Exploring Nijo Castle: Kyoto travel guide

Secret chambers, booby-trapped floors, and three successive rings of fortification, all designed to protect the shogun. Elegant gardens and tea houses. Brilliant natural beauty that shifts with the changing of the seasons. That is Nijo Castle.

What will you discover when you explore Nijo Castle, one of the most well-preserved of Japan’s Edo Period? Use this handy travel guide in planning your next trip to Kyoto.

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Tsukimi: Japan’s Harvest Moon festival

Tsukimi, also called Otsukimi or Jugoya, literally means “moon viewing” or “looking at the moon”. Like the hanami of spring and koyo of autumn, this Japanese festival honors a wonder of nature – the autumn moon.

What are the origins of this festival, and how is it celebrated today? This travel guide will provide all the details you should know if traveling to Japan during the Harvest Moon Festival.

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Matsuri: The 10 best Japanese summer festivals

There are countless local festivals (祭り, matsuri) in Japan each year. They are all spectacular, extravagant, and fun but also unique. Each celebration is based around an individual shrine which pays tribute to a different deity or a famous historical event.

The celebrations vary greatly as each has features based upon the specific shrine but hey also have many similarities. Almost all of them involve energetic processions where thousands of people dance, chant, and dress up in special clothes.

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Halloween in Japan: Costumes, traditions, and where to go

Halloween continues to grow in popularity in Japan. It burst onto the scene in 2000 when Tokyo Disneyland hosted its first Halloween event. It was a triumph and other theme parks followed suit. Now Halloween is one of the biggest events on the calendar, held, of course, October 31.

However, Halloween in Japan isn’t just an imitation of the American version. First of all, there’s no ‘trick or treating’. Secondly, as it’s a new phenomenon, people don’t care about most of the Halloween traditions which are important elsewhere.

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Visiting Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

Universal Studios Japan was the first Universal theme park built in Asia, and it remains one of the best. In fact, its popularity in Japan is second only to the Tokyo Disney Resort.

You can enjoy many rides, from child-friendly to thrilling roller coasters. Your children can have their picture taken with their favorite characters, and all can enjoy theatrical spectacles.

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