Sunday, February 5, 2012

Matsumoto Castle 松本城


Matsumoto Castle

I have always wanted to visit this castle since the day I saw a picture of it in Flickr.com sometime ago in year 2010. I wanted to take pictures of this castle myself. It is so beautiful. The opportunity came when I visited World Heritage Shirakawago and the nearby city Takayama early this year. Matsumoto city is located in between Tokyo and Shirakawago and therefore, I stopped by Matsumoto city on my way back to Tokyo, stayed overnight there just to visit the famous Matsumoto Castle. Matsumoto is about 3 hours and 10 minutes bus ride from Tokyo Shinjuku Bus Terminal. It cost 3,400yen one way. You can also access Matsumoto from Takayama Bus Terminal, which is 3,100yen one way. Click here for the Nohi bus time table from Takayama to Matsumoto.  For more travel information about Matsumoto, click here.

Matsumoto Castle at night

Matsumoto Castle is one of the most beautiful and photogenic castle in Japan. It is also known as the "Crow Castle" for it's black exterior.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

World Heritage Part 3: Suganuma & Ainokura


This is the Part 3 of my World Heritage series and in this episode, I will introduce you to two more World Heritage sites next to Shirakawago. They are located in another prefecture, the Toyama Prefecture while Shirakawago is located in the Gifu Prefecture. Although located in different prefecture, they are just 30 minutes drive away from each other. The two world heritage sites are Suganuma and Ainokura, both located in a place called Gokayama and therefore, some called them the Gokayama World Heritage sites.

You can access Part 1 and Part 2 of my World Heritage series by click on the link below:

World Heritage: Suganuma of Gokayama
World Heritage: Ainokura of Gokayama

Gokayama world heritage sites are more difficult to access and therefore they are a lot more quiet than Ogimachi of Shirakawago, which is often swamped by tourist around the world. However, it is still possible to access these two sites with advanced planning and research. The two world heritage sites in Gokayama are smaller compared to Ogimachi. Read on for information about accessing these two sites.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

World Heritage Part 2: Shirakawago


Shirakawago Open Air Museum

Welcome to the Part 2 of my World Heritage Shirakawago series. In this episode, I will introduce you the Shirakawago Open Air Museum, located just across the suspension bridge from the Ogimachi village. 

To read the Part 1 of this World Heritage series, click here.

I actually returned to Ogimachi on the second day of my trip because I only managed to spend less than 3 hours of my first day there and it wasn't enough to explore The Open Air Museum. I had to leave for the other two World Heritage sites - Suganuma and Ainokura as there were only 4 buses operating a day that connects these 3 world heritage sites. Therefore, I decided that I could come back the next day.

Gassho-zukuri style Restaurants in front of the Open Air Museum

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

World Heritage Part 1: Shirakawago


World Heritage - Gassho-zukuri Houses in Shirakawago, Japan.

Hello everyone, finally I'm back. It's been 6 months since I've last posted here. I apologize for my missing in action. I've been very busy during the previous 6 months, preparing for my wedding as well as working on my new house renovation, furnishing and moving in just last December. So, finally everything is done and now i can get back to working on my blog again. The good news is, I've been taking pictures this 6 months, from Seoul in South Korea to Adelaide in Australia. I just need time to process those pictures and share them with you in this blog later.

Before I forget, Happy New Year everyone!! It's 2012 now. This year's new year weekend had been an exciting one for me, as I have finally traveled to one of the World Heritage sites in Japan - Shirakawago. It was more than 8 hours of travelling time from where I am, Kimitsu  town, which is located at the south of Tokyo. I actually wanted to visit this place at the end of year 2009, but cancelled the plan due to long travelling hours and expensive travelling cost. This is the second World Heritage sites in Japan that I have visited, after Nikko which I have visited twice in year 2009 and 2010.

Shirakawago viewed from Shiroyama Viewpoint

The Shirakawago and neighboring Gokayama regions line the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that span from Gifu to Toyama Prefectures of Japan. They were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the year 1995, famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old.


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