See Shimoda, Izu With the JR Pass: Hot Springs, Kawazu Cherry Blossoms, and Japan’s First Gateway to the World

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The Izu Peninsula has long been a favorite for Japanese vacationers, thanks to the picturesque mountains, seashore, and hot springs. Each season brings new bursts of color to the scenery, with waves of Kawazu cherry blossoms, Atami plum blossoms, Shimoda hydrangeas, and wild narcissus flowers. Join us as we take the limited express Saphir Odoriko sightseeing train from Tokyo to Shimoda, on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula.

South to Izu: From Flowers to Commodore Perry’s Black Ships

Image Source: Shimoda Tourist Association

On this trip we'll be exploring the Shimoda area that sits on the very end of the Izu Peninsula, a spot that has made its way into history books as the very first port opened to the world on the main island of Japan after centuries of closed borders. The region is rich with history and monuments marking the past, but also bursting with new life that shapes the city's beautiful harbor and picturesque bay. In recent years the early summer hydrangea festival in Shimoda Park has become a favorite among flower lovers in Japan, and the nearby Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is famous for kicking off Japan's cherry blossom season by blooming bright and early each spring. During the same spring season, the Minami-Izu Cherry Tree and Canola Flower Festival offers yet more glorious fields of flowers to frolic in, along with rickshaw rides and sparkling lights after sunset. Located all the way at the end of a peninsula, thrust far into the reaches of the Pacific Ocean, Shimoda is also blessed with ample seafood (especially golden eye snapper, AKA kinmedai), along with luxurious onsen (hot springs) that draw visitors from all over Japan.

Formed from a series of submarine volcanoes, the Izu Peninsula is now a verdant green spit of land south of Tokyo, still dotted with the peaks and plateaus that remain from its volcanic days millions of years ago. The long coast is a mix of rocky cliffs and sandy beaches that many claim are the best in Japan, and as of 2018, the sumptuous scenery has earned the area the honor of becoming UNESCO's 9th global geopark in Japan, the "Izu Peninsula Geopark." For travelers exploring Japan, the region offers a mix of spectacular natural beauty, unique historical importance, traditional culture, and of course, great food!

Make the planning process easy for your next cherry blossom trip to Japan. Hop on the JR East sightseeing express Saphir Odoriko and come along on this trip to the end of the Izu Peninsula!

The Saphir Odoriko: Adding Extra Excitement to Train Travel

The Shimoda area of the Izu Peninsula, located in Shizuoka Prefecture, is located at a distance from Tokyo that isn't exactly near or far. If you take the ordinary train route, with a transfer at Atami, the trip takes about four hours. If you go for the JR limited express, however, the train goes directly from Tokyo to Shimoda in only about 2 hours and 43 minutes. To make the trip even more relaxing, JR East decided to launch the luxurious sightseeing train the Saphir, which comes equipped with special seats and interiors for a superior railway experience.

The Saphir offers three different seat options: standard seats in the Green Cars, deluxe seats in the Premium Green Cars, and private seats in the Green Car compartments. Even the standard seats on the Saphir offer the same level of added luxury as upgraded seats on the shinkansen, but the Saphir's compartments provide extra privacy and space to stretch out, and the premium seats in the front-most car are designed for a luxurious experience. The movable seats rotate to give passengers the same vantage point as the driver, including some breathtaking views of the coast and Mt. Fuji in the distance.

Many people choose the Saphir for the great views out the window and the comfortable convenience, but passengers shouldn't miss the train's dining car while aboard! The interior calls to mind the swanky dining cars of another era, with stylish retro furnishings and huge windows to gaze out at the scenery while you eat. Food offerings in the dining car range from full meals to lighter options and desserts, which are good for an afternoon snack or tea time. Some of the most recent additions to the menu include a series of recipes provided by Chinese restaurants from the Atami area of Izu, including noodle soup with shrimp wontons and Shanghai hairy crab cabbage rolls, each arriving at your table piping hot while the train zooms through the Japanese countryside. (For the dining car, advance reservations via Saphir Pay are recommended.) This train trip of over two hours always seems to pass by in a flash of comfortable seats, fresh flavors, and gorgeous scenery. Long before you reach your destination, it feels like to fun of a trip to Izu has already begun!

Shimoda Ropeway: Find Love and Views of Shimoda Port

Get off the train at Izukyu-Shimoda Station, and just about a minute away on foot you'll find the station for the Shimoda Ropeway, leading the way to one of Shimoda's most popular attractions. The ropeway makes its way up to the top of Mt. Nesugata, reaching a point about 200m above sea level, where you can look down at the city streets, Shimoda Port, and the blue waters that once welcomed the "black ships" that arrived from across the world to do trade with a newly opened Japan. The restaurant at the top of the mountain, "The Royal House Shimoda," is also a must-see for travelers visiting Shimoda. Diners can enjoy elegant drinks and desserts while relaxing in terrace seats overlooking the harbor below, or admiring the exquisite interior spaces.

