Kyoto Imperial Palace and its Surprisingly Beautiful Gardens

Though relatively newly reconstructed structures and inaccessible buildings (unlike favored Nijo Castle), the gardens at the Kyoto Gosho makes this a worthy visit thanks to its otherworldly views.

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Pride of Hikone: Hikone Castle, Shiga Prefecture

An unexpected enjoyable visit to Hikone Castle, one of the 12 original castles. Though the castle keep is small in size, especially in comparison to the likes of Himeji Castle, this hilltop castle offers a view of Hikone and features a number of intact buildings thus allowing visitors a more “complete” experience of a Japanese feudal castle.