35 great short trips from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka chosen by residents originally from overseas who live in and know these local areas really well.
Get away from the crowds, and discover these beautiful regions within easy reach of the major tourist attractions.

Japan. Endless Discovery.
Short trips from Tokyo
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Two-day trip Northern Buddhist city - experiencing history in a World Heritage site

Short trip to Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi's diverse history ranges from the 9th century struggles of an independent region, through local wars, to the founding of a Buddhist realm of peace by the Fujiwara family in the 12th century that was maintained for almost a century. Brought down in 1189 by a deathly fight between siblings, Japan's premier samurai Yoshitsune who fled to Hiraizumi and the first shogun, Yoritomo. This tragedy was commemorated exactly 500 years later by haiku master Matsuo Basho. Visitors can see Takkoku no Iwaya's temple in a cave founded to celebrate a military victory in 806. Climb between towering cryptomerias to Chuson-ji's mountain-top precinct where the lavish Golden Hall has survived from 1126. Wander through Motsu-ji's lovely 12th century, Pure Land garden, and see the Gikeido, dedicated to Yoshitsune, the place where Basho composed his profound 'summer grass' haiku as he looked down on the Kitakami River.

Guide
Rosemary Chiba

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Short trips from Kyoto
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  • (C)ISESHIMA TOURISM&CONVENTION ORGANIZATION
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Two-day trip Home of the Grand Shrine that represents the soul of Japan with 2000 years of history

Short trip to Ise

Mie Prefecture is one of the holiest sites for Japanese people due to the presence of Ise-Jingu Grand Shrine. The Grand Shrine has existed for over 2,000 years and Amaterasu-Omikami, also called the Sun Goddess, is enshrined and worshipped here. Ise-Jingu is believed to be the home of the Sacred Mirror “Yata no Kagami”. A destination of pilgrims for centuries, many Japanese people recognize Mie as the place where you can find the soul of Japan. It is also the birthplace of the Iga-ryu ninja clan, famous for the legendary figure of Hanzo Hattori, and the haven of the largest population of Japanese female divers (Ama). Situated close to the center of Japan, Mie Prefecture can be easily reached from Kyoto and Nagoya. Enjoy the soul of Japan in Mie Prefecture.

Guide
Dwinda Nafisah Nurinsiyah

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Short trips from Osaka
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One-day trip A visit to Japan’s only World Heritage castle

Short trip to Himeji

Himeji is a castle town that is balanced with history, tradition and nature and is home to Himeji Castle, which was designated as a World Heritage site in 1993. After five and a half years of maintenance repairs, which were completed in March 2015, Himeji castle emerged with a new coat of white even more beautiful than before. There are 1000 cherry blossom trees around the castle. Seeing the flower petals flutter down while engaging in hanami (picnic) under the trees is a sight that could never be forgotten. From March to November there are opportunities to ride a Japanese style boat on the moat surrounding the castle. Northwest of the castle, there is a hill called Otokoyama. At the top there are usually few people and it is possible to see an amazing view of the castle surrounded by the city.

Guide
Jessany Williams

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