Around the World: Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, Japan; Lomography

Lomographer Bernard Ang takes us to the snowy villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in Japan.

Source: Lomography – Around the World: Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, Japan

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Shuri Castle and Nakagusuku Castle – Okinawa Travel Guide •; Nami; Just One Cookbook

Okinawan’s rich history and culture are on full display at its two of its most renowned world heritage sites, Shuri Castle and Nakagusuku Castle.

Source: Shuri Castle and Nakagusuku Castle – Okinawa Travel Guide • Just One Cookbook

The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries Worth Traveling to See (Seriously); Mike Richard; The Manual

Japan – Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

Charleston aside, few cities nail the spooky-beautiful-charming Southern vibe like Savannah, Georgia. Nowhere is this more evident than in the city’s Bonaventure Cemetery. Stands of massive, centuries-old live oak trees draped in Spanish moss canopy the historic burial grounds which are perched on a scenic bluff overlooking the Wilmington River. The 100 acres here include significant tombstones, sculpture gardens, and Southern Gothic monuments. Plus, the cemetery has appeared in numerous Hollywood flicks including Clint Eastwood’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. If you’re into that sort of thing …

PANTEÓN ANTIGUO DE XOXOCOTLÁN

Oaxaca, México

Read more from source: The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries Worth Traveling to See (Seriously)

Mrs Bananas ‘Restaurant’; Dave & Issey Sheehan; Travel Blog

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Japan – Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)

I decide to go for an early morning wander. It seems that not much happens in Kyoto early on a Sunday morning. Very few shops are open, and there are hardly any people on the street. The one exception is a massive queue out into the street outside the local betting agency. I hadn’t thought of Japanese people as being big gamblers, but it seems I may have been wrong.

I walk through a park back towards the hotel. It is noisy and I see that one of the gardeners is armed with a leaf blower, and is busily trying to relocate some errant leaves. I am suddenly reminded of home. Our manic next door neighbour back in Melbourne uses his leaf blower every day, sometimes two or three times, sometimes during hurricanes, and sometimes at 7am on a Sunday morning. It drives us all insane. We came half way around the world to try to escape this incessant din, only to find the same noise again here early on a Sunday morning in Kyoto.

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Lots of Temples and a Music Festival; Dave & Issy Sheehan; Travel Blog

Japan – Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)

We head off up the hill away from the city centre in search of temples. We don’t have to look too hard. Every second building here seems to be a spectacular temple. We walk up along Matsubara-dori street towards the Kiyomizu-dera temple. The street is wall to wall shops and is packed with tourists. We need breakfast, so we stop at a food stall. Issy says that other than sumo wrestlers there is no such thing as an overweight Japanese person, and therefore all Japanese food must be good for you. I wonder what sumo wrestlers eat. I try not to wonder about this too much, and instead try very hard to believe Issy’s line that all Japanese food is good for you as I munch on my breakfast of deep fried octopus cakes.

The Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded in 778, and the present structure was built in 1633. It is massive, and is apparently notable for there not being a single nail in the entire structure.

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A Guide to the Otherworldly Island of Yakushima; John Wogan; NY Times

Japan – Yakushima

Where to stay, eat, and explore on the remote subtropical island off Japan’s southern coast.

The small, remote island of Yakushima, which lies off the southern coast of the southernmost of Japan’s four major islands, Kyushu, is shaped something like the Hawaiian isle of Kauai. And just as on that other circular bit of rock over 4,000 miles away across the North Pacific, visitors arrive here seeking respite in subtropical rain forests and mountains — and along the miles of untouched coastline, where endangered loggerhead and green turtles nest. But what’s startling about Yakushima is the absence of crowds and over-commercialization, even with its easy proximity to Osaka, an hour-and-a-half-long flight away. (There are also two ports on the island — in Miyanoura and Anbo — from where multiple daily ferry services connect to the town of Kagoshima on Kyushu.)

Designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1993, Yakushima has managed to maintain its pristine, otherworldly atmosphere.

