Japan Off The Beaten Path

  • Yokosuka - Day Trip
    by Ewingjr98
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Ewingjr98
  • Cherry Blossoms of Keizenji Temple
    Cherry Blossoms of Keizenji Temple
    by taigaa001

Japan Off The Beaten Path

  • Day Trip out of Tokyo

    Tokyo Off The Beaten Path

    In the mountains of Saitama Prefecture, west of Tokyo, is the beautiful town of Chichibu, a city famous for nature and an anime cartoon called Anohana. We visited in the spring, and were fortunate to find the beautiful shibazakura in early bloom at Hitsujiyama Park. Here you can see beautiful fields of pink and white moss phlox in bloom in April...

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  • General

    Kyoto Off The Beaten Path

    There's so many temples in Kyoto it's ridiculous and arguably you WILL get templed out. I've been several times. Once the first time I came to Japan. Another with my mom. Yet again with my dad. Later I went just for few hours for coffee on the way back from a business trip. Yet another time just a day trip to see the autumn leaves. Once a day trip...

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  • Sightseeing outside Osaka

    Osaka Off The Beaten Path

    Osaka is just two hours from Hiroshima by bullet train, making this a practical option for a day trip – especially if you have a JR Pass as we did and can travel “for free”. So on our second day here that is what we opted to do, and had an excellent day out. There are some that consider a visit to Hiroshima to be a bit macabre, but we didn’t feel...

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  • Yokosuka - Day Trip

    Yokohama Off The Beaten Path

    Hemi Anjin Street is the name of the shopping street at Hemi Station on the Keikyu Main Line. The street is named for Miura Anjin, or William Adams, the first Western samurai in Japan (he arrived in Japan in 1600 and was granted land in this area due to his service to the shogunate). The covered street, just a few steps around the corner from the...

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  • Chubu Centrair International Airport

    Nagoya Off The Beaten Path

    Royce chocolates are the true luxe Japanese chocolate brand (comparable to the Godiva and Varlrhona brand of France and Belgium) while the Meiji Chocolates which is one of their competitors and is more known around Asia is the more affordable brand. Royce factories are in Sapporo but they have many branches around japan and in the asian region....

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  • Ecorinvillage (Ekorin-mura)

    Sapporo Off The Beaten Path

    Enroute to the airport, this is an interesting stopover if you have 2 to 3 hours to spare. It is basically a farm market where you can buy seeds, gardening tools and decorations. Something worthy of mention is its park with metal structures (very artistic) and an enormous tomato plant.

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  • Owakudani Valley

    Hakone Off The Beaten Path

    Owakudani is the area around the craters created during the last eruption of Hakone Volcano.This is an area where you enjoy hot springs, sulphureous fumes. This area is about 40 minuts by car from the town of Hakone, you can have a walk around, and, with 10 minuts walk you can reach an area with bubbling boiling pools where you can cook eggs that...

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  • Noto Peninsula

    Kanazawa Off The Beaten Path

    Senmaida, or a 1000 fields in a top scenic spot to stop and gaze out on the ocean, or the beautifully staked rice fields. There are usually some merchants around selling little knickknacks and such as well. It’s a great to stop and stretch your legs. The area is very close to Wajima and the village of Sosogi.

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  • Himeji Castle

    Himeji Off The Beaten Path

    Speeding with Shinkansen (bullet-train) from Kobe to Hiroshima the small town of Himeji is "off the beaten path". If one however knows (by reading or being informed) about the castle of castles in Japan, it's not that difficult to implement a stop-over here. Again, for James Bond-fans ... it's almost a must (You only live twice)

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  • Bridges

    Takayama Off The Beaten Path

    The Naka bashi is maybe not entirely off the beathen path, but it makes a nice picture in our bridges series. There are cherryblossom trees next to the bridge and the contrast of the pink blossom and the orange red bridge is magical....

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  • Kanmangafuchi Abyss

    Nikko Off The Beaten Path

    The term "abyss" is a good piece of marketing, but from where we were staying this section of river provides a beautiful piece of scenery in Nikko away from the temples and shrines. The only reason I knew about it was looking at a map for my accommodation. Some people refer to the silence of the area, but they must have been deafened by the...

