カテゴリー別アーカイブ: Japan Destinations

TOWN OF HONGO & KINGYO-ZAKA

Go to “SHITAMACHI” and experience Culture/Art/ Food.
Shitamachi means the towns below Edo Castle, now the site of the Imperial Palace, where the merchants and artisans have been living since Edo Period.
Picture: The best Chinese tea that I’ve ever had. Lunch at Kiogyo-zaka cafe in the town of Hongo.

Kingyozaka
Kingyozaka

Hongo is a district of Tokyo located in Bunkyo-ku (Bunkyo Ward), due north of the Imperial Palace and west of Ueno. Hongo was a ward of the former city of Tokyo until 1947, when it merged with another ward, Koishikawa, to form the modern Bunkyo.
Hongo is home to the University of Tokyo. There are many schools and universities in this ward and it has been regarded as a school zone since Meiji era. Hongo-sanchome Metro Station is main station of this ward.

Photo: Akamon Gate was constructed in 1827 by Nariyasu Maeda, 12th Lord of the Kaga, to welcome Lady Yasu, a daughter of the 11th shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, as his bride and was registered as a National Treasure before World War II. At the end of the Meiji period, Akamon was dismantled and reconstructed in its current location of The University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus.
Photo: Akamon Gate was constructed in 1827 by Nariyasu Maeda, 12th Lord of the Kaga, to welcome Lady Yasu, a daughter of the 11th shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, as his bride and was registered as a National Treasure before World War II. At the end of the Meiji period, Akamon was dismantled and reconstructed in its current location of The University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus.

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Kingyo-zaka
A wholesale shop that specializes in goldfish, Kingyozaka (which translates as Goldfish Hill) has been based in the town, for 350 years. Hoping to make goldfish accessible to as many people as possible, the seventh-generation proprietress has converted part of the premises into a cafe. In a relaxed atmosphere, you can enjoy special beef black curry, kaiseki ryouri, coffee, Chinese tea, dessert, alcoholic drinks and even cigars. You can go fishing or scooping for goldfish, with 100,000 beautiful specimens in over 50 varieties, or simply pick out the one you like and take it home.

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Photo: Beef black curry set with miso soup, salad and sweet and Chinese tea of Kingyo-zaka café.
Photo: Beef black curry set with miso soup, salad and sweet and Chinese tea of Kingyo-zaka café.

The Alleys in the town
After visiting Kingyo-zaka, take a stroll about the streets. Between tenement buildings were alleyways, or roji. The alleys were usually from 1.8m to 3.6m wide but some were less than a meter wide. There was a gutter in the alley where rainwater and used household water flowed, and this was covered by boards. The care of the roji was left to its residents, and they often used it to hang their washing out to dry, or to grow potted plants. It was also a favorite play area for the local children. The roji was an important part of daily life for the residents.

Photo: Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896) was living in this alley. She was one of the first important writers in Meiji Period (1868–1912) and Japan's first prominent woman writer of modern times. Higuchi's likeness adorns the Japanese 5000 yen banknote in 2004, becoming the third woman to appear on a Japanese banknote
Photo: Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896) was living in this alley. She was one of the first important writers in Meiji Period (1868–1912) and Japan’s first prominent woman writer of modern times. Higuchi’s likeness adorns the Japanese 5000 yen banknote in 2004, becoming the third woman to appear on a Japanese banknote

HOW TO ENJOY IMPERIAL PALACE IN TOKYO

Palace-Hotel-Tokyo---Grand-Kitchen---Terrace---IV
Terrace restaurant of Palace Hotel. Click photo to enlarge.

KOKYO RUN!

Kokyo is Imperial Palace in Japanese and we call Kokyo-running to jog around the palace. Kokyo is a nice place to stroll around, however, Kokyo is also popular and attracts a wide range of joggers. I have jogged around Koyo many times. There are 3 reasons why I want to suggest jogging around Imperial palace.

1. It is just 5 km around the palace with no vehicles or with no traffic lights at all, so it is safe and easy to know how long you are jogging.
2. Adding to it, there are 3 police boxes around the route and police officers are coming around, so, it is quite safe to jog in the night.
3. But not only these reasons but also the scenery around the Palace is beautiful and you can enjoy flowers and trees every season.

There are too many joggers on weekend, so probably it would be better to avoid on Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese national holidays. It is the best place to run in the city.

