Intro: Originally, the Kinkakuji Temple built in the 14 century, was a villa of General Ashikaga Yosimasa. After his death, it became a temple of remembrance of him, and was designated as UNESCO world heritage site in 1994. The temple is famous for the 3-floor pavilion decorated with clinquant gold foil over the pond, and this is reason that it is called Kinkakuji in Japanese, which means a temple of the clinquant pavilion. It is a spectacular place you can visit all year round, but it is strongly recommended to visit on a sunny day in fall because the maple leaves will turn red, and the Kinkakuji Temple will become one of the most colorful temples in the world with a blue sky and white clouds, and radiant sunshine. Besides the pavilion, there is also an interesting pine tree and ponds in the garden. The tree is said to have been planted by Syougun Ashikaga Yosimasa over 6 hundred years ago. The water is also believed to have been the washing water for the General.
In Kyoto, Geisha are actually referred to as geiko and maiko (apprentice geiko). With four hanamachi (‘flower town’) geiko/maiko districts and a larger population of them than anywhere else, geiko and maiko are the living face of Kyoto and in many ways represent the traditional culture and arts of the city itself. The Gion district, made famous internationally by such books as Memoirs of a Geisha and the film version, is the largest and most well known district in Japan. However, there are also lesser-known areas, such as Pontocho (parallel to the Kamogawa river between Sanjo and Shijo streets), Miyagawa Cho (south of Gion) and Kamishichiken (next to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in the city’s west).
Though these districts remain primarily exclusive and closed-off to drop-in visitors, they have increasingly opened to outsiders. This process actually began more than 100 years ago, in order to avoid the decline of such districts when the nation’s capital was officially moved to Tokyo. From t
Roppongi, a district in central Tokyo, is famous for its resident’s luxurious life style and its nightlife. In the Tokugawa era, Roppongi was inhabited by many Samurai. It became home of the governor in Ookubo family, who had built many temples and Shinto shrines in the Meiji era. The population of Roppongi was scarce, and as a result, during the Japanese wartime; Roppongi was appointed to be a military base and the main head quarter of three infantry divisions, hence, the area was recognized as the military area. After the Second World War, the scenery in Roppongi was totally transformed by the presence of the American army, resulting in the set up of new businesses to facilitate and entertain the new occupants. Since then, Roppongi has become an area where many foreign expatriates settle down in Tokyo. Nowadays, Roppongi represents many aspects of leisure and modernity. The modern, sleek buildings around Akasaka station and Roppongi Hills are a hub of trendy offices, businesses, art
Intro: Out of all the famous and almost countless temples in Kyoto, I think that Kiyomizu temple is without a doubt the most spectacular and unique. Kiyomizu temple is like a temple in the clouds guarding over the city. Close to the hearts of locals, an unbeatable position perched in the eastern mountains at the centre of Kyoto’s best preserved historical area, attractive in all seasons, architecturally and aesthetically stunning, and one of the oldest temples in the city. It is no wonder that Kiyomizu was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was Japan’s candidate for a new 7 wonders of the world list in 2006.
Specifics: Meaning ‘pure water’, Kiyomizu temple has three streams to drink from. The first of these is for good fortune in health, second for longevity, and the third for study. The temple was established before the city itself, in the 8th century, though the present buildings are from the early 17th century. The central figure of w
Opened in 2010, the Gundam Café of Akihabara is the place to be for any fan of the meccha anime genre. If you want to know how it feels to be at the centre of the Gundam World, or just experience the Japanese fascination with the sci-fi subgenre of giant robots, the Gundam Café is the place to go. Every aspect of the venue has been adapted to resemble the Gundam world, from the design of the interior, to the uniforms of the staff. But it’s very important to emphasize that, although it resembles the atmosphere of the anime series, it has a very relaxing environment so, even if you are not a fan of the series, you can have a pleasant experience visiting the Gundam Café. Another good feature of this restaurant is that you are allowed to take pictures, something that is usually banned at similar venues in Japan.