The natural environment on Mt. Nesugata also provides a great place to enjoy Japan's four seasons, including early spring blooms of Kawazu cherry blossoms, early summer hydrangeas, and flowers like narcissuses or wild tri-colored peonies throughout the fall and winter. Locals say that the scenery is especially beautiful in early summer, making it one of Shimoda's most famous hydrangea spots, alongside the Hydrangea Festival in Shimoda Park.

Travelers looking for love can also visit the Aizen Myoodo, a little temple perched on the Nesugata mountainside enshrining a god of lust and desire. This octagonal hall honoring the Buddhist god Aizen-Myoo (AKA Ragaraja) was once located within the Shinto shrine of Kamakura Hachimangu, and was only moved to Shimoda after the Japanese government declared a policy of Buddhist and Shinto separation in the 19th century. Even in its new location, the temple attracts plenty of visitors, thanks in part to the cute crowd of Buddhist statues, and the frog statues that symbolize a century of marital bliss.

Shimoda Ropeway (下田ロープウェイ)
1-3-2 Higashihongo, Shimoda, Shizuoka
 10/16~3/15: 8:45 – 16:45
 3/16~10/15: 8:45 – 17:00
*Ropeway may close temporarily in case of inclement weather. Please check the official homepage before arriving.
Access: 1 min on foot from Izukyu-Shimoda Station
Official Website (en)

Perry Road: A Meeting Point Between East and West, and a Step on the Path of History

Image Source: JR EAST Yokohama Branch Office

The name "Perry Road" might not sound very Japanese, and that's because it's not, but Perry is certainly an important name in Japan's history books. For hundreds of years, Japan maintained an isolationist policy that forbade foreigners entrance to the islands, strictly avoiding trade and diplomacy with the West. But in the mid-19th-century, the US Navy sent Commodore Matthew C. Perry and 300 of his men to Japan in a fleet of "black ships" painted dark with pitch, on a mission to pry open the doors to Japan and start diplomatic relations, whether Japan wanted it or not. The mission ended in success for Commodore Perry, eventually resulting in the Treaty of Shimoda, which allowed US traders access to Shimoda's port, inevitably leading to Japan's arrival on the world stage.

Back in the 1800s, Shimoda's Perry Road was tread by the commodore and his crew as they marched to Ryosenji Temple, and modern-day visitors from abroad can retrace their path along the willow-lined road as it follows the route of the Namerikawa River. Perry Road is still paved with stone cobbles, and old buildings from the Meiji and Taisho eras (late 19th and early 20th centuries) remain standing along the way. Some shops still sell traditional crafts, while others have been reclaimed as coffee shops or specialty boutiques. The traditional atmosphere preserved along Perry Road is a little bit different from what you might find in Tokyo's more retro neighborhoods, with its own mix of Japanese and foreign influences, and it's a great area to explore on foot!

Perry Road (ペリーロード)
Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka
Access: 14 min on foot from Izukyu-Shimoda Station
Official Page (jp)

Tsuchito Shoten Shop & Art Gallery: A Blast From the Past

Located just northeast of Perry Road, Tsuchito Shoten is a little store with a long history, founded all the way back in the Meiji period (1868-1912), and still providing customers with bottles of local sake and other regional specialties. The building is an old warehouse, with a retro logo painted along one outside wall that people love to take pictures in front of as a stop along Perry Road, and across the street there's a warehouse art gallery with free admittance. Visitors can not only take a peek inside an old Japanese warehouse, but also admire and take pictures with a whole collection of old signs, posters, cash registers, toys, and other bits of nostalgia collected by the shop over the years.

Tsuchito Shoten (土藤商店)
6-30 Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka
 Shop: 9:00 – 20:00
 Gallery: 9:00 – 18:00
Access: 12 min on foot from Izukyu-Shimoda Station
Official Website (jp)

Shimoda Snacks: ”Kaikoku” & Sea Salt Dorayaki

Just a quick seven-minute walk from Izukyu-Shimoda Station, Kineido is a local Japanese sweets shop that opened over a century ago in the 7th year of the Taisho period (1918), and is still beloved for its dorayaki. The shop has been in the Tsuchiya family for three generations, and the current owner attributes the shop's success to the great recipes and techniques inherited from his father. One of their most popular treats is their "Kaikoku" Shimoda Dorayaki, which refers to the "opening of Japan," referencing the role Shimoda played in Japan's history. Classic dorayaki are filled with red bean jam, but these Kaikoku Shimoda Dorayaki are made with added mandarin orange (grown locally) and fragrant bits of zest, for a little citrus kick. One of Kineido's other specialties is their dorayaki made with salted butter, which gives the red bean filling an extra layer of salty-sweet complexity.

If you love dorayaki, it can be hard to choose a favorite, so we recommend you try both! If the description of these tempting flavors isn't enough to convince you, then the kindness of the friendly owners (Mr. and Mrs. Tsuchiya) just might!