Imperial-Palace-Babasaki-go
Imperial Palace- Babasaki-go

PALACE CYCLING

Every Sunday (Closed on rainy days, and days when special events are held.), 150 free bicycles are provided for use along about 3 km model cycling course between Iwaida Bridge and Hirakawa Gate. It is a great Sunday activity for you to ride halfway around the Palace Surrounded by castle moats and 2000 pine trees. The course is free of motorized vehicle on Sundays.

There are Japanese style bicycle, which you can ride on kids who cannot ride bicycle themselves.
Fee: Free of Charge.
The reception desk: Beside the police box near Exit 2 of Nijubashi Station on the Chiyoda Line Subway

KOKYO HIGASHI GYOEN GARDEN (IMPERIAL PALACE EAST GARDEN)

Imperial Palace East Garden is a beautiful garden where you can walk and enjoy nature which was opened to the public in 1968. Formerly it was a part of the grounds of Edo Castle. The castle does not exist anymore, however, you can see it was there since the ruin of the old Edo Castle including the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses are remaining. This is a real hidden gem in heart of Tokyo. Bringing your Obento for your lunch would be nice. It is closed on Mondays and Fridays.

Imperial-Palacde-Park
Imperial Palace – East Garden

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

The National Museum of Modern Art isn’t a particularly large collection but tiny, boutique and the pieces are great quality. You will no doubt visit it if you are an art lover. This is located on right across the street from the Imperial Palace.

You can also enjoy a very fine lunch in the restaurant on the second floor providing contemporary cuisine. There is also café so you can take a break anytime.

The museum is closed on Mondays.

 

“PLANNING A TRIP TO JAPAN?”

Don’t just plan a trip. Plan a life changing, luxurious adventure. Luxury Travel Japan presents a variety of proposals to meet your various needs and provides the very best Japan holiday for you. Luxury means different things to different people. It could be a hotel room, a fine restaurant, shopping, personal interests, precious experiences, or even something intangible. Please let us know your top trip priorities and apply for your free initial itinerary proposal. Made exactly as you like it, naturally.

We have a prepared a host of suggested itineraries for your consideration and inspiration, but all trips can be modified to best suit your needs.

 

 

東京
Tokyo

6 Days and 5 Nights

京都 Kyoto, Nara and Kobe

6 Days and 5 Nights

広島Western Honshu

14 Days and 13 Nights

近畿 Central & Western Honshu

12 Days and 11 Nights

東北 Discover Tohoku Region

6 Days and 5 Nights

四国
Shikoku

お遍路さんsize14 Days

九州
Kyushu

11 Days and 10 Nights

沖縄
Okinawa

7 Days and 6 Nights

雪国
Snow Experience

10 Days and 9 Nights

箱根
Hakone

2 Days and 1 night

鎌倉
Kamakura

Day Trip

高尾山
Mt. Takao

Day Trip

日光
Nikko

Day Trip

富士山
Mt. Fuji

2 Days and 1 Night

HIROSHIMA

hon_day0
Hiroshima Itsukushima Shrine

Tokyo to Miyajima via Mt. Fuji and Kyoto
14 Days and 13 Nights
Central & Western Honshu Luxury Tour

Hiroshima is located Chugoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It is best known as first city in history to be targeted by a nuclear weapon and an atomic bomb was dropped on at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II.

The area around Hiroshima was formerly divided into Bingo Province and Aki Province. This location has been a center of trade and culture since the beginning of Japan’s recorded history. Hiroshima is a traditional center of the Chugoku region.

Hiroshima is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, The Atomic Dome and the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, famed for filling with water and appearing to float during high tide.

Hiroshima’s local cuisine:

“Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki”  (Pancakes but not sweet)

Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki
Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki

Don’t leave Hiroshima without having Hiroshima Okonomiyaki. The difference of Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki from regular types Okonomiyaki is including fried noodle inside. It is said that there are more than 2,000 Okonomiyaki restaurants in Hiroshima. The specialty is prepared by spreading a mixture of flour and water onto a griddle. Bean sprouts, sliced cabbage, meat, egg, and noodles are added to the thin pancake.

“Oysters”

Taking up 70 percent of Japan’s share, Hiroshima is famous for its oysters. Marinated in vinegar and soy sauce, cooked in a pot, deep fried, grilled or fresh out of the shell, the so-called Milk of the Seas is enjoyed in many different ways.

“Onomichi Ramen”

Onomichi Ramen origins in Onomichi-city, is famous of soup with soy sauce and back fat of pork. Around the Hiroshima-city, Hiroshima style Tsukemen is loved by Hiroshima citizen. Tsukemen is cold noodle served with boiled cabbage, boiled egg, some other boiled vegetables and also is served with spicy hot soup which is made of hot pepper, chili oil and sesame. There are also some other ramen restaurants that serve ramen cooked with seafood soup, made of small dried young sardines, dried bonito and soup stock made from kombu.

