• Day Trip to Kamakura station area

    By in kamakura / / 0 comments

    Kamakura is a place rich in nature and surrounded by mountains and the sea. You can visit it many times and never tire of it. There are many temples and shrines as well as blooming flowers that can be enjoyed during all seasons, especially the time of the hydrangeas and the fall colors which unfold to form splendid scenery. You can spend your extra time experiencing zen meditation, writing a copy of Buddhist sutra, or tracing pictures of a Buddhist image. There are plenty of famous stores with delicious food or traditional art. Let’s take a walk around Kamakura!

     

    1. Spot Ranking
    2. Getting in
    3. Other Area List

     

    1. Spot ranking in Kamakura Station area

     

    5th. Kamakura Owl Forest

    Kamakura Owl Forest is a spot where you can enjoy observing and touching owls up-close. Inside the Komachi Street building, you can touch real owls of various sizes. There are not just owls, but squirrels as well, which can all be hand-fed by you. There are many cute owl souvenirs all gathered together in the gift shop. The entrance fee is 680 yen for middle school students and up, 480 yen for children aged 4 to elementary school, and free for children 3 and under. Hours of operation are 10:00 am to 5:30 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

    Access

    It is located on Komachi Street, just a 5 minute walk from the east exit of JR Enoden Kamakura Station.

     

    Details

     

     

     

    4th. Egaraten-Jinja

    Minamotono Yoritomo, who opened Kamakura Shogunate in 1180, also made Egaraten-Jinja. The god of scholarship, Sugawara no Michizane, is enshrined here. He helps honest and hardworking people, so many people visit his shrine. The sacred tree of“Ichō”is a large tree standing at a height of 25 meters tall and with a circomfrance of 10 meters. In the autumn, the tree is lit-up with beautiful golden colors. It is a famous place for plum trees as there are 100 different plum trees planted here. Plum tree viewing is from the end of January to the beginning of March. Free worship times are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

    Access

    From JR Enoden Kamakura Station take the Keikyu Bus Line 4 to “Daiga Palace”, get off at “Tenshimae”, and walk 3 minutes.

     

    Details

     

     

    3rd. Wakamiya Ōji

    Wakamiya Ōji is a path leading from Yuigahigahama to Tsuruoka Hachimangu and is said to have been built by Minamotono Yoritomo in 1182 to pray for the safe delivery of his wife’s child Masako. From the seaside the first, second, and third Japanese torii arches lined up. From the second torrii arch to the third torii arch, there is an elevated path called “Dankazura”. There are restaurants , cafes, and boutiques lined up left and right on Wakamiya Ōji. It was chosen as one of Japan’s top 100 things to do. Komachi Street has as few stores with Kamakura’s traditional artwork and shops with Kamaura sculptures.

    Access

    To get there, go to JR Enoden Kamakura Station, leave from the east exit, and walk 3 minutes.

     

    Details

     

     

    2nd. Komachi Street

    From Kamakura Station to Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine there are a lot of souvenir shops on Komachi Street. It is a sightseeing spot where many tourists gather. No matter when you visit, the area is always crowded with tourists from overseas, families, couples, students and so on. It is a good place to eat while walking around and there are many restaurants and cafes. Kamakura’s famous candy like “Tomisakiya no hatosabure”and “Kamakura goro no hangetsu” are sold on Komachi Street and are popular even with people who don’t care for Japanese candy.

    Access

    To get to Komachi Street go to JR Enoden Kamakura Station and leave from the east exit. Look for the special large red torii arch where the entrance is.

     

    Details

     

     

    1st. Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine

    In 1063, a warrior calleld Genji Yoshimasa opened Kyoto’s Shishimizu Hachimangu Shrine for prayer to protect the Yuigahigahama area. It was moved to it’s current location at the time when Minamotono Yoritomo started the Kamakura Shogunate. After that, the city of Kamakura was built with Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine in the middle. Kamakura’s streets, the waking path in-between the two lanes of traffic, and the mountains behind the magnificent Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine have been symbols of Kamakura since long ago and are very popular. On the plaque raised above the gate that says “Hachimangū”there is the charatcer for “eight” represented by a pair of doves.

    The dove is the messenger of the god Yawata and thus Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine is also known as “Igumi” (dove palace). Beautiful Japanese scenery can be seen here. Dove motifs made into protective amulets and printing books are special souvenirs of Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine. Worship time is from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.

    Access

    The treasure gallery is open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Go to JR Enoden Kamakura Station, leave from the east exit, and walk 10 minutes.

     

    Details

     

    2. Getting to Kamakura Station from Tokyo

    From Tokyo Station, take JR Yokosuka line for Kurihama. It takes about 55 minutes to Kamakura. The fare is ¥920.

     

     

    3. Other area list

    Zaimokuza – Omachi area

    Read More

     

     

    Kamakura station area

    Read More

     

    Kita Kamakura area (Northern Kamakura area)

    Read More

     

    Inamuragasaki – Shichirigahama area

    Read More

     

    Hase – Yuigahama area

    Read More

     

    Kanazawa Kaido area

    Read More

     

    Enoshima area

    Read More

     

  • Day Trip to Lake Shoji

    By in yamanashi / / 0 comments

    The area of Lake Shoji (Lake Shojiko) has a plenty of nature known as the best view spot among the five lakes of Mt.Fuji. People can enjoy many nat ural leisure activities such as fishing, rowing a canoe and camping.

    The lake is not so big, people enjoy biking and driving around the lake while seeing the scenery. It is also recommended to people who would like to spend a time in a relaxed pace.

     

    1. Lake Shoji Cycling
    2. Spot Ranking
    3. Getting in
    4. Other Area List

     

     

    1. Lake Shoji Cycling

    Lake Shoji and around place is consistently voted as one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities, with a spectacular rides within easy reach. Recently increase in popularity of bike commuting and you can rides in nature with Mt.Fuji.

    Cycle stand MAP

     

    2. Spot Ranking in Lake Shoji area

    5th. Shojiko Information Centre

    People can get leisure information in Lake Shoji area at Shojiko tourist information center. In front of the center, you can get a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji as well. It provides guidebooks, the place to rest and a restaurant for tourists. Also, there is a camp site nearby. The opening hours of the information center is irregular.

    Access

    Directions to Shojiko Information center, take a sightseeing bus (blue line which covers the area of Narusawa, Lake Shoji and Lake Motosu) at Kawagugchiko station and get off at Shoji bus stop. The information center is right in front.

     
    Details  
     

    4th. Shojinsuwa Shrine

    Shoji Suwa Shrine is located at the north side of Lake Shoji. It is known as a local guardian deity of Shoji area. The main hall was reconstructed in 1843. Its intricate carvings and skillful techniques are outstanding.
    A part of roof called “Ooiya” protects mail hall and it was constructed in 1906.

    On its cell, the picture of playing with “Hyaku nin Ishu” or “a traditional playing game of the one hundred poems written by one hundred poets” is drawn.

    Access

    Directions to Shoji Suwa Shirne, take a sightseeing bus (blue line which covers the area of Narusawa, Lake Shoji and Lake Motosu) at Kawagugchiko station and get off at Shoji bus stop. It takes about a couple minutes’ walk to Shoji Suwa shrine.

     
    Details  
     

    3rd. Shoji-no-Osugi

    A giant cedar tree is in Shoji Suwa Shrine. As it is said that the divine spirits are lived in trees and rocks since early days, this cedar tree has been dedicated as a sacred tree by people. It was designated as a national natural monument. It is about 1200 years old tree.

    The circumference is about 10 meters (about 32 feet) and the height is about 40 meters (about 131 feet). When you look up the tree, you can see that intricacy shaped branches are spreading out.

    Access

    Directions to Shoji Suwa Shirne, take a sightseeing bus (blue line which covers the area of Narusawa, Lake Shoji and Lake Motosu) at Kawagugchiko station and get off at Shoji bus stop. It takes about a couple minutes’ walk to Shoji Suwa shrine. The giant cedar tree is in the precincts of Shoji Suwa Shrine.

     
    Details  
     

    2nd. Lake Shoji

    Lake Shoji is known as the smallest lake in the Five lakes of Mt.Fuji. It is about 5 kilometers (about 3.1mi) around and takes about 1 hour by walk. The scenery of Lake Shoji is called “Switzerland of the East” having a rich of nature. The surface of the lake is calm, many people enjoy fishing on a boat and rowing a canoe. In 1895, British man, Harry Stewart Whitworth took a year to find the best place for viewing Mt.Fuji and that was Lake Shoji.

    It has been loved as “Japan Gorge” by many foreign visitors. When people look at Mt.Fuji from Lake Shoji, they can see a small mountain named Mt.Omuro in front of Mt.Fuji. It looks like Mt. Fuji is holding Mt.Omuro so that the scenery from here is called “Kodaki Fuji” or “Mt.Fuji embracing a child mountain”.

    Access

    Directions to Lake Shoji, take sightseeing bus (Blue line which covers the area of Narusawa, Lake Shoji and Lake Motosu) at Kawagugchiko station and get off at Kodakifuji view point bus stop.

     
    Details  
     

    1st. Shojiko Panorama Dai

    Panorama Dai is a great observatory where you can enjoy panoramic view of Mt.Fuji, forest and lake at once. To the panoramic observatory, it takes about 1 hour by hiking. The best season to hike is between summer and autumn, not recommended visiting during winter season because of a lot of snow. When you reach to the observatory, people can get a magnificent view of Mt.Fuji just in front as well as farther whole scenery.

    If people would like to take stunning pictures of Japan, this is it. It is free admission.

    Access

    Directions to Panorama Dai, take sightseeing bus (Blue line which covers the area of Narusawa, Lake Shoji and Lake Motosu) at Kawaguchiko station and get off at Panorama Dai bus stop. Then it takes about 1 hour by walk from the bus stop from the bus stop to get there.

     
    Details  
     

    3. Getting to Shoji bus stop from Kawaguchiko station

    Take a sightseeing bus (blue line which covers the area of Narusawa, Lake Shoji and Lake Motosu) at Kawaguchiko station and get off at Shoji bus stop. Then walk about a couple minutes to get there.

    It takes about 50 minutes by bus and the bus fare (one-way) is 990 yen. If people would like to get on and off on the way, let’s get 2-days pass (1500 yen) at the station

     
    Getting to Kawaguchiko station from Tokyo  
     

    4. Other Area list

    Lake Ymanakako and Oshino

    Lake Ymanakako and Oshino

     

    Lake Shoji

    Lake Shoji

     

    Lake Saiko

    lake saiko

     

    Lake Motosu

    Lake Motosu

     

    Lake Kawaguchiko and Fujiyoshida

    Lake Kawaguchiko and Fujiyoshida

     

    Fuji City – Fujinomiya

    Fuji City – Fujinomiya

     

    Gotemba – Susono

    Gotemba – Susono

  • Day Trip to Ibaraki

    By in ibaraki / / 0 comments

    Ibaragi prefecture has a strong tie with the famous Samurai Shogun, (Kohmon Sama) also, it has a less than an hour easy access by a train from central Tokyo. In this article, you can read about this uprising tourist destination Ibaragi where Hitachi Seaside Park’s blue carpet of Nemophila, the mysterious Oarai Isosaki Shrine which is flowing on ocean and Sea Birds Café that is also flowing on ocean, are three of the many attractions they offer.

     

    1. Spot Ranking
    2. Getting in
    3. Other Area List

     

    1. Spot Ranking in Ibaraki area

    10th Rokkakudo

    Current Rokkaku-dō is a new 2012’s reconstructed version, in March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami destroyed the original building. Thank to “Tenshin-Rokkaku-dō recovery Project” led by Ibaraki University who carried an intensive research for this instauration. This beautiful reconstruction also became the symbol of the recovery process of the disaster itself. Tenshin Okakura who was the original architect of Rokkaku-dō, visited Izara accompanied by painter Shuzan Hida in May 1903, and he fell in love with this place. Tenshin built Rokkaku-dō within 2 years, he worked in Boston museum during winter and spent his summer in this place near the sea.

     
    He made this place as his home for his international life style. The entrance gate (Nagaya Gate) is the Registered Tangible Cultural Property; the view of this gate against the backdrop of rough coast line and strong waves shall not be missed. This vivid dynamic view is quite impressive. Their opening hours are from 8:30 to 17:30, their entrance fee is 300 yen.