Kineido (金栄堂)
2-33 Takegahama, Shimoda, Shizuoka
Hours: 9:00 – 18:00 (closed for public holidays)
Access: 7 min on foot from Izukyu-Shimoda Station
Official Page (jp)

Tsumekizaki: A Sea of White Flowers by the Sea

Image Source: Shimoda Tourist Association

The Izu Peninsula has been recognized by UNESCO as an official Global Geopark, and that includes the many unique patches of coastal terrain, and one of the most striking spots is called Tsumekizaki. Located in the southeast corner of Izu, Tsumekizaki's western coast includes a so-called "supernatural" rock formation referred to as the Tawaraiso, a mass of rock columns that look more like human-carved architecture than like a natural formation. But the unusual rocky outcropping isn't the only thing that makes the spot such a popular destination – Tsumekizaki also has an iconic white lighthouse surrounded by a whole swath of narcissus flowers that bloom each winter.

Image Source: Shimoda Tourist Association

Take fun photos on the little path in front of the lighthouse, chosen as one of Japan's "100 Lighthouses to Fall in Love at," and make sure to check the route between the lighthouse and the seashore for more lovey-dovey photo spots along the way!

The seawater off the coast is bright and clear, with different shades of blue created by the shifting sands beneath the surf. On land, the grassy fields along the water provide space for some three million wild narcissuses (AKA daffodils) that bloom in December and January every year, creating a breathtaking landscape unique to Shimoda. Brilliant red aloe vera flowers and towering crimson camellia bushes also grow on both sides of the path at Tsumekizaki, and together with the white narcissuses, they create a sea of red and white each winter – Japanese New Year's colors!

Tsumekizaki (爪木崎)
Suzaki, Shimoda, Shizuoka
Access: from Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take the bus bound for Tsumekizaki from the #10 bus stop (15 min), get off at Tsumikizaki bus stop (the last stop)
Official Page (jp) | Narcissus Festival Official Page (jp)

Shirahama Shrine: White Sandy Beaches & Izu’s Oldest Shrine

Image Source: Izukyu Cable Network Co, Ltd.

The Izu Peninsula is a popular seaside destination for Japanese vacationers, but many travelers tend to flock to the beaches of Atami, on Izu's northern edge. What locals usually keep to themselves, however, is that there are quite a few beautiful beaches hidden along the southern end of the peninsula, too! One of those is Shirahama, literally "white beach," where Izu residents come every summer to enjoy the pristine sand and the clear seawater. But Shirahama isn't just a great place to play in the surf – it's also home to Izu's oldest shrine, commonly called Shirahama Shrine.

Officially named "Ikonahime no Mikoto Shrine," this shrine is said to have a history that stretches back some 2,400 years, and it has long been a destination for those seeking happiness in marriage. Couples arrive from all over Japan to pray for marital bliss, and some even hold their wedding at the shrine, including popular '70s singer Hideki Saijo. In more recent years, now that taking pretty pictures to post on social media has become a part of everyday life, the shrine's striking torii gate on the rocky coast has become a popular spot for photos as well.

Shirahama Shrine (白浜神社)
2740 Shirahama, Shimoda, Shizuoka
Access: from Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take the bus bound for Itado Ichiki (11 min), get off at Shirahama-jinja bus stop

Shimoda Snacks: Hot Spring Melon Monaka & More

If you're the kind of traveler who loves taking fun snapshots to share with your friends, then you won't want to miss these Shimoda "onsen melon" sweets from Ougiya. These little treats are made using sweet green melons grown locally using the gentle steam of Izu hot springs, with melon filling stuffed inside a cute melon-shaped Japanese "monaka" wafer shell. They make a crunchy version too, with an extra crispy shell!

Ougiya Confectionery runs a cafe and dessert shop where they not only sell their popular melon monaka, but also a variety of melon cakes and pastries only available in-store, like melon tarts, cream cakes, soda floats, and more. The cute pale green color of the melon makes everything look as good as it tastes!

Since these melons are cultivated using the help of the local onsen, they're grown all year round, which means that Ougiya can offer their fresh melon desserts throughout the seasons. The shop is a bit of a hike from Izukyu-Shimoda Station, but the trip can easily be made by bus in a little over 20 minutes. Fans of Japanese melons, or anyone with a serious sweet tooth, will find it a journey worth making.

Ougiya Confectionery (扇屋製菓)
168-1 Shimogamo, Minamiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (closed Wednesdays)
Access: from Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take the bus bound for Shimogamo from bus stop #3 (23 min), get off at Hizume bus stop (2 min on foot)
Official Website (jp)

Onsen Accommodations Recommendation: 5-Star Resort Toki Ichiyu

Since Izu is so well known in Japan for its hot springs, it would be a shame not to enjoy the luxuries of an onsen ryokan while visiting, and the 5-star Toki Ichiyu can be found right next to Minami-Izu's popular Yumigahama Beach. The traditional Japanese wood-frame building is bright and airy, with tatami-floored rooms looking out onto views of the sea filtered through a green pine forest.

