Meiji Jingū, Tōkyō, Japan

One of Japan’s most famous Shinto shrines, Meiji Jingū was built after the deaths of Emperor Meiji and his wife, the Empress Shoken, and they were enshrined here on the 1st November 1920. The shrine was a colossal effort on the part of the Japanese people, to commemorate an Emperor who brought Japan into the…

Sengakuji, Tōkyō, Japan

The story of the 47 Ronin is to Japan what Arthurian or Robin Hood legends are to England, with one vital difference: we have concrete evidence of the 47 Ronin. Over 300 years after their deaths, their graves are still attended, incense lit for them by strangers every day of the year. If you don’t…

Matsu no Ōrōka Corridor, Tōkyō, Japan

What remains of the location where Asano Naganori lost his temper and tried to kill Kira Yoshinaka is these days little more than a plaque and some trees in the Imperial Palace East Gardens, but if you have the time or the gardens were already on your itinerary, it’s worth a few extra minutes of…

Ninja Museum of Igaryu, Iga City, Japan

Ninjas, as we all know, are far superior to pirates. Iga City in Mie Prefecture was home to one of the most successful schools of Ninjutsu, the Iga-ryū, and is now the go-to destination for anyone interested in the history behind these skilled agents of espionage. Ninjutsu, contrary to what countless films might try to…

Iga Ueno, Japan

Iga City was formed in 2004 from a handful of towns (and one city) in Mie Prefecture, but is still commonly referred to as Iga Ueno: Ueno was the city, and to distinguish it from the identically-named district of Tokyo it was usually called Iga Ueno, as Iga was the next largest town. Famous as…

How to use Kyoto’s Transportation

Getting around Kyoto is easy: an excellent bus network, two subway lines, and plenty of taxis all meld together into one of the best public transport systems in the world. Let’s take a look. Kyoto City Bus First, get a copy of the Kyoto Bus Map. Hardcopies are available from major train and subway stations…

Gifu Castle, Gifu, Japan

You can see Gifu Castle from the train as you approach this small city. It sits on the apex of Mount Kinka, and while the castle is “merely” a concrete reconstruction of what was once one of the strongest castles in the country, it has a fascinating history, and an even more mesmerising interior. Originally…