    Access

    From Tokyo, visitors can take JR Tokiwa 82, a limited express train service to Takahagi, then transfer to JR Jōban Line, then get off at Ōtsukō Station, and 5 min taxi ride.

     
    Details  
     

    9th. Ushiku Daibutsu

    Ushiku Daibutsu is on Guinness World Records for the tallest statue in the world; the height is eye-opening 120m. It attracts many tourist in and outside of Japan. Visitors are allowed to go inside of the statue, thus you shall try to do so! The entrance fee to go inside it would be 800 yen, if you would only watch it from outside, it would be only 500 yen; that would include looking around the garden and the small zoo next to it.

     
    The best season to visit would be during spring due to cherry blossoming. 800 yen tickets are recommendable. The best access to this place would be, the combination of train and bus rides. From Tokyo, visitors can take JR Jōban Line to Ushiku station, then take a bus from East exit of the station, bus stop no 2. They can take either “destination: Ushiku Daibutsu” or “destination: Ami Premium Outlets” service.

    Access

    The duration of the ride would be 30 to 40 min and get off at Ushiku Daibutsu. The bus service would be one departure every hour during weekdays but it would be reduced during weekends so please check the time, before you travel.

     
    Details  
     

    8th. Kairakuen

    Kairaku-en is one of the three Great Gardens of Japan along side with Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture and Kōraku-en in Okayama Prefecture. In Edo period 1842, Tokugawa Nariaki was 9th prominent Japanese daimyō who ruled the Mito Domain; he built this garden for his people as a great relaxation place.

     
    Kairaku-en is about 3,000,000㎡, about 64times bigger than the Tokyo Dome. It is the second largest public park after the Central Park in NYC. Visitor would be able to see moso bamboo trees after passing the main entrance. There are the old healing water fountain and Koubuntei which is a small cottage built by , Tokugawa Nariaki himself.

     
    There are about 3000 plum trees, which can be divided into 1000 different groups. From the end of February to the end of March, they would host the Plum Festival. From April, the cherry blossom season would start as well as rhododendrons would be opening up. Bush clover would be nice during autumn; early winter, visitors can see cherry blossom as well. The entrance to the garden is free; however, entering the small cottage would be ticketed: 200 yen for an adult and 100 yen for a child age 6 to 15. The opening time is 7:00 to 18:00, from 1st of October to 19th of February. From February 20th to September 30th, the opening time would be 6:00 to 19:00. The garden is opening all year around.

    Access

    The best access way would be taking Hitachi no 18, the limited express train service from Tokyo main station to Mito station, then take a bus from the north exit bus terminal; the ride would be about 20 min.

     
    Details  
     

    7th. Kashima shrine

    Kashima Shrine has very long history of 2677 years which is the same length as the Japanese royal family; this shrine was built during the same year as the first Japanese emperor started to rule Japan. Every year on Summer Solstice day, the sun light shines thorough their gate from the West that makes the longest sun lighted path; because of this reason, this shrine was name as “the place of beginning of everything”. Kashima Shrine is enormous; their area would spread about 7000m2 which is about 15 times bigger than Tokyo dome. The must see points would include the vermilion coloured Sakura Gate which is registered as important cultural property.

     
    This gate was donated by Tokugawa Yorifusa who was the first governor of Tokugawa family in Mito area. Also, every year on the 1st of May, the Yabusame festival would take place in the back of the shrine where a beautiful avenue of cedars are. The shrine is also known as a place to get lucky charms and amulets, the most popular thing would be Kashima Obi fortune telling, this is a very unique thing to try out.

     
    Kashima Shrine is open for 24 hours a day all year around thus visitors can pay respect anytime. However, their office for purchasing goods are opened from 8:30 to 16:30 only. Their treasury would charge visitors 300 yen for an adult and 100 yen for a child.

    Access

    The best access from Tokyo would be, taking the JR Sōbu Line (Rapid) to Chiba station, then transfer to the Sōbu Line to Sawara Station. At the station, visitors need to change to JR Kashima line, and get off at Kashima Shrine station then walk about 7 min to the actual shrine.

     
    Details  
     

    6th. Fukuroda Falls


    Fukuroda Falls is one of the main sightseeing spots in Ibaraki Prefecture. This waterfall is considered as one of the three best healing power waterfall in Japan. Hōshi Saigyō who was a famous Japanese poet of the late Heian and early Kamakura period wrote a poem about this waterfall. People are able to see vague white lines from the distance, but if they go near the fall, they would be able to see the mighty power of the natural waterfall. Visitors can loose track of time by just gazing at this natural phenomenon. The best time to visit this place would be during autumn to winter; the leaves would change its colour to various autumn colours and during winter, it would be decorated with icicles. Moreover, during the festival of Fukuroda Falls Okukuji in the autumn, the waterfall and the bridge near by would be illuminated with lights; this illumination is a perfect match to create a dream-like atmosphere. the opening hours are 8:00 to 18:00 (November to April: 9-17), the entrance fee is 300 yen for an adult and 150 yen for a child. They are opening all year around.

    Access

    The best way to get this place would be, taking the Joban Line limited express “Hitachi” “Tokiwa” to Mito station, then transfer to Suigun Line to Fukuroda Station. There are bus services to the waterfall but its only 4 times a day thus its better to get there by foot which is only 10 min.

     
    Details  
     

    5th. SL Mooka

    SL Mooka is a SL train that is running between Shimodate Station and Motegi Station. The distance is about 41.9km and the duration is about 90 min. From the train, people can see wonderful seasonal sceneries. They attract many visitors from Tokyo and Saitama area. The train itself has many features that people shall take photos.

     
    This SL Line would offer service during weekends and holidays; during summer holidays, they offer Friday services as well. In order to ride this special train, people need to purchase two tickets: a normal train ticket which is 1030 yen for an adult, 520 yen for a child, a SL ticket which is 500 yen for an adult and 250 yen for a child. People are not able to reserve any seats on the SL train.

    Access

    The best option to get here would be take TSUKUBA EXPRESS from Akihabra station to Moriya Station, then transfer to Jōsō Line and get off at Shimodate Station where people can get on the SL train.

     
    Details  
     

    4th. Mount Tsukuba

    Mount Tsukuba is the second famous mountain in Japan after Mount Fuji. It’s called “Shihou” due to the its change of colour during sunset and sundown. This mountain has two peaks: one male and one female. (This naming is due to traditional worshipping history) On its pathways, there are more than 1000 different types of plants growing; this attracts many researchers.

     
    Mount Tsukuba is suitable for both hiking and climbing; visitors can enjoy this natural habitat for all year around. There are cable car and ropeway services which run to the top of the mountain; thus everyone can enjoy the gorgeous panoramic view from there. Every year on weekends from October to February, the Stardust Cruising Festival would take place that is ran by the ropeway service; visitors can enjoy the night view of the surrounding area which may include as far as Tokyo and Saitama area. The service operates from 9:20 to 17:00.

     
    The one way ticket for the cable car service would be 580 yen for an adult and 290 yen for a child. The one way ticket for ropeway would be 620 yen for an adult and 310 yen for a child.

    Access

    The best way to get Mount Tsukuba would be taking TSUKUBA EXPRESS from Akihabara station to Tsukuba station. There is a shuttle bus service from Tsukuba Center bus stop to Mount Tsukuba that is running everyday.

     
    Details  
     

    3rd. Kasama Inari Shrine

    Kasama Inari Shrine has a very long history; this shrine attracts about 350’000 visitors a year. this makes Kasama Inari Shrine as the busiest shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture. Inari Shrine’s main branch is Fushimi Inari-taisha In Kyoto but this shrine has longer history than that. It was built in 661 therefore it has 1350 years history. Kasama Inari Shrine was built for the god Ukanomitama who was a deity in classical Japanese mythology; the god has the highest class and people normally would call the god “Inari”. Kasama Inari Shrine’s main structure was built in the end of Edo time period and it was registered as important cultural property.

     
    Its detailed craftsmanship of carving must not be missed. The Kasama Chrysanthemum festival would take place during the autumn season, it would attract many visitors. During the festival, Worshipping Yabusame and Worship dance festival would be also happening. There is a shopping district near by, where visitors can get some shopping done. The famous handmade Inari Japanese rice cracker can be bought from Nakamise – Marui.
     
    This shop uses local grown rice and natural spring water to make this signature snack. The shrine is open to public from 6:00 to sun down; there is no entrance fee.

    Access

    The best way to get this place would be taking the the Joban Line limited express “Tokiwa No 71” from Tokyo main station to Tomobe Station where you need to stransfer to JR Mito Line and get off at Kasama station. Kasama Inari Shrine is about 20 min walk from the station or 5 min by taxi ride. There is a tourist bus service which goes around the town and takes visitors to Kasama Inari Shrine as well.

     
    Details  
     

    2nd. Suigo Itako Ayame-en

    Suigo Itako Ayame-en opened in 1976, there are about 500 different types of Japanese water irises in this special garden; there are all together about 1’000’000 plants. This garden is chosen to be one of 500 passages that people would like to walk in Japan. Suigo Itako Ayame-en is one of the uprising gardens in Japan. Itako is located between Lake Kasumigaura and Lake Kitaura; this town developed as a stopover place for waterway to Edo city.

     
    During the time, the famous Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder and first shogun, ordered to build an extension canal from the main river to this town; this led this town to build docks and more canals to operate as the main hub for this waterway. Now, there are many bridges over many canals in this town.
     
    Suigo Itako Ayame-en opened in 1976, there are about 500 different types of Japanese water irises in this special garden; there are all together about 1’000’000 plants. This garden is chosen to be one of 500 passages that people would like to walk in Japan. Suigo Itako Ayame-en is one of the uprising gardens in Japan. Itako is located between Lake Kasumigaura and Lake Kitaura; this town developed as a stopover place for waterway to Edo city. During the time, the famous Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder and first shogun, ordered to build an extension canal from the main river to this town; this led this town to build docks and more canals to operate as the main hub for this waterway. Now, there are many bridges over many canals in this town.
     
    The famous thing to do in this town would be the boat ride to enjoy those bridges from the canal. The one people shall not miss would be Suigo Itako Ayame Festival. This festival is taking place from late May to the end of June every year although, the best time to visit would be June. During the festival, special lighting would be used to help the flower display, visitors can go on Gondola-like boat to enjoy the flower display and may be able to witness a special wedding boat. In 2018, this festival started on 25th of may and ended on 24th of June. The entrance to this garden is free and they open all year around.

    Access

    The best way to get this garden is taking JR Sobu Line from Tokyo main station to Narita (about 70 min) then transfer to JR Narita Line to Sasahara station (30 min) then transfer to JR Kashima Line (10 min) and get off at Itako Station. The garden would be about 3 min walk away.

     
    Details  
     

    1st. Hitachi Seaside Park

    National Hitachi Seaside Park is located in Hitachinaka town, and ran by Japanese government. The park is about 350’000㎡ and about 5 times bigger than Tokyo Disneyland and about its 55% is used as a park. Although, this garden has wonderful seasonal view each season, spring’s Nemophila and autumn’s Bassia scoparia are highly recommended. Once this land was considered as the location for Disneyland.
     
    This park is well known internationally via social media and world media. National Hitachi Seaside Park’s best spot would be MiharashinoOka where visitors can enjoy the breath-taking view of Nemophila from the end of April to mid May. About 450’000 Nemophila would create amazing blue colour landscape. The opening hours are 9:30 to 18:00 (depending on season). The park is closed on every Mondays, during new year holidays and 1st Tuesday of February to Friday of the same week; except fallowing dates: 3.26〜5.31、7.21〜8.31、10.1〜10.31、12.25〜30、1.2〜7.( during those dates, the park is open everyday) .

    Access

    The best way to get to this park is taking JR Jōban Line Express from Tokyo main station to Katsuta Station (85 min). From Katsuta station the east exit bus stop, take a bus to Seaside Park West entrance or South entrance. The duration would be about 20 min.

