Trip Japan Greater Kanto Summer Season

This is visual trip journal with selective pick travel photography I taken along the trip. This is the eight trip for me to Japan with wife, second trip to Kanto Region, but now in early summer season. This is long trip cover 1 megalopolitan Tokyo, traditional 6 Kanto prefecture, plus outer additional 4 prefecture. 一都十县 大関東初夏の旅

Below is Indiana Jones like travel map, easy to explain where am I travel for the trip, high level in single map. Hope it serves a purpose for those who will undertake similar trip or look for travel inspiration.

It relative long 24 days 23 nights round region trip, and since want to write in brief, so divide into few sections below, Kanagawa prefecture 神奈川県, Yamanashi prefecture 山梨県, Nagano prefecture 長野県, Toyama prefecture 富山県, Gunma prefecture 群馬県, Saitama prefecture 埼玉県, Tochigi prefecture 栃木県, Ibaraki prefecture 茨城県, Chiba prefecture 千葉県, Izu Peninsula 伊豆半島, Tokyo 東京都. Hope your enjoy selective pick travel photography I taken along the trip, along with the travel journal below.

Kanagawa prefecture 神奈川県

Upon arrived Tokyo, over night stay near Haneda International Airport hotel. Next day direct go to Kamakura 鎌倉, follow with Shonan coast 湘南海岸. At Kamakura, first visit Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū 鶴岡八幡宮, still remember the shopping street we pass by. Next stop Meigetsuin 明月院 for the Hydrangea Ajisai 紫陽花 flower season and take lunch here. Next stop Kōtoku-in 鎌倉大仏殿高徳院. The only place I saw lot of Western tourist follow tour group for this journey, except back to Tokyo. But miss Hasedera 長谷寺, due to practice traffic control for the flower season, if we want to go in, next entry time is 2 hours from now. Arrived Enoshima 江ノ島, along Shonan coast 湘南海岸, before sunset after had the Japan set dinner in Japanese ryokan. Had the beach walk for the night.

Next day, follow the Enoshima train to visit those stop along Shonan coast 湘南海岸 and had beach walk, take the local iconic train passthru photo for my wife. Next stop is visit Enoshima island and had lunch at there. Continue journey to Odawara 小田原, for visit Odawara Castle 小田原城, and then continue to Lake Ashi 芦ノ湖, in Hakone 箱根. We had the Hakone Pirate Ship from port to port, visit local shinto shrine Hakone Shrine 箱根神社. It onsen resort we stay, feature private onsen pool, buffet dinner. Next morning, take bus to Gotemba 御殿場, and from here begin journey to Yamanashi prefecture 山梨県.

Haneda International Airport | 羽田国際空港

Summer Trip, Shinagawa Station | 夏の旅 品川駅

Shopping Street, Kamakura | 商店街 鎌倉

God offering, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū | 酒供え神 鶴岡八幡宮

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū | 鶴岡八幡宮

Hydrangea Ajisai, Meigetsuin | 紫陽花 明月院

Window of Enlightenment, Meigetsuin | 悟りの窓 明月院

Window of Enlightenment, Meigetsuin | 悟りの窓 明月院

Sunbath, Meigetsuin | 日光浴 明月院

Kōtoku-in | 鎌倉大仏 高徳院

Training passing, Shonan coast | 列車通過 湘南海岸

Shrine Visit, Enoshima | 神社参拝 江ノ島 江島神社

Endless Green, Enoshima | 無限の緑 江の島

Travel with Pets, Enoshima | 带宠物旅行 江ノ島

Odawara | 小田原

Lake Ashi, Hokone | 芦ノ湖 箱根

Shinto, Hokone Shrine | 神道 箱根神社

Relax Moment, Hokone Onsen | 放松の瞬間 箱根温泉

Yamanashi prefecture 山梨県

Why come to Yamanashi prefecture for second time? Because this is the place most likely to take scenic Mount Fuji as background. But for the duration of the trip for those day in Yamanashi prefecture, the thick cloud or mist is cover up the Mount Fuji, sometimes even with the heavy rain. So this is season without Mount Fuji, for those who travel in June will know, a kind of unique experience. Actually this without Mount Fuji, when I at Kanagawa prefecture already start, as those place we stop, by right will had Mount Fuji, but all is without. From Shonan coast, Enoshima, Lake Ashi.

