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Top 6 of Japan's Most Impressive Original Castles
- Japan boasts its fair share of spectacular castles, enough to give any European nation a run for its money. But did you know there are only 12 ‘original’ castles still standing in Japan? An ‘original castle’ is one that’s survived intact since feudal age in 1867. Managing to withstand the ravages of war and unrelenting weather, Japan’s original castles are displays of the nation’s great architects and rich royal legacy. The Black Castle of Matsue The Black Castle of Matsue In the north of Shimane’s prefectural capital sits Matsue Castle, known colloquially as the black castle thanks to its striking black wooden panels which wrap around the bottom half of the building. Six-stories tall and with a history that dates back over 400 years, it’s one of Japan’s historical gems. The castle came to be at the turn of the 17th century when powerful daimyo lord Horio Yoshiharu relocated from Shizuoka Prefecture to Shimane. Under Yoshiharu’s good name, grandson Tadaharu built the castle and laid out the foundations for what later became the surrounding Matsue City. The castle design took inspiration from the outline of a watchtower, and from the top of the building today you can still admire incredible panoramic views of the city. An excellent place to visit for a half day adventure the castle grounds are also home to a small Shinto shrine and the western style Kounkaku mansion which houses a folklore museum and tea house. Kochi Castle Kochi Castle First constructed between 1601 - 1611, Kochi Castle is one of Kochi Prefecture’s major attractions. It was rebuilt in the 18th century following a devastating fire but remains one of the country’s last 12 original castles. It was initially home to the Yamauchi lords, rulers of the region, which at the time was known as Tosa. What makes this building so unique is that its donjon (main tower) was a multipurpose space used for military purposes and as a residence for the lords. The interior of the caste remains relatively untouched since the Edo Period, and if you scale the castle to the top floor lookout point, you’ll be gifted with spectacular views of the surrounding Kochi area, making it worth a visit for both history buffs and general tourists alike. Matsumoto Castle Matsumoto Castle One of the nation’s most photogenic landmarks, you’ll find Matsumoto Castle right in the heart of Nagano Prefecture. The castle was the seat of government for Matsumoto Domain during the Edo Period and was built in the 16th century. Today it’s a major tourist attraction thanks in large park to its stunning surroundings. In spring pink cherry blossoms frame the picturesque castle as do firey red and orange leaves in autumn. Given that the castle town of Matsumoto which surrounds it is relatively humble in size, this is the perfect jumping off point for exploring the wider area. Hikone Castle Hikone Castle Standing proud in Shiga Prefecture, Hikone Castle is one of only four castles in Japan that boasts its original keep. Built in 1622 by the Ii Clan, it’s withstood the times of political transition, wild weather and the everyday wear and tear of almost 400 years of existence to remain one of the nation's most beautiful castles. The castle grounds are also home to many attention-worthy landmarks including Genkyu En Garden, a tea ceremony garden once used by lords entertain guests, Rakurakuen Palace, the home of the Ii family and cherry blossoms trees that during spring bring an other-worldly atmosphere to the place. Inuyama Castle Inuyama Castle Sitting atop a small hill next to Kiso River, in Aichi Prefecture, Inuyama Castle was the creation of Oda Nobuyasu, Oda Nobunaga’s uncle who built the castle 1537 during the Muromachi period. Size-wise the castle may be humble, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in craftsmanship. A majority of the main keep's was built almost entirely with wood and rocks, perhaps one of the reasons it’s truly stood the test of time. Inside you can scale the stairs to reach the castle’s peak, which offers excellent views of the surrounding castle grounds and nearby Kiso River. Himeji Castle Himeji Castle A list on Japanese castles wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Himeji Castle, one of the nation’s iconic and beautiful landmarks. Located in Hyogo Prefecture, this elegant, piece of historic architecture is not only striking in its bold, white beauty, massive size and stunning surrounds, but it’s an unparalleled feat of design ingenuity. Unlike many other castles of its age, Himeji was never succumbed to war, earthquake or fire and remains as breathtaking as ever. It dates back all the way to 1333 and is easily the most visited castle in the country. It’s impressive any time of year, but especially so in spring when the surrounding cherry blossom trees engulf the base of the castle in soft pink flowers. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Historic Sites of Okazaki
