History / Culture / Tour Spots in Japan

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha
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    4.5
    24494 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Fushimi-ku Fukakusa Yabunouchi cho 68
    This shrine in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City, is the head of all Inari Shrines in Japan, which total to around 30,000 shrines. The shrine is particularly famous for its vermillion lacquered Torii gate tunnels, as well as to parishioners visiting the god for business, harvest, and fortune. Many of the buildings on the grounds are also painted with brilliant vermillion lacquer including the front shrine, main shrine, and tower gate, which has been designated an Important Cultural Properties of Japan. The torii gate corridor, said to consist of several thousand to 10,000 torii gates, twists and turns making it quite the spectacle. Beyond that is the rear shrine as well as the entrance to Mt. Inari-san which is dotted with countless small burial mounds. It is one of the most famous spots in the Kansai region to visit for the annual New Year Shrine Visit and draws huge numbers of visitors every year.

    Many shrines in Asia, we noticed, are difficult to get to. This glorious temple as well is for fit and fine to climb. We tell you, only the fit may climb.

  • Osaka Castle
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    4.0
    7899 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Osaka Osakashi Chuou-ku Osakajou 1-1
    Osaka Castle was built by the Imperial Regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi between 1583 and 1598. The castle was built on a magnificent scale, but was destroyed just 17 years later after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the destruction of the Toyotomi clan in the Siege of Osaka in 1615. Thereafter, the castle was rebuilt by the Tokugawa shogunate under the command of Todo Takatora but was once again lost due to a fire caused by a lightning strike. The current castle tower is the third generation to stand here and was completed in 1931 through donations from local citizens. The interior of the castle is a history museum and visitors can enjoy information about the history of Osaka Castle and dioramas. The castle was registered as a national Tangible Cultural Property in 1997.

    Beautiful castle and surroundings. I was not able to enter the castle tower due to covid restrictions but enjoyed the variety of things to do and see within the castle walls and in the gardens.

  • Himeji Castle
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    4.5
    5323 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Hyogo Pref. Himejishi Honmachi 68
    Also known as the White Heron Castle, this shining white castle is registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Structures such as the castle tower built in the early Edo period still stand today, and these are also registered as National treasures and national Important Cultural Properties. One of the most prominent theories is that the castle was originally erected as a fort by Akamatsu Sadanori in 1346. Ikeda Terumasa began renovating the castle when he became the lord of the castle after the Battle of Sekigahara, expanding it into the expansive compound seen today. The castle tower is located in the southeast corner of the foundation. The castle looks to be composed of five tiers from the outside and internally is comprised of six floors above ground and one subterranean level. The castle shining a blinding white in the light of the sun is truly a beautiful sight.

    All I can say is WOW! Amazing place. There are a lot of steep stairs to climb so its not for everyone. Incredible to think that this was built in the 1600s. A truly amazing place.

  • Nijojo Castle
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    4.5
    6976 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto City Kyoto City Nakagyo-ku Nijyotoru Horikawa Western Nishi Nijo Castle Town 541
    This fortification was built in 1603 to lodge Tokugawa Ieyasu when he travelled to the capital after his victory at the Battle of Sekigahara. Later, the site was significantly renovated by the third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, resulting in its present form. In addition to the entire grounds being a nationally designated Historic Site, the site is dotted with numerous historically valuable structures and beautiful sights, including the Ninomaru Palace, the outer citadel palace (a National Treasure), Honmaru Palace, the inner citadel palace (an Important Cultural Property), and Ninomaru Garden, the outer citadel palace garden (a Special Place of Scenic Beauty).

    The palace was not open due to the New Year holidays but the garden was open. Most of the buildings were being renovated anyways so we wouldn’t have been able to go inside. It would be worth visiting...

  • Tōdai-ji
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    4.5
    5652 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou 406-1
    This temple which is located in Nara City is the head temple of the Kegon sect of Buddhism. The principal object of worship at the temple is Vairocana-Buddha which has become a symbol of Nara and is known as “Nara’s Big Buddha”. Emperor Shomu issued a decree to construct the Great Buddha in 743, and in order to enshrine that Great Buddha, Tōdai-ji was constructed using all the nation’s power. National Treasures such as the Nandaimon (Great South Gate), Daibutsuden (the Great Buddha), the bell tower and the Hokke-do Hall are dotted throughout the grounds of the temple. It is known internationally as a Japanese sightseeing spot with many foreign tourists also visiting the temple.

