple near Fukui City with the help of one of his most devoted followers, the samurai Yoshishige Hatano. Even though the Rinzai school was more popular with samurai at the time, the Soto school was more straightforward and easier to understand for most people. Because of these reasons Eiheiji and Soto Zen became the “to go” practice for the common folk.

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A Temple School

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More than an actual temple, Eiheiji is a temple school training monks from all over Japan. The strict teachings recorded by Dogen Zenji in his books attract more than 200 trainees who all live in the temple. They each have just one tatami mat measuring one by two meters on which they have to eat, sleep and meditate (zazen). The Soto Zen school teaches that every activity should be a religious practice, so talking and reading is never allowed in the priest’s hall. Because of the strictness and sanctity of most of the halls you are not allowed to take photos or even visit the trainees’ daily living quarters.
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Eiheiji, the temple Steve Jobs wanted to study at

What do priest trainees eat?

PillarWith more than 200 people living under one roof there must be a very complex system for cooking, right? On the contrary, the monks prefer to keep the sober lifestyle dictated by their teachings and still use the same kitchen, Daikuin, as during the old days. Of course most of the equipment has been updated to keep up with the times. These modern appliances are a great help to the eight monks who have to make all the meals every day for everyone else. The cuisine at Eiheiji is strict vegetarian and prepared with local ingredients. Meals are always sober and plain. “Upon flowing into the pure ocean of dharma, there are no such discriminations as delicacies or plain food; there is just one taste, and it is the Buddha dharma, the world itself as it is.”

The kitchen building is a three-story cooking complex with some interesting features. There is a shrine dedicated to swiftness and protection from fire. Praying here will give you the strength to deliver meals quickly and to warn everyone in case of fire…which hopefully won’t happen if you prayed hard enough. The nearby wooden pillar is as old as the temple itself and it’s said that if you rub it three times you become better at cooking. Rub it six times to become better at flattering.
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Holy places

Every hall, room and space in Eiheiji is a place of worship. Even when going to the bathroom one has to respect the rules written in the Senjo, a special chapter in the Soto Zen book stipulating rules for going to the toilet. Some of the other important places include the official entryway with statues of the Four Heavenly Kings who protect the Buddha (sadly, no direct photos allowed of the deities), the main temple called “Hatto” and the mausoleum of the founder Dogen Zenji. This mausoleum is officially called “Joyoden” and not only houses the ashes of Dogen Zenji but also the ashes of several of his successors. They are respected as if they were living teachers. There are living quarters near the mausloeum for the priests who are assigned to maintain this holy area. The framed kanji character means “shouyou”, roughly translates to “receiving the sun”, and was written by the Emperor Meiji.

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Stay overnight

If you want to experience Eiheiji life or start a training like Steve Jobs wanted to do, you can! You can do short overnight stays but if you want to sign up for the real deal you have to be affiliated with the Soto Zen Sect or prove your conviction. Of course there are also day courses to practice zazen Eiheiji style. If you’re interested you can read all about it here.
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Information

Hours:4am – 5pm (5:30am – 4:30pm during winter)
Admission: 500yen
Location: near Fukui City
Access: Timetable for Eiheiji Liner bus
Address: 5-15 Shihi, Eiheiji, Yoshida District, Fukui Prefecture 910-1228
TEL:0776-63-3102
URL: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/shritemp/eiheiji.html

Five Fantastic Fukui Facts

You might not have heard of Fukui but there are many amazing things in this lesser known prefecture. Let WAttention introduce you to some fantastic facts that you can use in your next conversation about Japan.

1) Fukui has one of the few 8K Planetariums in the world

The recently opened shopping complex “Happiring” features a brand new planetarium with an amazing 8K screen. Only a handful of planetariums in the world offer this experience.
Besides the regular screenings the planetarium itself is a fun interactive environment.

Location: Seiren Planet Fukui
Hours: 10am – 6:30pm (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sun) / 10am – 9pm (Fr & Sat) / Closed every 2nd Wednesday of the month
Admission: 400yen (adults) / Dome Theater 600yen (adults) , 500yen (high schoolers), 300yen (children)
Address: 1-2-1 Chuo, Fukui City
Access: right next to JR Fukui Station
URL: http://www.happiring.com/english/
Planetarium

2) Dinosaurs are everywhere!

The largest dinosaur excavation site in Japan is in Fukui. In fact, they were able to keep digging from 1989 until 1993 and still found dinosaur fossils. Even today they are still trying to find new fossils. Of course the city is extremely proud of its dinosaur museum which is considered 3rd best in the world. The scriptwriter for the movie “Jurassic Park” even came to the museum to give a lecture.

Location: Katsuyama City, Fukui
Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm) / closed every 2nd and 4th Wednesday
Admission: 1,200yen (adults) / 1,000yen (high school and college students) / 600yen (primary/secondary school students)
Address: 51-11 Terao, Muroko, Katsuyama, Fukui 911-8601
Access: from JR Fukui Station, go to Katsuyama on the Echizen Railway Eiheiji Katsuyama Line (1hour). There is a bus from Katsuyama station to the museum (10min).
URL: https://www.dinosaur.pref.fukui.jp/en/ & http://www.fuku-e.com/lang/english/feature/feature-dinosaur_museum.php
Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum(1)

more here
inside Fukui Station

Outside Fukui Station
Outside Fukui Station. (They move and make sound too!!)

3) The Matrix+Fukui=…?

Glasses! Fukui has tons of glasses and in fact, they make about 10% of all the glasses in Japan. The brand Sabae was the first company to start using a light titanium frame for glasses and even now about 96% of all the frames in Japan are made by Sabae. These Japanese frames from Fukui are such top notch quality that Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, from the movie “The Matrix” allowed a pair to adorn his face.

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The people of Fukui are proud of their glasses.
The people of Fukui are proud of their glasses.

4) Amazing Cherry Blossoms

The Asuwa River that runs right through Fukui City has a cherry blossom riverbed of 2km long with about 600 trees. Every spring visitors come from all over Japan and even deem it one of Japan’s finest spring views. It’s also included in the list of 100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan. When the trees are in full bloom there is a festival and illumination at night.

