Writer: Bjorn Koolen

Although he has lived in both Tokyo and Kyoto for quite some time now, Bjorn continues to explore Japan's less well-known corners for the country's endless beauty and delicious local dishes. By sharing his experience he hopes to inspire others to create their own cherished memories of Japan.

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Nagoya Castle, the Rival Not-to-be

According to some, had it not been destroyed by bombardments in World War II, the Nagoya Castle would have surpassed Himeji Castle, as Japan’s most impressive feudal castle. Nonetheless, its current ferroconcrete reconstruction from 1959 and surrounding Meijo Park with over 2,000 cherry trees makes for a marvelous sight in early spring. But the castle is a picturesque vision throughout the year with a variety of blooms.

Gone Fishin' In The Heart of Tokyo

Fishing is deep-rooted in Japanese culture and fishing trips to the countryside are quite popular during the weekends and holidays, but for those living in the heart of Tokyo or for those who do not really want to have to go out of the city, Ichigaya Fishing Centre is an amazing alternative.

Overlooked by Mystery: Daikakuji Temple

Daikakuji is what one would consider “slightly off the beaten path” as although it is located near Kyoto’s popular Arashiyama district it hardly attracts any visitors outside the autumn and spring season. Featured in the Tale of Genji, the first Japanese novel, Daikakuji was originally a palace for Emperor Saga from which it derived its second name “Saga Imperial Palace”.

Omiya Bonsai Village

Abounding in beautiful bonsai, this neighborhood of Omiya, Saitama is accessible to both knowledgeable enthusiasts and those new to this traditional art, and is just a short train ride from Tokyo.

Getting Around Kansai

Navigating around a city or region you have never been to can be quite tricky and knowing about the special discounted passes used for the public transport is one of the first steps to learning how to get around. Within Kansai there are numerous options for bus, train and subway lines that will help moving around a lot easier and significantly cheaper.

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