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  • Harajuku

    Shinjuku Off The Beaten Path

    Just south of Shinjuku is another famous area in Tokyo known as Harajuku. You can witness ultra modern fashion worn by teenagers at Harajuku as well as shopping and the famous Meiji Shrine. More information and photos are at my VT Harajuku page.

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  • Enoshima Aquarium

    Kamakura Off The Beaten Path

    Having seen the major sights and temples in Kamakura, I decided to explore the rest of the Kamakura vicinity on the Enoden line. The Enoden line is a really scenic railway line passing through the backyards of homes before it hugs the coastline all the way to the terminal station at Enoshima. To my very pleasant surprise, I came across an...

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  • Temples and Shrines

    Odawara Off The Beaten Path

    Originated in 1505 as the private temple for Ide clan one of the kinsmen of Latter Hojo clan, the temple was expanded in 1590 by Nissen with the request from the wife of Masakuni Ide who commited seppuku after Odawara castle was ceded to Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Nissen was a priest of Myohonji (temple in Kamakura) school of Nichiren Buddhism. The temple...

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  • Local People and Lives

    Tokyo Off The Beaten Path

    Don't speak much or any Japanese and looking to meet some friendly Japanese people who do? Com Inn is a cozy, little English conversation cafe in Ebisu, near the Doutor building. Most of the time it serves as both a school for Japanese or as a place where Japanese talk to foreigners to improve their listening and speaking skills. But twice a...

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  • Ohara Area

    Kyoto Off The Beaten Path

    Ohara is a major stomping ground for Japanese 'aki-front' followers; when the nation gets bored of pining for cherry blossoms and instead glues its eyes to NHK for the first news reports of Kyoto's maple leaves turning autumn red.

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  • temples & shrines

    Osaka Off The Beaten Path

    We came accidentally to this small garden with a shrine and a cemetery inside and had a look around: Shinko-in Temple A ceremony had started shortly after we came and we were invited to participate. We took off our shoes and sat on small chairs and listened to the singing and praying, before we finally left after some 10 minutes or so. We had a...

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  • Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yoyo

    Yokohama Off The Beaten Path

    You will find this giant steel-sculpture on a small square between the modern skyscrapers next tothe Landmark Tower and it looks a bit like several trumpets that were knoted togeather. I dont know anything about the artist, who made this, but it looked nice and interesting !

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  • Italian Village - Closed

    Nagoya Off The Beaten Path

    Venice? Trieste? Genoa? Nope, none of these. This is "Villagio Italia", and Italian-themed shopping complex by Nagoya harbor. I must say they have done a pretty good job. There are food and fashion stores, bars, restaurants and even a chapel. It covers an enormous area - 53,000 square meters - and you can easily spend an afternoon wandering around....

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  • Jozankei Hot Springs

    Sapporo Off The Beaten Path

    Sapporo Environs A variety of additional points of interest are found on the borders of the city. Located within Sapporo city limits and in Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Jozankei Hot Springs (Jozankei Onsen) is a collection of spas within an hour of downtown. The waters' minerals are said to relieve aches and pains as the sight of the surrounding...

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  • Sengokuhara

    Hakone Off The Beaten Path

    As you take the bus up from Moto Hakone to Ashiniko, you'll pass by a hillock of pampas grass. The trek to the peak can be muddy and discouraging, but standing in the midst of the windy plains with swaying, yellow grass as tall as yourself is an experience in itself.

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  • Mount Hakusan Hiking

    Kanazawa Off The Beaten Path

    If you're hiking any mountain, you should be prepared for rain. Hakusan, being on the sea of Japan makes it even more probable. Make sure to bring rain gear and water proof your stuff. Mountain weather can change quickly, so be ready.

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  • Shodo(-shima) Island - Day Trip

    Himeji Off The Beaten Path

    SHODOSHIMA ISLAND ('SMALL BEAN ISLAND')! you can take a ferry from HIMEJI PORT to this island that is famous for olives! it takes about 1 1/2 hrs from himeji port and costs 1320 yen per adult & 660 yen per child (one way, and cheaper than going to osaka!). there are many things to do on this island: go to the white peacock farm, go to the olive...