     
    Details  
     

    2. Getting In

     

    By Train

    ①From Tokyo to Mito Station by train
    From Tokyo main station, a traveller can take Tokiwa No79 to get Mito station.
    Duration :about 1hour 30 min
    Ticket Price : 3818 yen
    Ticket can be purchase from Midorino Madoguchi (green ticket kiosk)
    If you are traveling often by train during your whole stay in Japan, It’s recommended to get a prepaid train card: Suica or PASMO
     
    ②From Tokyo to Shimodate Station by train
    From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR UenoTokyo Line to Akabane station, then transfer to JR Tohoku Main Line, Commute Express, towards Ustunomiya, and get off at Oyama Station. At the station, transfer again to JR Mito Line, and get off at Shimodate Station.
    Duration: about 2 hours
    Ticket Price : 1660 yen
     
    ③From Tokyo to Ushiku Station by train
    From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR UenoTokyo Line to Ushiku Station.
    Or take JR Yamanote Line to Nippori Station then transfer to JR Tokiwa Line and get off at Ushiku Station.
    Duration : about 1 hour
    Ticket Price: 970 yen
     
    ④From Tokyo to Hitachi Station by train
    From Tokyo station, a traveller can take Hitachi No13 to Hitachi Station.
    Duration: about 1 hour 30min
    Ticket Price: 4790 yen
    Or
    Take JR Yamanote Line to Ueno station, then transfer to JR Joban Line Special Rapid Express towards Tsuchiura, then get off at Tsuchiura station. At the station transfer again to JR Joban Line normal regular service towards Tomioka, then get off at Hitachi Station.
    Duration : about 3 hours
    Ticket Price: 2790 yen
     
    ⑤From Tokyo to Fukuroda Station by train
    From Tokyo station, a traveller can take Hitachi No15 to Mito station, then transfer to JR Suigun Line to Fukuroda Station.
    Duration : about 2 hrous 30 min
    Ticket Price: 4570 yen
    Or
    Take Yamanote Line to Ueno station, then transfer to JR Joban Line to Mito station, then take JR Suigun Line to Fukuroda Station.
    Duration: about 4 hours
    Ticket price; 3020 yen
     
    ⑥From Tokyo to Itako Station by train
    From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR Sobu rapid Line to Narita station, then transfer to JR Narita Line regular service towards Choshi and get off at Sawara Station, then transfer again to JR Narita Line regular service towards
    Kashima Shrine, get off at Itako Station.
    Duration : about 3 hours
    Ticket Price : 1940
     
    ⑦From Tokyo to Tsukuba Station by train
    From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara station, then take Tsukuba Express Section Rapid service to Tsukuba Station.
    Duration : about 1 hour
    Ticket Price: 1330 yen

     

    By Bus

     
    ①From Tokyo to Mito Station by bus
    Take Mito Go Bus service from Tokyo station Yaesu Exit.
    Duration : about 2 hours
    Ticket Price: 2080 yen (one way)
     
    ②From Tokyo to Hitachi Station by bus
    Take Hitachi No1 Bus service from Tokyo station Yaesu Exit.
    Duration : about 2 hours
    Ticket Price: 2390 yen (one way)
     
    ③From Tokyo to Itako Station by bus
    take HIGASHI-KANTO EXPRESSWAY Bus service Aso Hokota Line from Tokyo station Nihonbashi Exit.
    Duration : about 2 hours
    Ticket Price : 1750 yen
     
    ④From Tokyo to Tsukuba Station by bus
    Take Express bus service Tsukuba Go towards Tsukuba Center from Tokyo station.
    Duration : about 1 hour and 30 min
    Ticket Price : 1180 yen (one way)
    No advance booking available so arrive early.

     

    3. Ibaraki Area List

    Hitachinaka, Oarai and Nakaminato

     

    Mito – Kasama

     

    Tsukuba, Tsuchiura and Ushiku


     

    Itako, Hokota and Kashima


     

    Yuki and Chikusei

     

    Fukuroda, Daigo and Hitachiota


     

    Kitaibaraki and Hitachi


     

  • Day Trip to Kamogawa, Katsuura and Onjuku

    By in Chiba / / 0 comments

    This area overlooks the Pacific Ocean where you can enjoy either by looking at the marine life at Katsuura Undersea Park or at Kamogawa Sea World, or just admiring the beautiful scenary from Meisho Niemonjima, Seichoji Temple or Ubara Risokyo. The nationally famous Katsuura fishing port is well known for its large catch of bonitos. The first bonitos are landed in early spring. You should try the first bonito of the season. There is also a Fish Market in Katsuura, which has a history of 400 years and is held every morning except Wednesdays. There are about 60 to 80 bustling stalls where you can get a fresh Japanese lobster, called Iseebi, at reasonable price from October to March. This Market is near the station, only 10-minute walk from JR Katsuura station. Why not get up early and enojy the lively market when you visit Katsuura?

     

    1. Spot Ranking
    2. Getting in
    3. Other Area List

     

    1. Spot Ranking in Choshi – Kujukuri area

    5th. Meisho Niemonjima

    Meisyo Niemonjima is a small Island floating in the sea around the South Boso Peninsula, which you can walk around in about an hour and a half. You can go to the Island by a traditional hand rowing boat. This Island is called Niemonjima since it was once owned by Hirano Niemon who was the only person living there. This place is known for folklore of a samurai lord Minamoto no Yoritomo and a monk Nichiren. There are also stones with Matsuo Basho’s haiku inscribed on them. The ocean surrounding the Island is clear blue. You can enjoy gathering shells and crabs in spring and bathing on the beach in summer. Since there are flowers blooming in every season, it is good to stop to look down the beatiful flowers.
    The hours is 8:30-17:00, but the boat might be cancelled depending on the weather. It costs \1,500 for an adult.

    Access

    To go to Niemonjima, get off at the JR Hutomi station, which is one stop from JR Awakamogawa station, and 12-minute walk to the port. Or you can also take a bus or taxi from JR Awakamogawa station.

     

    Details


     
     

    4th. Katsuura Undersea Park

    Katsuura Undersea Park is designated as a national undersea park in order to maintain the view. Its main facility Undersea Observation Tower opened in 1980. It is located 60 meters away from the shore, being one of the biggest observation tower in East Asia. There are 24 windows at the lowest floor of the tower where you can see a lot of fish and the bottom of the sea every season. On top of the tower, there is a deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean. However, when the weather is bad, you may not be able to see the underwater.
    The hours is 9:00-17:00(last entry is at 16:30) and open throughout the year. The fee is \960 for an adult(highschool students and older), \470 for elementary and middle school students and \210 for a child over 4 years old.

    Access

    To go to Katsuura Undersea Park from JR Awakamogawa station, get on JR Sotobo line to Katsuura station and take a taxi for about 7 minutes. Or get off at the JR Ubara station and walk for 15 minutes.

     

    Details


     
     

    3rd. Seichoji Temple

    Seichoji Temple is the main temple of Nichiren school of Buddhism where Nichiren declared the establishment of this school. At this temple, Kokuubosatsu, a bodhisattva known for wisdom and knowledge, is enshrined. There is a Sennensugi, an old Japanese ceder which is designated as a natural treature. The rising sun from the precinct of the temple is breathtaking. It is said that Nichiren first chanted the sutra toward the rising sun. The bronze statue of him was erected on August 30th 1923. Although Great Kanto Earthquake occured two days later, the statue remained intact.
    The hours for the main temple is 9:00-16:30, but the gate stays open so you can enter the precinct after the hours.

    Access

    To go to Seichoji Temple from JR Awakamogawa station, take a taxi for about 20 minutes. Treasure house costs \210 for an adult and \100 for middle school students and younger, but otherwise there is no fee.

     

    Details


     
     

    2nd. Ubara Risokyo

    Ubara Risokyo is a typical rias coast, a complex, indented coastline, that is drowned by raging waves of the Pacific Ocean. There used to be a plan to make this area into a holiday villa, which is why it is called Risokyo, literally meaning a Utopia. Trees and plants are grwoing all over the inlets to the end of the cape. Many writers and artists have visited this place. The scenary is so beautiful that it inspired them on their works.
    If you go hiking, it takes approximately one hour and a half. There is a cillf on the tip of Hakuho misaki, which is 650 meters away from Taoyamedaira where there is a bench with a bell, so you should stay away from Hakuhomisaki.

    Access

    To go to Ubara Risookyo from JR Awakamogawa station, get on JR Sotobo line to JR Ubara station and walk for 10 minutes. There is no entrance fee.

     

    Details


     
     

    1st. Kamogawa Sea World

    The killer whale show is a must-see when you visit Kamogawa Sea World. It is the first place that started the killer whale show in Japan in 1970. You can also touch a dolphin on a purchace of a separate ticket. There are all kinds of events throughout the year, which is perfect for every season.
    The hours is 9:00-16:00,-16:30, or -17:00 depending on the day. Please check out their website. The 1 Day ticket is \2,800 for an adult, \1,400 for a child, and \2,200 for over 65 years old.

    Access

    To go to Kamogawa Sea World from JR Awakamogawa station, take a free bus. It takes about 10 minutes.

     

    Details


     
     

    2. Getting to Kamogawa, Katsuura and Onjuku(Awakamogawa station) from Tokyo

    From Tokyo station, take Express Wakashio No 5 towards Awa-Kamogawa Station. Duration is 2 hours. The price is 4,130 yen.

    3. Other Area List

    Mt. Nokogiriyama, Kisarazu and Futtsu

     

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    Kamogawa, Katsuura and Onjuku


     

    Read More


     

    Yoro Keikoku – Otaki


     

    Read More


     

    Tateyama, Shirahama and Chikura


     

    Read More


     

    Choshi – Kujukuri

     

    Read More


     

    Narita, Sahara and Sakura


     

    Read More


     

    Chiba City, Funabashi and Matsudo


     

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  • Day Trip to Enoshima from Tokyo

    By in kamakura / / 0 comments

    Enoshima has been known as a tied land and loved by tourists as a sightseeing spot for a long time. Enoshima area includes not only Enoshima itself but also Katase and southern part of Kugenuma, which are on the opposite shore of Enoshima. Enoshima is one of the best scenic spot in Shonan area, and you can enjoy historic landmarks designated by Kanagawa prefecture, scenic spots, and 100 landscapes of Japan.

    Since Enoshima is close to Kamakura where there are a lot of shrines and temples, many tourists explore both areas in one day as a set course. However, we recommend you stay Enoshima and enjoy from lunchtime till sunset. At Enoshima shrine, you can feel and learn spirits and history of Japan.

    At Enoshima Aquarium, you can enjoy watching a dolphin show seeing Mt. Fuji at back. Enoshima has too many sightseeing spots to explore in a short time, so please make sure that you spend a whole day and enjoy yourself in Enoshima.

     

    1. Spot Ranking
    2. Getting in
    3. Other Area List

     

    1. Spot Ranking in Enoshima area

     

    5th. Enoshima Iwaya Caves

    Enoshima Iwaya Caves located at the innermost area of Enoshima is formed by long-aged erosion of waves. There are 2 caves, one is Iwaya No.1(152m of length) , which is said to be connected to the underground of Mt. Fuji. The other is Iwaya No.2(56m of length) , which has the legend of dragon god. Not only the inside of the cave, but also there are an open space (128m of length) where you can see the whole view of Sagami Bay, Mt.Fuji, and Hakone/Izu area.

    This cave used to be an object of faith as it was said to be that a god called Benzaiten appeared when Kobo Taishi visited this cave, and also Minamotono Yoritomo visited to pray for winning battles.
    When you walk through the inside of this cave with a candle, you will be surrounded by the mysterious atmosphere.

    You will also be able to meet the dragon god waiting at the innermost of the cave. There are lights and BGM inside that make the cave more beautiful. While you are walking through the cave, you will see some exhibitions about the history and culture of Enoshima. Enoshima Iwaya Cave is open from 9:00-18:00 in Sep, 9:00-17:00 in Oct, 9:00-16:00 during Nov to Jan, 9:00-17:00 during Feb to Mar. *In case of Typhoon or bad weather, the cave will be closed or opening hour may change. The admission fee is 500 yen for over high school students, 200 yen for elementary/junior high school students.

    Access

    To get to Enoshima Iwaya Caves: from Katase-Enoshima Station of Odajyu Enoshima Line, walk for 30 minutes.

