Osaka – Nara

Osaka – Nara Dates: 6 Apr Nara is a must-do day trip from Osaka, takes around an hour on the train from Osaka > Nara station, then it’s around 20-30 minutes walk from the station to the deer park & main temples. Unfortunately when I went the main temple with the big buddha had construction work going on so the outside wasn’t too pretty, but it was still a lovely walk around and pretty cool feeding the deer – who can get fairly aggressive if you have food and don’t give it to them! I had my pockets nibbled at …

Osaka – Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle Dates: 4 Apr After hiking up Mount Misen the previous day, I wasn’t up for doing a lot with my sore legs so I took a leisurely stroll around Osaka Castle and checked out the Ghibli shop in Namba Walk. The Ghibli shop was a pain to find, and honestly I don’t know if I could find it again. I think from Namba Station you head East, until you get to BIC Camera. From BIC Camera there will be some escalators down, which if you’re viewing on a map appears like a triangle coming out from the road …

Hiroshima – Miyajima, Mt Misen & Itsukushima Shrine

Hiroshima – Miyajima, Mt. Misen & Itsukushima Shrine Dates: 3 Apr This marked the last day of my Japan Railpass, so I had to rush around Miyajima before jumping on the Shinkansen over to Osaka in the evening. Easily done. To get over to Miyajima you hop on the train down to Miyajimaguchi Station then take the ferry, which is free with the JR Pass, over to Miyajima island. I did have fairly limited time on the island however I had plenty of time to get the main attractions done – Itsukushima Shrine & Mount Misen. Itsukushima Shrine is a …

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Castle

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum, Atomic Dome & Hiroshima Castle Dates: 31 Mar – 3 Apr I couldn’t go to Japan and not visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum, it’s such a unique place and something that will never be forgotten. I obviously knew how devastating a nuke is, but until you read the stories from survivors and see the various items in the museum it’s hard to grasp just how much damage they cause. What really stuck with me was the aftermath – a large chunk of the people that died didn’t directly die from the …

Kyoto – Fushimi Inari taisha & the East

Fushimi Inari taisha & East Kyoto Dates: 30 Mar On my last day in Kyoto I decided to do the famous Inariyama/Fushimi Inari taisha walkway, a path leading through thousands of Torii gates. Being inside them is quite the sight. The full circuit can take 2-3 hours to walk around, but once I’d walked around half of these for an hour that was enough for me so I decided to cut off halfway up and make my way up a few of the temples on the east side of Kyoto: Sennyu-ji, Chisaku-in & Kiyomizu-dera, ending with a short walk through …

Kyoto – Ryoanji Rock Garden & Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion

Kyoto – Ryoanji Rock Garden & Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Dates: 29 Mar After I finished up at Arashiyama I head over to Ryoan-ji temple to see the famous rock garden. Ryoan-ji is a temple in the northern part of Kyoto with a Japanese Zen garden made up of various large rocks placed amongst perfectly raked small smooth pebbles. It’s an interesting sight, and is designed to aid with meditation – and even with a number of tourists there you can see how this is the case. It’s impeccable. About 20-25 minutes walk away from here is Kinkaku-ji, the famous golden …

Kyoto – Arashiyama

Arashiyama Dates: 29 Mar The second most must-do thing in Kyoto alongside Gion is probably Arashiyama, the famous bamboo groves. They’re quite a way out from where you’ll likely be staying in Kyoto, but very easy to get to by public transport. When you arrive it’s extremely easy to find where they are due to how busy they get, just follow the crowds – chances are everyone else is going there too! There is one route through the groves when you reach them, long enough to get plenty of shots of the bamboo – don’t expect to get any shots …

Kyoto – Gion

Gion District Dates: 28 Mar I took the Shinkansen from Tokyo mid morning to ensure I had as much time in Kyoto as I could due to only having two nights booked here as I was on limited time using my JR Pass. After arriving in the early afternoon I made the Gion District my first stop, my Airbnb was minutes walk away from the area so it was a convenient place to start my exploration of Kyoto without having to travel any more than I already had done. The Gion District is basically the old town of Kyoto, full …

Edo Tokyo Museum

Edo Tokyo Museum Dates: 26 Mar Ever since being a kid I’ve had an interest in Japan, so when I was researching Tokyo and saw the Edo Tokyo Museum I couldn’t resist taking in some history on Japan from the Edo period on one of my rainy days mentioned in my other post about Tokyo. The museum is full of beautiful scrolls & manuscripts, alongside some displays of what Tokyo would have been like in the Edo period, including both models and life-sized interactive displays. It’s 600Yen (~£4.30 when I was there) and takes a few hours to go around …

Tokyo

Tokyo Dates: 23-28 Mar My first taste of Japan was naturally Tokyo. I landed late in the evening and was really struggling to find my airbnb. I ended up having to ask a local who didn’t speak a word of English, and he walked me 10 minutes in the opposite direction to where he was going right up to the door. This was a sign of things to come in Japan and is one of the reasons I love the country so much – the people there are incredibly friendly. I didn’t get chance to shoot much due to rainy …