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Must see places

Hirosaki Castle is the quintessential jewel of the Tsugaru region. Every spring over 2 million people from all over Japan flock to the castle grounds to witness Aomori prefecture’s famous cherry blossom festival.     The three-storied castle structure (resembling a turret) was originally built in the Edo Period and normally sits on the corner of the inner citadel. However, recently it’s been moved to allow construction...

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Like many other locations in Japan (especially Kyoto), Kakunodate is a relic of Old World Japan from the Edo era. During the Edo era, Kakunodate was bustling with samurai and merchants, and is still home to some of the best remaining examples of samurai architecture in Japan. If you ever dreamed of walking the streets of the Samurai, look no further—this is your place. Located in the Akita prefecture of Tohoku, Kakunodate is the...

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Tohoku is a stunningly beautiful place, yet even by this notion, Matsushima Bay stands out as an especially beautiful location.  This beautiful bay in the Miyagi prefecture of Tohoku is named rather simply: Matsu meaning “pine” and Shima meaning “island” indicative of its pine trees and the 260 islands that can be found here. One of the three Nihon Sankei (three most beautiful views of Japan), Matsushima bay is...

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Resting in the holy mountain island of Miyajima the Daishoin Temple is just at the base of the mountain, surrounded by beautiful trees. Miyajima Island is most well-known for UNESCO World Heritage Site, Itsukushima Shrine and the “Floating” Torii Gates, which appear to float in the water during high tide. Daishoin Temple is a hidden gem in the emerald green sea of maple trees. This quaint shrine was established in 806, the first year...

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Like temples and shrines, the ubiquity of gardens is something you’ll notice when you visit Japan. Gardening culture stretches far back in time and nations from all over the world have their own gardening culture and aesthetic.  Japanese gardening culture breaks down into a few categories, often influenced by Shinto and Zen, as well as influence of other Asian gardens, such as Chinese gardens. Here are three types of gardens that...

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Tomonoura is a cozy port town you’ll find in the bay of the Seto Inland Sea within the Hiroshima prefecture. A part of the Setonaikai National park, Tomonoura is about two hours away from Hiroshima city; remaining largely untouched by time since its establishment, Tomonoura is quite the hidden gem. Much like many of the towns built during the construction of the railroads in the United States, like Yermo in California, you’ll find a...

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