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Kanagawa

Near-futuristic city full of vitality, and nature full of topographical varieties with mountains, rivers and sea
A next-door prefecture to Tokyo, Kanagawa is situated in the southwest of the Kanto Plains and fronts on the Tokyo Bay and the Sagami Bay at the south. In addition to its celebrated standing as an animated district that has led the economy of Japan, Kanagawa boasts topographical varieties created by mountains, rivers and sea, with each locality colored by distinguishing history and climate.

Yokohama, the seat of the prefectural government, has grown as a major gateway of the sea to Japan, as well as the center of administration and economy for the whole prefecture of Kanagawa. Yokohama City has the development of its Minato Mirai District 21 under way into a near-futuristic urban complex. In addition to Yokohama, there are other well-known vital cities east of the prefecture, such as Kawasaki, one of the foremost industrial cities in Japan, and Yokosuka, an exotic fishing town.

What is more, natural abounds in Kanagawa. The Sagami-gawa River, known as "Kanagawa's mother river," runs through the middle of the prefecture. There are many tourist spots of long standing, such as Kamakura, a town full of historic attractions, Hakone, a mecca for hot spring lovers, and Odawara, a castle town of a feudal lord. In the south of the prefecture sits the Shonan and Miura-hanto Peninsula area boasting a beautiful coastline, with the northern part of the Tanzawa Mountain region spreading out to the west. Thus, Kanagawa is a multi-faced prefecture having everything from abundant nature to near-futuristic urban complex.

Getting there
Yokohama Station is about 25 minutes from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Line. Two hours and 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Yokohama Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Take JR Yokohama Line from Shin-Yokohama Station and change at Higashi-Kanagawa Station to take JR Keihin-tohoku Line to Yokohama Station. Seventeen-minute trip in total.

 

  • Sakuragi-cho and Minato Mirai District 21
    The futuristic city that continues developing - One of Yokohama's nostalgic towns - Sakuragi-cho
    Minato Mirai District 21 is a new town that has been created where Yokohama Expo was held in 1989. Minato Mirai District 21 is the town of future that is full of most modern high-rise buildings. The most famous ones of all are Yokohama Landmark Tower and Queen's Square Yokohama. Minato Mirai District 21 is also a mega-shopping town. It is crowded with large shopping malls and amusement spots and it is almost impossible to explore the whole town in one day. The gorgeous night view of Minato Mirai District 21 is a must to see. Yokohama Cosmo World with the mammoth Ferris wheel in the center and the high-rise buildings are illuminated, which gives an effect of the whole area floating in the night sky.

    Sakuragi-cho is one of Yokohama's oldest towns with a nostalgic atmosphere still in the air. There is a monument that commemorates Sakuragi-cho as the birthplace of the railway system at Sakuragi-cho Station. Many cultural facilities are concentrated around the hill park, Kamon-yama Park and Mt. Ise-yama, where several shrines can be found, is also a Sakuragi-cho's neighboring site. The nostalgic and down-to-earth atmosphere of Sakuragi-cho makes a good contrast with the hyper and high-tech appearance of its next-door, Minato Mirai District 21. There are also many eating and drinking places in Noge, which stretches between Sakuragi-cho Station and Keihin Kyuko Hinode Station. Try one of the Jazz coffee shops where the atmosphere is just right to make you feel that you are in the old port town, Yokohama.

    Getting there
    Approximately 45 minutes by JR Keihin Tohoku Line from Tokyo Station to Sakuragi-cho Station.

     

  • Chuka-gai (China Town)
    Still prospering ever since the opening of Yokohama Port - One of the largest China towns in the world
    In the mid-19th century, the American Commodore Matthew C. Perry and his fleet arrived in Japan in order to establish treaties of friendship between Japan and the Western world. Japan's isolation from the rest of the world, which lasted for more than 200 years, was finally over. Yokohama Port was immediately opened for international trading and soon became crowded with Western traders. Many Chinese were also brought into Yokohama in order to help communication between the Japanese and the Westerners, and that was the beginning of the China Town in Yokohama.

    There are four gates surrounding the China Town which face north, south, east and west. Once you have gone through the Enpei-mon Gate and have walked past Nishi-mon Gate, the west gate, you will see the symbol of the China Town, the Zenrin-mon Gate from where the high street stretches through to the Choyo-mon Gate. There are more than 300 restaurants, food ingredients shops and general stores in total, thickly spread not only along the high street but also all over the town of approximately 700 meters radius. This is one of the largest China towns in the world. There is of course a wide variety of beautifully presented Chinese cuisine in the China Town, mainly Cantonese but Beijing, Shanghai and Szechwan dishes are also available.