Image Source: Toki Ichiyu

As a hot spring hotel, Toki Ichiyu has large shared onsen baths along with a handful of private baths available for rental, and even a number of rooms with exclusive hot spring baths attached. The nice thing about the private baths at Toki Ichiyu is that they don't require any advance reservations or additional fees – guests are free to use whichever baths are open at the time.

Another ryokan treat is the food, which features seasonal recipes made with fresh local Izu seafood and vegetables. At Toki Ichiyu, the traditional kaiseki dinners include delicacies like kinmedai, grilled abalone, and seafood hotpot. In the morning, breakfast means another round of local kinmedai inside of grilled Japanese rice balls, plus spicy mentaiko pollock roe, and seared tuna.

Toki Ichiyu (季一遊)
902-1 Minato, Minamiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka
Check-in/Check-out: 15:00~ / ~11:00
Access: from Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take a taxi (15 min), or reserve a hotel shuttle bus (20 min)
Official Website (jp)

Special: A Stopover in Izu’s Inatori

After exploring Shimoda on foot, head back to the train station and hop back on to get to Izu-Inatori, located just a stop away from Kawazu (famous for its early-blooming cherry blossoms). Join us in Inatori to eat more luxurious kinmedai, savor the sweetness of some surprisingly creative kakigori shaved ice, and feast your eyes on traditional Japanese crafts.

Tokuzomaru Fresh-Caught Seafood: Indulge in Kinmedai to Your Heart’s Content

As is clear from all the kinmedai (golden eye snapper) used in local cooking, this fish is a local specialty in Izu, and the Inatori area is especially famous for its delicious kinmedai cuisine. If you want to taste the fish at its best, you can't go wrong with Inatori. Right in front of the Inatori Fishing Harbor you'll find Tokuzomaru, a seafood restaurant that uses fresh-caught fish to prepare meals just the way the local fishermen like it. Options range from simple seafood rice bowls to more decadent multi-course kaiseki meals, and even kinmedai hitsumabushi, prepared Nagoya-style.

For foodies who want to thoroughly immerse themselves in the delicious umami of kinmedai, we recommend the Kinmedai Zukushi Set, which includes kinmedai grilled with soy sauce, served raw as sashimi, sliced thin for shabu-shabu hotpot, and cooked in miso soup, all in one meal. The set also comes with gardenia rice, an eastern Izu specialty! Before heading out, you can check out the souvenirs on the restaurant's first floor, too.

Tokuzomaru Inatori Fishing Harbor Shop (網元料理徳造丸 伊豆稲取漁港本店)
798 Inatori, Higashiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka
 Weekdays: 9:30 – 16:45 (last order 16:00)
 Weekends, Holidays, & Busy Season: 9:30 – 15:45 (last order 15:00) / 17:00 – 20:15 (last order 19:30)
Access: 10 min on foot from Izu-Inatori Station
Official Website (en)

Culture Park Hina-no-Yakata & Kinu-no-Kai: Traditional Crafts and Hina Matsuri Traditions

Not far from the fishing harbor, the Inatori Culture Park offers a look at a different kind of Inatori culture, with displays focused on the traditions surrounding Japan's Hina Matsuri, AKA Girl's Day. This Japanese holiday is for young girls, and celebrations often include displays of sumptuous dolls dressed in the opulent attire of ancient Japanese court dress. At Inatori's Hina-no-Yakata, they not only have exquisitely crafted dolls on display, but also hanging ornaments used for the festival. While wealthy families of the past could afford to buy the ornate Hina dolls, ordinary families have long relied on handmade hanging ornaments instead, similarly using them to represent well-wishes and hopes of health and happiness for the family's young women. Hanging Hina ornaments of this kind can now be seen in many parts of Japan, but Inatori is one of their earliest points of origin!

Inatori has strong cultural traditions surrounding Hina Matsuri, and that includes their "sky scraper Hina dolls," which are set on tall steps for a striking display that goes viral on the internet every year. Inatori's Hina-no-Yakata isn't always open all year round, so you'll want to check the official website before visiting, but if the timing is right during your next trip to Inatori, this spot is a must-see!

Culture Park Hina-no-Yakata (文化公演 雛の館)
1729 Inatori, Higashiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka
Hours: 9:00 – 16:00 (final entrance 15:40)
Access: 15 min on foot from Izu-Inatori Station
Official Website (jp)

After admiring all the cute ornaments on display at Inatori Culture Park, you can actually try making one yourself! Not far from the Hina-no-Yakata, the Kinu-no-Kai Workshop offers handicraft workshops led by "local moms," who help you hand sew your own hanging decorations. Workshops are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and price/time requirements depend on which ornaments you want to make. On this trip to Izu, we tried making Chinese lantern berry ornaments (beginner level), which are said to be a symbol of good health. Although the local moms who teach the workshops mostly speak Japanese, they also provide illustrated instructions for each ornament, so it's not hard to understand the process. Make a reservation on the Kinu-no-Kai website to try the workshop yourself!

