10 Best Places to See Autumn Leaves in Japan

What is the best time to visit Japan? This is a common question among first time travelers. Many would say that the sakura cherry blossom season in the spring is the best, and it is certainly among the most popular. However, there is another feature of the changing season in Japan that is not to be overlooked.

A favorite Japanese pastime is called momijigari or koyo – both are terms describing the viewing of autumn leaves in Japanese. Continue reading “%s”

Japan in 7 days: Travel itinerary

Visiting Japan for the first, second or even third time can be scary. It is not an easy task to get around in Tokyo or figure out what to see from the countless number of giant temples, beautiful parks, large shopping streets and fresh restaurants.

That is why we have prepared our top “7 days in Japan” itinerary and recommendations so that you can travel, see and explore the greatest sights of the country with your Japan Rail Pass.

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10 magical gardens you must visit in Japan

Traditional Japanese gardens are famous the world over. These gardens highlight the beauty of nature, avoiding artificial, man-made components wherever possible. The first of these gardens began to be built on the island of Honshu around 600 A.D.

Japanese gardens also capture aspects of the traditional Shinto religion, as well as Daoism and Buddhism. The gardens speak of the unstoppable march of time, natural aspects of the Japanese landscape, such as its volcanic peaks, and often include replicas of the legendary Mount Horai.

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Riding the JR Thunderbird Express around western Japan

Picture snow covered peaks overlooking lush forests, reflecting into serene blue-green lakes. Steam rises from natural hot springs, where people gather to be rejuvenated by the warm water. Charming towns and villages housing historic architecture dot the map. This is just the ideal scene set by the Japanese Alps, a series of three mountain ranges located on the Japanese island of Honshu.

Now, imagine yourself enjoying this view while traveling to your next destination on one of Japan’s famous bullet trains.

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Takayama and the Japanese Alps: Travel guide with the JR Pass

When many international travelers think of Japan, they call to mind visions of crowded “neon cities” such as Tokyo. Japan, however, has a much gentler side, complete with rolling hills and rustic charm. The town of Takayama and the Japanese Alps mountain range in the Hokuriku region represent one such rural destination.

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Tokyo to Nikko itinerary: access and things to do

Nikko is a historic and scenic retreat in the heart of Japan, nestled in the mountains north of Tokyo. Located at the entrance to Nikko National Park, the town offers beautiful mountain vistas, waterfalls, and hot springs. Hiking in the park, you may even spot a troop of wild native monkeys. The area has been sacred to the religions of Buddhism and Shinto for many centuries.

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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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Best cherry blossom festivals and viewing spots in Japan

Japan is famous for its flowering cherry trees. These trees are much sought after around the world. Cherry blossom festivals are held in such diverse regions as Washington, Vancouver, Paris, Stockholm, and Spain’s Jerte Valley. Still, Japan remains the premiere location in the world for viewing the cherry blossoms or attending a cherry blossom festival, especially when seeing Japan by train.

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Best places to see plum blossoms in Japan

People throughout the world are familiar with the famous Japanese cherry blossoms. They may have attended any of the numerous cherry blossom festivals held each year in the United States and elsewhere, or they may have thrilled to the sound of “Sakura Sakura”, a traditional Japanese folk song celebrating this beautiful flower.

Before the cherry blossoms emerge, however, another beautiful tree graces the island of Japan. Mid-February is the start of spring and the beginning of the plum blossom season.

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Mount Koya day trip, temple stay and itineraries

Mount Koya or Koyasan, in the Wakayama mountains of the Kansai region, has become a popular destination for tourists.

This religious area, located in remote mountains and surrounded by forests, is an amazing place which you can reach from Osaka or Kyoto with your Japan Rail Pass, making for the perfect day trip and even allowing visitors even to stay in a temple lodging.

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