Takayama is a small city in Gifu Prefecture. If you like classic Japan, it is marvelous. When you arrive, you get the feeling like you have traveled back in time, to discover the most mundane in the country. It is a city for walking around and perfect for a day of relaxation away from the bustling tokyo. Beautiful landscapes, old houses, because although it has almost 100,000 inhabitants, whenever I think of Takayama, I think "That wonderful little town." WIth that being said, I recommend going there for a couple days. You will not be disappointed.
Anyone who has ever read the tenth-century novel 'Genji Monogatari', can find in Uji the charms of the era in which it was conceived. Uji, a city in the Japanese region of Kyoto, is one of those little Japanese cities whose history resists torrential rains, earthquakes and hurricanes.
Silent just as if it were a distant town, but historically as important as Nara or Kyoto all the same. Without a doubt one has to visit the Phoenix Hall, in the Byodo-in temple in whose forms are reflected in the water, and whose ancient Buddha greets you with a complacent smile. An essential place to relax and learn more about the history of Japan.
Fukuoka City is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name. It is the largest city in Kyushu, followed by Kitakyushu. From its geographical location it has been strongly influenced by Korean food and is now a cultural exchange center of East Asia. One curious thing is that the local football team is called the "Avispa Fukuoka" ,that is particularly striking because, being a Japanese team it has the name in Castilian! (It was more exotic). Of course, the mascot is a Wasp) The city itself does not have many places to visit, but it is the door to many interesting places in Kyushu. I can highly recommend the climb to the Fukuoka Tower at night to enjoy the spectacular views.
After busy Tokyo, I needed a place like Beppu, Kyushu, Japan. I needed to get away from the lights, speakers, cars, subways and trains, and the crowd. The relaxation I found in Beppu. I had to spend only two nights here. In the end I spent three. The great food, the people, the fabulous sand baths, volcanic landscape made me extend my stay. Also Usuki and Yufuin are around Beppu. Take a day trip. A morning for Usuki and an afternoon for Yufuin.
Obama is not only the name of the President of the United States of America but is also a beautiful coastal town of Fukui facing the Sea of Japan. If you are looking for a relaxing place to spend a few days at the beach in a relaxing environment then you must visit. The beaches are small but clean and quiet. The place is relatively small and fairly quiet (do not expect a promenade lined with bars and clubs) but the beautiful combination of the charm of the sea and the mountains reminded me a little of the Spanish Cantabrian coast in parts. It is quite easily accessible from Tokyo via Tsuruga (Fukui prefecture), though the road to get there is long. From Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara, you need to go through Maibara (in Shiga Prefecture).
Utsunomiya (宇 都 宫), is the capital of the Tochigi Prefecture, near Tokyo. It's 312.16 km ² and nearly half a million people live here. Here, you can find the Canon Inc. central factory, and Honda design centers. Getting here is easy if you take one of the express trains departing from Ueno Station (Tokyo). The things I have mentioned are not why this city is well-known, however. The real reason that make this city special are its specialty Gyoza restaurants, which claim to be the best in the country. The gyoza (饺子) is a dish of Chinese origin but adapted to Japanese cuisine. It is the equivalent of our turnovers, a dough folded over itself with meat (usually pork or chicken) and some vegetables inside. In Japan they are grilled with a little olive oil and accompanied with a sauce. If you're salivating thinking about this delight, you can not miss visiting the restaurants in this town, where in addition to the best gzoya, there is also a restaurant that claims to make largest (18 cm) in the archipelago.
Shimonoseki (下 关), is a city of Yamaguchi Prefecture and the last of the main island of Japan (Honshu) before Fukuoka (which belongs to the island of Kyushu). This city is especially known in Japan as the birthplace of the delicacy we know as deadly pufferfish (Fugu in Japanese) as most of the fishing activity of this animal is concentrated around here. Although you can taste the delicious pufferfish in Osaka and Tokyo it is more fresh and delicious here. This city is also one of the coolest places to learn about cooking this fish. The course lasts 3 years and is especially difficult, just about 6 apprentices are licensed annually. Trading with Fugu without the relevant licenses/certifications is punishable with large fines and even months in prison. Besides its culinary value there are other places to visit, such as the fish market, several Buddhist and Shontístas temples and an Aquarium.
Takayama is a beautiful place in Japan, a scenic spot in a mountainous area, it serves as a stage for exploring the surrounding mountains, with its dramatic scenery. In my case I only visited the city because I was short of time to explore the surroundings. It is a lovely setting with its old streets, temples and beautiful buildings, all very clean and well maintained. I think the best times are spring and autumn as there are not too many tourists and the tonal quality of the flowering trees or the changing color of the leaves gives the place a unique setting. It would be good to see more of rural Japan and be away from the big cities. The way to get there is by JR train from Nagoya.