We from Gotemba, direct to Lake Kawaguchi 河口湖, for two night Japanese onsen Ryokan by the lake. We turn back to Oshino Hakkai 忍野八海, despite heavy rain continues, we continue our journey to visit this place. But we do not go further to next Yamanakako 山中湖, as the rain just make it not viable to do. For the three days two night stay, we manage to visit Arakurayama Sengen Park 新倉山浅間公園, Fuji-Q Highland 富士急ハイランド (theme park), cable car to Kawaguchiko Tenjozan Park 河口湖天上山公園, Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum
河口湖オルゴールの森美術館, Oishi Park 大石公園.

Next stop is Takeda Shrine 武田神社. A unique shrine that dedicate for this warlord and his generals, while stop at Kofu 甲府市. From here onward will continue train to Suwa 諏訪, under Nagano prefecture 長野県.

Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum | 河口湖オルゴールの森美術館

Arakura Fuji Sengen Jinja | 新倉富士浅間神社

Chureito Pagoda, Arakurayama Sengen Park | 忠霊塔 新倉山浅間公園

Oishi Park, Kawaguchiko | 河口湖 大石公園

Takeda Shrine 武田神社

Kōfu Takeda Shrine | ‎甲府 甲斐の国の総鎮護 戦国武将武田信玄 武田二十四将 武田神社

Nagano prefecture 長野県

First stop Suwa 諏訪, mainly come here to visit the one big shinto shrine Suwa Taisha 諏訪大社 (4 shrine spread across the area), we come for the ancient two. We stay at onsen hotel just next to Lake Suwa. Had a good local soba noodle lunch at one of the local restaurants within hotel and train station. First we take taxi go to Suwa Taisha Upper Main Shrine (Kamisha Honmiya) 諏訪大社 上社本宮, and walk from here to Suwa Taisha Kamisha Maemiya 諏訪大社 上社前宮, and then walk to the next town Chino 茅野市 train station and back to the hotel. Hotel had one old onsen facility just next building block. Try that while staying here. Japanese set dinner. Next day after breakfast walk to the Takashima Castle 高島城.

Take train to Matsumoto Station 松本駅, visit Matsumoto Castle 松本城. Then change train line to Shinshimashima Station 新島々駅. Take bus to Kamikochi 上高地 for a stay. Come to this highland in the right season and timing, scenery and beautiful landscape. Have a good walk and hike from Taisho Pond 大正池 to Kappa Bridge 河童橋. I go back to the hotel for the onsen bath and I enough for the walk. Wife continue to Myōjin First Pond 明神一之池. Japanese set dinner.

Next day go back Matsumoto, and go for a night stay Omachionsenkyo 大町温泉郷. Prepare for next day go to highland Mount Tate 立山 (that portion is under Toyama prefecture, so detailed ignore here). Next day after come down from Mount Tate, to Nagano Station
長野駅, for Zenkō-ji Temple 善光寺. Next go to Karuizawa 軽井沢 for a stay. Visit places like Harunire Terrace, Karuizawa Kogen Church 軽井沢高原教会 ,石の教会 内村鑑三記念堂 Stone & glass church (this is impressive architecture design, despite can not take photos inside, worth to visit), Kumoba Pond 雲場池 (in next day early morning), since no far from the onsen hotel we stay. From here onward will go Kusatsu Onsen 草津温泉, located in Gunma prefecture 群馬県.

Lake Suwa, Kamisuwa Onsen | 諏訪湖 上諏訪温泉

Suwa Taisha Upper Main Shrine (Kamisha Honmiya) 諏訪大社 上社本宮

Suwa Taisha Upper Main Shrine (Kamisha Honmiya) | 信濃国一宮 諏訪大社 上社本宮

Takashima Castle 高島城

Takashima Castle, Suwa | 諏訪 高島城 (別名:諏訪の浮城、島崎城)

Matsumoto Castle | 松本城 (別名: 深志城、烏城)