 

There are famous festivals and events:

 

“The Kangensai Festival”

1st August in Itsukushima shrine

The festival originating during the Heian period (794-1185) is the largest annual festival observed at Itsukushima Shrine and one of Japan’s three major boat rituals.

“Miyajima Under-water Firework Festival”

on August, 14,

“Saijo Sake Festival in October”

Saijo district is famous as a leading sake brewing town, and the area around JR Saijo station is lined with many old and well-established breweries. You are free to walk around from brewery to brewery sampling various types of sake at each one.

The festival features a Shinto ritual ceremony, which is performed in the center of the festival grounds to celebrate the bounty of that year’s batch of sake. Not limited to famous Hiroshima brands, the Japanese sake sampling also includes well-known regional brands from all over Japan, tempting visitors to try this one and that one and then the next one.

 

“PLANNING A TRIP TO JAPAN?”

Don’t just plan a trip. Plan a life changing, luxurious adventure. Luxury Travel Japan presents a variety of proposals to meet your various needs and provides the very best Japan holiday for you. Luxury means different things to different people. It could be a hotel room, a fine restaurant, shopping, personal interests, precious experiences, or even something intangible. Please let us know your top trip priorities and apply for your free initial itinerary proposal. Made exactly as you like it, naturally.

We have a prepared a host of suggested itineraries for your consideration and inspiration, but all trips can be modified to best suit your needs.

 

 

東京
Tokyo

6 Days and 5 Nights

京都 Kyoto, Nara and Kobe

6 Days and 5 Nights

広島Western Honshu

14 Days and 13 Nights

近畿 Central & Western Honshu

12 Days and 11 Nights

東北 Discover Tohoku Region

6 Days and 5 Nights

四国
Shikoku

お遍路さんsize14 Days

九州
Kyushu

11 Days and 10 Nights

沖縄
Okinawa

7 Days and 6 Nights

雪国
Snow Experience

10 Days and 9 Nights

箱根
Hakone

2 Days and 1 night

鎌倉
Kamakura

Day Trip

高尾山
Mt. Takao

Day Trip

日光
Nikko

Day Trip

富士山
Mt. Fuji

2 Days and 1 Night

HOW TO ENJOY HARAJUKU

Omotesando
Omotesando-Main Street

Harajuku is a magic town which attracts young and old. As a teenage kid in 80s, Harajuku was mecca for me. I was excited and loved to go to see young people dancing with dressing up in an outrageous costume in Takeshita-dori Street. They were called ‘Takenoko-zoku’ and also hanging around with friends in this street where used to be many shops of idle singers.

Takeshitadori
Ttakeshitadori

Takeshia-dori as a teenage fashion street, still attracts young generation. I don’t know why but we always went to eat Pizza in Shakey’s which is still on the side of Omotesando St.

“SIGHTSEEING”

meiji-jingu
Meiji-JIngu Shrine

In my 40s, I am still in love with this magic town. I suggest the things you should see and do in Harajuku for adults. Firstly I suggest you visiting Meiji Shrine 2 min from Harajuku sta. Meiji Shrine is an oasis in the big city, guarded by a forest 170,000 trees.

After Meiji Shrine, you  will love to stroll along Ura Harajuku where is on the back streets of Omotesando main street, and also Cat St. which were known as a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion.

Ura-harajuku
Ura Harajuku – side streets of Omotesando street

I suggest stopping by Ukiyo-e museumOta Memorial Museum of Art’. The museum is quite small so, it would take you 1 hour to enjoy looking at the Ukiyo-e.

“SHOPPING”

Omotesando-Cafe
Shops & Cafe in Omotesando

There are many small,  independent boutiques fancy shops, also the world’s well-known brand shops and cafes in this area. Oriental bazaar where you can find Japanese antiques, furniture, kimono and other fancy goods. If you are interested in Buddha statues as interior decorations, suggest stopping by isumu where you can find many small Buddha statues.

“RESTAURANTS”

If you are looking for quiet restaurants, I suggest Ukai-tei (Teppan yaki- stak) which you can savor premium quality grilled dishes in the elegant and stately 150 year old merchant house portraying a perfect harmony between traditional Japanese and western beauty.

Masuda in Aoyama also on the backstreet of Omotesando is a fine sushi restaurant. The chef Rei Masuda worked at Sukiyabashi Jiro for nine years before opening his restaurant in 2014. You can enjoy their two-hour dinner slot in a more relaxed atmosphere. (close at lunch time)

 

“PLANNING A TRIP TO JAPAN?”

