Awaji Island, located just south of Kobe in Hyogo prefecture is worth putting on your itinerary if you visit Kansai. It’s connected to Honshu—Japan’s main island—by the nearly 4km long Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.
If you like old world charm and nostalgia, then you will love Imai-cho town. At 17.4 hectares, it’s the largest preservation district for groups of traditional buildings in Japan. And since there are in fact people still residing in Imai-cho, it really is a living historical town.
There’s more to the area than the renowned temple. Being a convenient Kintetsu or Keihan train ride from Osaka, and south of Kyoto city itself, it’s well worth the trip to Fushimi. The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive is that it’s a quaint, picturesque and peaceful place, compared to the hustle and bustle of Kyoto city, or even Fushimi Inari—at least it was when I visited.
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Miyazaki prefecture has no shortage of sweeping forest and mountain views and one of the best ways to see it is from up above. Sure, you could try and charter a helicopter but a much easier and cheaper way to get the same feeling is via the Aya Teruha suspension bridge.
Dejima is located to the south of Nagasaki City and is easily accessed by tram. I got off the tram and was instantly surprised, as I was expecting to see Dejima on the seaside as it once was. However, I soon realized Dejima is no longer an island.
The area to the west of Kyoto main station has gone through major changes in recent years. Ume Koji Park has seen the construction of the popular Kyoto Aquarium, the upgrading and renovation of Kyoto Railway Museum, a new café in the park and new children’s playground. These changes have brought in many more visitors to the area and because of this, a new station has just opened between Kyoto and Tambaguchi, Ume Koji Nishi Kyoto.
Visitors to Okinawa seek out the ancient castle ruins of the island that tell the stories of the Kings of the Ryukyu era. The most famous one surely is the majestic Castle Park of Shuri. But before the political base was built there, it resided in Urasoe, on a hill that would later on become known to American soldiers as Hacksaw Ridge during World War II.
Yusuhara is a small town in Kochi located in between mountains and holds a population of less than 4000 people. It touts itself as the town above the clouds, and is also known for its eco-friendliness. What this amounts to is a friendly town where everyone seems to know and greet each other everywhere, a town that retires home before it gets dark, and a quiet and peaceful town, all in all providing for a quaint Japanese town experience that would likely surprise you.
In the ordered days of the Edo Period, the northern parts of Japan were considered untamed lands of deep mountains and wild forests. One of the ways of entering this region was via the Nikko Kaido highway leading from Edo, now known as Tokyo, to Nikko. The early staging point for a journey on this famous road was Soka.
The fortress was built in a style unique to the island known as Gusuku, incorporating Chinese design with local characteristics and materials. These Gusuku were built across the island between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 14th, in response to both internal island conflict and threats from across the seas.