    Some spectacular festivals are held in the China town every year. Major ones are the New Year Festival, the Kanteitan Festival in summer to celebrate the birthday of Kan'u who is a character from the old Chinese story, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and the Kokkeisetsu Festival in autumn to celebrate Chinese National Foundation.

    Getting there
    Approximately 50 minutes by JR Keihin Tohoku Line from Tokyo Station to Ishikawa-cho Station.

     

  • Motomachi and Yamate
    The trendy shopping town that flourishes at the foot of Yamate - the old foreign residential area

    Yamate became a popular little hill for foreigners to reside on when Yokohama Port was opened to the world for international trading about 140 years ago. Ever since Motomachi has prospered at the foot of Yamate as a shopping area where they originally used to sell daily goods to the foreign residents of Yamate.

    It probably takes only 15 minutes to walk from one end of this tiny area to the other, Motomachi, and yet you would not believe that more than 250 shops are thronging in the whole area. Shoes, bags, tableware, furniture, etc. etc. - you name it, you will find it. Motomachi is especially known for many renowned long-established shops where they guarantee top quality Motomachi goods. The Charming Sale is held by all the shops in Motomachi at the end of summer and winter every year. The sale is very popular particularly amongst young ladies. Yamate is full of exotic atmosphere with many foreign houses and churches in the area. Minato-no Mieru-oka-Koen is the park where you can enjoy the view of the whole of Yokohama Port and that is what the name of the park literally means. There is a view spot and a rose garden in the park and it is a much-appreciated place for relaxation for local people. There is also a western grave yard in the front of the park, where gravestones with crosses can be seen.

    Getting there
    Approximately 50 minutes by JR Keihin Tohoku Line from Tokyo Station to Ishikawa-cho Station. Three minutes walk from the north exit of Ishikawa-cho Station.

     

  • Kan'nai and Yamashita-koen Park
    The 19th century foreign residential area - The first town where the Western culture arrived
    Kan'nai is the area where the Yokohama government offices are located. It is also the birthplace of Yokohama. The National Isolation from the rest of the world, which lasted more than 200 years, finally came to an end in the mid 19th century. Yokohama Port was opened for the international trading and foreign residences were created within the Japanese residential areas around the port. The word Kan'nai means " the barrier to the inside" and is originated from the fact that a barrier was built in order to separate the foreign residences that were located "inside" the Japanese residential areas. Kan'nai is the first town where Western culture was introduced to the Japanese and Western influence from those days can still be seen here and there in the streets.

    Yamashita-koen Park is situated along the coast at the end of Nihon O-dori Avenue that stretches to the east from Kan'nai. This seaside park was opened in 1930 and lies for about 1 km in length along the coast with Yokohama Port right in front of it. Yamashita-koen Park has always provided the people of Yokohama with a place for recreation and relaxation. The big feature of Yamashita-koen Park is the Hikawa-maru ship that is moored close by. Hikawa-maru was once called "the Pacific Queen" and attracts many visitors throughout the year.

    On the western side of JR Kan'nai Station, there is Isezaki-cho-dori Avenue that is a very popular shopping street. "Isezaki Mall" is a very busy place where department stores, special shops, movie theaters and eating-places are concentrated. Basha-michi-dori Street on the eastern side of Kan'nai Station, was cobbled in the olden days, for horse-carriages to get through, and has a well-established gentle atmosphere with nostalgic-looking shops scattered along the street. This is also a popular shopping street that is always busy with people all day.

    Getting there
    Approximately 50 minutes by JR Keihin Tohoku Line from Tokyo Station to Kan'nai Station.

     

  • Enoshima Island
    The small island with a perimeter of 4 km that protrudes into Sagami Bay - The goddess that is worshiped by celebrities
    Enoshima is a small island at the mouth of Katase-gawa River that flows into Sagami Bay. Its perimeter is approximately 4 km and it is linked with the opposite shore of Katase by the 600 m long Enoshima Ohashi Bridge. Once you have crossed the bridge, you will see the island is crowded with marine product shops, souvenir shops, inns and eating-places. Enoshima-jinja Shrine on the island was originally a tutelary shrine where the three goddesses of land, sea transport and fisheries were enshrined in the year of 552. Hadaka-Benten, or the naked goddess of entertainment in the shrine is one of the three most famous goddesses in Japan and is visited by a number of celebrities.