Kinu-no-Kai (絹の会)
429 Inatori, Higashiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka
Hours: 9:30 – 18:00 (closed Tuesdays)
Official Website (jp)

Kitchen Zen Food & Kakigori: Seasonal Shaved Ice to Match the Scenery

Kitchen Zen is one of Inatori's most popular seaside cafes, and while their lunch sets always draw a crowd at midday, the shop is best known for its kakigori shaved ice made with seasonal Izu ingredients. For autumn, the shop was offering "Izu Chestnut Mont Blanc Kakigori," which screams autumn with just its bold appearance alone. Take a taste, and this shaved ice might just subvert all your expectations, with the sweet scent of chestnut mixing into the mellow flavor of black tea ice, and little pops of hazelnut and berry flavor. The owner, previously a chef at a restaurant specializing in Japanese cuisine, uses expertise with seasonal ingredients to create innovative shaved ice options bursting with flavor, all throughout the year. The cozy shop with its fantastic ocean views should be added to any foodie's itinerary.

Kitchen Zen: お食事&かき氷キッチンZEN)
3-13 Inatori, Higashiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka
Hours: 11:30 – 14:30 (last order 14:00) / 18:00 – 21:30 (last order 21:00) (closed Wednesdays & Thursdays)
Access: 10 min on foot, north along the shore, from Izu-Inatori Station
Official Instagram

Transportation Advice

While we recommend taking the JR limited express Saphir Odoriko from Tokyo to save time and maximize comfort on your way to Shimoda, for a great deal on travel costs, the best method is to use the JR TOKYO Wide Pass from the JR EAST Group, made specifically for foreign travelers in Japan. The JR TOKYO Wide Pass is available for 15,000 yen per adult, and offers unlimited rides on designated Tokyo area train lines for three whole days, including shinkansen and limited express trains from JR EAST and other railways. You can use it to explore Izu using the Izukyu Line, too! (The limited express sightseeing train Saphir Odoriko requires an additional seat fee.) And since the JR TOKYO Wide Pass can also be used to travel from Izu to areas like Karuizawa, Kawaguchiko, and GALA Yuzawa, you can plan a train trip to some of Japan's most popular spots for a great price.

Plus, it's easier than ever to buy a JR TOKYO Wide Pass, now that you can scan your passport and buy the pass directly from a ticket machine without needing to go to a ticket window. You can also make reservations online, while you're in Japan or before you even arrive, to book seats for Rail Pass trips or the limited express Saphir Odoriko using the JR-East Train Reservation page.

The passes aren't just available at ticket machines, though. Visit the Japan Rail Cafe at Tokyo Station for tickets and advice on your trip from multilingual staff, plus a full cafe menu. It's a great place to pass the time while you wait for your train!

Image Source: JR EAST Yokohama Branch Office

The great deals don't just stop at the train tickets themselves, either. JR EAST is currently offering a special promotion for foreign tourists called "&EKINAKA," which means that customers using a JR TOKYO Wide Pass, JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area), or JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) also get discounts at a variety of shops in and around train stations. For example, travelers visiting Izukyu-Shimoda Station can shop for souvenirs at Zushu Yamakichi and show their JR EAST pass at checkout for a special discount.

All Aboard for a Tour of Shimoda, Izu

Image Source: JR EAST Yokohama Branch Office

A limited express trip from Tokyo to Izu's city of Shimoda might be just the right distance for railway lovers, aboard a normal JR limited express train or the stylishly luxurious Saphir Odoriko, with the two-and-a-half hour journey providing just enough time to enjoy the scenic views of Japan's countryside, and maybe a bite to eat. After settling into your trip on the train, just keep the momentum going in southern Izu with views of Shimoda's cozy harbor, glimpses of pink cherry blossoms or golden canola flowers, and delicious morsels both sweet and savory in Inatori, to make the most of your time in Izu!




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일본과자 선물 뭐하지?~자가피리카 편~
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Which snacks make the best Japanese souvenirs?~ Jaga Pirika ~ 일본과자 선물 뭐하지?~자가피리카 편~ #pr #calbee #jagapokkuru #japanesesnacks #japanesefood #japanesesouvenir #japantravel #japantrip #naritaairport #hokkaido #나리타국제공항 #일본여행선물 #흔하지않은기념품 #일본쇼핑리스트 #일본과자추천 #고구마과자 #일본간식추천 #일본면세점쇼핑 #개별포장 #일본감자칩 #도쿄나리타공항면세점 #현지인추천 #일본여행 #일본기념품리스트 #자가포쿠루 #자가피리카

Niki Golf offers a huge selection of new and used golf gear in Ueno, Tokyo. Between the weak yen and the shop's willingness to haggle, there's never been a better time for beginners or seasoned experts to pick up some clubs, golf wear, or limited-edition Japanese golf equipment!
#ueno #nikigolf #golfshopping #golfgear #🏌️ #golflife #golf #golftips #golfjapan #jpangolf #golfclub #honma #ameyoko #二木ゴルフ #二木ゴルフアメ横本店 #nikigolfameyoko #tokyo #tokyotrip #tokyoshopping #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta #japankuru #pr