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  • Tenaga and Ashinaga Statues

    Takayama Off The Beaten Path

    These two statues are found on the bridge crossing Miyagawa. The one with long arms is called: "Tenaga zuchi zou" and the one with long legs is called: "Ashinaga zuchi zou". The characters are supposedly from some Japanese old tale. Havent been able to find any other information on them. (Thank you VT member Bilimari for your help on their...

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  • Central Post Office

    Shinjuku Off The Beaten Path

    If you happen to be at the Tokyo sub-way station, do look across the road and you will see a huge and historical building which is the central post office of Tokyo. Also if you are ctaching the Hato Bus service to other parts of Japan, their bus terminal is conveniently located just next to the Tokyo sub-way station (see photo).

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  • Hayama

    Kamakura Off The Beaten Path

    Hayama, some say the Saint Tropez of Japan. Here the emperor has his summerhouse (heavily secured) and the bay is a perfect place to enjoy the Pacific ocean and a few lovely beaches. Here mostly the (wealthy) Japanese spend their holidays and only a handful of tourists. Only danger of this place is that you might not want to leave it anymore.

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  • Shiroyama Park

    Odawara Off The Beaten Path

    Shiroyama Park located north of current Odawara Castle donjon encompasses older castle area of Odawara castle. It is one of the popular sites to see Cherry Blossoms during late March to early April but during the rest of the season the park is a quiet place to stroll around or for joggers to run along the track field or to play tennis. The park...

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  • Parks, Yards, Gardens and Squares

    Tokyo Off The Beaten Path

    I like to try different areas around Tokyo - it is a big city and after many trips I don't need to visit touristy places as I prefer to find interesting places - plus, with a week to fill, somewhere cheaper than Minato or Shibuya was in order. So I am staying out in Mitaka, nine stops from Shinjuku (20 minutes), and still only about 30 minutes from...

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  • Fushimi Inari Shrine

    Kyoto Off The Beaten Path

    Two train stops south out of Kyoto, a brilliant walk right from Fushimi station takes you to the temple of Fushimi-Inari, and continuing up the hill through 10,000 red torii dedicated by companies to the gods of business. Once you reach the top, the descent on the other (northern) side is much more wild and unkept, and the trail comes out by some...

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  • shopping

    Osaka Off The Beaten Path

    This almost went in as a "warning" tip, but I think seeing things like this are essential if you want to get a good sense of a foreign country. On Sundays there is a flea market west of the pedestrian overpass by Tennoji Station called the "Thieves' Market." They will have a lot of strange things for sale: replica pistols, toys, Japanese...

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  • Indian Water Tower(Drinking Fountain)

    Yokohama Off The Beaten Path

    I saw this interesting small pavillon close to the cruise-port and on my way to the large ship M.S.Hikawa Maru that is docked there as a museum-ship. This pavillon reminds me a lot of similar ones that I saw in Turkey, but this one actually was built by the Indian Community in memory of their countrymen who had lost their lives in an earthquake in...

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  • Shirotori Park

    Nagoya Off The Beaten Path

    Shiratori Park is a huge park located opposite to Atsuta Jingu Park connected by Atsuta Memorial Bridge. It has Nagoya International Convention Hall, kids' playground and Shirotori Teien, a Japanese garden.

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  • Rera Chitose Outlet Mall

    Sapporo Off The Beaten Path

    Less than half an hours' drive from the Shin Chitose airport, it is an outlet mall selling clothes and with a good cafe. A good resting stop enroute from or to the airport and if you have about two hours or so to spare. If you're not into shopping or don't need a food stop, then give it a miss. There are frequent shuttle buses connecting the mall...

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  • Gokayama, UNESCO World Heritage

    Kanazawa Off The Beaten Path

    A short ride, about an hour, outside of Kanazawa is the mountain world heritage site of Gokayama. Gokayama is a village of traditional “A” frame thatch roofed houses. You should be able to arrange transport by bus from Kanazawa station. The town itself contains multiple traditional houses, gift shops selling all kinds of knickknacks and 3 museums...

