The Jigokudani Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen Kōen) offers visitors the unique experience of seeing wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring. The park is inhabited by Japanese Macaques, which are also known as Snow Monkeys. Visitors will likely already encounter monkeys along the path to the pool. The monkeys live in large social groups, and it can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, the monkeys can be observed from very close and almost completely ignore their human guests.
An impressive 55m waterfall framed by a steep basalt wall on each side, where thundering water crashes onto the large boulders below. The most popular season is spring when the snowmelt from the mountain flows down and causes the volume of water to increase dramatically, but we would also invite you to take a look in the fall season when the leaves have changed colours. There is a pedestrian deck overlooking waterfall, and it is about 15 minutes on foot from the nearest parking area. Come and feel the power at the basin of the waterfalls from the observation area.
One of the Three Great Gorges of Japan. Gigantic stone cliffs straddle a river, forming a large, V-shaped gorge. The grand rock surface and strong current of the river in combination are both dynamic and beautiful. The facilities were renovated in the spring of 2018. A two-story building with a cafe on the first floor and foot bath on the second floor is now in operation right next to the tunnel entrance.
Fukushimagata Wetlands is a vast nature reserve stretching over 193 hectares. It is home to a number of endangered species of animals and plants and is listed on Japan’s 100 greatest natural environments. The park is a paradise for bird and plant lovers.
In spring, the carpet of rapeseed flowers is impressive. Indulge yourself in the vivid yellow colour and scent of the flowers while listening to birds singing. In summer, giant pink lotus flowers are in bloom. The rarely seen Euryale ferox, a massive lotus with two-metre leaves and thorns, can be found here. In winter, the snowy scene of the wetlands with migratory swans is a favourite.
Along with flocks of swans, the greatest concentration of Eastern Taiga Bean geese, a recognised national natural treasure, resides here. Fukushimagata Wetlands is also designated as a wildlife sanctuary for the Japanese white crucian carp.
Koishikawa Korakuen (小石川後楽園, Koishikawa Kōrakuen) is one of Tokyo's oldest and best Japanese gardens. It was built in the early Edo Period (1600-1867) at the Tokyo residence of the Mito branch of the ruling Tokugawa family. Like its namesake in Okayama, the garden was named Korakuen after a poem encouraging a ruler to enjoy pleasure only after achieving happiness for his people. Koishikawa is the district in which the garden is located in.
The current Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo) is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo Station. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family.
Edo Castle used to be the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. In 1868, the shogunate was overthrown, and the country's capital and Imperial Residence were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. In 1888 construction of a new Imperial Palace was completed. The palace was once destroyed during World War Two, and rebuilt in the same style, afterwards.
From Kokyo Gaien, the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace, visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The stone bridge in front is called Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge) for its looks. The bridge in the back was formerly a wooden bridge with two levels, from which the name Nijubashi (Double Bridge) is derived.
Hama Rikyu (浜離宮, Hama Rikyū), is a large, attractive landscape garden in central Tokyo. Located alongside Tokyo Bay, Hama Rikyu features seawater ponds which change level with the tides, and a teahouse on an island where visitors can rest and enjoy the scenery. The traditionally styled garden stands in stark contrast to the skyscrapers of the adjacent Shiodome district.
The garden has served many purposes over the centuries. It was originally built as a feudal lord's Tokyo residence and duck hunting grounds during the Edo Period (1603-1867), but later served as a strolling garden and as an imperial detached palace before eventually being opened to the public in its current form. Vestiges of these old roles are still visible throughout the garden including several reconstructed duck hunting blinds, and the remains of an old moat and reconstructed rock wall.
Hama Rikyu is attractive in any season. Although not as famous for its fall foliage as some of the other gardens around Tokyo, it offers plenty of maple, ginkgo and other trees that show their beautiful autumn colors between late November and early December.
Tsukishima (月島, lit. moon island) is a man made island in Tokyo Bay, just across the channel from Tsukiji fish market. It was created over 100 years ago using earth that was dredged from the bay during the construction of a shipping channel.
