Shukkeien Garden with small bridges over a pond and green nature all around.

Shukkeien Garden: Escape the City

 Shukkei-En is a wonderful garden to feel peace and enjoy nature. This downtown park is a recreation of the garden that existed on the site before the atomic blast. What You Can See There Shukkei-en is itself a small-scale recreation of West Lake in Hangzhou, China. Shukkei-en means “contracted view,” and the garden was designed … Read more

The Osaka Aquarium with its ocean creatures design on its walls.

Osaka Aquarium – Explore Mysterious Creatures of the Sea

One of the largest aquariums in the world, Kaiyukan (Osaka Aquarium) is considered one of the best aquariums in the country. The are eight floors of exhibits to see, many of which circle around a central pool that spans several floors. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan This is the crowning glory of the attraction – I’ll bet … Read more

Naramachi Monogatari Hall With signs in Japanese.

Naramachi: A Town of “Monkeys”

Naramachi:  Shiryokan – A “Monkey Museum” in Nara One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to discover places that are off the beaten track, where other foreigners don’t usually venture. Nara is a popular tourist destination in Japan and the main attractions (such as the big Buddha statue, the shika (deer) … Read more

Ginkaku-ji The Silver Pavilion in Kyoto surrounded by trees and pond.

Ginkaku-Ji: The “Silver” Pavilion

Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavillion) is often associated with the similarly named Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). Kin means gold, and gin means silver. Like Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji was first the retirement villa of a shogun, later converted into a Buddhist temple. Both have the focus of a beautiful pavilion beside a pond. The similarities stop there. Ginkaku-Ji:  Silver Doesn’t … Read more

Three Geisha Walking Down the Street in Gion, Kyoto.

Gion: Where Geisha, Elegance, and Old Japan Meet

Gion: Much More than Geisha Unlike Nijo Castle and Ginkakuji, the beautiful Gion district in Kyoto’s Southern Higashiyama doesn’t suffer from having a more famous counterpart. Instead, it’s misunderstood. Is It Worth Visiting? A visit to Gion in Kyoto is something you need to do while you’re in Japan.  While there are crowds of tourists, … Read more

Jigokudani Monkey Park Japan: A bunch of monkeys bathing in the hot spring.

Jigokudani Monkey Park Japan

If you have ever seen a picture of a monkey bathing in an outdoor hot spring surrounded by snow in Japan, it was probably taken at the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan.  This park  is located in Yamanouchi city, in Nagano prefecture. Jigokudani means, “hell valley,” because of the many streams of steam that comes … Read more