Taisho Pond, Kamikochi | Kamikochi | 上高地 大正池

Taisho Pond, Kamikochi | Kamikochi | 上高地 大正池

Elder couple, Kamikochi | 老夫婦 上高地

Myōjin First Pond 明神一之池

Myōjin First Pond, Kamikochi | 上高地 明神一之池

Kappa Bridge, Kamikochi | 上高地 河童橋

Zenkō-ji Temple, Nagano | 長野 善光寺

Harunire Terrace, Karuizawa | 軽井沢

Harunire Terrace, Karuizawa | 軽井沢

Stone wall Church design by Tadao Ando, Karuizawa | 軽井沢 石の教会 ( 安藤忠雄 設計)

Kumoba Pond, Karuizawa | 軽井沢 雲場池

Toyama prefecture 富山県

Over night at Omachionsenkyo 大町温泉郷 for the onsen ryokan. Buffet dinner. Next day we go Mount Tate 立山, 3000m, the route typically call Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route famous for during the summer season, saw the snow wall (ie Snow Corridor 雪の大谷), and changing lot of transport. Lucky we make the hotel stay at Mount Tate, direct at Murodo 室堂. Despite bad weather the snow wall sightseeing is being blocked, but it open after working hours and hotel had tour guide bring hotel guest for snow wall tour, where less people at the time. Since most of people if just come for snow wall, it being blocked during day time, most likely will not had chance to see it. With saw the snow wall, it makes previous trip 7 explore Hokuriku region during Autumn season more complete with additional of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route being checkoff.

Next day take train back to Nagano prefecture side and continue the journey.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route | 立山黒部阿尔卑斯山脉路线

Snow Corridor | 雪の大谷

Gunma prefecture 群馬県

When deciding do Kanto region trip, it is one of the few places in my list must visit for onsen. No matter how I saw, Gunma prefecture is onsen paradise, lot of town is famous for onsen. So for the trip I make two stops, both onsen town.

Kusatsu Onsen 草津温泉 (the onsen show and the night lighting worth seeing), follow with  Ikaho Onsen 伊香保温泉 (had visit nearby Lake Haruna 榛名湖 as well). The night while sleep wake up by the earthquake land shake, it first time I come for Japan for so many round, never encountered before. The building is shaking, after checking and noted that is happen few prefectures far from here. I can imagine how shaking will be from the source.

Yubatake, Kusatsu Onsen | 草津温泉 湯畑

Kosenji Temple, Kusatsu Onsen | 草津温泉 光泉寺

Yubatake, Kusatsu Onsen | 草津温泉 湯畑

Yubatake, Kusatsu Onsen | 草津温泉 湯畑

Ikaho Onsen | 伊香保温泉

Kajika Bridge, Ikaho Onsen | 伊香保温泉 河鹿橋

Lake Haruna | 榛名湖

Saitama prefecture 埼玉県

Saitama prefecture 埼玉県, we only stay at one place, Kawagoe 川越, known as mini Kyoto, got a lot of old buildings. Beside the old town street with bell tower as iconic landmark, visit Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine 川越氷川神社 in one end, Kawagoe Kita-in Temple 川越大師 喜多院 another.

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine | 川越氷川神社

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine | 川越氷川神社

Kawagoe Kita-in Temple 川越大師 喜多院

Kawagoe Kita-in Temple | 川越大師 喜多院

Kawagoe Kita-in Temple | 川越大師 喜多院

500 Rakan | 喜多院 五百羅漢

Tochigi prefecture 栃木県

We make stay two place, one at Nikko 日光, for visit Nikkō Tōshō-gū 日光東照宮, Shinkyo Bridge 神橋, Nikkozan Rinnoji Temple 輪王寺, 日光二荒山神社, 日光山輪王寺法華堂, 輪王寺大猷院 at Nikko, and Lake Chūzenji 中禅寺湖 for Chūzen-ji Temple 中禅寺, 日光二荒山神社, Kegon Falls 華厳の滝. It Japanese onsen ryokan, Japanese dinner set. Another stay is at Kinugawa onsen 鬼怒川温泉, for onsen. Visit near by Kinu-Tateiwa-Otsuribashi Suspension Bridge 鬼怒楯岩大吊橋, Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura EDO WONDERLAND 日光江戸村.

