Kyoto Train Station: Getting around, transfers and train lines

Kyoto is a city with a long history – more than 1,000 years, in fact. The construction of its primary train station, Kyoto Station, took place during the city’s 1200th anniversary and opened to the public in 1997.

Designed by acclaimed architect Hara Hiroshi, Kyoto Station is futuristic and modern. It is one of the largest buildings in Japan. Filled with interesting restaurants, shops, and attractions, a visit to Kyoto Station is a miniature vacation in itself.

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The 7 best temples in Japan

Thousands of Buddhist temples dot the Japanese countryside and inhabit its cities. According to one resource, “virtually every Japanese municipality has at least one temple, while large cultural centers like Kyoto have several hundred.” Many are hundreds of years old, others well over one thousand.

Temples typically consist of a number of halls and structures. Gates mark the edges of the temple grounds. The main hall of each temple is used to display sacred objects, such as statues of Buddha, gods, or goddesses; pagodas are used in a similar manner. Lecture halls are used as places of meeting and teaching. Some temples are still used as monasteries, home to Buddhist monks.

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The 7 best aquariums in Japan

As an island nation, Japan is, not surprisingly, culturally and historically tied to the oceans and seas. For countless centuries, the waters along Japan’s shores have provided its people with foodstuffs and the transportation necessary to connect with the rest of the world in trade and commerce. Today, this connection to the sea lives on in Japan’s numerous modern aquarium attractions.

Have you ever seen a whale shark, one of the largest fish alive today? What about orcas, polar bears, and penguins? You can see these amazing animals and more in Japan’s aquariums.

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The 7 best castles in Japan

Japan is a land rife with history and relics of the past. In nearly every city and town, you will find landmarks, museums, and historic sites that display the country’s culturally rich past. In fact, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared more World Heritage Sites in Japan than in any other country.

One of the most interesting and breathtaking elements of Japan’s history is its castles. Unique architecture and fascinating family stories accompany each site. Consider the following list of Japan’s most visited castles.

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The 10 best National Parks in Japan

The world over, national parks are popular tourist destinations. What is a national park? By one definition, it is “a park in use for… the conservation of ‘wild nature’ for posterity and as a symbol of national pride.” Japan is home to 33 national parks in addition to 50 similar parks.

Japan’s first national parks were dedicated in 1931. These parks allow you to experience the full range of the country’s rugged beauty—beaches, forests, mountains, and volcanoes—with locations ranging from the cool northern reaches of Hokkaido to the subtropical islands of Okinawa.

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Sapporo travel guide: Access and how to get there

Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan and capital of the northern island of Hokkaido. In less than two centuries, Sapporo has enjoyed rapid growth from a settlement of only seven individuals to a thriving metropolis.

In the language of the Ainu people, indigenous inhabitants of northern Japan, the word Sapporo means “an important river flowing through a plain.” Today, however, Sapporo is known for much more than its river. In 1972, this city hosted the Olympic Winter Games. A snow festival is held yearly, and Sapporo is also famous for its ramen and beer.

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Hikone Castle and city travel guide

Scenic lakes and historic castles – that is the setting of the small Japanese town of Hikone. Situated on the shores of the nation’s largest lake, Lake Biwa, in the Shiga Prefecture, Hikone is steeped in natural beauty as well as historical relevance.

Hikone is famous for its remarkably well-preserved castle, which goes by the same name as its host city. Hikone Castle is, in fact, one of the five Japanese castles designated as national treasures. This honor – “the highest designation for cultural properties in Japan” – is due to its unique combination of architectural styles.

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Okayama travel guide: Access and what to see

Okayama is a city where history meets modern technology. It originated as a castle town during Japan’s Edo Period, which spanned from the early 1600s to mid-1800s. Today, Okayama is the second largest city in the region, being somewhat smaller than Hiroshima. It is a railroad transportation hub, located at the junction of the Sanyo Shinkansen Line to Shikoku’s only rail connection.

What is there to see and do in Okayama and the surrounding cities? How do you get there from popular destinations such as Tokyo and Kyoto? Consider this helpful travel guide.

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Uji travel guide: Access and what to see

Many international travelers are familiar with the Japanese cities of Kyoto and Nara, famous for being former capitals of the nation. As such, they were also cultural centers. However, where you aware of another richly historic and cultural town nearby?

Uji is located between Kyoto and Nara, Japan’s former capital cities. During the 1100s, it became known for the superior quality of its green tea; it is said that Uji is the location in which tea cultivation began. The town is also home to rustic temples, including the oldest Japanese shrine still in existence.

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Sendai travel guide: Access and what to see

Sendai may not be as renowned at the neon metropolis of Tokyo, but it is ranked among Japan’s largest cities. It is also known as “the city of trees.” Why? Sendai features broad streets punctuated by parks and green public spaces. Even its covered shopping arcade has trees growing within it.

Sendai is also home to a rich and vigorous history. The city was founded by a powerful feudal lord around the year 1600. Many of the tourist attractions in Sendai reflect its history and that of its founding family.

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