Travel Log

posts from some of my travel adventures in Japan...
(scroll down this page for more general travel info and links to good Japan travel websites)

Night Sakura at Ueno Park
(Tokyo) If there's one thing more spectacular than the Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) in full bloom, it is seeing them lit up at night - "Yozakura"...

Shinjuku Gyoen in Spring 
(Tokyo) The very classy Imperial Gardens in Shinjuku are possibly the most beatiful place to view Sakura in Tokyo.  See my photo gallery from last year...

(Kyoto)  This is SO one of my favorites!  (Not just because my name, "Shinobu" is associated with Ninja!)  Nijo Castle was the home of the Shogun, the head of the Samurai 1603-1867

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu
The Samurai Shrine located in Kamakura City, near Yokohama (and not far from Tokyo)...

Kushikatsu and Doteyaki - Osaka Local Cuisine

What to See: 

Good Websites about Japan:  An extensive website about travel in Japan.  Highly Recommended. Another excellent website about things to see and do in Japan.

My recommendations - List of favorite places I've visited in Japan
Kansai: (Kyoto, Nara and Kobe are all 30-60min travel from Osaka)
Kyoto: Nijo Castle, the Gion district, Kiyomizu Temple, Kinkaku-ji (Golden temple)
west of Kobe: Himeji Castle (largest castle in Japan)
Nara: Todaiji (temple)  and the DEER, everywhere!
Hakone (west of Tokyo/Yokohama) Hot Springs and Ryokans with a view of Mt Fuji and Lake Ashi.
Kamakura (west of Tokyo/Yokohama)
Tokyo: Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Asakusa, Meiji Jingu (shrine next to Harajuku)
Other parts of Japan:
Hiroshima: Miyajima (The most famous torii gate, with the temple built over the water)
Mt Fuji (climbed it to see the sunrise!)
Snow: Mt Zao, near Yamagata.
Lake Towada (North end of Honshu, in Aomori Prefecture.  Pristine and beautiful!)

Travel Info

Train Route Finders
The most common form of transport in Japan is by train.  Trains run on time and are typically timetabled every 10 minutes.
It's easy to find your way around Japan by train if you know the names of the stations you're going to and from.
Google maps is now extremely useful as it provides your train route options including telling you which stations you are going to and from, the departure and arrival time, all fares, all transfers, as well as the route of any walking you have to do, all the way from one address to the next.  Seeing the route on the map is also useful.  Train stations are shown in pink and Station names in Blue, with the name of the line written along the line.  Street view is also very useful to get an idea of what you will be looking at when you get there.
Jorudan is very simple, clear and easy to use, as long as you know the to and from station names.
Hyperpedia (station to station traine route finder) has a lot more options and detail
There are many train companies in Japan.
JR is the national train line, but it doesn't reach all local areas.
Each region has about three private train line companies, and large cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Kyoto) have subway networks.  The subways are also generally owned by more than one company.
Generally, non-JR train lines and subways work in co-operation, but JR is always separate.  So if you're taking a route which uses JR and non-JR lines, you need to buy  separate tickets (at the respective stations)

My travel info posts:

Getting Around Kyoto
Kyoto City Buses, Subways and Getting from Osaka to Kyoto.

Kansai Airport Food  Osaka's Cheapest Hotels

Cheap Flights Australia to Japan