    Other tourist sites on Enoshima Island include the Tropical Botanical Garden, Enoshima Lighthouse, the yacht harbor, the view spot and the cave called Enoshima Iwaya that is a creation of approximately 6000 years of sea erosion. Inside the cave, block prints and stone statues of Buddha are displayed by light. There are also some mysterious stones that glow only inside this cave and nowhere else. Katase on the opposite shore has developed as the gateway town to Enoshima-jinja Shrine. This is the nearest beach to the Metropolitan area and becomes very busy with many visitors every summer. Katase is also popular among anglers as there are many good fishing spots in the area.

    Getting there
    Fifty-five minutes by JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station. Twenty-five minutes by Enoden Line from Kamakura Station to Enoshima Station.

     

  • Hakkei-jima Island
    The whole island is a theme park - The Kanazawa Bunko Library where the 13th century books sleep
    Hakkei-jima Island is a reclaimed land that is situated along the coast of Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama City in the eastern part of Kanagawa. Hakkei-jima Island is about 18 times as big as the Tokyo Dome; the all-weather baseball stadium in Tokyo, and the whole land has been created as a theme park called Yokohama Hakkei-jima Sea Paradise.

    Hakkei-jima Island is one of the largest aquariums in Japan, called Aqua Museum where has as many as 100,000 underwater creatures of approximately 500 species are looked after. The biggest feature of all in Aqua Museum is the impressive escalator, Aqua Tube, that runs from the ground floor right through to the 3rd floor. Aqua Tube is cleverly illuminated with special effects so that it gives you the impression of walking under the sea. Hakkei-jima Island is also equipped with as many as 13 attractions that both children and adults can enjoy. Hakkei-jima makes an ideal place for a family day out. The Kanazawa Bunko Library is located near Hakkei-jima Island and is known for its collection of the 13th century books that were originally accumulated by Sanetoki Kanazawa, a samurai who was a study enthusiast. Today the Library belongs to Kanagawa Prefecture and is open to the public. Many people also visit the nearby scenic spot, Kanazawa Hakkei (eight scenery). It is named after the Chinese beauty spot, ShoSho Eight Scenery in Hunan.

    Getting there
    Thirty minutes by JR Tokaido-honsen Line from Tokyo Station to Yokohama Station. Twenty minutes by JR Negishi Line from Yokohama Station to Shin Sugita Station. Twenty minutes by Kanazawa Seaside Line from Shin Sugita Station to Hakkei-jima Station.

     

  • Hakone
    The historical zone, home of renowned spas - One of the best international holiday resorts
    Hakone is the name that refers to the whole area, surrounding Mt. Hakone-yama that is situated in the southwestern part of Kanagawa, and is part of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Hakone is an internationally well-known holiday resort that includes many renowned spas and Lake Ashino-ko, which was created by Mt. Fuji's repetitive volcanic activity. In Hakone, there are said to be "Hakone Thirteen Spas", or some even say "Hakone Seventeen Spas" altogether distinguished from each other by their distinctive ingredients and different healing effects.

    The Hakone Barrier was built on the Tokaido Highway(The road from Edo to Kyoto) in 1619 in order to fortify the capital Edo (former name of Tokyo) against various foreign clans from the west and to maintain public peace. The Hakone Barrier used to terrify travelers as they were thoroughly inspected before they were allowed to continue traveling along the Tokaido, the main transport artery of those days. For this reason, Hakone used to be called "the border between the east and the west". The original barrier which has been restored with related information, including armor and weapons, is open to the public nowadays.

    There are many other interesting sites in the surrounding area of Hakone. Visit Onshi Hakone Park, for instance, to see the up-side-down Mt. Fuji reflected in the surface of Lake Ashino-ko nearby. Hakone Museum proudly presents its collection of approximately 50 pieces of pottery. Enjoy a pleasant walk through Hakone Sengokubara Shissei Kaen where a beautiful garden of hydrophytes welcomes you. The conservation and protection of nature and the historical sites are well maintained in Hakone. The wetland plant colony is listed as a natural monument. Rows of cedar trees stretch for 2 km along the old Tokaido and the group of stone statues of Buddha is enshrined in Hakone.

    Getting there
    About 40 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station. About 15 minutes by Hakone Tozan Tetsudo Line from Odawara Station to Hakone Yumoto Station.