     

    Details

     

     

    4th. Chigogafuchi Marine Plateau

    Chigogafuchi Marine Plateau is an open shore having a flat and wide rocky stretch. The name is derived from Chigo no Shiragiku of Kamakura Soshoin Temple, who jumped into the sea and killed himself because of the love for a man.

    The view of sunset seen on the other side of Mt. Fuji and waves splashing whenever it washes the shore together are so splendid and chosen as “50 selection of picturesque sceneries in Kanagawa”.

    Until you reach to the area where Enoshima Iwaya Caves and Chigogafuchi Marine Plateau are located, there are steps and rocky stretch so you need to walk up and down. If it is difficult to walk to get there, there is a sightseeing boat called “Benten-Maru”, which makes a round trip between Chigogafuchi Marine Plateau and Enoshima Bentenbashi Bridge.

    Access

    To get to Chigogafuchi Marine Plateau: from Katase-Enoshima Station of Odajyu Enoshima Line, walk for 30 minutes. Or, from Enoshima Station of Enoshima Electric Railway, walk for 40 minutes. Or, from Shonan Enoshima Station of Shonan monorail, walk for 40 minutes.

    A parking lot inside the island is also available. A sightseeing boat “Benten-Maru” operating irregularly depending on the weather and waves condition. The passage fare is 400 yen for over junior high school students, and 200 yen for over 6.

     

    Details

     

    3rd. Samuel Cocking Garden

    Enoshima sea candle is located inside of Samuel Cocking Garden, and is a light station which is a symbol of Shonan. The observation room in the light station is located at the 101.5m above sea level, so there is no obstruction to the view from there. You can enjoy the panoramic view of Mt. Fuji, Izu Peninsula, Hakone or Mt. Tanzawa. The outlook of this light station is like a candle standing on a hill in Enoshima sea.

    The light station has a light up in different colors depending on the season, and when they have a event, they have a light up show with the combination of music. Since this light station have both inside and outside observation room, and they have a events regularly, many people love to visit this place throughout the year.

    There are restaurants, cafes or gift shops around this area, so you can spend relaxed time in Enoshima. To get to Enoshima Sea Candle, you need to go up to the top by Enoshima Esker, a pay escalator, or several hundred steps of stairs. At the top, you can enjoy not only Enoshima Sea Candle but also LONCAFE, a famous French toast cafe, or Samuel Cocking Garden.

    If you would like to buy a set ticket, it includes Enoshima Esker, Samuel Cocking Garden, and Enoshima Sea Candle with 750 yen for adults, and 370 yen for kids. Enoshima Sea Candle is open from 9:00-20:00 (last entry: 19:30), 7 days a week. The Enoshima Esker is operating from 9:00-19:05. The admission fee is 300 yen for adults, and 150 yen for kids. The Esker costs 360 yen for adults, 180 yen for kids.

    Access

    To get to Enoshima Sea Candle: from Katase-Enoshima Station of Odakyu Enoshima Line, walk for 20 minutes. Or from Enoshima Station of Enoshima Electric Railway, walk for 25 minutes. Or from Shonan-Enoshima Station of Shonan monorail, walk for 26 minutes. A parking lot inside the island is also available.

     

    Details

     

    2nd. Enoshima Aquarium

    Enoshima Aquarium is located right before you go across the bridge to Enoshima. You can enjoy ”the Big Tank of Sagami Bay” which shows the ecology of Sagami Bay, or a dolphin show where you can also see the Mt. Fuji while watching the show.You cannot miss the fishes that could be seen only in Sagami Bay, and deep-sea fishes.

    In addition, there are seasonal events held throughout the year, and you can enjoy “space of jellyfish”, a 3D projection mapping in a fantastic atmosphere or a dolphin show which the dolphins are jumping and making a great splash. Enoshima Aquarium is open 7 days a week from 9:00-17:00 (last entry) during Mar to Nov, open irregularly during winter season.

    The admission fee is 2400 yen for adults, 1500 yen for high school students, 1000 yen for elementary/junior high school students, and 600 yen for over 3.

    Access

    To get to Enoshima Aquarium: rom Katase-Enoshima Station of Odakyu Enoshima Line, walk for 3 minutes. Or from Enoshima Station of Enoshima Electric Railway, walk for 10 minutes. Or from Shonan-Enoshima Station of Shonan monorail, walk for 10 minutes. A parking lot near the aquarium is also available.

     

    Details

     

    1st. Enoshima Shrine

    Enoshima Shrine is a shrine where the temple is located several different places inside of the island, and the Benzaiten of 3 sisters are enshrined. Enoshima is also well known as “home of dragon god”, a place to worship of dragon god in Kanto area.

    “Hetsumiya temple” where the 3rd-born daughter is enshrined is known for having a luck with money, so if you visit here, make sure to wash your coins at the Zeniarai Pond.
    When you walk inside of the precincts of Hetsumiya temple, you will see a octagon shaped hall called Hoan-den. There, Myoou Benzaiten, a god of music entertainment, and Happi Benzaiten, a god of luck who has weapons in her 8 hands.

    “Nakatsumiya temple” where the second-born daughter of Enoshima Shrine is enshrined, is known as a god of beauty. It is said to be that if you visit, you will be demanded by people and get the energy of success. When you walk to the innermost of this temple, you will see a statue of Fudomyoou (Aka Fudou) named Enoshima Daishi. This statue is 6m in height, and most biggest inside-placed statue in Japan.

    “Okutsumiya temple” where the first-born daughter is enshrined, and is known as a god of cutting the evil fate. If you come with your boyfriend/girlfriend, make sure to walk through under a Torii (an archway) separately.

    Besides Okutsumiya temple, there is another temple called “Wadatsumiya temple” where the dragon god is enshrined. Since there is a legend about the love between dragon god and Benzaiten, this temple is known as a temple of marriage (matchmaking). To get to the temple at the top of the mountain, you need to take the Esker, a pay escalator, or a long stairs.

    Access

    To get to Enoshima Shrine: from Katase-Enoshima Station of Odakyu Enoshima Line, walk for 20 minutes. Or from Enoshima Station of Enoshima Electric Railway, walk for 25 minutes. Or from Shonan-Enoshima Station of Shonan monorail, walk for 26 minutes. A parking lot inside the island is also available.

     

    Details

     

    2. Getting to Enoshima station from Kamakura station

    From Kamakura Station, take Enoden line go to Enoshima. It takes 25 minutes from Kamakura.

     

    Getting to Kamakura station from Tokyo


     
     

     

    3. Kamakura area list

     

    Zaimokuza – Omachi area

     

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    Kamakura station area

     

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    Kita Kamakura area (Northern Kamakura area)

     

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    Inamuragasaki – Shichirigahama area

     

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    Hase – Yuigahama area

     

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    Kanazawa Kaido area


     

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    Enoshima area


     

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  • Day Trip to Saitama

    By in saitama / / 0 comments

    Saitama prefecture has the 5th largest population in Japan which is about 7300’000. The area is about 103 km from west to east, 52km from north to south thus it’s about 3800㎢. Saitama offers a lot from a very cosmopolitan city like Saitama city to a nice green suburban area like Chichibu.

    Saitama prefecture still keeps nostalgic Edo time period atmosphere amongst their sightseeing spots: Koedo and Kawagoe with old Sake brewers districts, Chichibu area with great nature with rivers and mountains and a well known Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine where people pray for successful relationships.

    There are famous festivals such as Chichibu. Night Festival in December and Kawagoe Festival in October. Visitors can do so much by walking around in Saitama Prefecture: enjoying historical vibe, visiting religious places and taking in the wild.

     

    1. Spot Ranking
    2. Getting in
    3. Other Area List

     

    1. Spot ranking in Saitama area

    10th. Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama | Omiya – Urawa area

    Omiya – Urawa area
    FROM:PIXTA

    In1923, Great Kantō earthquake occurred, Tokyo’s Bonsai business relocated to Omiya (Saitama city) due to its fresh water and air quality for Bonsai harvesting. They eventually became Omiya Bonsai village. Near the village, there is Omiya Bonsai Art Museum where people can see the best exhibition of Bonsai.

    They host many special exhibitions and lectures; they promote Bonsai Art to all over the world. At this museum, visitors are also able to learn history and technique of Bonsai. Moreover, there is Bonsai garden where 40-50 bonsai trees are on display. Visitors can enjoy bonsai trees as much as they can comparing them from the front to back. The biggest bonsai tree in this museum would be “Chiyo-no-matsu” (Japanese Five Needle Pine), its 1.6 m in height and 1.8m in width.

    The entrance fee is 300 yen for an adult, 150 yen for a student /a senior citizen. The opening time would be 3rd ~10th month 9am~4:30pm (last entrance 4pm)、11th ~2rd month 9am~4pm(last entrance 3:30pm)

    Access

    The best access would be from the Omiya station, take JR Utsunomiya Line to Toro Station, exit from east exit and walk about 5 min.

     

    Details

     

    9th. Mitsumine Shrine | Chichibu – Nagatoro area

    Chichibu – Nagatoro area
    FROM:PIXTA

    Mitsumine Shrine is located in the middle of Mitsumine Mountain (one of three Chichibu mountains and its height is 1,100 meters above sea level); it’s known as a power spot. They have a long history; it started when the Yamato Takeru, (a son of Emperor Keikō, who is traditionally counted as the 12th Emperor of Japan) passed by here on his way to visit Eastern Japan.

    He was so impressed by the natural beauty of this area and left the presence of the god (Izanagi god)and goddess (Izanami goddess) who created Japan. He prayed for the forever peace for his country here; this was the start of this holy place. Their Sacred gate Torii is very unique because its deign of three gates made it one. Both sides of the gate, there are statues of their holy animal wolf. Their main building was built in 1661, its copper roofing and wooden structure make visitors feel god’s omnipotence.

    Their worship building was built in 1800 and renovated in 1962. On its ceiling, there is a gorgeous painting of more than 100 local plants and flowers. On its paper sliding doors, there is a painting of Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove which creates its profound vibe. If there is an extra time to spend, visitors shall visit their Okumiya (other shrines inside a property of a main shrine). From the Okumiya, visitors can enjoy the great view.

    There is a museum where visitors can learn its history and see some of its treasures. The museum is open from 9 am to 4 pm. The entrance fee is 300 yen for an adult and 100 yen for a child under 15. The entance for the shrine is free.

    Access

    The best access would be from Seibu Chichibu station, take an express bus Destination :Mitsumine Shrine, the duration would be about 90 min.

     

    Details

     

    8th. Sakitama Kofun Park | Kumagaya – Gyoda area

    Kumagaya – Gyoda area
    FROM:PIXTA

    Gyoda town is located in the northern part of Saitama Prefecture. There are many Kofuns that made this area well-known in Japan. Inside their 320’000㎡ land, there are about 33 kofuns in many different seizes. In 1934, this area was made in to a national historical Hill to protect Kofuns and in 1976, it became present Sakitama Kofun Park. The biggest and 1st to found Inariyama Kofun was built around 500AD, it’s a keyhole-shaped kofun. The full length of the tomb is 120m and the height is about 12m.

    The Maruhakayama Kofun has the width of about 105m, it is one of the biggest circle Kofuns in Japan; this was built around 600AD. Around this Kofun, there are many cherry trees which would create great cherry blossom in the season. Futagoyama Kofun, Teppouyama Kofun and Shogunyama Kofun are some other Kofuns in the park. Saitama Prefectural Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds exhabits many items that were excavated from those Kofuns: National treasure kinsakumei tekken and Gamontaikanjounyuushinjyukyo (mirror).

    The park entrance is free but the entrance to the museum is 200 yen for an adult and 100 yen for a student. (under 15 is free) The museum opening time is 9~16:30(last entry is 16:00), 1st of July ~31st of August 9~17(the last entry 16:30).

    Access

    The best access would be from JR Kumagaya station, take train to JR Fukiage Station. At the station, exit from the north exit then take Asahi Bus Destination: Via Sakuma, Gyodaorikaeshiba / Saitama Prefectural Education Center/
    Gyoda industrial estate, get off at Sangyo Street, walk to the park about 15 min. Or from JR Kumagaya station take train to JR Gyoda station, exit from east exit, then take the city circulation bus sightseeing-bound service,(150 yen) get off at Sakitama Kofun Park and walk about 2 min.