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Hiking the sacred Kumano Kodo route in Japan with a backpack and a “no Trump talk” pact; Crai S Bower; Mic

Japan – Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

My concentration is completely focused on footfalls, specifically where my feet are landing among the cedar roots that form a natural staircase. I’m ascending Mount Tsurugi, on the Kii Peninsula, from the Takijiri-oji Shrine, on an 11-day trip thats covers the famous Kumano Kodo trail.

When I first set out on this pilgrimage, my goal was to escape the inescapable — a never-ending stream of U.S. political updates and urban clatter. The first Japanese emperor to hike the trail did so in the 11th century, after his retirement — possibly to seek absolution for his courtly life and imperial decisions.

I was invited by REI Adventures to hike the Kumano Kodo and Nakasendo trails with five other hikers, to experience this new trip. It’s part of their level-two offerings, which are designed for leisurely hikers — those who prefer no pre-trip calisthenics and like to conclude a few mellow hours on the trail with a soft bed and warm, multicourse meal.

Read more from source: Hiking the sacred Kumano Kodo route in Japan with a backpack and a “no Trump talk” pact

7 beautiful trekking routes in Japan you should do this year; Tim Wenger; Matador Network

Japan – Shiretoko

MANY HEAD to Japan for the food. Some come for the ultimate big-city cultural experience in Tokyo. Others make the journey north to Hokkaido each winter for some of the best powder skiing on the planet. But, this island nation is also an ideal destination for trekking, offering a variety of multi-day hikes for everyone, from summit seekers to wildlife explorer to wannabe-poets. Here are seven of the most beautiful trekking routes in the country.

1. Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes, Kii Hanto

Length: Up to 191 miles, broken into segments
Time: Four to five days to see thee full Kumano Sanzan

Kumano Kodo, located southwest of the Kyoto Prefecture, is actually a series of routes covering 191 miles across the Kii Hanto Peninsula. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the pilgrimage routes originated over a thousand years ago as a way to reach Hongu Taisha, Hayatama Taisha, and Nachi Taisha, collectively known as Kumano Sanzan, the Grand Shrines of Komono. Base yourself in the city of Tanabe and bus to trailheads throughout the region. You’ll stay overnight in traditional Japanese inns called ryokans.

Read more from source: 7 beautiful trekking routes in Japan you should do this year

50 things to do in Kyoto; Cory Varga; You Could Travel

Japan – Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)

There are so many things to do in Kyoto, you will probably need a lifetime to discover them all. Kyoto is Japan’s old capital and a city which, in my opinion, acts like a chill pill to Tokyo’s vibrant atmosphere. We spent several days exploring Kyoto and we know we barely scratched the surface. During our Kyoto itinerary, we absolutely loved how zen the city was. We found so many parks, temples and just generally, a lot of green spaces everywhere. The inner gardens in Kyoto were stunning as well, and of course, we need to mention the delicious food which we still dream about. So here are the best 50 things to do in Kyoto.

Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine

One of the most interesting things to do in Kyoto is to hike up Mount Inari on a spiritual pilgrimage. Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most famous shrines in Japan which attracts countless visitors throughout the idea. You should aim to visit either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon to catch the sunset.

Read more from source: 50 things to do in Kyoto

Escape on a holiday to Japan’s sandy dunes and rocky shores; Julian Ryall; SCMP

Japan – Yakushima

Explore the breathtaking Tottori Sand Dunes or head into the icy waters against the rocky shores north of the town of Utoro

The crotchety-looking camel stamps its feet and kicks up a miniature sandstorm that drifts away across the dunes. Beyond the creature’s shaggy hump, the ocean of sand is marked by footprints and slopes away to a pale green oasis of grass and shrubs. A little further on, another dune rises almost sheer and, from the top, the view is of a completely different type of sea.

In front of me are the blue-grey waters of the Sea of Japan, flecked with the occasional whitecap, while away to the west is the mouth of the Sendai River and a port.

The Tottori Sand Dunes are part of Japan’s Sanin Kaigan National Park and a breathtaking and unique natural formation that is sufficiently expansive to give the visitor the impression that they are tramping through a stretch of North African desert or the American badlands.

Read more from source: Escape on a holiday to Japan’s sandy dunes and rocky shores