Asuwa Rivre Cherry Blossoms

5) Rich History

As a first time visitor to Fukui I was surprised myself to discover how much history is packed into one prefecture. The ruling Matsudaira clan of Fukui produced the first Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and was the main target for famous warlord Oda Nobunaga. On top of all that, Ichijodani had a rich culture well advanced for its time. There are streets from the Edo period that are still intact with picturesque storefronts and traditional goods. I’m sure that if you explore Fukui yourself you will find many more Fantastic Fukui Facts.

History

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Welcome to Mount Oyama and its Afuri Shrine

One sunny autumn day we decided to hike Mount Oyama, located in Kanagawa Prefecture about 1,5 hours from Shinjuku Station. It takes a little while to reach the mountain foot, but the view across the valley featuring Mount Fuji is totally worth it!
The Odakyu Line brings you to Isehara Station, from there it´s a 30min bus ride until “Oyama Cable Station.” Another 15min walk along small souvenir shops selling handmade traditional goods and snacks, brings you to the actual Cable Car Station.

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The wooden plate says “Welcome to Mount Oyama, which brings nature and history together”

We arrived at the station and took the Cable Car until “Afuri-Jinja Station.”

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Ninja ID: nene16

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


51Lake Tanzawa (丹沢湖) in Ashigarashimo – Yamakita

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 50min Fujikyu Shonan Bus ride from Shinmatsuda Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) into Nishi-Tanzawa Station direction until Tanzawa-Ko (direct access)
Address: Kamioda, Yamakita-mura, Ashigarakami-gun, 258-0203 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


52Oyama Temple & Oyama-Afuri Shrine (大山寺・大山阿夫利神社) in Isehara

A photo posted by てり~ (@telliart) on

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: Oyama Temple – 30min bus ride from Isehara Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) until the terminal stop “Oyama Cable”. From there it is a 15min walk to Oyama Cable Car Station. Take the cable car for a 2min ride to “Oyamadera Station”, get off and walk 2 min to the temple grounds.
Oyama-Afuri Shrine – 6min ride from Oyama Cable Car Station to Afuri Jinja Station (2min walk)
Address: Oyama Temple, Oyama 724 / Oyama-Afuri Shrine, 355 Oyama, Isehara-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


49Lake Ashi (箱根・芦ノ湖) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 1hour bus ride from Odawara Station (JR Tokaido Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, JR Tokaido Shinkansen, Odakyu Odawara Line, Hakone Tozan Line, Daiyuzan Line)
Address: Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0522 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp


50Yumoto (箱根・湯本) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: Hakone-Yumoto Station (Hakone Tozan Line) (direct access)
Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0311 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture

Kanagawa Prefecture 47~ 54


47Miyagase Dam (宮ヶ瀬ダム) in Aiko – Kiyokawa

A photo posted by かえる (@rhacophorus101) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 40min bus ride from Hon-Atsugi Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) via the Center into Hanbara direction until Aikawa-Ohashi (15min walk); Bus from Fuchinobe Station (JR Yokohama Line) until the Tana Bus Center, from there it´s another 40min bus ride until Hanbara (30min walk)
Address: 940-4 Miyagase, Kiyokawa-mura, Aiko-gun 243-0111 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com


48Sengokuhara (箱根・仙石原) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the end of November
Access: 25min Hakone Tozan Bus ride from Hakone-Yumoto Station (Hakone Tozan Line)
Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0631 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


53Zuisenji Temple (瑞泉寺) in Kamakura

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the middle of December
Admission: 200yen (adults), 100yen(children)
Access: 15min bus ride from Kamakura Station (JR Yokosuka Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, Enoshima Electric Railway) into Otonomiya direction until the terminal stop “Otonomiya” (15min walk)
Address: Nikaido 710, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.kamakura.kanagawa.jp


54Sankeien Garden (三溪園) in Yokohama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 500yen (adults), 200yen(children)
Access: Bus from Negishi Station (JR Keihin Tohoku Line/Negishi Line, JR Yokohama Line) until Honmoku (7min walk)
Address: Honmoku Sannotani 58-1, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
sankeien.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan: Tokyo

Tokyo 33~ 46


33Yoyogi Park (代々木公園) in Shibuya

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 3min walk from Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line); 3min walk from Yoyogi-Koen Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: Yoyogi Kamizono-cho 2-1, Shibuya-ku, 151-0052 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tokyometro.jp


34Meijijingu Gaien (明治神宮外苑) in Shinjuku

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Ginkgo tree row
Event: 20th Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival
Date: November 18th (Friday) – December 5th (Monday), Weekday 10am – 6pm, Weekend & Public Holiday 9:30am – 6pm (Last day until 2pm)
Access: 5-13min walk from Shinanomachi Station (JR Chuo Sobu Line), Sendagaya Station (JR Chuo Sobu Line), Aoyama-itchome Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei Oedo Line)
Address: Kita-Aoyama 2-chome, Minato-ku, 107-0061 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
meijijingugaien.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


35Mukojima-Hyakkaen Garden (向島百花園) in Sumida

A photo posted by こーさん (@kotyatora) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the middle of December
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 150yen (adults), 70yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 8min walk from Higashi-Mukojima Station (Tobu Skytree Line); 13min walk from Keisei-Hikifune Station (Keisei Oshiage Line)
Address: 3-18-3 Higashi-Mukojima, Sumida-ku, 131-0032 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


36Rikugien Garden (六義園) in Bunkyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Suikonoue, Tsutsuji tea house
Event: Daimyo Garden & Autumn Color Light-up
Date: November 19th (Saturday) – December 7th (Wednesday), sunset – 9pm
Opening Hours during the Light-up period: 9am – 9pm (last entry 8:30pm)
Admission: 300yen (adults), 150yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 7min walk from Komagome Station (JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line)
Address: 6-chome Hon-Komagome, Bunkyo-ku, 113-0021 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