     

    Details

     

    7th. Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park | Tokorozawa – Iruma area

    Tokorozawa – Iruma area
    FROM:PIXTA

    Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park offers a great relaxing place for everyone. It was opened in 1997 and it has been attaching everyone beyond their age group. This park was created due to letters exchange with Tove Jansson, Finnish illustrator who created The Moomins. Tove Jansson wanted to create a place where people of all ages and nature except each other and co-exist in harmony.

    Inside of the park, there is a mushroom house; in side the house, Tove Jansson exhibition on the 1st floor, a library on the 2nd floor and a multi-propose hall, are there. The park is open from 9:00~17:00. The park entrance is free.

    Access

    The best access would be get Motokaji Station from Seibu Ikebukuro Line Tokorozawa Station, then walk about 20 min. The other way would be get Hannō Station or Higashi-Hannō Station (JR and Seibu Ikebukuro Line) from Seibu Ikebukuro Line Tokorozawa Station, then about 4 km away.

     

    Details

     

    6th. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine | Omiya – Urawa area

    Omiya – Urawa area
    FROM:PIXTA

    Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine is the main brunch of 280 brunches Hikawa Shrines in Kanto region. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine has 2400 years history; people respect that. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine is also known for its power for relationship. Its area is about 99,173.6㎡ and the entrance path would stretch about 2km. Along side of the path, there are 650 different types of Japanese Zelkova trees.

    Their main building has a signature copper roofing. Their Monkyaku Shrine, Atsuma shrine and Mitake Shrine are registered as Designated cultural assets of the city. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine is located not far from Omiya station. There are Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore, Omiya Bonsai village and the Railway Museum near by thus people shall check them out if their time allow.

    Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine has different opening time, depending on month; 3rd 、4th 、9th 、10th months would be 5:30~17:30、5th ~8th months would be 5:00~18:00、1st 、2nd 、11th 、and 12th months would be 6:00~17:00. If visitors would like to purchase holy items or ask for a special service, the office is open from 8:30~16:30. The entrance is free.

    Access

    The best access would be walk from JR Omiya station east exit; duration would be about 15 min.

     

    Details

     

    5th. Kitain Temple | Kawagoe area

    Kawagoe area
    FROM:PIXTA

    Kitain Temple’s full name is Seiyasan Muryoujyuji Kitain Temple. It was opened in 830 by Jikaku Daishi who was a monk of the Tendai school of Buddhism in Japan. In early Edo Period, the famous monk Tenkai was a leader of this temple. The memorial buildings of Iemitsu Tokugawa who was the third shōgun of the Tokugawa dynasty, and Lady Kasuga, were moved here. There are many more historical and cultural valuables that belong to this temple. Due to those facts, this temple was well known all over Japan.

    Since Iemitsu Tokugawa ordered monk Tenkai to be the 27th monk of this temple, it made huge improvement. Iemitsu Tokugawa moved his luxury decorated birth room (Kyakuden) and (Shoin) a make-up room of Lady Kasuga (his nanny) to this temple. Moreover, their Jigendo, Syurou and Sanmon are registered as Important Cultural Property. Next to the temple, there is Senba Tōshō-gū. This shinto shrine enshrines Ieyasu Tokugawa because it was built for a part of his funeral. It is enumerated as one of the Three Great Tōshō-gū Shrines. This temple has a very strong connection with Tokugawa family and Edo time period.

    Gohyakurakan is 540 statues of Arhat, ( in Buddhism, a perfected person), it exhibits 500 plus different facial expressions. Gohyakurakan is one of three best Arhat statues in Japan. it attracts many visitors. In January, there is Daruma Festival; in February, there is Setsubun Festival. Moreover, there is Cherry Blossom Festival in Spring. They offer many seasonal sceneries. In autumn, visitors would be able to see great colour change of leaves which would take place from the middle of November to the middle of December.

    The entrance to the temple costs 400 yen for an adult, 200 yen for a child under 15. The opening time would be 8:50~16:30 during weekdays(1st of March ~23rd of November)、8:50~16:00(24th of November ~ end of February )、Sundays and holidays 8:50~16:50(1st of March ~23rd of November)、8:50~16:20(24th of November ~ end of February)

    Access

    The best access would be walk from Tōbu Tōjō Line and JR Kawagoe Station for 20 min.

     

    Details

     

    4th. The Railway Museum | Omiya – Urawa area

    Omiya – Urawa area
    FROM:PIXTA

    The Omiya Railway Museum is not only for railway lovers, it has a nickname of “Teppaku”. It’s designed to attract many people and starts to become very popular. In 2007, they opened their main building; their renovation of 2nd building was completed in 2018. They exhibit railway history and its evidences as well as the latest technology and mechanism. Visitors can learn them using hands on displays, models and simulations. Children would be able to play with their display toys as well.

    The popular and biggest exhibition would be “the train carriage station” on the 1st floor where people can see 36 real train carriages. There is D51 simulator which is nostalgic for some visitors. In their outside exhibition area, there is “Mini driving train” where visitors can experience driving trains. On their 2nd floor, there is “205 simulator” that allows visitors to experience driving E233 train carriage.

    Moreover, their 1200m and HO scale Diorama display is outstanding; they picked their trains from 1400 choices. Their 5 themed exhibition rooms : carriage, science, job, history and future, offers chances to learn many interesting and hidden facts about railway. They have regular events about showing retired famous carriages’ control rooms such as 0 Series Shinkansen and JNR Class EF66.

    They also offer special exhibitions. The entrance fee would be 1300 yen for an adult, 600 yen for a student over 6 and 300 yen for a child over 3. The opening hours are 10:00~18:00(last entrance 17:30).

    Access

    The best access would be taking the New Shuttle Line service from JR Omiya station and get off at Railway Museum (oonari) station then walk about 1 min.

     

    Details

     

    3rd. Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street | Kawagoe area

    Kawagoe area
    FROM:PIXTA

    Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street is where old buildings of Kura-zukuri style are lined along side the street. Kura-zukuri style refers to buildings with the image of Edo, such as black-plaster-wall and thick gatefold cover door. There were a lot of fires in Edo period, so people used the Dozo-zukuri(house built like a kura) in order to make the buildings strong for fire. Many of the current Kura-zukuri style were built after the Kawagoe Great Fire in 1893, there still about 30 buildings remained.

    Kawagoe is called “Koedo”, so if you would like to enjoy the atmosphere of Edo Period, Kawagoe is the best place to explore. The oldest Kura-zukuri style building is The Osawa House, which is designated as national important property. This is built by Omiya Hanemon who sold kimono fabrics. Currently, they sell folkcraft goods on the 1st floor, and exhibit paintings of Kura-zukuri buildings or houses of all over Japan on the 2nd floor. The admission fee for The Osama House is 200 yen for adults and 150 yen for students. Please take note that it is closed on Mondays. Another spot we recommend is Kawagoe Matsuri Museum which introduces the history and attractiveness of Kawagoe Festival held in every October. They exhibit the actual float used in the festival, so you will be amazed by its size and gorgeous sculpture and decoration.

    The admission fee for the museum is 300 yen for general, 100 yen for elementary-junior high school students. It is closed on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month and new year’s holiday. There is another museum, Kura-zukuri Museum in Kawagoe. You can learn the style and scale of Kura-zukuri style of Kawagoe. The admission fee for this museum is 100 yen for general, 50 yen for high school-college students.

    It is closed on Monday and new year’s holiday. *please take note that this museum is currently under construction for anti-earthquake and will be closed until 2019 Mar.

    Next spot is Ichibangai. Ichibangai is located very closed to Toki no Kane, the symbol of Kawagoe and Kashiya Yokocho. There are many Japanese style craft shops, so you can buy souvenir while enjoying Edo atmosphere. There are sweets shops using sweet potato, Kawagoe’s speciality. Especially the sweets called “Imokoi” made by Kashomon is a popular one, it is a manju filled with coarse anko and sweet potato. Opening hour is different depending on the shops, and no admission fee needed to enter the street.

    Access

    To get to Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, take Tobu Bus with “Shinmei Cho direction”(via Kura no Machi), get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. There is another route for the bus: take CO-EDO loop bus, get off at Kura no Machi, and walk for 1 minute or take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus, get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. If you get off at Hon-Kawagoe Station of Seibu Shinjuku line, it takes 15 minutes by walk.

     

    Details

     

    2nd. Totoro Forest | Tokorozawa – Iruma area

    Tokorozawa – Iruma area
    FROM:PIXTA

    Sayama Highland is located between Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture; 11 km east to west east and west, 4 kilometers north and south, and a total area about 3,500 hectare. This highland is an isolated green area amongst cities; it keeps great natural sceneries. The famous film My Neighbor Totoro, acclaimed animated tale by director Hayao Miyazaki, which follows a schoolgirl Satsuke and her younger sister, Mei, as they settle into an old country house and make friendships with Totoro. National Trust bought some of the area of this highland, and named it Totoro Forest. They purchased their 1st land in 1991, then now it expanded to 48th purchased land. Near this Totoro forest, there are Tama Lake and Sayama Lake; they made cycling roads around them as well.

    There are so many wild life including : sawtooth oaks, Japanese Cypress Trees, Japanese Cornaceaes, Quercus serrates, Neolitsea sericeas and many others. Visitors can also feel the insects and animals that live amongst them. The national trust office is located at Kurosuke’s House which is an old traditional Japanese house. They are open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 to 15:00. Everyone is welcome with donation. They offer many events and guided tours: Frost exploring with an insects specialist and Kurosuke’s House guided tour. Another sightseeing spots include Bodaigi Pond, Hachikokuyama and an artificial Mt. Fuji Arahatafuji.

    Access

    The best access would be travel from Tōbu Tōjō Line Kawagoe Station to Seibu Shinjuku Line Hon-Kawagoe Station, then transfer to Seibu Seibu-en Line via Higashi-Murayama Station, get off at Seibu-en and walk about 7 min.

     

    Details

     

    1st. Menuma Shodenzan Kangi-in | Kumagaya – Gyoda area

    Kumagaya – Gyoda area
    FROM:PIXTA

    Menuma Shodenzan was built in 1179 by the war hero of Genpei War Sanemori Saitō who was a ruler of this area. This is one of the best 3 Gaṇapati temples in Japan. It has another name “Saitama Nikō”. Sanemori Saitō built this temple to pay respect to his soldiers who died at battles, and wish for his town’s success. Their huge entrance gate (Kisoumon) is registered as Important Cultural Property. Visitors are able to see the statue of old samurai Sanemori Saitō. This statue is showing him dying his grey hair to back to hide his age which was over 70, he did this because he did not want to be less than younger solders.

    The main building is registered as the national treasure of Japan; its detailed curving and vivid colour are outstanding. The god Gaṇapati is known its power for relationship that attracts many visitors. The temple is surrounded by nature which offer seasonal sceneries: cherry blossom for spring and autumn leaves colour change. In 2019, they would be cerebrate their 840 years history; in April, they would open up the door of the god statue which is normally shut to hide the statue. The entrance is free but if you want to get inside of the main building, visitors have to pay 700 yen each. Their opening time is 9:30~16:30(the last entrance is 16:00)

    Access

    The best access would be from JR Kumagaya station take Asahi Bus Destinations: Ohta station, Menuma Shodenzan Front, Nishikoizumi station or Nishiyajima and get off at Menuma Shodenzan Front, then about 1 min walk.

     

    Details

     

    2. Getting to Omiya station from Tokyo

     

    By Train

    ①Tokyo to Omiya station by Train
    From Tokyo Main station, people can take JR Ueno–Tokyo Line (Destanation: Omiya /Kagohara) to Omiya station.
    The duration is about 30 min. The cost is about 550 yen. All the train tickets are available for purchase from any ticket vending machines at near gates but if a person would use the public transports often, then it’s better to get transport IC cards such as Suica or PASMO. They are rechargeable cards with deposits thus at end of its use, people would be able to get the refund of their balance on the card.