The menu has been customized to relate to the world of Gundam, with dishes such as the “White Mobile Suit” or drinks like the “Jaburo Coffee.” After 5 pm you can drink one of th
If you are exploring the traditional downtown area of Tokyo, Asakusa is a place not to be missed. Not only because it has Senso-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine – one of the most visited religious symbols of Tokyo, but also because of many other attractions it has to offer. Here is the route, recommended for those who want to get the most from Asakusa area if time is limited:
To get to Asakusa, exit 1 of Asakusa station of Ginza line is the most convenient (you can also take Tobu Skytree line, Asakusa line or Tsukuba Express to get there). You will come out of the station just near Kaminarimon gate of Senso-ji shrine. Literally “kaminarimon” means “thunder gate” and you will see a lantern with two statues on the both sides. The statues represent the guardian gods of thunder (Raijin, west side) and of wind (Fujin, east side). These gates were first built in 941 and moved to their current location in 1635. They were burnt several times before final reconstruction of their present structur
After walking through Chuo-Dori or looking through the many 8th floor manga stores of Akihabara, you’ll be ready to have a rest and perhaps something to eat. There are many restaurants catering to the “Otaku” customers that come on a daily basis to the “Electric Town,” and therefore there are many options for you to grab a bite to eat or drink.
Café Moco is the perfect place to sit and relax after a long day of exploring the streets of Akihabara. Very popular among the locals, Café Moco has the perfect environment to chill out and chat with your friends; read a book whilst enjoying a nice cup of coffee; take a rest from the crowded city life or escape from the heat and humidity of the summer by drinking a beer. One thing that you’ll immediately notice is that the owners of the café have a very large collection of currency from all over the world behind the counter, which proves that they have received people from every corner of the globe, and consequen
Harajuku (原宿) is an area between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. The area has two main shopping streets Takeshita-dori and Omotesando. The landmarks include: Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine and NHK headquarters. Even though Harajuku is remarkable as a shopping paradise for the most extreme and rebellious teenage culture , it also offers decent shopping for adults and presents great historic sights.
Access: The JR Yamanote Line stops at Harajuku station.
1. Takeshita Dori
Once you exit the station the colorful teen culture hits you. Takeshita street is the center of the vivid teenage culture and famous for its gathering of flamboyant, trendy and rebellious youth. This is the place where you can find stores selling Gothic Lolita, Hip-Hop, Visual Kei and Punk outfits. If you would like to see fashionable and trend-conscious teens at their most extreme you need to visit Takeshita-dori on Sundays when this extremely crowded street will present a pe
Intro: Ranked as one of the three greatest festivals in Japan, few people would argue that even amongst these, Gion Festival is the best. The festival attracts a huge number of people, many in summer kimono (yukata). It consists of almost a full month of events and ceremonies, building up to the yo-yama night festivities, which climaxes in a parade of enormous floats (some as tall as 20 meters), which become art works of the city. The night festivities are as close as Kyoto gets to a massive street party, one that stretches across much of the central part of the city, and offers opportunities to view the parade floats at night, try endless types of interesting food, and soak up the atmosphere of a summer festival in Japan. The parade day itself gives a chance to witness the display of group strength as the enormous floats are pulled around the city. August in Kyoto is extremely hot, but experiencing this amazing festival makes visiting at this time of year worthwhile!
Doraemon Museum (Fujiko F Fujio Museum)
Fujiko Museum is built under Mrs. Fujiko’s wish to remember Mr. Fujiko and to return the favor to children all over the world. The museum has both indoor exhibitions and outdoor facilities from the popular animation Doraemon, and it also has a restaurant.
Reservation required: http://fujiko-museum.com/english/ticket/
Price: Adults and university students/middle school students/children at 4 years old or older/children at 3 years old or younger 1000/700/500/free
Entrance time: 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00
Opening hours: 10:00-18:00, closed on Tuesdays and from Dec 30 to Jan 3.
Location 2-chome 8-1 Nagao, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-city, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: Ride a train to Noborito Sta. and ride a shuttle bus from the sta. to the museum.