Niki Golf offers a huge selection of new and used golf gear in Ueno, Tokyo. Between the weak yen and the shop's willingness to haggle, there's never been a better time for beginners or seasoned experts to pick up some clubs, golf wear, or limited-edition Japanese golf equipment! #ueno #nikigolf #golfshopping #golfgear #🏌️ #golflife #golf #golftips #golfjapan #jpangolf #golfclub #honma #ameyoko #二木ゴルフ #二木ゴルフアメ横本店 #nikigolfameyoko #tokyo #tokyotrip #tokyoshopping #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta #japankuru #pr

Odaiba's DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is home to the famous real-size 20m-tall Unicorn Gundam, and the popular shopping center has even more Gundam on the inside! Check out the Gundam Base Tokyo on the 7th floor for shelves upon shelves of Gunpla, and the Gundam Base Tokyo Annex on the 2nd floor for cool anime merchandise. Both shops have tons of limited-edition items!
#pr #odaiba #tokyo #tokyotrip #japantrip #japantravel #PR #divercity #divercitytokyoplaza #tokyoshopping #gundam #unicorngundam #gundambasetokyo #anime #otaku #gunpla #japankuru #오다이바 #다이바시티도쿄 #오다이바건담 #건담 #일본건담 #건프라 #건담베이스도쿄

Odaiba's DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is home to the famous real-size 20m-tall Unicorn Gundam, and the popular shopping center has even more Gundam on the inside! Check out the Gundam Base Tokyo on the 7th floor for shelves upon shelves of Gunpla, and the Gundam Base Tokyo Annex on the 2nd floor for cool anime merchandise. Both shops have tons of limited-edition items! #pr #odaiba #tokyo #tokyotrip #japantrip #japantravel #PR #divercity #divercitytokyoplaza #tokyoshopping #gundam #unicorngundam #gundambasetokyo #anime #otaku #gunpla #japankuru #오다이바 #다이바시티도쿄 #오다이바건담 #건담 #일본건담 #건프라 #건담베이스도쿄





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      Hokkaido (北海道) is the northernmost of the four main islands that make up Japan. The area is famous for Sapporo Beer, plus brewing and distilling in general, along with fantastic snow festivals and breathtaking national parks. Foodies should look for Hokkaido's famous potatoes, cantaloupe, dairy products, soup curry, and miso ramen!

    • Niki, in south-west Hokkaido, is about 30 minutes from Otaru. The small town is rich with natural resources, fresh water, and clean air, making it a thriving center for fruit farms. Cherries, tomatoes, and grapes are all cultivated in the area, and thanks to a growing local wine industry, it's quickly becoming a food and wine hotspot. Together with the neighboring town of Yoichi, it's a noted area for wine tourism.

    • Niseko is about two hours from New Chitose Airport, in the western part of Hokkaido. It's one of Japan's most noted winter resort areas, and a frequent destination for international visitors. That's all because of the super high-quality powder snow, which wins the hearts of beginners and experts alike, bringing them back for repeat visits. That's not all, though, it's also a great place to enjoy Hokkaido's culinary scene and some beautiful onsen (hot springs).

    • Otaru is in western Hokkaido, about 30 minutes from Sapporo Station. The city thrived around its busy harbor in the 19th and 20th centuries thanks to active trade and fishing, and the buildings remaining from that period are still popular attractions, centered around Otaru Canal. With its history as a center of fishing, it's no surprise that the area's fresh sushi is a must-try. Otaru has over 100 sushi shops, quite a few of which are lined up on Sushiya Dori (Sushi Street).


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      Sapporo, in the south-western part of Hokkaido, is the prefecture's political and economic capital. The local New Chitose Airport see arrivals from major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, alongside international flights. Every February, the Sapporo Snow Festival is held in Odori Park―one of the biggest events in Hokkaido. It's also a hotspot for great food, known as a culinary treasure chest, and Sapporo is a destination for ramen, grilled mutton, soup curry, and of course Hokkaido's beloved seafood.

    • Consisting of six prefectures, the Tohoku Region (東北地方) is up in the northeastern part of Japan's main island. It's the source of plenty of the nation's agriculture (which means great food), and packed with beautiful scenery. Explore the region's stunning mountains, lakes, and hot springs!

    • Akita Prefecture is on the Sea of Japan, in the northern reaches of Japan's northern Tohoku region. Akita has more officially registered important intangible culture assets than anywhere else in Japan, and to this day visitors can experience traditional culture throughout the prefecture, from the Oga Peninsula's Namahage (registered with UNESCO as a part of Japan's intangible cultural heritage), to the Tohoku top 3 Kanto Festival. Mysterious little spots like the Oyu Stone Circle Site and Ryu no Atama (Dragon's Head) are also worth a visit!


