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Arashiyama Genrokuzancho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-0007, Japan
In western Kyoto, there is a very large forest of bamboo. As you can see in the photo, the shoots grow very tall, making those who stroll by look quite small. I'm sure there are times when this road is crowded, but when we were there, people were...
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Japan, 〒107-6290 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka, 9丁目7−6 東京ミッドタウン・ガーデン内
Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake created this experimental design museum, and star Japanese architect Tadao Ando constructed the building. The museum always has great installations by artists such as the industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. —...
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7 Chome-14-18 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 106-0032, Japan
Honmura An in Roppongi is famous for its housemade soba (chewy buckwheat noodles). Owner Koichi Kobari uses a sobabocho (soba knife) to cut the noodles each day. I always get the soba with tororo, which is grated mountain yam, and a cold beer. —...
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2 Chome-11 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
From Shinjuku’s bar scene to Roppongi’s polished cigar bars and Shibuya’s all night karaoke, Tokyo nightlife offers something for everyone. Dogenzaka’s Love Hotel Hill is sprinkled with small Love Hotels, Japan’s kitschy themed rent by the hour...
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29-3 Sarugakuchō, 渋谷区 Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0033, Japan
My wife’s favorite coffee shop in Daikanyama has an open terrace that’s perfect for people-watching. The space was inspired by 18th-century Italian cafés. —Kashiwa Sato 29-3 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, 81/(0) 3-3770-9517. This appeared in the...
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28-17 Sarugakuchō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0033, Japan
Imagine a whole flea market crammed into one small space. That’s Hollywood Ranch, where I’ve shopped since college for jeans, T-shirts, and even incense. —Kashiwa Sato 81/(0) 3-3463-5668. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue. Read more...
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68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 612-0882, Japan

Fushimi Inari Taisha on Inariyama mountain is dedicated to the Shinto gods of rice and sake, but Inari is also the god of merchants and that brings a lot of businesspeople to worship here. Everyone else stops by to see the thousands...

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Yanaka, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0001, Japan
On the east side of Tokyo, travelers can experience the city’s frenetic spirit. In the Ameyayokocho neighborhood, you’ll find seedy-looking love hotels, pachinko parlors, and chatty street vendors. When the chaos becomes too intense, escapeto...
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Lake Chūzenji, Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1661, Japan
The Chuzenji Temple in Oku-nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was originally founded in 784 by a Buddhist monk known as Shodo-shonin and is located on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, which is approximately 1,300 meters above sea level. In the middle of the...
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Japan, 〒150-0011 Tokyo, 渋谷区Higashi, 3丁目16−10 アリティマ 1F
I go here when I want a really good burger or steak. They dry-age their meat, and steaks are charcoal grilled. —Kashiwa Sato 3-16-10 J Park, Ebisu Biru, Higashi, Shibuya-ku, 81/(0) 3-5447-0536. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue....
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1-1 Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan
Even in the middle of winter, the Imperial Palace Gardens are well worth a stroll. There are plants from all the prefectures of Japan, and the bamboo is lush year-round. The palace is about a 10-minute walk from Tokyo Station, and it's a...
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1 Chome-12-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 130-0015, Japan
A stone lantern and stepping stones on the grounds of Kyu-yasuda Teien (former Yasuda Gardens) in Ryogoku, Tokyo. This is a small Japanese garden located behind the Kokugikan (sumo hall) in Ryogoku that was once owned by Zenjiro Yasuda, founder of...
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1 Chome-3-18 Chūōchō, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 152-0001, Japan
I stay at the Claska in the Meguro neighborhood or the tokyo-park/index.jsp?null"Park Hyatt Tokyo. The Claska is a cool boutique hotel, which is rare in Toyko. I get a kick out of staying at the Park Hyatt for the views and because of Lost in...
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1 Chome-31-1 Asamaonsen, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano-ken 390-0303, Japan
At the new Kai Matsumoto inn, located in the historic town of Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps, the spa offers 13 different traditional Japanese bathing rituals in its eight baths. The alkaline water is drawn from nearby Asama Hot Springs, which...
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1-2 Nakajimachō, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0811, Japan
A super talented barista in Caffe Ponte near Hiroshima Peace Park inscribed a message of peace and love on my morning latte. For the last 67 years the city of Hiroshima has devoted itself to the causes of peace and nuclear non-proliferation.
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6 Chome-1-23 Yanaka, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0001, Japan
An art gallery in a former public bathhouse, Scai presents rotating exhibits of international and Japanese artists, including Anish Kapoor and Shinko Okuhara. —Marie Doezema Kashiwayu-Ato, 6-1-23 Yanaka, Taito-ku, scaithebathhouse.com/en. This...
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3 Chome-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-0005, Japan
The Tokyo International Forum is a stunning architectural masterpiece of glass and steel truss designed as a multipurpose convention and event space by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. It was completed in 1996 on the site of the former Tokyo...
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1072 Amatsu, Kamogawa-shi, Chiba-ken 299-5503, Japan
The Torii Arch reaches skyward on a small islet off the Pacific coast of Amatsu-kominato in the Boso Peninsula of Chiba. I came across this after walking around the breakwater of the fishing port located in front of Tanjoji Temple, birthplace of...
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2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
Touring Tokyo via Rickshaw is something I never thought I would do. For whatever reason it always seemed wrong to have a man standing where a horse would be in other cultures. But then again, every country is different and I soon learned that this...
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Yamada, Kutchan, Abuta District, Hokkaido 044-0081, Japan
Kimamaya is the Japanese word for “be yourself,” and the laid-back nine-room hotel in the Niseko ski area encourages you to do just that. Snow Stats With a 600-inch average annual snowfall, Niseko has been called the Whistler of Asia. Kimamaya’s...
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3 Chome-2-9 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0023, Japan
In the outer market of Tsukiji, I bought a knife at this amazing shop and the experience stuck with me. Any cook knows a great knife makes all the difference, and here they have such a vast variety of knives, at various prices, that anyone can...
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Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Less than an hour south of Tokyo, Kamakura is a popular coastal town and home to the Great Buddha. This bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple, has a height of 13.35 meters. It is the second tallest bronze...
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浅草 新仲見世商店街 Asakusa Shin-Nakamise, 1 Chome-26 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032, Japan
Stray from the path to some more modern and atmospheric shopping. Here bolts of silk are displayed for sale at one of the many kimono shops lining the Shin-nakamise covered shopping pavilion in front of the iconic Senjoji Temple. If you're...
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Mount Nokogiri, Kanaya, Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture 299-1861, Japan
Trademark notch at the top of Nokogiriyama ("Saw Mountain") near Futtsu in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The mountain features a distinctive sawtoothed profile of a Japanese saw, due in part to the mountain's history as a stone quarry during the Edo...
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7-3 Saiwaichō, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama-ken 350-0063, Japan
The historic kurazukuri district of Kawagoe, a short train ride north of Tokyo, is home to dozens of artisan shops, including Machikan, which has been making and selling knives and swords for generations. While in town, try the famous sweet-potato...
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294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera on Mount Otowa is one of the most famous temples in Japan, a place that appears in every sequence of Japanese travel photos. The landscape is all cherry trees and forest; it is among Kyoto's loveliest spots. The current structure...