    Todai-ji is one of the most imressive temples in Japan. The grounds around the temple are also well worth visiting. Youll find extensive gardens, museums as well as treasure halls.

  • Nikko Toshogu Shrine
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    4.5
    3328 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Sannai 2301
    A shrine located in Sannai, Nikko City. It was founded in 1617 as a shrine dedicated to the Tosho Daigongen (Tokugawa Ieyasu). There are many buildings including eight National Treasures and 34 Important Cultural Properties in the shrine grounds as well as the beautifully adorned and richly colored carvings of the Three Wise Monkeys—Mizaru, Iwazaru and Kikazaru (see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil)—and the Nemuri-neko (sleepy cat) attributed to Hidari Jingoro. Nikko Toshogu is also registered as a World Heritage Site as one of the Shrines and Temples of Nikko.

    An excellent place if you time your visit outside peak hours. The Covid precautions were very good. The roaring dragon is a must see.

  • Kotoku-in Temple (Kamakura Daibutsu)
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    4.5
    3032 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Hase 4-2-28
    A Pure Land Buddhist temple founded by the great priest Honen. The 11.3 meter tall, 121 ton giant copper Buddha statue known as the Kamakura Daibutsu, a National Treasure, is the temple’s principal object of worship and depicts a seated Amitabha. The original daibutsu was made of wood and was destroyed by a typhoon. The copper form of the current statue first began to be cast in 1252. This figure, too, was damaged by typhoons and earthquakes but was repaired each time, leading to its current excellent condition. The interior of the statue can be viewed and from here visitors can see evidence of the repairs that have been made.

    Easy and fun stop with ample parking options close by. The Buddha grounds were pretty and Sakura were in bloom. Cost for entry was low. For three people and one free child it was ¥750. Not a far...

  • Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
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    4.5
    1897 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Tokyo Mitakashi Shimorenjaku 1-1-83 Metropolitan Inokashira Park In Saiten
    This is an animation art museum managed by Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki with a motto of “Let's get lost together.” In addition to displaying materials and storyboards of past Ghibli works, the museum always features various sections that will expand one's perception of animation such as the replicated animation studio and the screenings of short animated films made just for the museum. With a nostalgic building and a route that blends in greenery, this is a place that both adults and children can enjoy just as they please. Entry to the museum is only by reservation and the closest station is Mitaka Station.

    They wouldn’t let me mark earlier, but I actually went in fall of 2017. No photography allowed, which almost made the experience more special. There’s Ghibli themed food, and inside looks into the...

  • Kyoto Imperial Palace
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    4.0
    2433 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kamigyou-ku Kyoutogyoen
    The Kyoto Imperial Palace is located in the northern side of the Kyoto Imperial Gardens. The palace is surrounded by a roofed mud wall and channel of clear running water 250 meters long east to west and 450 meters long north to south. The current palace was rebuilt in 1855 and includes such facilities as six gates scattered around all four sides, the old palace’s state chamber where successive generations of emperors were enthroned, and a hall of state built in the Imperial residence style located in the center of the compound where the Imperial throne is placed. The small old palace, built in the traditional shoin-zukuri style, is located on the north side of the compound, and from here visitors can view an elegant garden with a large pond. Once, viewing the Kyoto Imperial Palace required an application to be made beforehand, but today no such reservation is required and the palace may be viewed freely by anyone year round (note that a bagger inspection will be performed prior to allowing visitors entry).

    Japans Imperial Familys offical Residence until 1868, when they moved to Tokyo. Kyoto, up until that point, was The Capital and that is why it is still very much a low-rise City, with lots of...

  • Naritasan Shinshoji Temple
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    4.5
    2151 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Chiba Pref. Naritashi Narita 1
    Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is a lead temple in the Chisan school of Shingon located in Narita, Chiba Prefecture. In order to suppress a revolt by Tairano Masakado which broke out in the Heian period, it began with the fact that Kobo Daishi was spiritually enlightened by the high priest Kancho as Acala was enshrined and became the principal image of worship at the temple. Many well-known figures had strong faith including such figures as Minamotono Yoritomo, Mito Mitsukuni and Ichikawa Danjuro, and Narita Fudo prompted many commoners to have faith. On the grounds of the temple, there are very big gardens maintained which cover an area of approximately 3.5 times that of Tokyo Dome, and you can see seasonal plants in the garden.

    Temple is the hottest spot in Narita. All the local people advertise it and you should definitely visit it. The temple is located in a huge park with lakes and waterfalls and consists of other...

