Attractions

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Nagano

Zenkō-ji

Founded in the 7th century, National Treasure Zenkō-ji is home to the revered statue Ikkō-Sanzon, said to be the first Buddhist image to arrive in Japan (AD 552). Not even 37 generations of emperors have seen the im…
Top Choice Castle in Matsumoto

Matsumoto-jō

Must-see Matsumoto-jō is Japan's oldest wooden castle and one of four castles designated National Treasures – the others are Hikone, Himeji and Inuyama. The striking black-and-white three-turreted donjon (main keep)…
Top Choice Museum in Inuyama

Meiji-mura

Few Meiji-era buildings have survived due to war, earthquakes and development. In 1965 this open-air museum was created to preserve this unique style, known for unifying Western and Japanese architectural elements. …
Top Choice Gardens in Kanazawa

Kenroku-en

Ranked as one of the top three gardens in Japan, this Edo-period garden draws its name (kenroku 'combined six') from a renowned Sung-dynasty garden in China that dictated six attributes for perfection: seclusion, sp…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Inuyama

Tagata-jinja

Izanagi, the male counterpart of female deity Izanami, is commemorated at this shrine, with countless wooden and stone phalluses to celebrate. You can buy souvenirs from ¥500. The Tagata Hōnen-sai Matsuri takes plac…
Top Choice Gardens in Kanazawa

Gyokusen Inmaru Garden

Adjacent to the Kanazawa Castle Park, this feudal pleasure garden was first constructed in 1634 but abandoned in the Meiji era. Its five-year reconstruction was completed in 2015. Features include a small waterfall,…
Top Choice Historic Building in Takasaki

Tomioka Silk Mill

Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2014, Tomioka Silk Mill provides a wonderful look into the history of silk production, with excellent English-language narration. Completed in 1872, the mill was once one of the la…
Top Choice Ruins in Fukui

Ichijōdani Asakura Clan Ruins

Designated a national historic site, this unexpected find boasts one of the largest town ruins in Japan. Perched in a narrow valley between modest mountains, it's easy to see why the Asakura clan would have built th…
Top Choice Castle in Inuyama

Inuyama-jō

A National Treasure, Japan's oldest standing castle is said to have originated as a fort in 1440. The current donjon (main keep) built atop a 40m rise beside the Kiso-gawa dates from 1537 and has resisted war, earth…
Top Choice Museum in Nagoya

JR SCMAGLEV & Railway Park

Trainspotters will be in heaven at this fantastic hands-on museum. Featuring actual maglev (the world's fastest train – 581km/h), shinkansen, historical rolling stock and rail simulators, the massive museum offers a…