    ② Tokyo to Kawagoe station by Train
    From Tokyo Main station, people can take JR or Subway services to Ikebukuro station, then transfer to Tōbu Tōjō Line and get off at Kawagoe station. Duration is about 1 hour. The cost is about 670 yen. Or people are able to take JR line to get Omiya via Kawagoe. Duration is about 1 hour. The cost is about 840 yen.

    ③ Tokyo to Chichibu station by Train
    From Tokyo Main station, people can take JR Ueno–Tokyo Line (Destination: Takasaki) to Yumagaya, then transfer to Chichibu Railway (Destination: Kagemori ). Duration is about 2 hours and 30 min. The cost is about 2000 yen.

    ④Tokyo to Tokorozawa station by train ¥
    From Tokyo Main station, people can take JR Yamatote Line (Inner–outer directions: Ueno/Ikebukuro) to Ikebukuro and transfer to Seibu Ikebukuro Line (Destination: Hanno ) and get off at Tokorozawa. Duration is about 50 min. The cost is about 540 yen.Or take JR Yamatote Line to Takadano Baba station, then transfer to Seibu Shinjuku Line and get off Tokorozawa. Duration is about over 1 hour. The cost is about 540yen.

    ⑤ Tokyo to Kumagaya Station by train
    From Tokyo Main station, people can take JR Tōkaidō Main Line or JR Ueno–Tokyo Line (Destanation: Kagohara/Takasaki) to Kumagaya Station. Duration is about over 1 hour and 10 min. The cost is about 1140 yen.

     

    By Bus

    ①Tokyo to Omiya station by bus
    From Tokyo Main station, take an express bus service to Omiya station (West Exit) .Duration is about over 1 hour and 30 min. The cost is about 5400 yen.

    ②Tokyo to Kawagoe station by bus
    From Tokyo Main station, take an express bus service to Kawagoe station (East Exit) .Duration is about over 2 hours and 40 min. The cost is about 6000 yen.

     

    3. Saitama area list

    Tokorozawa – Iruma

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    Omiya – Urawa

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    Kumagaya – Gyoda

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    Kawagoe

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    Chichibu – Nagatoro

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  • Day Trip to Ikaho Onsen, Shibukawa and Haruna

    By in gumma / / 0 comments

    Ikaho hot spring is located in the hot spring town in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture; its about 3 hours away from Tokyo by bus. Ikaho hot spring is known as the one of the famous hot springs in Gunma Prefecture, it has about 400 year history; its been a hot spring for everyone.
     
    In the central town, there are 365 steps stone stairs, which is a signature point of this unique town. Mount Haruna has a long history of mountain worshipping culture; Haruna Shrine is located in the middle of the mountain. The shrine also has a long history; it was built between huge rocks which gives this location more spiritual vibe. People come to this popular shrine to pray respect and feel the special power.

     

    1. Spot Ranking
    2. Getting in
    3. Other Area List

     

    1. Spot ranking in Ikaho Onsen area

    5th. Mount Haruna rope way

    Mount Haruna ropeway can be used to get to the top of Harunafuji (1391m), the symbolic figure of Mount Haruna. It started its operation in 1958; from 1996, it started to offer two connected gondolas operation which carries 15 people at the time ( 1st in Japan). The length is about 527m, the Height difference is 267m; the duration of the ride would be about 2 min 50 seconds. On the clear sky day, visitors can see Kantō Plain and Joshu Mount; during winter, you may be able to see Mt. Fuji.
     
    Seasonal events include Haruna Lake Illumination Festa in every December, would be recommended. During the festival, visitors can enjoy wonderful illumination from 17:00 to 22:00. Also, visitors can enjoy fireworks display from the mountain top as well as night view of Takasaki and Maebashi city.
     
    The opening time of the ropeway service is 4th ~11th months 9:00~17:00(last going up 16:30) and 12th ~3rd months 9:00~16:00 (last going up15:30). The price would be: adult both ways 840 yen(one way 440yen ) and child both ways 410yen(one way 230 yen). There is a discount for group more than 25 people.

    Access

    From JR Shibukawa station take bus, take Shibukawa – Ikaho Line (Destination : Ikaho Spring ) and get off at Miharashi shita or Ikaho Bus terminal. Walk about 4 min to Gunma bus service stop Miharashi shita. If you take bus, Ikaho Bus Terminal – Haruna Lake hot spring Yuusuge (Destanation : Haruna Lake hot spring Yuusuge) and get off at Ropeway Mae. Duration is about 1 hour.

     

    Details


     

    4th. Mizusawa Temple

    Mizusawa Temple can be called Mizusawa Kannon; its Tiandai sector old Buddhist temple in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture. Goguryeo’s Ekan was rumored to opened this temple between 592 – 628, but it was not confirmed. Current deity is Wooden Senju Kannon Bodhisattva Statue that was built during the end of the Heian era. The deity was originally and privately owned by the third child of Ienari Takanobe who was the local official of the area.
     
    The deity is believed to have a great spiritual power. Inside of the temple, there is the main building, Prefecture designated important cultural property Double hexagonal tower (Good luck Rokujizo), Zhongloutang and Shakado. Inside the Shakado, there are Shakasanzon statue, City designated important cultural assets Enku Buddha (Amitabha statue) and Eleven-faced Bodhisattva statue.
     
    There are also Dragon King statue spring spiritual water fountain inside the temple, this water is believed to have lucky charm power for finance and hardworking. On the 3rd of February, they host a yearly event of Setsubun Etsuina ceremony that is for spiritual cleansing and wish for healthy year to come. In May, there is a flower festival that visitors can enjoy sweet sake. Visitors must try Mizusawa Udon noodle. This noodle is one of the best Udon noodles in Japan: Inaniwa Udon of Akita Prefecture and Sanuki Udon of Kagawa Prefecture.
     
    This Udon has 400 year history, it was hand-made for Mizusawa Temple’s visitors using local flours and natural spring water. There are many Udon noddle specialists near the temple: Tamaruya (since 1582) and 400 year history Shimizuya. This noodle has smooth texture and is thicker than other noodles. Everyone shall try it out! The temple opening hours are 8:00〜17:00. The entrance is free.

    Access

    From JR Shibukawa station take bus, Shibukawa – Mizusawa – Ikaho information center (Destination : Ikaho information center ) and get off at Mizusawa Kannon. Duration is about 25 min. Cost is 480 yen (one way).
    *the service is not frequent thus check before your visit.

     

    Details


     

    3rd. Kajika Bridge

    Kajika Bridge is located in Ikaho hot spring area near the spring. There is Ikaho Shrine on the top of Ikaho hot spring’s famous stone steps; the bridge is located near the shrine. The bridge name came from the Kajika flogs that is living near the river. This flog has a similar voice as deer and visitors can hear this during early summer. From this bridge, people can enjoy various sceneries depending on season: green leaves, orange leaves and snowy trees.
     
    The best time to see the changing of leaves colour would be from the end of October to the middle of November. Also, they use extra lighting up apparatus to give special effect at night time. Near the bridge, there is a hot spring drinking center were visitors can drink from the spring which was introduced by German doctor Erwin Bälz. He used this hot spring to teach his hot spring medical treatment.
     
    This weak acidity Hypotonic hot spring is good for treating gout, obesity and Chronic allergic diseases. Everyone can try out the spring water.

    Access

    From JR Shibukawa station take The Kanetsu Transportation Bus, Shibukawa – Ikaho Line (Destination : Ikaho Haruna exit ) and get off at Ishidangai Guchi. Then walk about 15 min. Duration is about 30 min. Cost is 570 yen (one way).

     

    Details


     

    2nd. Ikaho Onsen

    Ikaho Onsen is the famous hot spring in Gunma area; its stone steps creates their unique nostalgic atmosphere. Its history started about 400 years ago in Edo time period. The stone steps which as if it goes to the heaven, would be their symbol. This stone steps are about 300 meter long and 365 steps all together. Along side of the steps, there are souvenir shops, antique shops and amusement facilities.
     
    Visitors would enjoy this typical and traditional hot spring town’s atmosphere. 200 years ago, 12 main hot spring inns had their own Chinese zodiac like signs; now their signs can be seen on the steps.
     
    Around the steps, a town square and a hot spring waterfall were made to make this area extra special in the town. There are two free footbaths in the middle of the steps, if you get tired by climbing the steps, you can enjoy this footbath at your convenience. Japanese hot springs have their own unique red bean sweets which are often brown in color. This place is the originated place for them. Their “Yunohana Manjyu” was chosen to be one of the presents for the Japanese royal family; this made the sweet to be known.
     
    On the top of the steps, there is the Ikaho Shrine; their worshipped God is known for the hot spring and medical related things. This Shrine gives out a very legit vibe and visitors also can enjoy the great view of the whole town. A historic Japanese mansion which was owned by Robert Walker Irwin’s is another place to see. Like Kenjirō Tokutomi and Yumeji Takehisa, many artists loved this place.
     
    Their memorial exhibition is also a thing to see. There are many inns and hotels which open their bathing facilities to day visitors in Ikaho hot spring. Hotel Tenbo is one to try out; it has a huge health suite that comes with 9 different baths. Day visitors can use their facility from 11:00 to 14:00. The entrance fee would be 1300 yen for an adult and 650 for a child. They rent out a small towel for 210 yen and a big towel for 520 yen.
     
    They are not open for public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; they also have unscheduled closers so visitors are advised to check their website before their visit. Ikaho Rotenburo is a public outside bath facility; it is located near the hot spring discharge point which is just after passing the Ikaho Shrine.
     
    This hot spring is for giving birth; thus it’s believed to heal female reproductive problems. This outside bath is great for enjoying the outside scenery from the bathtub. The opening time would be 4th ~9th month 9~19, 10th ~3rd month 10~18. They are closed on 1st and 3rd Thursdays every month but it’s open if it’s holiday. The entrance fee is 450 yen for a adult. (under 1 year old is not permitted to enter)

    Access

    From JR Shibukawa station take The Kanetsu Transportation Bus Shibukawa – Ikaho Line (Destination : Ikaho Haruna exit ) and get off at Ishidangai Guchi. Duration is about 30 min. Cost is 570 yen (one way).

     

    Details


     

    1st. Haruna-jinja Shrine

    Haruna Shrine is located in the middle of Mount Haruna. It has 1400 years history; people would pay their respect for wealth, business, healthy crops, luck and avoiding fire. In olden times, people came to this mountain to praying for rainfall and spiritual training. In this Shrine, there are Ishi-no-ma-zukuri main building, Kaguraden (small stage for dance), old main building, Double dragon gate, festival god house and Zuishin gate.
     
    They are all registered as Important cultural assets of the country. The famous samurai Takeda Shingen came to pray for his success invading enemy’s castile by shooting an arrow to the Yatate Cedars; this tree is now registered as Country of natural monument. Moreover, there are more items that are registered as Important cultural assets of the country. There are many interesting rock sceneries : Misugata Rock, tsuzuraore Rock, Kurakake Rock and Nuboko Rock. Front of their gate, there are many historical inns that are also registered as Important cultural assets of the country.
     
    The vibe they create would be authentic and nostalgic for visitors. People who would like to know more about history of this area, they shall visit Museum of History and Folklore which is located near the gate. Their opening time is 7am~6pm(winter season : until 5pm). The entrance is free.

    Access

    From JR Shibukawa station take The Kanetsu Transportation bus Shibukawa – Ikaho Line (Destination : Ikaho Spring ) and get off at Miharashi shita. Then walk about 4 min to Gunma bus service stop Miharashi shita. If you take bus, Ikaho Bus Terminal – Haruna Lake hot spring Yuusuge (Destanation : Haruna Lake hot spring Yuusuge) and get off at Haruna Lake and transfer to Gunma bus. Takasaski station – Hongo – Haruna Lake (Destanation : Takasaki station west exit) and get off at Haruna Shrine. Duration is about 2 hours. Cost is 1680 yen (one way).

     

    Details


     

    2. Getting to Shibukawa Station from Takasaki Station

    To get Shibukawa Station from Takasaki station, people need to use JR East Japan (Railway). Take JR Jōetsu Line towards Shibukawa/Minakami or take JR Agatsuma Line towards Nagano Kusatsuguchi entrance/Ohmae (destination: Manza・Kazawaguchi). Jōetsu Line has less than one train every hour on weekdays (9am, 11am, 2 pm) but during weekends and holidays, they have 1-2 train every hour, (except: 11am and 3 pm). Agatsuma Line has only 2 train services during daytime, then 1 train service every hour in the evenings. Duration is about 30 min. Cost is 410 yen.