  • Kumamoto Castle
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    4.5
    2704 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kumamoto Pref. Kumamotoshichuouku Honmaru 1-1
    In 1607, Kato Kiyomasa built a castle in a hilly area called Chausuyama, which is one of the three premier castles in Japan. Thereafter, Kumamoto Castle has been a stage of a diverse history for 400 years from the Middle Ages to the present age. Castle buildings from those days are also in existence, and 13 of the buildings have been designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Kumamoto Castle was damaged in the Kumamoto earthquake which occurred in April 2016, and restoration work is currently still under way.

    I am a tourist so I had no idea about the earthquake that devastated Kumamoto in 2016. Still today, you can see the aftermath of the earthquake on the castle. I am so glad they are restoring it to...

  • Tenryu-ji Temple
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    4.5
    1957 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagatenryujisusukinobabachou 68
    The head temple of Rinzai Tenryuji Buddhsim. The temple is one of the foremost sightseeing locations in the Saga Arashiyama area. The temple was founded in 1339 by Ashikaga Takauji to memorialize Emperor Go-Daigo. The temple was founded as the first of the five Kyoto Gozan premier temples and the spacious grounds encompassed over 150 sub-temples, but these were all lost in a series of later fires. The various temple buildings standing today were reconstructed in the Meiji period; the abbot’s chamber enshrines a seated figure of Gautama Buddha created in the Fujiwara period. The temple’s circular garden, built around a central pond, is a designated Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty and makes use of Mt. Arashiyama and Mt. Kameyama in the background. The garden looks the same as it did approximately 700 years ago when it was first created by Muso Kokushi.

    The walkway to the entrance of the temple runs through the highly famous, spectacular Arashiyama bamboo groves. It is the most popular, major attraction in the Arashiyama area. You can take the...

  • Atsuta Jingu (Atsuta Shrine)
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    4.0
    1750 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Aichi Pref. Nagoyashi Atsuta-ku Jingu 1-1-1
    This shrine located in Nagoya City’s Atsuta Ward has been known familiarly as “Atsuta Sama” since long ago. Reported to have been established in 113, it is revered as a Great Shrine ranking second only to Ise Jingu Shrine. The shrine is famous as a place that enshrines the sacred sword Kusanagi-no-tsurugi, one of the three sacred treasures that symbolize the Imperial throne. The approximately 190,000-square meter premises are thick with kusunoki (camphor trees) that have been living for more than one thousand years, and are scattered with numerous setsumatsu-sha (smaller shrines managed under the shrine). There are numerous events and festivals held at the shrine including Hatsu Ebisu on January 5, and it is constantly bustling with visitors for Shichi-Go-San (shrine visit by children aged 7, 5 and 3), omiya-mairi (the first shrine visits by babies) and even Hatsu Mode (the first shrine visit of New Year).

    A beautiful shrine set in splendid nature that is very well-maintained. Enjoyed the serene surroundings as I strolled through the forested path to the shrine. Theres a peaceful walking trail around...

  • Rokuon-ji Temple (Kinkaku-ji Temple)
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    4.5
    28 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Kita-ku Kinkakujichou 1
    This temple began when third generation shogun of the Muromachi shogunate Ashikaga Yoshimitsu inherited the Saionji family's mountain villa and called the villa “Kitayamadono.” After his death it was changed into a Zen temple named “Rokuonji.” The reliquary hall is a three-story building shining beautifully in gold and looks pretty reflected in the Kyokoike (mirror pond). This brilliant architecture was a symbol of Kitayama culture but burned down in a 1950 fire, then was rebuilt in 1955. In 1994 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    It was nice to sit quietly and have a bowl of matcha tea and a sweet while finishing our visit at kinkaku-ji. It wasnt busy at all despite the huge crowds at the temple and the tea was lovely.

  • Zojoji Temple
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    4.0
    2161 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Tokyo Minato-ku Shibakouen 4-7-35
    This temple that belongs to the Jodo sect is located in Shiba Park in Tokyo’s Minato City and is situated close to the base of Tokyo Tower. Zojoji Temple was founded by the monk Yuyo Shoso shonin in 1393 as an orthodox and fundamental nembutsu seminary for the Jodo sect. It used to be a large-scale temple with more than 120 buildings and more than 100 dormitories, and structures such as the Important Cultural Property Sangedatsumon (Three Gates of Liberation) that escaped damage from the war and the reconstructed main hall give an indication of the temple’s former glory. Tokyo Tower can be seen in the background behind the main hall, making this a popular photo spot. Inside the temple is the mausoleum of the Tokugawa family which contains six of the 15 Tokugawa shoguns.