In the last few decades, areas of the island were redeveloped into residential high-rise complexes; however, you can still find remnants of the atmosphere of old Tokyo if you poke around the back alleys and lanes, especially around Sumiyoshi Shrine.
The Chiba Zoological Park, first opened in April 1985, is located about halfway between Tokyo and Narita, just outside of the city of Chiba.
The zoo is divided into seven sections: the Zoological Hall, the Small Animal Zone, the Steppe Zone, the Monkey Zone, the Avian and Aquatic Zone, the Ancestors of Domestic Animals Zone, and the Children’s Zoo. The Small Animal Zone houses Futa, the red panda who in 2005 became a television celebrity because of his ability to stand on his hind legs. His son, Kuta, now has the same ability, so you have twice the chance to see the spectacle when you stop by! The park map has pictures of the animals (at their locations), so there is no need to worry if you cannot get ahold of an English map.
If you can, it is extra special to visit the zoo between mid-March and mid-April, when the many cherry blossom trees onsite are in full bloom!
Korankei (香嵐渓, Kōrankei) is a valley near Nagoya reputed to be one of the best spots for autumn colours in the Chubu Region. Shaping the valley is the 254 meters tall Mount Iimori, on which Kojakuji Temple stands. In the 17th century, the head priest of Kojakuji planted some maple trees along with the temple approach, prompting many locals to do the same in the area. Today, visitors to Korankei can see the fruits of these past efforts, in the form of excellent autumn scenery that peaks around mid to late November each year.
The best colours tend to appear around the paths along Tomoe River at the western and southern sides of Mount Iimori. Visitors can enjoy lovely sights of maple tree tunnels and autumn colours in combination with views of the river and the few bridges across it. The vermillion Taigetsukyo Bridge is the symbol of Korankei and a great picture-taking spot.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll in a traditional Japanese garden. In the centre of the garden is a pond that replicates the Kiso River, originating from the Kiso-Ontakesan flowing into the large sea of Ise Bay. A Japanese tea ceremony house Seiutei is available in the garden to try green tea with Japanese confectionery.
Nagashima Resort is a major vacation destination just outside Nagoya. It is comprised of five main leisure facilities: the Nagashima Spaland amusement park, a water park, a hot spring complex, an outlet shopping mall and a flower park named Nabana no Sato. The resort is located on a long piece of land that is surrounded by rivers and the sea; fittingly, it is called Nagashima or "long island".
Nagashima Spaland, reputed to be the best amusement park for roller coasters in western Japan, is the main attraction of the resort. The park is filled with over forty rides, ranging from gentle ones suitable for children to outrageous ones for those looking to spend some exhilarating moments. Immediately noticeable even before entering the main gate is the Steel Dragon 2000, a gigantic roller coaster ride which spans the entire length of the park.
Maruyama Park (円山公園, Maruyama Kōen) is a public park next to Yasaka Shrine in the Higashiyama District. In the first half of April, when the cherry trees are in full bloom, the park becomes Kyoto's most popular and most crowded spot for cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami). The centerpiece of the park is a tall shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree), which gets lit up in the night.
Maruyama Park can be reached by bus from Kyoto Station in about 20 minutes. Take number 100 or 206 and get off at Gion bus stop. The park is just behind Yasaka Shrine. Alternatively, the park can be reached in a 15+ minute walk from Kiyomizudera through the narrow lanes of the Higashiyama District.
Nijo Castle (二条城, Nijōjō) was built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). His grandson Iemitsu completed the castle's palace buildings 23 years later and further expanded the castle by adding a five story castle keep.
Nijo Castle can be divided into three areas: the Honmaru (main circle of defense), the Ninomaru (secondary circle of defense) and some gardens that encircle the Honmaru and Ninomaru. The entire castle grounds and the Honmaru are surrounded by stone walls and moats.
Visitors to Nijo Castle enter the castle grounds through a large gate in the east. English audio guides are available for rent at a kiosk just inside the gate. Venturing further into the castle will bring you to the Chinese style Karamon Gate, the entrance to the Ninomaru (secondary circle of defense), where the castle's main attraction, the Ninomaru Palace is located.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world.
