gardens

Shrine cat takes a nap in a Zen garden【Photos】

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: cats rule the world. Maybe that even includes the spiritual world?

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The top 20 places to visit in Tokyo, as chosen by travelers

From elegant gardens to stoic shrines and museums of fine art, Tokyo is full of places to stimulate the mind, soothe the soul, and please the senses.

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Japan’s weeping plum trees are so beautiful they’ll bring tears to your eyes【Photos】

Mie town’s garden opens its gates after nightfall so guests can see the gorgeous blossoms in a whole new light.

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National Garden employee says he let 160,000 foreigners in for free because he was scared of them

Sometimes it pays to look intimidating.

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Traditional guesthouse in Kyoto is like a beautiful samurai residence

Japanese visitors are falling in love with the gorgeous gardens and traditional rooms at this atmospheric inn.

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Breathtaking Japanese moss garden cafe is like a real-life setting for a Studio Ghibli anime film

With amazing outdoor eating spaces set on moss-covered grounds in the middle of the woods, this is a secret haven for lovers of nature and Studio Ghibli.

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Tokyo retro kimono photography service provides customers with gorgeous snapshots of the past

Slip into the Taisho Period of Japan’s past as you slip on a kimono from this unique part of the country’s history.

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Japan’s 30 best travel destinations, as chosen by overseas visitors

Just in time for the peak summer travel season, website TripAdvisor has released its annual list of the highest-rated spots in Japan from its foreign users. With 30 amazing locations on the list, you’ll want to start your journey as soon as possible if your goal is to see them all, so let’s dive right in and take a look at this year’s picks.

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Kitakyushu’s spectacular wisteria tunnel is blooming! You don’t want to miss it!

You guys, it’s May, so that means you can finally go see the beautiful wisteria tunnel that we told you about last October! If you find yourself anywhere near northern Kyushu or have time for a weekend getaway, head to Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kitakyushu City. If you think we’re exaggerating or doctoring the pictures to make them more beautiful (we’re not), at least trust the opinion of the Japanese Twitter users gushing over the wisteria’s beauty! 

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Tokyo’s Rikugien garden: Beautiful for 300 years, but especially in autumn after dark

They’re often overshadowed by the sakura, but Japan’s fall colors make the country a beautiful place to be at this time of year. Maples and gingkos even have a few advantages over cherry trees. They tend to hold their color a little longer, and the cooler weather is less conducive to large outdoor parties, meaning your appreciation of the beauty of nature is less likely to be disturbed by the carousing of drunks.

In contrast to Tokyo’s many cherry tree-lined parks and boulevards, though, getting a good view of crimson and yellow leaves often means having to head out of the city and up into the mountains. That’s not always the case, though. Historic Rikugien Garden has plenty of fall color, is located right in the middle of Tokyo, and right now is so beautiful it’s staying open after dark.

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Beautiful 400-year-old garden in Okayama about to be replaced with condominium complex

Japan loves to devise top three lists, and Okayama City’s Korakuen is held to be one of the country’s three best gardens. Anyone who’s visited will tell you that it’s indeed beautiful, but Korakuen isn’t the city’s only garden, or even its oldest.

Okayama is also where you’ll find Tokoen, a garden with a history that stretches back to the early days of Japan’s feudal Edo era. Tranquil and easily accessed by public transportation, Tokoen would make an ideal spot for history buffs and nature lovers looking for a less crowded, quieter urban oasis than Korakuen.

Sadly, though, after roughly four centuries, Tokoen has closed down, and is soon likely to be demolished and replaced with a condominium complex.

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We spend an afternoon in the park with the King of the Monsters at Kurihama’s Godzilla Slide

Every summer, as part of our effort to see as many brightly colored explosions as possible, my wife and I head to Kurihama in Kanagawa Prefecture to watch the neighborhood’s annual fireworks festival. In the past I always had to work on the day of the event, so we’d arrive just as they started launching the rockets, but this year I had the day off, so my wife suggested heading down early to do a little sightseeing. “We can go to Kurihama Flower World!” she offered, referring to the area’s expansive garden.

Sure, I thought, that might be kind of nice and romantic. I was a little surprised by her enthusiasm, though, since early July isn’t exactly the best time for flower viewing in Japan. It’s right in the gap between when hydrangeas and sunflowers are at their most beautiful, so what exactly did she want to check out there?

“We can see Godzilla,” she explained, which just might be the most convincing argument for going someplace ever.

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These beautiful temple gardens are…15 minutes from Narita Airport?!

For many visitors to Japan, their image of the city of Narita begins and ends with Narita International Airport. As such, most people plan their itineraries with the goal of spending as little time in the town as possible, unless they’re the type of odd sorts who just can’t get enough of waiting in airline check-in or customs lines.

In their rush to get into Tokyo or back home as soon as possible, though, they’re missing out on one of eastern Japan’s most visually impressive temples, Naritasan Shinshoji and its attached gardens.

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Top seven Tokyo oases providing shelter from heat of the city

In the great city of Tokyo, the summer heat is particularly pervasive. Everywhere you look, people are bustle between crowded buildings and the hot pavement. The heat and the tension get trapped within that city bubble. You might think there’s no escaping it without a trip to the countryside, but as it turns out, there are a few grand oases within Tokyo’s boundaries. Here are seven such spots, guaranteed to bring the temperature down while raising your city-worn spirits up.

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