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      Fukushima Prefecture sits at the southern tip of Japan's northern Tohoku region, and is divided into three parts with their own different charms: the Coastal Area (Hama-dori), the Central Area (Naka-dori), and the Aizu Area. There's Aizu-Wakamatsu with its Edo-era history and medieval castles, Oze National Park, Kitakata ramen, and Bandai Ski Resort (with its famous powder snow). Fukushima is a beautiful place to enjoy the vivid colors and sightseeing of Japan's beloved four seasons.


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      Yamagata Prefecture is up against the Sea of Japan, in the southern part of the Tohoku region, and it's especially popular in winter, when travelers soak in the onsen (hot springs) and ski down snowy slopes. International skiiers are especially fond of Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Gassan Ski Resort, and in recent years visitors have been drawn to the area to see the mystical sight of local frost-covered trees. Some destinations are popular regardless of the season, like Risshakuji Temple, AKA Yamadera, Ginzan Onsen's nostalgic old-fashioned streets, and Zao's Okama Lake, all great for taking pictures. Yamagata is also the place to try Yonezawa beef, one of the top 3 varieties of wagyu beef.

    • Japan's most densely populated area, the Kanto Region (関東地方) includes 7 prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa, which means it also contains the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. In modern-day Japan, Kanto is the cultural, political, and economic heartland of the country, and each prefecture offers something a little different from its neighbors.

    • Gunma Prefecture is easily accessible from Tokyo, and in addition to the area's popular natural attractions like Oze Marshland and Fukiware Falls, Gunma also has a number of popular hot springs (Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, Shima)―it's even called an Onsen Kingdom. The prefecture is popular with history buffs and train lovers, thanks to spots like world heritage site Tomioka Silk Mill, the historic Megane-bashi Bridge, and the Watarase Keikoku Sightseeing Railway.


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      Tochigi Prefecture's capital is Utsunomiya, known for famous gyoza, and just an hour from Tokyo. The prefecture is full of nature-related sightseeing opportunities year-round, from the blooming of spring flowers to color fall foliage. Tochigi also has plenty of extremely well-known sightseeing destinations, like World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji, and Ashikaga Flower Park―famous for expansive wisteria trellises. In recent years the mountain resort town of Nasu has also become a popular excursion, thanks in part to the local imperial villa. Tochigi is a beautiful place to enjoy the world around you.

    • Tokyo (東京) is Japan's busy capital, and the most populous metropolitan area in the world. While the city as a whole is quite modern, crowded with skyscrapers and bustling crowds, Tokyo also holds onto its traditional side in places like the Imperial Palace and Asakusa neighborhood. It's one of the world's top cities when it comes to culture, the arts, fashion, games, high-tech industries, transportation, and more.

    • The Chubu Region (中部地方) is located right in the center of Japan's main island, and consists of 9 prefectures: Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi. It's primarily famous for its mountains, as the region contains both Mt. Fuji and the Japanese Alps. The ski resorts in Niigata and Nagano also draw visitors from around the world, making it a popular winter destination.

    • Nagano Prefecture's popularity starts with a wealth of historic treasures, like Matsumoto Castle, Zenkoji Temple, and Togakushi Shrine, but the highlight might just be the prefecture's natural vistas surrounded by the "Japanese Alps." Nagano's fruit is famous, and there are plenty of places to pick it fresh, and the area is full of hot springs, including Jigokudani Monkey Park―where monkeys take baths as well! Thanks to the construction of the Hokuriku shinkansen line, Nagano is easily reachable from the Tokyo area, adding it to plenty of travel itineraries. And after the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, ski resorts like Hakuba and Shiga Kogen are known around the world.

    • Aichi Prefecture sits in the center of the Japanese islands, and its capital city, Nagoya, is a center of politics, commerce, and culture. While Aichi is home to major industry, and is even the birthplace of Toyota cars, it's proximity to the sea and the mountains means it's also a place with beautiful natural scenery, like Saku Island, Koijigahama Beach, Mt. Horaiji. Often used a stage for major battles in Japanese history, Sengoku era commanders like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu left their own footprints on Aichi, and historic buildings like Nagoya Castle, Inuyama Castle, and those in Meiji Mura are still around to tell the tale.


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      Niigata is a prefecture on Japan's main island of Honshu, situated right on the coast of the Sea of Japan, and abundant with the gifts of nature. It's known for popular ski resorts such as Echigo-Yuzawa, Japanese national parks, and natural hot spring baths, plus local products like fresh seafood, rice, and sake. Visitors often spend time in the prefectural capital, Niigata City, or venture across the water to Sado Island.


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      Shizuoka Prefecture is sandwiched between eastern and western Japan, giving the prefecture easy access to both Tokyo and Osaka. Not only is it known for beautiful natural attractions, with everything from Mount Fuji to Suruga Bay, Lake Hamanako, and Sumata Pass―Shizuoka's Izu Peninsula is known as a go-to spot for hot springs lovers, with famous onsen like Atami, Ito, Shimoda, Shuzenji, and Dogashima. Shizuoka attracts all kinds of travelers thanks to historic connections with the Tokugawa clan, the Oigawa Railway, fresh eel cuisine, Hamamatsu gyoza, and famously high-quality green tea.

