Category Archives: Temples and Shrines

Osorezan: is ethereal worth it?

You may have gauged already that I really enjoy riding trains in Japan. So on this fine and warmish autumn day I was looking forward to the 2 hour trip on local lines from Aomori to Shimokita via Noheji. The … Continue reading

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Musashi Shrine at Mt Mitake

When Tokyo gets discussed, the only image conjured up by most visitors is concrete and people. Yet as soon as you leave the flat land conurbation, extensive hills, mountains and forests beckon. Ome in western Tokyo is one of those … Continue reading

Posted in Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tokyo, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Images of the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival

Big festivals in Japan are vibrant and exiting, the energy of the massive crowds palpable. But small festivals with rich history and cultural connections are worth finding. On such festival is the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival, in Hongu, Tanabe … Continue reading

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Posted in Art and Culture, Festivals, People, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Wakayama | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A short but well-formed section of the Kumano Kodo

Historic pilgrimage routes are becoming extremely popular with serious trekkers and casual visitors. The Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture offers the Kumano Kodo network of pilgrimage routes. The 7 km walk from Hosshinmon-oji to Hongu Taisha is an easily accessible … Continue reading

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Putting Hiraizumi on your itinerary 

A few hours north of Tokyo is the recently registered World Heritage Site of Hiraizumi that is recognised for its remarkable buildings and gardens that directly express Pure Land Buddhism. I know little about Buddhism and less about the ancient … Continue reading

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Remains of the Stay

Traveling brings with it an accumulation of momentary conversations and connections. Relationships that are never developed, and highly unlikely to be rekindled. Like a variant on Kazuo Ishiguro’s fantastic book The Remains of the Day. I smile to myself at … Continue reading

Posted in Akita, Disasters, Nagoya, People, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tochigi, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Quiet and beautiful Heda in Izu

As long as I can can get there by public transport I will give it a go. Being based at Mishima for 4 days, the Izu Peninsula looked accessible. Even better, I could do a loop from Mishima to Shuzenji … Continue reading

Posted in Ferries, Shizuoka, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A guide to Asakusa

Volunteer Guides are readily available to assist visitors across Japan. Whether at the most popular temples and shrines in the tourist havens of Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara – to locally important and interesting spots almost everywhere. With three new visitors … Continue reading

Posted in Big Cities, Temples and Shrines, Tokyo, Volunteer Guide, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Top 5 posts about Japan

I got a Happy Anniversary notification from WordPress the other day – for 2 years of blogging. Has it actually been that long? With only 76 posts to my name, I can’t be labeled prolific. With dozens of draft posts … Continue reading

Posted in Eating and drinking, Fire fighters, Onsen, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Trains, Volunteer Guide, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

On your bike

You can get a good sense of the real Japan by gently rolling through lanes and streets on a bike. A leisurely pace, often with a tide of fellow riders. Apart from looking a little bit different, who is to … Continue reading

Posted in Big Cities, Bike rides, Kyoto, Nagano, Nara, Shimane, Shizuoka, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tokyo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on On your bike

Guided along the Kumano Kodo

Sorry folks, I posted this, then changed the ‘post date’ so the link to the original post was broken. Here it is again. Tokyo over. The game at Saitama over. Hiroshima, Mt Aso, Saijo and Setoda over. Now a long … Continue reading

Posted in People, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Volunteer Guide, Wakayama, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Guided along the Kumano Kodo

Guided along the Kumano Kodo

Tokyo over. The game at Saitama over. Hiroshima, Mt Aso, Saijo and Setoda over. Now a long trip to Kawayu Onsen, the Kumano Kodo and immersion in ritual, culture and history (being it only for 2 days). With only time … Continue reading

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The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail

The Kumano region sits well south of Osaka in the mountains of the Kii peninsula. Kumano includes Koyasan which is more accessible and popular. But venture further south along the ancient roads linking to the shrines and temples of Kumano … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Volunteer Guide, Wakayama, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Free visitor advice service

Tokyo is one of the great cities of the world with 1,001 things to see or do. Making a decisions about what how to spend your little time there will define your visit. So, here is my free visitor advice … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Big Cities, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tokyo, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Free visitor advice service

Guide to Nikko World Heritage Area

I wrote the post below following a great 3 days in Nikko World Heritage Area in August 2011. I arranged a local guide for a morning exploring Nikko’s main temples and shrines – and that guide that day was going … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tochigi, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guide to Nikko World Heritage Area and Tochigi Prefecture

Travelling to Japan soon? Not sure of which highlights to take in? Check out the great downloads at the Japan National Tourism Organisationwebsite. Be sure to take in the cultural and spiritual history of Japan at the Nikko World Heritage … Continue reading

Posted in Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tochigi, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Guide to Nikko World Heritage Area and Tochigi Prefecture

Nara Park

Nara Park maps – great use of symbology Visiting Nara is on many ‘must see’ lists for Japan, so there probably hundreds of blogs written about this place. I will highlight just a few elements. Nara was the capital of … Continue reading

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Which way is Nara again?

The walk to Hotel Fujita from JR Nara Station was only 500m, along Sanjo-dori which is the main pedestrian route to Nara Park. Central Nara was surprisingly low-rise, with myriads of lanes accessing small shopping complexes. The Hotel offered bikes … Continue reading

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