     

  • Kamakura (Hase and Yui-ga-hama Beach)
    Handsome Buddha from the 13th century - Abundance of flowers - Hase-dera Temple Garden
    Hase is a temple town in the south of Kamakura City. It has developed around Hase-dera Temple where Jyuichimen kan'non, or the 11-faced Merciful Goddess is enshrined. It is said that a Buddhist monk, Domyo, established a temple in the mountain in the early 8th century and his disciple erected Jyuichimen kan'non and the Hase-dera Temple. People started visiting the temple around the 10th century and the visit has been well established to this day as "Hase-moude". In the precincts of the temple, there is a garden with flowers blooming throughout the year.

    A neighboring temple of Hase-dera Temple is Kotoku-in Temple with a statue of Buddha that gently sits out-doors in the temple grounds. Its height is 11 meters, 13.35 meters including the plinth, the face alone measures 2.35 meters in height and it weighs as much as 21 tons. The sight of the magnificent Buddha is just overwhelming. The construction of the "handsome" Buddha began in 1238. The wooden carved statue was completed 6 years later, and gold and copper gilding was applied in 1252.

    Yui-ga-hama Beach is situated on the western side of the mouth of Nameri-gawa River that flows through the middle of Kamakura. The beach also faces Sagami Bay. It is one of the most popular beaches in the Shonan area and is very busy with a number of bathers in summer. There are many historical and literary sites along Yui-ga-hama Odori Street that stretches from Wakamiya-Oji in front of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine to Hase-dera Temple. Yui-ga-hama Odori Street is known for one of the streets of Kamakura that invite you into an intellectual world of art and literature.

    Getting there
    Fifty-five minutes by JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station. Five minutes by Enoden Line from Kamakura Station to Hase Station. For Yui-ga-hama Odori Street, 3 minutes by Enoden Line from Kamakura Station to Yui-ga-hama Station.

     

  • Kita-Kamakura
    The starting point of exploration in the old capital of Japan where old and famous temples gather
    Kamakura City is situated in the southeastern part of Kanagawa. One side of the city faces the sea and the rest is surrounded by mountains, so it was used as a natural fort during the battle age. The history of Kamakura goes back to the year 1192 when the Shogun Yoritomo Minamoto established his shogunate to rule Japan, centering on Kamakura as the capital. There are many historical sites for sightseeing, mainly temples and shrines that are scattered around in this 800 year old city. Walking through greenery from site to site adds pleasure to the sightseeing. A good starting point for exploration is Kita-Kamakura.

    Towards the end of the Kamakura Period, one of the most powerful clans, Hojo, set the rating system called "Kamakura Gozan" for Zen temples. Hojo rated five temples of Kamakura, three of which, Kencho-ji Temple (first), Enkaku-ji Temple (second) and Jochi-ji Temple (fourth), can be seen in Kita-Kamakura and are proud their history. Meigetsu-in Temple is known as the Ajisai (Hydrangea)-dera Temple. As the name suggests, the temple garden becomes abundant with hydrangea flowers in early summer. Tokei-ji Temple is pretty with plum blossom and iris flowers in spring or Kencho-ji Temple that is proud of its cherry blossom display. There are many beautiful sites full of seasonal features in Kita-Kamakura.

    Getting there
    Fifty minutes by JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kita-Kamakura Station.

     

  • Omachi and Zaimokuza
    The origin of historical Kamakura - The coastal path with salty tang of the sea
    Omachi and Zaimokuza are situated on the eastern side of the Nameri-gawa River that flows through the city of Kamakura. As the name of Zaimokuza("Zaimoku" means timber) suggests, it was once the area that contained Japan's oldest harbor where timber was brought in order to build Kamakura. Zaimokuza Beach is a popular beach resort and it is crowded with people from neighboring towns and cities in summer. You can enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach, breathing in the salty tang of the sea.

    In the Omachi and Zaimokuza area, there are many historical sites that retain so much evidence that the area was the origin of the old capital Kamakura. There is Moto-Hachiman Shrine that the Kamakura Shogun Yoritomo Minamoto of the 12th century erected. Chosho-ji Temple enshrines the statue of the great Buddhist monk Nichiren of the 13th century. There is also Kuhon-ji Temple where the cemetary of the war dead was created by Nitta Yoshisada, a samurai general who made an inroad to Kamakura. Omachi and Zaimokuza are also known for many temples that are associated with flowers. For instance, the whole precinct of Anyo-in Temple becomes abundant with azalea flowers in spring and Ankokuron-ji Temple is proud of crab apple trees and sasanqua that are both Kamakura's natural monuments. These places are visited by lots of people during the flowering seasons.