Don’t just plan a trip. Plan a life changing, luxurious adventure. Luxury Travel Japan presents a variety of proposals to meet your various needs and provides the very best Japan holiday for you. Luxury means different things to different people. It could be a hotel room, a fine restaurant, shopping, personal interests, precious experiences, or even something intangible. Please let us know your top trip priorities and apply for your free initial itinerary proposal. Made exactly as you like it, naturally.

We have a prepared a host of suggested itineraries for your consideration and inspiration, but all trips can be modified to best suit your needs.

 

東京
Tokyo

6 Days and 5 Nights

京都 Kyoto, Nara and Kobe

6 Days and 5 Nights

広島Western Honshu

14 Days and 13 Nights

近畿 Central & Western Honshu

12 Days and 11 Nights

東北 Discover Tohoku Region

6 Days and 5 Nights

四国
Shikoku

お遍路さんsize14 Days

九州
Kyushu

11 Days and 10 Nights

沖縄
Okinawa

7 Days and 6 Nights

雪国
Snow Experience

10 Days and 9 Nights

箱根
Hakone

2 Days and 1 night

鎌倉
Kamakura

Day Trip

高尾山
Mt. Takao

Day Trip

日光
Nikko

Day Trip

富士山
Mt. Fuji

2 Days and 1 Night

KOBE JAPAN

kobe-port-tower
Kobe Port Tower

Kobe is the sixth largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyogo Prefecture, approximately 30 km (19 mi) west of Osaka. The earliest written records regarding the region come from the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jingu in AD201. For most of its history the area was never a single political entity, every during the Tokugawa Period, when the port was controlled directly by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889. Its name comes from “Kanbe”, an archaic title for supporters of the city’s Ikuta Shrine.

kobe-kitano
Kobe Ijinkan in Kitano, former foreign regidences area

Kobe became one of Japan’s 17 designated cities in 1956. Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the 1853 end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake diminished much of Kobe’s prominence as a port city, it remains Japan’s fourth busiest container port. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts, Arima onsen.

 As mentioned above, Kobe is most famous for its Kobe beef and Arima Onsen (hot springs). Notable buildings include the Ikuta Shrine as well as the Kobe Port Tower. It is well known for the night view of the city, from mountains such as Mount Rokko, and Mount Maya as well as the coast. Kobe is also known for having a somewhat exotic atmosphere by Japanese standards, which is mainly as a result of its history as a port city.

Kobe is the site of Japan’s first golf course, Kobe Golf Club, established by Arthur Hesketh Groom in 1903, and Japan’s first mosque, Kobe Mosque, built in 1935. The city hosts the Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club, founded in 1870 by Alexander Cameron Sim, a prominent foreign cemetery, and a number of Western-style residences from the 19th century, in the Kitano area. Museums include Kobe City Museum and Kobe City museum of Literature.

Most of the 1957 romantic drama ‘Sayonara’ takes place in Kobe. The city is the setting of much of the Studio Ghibli film ‘Grave of the Fireflies’.

Kyoto, Nara, Osaka & Kobe Model Tour Itinerary



“PLANNING A TRIP TO JAPAN?”

Don’t just plan a trip. Plan a life changing, luxurious adventure. Luxury Travel Japan presents a variety of proposals to meet your various needs and provides the very best Japan holiday for you. Luxury means different things to different people. It could be a hotel room, a fine restaurant, shopping, personal interests, precious experiences, or even something intangible. Please let us know your top trip priorities and apply for your free initial itinerary proposal. Made exactly as you like it, naturally.

We have a prepared a host of suggested itineraries for your consideration and inspiration, but all trips can be modified to best suit your needs.



東京
Tokyo

6 Days and 5 Nights

京都 Kyoto, Nara and Kobe

6 Days and 5 Nights

広島Western Honshu

14 Days and 13 Nights

近畿 Central & Western Honshu

12 Days and 11 Nights

東北 Discover Tohoku Region

6 Days and 5 Nights

四国
Shikoku

お遍路さんsize14 Days

九州
Kyushu

11 Days and 10 Nights

沖縄
Okinawa

7 Days and 6 Nights

雪国
Snow Experience

10 Days and 9 Nights

箱根
Hakone

2 Days and 1 night

鎌倉
Kamakura

Day Trip

高尾山
Mt. Takao

Day Trip

日光
Nikko

Day Trip

富士山
Mt. Fuji

2 Days and 1 Night