A Day In Nikko, Japan – Taking a Tour Versus Independent Travel

The shrines and temples of Nikko, one of Japan’s 21 UNESCO listed sites, are an easy day trip from Tokyo. You can do a day in Nikko either as a tour from Tokyo, or you can go there independently. Either option has its pros and cons. Read my recommendations for a complete Nikko trip experience.

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Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan – A Kaleidoscope of Colors and Shapes

The centerpiece and most visited attraction of the Nikko UNESCO World Heritage site is the Toshogu shrine. This final resting place for Tokugawa Ieyasu is like a peacock among the pigeons, an extravagant and elaborately colorful showpiece dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for almost 300 years.

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Hiking Mt. MItake – Where Nature and Religion Meet

Mt. Mitake in  Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park is a green and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby Tokyo. Only 90 minutes away, it is easily accessible and provides a non touristy cultural experience as you hike with the locals past shrines, waterfalls and a natural moss covered rock garden.

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PhotoPOSTcard: Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion – Kinkaku-Ji Temple

The setting sun glows off the gold leaf on Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, aptly named the Golden Pavilion. Continue reading “PhotoPOSTcard: Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion – Kinkaku-Ji Temple”

Photo POSTcard: Toyokuni Shrine – The Hall of One Thousand Tatami Mats

The Island of Miyajima is best known for the large floating tori gate in its harbor and for the Itsikushima shrine which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the buildings that make up the Itsikushima compels is the Toyokuni Shrine which has the nick name “Hall of One Thousand Tatami Mats” because of its large size.

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Paris Churches – Gothic at its Best

The grand dame Gothic church in Paris is the Cathedral of Notre Dame. And while visitors flock to see it, within a twenty minute walk are a number of many other lovely historic churches that should also not be missed. Read on to discover Paris churches at its Gothic best. Continue reading “Paris Churches – Gothic at its Best”

Photo essay: Bavaria’s Wieskirche

Bavaria’s Wieskirche is a UNESCO protected church in the green bucolic foothills of the German alps that was built in the mid 18th century by two brothers, J.B. and Dominikus ZImmermann.  The site became a pilgrimage destination to see the Scourged Saviour, a wooden statue that was purported to produce miracles to those who prayed to it. When the existing chapel that displayed the wooden figure became too small for the pilgrimage rush, the local abbey commissioned the larger church and shrine – and so the Wieskirche was built. Continue reading “Photo essay: Bavaria’s Wieskirche”