    • Kansai (関西) is a region that includes Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Shiga Prefectures. Kansai contained Japan's ancient capital for hundreds of years, and it's making a comeback as one of the most popular parts of Japan. Kyoto's temples and shrines, Osaka Castle, and the deer of Nara are all considered must-sees. Plus, the people of Kansai are especially friendly, making it a fun place to hang out.

    • Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan between the years 794 and 1100, becoming a center for poilitics and culture, and to this day it's a great place for close encounters with Japanese history. The cobbled streets of Gion, the atmospheric road to Kiyomizudera Temple, Kinkakuji's golden walls and countless historic attractions, even Arashiyama's Togetsukyo Bridge―Kyoto is a place of many attractions. With new charms to experience throughout the seasons, travelers can't stop themselves from returning again and again.

    • Nara Prefecture's important history reaches back to 710, a time now called the Nara era, when it was once capital of Japan. Called "Heijo-kyo" during its time as a capital, it's said that nara was once the end of the silk road, leading it to flourish as a uniquely international region and produce important cultural properties of all kinds. To make the most of each season, travelers head to Nara Park, where the Nara deer who wander freely, or climb Mount Yoshino, a famous cherry blossom spot.

    • Osaka is known for friendly (and funny) people, but its history is nothing to laugh at, playing a major part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 16th century unification of Japan. Thanks to long years of economic activity, it's one of Japan's biggest cities, and Osaka's popular food culture earned it the nickname "The Kitchen of the Nation." To this day Osaka is the model of western Japan, and alongside historic structures like Osaka Castle, it also has major shopping malls like Umeda's Grand Front Osaka and Tennoji's Abeno Harukas. Osaka is a place to eat, eat, eat, with local specialties like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushi-katsu, and for extra fun, it's home to Universal Studios Japan.


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      The Chugoku Region (中国地方) consists of five prefectures: Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. In Chugoku you’ll find the sand dunes of Tottori, and Hiroshima’s atomic bomb site, plus centers of ancient history like Grand Shrine of Izumo.


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      Hiroshima Prefecture has everything, from world heritage sites to beautiful nature and delicious local cuisine, and it's either an hour and a half from Tokyo by plane, or four hours by train. Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island and the Atomic Bomb Dome, two Hiroshima UNESCO sites, are famous around the world, but in Japan it's also famous for food. Seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, especially oysters, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and Setouchi lemons are all popular, and the natural scenery alone is worth seeing.


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      On the other side of the Seto Inland Sea opposite Japan’s main island, Shikoku (四国) is a region made up of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima. The area is famous for its udon (in Kagawa), and the beautiful Dogo Onsen hot springs (in Ehime).

    • Kagawa Prefecture is on the northern part of the island of Shikoku, facing Japan's main island and the Seto Inland Sea. It's known for being the smallest prefecture in Japan, by area, but at the same time Kagawa is called the "Udon Prefecture" thanks to its famous sanuki udon. Aside from Kotohiragu Shrine and Ritsurin Garden, the prefecture's small islands are popular, and Kagawa is full of unique destinations, like Angel Road. They say that if you lay eyes on Zenigata Sunae, a huge Kagawa sand painting, you'll never have money troubles ever again.

    • Located in the most southwestern part of Japan, Kyushu (九州) is an island of 7 prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. The island's unique culture has been influenced by Chinese and Dutch trade, along with missionaries coming in through Nagasaki's port. Modern-day travelers love the lush natural scenery and fresh food, plus the natural hot springs found all throughout the area (thanks to volcanic activity)!


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      Fukuoka Prefecture has the highest population on the southern island of Kyushu, with two major cities: Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. Thanks to growing transportation networks, Fukuoka is more accessible than ever, and so are the many local attractions. On top of historical spots like Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, travelers shouldn't miss Fukuoka's food scene, with motsu nabe (offal hotpot), mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and famous Hakata ramen―best eaten from a food stall in the Nakasu area of Hakata. Plus, it's full of all sorts of destinations for travelers, like trendy shopping centers, and the beautiful nature of Itoshima and Yanagawa.


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      Kagoshima Prefecture played a major role in Japan's modernization as a backdrop for famous historical figures like samurais Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi, who pushed Japan out of the Edo era and into the Meiji. Because of that, Sengan-en Garden is just one of many historical destinations, and when it comes to attractions Kagoshima has plenty: the active volcano of Sakurajima, popular hot springs Ibusuki Onsen and Kirishima Onsen, World Heritage Site Yakushima Island, even what Japan calls the "island closest to heaven," Amami Oshima. Kagoshima might be found on the very southernmost tip of the southern island of Kyushu, but there's plenty to see.


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      The island chain of Okinawa (沖縄) makes up the southernmost tip of Japan, which is why it's also the most tropical area in the country. Thanks to a history of independence and totally distinct political and cultural events, Okinawa has a unique culture, and remnants of the Ryukyu Kingdom are still visible all over the islands. Food, language, traditional dress, it's all a little different! It's also said to be the birthplace of karate.