Most people know of places like Kyoto, Tokyo and Hiroshima but the "new place" to visit in Japan is Kanazawa. Tokyo and Kanazawa are directly connected by train and you can ride the new JR Hokuriku Bullet train to get to this great destination. The one-way ride takes 2.5 to 3 hours and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass - the best way to explore Japan.
Along with the famous Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan's "three best landscape gardens", Kanazawa also has well-preserved Edo-era districts where you can visit a samurai house, art museums and regional handicrafts. When in Kanazawa a visit to the Omicho market is also recommended. Operating for more than 290 years it specializes in the excellent seafood and local produce.
Kanazawa is also an ideal base to do a day trip to Shirakawa-go; one of Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These historic mountain villages are famous for their Gassho-style thatched farm houses and it is nice to leave the cities behind and spend some time in this beautiful countryside.
Kanazawa is a great addition to any Japan holiday and combines easily with other parts of this fascinating island nation.
Fancy coffee with a hedgehog?
Japan is famous for its quirky activities. When in Tokyo how about a visit to a Hedgehog Café where you get to cuddle these adorable creatures? Located in Roppongi and easy to access by Tokyo's very efficient underground these cafés give you the opportunity to get up close and personal with a hedgehog or two!
Hedgehog hire can be organised for 30 minutes or an hour (subject to availability), and advance bookings recommended. They also have a Rabbit Café and an Owl Café, so next time you are in Tokyo check these out like Kymberly from our office did recently!
Try a temple stay next time you are in Japan
Koya-san is one of Japans most sacred sites located on a mountain-top outside of Osaka. It is the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism, a faith with a wide following throughout Japan. This Buddhist statuary welcomes visitors to this serene and hallowed place. Surrounded by a thick forest of massive cedars it is also the setting for a vast cemetery.
Many of the temples in this region offer guests the opportunity to stay in the grounds of their temples (Shukubo stays), in cosy tatami rooms on futons, to eat beautifully prepared vegetarian food and explore the area of temples, rock gardens, historic pagodas and graveyards located within walking distance from your accommodation. Temple guests have the opportunity to join the monks for dawn prayers.
Travel and Cruise professionals can assist you with bookings for this unique accommodation and Kymberly from our office has recently experienced this during her 13th visit to Japan. If you are wanting to know more about these hidden and usual places to experience in Japan, speak to our office.