#1 3-19-2017 10:53 AM

Holeydel
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Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Ahoy-a-hoy people.

Primarily Tokyo, Kansia and Hiroshima will be seeing the soles of my feet, but with a J-Rail pass in hand the gf and I are pretty flexible to move around. I've been to Japan before, done my research for this trip, what I'm looking for are little known things to see and do mostly around the places I'm visiting or further afield if the travel is worth it. Things not yet known to the masses or things that just tickled you when you visited yourself.

Thanks people!

 

#2 3-19-2017 1:41 PM

tj1777
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

They might not be overlooked - but Kyoto and Nara is real gems of the region you are going to.

 

#3 3-19-2017 3:07 PM

Holeydel
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Kyoto? Never heard of it. Tell me more...

 

#4 3-19-2017 3:08 PM

MNMark
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

 

#5 3-19-2017 3:27 PM

Holeydel
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

A Japan travel guide? The plot thickens...

Whilst Yakushima does have many appeals, I can foresee great difficulty in getting their by rail. Call it a hunch... Mystic even.

 

#6 3-19-2017 3:37 PM

shavy
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Holeydel wrote:

Kyoto? Never heard of it. Tell me more...

Have you never heard of Kyoto or Fukuoka?

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2158.html

http://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/fukuoka

 

#7 3-19-2017 4:10 PM

tlenot
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Kyoto is the old capital on Japan.  It has lots of temples and the old palace.  I highly recommend.  I spent 3 nights there and wished I would of spent 4 nights.  From Kyoto, you can do a day trip to Nara.  If you are doing Tokyo, I recommend doing the Imperial Palace tour.  I believe you need a month or more in advance reservation.

 

#8 3-19-2017 4:20 PM

Holeydel
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Imperial Palace? Must have popped up over night. I'll try to take some time out of my itinerary to hit up this palace and the Kyoto shrine people keep mentioning.

 

#9 3-19-2017 6:16 PM

Solomatrix
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Any interest in cars?
Nissan museum in yokohama

 

#10 3-19-2017 6:55 PM

fransglobal
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Lots of sarcasm in this thread.

I too recommend Yakushima. OK, you can't get there by train but taking a ferry shouldn't be beyond your ability....

On way, Fukuoka and Kagoshima are well worth a visit. Nagasaki too. While not exactly unknown, not that many gaijin visit these destinations on Kyushu.

Matsuyama on Shikoku well worth a visit. Great castle and a fantastic onsen. Nearby Uchiko interesting.

 

#11 3-20-2017 1:10 AM

reikunboy
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

I've got three which you will like Rabit Island on the way to Hiroshima somewhere. There used to be a chemical laboratory which they tested on rabbits and then it closed down so the rabbits bred like rabbits do and have taken over the island.

Second one in Hiroshima prefecture. sandakan gorge. Great for hiking

Third one an abandoned coal island off Nagasaki. The place is in despair but it is amazing with the town all in ruins.  They have only just started running tours there the last couple of years.

 

#12 3-20-2017 3:39 AM

nolan
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Karuizawa and Nikko are good day trips on the Shinkansen from Tokyo.

Anyone who likes hiking will have more than enough with the Japanese mountains, even if just for day trips.

Oh, and if you're into pilgrimages, check out Kumano Kodo near Osaka. www.tb-kumano.jp/en/world-heritage/dual-pilgrim/

 

#13 3-20-2017 1:26 PM

Holeydel
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Righto, now Holeydel's taking notes! I'm not much into cars Solomatrix but having googled your suggestion I think I'll make a visit to the museum, it looks pretty amazing to even someone who knows bugger all about motors.

I had a feeling you'd come up with something Reikunboy. Sadankanyo Gorge is already on me list so it's good to hear it comes recommended - there's a bus that leaves from Hiroshima for those who read this thread in the future.

Rabbit Island - Okunoshima Island - is  the kind of quirky I'm looking for in this thread, good job! I'll have to see how far out of the way it might be for me to see all these rabbits, whilst keeping in mind I am from England!

Hashima Island looks like nothing I've seen since I left the council estate I grew up on. Enter at your own risk and come out considerably poorer, there's many similarities here to take me back to growing up in the means streets of Buckinghamshire. Question now is, is there enough stuff between Hiroshima and Hashima to make the journey worth it, as let's face it, shrines and castles are two a penny in Japan.

The Kumando Kodo I've been tossing back and forth with Nolan, mostly cos it'll involve bringing a tent with me. I'll take another google image look at it and see if I can be swayed enough...

 

#14 3-21-2017 1:06 AM

ulis
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Koyasan can be done as part of the Kumano Koda pilgrimage or as a daytrip from Osaka, it's a very large cemetery with lots of temples on top of a mountain,  has very strange atmosphere...

 

#15 3-21-2017 4:26 AM

Toonsarah
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

I echo the recommendation of Nikko. You can do it as a day trip from Tokyo if pushed for time but better to stay overnight or even two nights if you can spare the time.

My favourite smaller town was Takayama, which you can get to by train from Kyoto, although it takes about four hours I think so would need several days. There are beautiful temples, some restored old merchants' houses that give you a real feel of traditional life in Japan, an interesting museum focused on the floats used in their twice yearly festivals, a good local market, sake tasting and attractive streets in the old town. Plus you can eat the amazing Hida beef and there's even a really cool Japanese/US hybrid restaurant tucked behind an antique shop where they use the beef to make fabulous burgers and play Johnny Cash all evening!!

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5900.html

The folk village (a bus ride out of town) is also supposed to be good but we gave it a miss as we had limited time and wanted to focus on the town itself

Last edited by Toonsarah (3-21-2017 4:28 AM)

 

#16 3-22-2017 1:55 AM

reikunboy
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

There is accommodation on the kodo hiking track as the trail goes through a couple of small towns no need for a tent

 

#17 3-22-2017 2:10 PM

EEEhehehe
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Around Hiroshima i would suggest visiting the huuugee Mazda factory plant. Then for some hidden/weird places just search on atlas obscura website.

 

#18 3-23-2017 8:17 AM

bhush2006
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Why not travel in Japanese Alps :-) The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route - The famous Snow Corridor and 5 different ways of transport. This year the route is supposed to open on 15th April.

http://www.alpen-route.com/en/

 

#19 3-23-2017 6:50 PM

Lotus28
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Re: Japan - unique and little known gems please!

Haha, Kyoto itself is not really a hidden gem! But it does have lots of weird spots.
I find sub-culture scene in Kyoto is quirky and outstanding.
For example, night life in Kyoto is very interesting. Club Metro in Jingu-Marutamachi is a club renovated from old metro station itself. It has lots of weird events.
And the area in Shijo Omiya has a complex of tiny bars in a very old building.
I also loved wandering around abondoned red light district from post war period in Gojo area.
Public bath culture in Kyoto is also outstanding and I could write a book about it!
I can enjoy one week stay in Kyoto even without visiting any famous temples or shrines!

And as for other hidden gems... TONS!
Have you ever visited Tohoku area? I really love hiking and hotsprings in that area.
Zao is appropriate for 2days hike and there're several manless huts along the trail. You can sleep there for free and there're public onsen in town where you can have a dip for 200-300yen.

Hiking in Oze national park is also beautiful.
You can camp at designated campgrounds. I have been there three times but still I would love to come back anytime.

If you guys are into Echigo Tsumari Art Field in Niigata.
There are also some campsites in the area and you can stay there for a few days to explore the area.
http://www.echigo-tsumari.jp/eng/

I still have lots to recommend but my sob started to get grumpy for not having his mon play with him so maybe posting some more in another chance...

 
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