     

    Getting to Takasaki Station from Tokyo


     

     

    3. Other Area List

    Ikaho Onsen, Shibukawa and Haruna


     

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    Tomioka


     

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    Shima Onsen – Nakanojo


     

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    Oze, Numata and Kawaba


     

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    Minakami

     

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    Manza Onsen


     

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    Maebashi, Mt. akagi and Kiryu


     

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    Kusatsu Onsen

     

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  • Day Trip to Matsumoto

    By in Local, Nagano, Travel / / 0 comments

    Matsumoto popular sightseeing area in Nagano prefecture as the city is a mixture of modern local city and historical buildings. There are historical buildings still remained such as Matsumoto castle, a national treasure.

    This area is a base of Alps sightseeing, commanding the view of North Alps, the representative of Japan’s one of the beautiful mountain landscapes. Also, if you take Alpico Bus from Matsumoto Station for 20 minutes, there is a hot spring area including Asama Hot Spring or Utsukushi-gahara Hot Spring.

    Content

    1. 1. Spot Ranking
    2. 5th Nakamachi Street
    3. 4th Matsumoto City Museum
    4. 3rd Karasawa Soba Village
    5. 2nd Old Kaichi School
    6. 1st Matsumoto Castle
    7. 2. Getting in
    8. 3. Other Area List

    1. Spot Ranking in Matsumoto area

    5th. Nakamachi Street

    Nakamachi Street is an area where you still can feel the taste of a castle town, and is located at the south part of Metoba River. The street still have strong traces as a merchant town once flourished in Edo period.

    The view of storehouse made with sea cucumber lined up is really tasteful, and you can find cafes or gift shops on this street. The opening hour or price differ depending on each store, but please take note that most of the stores are not opened until late at night.

    Access

    To get to the Nakamachi Street: from Matsumoto Station, walk for 15 minutes.

     

    Details

     

    4th. Matsumoto City Museum

    Matsumoto City Museum is located within the Matsumoto Castle Park. They have about 110,000 of many historical documents or exhibitions about Matsumoto Castle or folklore. In addition, there is a shop within this museum where you can buy traditional crafts such as Matsumoto Temari, Oshiebina, or Tanabata doll.

    The tickets can be used for both Matsumoto Castle and this museum. The admission fee is 610 yen. (This is a common ticket for Matsumoto Castle and this museum.) The opening hour is from 8:30-17:00 (last entry: 16:30), and closed during Dec 29th to Dec 31st, so we recommend you not to visit around year end.

    Access

    To get to Matsumoto City Museum: from Matsumoto Station, walk for 15 minutes.

     

    Details

     

    3rd. Karasawa Soba Village

    Image is for illustration purposes

    Karasawa Soba Village is located in Yamagata-mura. There are seven soba shop in a settlement about 500 meters. Their taste is excellent! Their style is “tatami (banquet rooms with tatami flooring)” who came as if they came to a grandmother’s house in the country and will welcome you with a welcoming atmosphere.

    It is okay to spend your time at one restaurant, and taste comparison at soba.

    Access

    Basically main transportation is car. But you can walk about 40 minutes from Hata station of Matsumoto Electric Railway. Although there are community bus in this area, there are quite a few books, so if you are not a car, take taxi.

     

    Details

     

    2nd. Old Kaichi School

    Old Kaichi School represents Japan’ giyofu architecture (imitation of Western-style architecture) which had been used for 90 years since it was build in 1876. It is well recognized as a buildings that represents elementary school architecture when Japan was in civilization and enlightenment period.

    This building is now designated as a national important cultural property. There are exhibitions of photos or textbooks that were taken or used at that time. The admission fee is 300 yen.

    The opening hour is from 9:00-17:00 (last entry: 16:30), and it is closed on every 3rd Monday of the month. (during Dec to Feb, it is closed on every Monday. If the Monday is a holiday, the museum will be closed on the next day.)

    Access

    To get to Old Kaichi School: from JR Matsumoto Station, walk for 25 minutes.

     

    Details

     

    1st. Matsumoto Castle

    Matsumoto Castle is one the Japan’ 5 castles designated as national treasures besides Inuyama Castle, Hikone Castle, Himeji Castle, and Matsue Castle. This castle was built by Ishikawa Kazumasa, a father, and Yasunaga, a son in 1594. The castle was considered as unique as it was built on the flatland although they normally used to built castles on the mountain for offence/defense during those the civil war era.

    It is the oldest valuable buildings existing today in Japan as the five-storied and six floors, and many tourists visit the coal-black-castle with the Alps mountains at the back.

    The admission fee is 610 yen. (It is a common ticket for the castle and Matsumoto City Museum.) The opening hour is from 8:30-17:00 (last entry: 16:30), but it may change depending on the season. Since the castle is closed during Dec 29th – Dec 31th, we recommend you not to visit at year end.

    Access

    To get to Matsumoto Castle: from Matsumoto Station, walk for 15 minutes.

     

    Details

     

    2. Getting to Matsumoto Castle from Matsumoto Station

    From Matsumoto Station to Matsumoto Castle, it takes 15 minutes by walk. To get to Matsumoto Castle: After you exit the JR Matsumoto Station, go straight the traffic light standing in front of the Matsumoto Station.

    When you are at the another traffic light at Fukashi 2 chome, turn left and keep walking straight. You will see the Matsumoto Castle soon. All the streets are flat so it is easy for walking.

    If you take a bus, there is a bus terminal for city round tour called “Town Sneaker”. There are 4 courses: east, west, south, and north. If you take the north course bus, the bus will take you to the Matsumoto Castle & Old Kaichi School direction so you can visit Matsumoto Castle.

    The fare for taking Town Sneaker is 200 yen for adult, and 100 yen for kids per ride. The bus takes about 10 minutes. Since they sell day pass inside the Town Sneaker or at the bus terminal for 500 yen, we recommend you get one if you are planning to use the bus for round trip and other destinations.

     

    Getting to Matsumoto Station from Tokyo Station

     

     

    3. Nagano Area list

    Karuizawa

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    Bessho Onsen

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    Ueda

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    Nagano City

     

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    Togakushi

     

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    Obuse

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    Shigakogen

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    Nozawa Onsen

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    Tateshina – Venus Line

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    Lake Suwa, Kami-Suwa Onsen and Shimo-Suwa Onsen

    Read More

     

     

    Azumino

     

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    Hakuba

     

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    Matsumoto

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    Kamikochi

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    Norikura

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  • Day Trip to Kawagoe

    By in other / / 0 comments

    Toki no Kane

     
    Kawagoe city is known as “Koedo” where you can still feel the atmosphere of Edo, and see the streets with profound Kura-zukuri style. There are many spot for sightseeing around this area, for example: Kawagoe Ichibangai where the streets are still remained with Kura-zukuri style, Kashiya Yokocho(Penny Candy Alley) with nostalgic taste, or Kawagoe’s symbol Toki no Kane, which has been still telling time for 400 years.
     
    Another highlight is that there are a lot of old buildings, shrines or temples such as Honmaru Goten of Kawagoe castle or Kita-in Temple in Kawagoe city. They have Kawagoe Festival in every October, which they carry gorgeous floats and walk around so there are a lot of visitors at that time. The speciality in Kawagoe is sweet poteto, and you can try various kinds of sweets made of sweet potato, so you can enjoy walking and eating around.

     

    Content

    1. 1. Spot Ranking
    2. 5th Toki no Kane
    3. 4th Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe
    4. 3rd Kitain Temple
    5. 2nd Kashiya Yokochō
    6. 1st Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street
    7. 2. Getting in
    8. 3. Other Area List

     

    1. Spot ranking in Kawagoe area

    5th. Toki no Kane

    Toki no Kane
     

    Toki no Kane was said to be built arounfd 400 years ago, and is now a symbol of Kawagoe and still telling time as a bell tower today. This tower was built by Sakai Tadakatsu, a feudal lord of Kawagoe. However, the tower was renewed several times due to the fire, and the one exists today is the 4th tower. There used to be a person called “Kanetsuki Mori” who ring the bell, but today it is mechanized.
     
    The timbre from the bell is recognized as “Nihon no Otofukei Hyakusen” (100 selection of soundscape in Japan) by Ministry of the Environment in 1996. You can visit the tower for free of charge. After you visit the tower, you can explore the street of Kawagoe with full of Kura-zukuri style. The speciality of Kawagoe is sweet potato, so you can try various kinds of sweets using sweet potato around this area.

    Access

    To get to Toki no Kane: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, take Tobu Bus with “Shinmei Cho direction”(via Kura no Machi), get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. There is another route for the bus: take CO-EDO loop bus, get off at Kura no Machi, and walk for 1 minute or take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus, get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. If you get off at Hon-Kawagoe Station of Seibu Shinjuku line, it takes 15 minutes by walk.

     

    Details


     

    4th. Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe Castle

    Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe
     
    Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe Castle is a central building in Kawagoe Castle. There are Entrance, great hall, Karo-Tsumesho (a guardroom for chief retainers) that still remained and open for public. Karo-Tsumesho has been relocated and restored. This Hondenmaru-Goten was built by Matsudaira Narisada, a feudal load of Kawagoe, in 1848, and still preserve the image of Edo.
     
    Since those buildings in Honmaru-Goten are unique relic among other old buildings in Japan,it is designated as cultural property of Saitama Prefecture. Other spots such as Fujimi-Yaguraato(the trace of Fujimi turret), earthworks, or dry moat remid of old times of Edo. When you enter the building, you will walk through the corridor that has historical atmosphere and look around the big hall with 36 mat of size.
     
    There is a veranda in Karo-Tsumesho(a guardroom for chief retainers), and you can enjoy the view of the garden from the veranda. If you would like to feel the Edo closely in a relaxed way, we recommend you to visit this area. Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe Castle is open from 9:00-17:00(last entry: 16:30), and closed on Mondays(If Monday is a holiday, the next day will be closure day)/ 4th Friday of the month (If the day is a holiday, it will be open)/ and New Year’s holiday.

    Access

    To get to Honmaru-Goten of Kawagoe Castle: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line or Honkawagoe Station of Sebu Shinjuku Line, take Tobu Bus West (via Kura no Machi) and get off at Fuda no Tsuji stop, walk for 10 minutes. Other buses are also available: Take CO-EDO loop bus and get off at Honmaru-Goten Stop, walk for 0 minutes/ take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus(Tobu Bus West) or shuttle bus and get off at Hakubutsukanmae Stop, walk for 1 minute.

     

    Details


     

    3rd. Kitain Temple

    Kitain Temple
     
    Kitain Temple, formally named Hoshinosan Muryojuji Kitain Temple, was built by Jikaku Daishi in 830 and is a famous temple of Tendai sect. The temple is known as the temple where Tenkai Daishozo, the great priest, servied as chief priest in the early Edo period. In addition, this temple is well known as it has a lot of cultural properties such as a building relocated from Edo Castle and related to the 3rd shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu and Kasuga no Tsubone.

     
    Now Kitain Temple is known among not only Kawagoe but represents one of the famous temple in Saitama. When Tenkai Shozo got trust from Tokugawa Ieyasu and became the 27th great priest, many stuff was reassembled here from Edo Castle with the heavy protection from the shogunate.
     
    The stuff includes “Kyaku-Den” room, where the Iemitsu was born and has gorgeous wall paintings and black‐and‐white paintings, or Kasuga no Tsubone’s makeup room called “Shoin” where Kasuga no Tsubone used. Not only those buildings related to Edo Castle, but also Sanmon(the main gate), Shoro-mon(the bell tower), or Jigan-Do(where Tenkai is enshrined) are alo designated as important cultural properties. Moreover, there is another shrine called Senba Toshogu located nearby. When Tokugawa Ieyasu passed away in Sunpu, they carried his body to Nikkosan. Since they held a Buddhist service here, they built this shrine.
     