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  • Cherry Blossom Viewing

    Himeji Off The Beaten Path

    Most first time visitor will rush forward to area in Himeji Castle to catch best cherry blossom with the castle view. You will have to compete with the locals and other visitors in large group in order to get best spot. However I found a better place to view of the castle and same time enjoy the gracious pinky colour trees. All you need to do:...

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  • Sukyo Mahikari Headquarter

    Takayama Off The Beaten Path

    From the village you will see the sweeping golden roof of Shukyo Mahikari cult’s main World Shrine. After visiting the shrine I was told it is a Doomsday cult however this was not anything I noticed when visiting the shrine. It is free to visit and walk the grounds of the shrine. Cult or not it is a very nice place and well worth a visit. However...

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  • Overview

    Shinjuku Off The Beaten Path

    Check out the unusual variety of fresh seafood for sale in Shinjuku. Even if you're not eating them, it's worth taking a look. For the life of me, I still can't indentify the fish in the picture, so if you happen to know the name, pls write to me... Bpacker's Shinjuku Page

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  • Beaches in and around Kamakura

    Kamakura Off The Beaten Path

    Kamakura is an almost perfect for windsurfing offering gentle breezes, flat water, and sandy bottoms on most days, developing into advanced wave sailing sites when the winds pick up. There are 2 windsurfing schools in Kamakura: Seven seas (http://www.7seas.jp/) and Far East (http://www.fareast-school.com/). There's also a surf shop: Salty...

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  • Shinjuku

    Tokyo Off The Beaten Path

    P!ss Alley, or Memory Lane, is one of Tokyo's best street food areas. Though covering a very small area, they somehow packed about 40 restaurants into this alley, plus another 10 or so on the parallel alley to the east. This alley earned its name appropriately, as it was originally a narrow alley with numerous restaurants, but no restrooms, so...

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  • Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple

    Kyoto Off The Beaten Path

    Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, beautiful buddhist stone sculptures. In Arashiyama, go to Adashino Nenbutsu-ji, where one can walk the bamboo grove. pass this temple, follow the walking path north,till one reaches the orange torri, walk through it and continue walking for another 10 mins. the Otagi temple is on your left side, hill slope. the Otagi Nenbutsu-ji...

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  • culture & history

    Osaka Off The Beaten Path

    This little gem hides in a sub-urban area of Osaka. Located in the heart of Hattori-Ryoukuchi Park. It contains a collection of 11 old Japanese Farmhouses from all over Japan. Most of them are Gassho-zukuri, or straw thatched roofs, similar to the ones in Shirakawa-go. The museum is not crowded, and have the occasional painters and artists doing...

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  • Casa d'Angela

    Yokohama Off The Beaten Path

    Casa D'Angela is a wedding-bureau that rather looked like a posh palace for me in the first moment. In Europe we are not used to such buildings, so we had a look inside and were able to take some photos late in the evening, when the building was still open but no festivities going on any more. The receptionist there was very friendly and also a bit...

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  • Marunouchi and Shikemichi

    Nagoya Off The Beaten Path

    Marunouchi at the southwest of Nagoya Castle has a lot of office buildings, banks including Nagoya Branch of Bank of Japan and some major hotels such as Nagoya Marunochi Tokyu Inn Hotel. The advantage of taking a lodge in Marunouchi district is you can enjoy the morning walk or jog around the Sannomaru Outer Moat, which is also a popular walking...

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  • Wild Animal Encounters

    Sapporo Off The Beaten Path

    Hokkaido is the land of wild animals. You can find even large animals like deer and bears not only in the depth of mountains but also on the streets near your neighbourhood. This cute-looking traffic sign is somewhere around the city of Takikawa along Hokkaido Central Expressway. How come the fox is red and the raccoon dog green? Well, we have very...

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  • Kawakita Fire Festival

    Kanazawa Off The Beaten Path

    Kawakita fire festival is the largest fireworks festival around Kanazawa. There is dancing, taiko playing, lots of things to burn down and killer fireworks. The festival goes all day, rain or shine. The only problem is getting there. No trains or buses go there and its literally in the middle of nowhere. You best hope is to arrange a car, but...

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Japan Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Japan off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Japan sightseeing.
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