Chūzen-ji Temple | 中禅寺

Chūzen-ji Temple | 中禅寺

Lake Chūzenji | 中禅寺湖

Lake Chūzenji | 中禅寺湖

Kegon Falls | 華厳の滝

Nikkō Tōshō-gū | 日光東照宮

Nikkō Tōshō-gū | 日光東照宮

Nikkō Tōshō-gū | 日光東照宮

Shinkyo Bridge | 神橋

Nikko Futarasan jinja | 日光二荒山神社

Nikkosanrinnoji Taiyuin | 日光山輪王寺 大猷院

Kinu-Tateiwa-Otsuribashi Suspension Bridge | 鬼怒楯岩大吊橋



Ibaraki prefecture 茨城県

In Ibaraki prefecture 茨城県, we pass thru Mito 水戸, but never make the stop for Kairakuen 偕楽園, due no not in the season, no matter how I saw, that garden need to visit during Spring for the sakura season. In my plan, mainly intent to visit Oarai 大洗 and see this iconic dori landmark facing the ocean, to see the sun rise moment. 大洗磯前神社 神磯の鳥居, saw when arrived and next day early morning just for that. Since stay in onset hotel just next to it, so we explore nearby while during the stay. Next day, visit Kashima Jingu 鹿島神宮, at Kashima 鹿嶋市. One of the old shinto shrines before Meiji era already listed as regional famous shinto shrine. Then from here go Sawara 佐原, inside Chiba prefecture 千葉県.

Oarai Isosaki Shrine | 大洗磯前神社

Oarai Coast | 大洗海岸

Dori, Oarai Isosaki Shrine | 大洗磯前神社 神磯の鳥居

Kashima Jingu | 常陸國一之宮 鹿島神宮

Chiba prefecture 千葉県

Arrived Sawara 佐原, first we visit Shimosa Ichinomiya Katori Shrine 香取神宮, one of the shinto shrines already famous before Meiji Era as well. Then to the place famous for Little Edo and a street full of old building divided by the river, where can see for people take the boat ride. Next day for Naritasan Shinshoji Temple 成田山新勝寺. After visiting the temple, due to earthquake happen on the next region near where we want to go, disrupt the transport service to Hama-Kanaya Station 浜金谷駅 for a stay, for Kenkonzan Nichihon Temple 乾坤山 日本寺. So when arrived Chiba station 千葉駅, we decide to make the change and book one night onsen resort at Atami 熱海, Izu peninsula  伊豆半島 (one day before the original plan). Despite later on transport service is resume, but we still decided to let the original booked ryokan forfeit and away from the earthquake region. This is the second time for this trip we encounter earthquake and the land shake. First round still consider far away few prefecture away, but this round if follow the original plan, we are close to the earthquake source.

Shimosa Ichinomiya Katori Shrine | 下總國一之宮 香取神宮

Sawara | 佐原

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple | 成田山新勝寺

Izu Peninsula 伊豆半島

Arrived at Atami 熱海, stay in onsen resort. Put the earthquake matter away, since we practically away from the prefecture already. Had a walk near Atami station shopping district, and back for the onsen bath. While on the way wait for go for dinner, the earthquake and land shake happen again, this round is from next city Ito 伊東, a car distant for 40 minutes. After this 3rd round of the earthquake encounter, we are completely learn and understood how Japanese how they encounter and cope with it, be calm as nothing you can do about it.
Next day walk from hotel to Atami Castle 熱海城. After breakfast, we arrived and make a stay at onsen ryokan at Izu-Kōgen 伊豆高原. We visit Omuro 大室山, Jogasaki Coast 城ヶ崎海岸, Izu Teddy Bear Museum and have a good stay in onsen ryokan. Next day we visit Shimoda 下田, mainly for wanting to take the black ship 黒船 ride around the bay. Will see the iconic Torii Gate with black ship pass thru scene. After that had the walking along the street and than take lunch here, before taking the train to Kawazu Station 河津駅. From here go to stay at onsen ryokan where we can hike for the Kawazu Nanadaru Waterfall 河津七滝. I purposely saw Yasunari Kawabata 川端康成 classic novel “The Izu Dancer” 伊豆の踊り子 before the trip, intent to experience the story, and decide to make stop few places where the story take place, I think it is a good experience to walk through the place where the writer had mentioned in their work. We take the bus to stop at the 1st waterfall location, and then take a hike along the forest and river, and saw the 7 waterfalls. The onsen ryokan we stay had private bath and access to outdoor that located at 7 waterfall, iconic scene.
Next day we visit Shuzenji 修善寺 (this is place name, no just the temple). Had the walk in the Shuzenji Onsen 修善寺温泉 area, visit such as Shuzenji Temple 福地山 修禅寺, Bamboo Forest Path 竹林の小径, Katsura Bridge 桂橋, Kokei Bridge 虎渓橋, Tokko no Yu 独鈷の湯 etc. Next stop Izu-Nagaoka 伊豆長岡 for Izunokuni Panorama Park, take the cable car to Mt. Katsuragi 葛城山 (again due to the season, no Mount Fuji as background). Next stop Nirayama reverberatory furnace 韮山反射炉. We make our stay at MISHIMA 三島, hotel with onsen bath. Next day we visit Mishima SkyWalk and follow with Mishima Taisha 三嶋大社. After that we take Shinkansen 新幹線 to Tokyo 東京, Shinjuku 新宿.