- Okazaki may not be a very large city, but when it comes to historical significance it’s well and truly punching far above its weight. From sacred shrines, towering castles and historic miso factories, there’s plenty here to keep history buffs from all walks of life very satisfied. Here’s a guide to some of the historical sites you just can’t miss. Okazaki Castle Okazaki Castle A symbol of the city, Okazaki Castle has long played a dominant role in the development of the city and its surrounds. Originally built in the mid-1450s, but was later moved to its current site in the early 1500s. After its establishment, the surrounding area became a prosperous castle town, thanks in a large part to its central location on the Tokaido highway between Kyoto and Tokyo (which at that time was called Edo). Today the castle features five interior floors, many of which are home to exhibits displaying artifacts from the original castle and other historical items such as armor, swords, and dioramas recreating scenes from local history. Take a strong around the castle and you’ll find a samurai-centric museum, teahouses, a Noh theater, and a small clock tower. Tatsuki Shrine Tatsuki Shrine Sitting adjacent to Okazaki Castle is Tatsuki Shrine, one of the city’s main local spiritual points of interest. Typically the temple is visited for significant life moments, including children’s coming of age milestones, New Year’s Day and wedding ceremonies. Here you’ll find idols dedicated to two of Japan’s famous Samurai, Ieyasu Tokugawa and Tadakatsu Honda. If you visit on or the days following New Year’s you can also sample usagi ziru (rabbit soup) which is served to visiting guests. Takisanji Temple and Takisanji Toshogu Shrine Takisanji Temple and Takisanji Toshogu Shrine Both located on the northern corners of Okazaki, Takisanji Toshogu Shrine and Takisanji Temple are both historical and spiritual treasures of the city and both are worth visiting if you do make it to the area. The Takisanji Temple you see today was built by a famous priest named Kanden, he was a cousin of Japan’s great founder of the Kamakura shogunate (Japanese feudal family) Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199). It’s said that Yoritomo’s teeth and hair have been enshrined here inside temple’s the statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Takisanji Temple and Takisanji Toshogu Shrine Takisanji Shrine was built in 1646, and today it (alongside with its neighboring temple) is home to the Oni Matsuri, which runs on the Saturday closest to the seventh day of the lunar calendar. It’s a vibrant an elaborate fire festival dedicated to Japan’s great demon/ ogre Oni. Old Streets Lined with Miso Storehouses (Hatchokura-dori) Old Streets Lined with Miso Storehouses (Hatchokura-dori) Located a short walk from Okazaki Castle you’ll find two rustic looking manufactories. These buildings are the city’s famous miso storehouses, which still to this day continue to produce the area’s delicious, traditional, dark red miso paste. With a history that stretches back over 500 years, it’s definitely worth visiting to get a newfound appreciation for this local culinary staple. You can sign up for a tour through the storehouses and sample the miso produced here. Honda Tadatsugu House Honda Tadatsugu House Built in 1932, the Honda Tadatsugu House is a fascinating architectural hybrid. A mix of western and Japanese design, it’s open for public inspection and sits on the edge of the East Park. Wander through the house to soak up its historic atmosphere and learn more about the early Showa-era, in which it was created. Arguably, the most striking feature of this house is its stained glass windows, which filter in different hues of light, and its meticulously crafted mosaic patterned bathrooms. Daijuji Shrine Daijuji Shrine Founded in 1475, the Daijuji Shrine is another one of the city’s popular spiritual sites, however what makes this place so culturally significant is its rich historical connection to the powerful Japanese leader Tokugawa Ieyasu. Founded by the ancestors of the Tokugawa clan the Matsudairas, it’s said that this is where Ieyasu once visited to seek refuge from conflict, determined to commit suicide in front of the graves of his ancestors, before a priest intervened and encouraged Ieyasu not to give up hope. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Centrair: Japan’s Award-Winning Central Airport
- Situated right in the middle of Japan’s most busy zones for tourists, Chubu Centrair International Airport (usually known as “Centrair”) has the advantage of having great access in multiple directions to places like Kyoto, Gifu, Nagano, Mie, and Nara Prefectures. The airport’s perfect location, ease of use, and wide array of services has led to SKYTRAX awards for the World’s Best Regional Airport (4 years in a row), Best Regional Airport - Asia (8 years in a row), and in the World’s Top10 Airports. Just 45 minutes from Nagoya, you can pretty much head anywhere in Japan via bullet train, local trains, or bus and use the area as your central base for the region. Plus, right outside of the airport is Tokoname, one of Japan’s most famous ceramics towns, which is a great way to jump into some culture on arrival. Getting to and from Centrair is a breeze, and a lot less stressful than what you’ll find at bigger international airports in Tokyo and Osaka. There are trains and buses going every direction, especially to and from Nagoya, and you can even jump on a high speed ferry across Ise Bay if you’re traveling between the airport and Mie Prefecture. Even if you aren’t spending time in Mie and going to the Kyoto/Nara area instead by car, the ferry lets you skip over all of the busy Nagoya traffic, rent a car in Tsu City, and then continue your trip with a lot less hassle both directions. The airport itself is built on a man-made island in Ise Bay, and feels less like an airport and more like a mall with lots of shopping, dining, and also airplanes going around Japan and the world. While you’re there you can head up to the Sky Deck on the roof, watch planes take off and land, and get some really amazing views across Ise Bay and along the coastline. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Autumn Leaves and Vibrant Views