37Koishikawa Korakuen Garden (小石川後楽園) in Bunkyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Oigawa, Tsuten Bridge, Momiji Forest
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 300yen (adults), 150yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school with residence in Tokyo
Access: 8min walk from Iidabashi Station (Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, JR Chuo-Sobu Line, Toei Oedo Line), 8min walk from Korakuen Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line), 8min walk from Suidobashi Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line)
Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, 112-0004 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


38Showa Memorial Park (国営昭和記念公園) in Tachikawa

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Canal, Katarai Ginkgo Tree row, colored maple leaves in the Japanese garden
Opening Hours: 9:30am-5pm
Admission: 410yen (adults), 80yen (children), 210yen (pensioner)
Access: 2min walk from Nishi-Tachikawa Station (JR Ome Line), 10min walk from Tachikawa Station (JR Ome Line, JR Chuo Line, JR Nambu Line)
Address: 3173 Midori-cho, Tachikawa-shi, 190-0014 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆

showakinen-koen.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


39Tonogayato Garden (殿ヶ谷戸庭園) in Kokubunji

First colors: Middle of November until the end of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Koyo Pavilion
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 150yen (adults), 70yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 2min walk from Kokubunji Station (JR Chuo Rapid Line, Seibu Kokubunji Line, Seibu Tamako Line)
Address: 2-16 Minami-cho, Kokubunji-shi, 185-0021 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


40Road Koshu’s Ginkgo Row (甲州街道いちょう並木) in Hachioji

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Recommended Spots: Musashi Imperial Mausoleum, Ryoho-Temple
Event: 37th Hachioji Ginkgo Festival
Date: November 19th (Saturday), 9am – 5pm; November 20th (Sunday), 9am – 4:30pm
Access: 3min walk from Nishi-Hachioji Station (JR Chuo Main Line); 15min walk from Takao Station (JR Chuo Main Line, JR Chuo Rapid Line, Keio Takao Line)
Address: Higashi-Sakawa-machi 120, Hachioji-shi, 193-0834 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


42Mount Takao (高尾山) in Hachioji

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Recommended Spots: Cable car, mountain summit
Event: Mount Takao Maple Leaf Festival
Date: November 1st (Tuesday) – November 30th (Wednesday)
Place: The Mount Takao “Takao Shinrin Center”, in front of the mountain foot`s cable car station “Kiyotaki”, in front of the mountainside teahouse “Juitchome Chaya”
Access: Takaosan-guchi Station (Keio Takao Line)
Address: Takao-machi, Hachioji-shi, 193-0844 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


43Mitake Ravine (御岳渓谷) in Ome

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Around the Gyokudo Museum
Access: Mitake Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: 310 Mitake–honcho, Ome-shi, 198-0173 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pregamestraining.tokyo2020.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


44Akigawa Ravine (秋川渓谷) in Akiruno

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Around Ishibune Bridge, around Aokidaira Bridge, Kamiyozawa
Access: 15min bus ride from Musashi Itsukaichi Station (JR Itsukaichi Line) until Jurigi
Address: Akiruno-shi, 190‐0174 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
gotokyo.org


45Okutama & Okutama shore (奥多摩・奥多摩湖畔) in Nishitama – Okutama

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Recommended Spots: Mukashi Michi, Yama no Furusato Mura, Ikoi no Michi, Miharashi no Oka
Access: 20min bus ride from Okutama Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: 1740 Kawano, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, 198-0225 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


46Okutama & Hikawa Ravine (奥多摩・氷川渓谷) in Nishitama – Okutama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Nippara Ravine, Hato no Su Ravine, Sogaku Ravine, Otaba River upper stream, Mukashi Michi
Access: 3min walk from Okutama Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: Okutama Visitor Center, 171-1 Hikawa, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, 198-0212 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture


32Yomogi Fudo Falls (四方木不動滝) in Kamogawa

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First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: Bus ride from Awa-Amatsu Station (JR Sotobo Line) until Yomogi (15min walk)
Address: Yomogi, Kamogawa-shi, 299-5506 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
city.kamogawa.lg.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture

Chiba Prefecture 28~ 32


28Hondo-ji temple (本土寺) in Matsudo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Access: 10min walk from Kita-Kogane Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: Hiraga 63, Matsudo-shi, 270-0002 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


29Narita-san Shinshoji (成田山新勝寺) in Narita

First colors: Mid November
Color Peak: Mid November to early December
Access: 15min walk from JR Narita Station or Keisei Narita Station
Address: Narita 1, Narita-shi, Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture


30Lake Kameyama (亀山湖) in Kimitsu

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 5min walk from Kazusa-Kameyama Station (JR Kururi Line)
Address: 8 Kawamata Kyukawamata, Kimitsu-shi, Chiba-ken 292-0524
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


31Komatsu-ji Temple (小松寺) in Minamiboso

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 8min taxi ride from Chikura Station (JR Uchibo Line)
Address: 1057 Chikura-cho Onuki, Minamiboso-shi, 295-0013 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture

Saitama Prefecture 21~ 27


21Nagatoro (長瀞) in Chichibu – Nagatoro

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spot: Around Iwadatami
Access: 5min walk from Nagatoro Station (Chichibu Railway)
Address: Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, 369-1300 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


22Mount Hodo (宝登山) in Chichibu – Nagatoro

A photo posted by Kzm Iwt (@kzmkzmmzkmzk) on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spot: Hodosan Small Animal Park
Access: 15min walk from Nagatoro Station (Chichibu Railway) until the ropeway Station
Address: Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, 369-1305 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.chichibu-railway.co.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


23Nakatsu Ravine (中津峡) in Chichibu

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 50min Seibu Kanko Bus ride from Mitsumineguchi Station (Chichibu Railway) until  Aiharabashi
Address: Nakatsugawa, Chichibu-shi, 369-1903 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp


24Park Togo (東郷公園) in Hanno

A photo posted by Misato Kitagawa (@misato_1966) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: The grounds of Chichibu Ontake Shrine
Event: Maple Leaf Festival
Date: November 19th (Saturday) – 3pm~; November 20th (Sunday) – 10am~
Details: Saturday – Jazz music beneath the maple trees, Sunday – music and dance performances; as well as food stands
Admission: 100 yen (adults)
Access: 20min walk from Agano Station (Seibu Chichibu Line)
Address: 580 Sakaishi, Hanno-shi, 357-0215 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.hanno.saitama.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