Atami | 熱海

Omuro | 大室山

Jogasaki Coast | 城ヶ崎海岸

Teddy Bear Museum

Teddy Bear Museum

Hanafubuki | 伊豆高原 城ケ崎温泉 花吹雪

Shimoda | 下田

Shimoda | 下田

Shimoda | 下田

Kawazu Nanadaru Waterfall | 河津七滝

Amagiso | 大滝温泉 天城荘

Amagiso | 大滝温泉 天城荘

Bamboo Forest Path, Shuzenji Onsen | 修善寺温泉 竹林の小径

Shuzenji Temple | 福地山 修禅寺

Izunokuni Panorama Park

Nirayama reverberatory furnace | 韮山反射炉.

Mishima SkyWalk

Mishima Taisha | 三嶋大社

Tokyo 東京

We are stay at Shinjuku 新宿 for rest of the nights before depart back. Place for this second round visit Tokyo, go for place previous visit before and some new places, where cover: Meiji Jingu 明治神宮, Sibuya Crossing, Tokyo City View And Sky Deck 六本木ヒルズ展望台 東京シティビュー, Shinjuku Kabukichō 新宿歌舞伎町, Shinjuku Golden Gai 新宿ゴールデン街.

Next day Yasukuni Shrine 靖国神社, Kagurazaka 神楽坂, Imperial Palace 皇居 (to take that iconic two layer bridge photo), Statue of Kusunoki Masashige 楠木正成像, Akihabara 秋葉原, Ueno 上野, Sensoji 浅草寺.

Next day Kōenji Station 高円寺駅, stop for Kōenji Hikawa Shrine 高円寺氷川神社. Another stop, from Kichishō-ji Temple 吉祥寺駅 walk and passthru Inokashirakoen 井の頭公園 to Ghibli Museum 三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 (we had make booking in advance and reservation, as this the place only allow pre-registration and booking before can visit ) the manuscript saw inside is touching, had an exclusive short animation film, and we take our lunch here. Despite not photo allow to be taken inside the museum, but worth a visit, if you like Hayao Miyazaki 宮崎 駿 animation movies, it dream come true experience. Follow with Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum 江戸東京たてもの園 (here preserved lot of Edo period building move from other places and assembly back to his place). Last stop Haneda International Airport for departure back.

Shibuya Crossing

Tokyo City View And Sky Deck | 六本木ヒルズ展望台 東京シティビュー

Tokyo City View And Sky Deck | 六本木ヒルズ展望台 東京シティビュー

Shinjuku Kabukichō | 新宿歌舞伎町

Yasukuni Shrine | 靖国神社

Statue of Kusunoki Masashige | 楠木正成像

Akihabara | 秋葉原

Akihabara | 秋葉原

Ueno | 上野

Kōenji Hikawa Shrine | 高円寺氷川神社

Kichishō-ji Temple | 吉祥寺駅

Ghibli Museum | 三鷹の森ジブリ美術館

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum | 江戸東京たてもの園

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum | 江戸東京たてもの園

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