Cherry blossom season is here again, and I’m gearing up for my annual pilgrimage to Yuza, a small town on the Sea of Japan at the base of Mount Chokai. The pink flowers, the gentle curve of the river, the hanging koi fish decorations blowing in the wind, the blue sky – all of it makes for an idyllic scene.
Kawasaki, a city in Kanagawa-ken, has a 1.2-hectare park named Ikuta Ryokuchi. They have many places to visit such as Kawasaki Municipal Science Museum, Japan Open Air Folk House Museum, Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Yomiuri Land, and Kawasaki Art Center. But the one that I will share here is the rose garden.
During Hitsujiyama Park's Shibazakura Festival in Saitama you can stroll around the huge 1.8-hectare lawn filled with over 400,000 moss phlox of nine different varieties.
If you are in Tokyo and want to experience the Buddhist tradition of temple lodging, or “Shukubo”, you are in luck. Taiyoji, The Temple of the Sun, has everything you could want in a temple stay, just a two- hour train ride away.
Iwakuni mainly gets mentioned because of the large US marine base that is on the city outskirts, but thats not what I am here to tell you about today. It has some charming tourist spots that are kept secret from the general foreign tourist. But today I am going to spill the beans and tell you how you can have a great day sightseeing in Iwakuni City.
In English, it means ‘Bank of Deities’. Though not as popular as the famous ‘Takato Castle’, Rokudō no Tsutsumi is arguably the better option for your ‘hanami’ or flower viewing party in the spring time. And, though access is granted all year round, it is in spring that this small and seemingly insipid pond really shines.
What some may not be aware of, however, are the equally beautiful but less famous Japanese plum blossoms! Plum blossoms, like cherry blossoms are a signal for the beginning of spring, and though they are often overshadowed by the popular cherry blossoms, the flowers are stunning in their own right. Though they are similar in some ways they are also quite different in appearance, variations and blooming period.
Kagoshima city holds a large number of interesting historical sites, but few of them are as big as Sengan-en, a sprawling Japanese garden and house on the northern edge of the city. It is one of Kagoshima's most popular tourist spots and aside from the attraction within the gardens itself, it commands a wonderful view of Sakurajima, Kagoshima's iconic volcano.
Kappa were legendary creatures from Japan. They were always known as water creatures in folklore. Amphibious creatures similar to frogs or turtles; sometimes they are called Gataro (川太郎) or Kawako (川子) which means river child. Some people study them in cryptozoology since throughout Japanese history thousands of people have claimed to have seen one themselves.
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.
Okawachiyama, Saga. As soon as you get off the bus, sightseeing starts. You see the mountains in the background, narrow roads, pottery and porcelain everywhere, a stream and cute little bridges over it.