25Lake Kamakita (鎌北湖) in Iruma – Moroyama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 60min walk from Moro Station (JR Hachiko Line); 70min walk from Higashi-Moro Station (Tobu – Ogose Line)
Address: Oyagi, Moroyama-machi, Iruma-gun, 350-0452 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


26Torii Kannon (鳥居観音) in Hanno

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Access: 40min bus ride from Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line) until Renkeibashi (5min walk)
Address: 3198 Kaminaguri, Hanno-shi, 357-0111 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.hanno.saitama.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


27Mount Tenran (天覧山) in Hanno

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Recommended Spots: Mountaintop, Juroku Rakan
Access: 40min walk from Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line) ; 45min walk from Higashi-Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line, JR Hachiko Line)
Address: Hanno, Hanno-shi, 357-0063 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor

Ichijodani Asakura Ruins, remnants of a powerful clan

The Asakura clan (朝倉氏) was one of the most powerful clans in Fukui during the Sengoku period (1467 – 1603). Ichijodani is the name of the city they built. At its height, Ichijodani had over 10,000 residents and an advanced culture.

Map

Background History

The Sengoku period was a time of civil war in all of Japan. The last ruler of Ichijodani, Asakura Yoshikage, was an adept ruler who kept peace in the city. Because of this, Ichijodani became a refuge for people fleeing unstable areas in conflict. Warlord Oda Nobunaga seeked to unify Japan and captured Kyoto (then the capital) in an attempt to rule the country (1568). The Asakura clan was called upon to drive Nobunaga from Kyoto, thus creating a conflict. Oda Nobunaga’s answer was a siege on the Asakura domain and in 1573 he burned down the whole city.

Luckily, in 1967, Ichijodani’s secrets were revealed during a large scale excavation. The city turned out to be much grander than anyone ever expected and is one of the only ruins in Japan with this much detail. You can visit the site and see a reconstruction of the village houses.

maquette

guideThe Asakura Ruins offer a very handy virtual guide that shows you how the original buildings would have looked by using a real time camera. Just point the guide to a location and a virtual reconstruction will begin. This guide costs 500yen and is available in both English and Japanese. This is very useful as most of the area is barren and you need a lot of imagination to picture the buildings.

You can also choose to have a real guide tell you all the stories of Ichijodani. I would suggest to take both the virtual guide for the experience and the real guide for the secret stories and enthusiasm.

Ichijodani Asakura Ruins, remnants of a powerful clan

The City

There are many interesting things to see in the reconstruction of the Ichijodani. Actors walk around in historical costumes and mannequins are set up inside the homes to reenact historical scenarios.
For safety reasons, the Asakura family built the city in a very interesting and unique way. The streets have a slight curve, making it possible to see every enemy no matter where you are standing in the street. The same principle is applied in Narai Juku, Matsumoto.

City Streets

You can see that the city has a built-in waterway that serves as a sewage system and to keep the area cool during summer. The walls are fortified with big rocks, protecting against floods and invaders. When you walk around the ruins it’s difficult to imagine the grand buildings that once housed powerful samurai and lords.

samurai

The Karamon gate is the entrance to the ruins of Yoshikage’s house and used to be the entrance gate to a temple. Thanks to the good condition of the ruins an accurate image of the villa could be created.

ruins2

The Karamon gate is still in good condition because it was built after the destruction of the Asakura clan and again reconstructed during the Edo period. If you look closely, the gate bears both the mark of the Asakura clan and of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In 1570 during the Battle of Anegawa Hideyoshi fought in defense for the Asakura clan against Oda Nobunaga. This gate is thus dedicated to Asakura Yoshikage.

GateKamon

There are several gardens in Ichijodani and some are still waiting to be discovered. You can easily spend a full day in the area as it’s surrounded by beautiful nature and there’s so much history to absord.

Something the guide was really proud about is that telecom operator Softbank chose to do a commercial series in Ichijodani. Their trademark white shiba inu named “Otousan” (“father” in Japanese) has been around since 2007 and is the head of the Shirato family. According to the commercial series his hometown is Ichijodani.

Information

Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm) / Closed Dec. 28 – Jan. 4
Admission: 210yen (500yen for the virtual guide)
Location: Ichijodani Asakura Family Ruins
Address: 910-2153 Fukui-ken, Fukui-shi, Kidonouchichō
Access: From Fukui JR Station go to Ichijodani Station on the JR Kuzuryu Line (15min) and walk for 25min / Take a bus from JR Fukui Station to Jokyouji and get off at Bukeyashiki-mae (35min) / 30min by car from central Fukui.
URL: http://www3.fctv.ne.jp/~asakura/ (Japanese only)

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


15Suwakyo Gorge (諏訪峡) in Tone-Minakami

sightseeing_71

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 20min walk from Minakami Station (JR Joetsu Line)
Address: Minakami-machi, Tone-gun 379-1616 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp


16Sarugakyo (猿ヶ京) in Tone-Minakami

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around lake Akaya
Access: 25min bus ride from Jomo-Kogen Station (JR Joetsu-Shinkansen) until Sarugakyo Onsen;
40min bus ride from Gokan Station (JR Joetsu Line) until Sarugakyo Onsen
Address: Sarugakyo Onsen, Minakami, Tone-gun, 379-1403 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


17Agatsuma Ravine (吾妻渓谷) in Higashi-Agatsuma

First colors: end of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 1hour walk from IwashimaStation (JR Agatsuma Line)
Address: Matsutani, Higashi Agatsuma-machi, Agatsuma-gun, 377-0814 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp


18Kajika Bridge (河鹿橋) Illumination in Shibukawa

河鹿橋紅葉(2)(渋川市)_TN

First colors: End of October
Event: Oct 25 – Nov 13
Access: About 25 minutes by car from Shibukawa-Ikaho IC of Kan-Etsu Expressway
Address: Ikaho, Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


