Eye-feasting on lush green landscape of Tonogayato Teien, one of the 9 Tokyo Metropolitan Gardens, located in Kokubunji of western Tokyo. Dating back to 1913 as a villa garden, Tonogayato Teien features a circuit style garden, centred on a pond of natural spring water.
Hoping to see some hydrangeas at the end of the Ajisai Matsuri at Fuchu-shi Kyodo no Mori Museum, located in western of central Tokyo. The park also features an open-air museum displaying old buildings of former merchant houses, town halls, farmhouses and school.
Often overlooked castle in Nagano prefecture, Takashima Castle proves to be a little special due to its brown exterior. Though the donjon, yagura and castle gates are reconstructions, a visit to this castle is recommended if you are visiting the Lake Suwa area.
Admiring the wild rock garden designed by Muso Soseki at Zuisenji, a Rinzai sect. of Zen Buddhism temple located in eastern Kamakura. Also called the Temple of Flowers, the flower garden in the temple features various flowers across the four seasons, and is especially famous for its plum blossom.
Taking a trip back in time, learning about feudal Kai Province’s pride – Takeda Shingen while visiting the shrine dedicated to this famous daimyo, famously known as the Tiger of Kai – the Takeda Jinja.
Exploring the ruins of Kofu Castle in the Maizuru Castle Park and stumbling upon unexpectedly pretty hydrangeas.
Hearing the weep of a dragon at the temple which was used to store Buddhist statues from Nagano’s famous Zenkoji during the Sengoku Period. The highlight of this visit is the Kaidan Meguri experience to find the lock to the hidden main statue.
Quiet day at the Nyakuichioji Jinja in Omachi. In July, the shrine hosts the Nyakuichioji Jinja Reisai, a festival centering on kodomo yabusame (child horseback archery), which is rare in Japan.
An informative experience at the Chojiya Salt Road Museum, showcasing the life and materials from the Chikuni Kaido, the road used to transport salt from the sea of Japan to the old Shinano Province (now Nagano Prefecture).
Continuing my temples visit in Bessho Onsen, I visited Kitamuki Kannon, literally “Facing-North Kannon”, which is unusual as temples usually faces south. This Tendai sect. temple faces the Buddha statue in famous Zenkoji in Nagano directly and is popular as a love fulfillment spot.
Visiting Anraku-ji, the oldest Soto sect. of Zen Buddhism temple in Nagano which boost the only surviving octagonal pagoda in Japan. Located near Bessho Onsen, 30 minutes away from Ueda city, this temple deserves more attention for its history and links to Kencho-ji’s Rankei Doryu.