If you’ve been planning a trip to Kyoto, you’ve probably seen pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – along with the torii tunnels of Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple, it’s one of the most photographed sights in the city. But no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove – the whole thing has a palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest we know of.
The best way to explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is by following our Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Walking Tour, which outlines the best route to follow.
Minoo Park (箕面公園, Minō Kōen, also spelt Mino or Minoh) is a forested valley on the outskirts of Osaka, just north of the urban sprawl. During the fall, it is one of the best places in the Kansai Region to see the autumn colours in a natural setting, as opposed to the attractive fall foliage found at temples and gardens. The colours are usually best in the second half of November.
Similar to Tokyo's Mount Takao, Minoo Park is the closest spot to the busy metropolis of Osaka to find a spacious natural recreation area. The park can be reached in less than 30 minutes from the downtown Umeda area. Another similarity, Takao and Minoo were both given quasi-national park status in 1967 to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Meiji Period (1867-1912).
Kakuzan Park is on the ruins of an ancient castle, Tsuyama Castle, which was built about 400 years ago. The castle’s approximately 10 m tall stone wall remains today, greeting visitors with a majestic view of overlapping stones even from a distance. The ruin has been selected as one of Japan’s top 100 castles and has earned a spot as one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom sites. The Tsuyama Cherry Blossom Festival held every year in early to mid April gives visitors the chance to experience the park’s 1,000 or so cherry trees. After sunset, looking down from atop the stone wall at the cherry trees illuminated below, visitors will be treated to an unimaginably beautiful view.
This quintessential Japanese garden was created roughly 300 years ago by the area’s daimyo (domain lord). A symbol of the power of the samurai, Okayama Korakuen Garden is considered one of the three great gardens of Japan alongside Kanazawa City’s Kenroku-en and Mito City’s Kairakuen.
Shukkeien's (縮景園) name can be translated into English as "shrunken-scenery garden", which is also a good description of the garden itself. Valleys, mountains, and forests are represented in miniature in the garden's landscapes. Through careful cultivation of the land and vegetation, the garden mimics a variety of natural formations and scenic views.
Shukkeien has a long history dating back to 1620, just after the completion of Hiroshima Castle. The garden displays many features of the traditional aesthetics of Japanese gardens. Around the garden's main pond there are a number of tea houses which offer visitors ideal views of the surrounding scenery.
The entire garden is connected by a path which winds around the pond at the center of the garden. The path passes through all of Shukkeien's various miniaturized sceneries. Following this path around the garden is the best way to enjoy Shukkeien.
Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park (平和記念公園, Heiwa Kinen Kōen) is one of the most prominent features of the city. Even visitors not looking for it will likely stumble upon the large park of over 120,000 square meters. Its trees, lawns, and walking paths are in stark contrast to the surrounding downtown area.
Before the bomb, the area of what is now the Peace Park was the political and commercial heart of the city. For this reason, it was chosen as the pilot's target. Four years to the day after the bomb was dropped, it was decided that the area would not be redeveloped but instead devoted to peace memorial facilities.
Takasakiyama Monkey Park (高崎山自然動物園, Takasakiyama Shizen Dōbutsuen) is a popular monkey reserve at the base of Mount Takasaki, a 628 meter high mountain along the coast between Beppu and Oita City. The mountain is home to some 1500 wild Japanese macaques that roam freely around its steep, forested slopes. Park visitors can get close to the monkeys as they are fed, and watch them as they run around, play or just sit in the sun and groom each other.
Mount Takasaki's monkeys are divided into two separate troops of approximately 700 to 800 individuals each, making them some of the world's largest monkey troops. The troops take turns coming down to the monkey park, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. During their stay at the park, the monkeys get fed by the wardens and spend their time playing and resting while appearing almost oblivious to the human visitors. However, although they seem tame, the monkeys should not be touched or fed, and eye contact should be avoided.
