Hiraizumi – 平泉

In the southern part of Iwate Prefecture, in the northern Tōhoku region, you can visit the historic town of Hiraizumi. This small town is famous for its many World Heritage sites, beginning from Chūson-ji’s Golden Hall. Introduction Being located near the Kitakami river, Hiraizumi flourished thanks to transportation by water since …

Kōchi – 高知

Kōchi is the major city in Kōchi Prefecture, home to about 340,000 people and also many sightseeing spots. The Kuroshio ocean current influence makes Kōchi a warm city, compared to other towns located at the same latitude. In fact, Summer comes earlier in Kōchi than anywhere else. The city, with palm …

Nagasaki – 長崎

During the Japanese isolation in the Edo period, the only place in Japan which retained contact with the West was in the Kyushu region. We are talking, of course, about Nagasaki!     This port-oriented city saw a great development during the isolation period, called “sakoku”. At the time, Dejima Island, …

Kakunodate – 角館

In Akita Prefecture’s inland there is a city of samurai residences and beautiful cherry trees. This time we are going to talk about the historical city of Kakunodate. What’s special about Kakunodate? A long time ago Kakunodate was a prospering castle city. In the Edo period there was a castle that ruled all the neighboring provinces. Around this castle many samurai residences still remain, today it is possible to visit  a part of these wonderful buildings. This is a must-­see place for everyone who has an interest in samurai culture. Moreover, Kakunodate is famous as the city of cherry trees. In springtime it is possible to see weeping cherries (called “shidarezakura – 枝垂桜” in Japanese) everywhere around the city. They are especially worth seeing in combination with the samurai residences. How to get to Kakunodate Going to Kakunodate is relatively easy. From Tokyo it is possible to go directly to Kakunodate Station with the Akita Shinkansen. It takes around 3 hours to get there, and fare is aprroximately 17,000 yen. There is about one train every hour from Tokyo. Since all the seats are reserved you should book in advance, especially during busy periods such as the Golden Week (that usually coincides with …