- There’s really no shortage of spectacular views of the Japanese foliage (koyo). Wherever you go you will be enchanted by the vivid colors that come with autumn. To help we’ve gathered up a few of the best spots to give you something to think about when planning your trip. There’s no doubt that the sakura blossoms of spring are one of the biggest natural draws in Japan, Sure they’re beautiful but they are also quite fragile and the season is so short, if you blink you’ll miss it. That’s why we’re touting autumn as a great time to visit Japan. It’s a welcome relief to have the cooler weather after the sweltering summer and thanks largely to the beautiful momiji (maple tree) Japanese trees put on a spectacular show that is pretty hard to beat. Put in a few features like centuries old temples and bridges and you’ll understand why we’re crazy about autumn. Tofuku-ji Temple It’s hard to go wrong in Kyoto at any time of the year – amazing scenery is around every corner – but autumn seems to put a delightful filter over the ancient capital that is pretty hard to beat.The Tofuku-ji Temple in the Higashiyama district is very popular with visitors from Japan and abroad as a member of the Kyoto Gozan or “Kyoto’s 5 great Zen temples”. Tofuku-ji Temple The surrounding gardens showcase just about every autumn color you can think of and when you factor in the features of Tsutenkyo Bridge, the creeks and the temple itself and you’ll find no lack of postcard-quality shots. Every year is different but peak viewing is generally in the latter half of November. Be warned, it can get very busy but from the couple of shots we’ve included here we think you’ll agree it’s worth it. Kiyomizu-dera We don’t need any excuse to visit the majestic Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto. It’s one of our favorite temples and it’s breathtaking location halfway up Mt Otowa, makes it a perfect photo spot at any time of the year. When surrounded by the rich autumn colors of the momiji though, this wooden masterpiece takes on a completely different persona. Kiyomizu-dera It’s always popular but well worth the walk up the hill to get to it and of course make sure to sample some of the sweets on the way up – especially yastushashi (try the soft cinnamon or green tea flavors!). The temple has extended hours (6-9pm) from November 14 – December 6 and the grounds, and of course the autumn leaves, are lit up, so that visitors can fully appreciate the seasonal beauty of this sacred spot. Momiji Kairo (Maple Corridor) Next up is a spot near Lake Kawaguchi, which is located in Yamanashi prefecture and is one of the Fuji Five Lakes. It is beautiful in its own right and with a snow-capped Mt Fuji as a backdrop, and autumn colors dotting its shorelines it probably deserves its own spot on this list. But at the northern end of the lake you can find the Momiji Kairo, (Maple Corridor), just a short walk from the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum.a gorgeous natural tunnel of sorts that is a great favorite with visitors…The corridor is actually an old river bed that is lined with maple trees, which create a gorgeous natural tunnel of sorts that is a great favorite with visitors to the area. Anytime during November is a good time to check it out, and like many other koyo spots it is lit up in the evening. Lake Kawaguchi Korankei Valley If you are in Aichi prefecture in November and looking for foliage then there is probably no better area for you to head than the Korankei Valley. There are around 4,000 maple trees along the clear waters of the Tomoe River that runs through the region. Their maple leaves gradually transform into a variety of colors through the season before turning completely red, creating a koyo-lovers paradise that is known locally as ‘goshoku momiji’ (5 colour maple leaves). And if that’s not enough to convince you to add this location to your list, then you also have the vivid, red Taigetsukyo Bridge, giving you plenty of opportunities to capture that perfect Japanese autumn shot! Korankei Valley Arashiyama Though there are plenty of places across Japan to see the spectacular autumn leaves, we’re going to head back to Kyoto for our last recommendation. The Arashiyama district is on the outskirts of Kyoto and has a number of spots that draw visitors from around the world. Best time to visit is from late November to early December when the mountains come alive with autumn colors and make the perfect backdrop for photo buffs. Arashiyama Arashiyama is also the home of the World Heritage listed, Tenryu-ji Temple, which is another of the Kyoto Gozan or “Kyoto’s 5 great Zen temples”. This important temple’s gardens boast a truly breathtaking view year round, but it is one of the most sought-after autumn views in Japan and it’s not difficult to understand why. Try stopping at just one photo! ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
ทั้งหมด 725 รายการ
- จุดชมวิว / สถานที่ชมวิว
- หอดูดาวมิรัตเสะของอาซาฮิโคเก็น-เก็งกิมุระ (Asahi Kogen Genki-Mura Astronomical Observatory Mirasse)
- พิพิธภัณฑ์ / พิพิธภัณฑ์วิทยาศาสตร์
ไอจิเป็นจังหวัดที่ประกอบด้วยความงามที่ยิ่งใหญ่ของธรรมชาติที่มีเมืองนาโกย่าเป็นจุดศูนย์กลางและศูนย์รวมความวุ่นวายของร้านค้าใต้ดินและปราสาทนาโกย่าจากศตวรรษที่ 17 ปราสาทคือสิ่งที่พบได้ง่ายในจังหวัดที่มีความสำคัญทางประวัติศาสตร์เช่นนี้ แต่จุดเด่นทางประวัติศาสตร์นี้คงหนีไม่พ้นพิพิธภัณฑ์เมจิมุระ ที่รักษาและจัดแสดงอาคารจากศตวรรษที่ 20 อย่างยิ่งใหญ่ในพิพิธภัณฑ์แบบกลางแจ้ง
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