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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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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Getting around Kyoto with the Japan Rail Pass

You’ve read about all the engaging attractions Kyoto has to offer – from its famous temples to its transcendent botanical gardens. After all, Kyoto is considered the premiere sightseeing location in Japan. But as an international traveler, you are also concerned with how to get from place to place once you arrive in Kyoto. Does Japan’s maze of rail and bus lines intimidate you? It doesn’t have to.

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Haruka Express: Osaka & Kyoto airport transfer with the JR Pass

The Kansai International Airport (KIX) services the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. If you hold a Japan Rail Pass, travel from the airport can be a simple and exciting process, as the Japan Railway West’s Express Haruka train offers direct transportation from the Kansai International Airport to downtown Osaka and Kyoto.

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Riding the Sagano Scenic Railway, Kyoto’s romantic train

Western Kyoto has long been known for its natural beauty. In fact, the Arashiyama district has been a favorite of tourists for well over 1,000 years. The beauty of this region peaks twice a year, first during the cherry blossom season, and later during the time of autumn color.

The Sagano Scenic Railway is a wonderful way to tour and enjoy the natural beauty of this rural region. The train has come to be known as the Sagano Torokko, or Romantic Train, because its passage takes guests sightseeing through such romantic scenery. If you’ve seen enough of the city, one of these day trips from Kyoto will bring a smile to your face.

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Things to do in Kyoto: travel guide

Many travellers ask us: what to do in Kyoto? If you are visiting Japan for a week, three days in Tokyo and three days in Kyoto are perfect to explore the two great capitals of Japan: the ancient and the modern one.

Following is a pleasant 3-day Kyoto travel guide, with ideas about what to see, where to go and how to use your Japan Rail Pass to move through the city, its temples, gardens, and geisha alleys. Let us begin!

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Best day trips from Kyoto by train

Kyoto is located right in the center of the historical Kansai region in Japan. This historical capital is the cultural soul of the country and one of the places where the roots of the Japanese nation stem from.

Whether you have planned to go east or west, north or south – make sure to save some time and travel around the Kansai region, easily accessible with the JR bullet trains. It is the one area filled with more heritage than anyone else in Japan.

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