    Getting there
    Fifty-five minutes by JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station. Approximately 15 minutes by bus from Kamakura Station to Zaimokuza.

     

  • Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine and Komachi-dori Avenue
    The central feature of sightseeing in Kamakura - Shopping area with lively atmosphere- Komachi-dori Avenue
    Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu is the symbolic shrine of the old capital city, Kamakura. A number of people come to visit this historic shrine everyday. The shrine has retained its appearance as it is now since the shrine pavilion was added in 1191 by the Shogun Yoritomo Minamoto who established the Kamakura shogunate to rule Japan. Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu is the central tutelary shrine of the Kanto Region including Tokyo as well as being the tutelary shrine of the nation. Many believers visit Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu day by day and various events are organized at the shrine throughout the year.

    The approach to the shrine between Nino Torii Gate and San'no Torii Gate is called Dankazura. It is a raised path and looks splendid in spring with cherry blossom trees all the way along the path. Komachi-dori Avenue is one street away to the west from Wakamiya-oji Street that stretches straight from Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine. Komachi-dori Avenue is the shopping street with full of fashionable coffee shops, long-established restaurants and shops where you can buy natto(sticky beans), ham, traditional Kamakura carving and other local products. Don't forget to go around to the back of the avenue - you will be greeted by more shops and places for food and drink. There are more than 200 shops altogether and a merry and lively atmosphere will always welcome you.

    Getting there
    55 minutes by JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station.

     

  • Lake Sagami-ko
    Its perfect location, 1 hour from metropolitan Tokyo - Enjoy camping, barbecues and walking in the woods around the lake.
    Lake Sagami-ko is an artificial lake extending between the towns of Sagamiko Town and Fujino Town in the north-western part of Kanagawa. The Sagami-gawa River was dammed to make this lake in a perfect location, 60 kilometers from metropolitan Tokyo and 50 kilometers from Yokohama, and just an hour by train from each of these cities. Many people therefore come to this lake with varieties of tourist features.

    Spring time is beautiful with bright green leaves and blue sky reflecting on the lake water, young people's voices ring out as they enjoy boating and camping in summer, and fall provides a most splendid contrast of golden foliage and the lake. Sagami-ko-koen Park on the lakeside has cherry trees lining the street and visitors can enjoy every season of the year. Sagami-ko Picnic Land on the lakeside is a theme park of nature and greenery. Attractions like the Twin Dragon and Alps Ferris Wheel, Children's Paradise Kittyland, varied facilities such as courses for mountain bike, tennis courts and a camping ground are provided. Walking routes in the woods, a wild birds' square and an Illusion House have been created in the 300,000 square meter Furusato-no-mori. It is full of people who come here to enjoy a barbecue and a walking in the woods.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, 58 minutes by JR Chuo Line Rapid Train to Sagami-ko Station.

     

  • Manazuru
    The ideal site for fishing and diving - The peninsula in the shape of a crane with open wings
    The Manazuru-hanto Peninsula is situated in the southwest of Kanagawa. The peninsula protrudes into Sagami Bay and its distinctive shape somehow resembles a crane with open wings. This is a very popular peninsula for water sports such as fishing and diving. The primeval forest that occupies the southern part of the peninsula adds a splendid scenic view.

    Manazuru-misaki Point was formed on the edge of the Manazuru-hanto Peninsula when lava from the Hakone Volcano plunged into Sagami Bay and solidified. There are three peculiar looking rocks projecting out of the sea by the edge of Manazuru-misaki Point. They are called "Mitsuishi", or three rocks, and are the symbolic features of Manazuru-misaki Point. On a clear day, superb panoramic views including Oshima Island and the Izu-hanto Peninsula can be appreciated from the Manazuru Cable Palace. Manazuru Cactus Land boasts a collection of approximately 30,000 cacti of about 2,500 varieties that come from all over the world. There is also a pleasure boat that cruises around the Manazuru-hanto Peninsula.

    The Kibune-matsuri Festival has its origins in the story of 12 wooden statues on a boat that suddenly appeared from nowhere 1,100 years ago. The festival is held every summer and the sight of a boat carrying a highly decorative portable shrine across the sea is the highlight of the festival. Manazuru Harbor is known for marine products and there are many eating-places where you can make the most of the fresh seafood.

    Getting there
    Approximately 40 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station. About 10 minute by JR Tokaido Line from Odawara Station to Manazuru Station.