    This is one of the most impressive places I visited while in Tokyo. The peace and calm in there is strangely beautiful. Entered here with curiosity and exit with great peace of mind. A must visit in...

  • Byodoin
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    4.5
    1628 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Ujishi Uji Renge 116
    A Buddhist temple located in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture that was founded in 1052 when Fujiwara no Michinaga, the father of Fujiwara no Yorimichi, turned a villa he had inherited into a temple. Due to the pessimism of the time which believed the world was coming to an end, Pure Land Buddhism grew in popularity, and the temple’s hall was designed to recreate the Western Paradise, a key aspect of the faith. The luxurious hall enshrines a seated figure of Amitabha created by the Buddhist sculptor Jocho. Most of the original temple excluding the main hall, Kannon hall, and bell tower were destroyed by fire. In the Byodoin Museum Hoshokan, however, visitors can view a Chinese Phoenix depicted on the ceiling and temple bell (National Treasures) as well as 26 of the 52 floating bodhisattva figures suspended from the ceiling of the main hall.

    Easy access from either train stations. Well kept buildings and facilities. Need to pay extra ¥300 to go inside the main hall. The museum was nice but not many explanations in English. This temple is...

  • Tofuku-ji Temple
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    4.5
    1808 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Honmachi 15-778
    Construction of this large temple was begun in 1236 by the regent Kujo Michiie, who wanted to enshrine Kyoto’s largest monastery. The construction ultimately took 19 years to complete. The temple’s spacious grounds are home to such highlights as Japan’s oldest main temple gate (a designated National Treasure), and a toilet constructed in the Zen style as well as a temple nave decorated with a painting of a dragon on its ceiling (both Important Cultural Properties). Four gardens are distributed to the east, west, north, and south sides of the grounds, and each offers charming but different scenery. The northern garden in particular, with its checkerboard of moss and stones, is a must-see.

    wandered here through the sennyu-ji temple, a beautiful area. maple trees just starting to turn colors. we were visiting beloved kyoto for our third and most likely last time. lucky to be able to...

  • Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center)
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    3.5
    679 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Tokyo Koutou-ku Ariake 3-11-1
    Located in the Ariake district of Tokyo's Koto City, this is Japan's largest convention center. It opened in 1996 and is used for various trade fairs and exhibitions throughout the year including business as well as cultural events. It is famous for hosting the Tokyo Motor Show and the Comic Market. The interior is mainly divided up into the Conference Tower, East Hall, East New Exhibition Hall, West Hall and Restaurant Avenue.

    Visited Tokyo Big Sight for a trade show and it is quite easily accessible on the Yurikanome line. The architecture is pretty interesting and worth a couple of photos. There is also a decent...

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine
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    4.5
    1765 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Kasuganochou 160
    This is a Shinto shrine located in Nara City. Kasuga Taisha Shrine is the grand head shrine of approximately 1,000 Kasuga shrines nationwide. The origins to the shrine lie in the early days of the Nara period, when Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto from Kashima-jingu Shrine was enshrined at Mt. Mikasa. The main shrine of the Kasuga structure which is a National Treasure has four buildings lined up, and in addition to the majestic and splendid south Gate and middle gate, there are many things such as fine and industrial art objects which have been designated as Important Cultural Properties. The Bantoro Festival (Lantern Festival) event is held on the day of Setsubun (Bean throwing night) and on the 14th and 15th of August when around 3,000 stone lanterns and hanging lanterns are lit with fire, and many worshipers come to look at this magical sight.

    Kasuga Grand Shrine is a must to visit. However it can get too crowded during the day. The area is so beautiful especially during autumn. I recommend to visit this place early morning for good photos.

  • Eikando Zenrin-ji
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    4.5
    1700 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Eikandouchou 48
    The head temple of Nishiyama Zenrinji Pure Land Sect of Buddhism, located in Eikando Town, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. The temple was erected by Shinsho, a disciple of the famed priest Kukai, in 853 to serve as a Pure Land Sect dojo. Thereafter, a man named Eikan joined the priesthood and began engaging in philanthropic works while spreading Pure Land Buddhism and encouraging people to pray to Amitabha. Accordingly, the name “Eikando” is derived from his name. The temple is famous for its standing figure of Amitabha, which is looking back over its shoulder. An exhibit of the temple’s treasure house is held in November. The temple has also been famous for its autumn foliage since ancient times.

    A must do along the Philosophers Path - which only takes about 1 hour to walk, from the Silver Pavilion to Zenso-ji - this includes stopping at all 4 temples.

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