19Mount Haruna & Lake Haruna (榛名山・榛名湖) in Takasaki

榛名湖 (5)(高崎市,東吾妻町)_TN

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spot: The view from Kohan no Yado Memorial Park
Access: 1,5h bus ride from JR Takasaki Station until Harunako
Address: Harunasan-machi & Harunako-machi, Takasaki-shi, 370-3348 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.visitgunma.jp


20Usui 3rd Bridge / Megane Bashi (めがね橋) in Annaka

めがね橋(3)(安中市)_TN

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Early to mid November
Access: About 15 minutes by bus from Yokokawa Station on JR Shin-Etsu Line
Address: Sakamoto, Matsuida-machi, Annaka-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture

Gunma Prefecture 13~ 20


13Fukiware-no-taki Falls (吹割の滝) in Numata

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Late October to early November
Access: About 40 minutes by bus from Numata Station on JR Joetsu Line
Address: Okkai, Tone-machi, Numata-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


14Tanigawa-dake Tenjindaira (谷川岳天神平) in Tone-Minakami

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 25min bus ride from Minakami Station (JR Joetsu Line) to Tanigawa-dake ropeway , 45min bus ride from Jomo-Kogen Station to Tanigawa-dake ropeway (Ropeway round-trip 2060 yen)
Address: Yubiso, Minakami-machi,Tone-gun, 379-1728 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture


9Setoai Ravine (瀬戸合峡) in Nikko

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First colors: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 1h10min Nikko-Shiei Bus ride from Kinugawa-Onsen Station (Tobu Kinugawa Line ) into Meotobuchi-Onsen until Kawamata-Heikezuka (10min walk)
Address: Kawamata, Nikko-shi, 321-2717 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nikko-travel.jp


10Mount Futara Shrine, Rinno-ji Temple, Tosho-gu Shrine (二荒山神社・輪王寺・東照宮) in Nikko

toshogu

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Event: Light-Up Nikko
Date: November 11th (Friday) until November 13th (Sunday), 6pm – 9pm  
Access: 8min Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) until Nishisando (10min walk); 20min walk from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station
Address: Kawamata, Nikko-shi, 321-2717 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture


11Lake Chuzenji (中禅寺湖湖畔) in Nikko

R_Chuzenjiko-photo-AC-3_R

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Access: 50min Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) into Chuzenji-Onsen or Yumoto-Onsen direction until Chuzenji-Onsen (direct access)
Address: Chugushi, Nikko-shi, 321-1661 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


12Ryuzu Falls (竜頭ノ滝) in Nikko

800px-Ryuzu_Falls_01_R

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: End of September until the beginning of October
Access: 1hour Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) into Yumoto-Onsen direction until Ryuzu no Taki (2min walk)
Address: Chugushi, Nikko-shi, 321-1661 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture

Tochigi Prefecture 7~ 12


7Nasukogen (那須高原) in Nasu

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spot: Nasu Onsen Shrine, Sessho-seki
Access: 35min bus ride from Kuroiso Station (JR Utsunomiya Line, JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, 325-0301 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nikko-travel.jp


8Kawaji Onsen (川治温泉) in Nikko

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the middle of November
Event: Kawaji Onsen Autumn Color Festival
Date: November 6th (Sunday); 10am – 3 pm
Details: 8 pm – 8:30pm Firework Show
Access: Direct access from Kawaji-Yumoto Station (Yagan Railway Aizu Kinugawa Line)
Address: Kawaji Onsen, Nikko-shi, 321-2521 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
travel.tochigiji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture

Ibaraki Prefecture 1~ 6


1Hanazono Gorge (花園渓谷) in Kita- Ibaraki

盛紅葉

First colors: Late October
Color Peak: Early to late November
Access: 30min taxi ride from Isohara Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: Hanakawacho Hanazono, Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.ibarakiguide.jp (Japanese only)


2Eigen-ji (永源寺) in Kuji – Daigo

永源寺(もみじ寺)

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 10min walk from Hitachi-Daigo Station (JR Suigun Line)
Address: 1571 Daigo, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, 319-3526 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.co.uk

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture


3Hananuki Gorge & Hananuki Dam (花貫渓谷・花貫ダム) in Takahagi

紅葉の花貫渓谷

First colors: Early November
Color Peak: Mid to late November
Event: Hananuki Gorge Autumn Foliage Festival October 29 – November 27
Access: 25min taxi ride from JR Takahagi Station
Address: Takahagi, 318-0104 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.takahagi-kanko.jp (Japanese only)


4Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge (竜神大吊橋) in Hitachi-Ota

©常陸太田市観光物産協会
©常陸太田市観光物産協会
First colors: Early November
Color Peak: Mid to end of November
Access: 45min bus ride from JR Hitachota Station to Ryujin Otsuribashi, then a 20 min walk to the bridge.
Address: Kegano 2133-6, Hitachiota, 313-0351 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
ohtsuribashi.ryujinkyo.jp (Japanese only)

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture


5Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園) Kochia plants

紅葉のコキア(写真使用の際は制限有 *下記参照)

First colors: Early October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Access: 15min taxi or bus ride from Katsuta Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: 605-4 Onuma-aza, Mawatari, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki 312-0012
Ranking: ★★★★☆
en.hitachikaihin.jp


6Mount Tsukuba (筑波山)

筑波山夕景

First colors: Mid October
Color Peak: Mid of November
Access: 40min shuttle bus ride from Tsukuba Station (Tsukuba Express Line)
Address: Tsukuba, 300-4352 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kanto

Kanto is located on Japan’s Honshu island and consists of seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. As the most densely populated area in Japan, Kanto, especially Tokyo, is the hub of culture and home to striking contrasts of modern urban advances, historical traditions and natural landscapes big and small.