Mt. Takasaki Wild Monkey Park (高崎山自然動物園) is located in the west of the city, 20 min. by bus from JR Oita Sta. The area is the famous habitat of about 1,368 wild Japanese monkeys (as of January 2013) who live in a forest on the steep slope of Mt. Takasaki at a height of 628 m.
This botanical garden (北海道大学植物園, Hokkaidō Daigaku Shokubutsuen) close to Sapporo's city center belongs to Hokkaido University and primarily serves a scientific and educational purpose. The garden with its walking trails and lawns, however, is also a pleasant place to take a break or to have a (non-alcoholic) picnic.
Established in 1886, the Botanic Garden preserves a small part of the forest which formerly covered the Ishikari Plain. In addition, there is an alpine garden, a greenhouse and a small Ainu museum. During the winter, only the greenhouse is open to the public.
Shiroi Koibito Park is a theme park by Ishiya, a local chocolate company. The company's flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookie, which consists of two thin butter cookies and a layer of white chocolate in between. It is one of the most famous souvenirs from Hokkaido.
The park consists of a free area with a shop, cafe and restaurant and a paid area with various chocolate related exhibits and, most interestingly, a few large windows through which visitors can observe the cookie production process in the factory. It is also possible to create your own cookies in hands-on workshops. Another part of the Shiroi Koibito Park is a soccer field that serves as the practice ground for Consadole Sapporo, the local J-League soccer team.
Moerenuma Park (モエレ沼公園, Moerenuma Kōen) is a large park in the outskirts of Sapporo. Surrounded by a marsh, the park has a circumference of about four kilometers. The grounds are covered in attractive green space and there are massive, dramatic features that make the park a very unique public space.
As far as day trip ideas from Asahikawa go, Tomita Farm is a great choice. A 10ha lavender paradise, Tomita Farm provides ample opportunity for relaxed walks surrounded by seemingly endless patchwork of color, so beautifully arranged and expertly manicured, that the hills seem almost artificial.
Beautiful birch-lined pathways provide comfortable shaded access to the many lavender gift shops, workshops, and rest stops scattered throughout the gardens. The workshops allow visitors to see first-hand how the harvested lavender is treated, worked, and turned into the countless lavender infused products available as elegant gifts and items for everyday use.
Lovers of sweets will be impressed by the lavender flavored soft-serve ice cream, pudding, and jelly found at the cafe, along with plenty of other light lunch options.
Sevenstar Tree (セブンスターの木) is oak on Patchwork Hill (パッチワークの丘) in Biei town located in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city and was named after Sevenstar (famous Japanese cigarette). The tree was printed on a package of the cigarette in 1976 and has become a famous tourist attraction.
A solitary oak grows around the hilltop of the Biri at about 260 m above sea level. Its height is around 13 m. In the summer, the vital power can be felt when branches are thickly covered with leaves. But it looks only just the tree with a lot of branches closely, so it is worth seeing at a little distance.
Recently Asahiyama Zoo has displaced Ramen and skiing as Asahikawa's primary drawcard, in the process, becoming Japan's number one zoo. The total number of people expected to have visited the zoo by the end of 2007 is in excess of 3 million, an impressive figure when you consider that the population of Asahikawa is a mere 360,000. And, all this form a zoo that just over a decade ago was struggling to stay open.
Asahiyama zoo features more than 800 animals from approximately 150 species, a healthy number when you consider the difficulties associated with maintaining animals during a hot summer and an extremely cold winter.
As can be expected, however, people do have their favourites, and the polar bears, penguins, seals, big cats, and orangutans come in for special attention. The enclosures for these animals are designed with both the animal and visitor in mind so you can expect to get closer than you might imagine. The penguin enclosure, for example, affords a 360-degree view. There is a vertical tank for the spotted seal which prefers to dive and surface vertically. The polar bear enclosure has a variety of built-in viewing areas to allow you special access.