Otaru (小樽) is a city on the island of Hokkaido, located in Ishikari Bay (石 狩 湾) and was founded by the Ainu, until the Japanese came during the Edo period. It is famous for its harbour, of great commercial importance both nationally and internationally, especially in the first half of the twentieth century, but to me, what I found most attractive there was its natural beauty. The peculiarity of the crafts and traditions, due to its cultural mix, products made here are highly valued, including glass crafts , considered to be the highest quality in Japan. It is also very famous for the festival which is held every year in February related to ice, snow and fire: The Yuki Akari no Michi. To get here, I recommend you go by train from the capital: Sapporo.
Narita is a city of about 120,000 natives east of Tokyo, in Chiba. This village is well known for hosting the main international airport in Japan, it is a city with a lot to offer and unknown to tourists. To get from Tokyo to Narita is easy. By train you can catch the Narita Keisei or JR Narita line. The station is central and you can use it to get a map and a brochure from the Tourist Information Centre in Narita JR station. We visited the city during the Matsuri Taiko, and the city itself I really liked. The main street is called Omotesando, like its namesake track Harajuku, it is full of shops and restaurants, though not as posh as the Tokyoites. It forms a sort of curve and descends towards the Narita-san temple. This reminds me of Kyoto Omotesando for their old style low houses. Then the Narita-san is one of the most impressive temples I've ever seen for size and beauty. Other attractions of this city are the Museum of Calligraphy or History Museum. If you are there for several days and do not know what to do, I recommend a half-day visit to this lovely city.
I spent most of my time in Japan in the district of the city of Yokohama. It is a small neighborhood that belongs to the district of Kohoku in the North of the city of Yokohama. You can reach Hiyoshi on the Tokyu Toyoko Line and the Yokohama Subway. It is approximately 22 minutes from Shibuya, so you can say that it is pretty close to Tokyo. It is also only 15 minutes from downtown Yokohama. Hiyoshi campus houses the Keio University (Hiyoshi campus, campus Yagami and Keio Business School). The campus is beautiful, with many huge trees. The Ginkgo Biloba is a lovely tree native to China that was among the few trees that managed to survive in the vicinity of where the bomb exploded Hiroshima and is now known as a tree of hope. I like the atmosphere in Hiyoshi, it is much less crowded than downtown Tokyo or Yokohama, but there is a lot going on and many restaurants, including my favourite Heiroku, with the best sushi of all. I enjoyed kicking back from Tokyo and other big cities and seeing the buildings in the area near Musashi Kosugi that stand above all the rest.
It is true that the day I went to visit Yokohama there was an icy wind that prevented me from enjoying this beautiful city. Yokohama is the capital of Kanagawa and the second largest city in the whole of Japan, after Tokyo, with an increasing population of nearly four million. Many people that live in Yokohama actually work in Tokyo and commute there, since it is only 30 kilometers away from the capital. Yokohama was a small fishing village before the port was created in the year 1859. The port was dedicated to the silk trade during the Meiji era and later was used to import raw materials and export products that were manufactured in the factories of the Keihin Industrial Area. The most famous place in the city is Minato Mirai 21, a modern area with skyscrapers, situated next to the port of Yokohama, where you can see important landmarks such as the Landmark Tower, Japan's tallest building, which is even taller thanthe Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo. Another very popular area of Yokohama is Chinatown, home to the largest Chinese community in the country. Definitely a city not to miss if you you going to stay in Tokyo.
In the morning I had visited Himeji Castle and in the afternoon I went to Okayama. I had accommodation in the city and I had planned to visit its famous gardens but someone advised me that they'd been distorted by the heat and it was a better idea to go to Kurashiki. I always do listen to other travellers, so I went to Kurashiki. It is a city that is 30 minutes away by local train from Okayama. When you leave the modern part and head to the old part, the city can be described as peaceful. I relaxed walking through the small streets near the canals which were abundant with koi, Asian carp and colours. For the Japanese this freshwater fish is a symbol of good luck. As the hours wore on the streets were deserted and the city became even more peaceful. My stomach began to rumble. I left the old part of the city and went to a mall full of small restaurants and answered my rumbling stomach. Luckily, I listen to other travellers which meant I was able to spend a quiet evening in Kurashiki.
Thanks to a Japanese friend I stopped unexpectedly in Izu (Ito city, Shizuoka), where I could enjoy the famous natural hot spring in this Japanese city. You can see and know by your own eyes what I'm talking about ...