Ibaraki Prefecture : Spots 1 ~ 6

Quick jump links:

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4Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge
Mid to late November

Go to Ibaraki list top

Tochigi Prefecture : Spots 7 ~ 12

Quick jump links:

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8Kawaji Onsen
Mid October to mid November
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11Lake Chuzenji
Early to mid October

Go to Tochigi list top

Gunma Prefecture : Spots 13 ~ 20

Quick jump links:

13Fukiware-no-taki Falls
Late October to early November
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18Kajika Bridge Illumination
Oct 25 – Nov 13
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20Megane Bashi
Early to mid November

Go to Gunma list top

Saitama Prefecture : Spots 21 ~ 27

Quick jump links:

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21Nagatoro
Mid to late November
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23Nakatsu Ravine
End of October to early November
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26Torii Kannon
Early to mid November

Go to Saitama list top

Chiba Prefecture : Spots 28 ~ 32

Quick jump links:

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30Lake Kameyama
End of November to early December
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32Yomogi Fudo Falls
Mid November to early December

Go to Chiba list top

Tokyo : Spots 33 ~ 46

Quick jump links:

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38Showa Memorial Park
Early November to early December
42Mount Takao
Middle of November
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45Okutama
Early to mid November

Go to Tokyo list top

Kanagawa Prefecture : Spots 47 ~ 54

Quick jump links:

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49Lake Ashi
Early November
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54Sankeien Garden
Mid November to early December

Go to Kanagawa list top

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture

Fukushima Prefecture 36~ 45


36Bandai Azuma Skyline (磐梯吾妻スカイライン) in Fukushima

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Recommended Spots: Tengu no Niwa, Fudosawa Bridge
Access: 1h10min bus ride from JR Fukushima Station
Address: Between Niwasaka and Tsuchiyu Onsen-machi, Fukushima-shi, 960-2157 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp


37Ura-Bandai & Nakatsu River Ravine (裏磐梯高原・中津川渓谷) in Yama-Inawashiro

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 45min taxi ride from JR Inawashiro Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line)
Address: Kita-Shiobara-mura, Inawashiro-machi, Yama-gun, Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


38Tatsuzawafudo Falls (達沢不動滝) in Yama-Inawashiro

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Access: 40min bus ride into Tatsuzawa direction from JR Inawashiro Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line) until the last stop (40min walk)
Address: Kogai Kotatsusawa, Inawashiro-machi, Yama-gun, 969-2752 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
bandaisan.or.jp


39Shingukumano Shrine’s large ginkgo tree (新宮熊野神社の大イチョウ) in Kitakata

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First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: November 15th(Tuesday) – November 20th (Sunday)
Access: 10min taxi ride from Kitakata Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line); 10min taxi ride from JR Shiokawa Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line)
Address: Shingu Kumano 2258, Keitoku-machi, Kitakata-shi, 966-0923 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


40Tsuruga Castle Park (鶴ヶ城公園) in Aizu-Wakamatsu

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up
Date: October 21st (Friday) – November 13th (Sunday); sunset – 9pm
Access: 13min bus ride from JR Aizu-Wakamatsu Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line, JR Tadami Line, Aizu Line) ; 15min taxi ride from Minami-Wakamatsu Station (Aizu Line)
Address: 1-1 Otemachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu-shi, 965-0873 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tsurugajo.com


41Midorigaoka Park (翠ヶ丘公園) in Sukagawa

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the beginning of November
Access: 15min walk from Sukagawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Atagoyama, Sukagawa-shi, 962-0867 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


42Natsui River Ravine (夏井川渓谷) in Iwaki

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Recommended Spots: Around the Kagoba Falls, View from the Natsui River Ravine observation deck
Access: (Kagoba Falls) 30min walk from Eda Station (JR Ban’etsu East Line)
Address: Within Ogawa-machi Kamiogawa and Kawamae-machi, Iwaki-shi, 979-3124 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp


43Tonohetsuri Cliff (塔のへつり) in Minamiaizu

First colors: Mid October
Color Peak: Late October to early November
Access: 3-min walk from Tonohetsuri Station on the Aizu Railway
Address: Minamiaizu District, Shitabayashi Yagoshima, Shimogō-machi 5316, Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


44Yukiwari Bridge & Yukiwari Ravine (雪割橋・雪割渓谷) in Nishishirakawa-Nishigo

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 30min bus ride from Shin-Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Tohoku-Shinkansen) until Hatsudensho Mae (5min walk)
Address: Tsuryu, Nishigo-mura, Nishishirakawa-gun, 961-8081 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.welcome-fukushima.com


45Nanko Park (南湖公園) in Shirakawa

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: End of October until the middle of November
Access: Bus ride from Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line) or JR Shin-Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Tohoku Main Line) until Nanko Koen (5min walk)
Address: Nanko, Shirakawa-shi, 961-0812 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
shirakawa315.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture

Yamagata Prefecture 30~ 35


30Sankyo Warehouse (山居倉庫) in Sakata

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around the warehouse
Access: 10min ride with the free sightseeing bicycles from JR Sakata Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line); 8min ride with the Runrun Bus – Sakita Station University line to Sankyo Soko Mae
Address: 1-1-20 Sankyo-machi, Sakata-shi, 998-0838 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


31Chokai Forest (眺海の森) in Sakata

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Chokai Forest accommodation “Chokai no Mori Sansan”, temple on the top of the mountain “Mine no Yakushi”
Access: 25min taxi ride from JR Sagoshi Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line) or JR Amarume Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line)
Address: Ohira Tsuchibuchi, Sakata-shi, 999-6839 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
yamagatakanko.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture


32Mogami Gorge (最上峡) in Mogami – Tozawa

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around Shiraito Falls
Access: 10min taxi ride from Furukuchi Station (JR Rikuu West Line)
Address: Furukuchi, Tozawa-mura, Mogami-gun, 999-6401 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
yamagatakanko.com


33Ravine of Bonji river & around Mount Yudono (梵字川渓谷・湯殿山周辺) in Tsuruoka

nanatsuwaterfall

First colors: Ravine of Bonji river – Middle of October; around Mountain Yudono – End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the end of October
Access: 45min bus ride from JR Tsuruoka Station until Gassan Asahi Hakubutsu-mura
Address: Bonji River Ravine, Etchuyama Nabira, Tsuruoka-shi, 997-0403 Yamagata; Mt. Yudono, Rokuju Riyama Tamugimata, Tsuruoka-shi, 997-0532 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
yamagatakanko.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture


34Yama-dera (山寺) in Yamagata

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 5min walk from Yamadera Station (JR Senzan Line)
Address: 4495-15 Yamadera, Yamagata-shi, 999-3301 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


35Tengendai (天元台) in Yonezawa

A photo posted by natsunori (@summer8forest) on

A photo posted by natsunori (@summer8forest) on

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: View out of the car of the Tengendai Ropeway in the morning.
Access: 40min bus ride from JR Yonezawa Station (JR Yamagata Shinkansen, JR Ou Main Line, JR Yonesaka Line) until Shirabu-Onsen; 5min ride from Ropeway-Yumoto Station until Kogen Station
Address: Tengendai Kogen, Sumomoyama 12118-6, Yonezawa-shi, 992-1461 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

MoCHA, the stylish cat café

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Image credit: PR Times

Japan has many cat cafés, but this chain takes it up a notch. MoCHA, reminiscent of the French word for cat “chat”, is a stylish chain in Tokyo providing both cats and visitors with a relaxing atmosphere. Cat cafés are often built to be cosy, making MoCHA unique with its trendy interior.

How does it work?

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Image credit: PR Times

Cat cafés all around Japan mostly have a similar system; you pay a set entry fee for a certain time limit (this may or may not include a drink) and you’re ready to go! Most often shoes are off limits, but this can depend on the café. The management will also ask not to pick up the cats or disturb them. These furry hosts get many visitors on one day and would like to be able to relax when needed.

Rules at MoCHA
-Don’t chase the cats
-Don’t hold the cats
-Don’t feed the cats any human food. If you want to feed them, you can buy some treats at the café
-Photos are allowed, but turn off your flash
-Don’t speak in loud voices

What makes MoCHA different?

The main concept of MoCHA is to provide a serene, healing space. MoCHA thought about both cats and humans while designing the interior. Wooden trees, fake bird cages, ladders and plants provide plenty of entertainment and relaxing space for the cats while being a treat for the human eye. Instead of regular chairs and benches there are relaxing sofas and reclining chairs.

Mocha2
Image credit: PR Times

All that’s left to feel completely at ease is a kitty on your lap, and MoCHA has about 15~20 of them at every café! You can learn their names and favorite foods from one of the photo books. These adorable cat dictionaries also have baby pictures of when they were just a kitten.

Cat themed drinks

Besides offering the basic café drinks, MoCHA also has an “all you can drink” option for 350 yen. Some hot drinks come with a kitty-shaped marshmallow or snack.

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Image credit: PR Times

Starting September 2016, MoCHA is collaborating with professional marhsmallow maker “Yawahada”, creating treats based on the café’s three most popular cats, all coincidentally named after delicious food! Wasabi: a female black and white Siberian, Azuki(sweet red beans): a female calico Munchkin, and Kinako (roasted soybean flour): a male light-cream tabby Scottish Fold. For the paws you can choose between vanilla, chocolate and black tea.

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Image credit: PR Times

Information

MoCHA Shibuya

Shibuya
Image credit: PR Times

Hours: every day from 10am – 10pm (last entry at 9:30pm)
Admission: 200 yen / 10 minutes (1h stay is 1,200 yen)
Location: Asoruti Shibuya building, 8F
Access: 5-min walk from Shibuya Station
Address: 32-12 Udagawachō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0042
Characteristics: The café is like a big lounge, watching over Shibuya
URL: http://catmocha.jp/shibuya/

MoCHA Ikebukuro West

Ikebukuro West
Image credit: PR Times

Hours: every day from 10am – 10pm (last entry at 9:30pm)
Admission: 200 yen / 10 minutes (1h stay is 1,200 yen)
Location: Near Ikebukuro Westgate Park, there is a seven eleven store on the 1st floor
Access: 1-min walk from Ikebukuro Station West Exit
Address: 1 Chome-15-6 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tōkyō-to 171-0021
Characteristics: Natural materials such as wooden trees and soft ambient light give this café its relaxing atmosphere.
URL: http://catmocha.jp/ikebukuro/

MoCHA Ikebukuro East

Ikebukuro East
Image credit: PR Times

Hours: every day from 10am – 10pm (last entry at 9:30pm)
Admission: 1,800 yen general admission
Location: Sanke building 4F
Access: 3-min walk from Ikebukuro Station East Exit
Address: 1 Chome-22-5 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tōkyō-to 170-0013
Characteristics: Relaxing lounge style
URL: http://catmocha.jp/ikebukuro2/

MoCHA Harajuku

Harajuku s
Image credit: PR Times


Hours
: every day from 10am – 8pm (last entry at 7:30pm)
Admission: 200 yen / 10 minutes (1h stay is 1,200 yen)
Location: Cross Avenue Harajuku 3F
Access: Right next to Harajuku Station Omotesando exit
Address: 150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 1 Chome−14-25
Characteristics: Refreshing green carpets, wooden trees and fake bird cages for the cats to rest
URL: http://catmocha.jp/harajuku/

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Miyagi Prefecture

Miyagi Prefecture 25~ 29


25Naruko-kyo (鳴子峡) in Osaki

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: around the Narukokyo Resthouse near the western end of the gorge
Access: 30min walk from Nakayamadaira Onsen Station (JR Rikuu-to Line); buses are available from early October to mid November.
Address: Shitomae-87 Narukoonsen, Ōsaki-shi, 989-6100 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★★☆ 
www.jnto.go.jp


26Entsu-in & Matsushima-chiku (円通院・松島地区) in Miyagi-Matsushima

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up, October 22nd (Saturday) – November 23rd (Wednesday)
Access: 8min walk from Matsushima Kaigan Station (JR Senseki Line); 20min walk from Matsushima Station (JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Chonai-67 Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi-gun,981-0213 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆ 
sendai-travel.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Miyagi Prefecture


27Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine (志波彦神社・鹽竈神社) in Shiogama

