Archive for the ‘Sightseeing’ Category
I’ve finally been able to gratify what could be termed an almost 3-year long obsession – after all, I could watch Tokyo’s new landmark grow into the sky from my balcony. Since I did not want to leave things to chance, I reserved my ticket online (only possible with Japanese credit card). We chose an 8pm time slot thinking that a night view of Tokyo would be particularly impressive. (more…)
During more than one month back in Japan, we couldn’t very well miss out on Kyoto, could we? After all, you cannot spend too much time in Kyoto. Apart from revisiting the places we’ve grown fond of over time, we also explored something new. In the hills in the north-east of town lies Arashiyama (嵐山), named after one of the mountains. The region also goes by the name of Sagano. The nobles have enjoyed this getaway for its natural beauty for centuries already, and it is still a mayor touristic attraction (how much can be measured by the sheer density of souvenir shops that line the streets). Maybe its most important sight is the Zen temple of Tenryuji (天竜寺), designated UNESCO World Heritage.
Yanaka (谷中) is located roughly between Nippori and Ueno, in Tokyo’s old downtown district of Taito. It is a place unlike any other I know in Tokyo, a place where time seems to have stood still since the days of “old Japan”. We had fallen upon this place by pure chance a year ago, but unfortunately my camera had run out of battery just then. So we returned there this year, camera in hand.
Even though we are on our way out of the country, I am excited that we managed to see yet another city we hadn’t seen before: Osaka. Our hotel is in the middle of the bustling Dotonbori entertainment quarter, only minutes on foot away from the famous crab figure and the Glico Man ad. And of course Shochikuza (松竹座), a big theater where we attended a Kabuki performance.(more…)
In the mountains of central Japan is a village which has retained its face of old. Still now, about 150 buildings with reed-thatched roofs remain. The heavy snowfall has forced the villagers to build the roofs very steeply, a shape reminiscent of hands folded in prayer. These Gassho-zukuri buildings are UNESCO World Heritage, and the village goes by the name of Shirakawa-go (白川村). (more…)
After first visiting Matsushima Bay and the floating torii of Miyajima, we finally ticked off the third of Japan’s Three Best Views (Nihon Sankei) from our to-do list: Amanohashidate (天橋立), the bridge through the sky. Or so at least this pine-clad sandbar crossing Miyazu Bay on Japan’s West Coast appears when one looks at it through one’s legs.
The canonical things to do are walking the 3.3km across Amanohashidate to the other side and viewing it from one of the hills on either side. (more…)
This week, we went on what we are calling “our great roundtrip”, attempting to cram in as many sights as possible before leaving the country. We started out on the West coast, in Tottori (鳥取). While the town of Tottori is a little inland and is notable for its hot springs, the main touristic attraction is the giant sand dune on the coast, the Tottori Sakyu. Sloping down into a valley and then rising up steeply, the dune dwarfs the visitors to scrambling ants. You could fancy yourself in the middle of the desert if it weren’t for the blue Japan Sea stretching out below on the other side of the dune. Certainly a striking formation worth a visit.
Not far from the Akan National Park, there is yet another national park in Eastern Hokkaido: the Kushiro Shitsugen (釧路湿原), the largest wetlands in Japan. It is most famous for the red-crowned cranes (丹頂, tancho), which spend the winter there, which are also the emblem of the whole Kushiro region. While it is apparently possible to see cranes also in other seasons, we could not spot any. (more…)