    Senba Toshogu Shrine is one of the three Toshogu Shrine in Japan. In this way, Kitain Temple has a strong connection with Tokugawa Family and reminds of Edo period. The Five Hundred Disciples of the Buddha called “Gohyakurakan”, which is the 540 of stone buddha statues with faces of various kinds of different feelings is another popular spot in this temple. You also can enjoy seasonal events such as Daruma fair in New year, Setsubun Ritual in Feb, or Cherry Blossom Festival in spring.
     
    The admission fee is 400 yen for adults, 200 yen for elementary-junior high school students. The opening hour is from 8:50-16:30(Mar 1st – Nov 23th)/ 8:50-16:00(Nov 24th – End of Feb) on weekdays, and 8:50-16:50(Mar 1st – Nov 23th)/ 8:50-16:20(Nov 24th – End of Feb) on weekends.

    Access

    To get to Kitain Temple: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, walk for 20 minutes.

     

    Details


     

    2nd. Kashiya Yokochō

    Kashiya Yokochō
     
    Kashiya Yokocho is a street with full of Japanese style candy shops. It has a nostalgic atmosphere so that not only kids but also adults can enojoy. The history of this street is back in Meiji period, and after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, they started to manufacture and supply candies instead of confectioner in Tokyo. It was said to be that there were over 70 different confectioner at that time.
     
    Currently there are still about 20 shops remained in this street. They sell candies, cheap sweets, or sweet rice damplings, which all of them were made with old and simple way. Originally, candy was the main product sold so the street was once called “Ameya Yokocho” (candy street), but there are only a few shops still making candies now. “Tamariki Seika” is still famous as a candy maker today.
     
    When you enter the shop, you will see colorful candies and smell sweet. Another famous shop is “Matsuriku”, an old established confectioner, where they sell dried wheat gulten snack and it is popular for souvenir. It uses black suger from Okinawa, and they even make wheat gulten cake by themselves. This snack is a staple product of the shop pride. You will be surprised by its size, as it is 95cm(they also have 85cm version)!

     
    This is the longest in Japan. Another famous shop is “Inabaya Honpo” where they sell arrowroot gruel. Since the arrowroot powder they use is high quality made in Japan, hand made arrowroot gruel taste very good and it warms your body. Opening hour is different depending on the shops, but most of the them is open from 10:00-17:00 from Tuesday to Sunday. There is no admission fee needed to enter this street.

    Access

    To get to Kashiya Yokocho: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, take Tobu Bus with “Shinmei Cho direction”(via Kura no Machi), get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. There is another route for the bus: take CO-EDO loop bus, get off at Kura no Machi, and walk for 1 minute or take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus, get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. If you get off at Hon-Kawagoe Station of Seibu Shinjuku line, it takes 15 minutes by walk.

     

    Details


     

    1st. Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street

    Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street
     
    Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street is where old buildings of Kura-zukuri style are lined along side the street.Kura-zukuri style refers to buildings with the image of Edo, such as black-plaster-wall and thick gatefold cover door. There were a lot of fires in Edo period, so people used the Dozo-zukuri(house built like a kura) in order to make the buildings strong for fire. Many of the current Kura-zukuri style were built after the Kawagoe Great Fire in 1893,there still about 30 buildings remained. Kawagoe is called “Koedo”, so if you would like to enjoy the atmosphere of Edo Period, Kawagoe is the best place to explore.
     
    The oldest Kura-zukuri style building is The Osawa House, which is designated as national important property. This is built by Oumiya Hanemon who sold kimono fabrics. Currently, they sell folkcraft goods on the 1st floor, and exhibit paintings of Kura-zukuri buildings or houses of all over Japan on the 2nd floor. The admission fee for The Osama House is 200 yen for adults and 150 yen for students.
     
    Please take note that it is closed on Mondays. Another spot we recommend is Kawagoe Matsuri Museum which introduces the history and attractiveness of Kawagoe Festival held in every October. They exhibit the actual float used in the festival, so you will be amazed by its size and gorgeous sculpture and decoration. The admission fee for the museum is 300 yen for general, 100 yen for elementary-junior high school students. It is closed on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month and new year’s holiday. There is another museum, Kura-zukuri Museum in Kawagoe.
     
    You can learn the style and scale of Kura-zukuri style of Kawagoe. The admission fee for this museum is 100 yen for general, 50 yen for high school-college students. It is closed on Monday and new year’s holiday. *please take note that this museum is currently under construction for anti-earthquake and will be closed until 2019 Mar.
     
    Next spot is Ichibangai. Ichibangai is located very closed to Toki no Kane, the symbol of Kawagoe and Kashiya Yokocho. There are many Japanese style craft shops, so you can buy souvenir while enjoying Edo atmosphere. There are sweets shops using sweet potato, Kawagoe’s speciality. Especially the sweets called “Imokoi” made by Kashomon is a popular one, it is a manju filled with coarse anko and sweet potato. Opening hour is different depending on the shops, and no admission fee needed to enter the street.

    Access

    To get to Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, take Tobu Bus with “Shinmei Cho direction”(via Kura no Machi), get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. There is another route for the bus: take CO-EDO loop bus, get off at Kura no Machi, and walk for 1 minute or take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus, get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. If you get off at Hon-Kawagoe Station of Seibu Shinjuku line, it takes 15 minutes by walk.

     

    Details


     

    2. Getting to Kawagoe Station from Tokyo

    From Tokyo Main station, people can take JR or Subway services to Ikebukuro station, then transfer to Tōbu Tōjō Line and get off at Kawagoe station. Duration is about 1 hour. The cost is about 670 yen. Or people are able to take JR line to get Omiya via Kawagoe. Duration is about 1 hour. The cost is about 840 yen.

  • Day Trip to Norikura

    By in kamakura / / 0 comments

    This area belongs to Chūbu-Sangaku National Park; it is known its rich nature surrounding such as IchinoseEnchi in Nagano Prefecture. At famous Norikura Daisetsuki, visitors would be able to enjoy skiing during spring/summer season since they would keep its natural snow. On the top of Mt. Norikura, alpine plants would start blooming from early July; at Shirakaba Pass, visitors can enjoy observing Hawks during autumn season.

    The autumn leaves colour changing would start from the end of September at On the top of Mt. Norikura, and it would finish around the end of October at the plateau. Its skiing season offers high quality snow to enjoy winter sports. This area has a famous hot spring resort; it offers 4 different types of hot spring including milky water hot spring.

    The best gourmet food in this area would be Yaiya which is a local name for Japanese traditional dumping like food Oyaki. The skin would be made out of flour and Soba flour; sweet bean paste or cooked vegetables would be inside, then it would be pan flied. Yaiya skin would be thicker than the traditional style thus it would be filling. Please try it!

    Content

    1. 1. Spot Ranking
    2. 5th Yukemurikan
    3. 4th Sanbondaki Waterfall
    4. 3rd Bandokoro Otaki Falls
    5. 2nd Mount Norikuradake
    6. 1st Ichinose Meadow
    7. 2. Getting in
    8. 3. Other Area List

    1. Spot Ranking in Norikura area

    5th. Yukemurikan

    Yukemurikan is located at Norikura plateau hot spring; it opened in April 2013 at a new location with a new building. This hot spring resort offer in and outside health suites and visitors can enjoy the great view of Mt. Norikura everywhere. This open-spaced offering resort has all carpeting floor which creates relaxing atmosphere. They offer authentic Japanese hospitality.
    Yukemurikan use milky hot spring that was found at Ohbi sliver mine that was discovered by the famous samurai Takeda Shingen. The legend said it that he used to bath in the hot spring to heal himself from the tiredness of discovery this mine. Nowadays, this hot spring is still healing people.

    The opening time is 9:30~21:00(the last entrance 20:00). The price is 720 yen for an adult /300 yen for a child over 3.

    Access

    From Matsumoto Station, take Alpico Kōtsū, the Kamikōchi Line towards Shinshimashima Station and get off at Shinshimashima Station. From the station, take Alpico bus service for about 1 hour and get off at Norikura plateau.

     

    Details


     
     

    4th. Sanbondaki Waterfall

    Sanbondaki Waterfall is name of three waterfalls that flow thorough Norikura plateau: Koohno river and its tributaries. This dynamic scenery would remind visitors a Japanese traditional painting. Sanbondaki Waterfall is chosen to be one of the best 100 waterfalls in Japan. The waterfall falls amongst wild trees. This spot is especially wonderful during spring and autumn. Please visit during those seasons.
    The spot is open all year around. The entrance is free.

    Access

    From Matsumoto Station, take Alpico Kōtsū, the Kamikōchi Line towards Shinshimashima Station and get off at Shinshimashima Station. From the station, take Alpico bus service Norikura Spring Mountain for 1 hour and 10 min. get off at Sanbondaki Waterfall.

     

    Details


     
     

    3rd. Bandokoro Otaki Falls

    Bandokoro Otaki Falls is the biggest waterfall in Norikura plateau; it falls from 40 meters high and it’s 15 meters wide. It was created when Mt. Norikura was erupted. It creates dynamic sceneries; visitors are able to enjoy the waterfall from the front as well as from the top; the path to get to the top of the waterfall was recently made available.

    Norikurashizenhogo Center is located near the bottom of the waterfall; visitors are able to learn about geographical details of this natural phenomenon. There is a gazebo at the bottom of the waterfall to enjoy the view.

    Access

    From Matsumoto Station, take Alpico Kōtsū, the Kamikōchi Line towards Shinshimashima Station and get off at Shinshimashima Station. From the station, take Alpico bus service towards Norikura plateau, ride about 45 min and get off at Otaki. It is about 5 min walk from the bus stop.

     

    Details


     
     

    2nd. Mount Norikuradake

    Mount Norikuradake is located the northern part of Northern Alps. ( a Japanese mountain range) Its Volcanic crater is the highest point of 3,026m, it has 23 peaks, 7 lakes and 8 plateaus. Mount Norikuradake was created about 1‘000’000 years ago due to its volcanic activities. Due to its shape is like horse’s saddle, it was named Norikura which means horse’s saddle in old Japanese.

    The best local produce good of this area would be Mount Norikuradake winter sake Hakuun. Niki Sake Brewery is a local sake brewery in HidaTakayama, their Daiginjo Himuro (top-quality sake brewed from rice grains milled to 50% of weight or less) was kept under low temperature at Mount Norikuradake for 1 year to enrich its taste. This becomes Hakuun; sake lovers must try this! The price is 2500 yen for one bottle. ※under Japanese law, under 20 is prohibited to drink any alcohol.

    Access

    From Matsumoto Station, take Alpico Kōtsū, the Kamikōchi Line towards Shinshimashima Station and get off at Shinshimashima Station. From the station, take Alpico bus Shirahone Hot Spring Line, ride about 50 min and get off at Norikurashizenhogo Center.

     

    Details


     
     

    1st. Ichinose Meadow

    Ichinose Meadow includes a pond, a stream, a wetland and many more wild life of Nagano prefecture. Asian skunk-cabbages and Japanese azaleas grow in this green area. From the end of April to early summer, their flowers would be blooming. It is also recommended to cycle around its plateau area during spring season. For those people who love to enjoy this wild habitat thoroughly, there is a camping site; the site is suited for all visitors from a family to a couple.

    Access

    From Matsumoto Station, take Alpico Kōtsū, the Kamikōchi Line towards Shinshimashima Station and get off at Shinshimashima Station. From the station, take Alpico bus service towards Norikura plateau, ride about 50 min and get off at Sightseeing center Front. It is about 20 min walk from the bus stop.

     

    Details


     
     

    2. Getting in

    From Matsumoto Station, take Alpico Kōtsū, the Kamikōchi Line towards Shinshimashima Station, the duration would be about 30 min to Shinshimashima Station. The Price is 700 yen.
     

    Getting to Matsumoto Station from Tokyo Station


     

     

    3. Nagano Area list

    Karuizawa


     

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    Bessho Onsen


     

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    Ueda


     

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    Nagano City

     

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    Togakushi

     

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    Obuse


     

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    Shigakogen


     

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    Nozawa Onsen


     

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    Tateshina – Venus Line


     

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    Lake Suwa, Kami-Suwa Onsen and Shimo-Suwa Onsen


     

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    Azumino

     

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    Hakuba

     

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    Matsumoto


     

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    Kamikochi


     

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    Norikura


     

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