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 15min walk from Hon-Shiogama Station (JR Senseki Line)
Address: Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine, 1-1 Ichimoriyama, Shiogama-shi, 985-0074 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★☆☆☆ 
www.thm.pref.miyagi.jp


28Okunikkawa Valley (奥新川渓谷) in Sendai – Aoba

A photo posted by kan (@kiku_shin) on

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Access: 30min walk from Okunikkawa Station (JR Senzan Line)
Address: Nikkawa, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, 989-3434 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tripadvisor.com


29Yamanaka Shichikashuku Highway (山中七ヶ宿街道) in Katta – Shichikashuku

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Lake Choro, Nametsu Otaki Fall, Lake Shichikashuku
Access: For Lake Choro -> a 50min taxi ride from Shiroishi-Zao Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen) , For Shichikashuku dam-> 30min taxi ride from from Shiroishi-Zao Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Shichikashuku Dam, Kiritoshi 52-40, Shichikashuku-machi, Katta-gun, 989-0536 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tripadvisor.com

Visit the Origin of Ninja (4) : Kids’ Ninja Village

Kids’ Ninja Village

Togakushi is well-known as the origin of ninja, so we visited the Kids’ Ninja Village, where children and even adults can dress up like a real ninja! Ninja costume rental is available for a reasonable fee (kids: 400 yen, adults: 800 yen). So all members in your family can enjoy an immersive experience in becoming ninja.

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Next, let’s move on to training! The village offers various facilities to enjoy the way of ninja such as shuriken (star-shaped disc) throwing experience, climbing, and a ninja trick house. Moreover, they offer exciting shows related to the skills of the ninja. With such wonderful attractions and shows, you can enjoy being a ninja for a whole day.

For all big ninja fans, please do not miss visiting Ninpohkan where you can see a huge collection of all things ninja. From manga such as Ninja Hattori, to every single ninja character in pop culture, to lego ninja figures, and posters of ninja movies as well as other ninja paraphernalia can be found here. We came to realize just how the legend of the mysterious and enigmatic ninja has permeated Japanese and global culture, from traditional Japanese culture to pop culture.

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Ninja version vending machine!
Ninja version vending machine!

Read other articles in the series:
Visit the Origin of Ninja (1) : Togakushi Shrine
Visit the Origin of Ninja (2) : Museums and a Ninja Trick House
Visit the Origin of Ninja (3) : Ninja Soba

Information

Open: Late April ~ Late November
Open hours: 9.00 ~ 17.00 Closed on Thursdays (open daily for the summer vacation period, mid-July ~ end August)
Access: From Nagano to Kids’ Ninja Village: Take bus Togakushi line no. 70 or 71 to Togakushi-Chusha bus stop → walk around 15 min
Admission fee: Kozaru Ticket (Adults – Elem. School Kids: 450 yen, Kids: 200 yen) *This price does not include attractions fee
Website: http://www.ninjamura.com/english

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture

Akita Prefecture 19~ 24


19Mount Moriyoshi (森吉山) in Kita-Akita

A photo posted by @mado.ca on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Access: 20min taxi ride from Aniai Station (Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Ani Kagi no Daki 79-5, Kita-Akita-shi, 018-4624 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.aniski.jp (Japanese only)


20Nyuto Onsen Village (乳頭温泉郷) in Semboku

A photo posted by ayuko! (@a1oxo5) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: The view from the Rotenburo (open air bath).
Access: 45min ride with the Ugo Transportation bus into Nyuto Onsen direction from Tazawako Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen)
Address: Tazawako, Semboku-shi, 014-1204 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture


23Dakigaeri Valley (抱返り渓谷) in Semboku

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 30min taxi ride from JR Tazawako Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen); 15min taxi ride from JR Kakunodate Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen, Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Tazawako Dakikaeri Prefectural Natural Park, Tazawako, Semboku-shi, Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.city.semboku.akita.jp


24Oyasu Gorge (小安峡) in Yuzawa

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: End of October
Event: Autumn Color Festival
Date: October 16th (Sunday)
Access: 1h10min bus ride from Yuzawa Station (JR Ou Main Line)
Address: Minaseyumoto, Yuzawa-shi, 012-0183 Akita
URL: http://www.jalan.net/kankou/spt_05465ab2040005443/ (Japanese only)
Ranking: ★★★★☆

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture


21Senshu Park (千秋公園) in Akita

A photo posted by @syuu_01 on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 10min walk from JR Akita Station
Address: Senshu Park, Akita-shi, 010-0876 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


22Kakunodate (角館) in Semboku

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: The street of the samurai’s residence.
Access: 5min taxi ride or 20min walk from Kakunodate Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen, Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Kakunodate-machi, Semboku-shi, 014-0300 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Visit the Origin of Ninja (3) : Ninja Soba

Togakushi Soba Yamaguchiya

On the way back from the hill, we visited Yamaguchiya Soba restaurant. They specialize in making Togakushi Soba with a unique concept. The recommended menu is Ninja Soba (cold soba with shredded radish, vegetable tempura and original walnut soba sauce). Moreover, they have a ninja menu for ladies called the Kunoichi Soba that comes with a Japanese dessert. Both menus are ninja-themed with edible components such as shredded radish that represents ninja smoke bombs.

Ninja Soba Set
Ninja Soba Set
Kunoichi Soba Set (Ninja Soba set for ladies)
Kunoichi Soba Set (Ninja Soba set for ladies)
Soft serve ice cream
Soft serve ice cream

Mr. Yamaguchi, the owner of Yamaguchiya and ninja master, told us that the secret to make delicious Togakushi soba are premium ingredients and pure water. He also said that in training to be a ninja, energy is extremely necessary so food that contains a lot of energy but can also be easily digested and healthy such as soba, is the best menu for ninja.

Currently, Mr. Yamaguchi is an instructor for ninja training as well. Some ninja trainees are not local Japanese, and some even came all the way from Europe to explore the way of the ninja with different purposes. The key to be a ninja is not complicated techniques, high power or good items but ability to adapt all ninja skills. Moreover, those skills are for defend and protect ourselves not for attack others.