     

  • Miura-hanto Peninsula
    The Peninsula with a mild climate in Sagami Bay - The natural beauty of the sea closest to the large cities
    The Miura Peninsula is in the southeastern part of Kanagawa and protrudes into the sea between Tokyo Bay and Sagami Bay. Its climate is rather mild due to the Kuroshio Current. Large cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama and Kawasaki are close by and the peninsula is a very convenient and popular leisure spot for marine sports. In the north of the peninsula, there is Kamakura City that was once the capital of Japan in the 13th century. There is also Zushi Beach. This is a calm beach with gentle waves and it attracts a number of visitors in summer. Yokosuka, in the central part of the peninsula, is always associated with the U.S. Base in the area and is a popular town that attracts young people with its exotic atmosphere.

    Kannon-zaki Point, in the southern part of the Miura Peninsula, is well known for Japan's first western-style lighthouse that still watches over ships that come in and go out of Tokyo Bay. Aburatsubo is another place to visit in the south of the peninsula. It is situated along a beautiful coastline and Aburatsubo Marine Park is a particularly popular place where dolphins and seals amuse spectators with their wonderful performances. Misaki Harbor is a very active place to visit. This is a very busy harbor that is especially facilitated for tuna fishing and the sight when whole tuna is landed at the harbor will fascinate your eyes. The panoramic view from Misaki Harbor is most splendid with Jo-ga-shima Island close by in the Sagami Sea. The nature of Jo-ga-shima Island is abundant and its beauty was described in a poem by Hakushu Kitahara who was a famous poet since the early 20th century. Come to the Miura-hanto Peninsula. A beautiful coastline, attractive places to visit, not to mention gorgeous fish cuisine - the Miura-hanto Peninsula is surely the land of plenty.

    Getting there
    Ten minutes by JR Yamanote Line from Tokyo Station to Shinagawa Station. An hour 10 minutes by Kehin Kyuko Line Limited Express from Shinagawa Station to Misakiguchi Station.

     

  • Odawara
    The hub of the transportation system - The entrance to the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park
    Odawara City is situated in the southwest of Kanagawa Prefecture with the Haya-kawa River and the Sakawa-gawa River flowing through the city. Odawara is the hub of the transportation system where major railways such as JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line and Odakyu Line and Route 1 all meet. It is also the entrance to the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and is always busy with visitors and traffic.

    Odawara initially flourished around the castle of the Hojo clan that ruled the area during the 15th century and it further prospered during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries as a post town by the Tokaido, which was the main transport artery that inked Edo (former name of Tokyo) and Kyoto. Odawara Joshi Park (castle ruins park) is well known for plum blossoms in spring and the plum festival attracts large crowds of people every year. The park has been created around the castle tower that is the symbol of Odawara and which overlooks the whole city.

    Fresh seafood is brought into Odawara Harbor everyday and kamaboko - steamed processed fish meat cleverly formed on a wooden block is one of the representative marine products of Odawara. Other nationally famous special products of Odawara include pickled plums, paper lanterns and parquetry.

    Getting there
    Approximately 40 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station.

     

  • Yukawara
    The mild climate and the scenic view of Sagami Bay - The spa town that novelists adored
    Yugawara-onsen Hot Sring is situated at the base of the Izu-hanto Peninsula, from where the scenic view of Sagami Bay can be appreciated, and has been known as an ancient spa town because it was described in Manyoshu, Japan's most ancient collection of poems. The Chitose-gawa River and the Fujiki-gawa River flow through the center of Yugawara and the sight of rows of spa inns standing along the each river is a sight peculiar to the spa resorts in Japan. The mild climate and the abundance of lush nature of Yugawara fascinated many famous Japanese novelist of the late 19th century such as Soseki Natsume, Toson Shimazaki and Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Yugawara has become known as a health resort that is associated with these novelists ever since.

    Another features in Yugawara is that it has many historical sites that are connected to the Kamakura Shogunate that wielded power in the 1200's. There is Jogan-ji Temple, for instance, where the family of the Doi clan, who ruled Yugawara, was buried and in the precinct of the temple there is an enormous cypress tree with an estimated age of 800 years. The tree is listed as a natural monument. It is also notable that many women come to visit Yugawara as they say that Yugawara's hot spring blesses women with children. The Yukake (water splashing) Festival is a unique festival that is held every spring. It attracts large crowds of people every year.

    Getting there
    Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes by JR Tokaido-honsen Line Limited Express Train from Tokyo Station to Yugawara Station.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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