Mt Okura Observatory served as the site of the ski jump competitions in the 1972 Winter Olympics. Today, the area is still used for elite-level ski jump competitions. It also affords one of the most unique viewpoints in Japan.
Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is known for growing lavender. The iconic purple flower grows in fields for as far as the eye can see. Lavender season in Hokkaido is unlike anything else in the world. From June until late August, the entire landscape turns purple. The most famous place to experience this exquisite sight is in Furano, a small town in central Hokkaido. The famous Furano flower fields should be on any traveler’s bucket list.
Not all sushi is created equal. In fact, not all things that people call sushi are even sushi. Everyone’s favorite Japanese cuisine item can be tricky to learn how to order and how to eat. For those that of us that love sushi but always have a moment of hesitation for fear of doing something wrong, we’ve compiled a short guide. Whether enjoying the popular dish in Tokyo or Washington DC, here’s how to eat sushi.
One of the most sacred mountains in the world, Mount Koya can be reached by public transportation from Osaka. Mount Koya is an important destination for Buddhists, and many monks make the pilgrimage to pray here. Today, Mount Koya — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is a Buddhist retreat. It attracts tourists who want to see the beautiful temples and gardens on the sacred mountain. While you could spend days exploring the area, it is possible to experience Mount Koya on a day trip from Osaka.
The oldest original castle in Japan, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, dates back to the 13th century. The castle perches on top of a mountain near Takahashi, a city in Okayama Prefecture. It has survived centuries of natural disasters and wars, along with a Meiji-era order for castles to be demolished. It remains one of only 12 original castles still standing in Japan today.
In this guide, we’ve handpicked the very best of what makes Tokyo so special — both on and off the beaten path — so you can travel like an insider in Tokyo!