A memorable and exhilarating trip to Kifune Shrine and Kurama Temple up the mountains of Northern Kyoto was a perfect way to close the year in preparation for the New Year. Although the winter chill made the walk and climb quite challenging, it should be very pleasant during other seasons, such as autumn and spring when the forests beam with mesmerizing colors of maple leaves and cherry blossoms.
Soni Highlands is a valuable landscape where we can see kayaba even today. It is because the village of Soni maintains that grassland. For a long time, this has been a task for March season. But this season it is on schedule for February.
You don’t have to go far to experience the ancient, living practice of Kannon Pilgrimage. One of Japan’s three major Kannon pilgrimages is just eighty minutes by train from Tokyo!
While there are numerous charming sights to see in Karuizawa, two of the worthy visiting spots to check are the Onioshidashi Park by Mt. Asama and the Shiraito Waterfalls.
Hiking the mountain is fairly easily; it involves a walk in a forest and some steep roads up the man-made path. In autumn, you can find acorns and in certain places, lovely red leaves. Visiting Mt. Takao and the surrounding hills is a good way to practice if you’re interested in climbing Mt. Fuji.
In addition to Chichijima, Hahajima is the only other Ogasawara island that is inhabited. Mount Kofuji is one of the hikes that can be done without a guide and at any time of the year. I would recommend you reserve 4-5 hour for this, as there are some beaches on the way that you can also visit.
The Okama crater of the Zao volcano is accessible by bus, by car, and on foot. Okama wows from any angle, but approaching it on foot is a rare opportunity to experience the radical transformations caused by a volcanic eruption.
Hakone Hachiri is the name given to the stretch of old Tokaido between Odawara and Mishima, via Hakone. Much of the old Tokaido route has been replaced by modern roading. But the Hakone Hachiri stretch has a reasonable proportion still intact, and so has just been declared a Japan Heritage Area.
If you travel to countries hoping to experience another culture, Japan is still rich with it and Nara is the perfect place surrounded by culture and history. It is many things at once: traditional, natural, delightful, heartfelt, and all around wonderful. Come to Nara and be amazed. I honestly could name 100 things in Nara that would make for an amazing trip, but I have narrowed it down to the top 15 spots that you will not find even in most guidebooks.
Mt. Takao may be the classic day hike from Tokyo, but for those looking to sink their teeth into something a little more challenging, Mt. Kawanoriyama is the perfect alternative, and a deeply rewarding trek...
Rob sat down with Taiken to tell us a bit about what life is like as a guide in one of the top winter destinations on the planet, and why you shouldn’t fear the bears.