Ueno Farm is a popular farm garden in Nagayama located in the northeastern part of Asahikawa city and has been a farmer since 1906. Ms Sayuki Ueno, a gardener, made a Hokkaido-style garden suited for the climate and natural features of Hokkaido as the foundation for an English-style garden at their site and the garden has been opened to the public since 2001. More than 2,000 types of flowering plants are planted at about 1.3 ha of the site, and visitors can enjoy various flowers from spring to autumn. An open period is from late April to mid-October. Admission fee is JPY 800. A parking lot is free of charge. NAYA cafe is built at the site and opens a business through the year.
Daisetsuzan (大雪山) is Hokkaido's largest national park. It preserves a mountainous area of virtually unspoiled wilderness, which is larger than some of Japan's smaller prefectures. It is a paradise for hikers, outdoor lovers, deer and brown bears, and the first place in Japan to see fall colors and snow each autumn.
Senganen Garden (仙巌園), also known as Isoteien (磯庭園), is a Japanese style landscaped garden along the coast north of downtown Kagoshima. One of the garden's most striking features is its use of Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay as borrowed scenery. The garden also includes small ponds, streams, shrines and a bamboo grove.
Senganen was constructed in 1658 by the wealthy Shimazu Clan, one of the most powerful feudal clans during the Edo Period (1603-1867). The Shimazu ruled the Satsuma domain (present-day Kagoshima) for almost 700 years until the end of the feudal age in 1868. They continued to be influential into the modern era as some of the earliest adopters of Western science and technology.
At the centre of the garden stands the Iso Residence. The residence was originally built in 1658 along with the rest of the garden, but the current building mostly dates back to a mid-1880s reconstruction. After the end of the feudal age, the Iso Residence became the main residence of the Shimazu family, and its rooms are preserved in the way they were used in the 1890s.
Shiroyama Park (城山公園, Shiroyama Kōen) is a park in downtown Kagoshima that extends over Mount Shiroyama. With an elevation of 107 meters, the mountain formerly served as the site of a castle fortification, which led to its name. Shiroyama literally means "castle mountain" in Japanese. The castle's former grounds at the base of the mountain now serve as the site of the Reimeikan Museum.
The park is most famous for its Shiroyama Observatory with spectacular views over downtown Kagoshima, Kagoshima Bay and Sakurajima. The night view is also nice, particularly if a clear sky and bright moon allow Sakurajima to remain visible. Nice views can also be enjoyed from the Satsuma no Yu outdoor hot spring bath at the nearby Castle Park Hotel, which is also open to non-staying guests.
Dream Forest is the fourth largest park in Seoul, after the World Cup Park, Olympic Park and Seoul Forest, and has become a part of the lives of 2.67million residents of six districts, Gangbuk, Seongbuk, Dobong, Nowon, Dongdaemun and Jungnang.
In the heart of the forest is a large lake named Wallyoungji, with the 7 m-high Wallgwang Waterfall and the pavilion Aewalljeong, not to mention grasslands twice the size of the Seoul Plaza. Situated on the rim of Wallyoungji stands the traditional Korean hanok building, Changnyeonggungjaesa (No. 40 Registered Cultural Property), in its entire classical splendor.
The 49.7 m Observatory overlooking downtown Seoul is a special attraction point. The breathtaking ridges of Bukhansan(Mt.), Dobongsan(Mt.) and Suraksan(Mt.) roll out to the north, and Mt. Nam and the River Han majestically fill the scenery to the south. Five different wild flower gardens have been created behind the parking lot, such as Suro Garden, Sagaewon, Brown Garden and Hwamokwon, and the Chilpokchi, a waterfall with seven streams, is also worth experiencing.
China Dinosaur Park is located at the Modern Tourism & Recreation Park in Xinbei district of Changzhou, which was built in 1997 and opened to the public on September 20th, 2000. Also known as"OrientalJurassicPark", China Dinosaur Park covers a total area of over 600 mu, which perfectly combines museum, hi-tech acoustic, optic and electric technology, special video effects and multimedia network, and integrates exhibition, science popularization, entertainment, leisure and participatory performances.