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3 Chome-3-21 Ikenohata, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0008, Japan
At the Suigetsu Hotel Ohgaisou—located on the site of Meiji-era novelist Mori Ogai’s home—details include Japanese-style rooms with tatami floors, cypress and marble tubs, and a gardenrestaurant. —Marie Doezema This appeared in the...
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1 Kinkakujichō, Kita-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 603-8361, Japan
Built in the 14th century as a villa for a powerful shogun, Kinkaku-ji temple, commonly referred to as the Golden Pavilion, is an easy bus ride from the main bus terminal in Kyoto. The temple is one of the most popular buildings in...
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1 Chome-9-2 Higashishinbashi, 港区 Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 105-0021, Japan
It was a magical surprise to come upon the NI-TELE Really BIG Clock at the Nippon Television Tower. This huge mechanical clock designed by Hayao Miyazaki (creator of many anime classics) plays musical, animated shows five times daily. It's so...
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2-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0052, Japan
Last November my wife and I had an 11-hour layover at Narita Airport, and so we took the Narita Express and then the Yamanote line into Shibuya. After Shibuya, we walked to Yoyogi Park. It was a Sunday morning, and the dry cold air made us feel...
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Saiwaicho, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 286-0028, Japan
I had an eight-hour layover in Tokyo (Narita). After doing a lot of research, I realized that I wouldn't have enough time to go into Tokyo without feeling incredibly rushed to get back to the airport to catch my connection home. Instead, I decided...
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Japan, 〒111-0031 Tōkyō-to, Taitō-ku, Senzoku, 3 Chome−20−2 吉原神社
My wife and I were in Japan for her first visit, and we had resolved to stay in Japanese-style ryokans instead of Western-style hotels to save money as well as for the new experiences. Needless to say, before GPS, this resolution made it...
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On our way from Sapporo to Lake Toya in Hokkaido, Japan, what emerged from the road ahead was this beautiful snow-capped mountain that looks very much like the famous majestic Mt. Fuji (highest mountain in Japan). And as we jokingly called out Mt....
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Japan, 〒321-1662 Tochigi-ken, Nikkō-shi, Yumoto, 2549−5 栃木県日光市
These little wooden structures house pumps that send piping-hot water from sulphur hot springs to the many inns and B&Bs dotting the area around Oku-nikko, a picturesque resort town located in the mountains of Nikko. It's a fantastic overnight...
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Emukai, Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture 758-0041, Japan
Artisans of Leisure’s privately guided, 17-day ceramics tour visits potters in 11 towns, including Imbe (known for its rustic Bizen-yaki ceramics) and Hagi (famous for its glazed tea accesories). Hands-on, clay-to-fire sessions can be arranged on...
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The “Contemporary Art of Japan” tour with Artisans of Leisure takes visitors to six centers of modern Japanese art and architecture. The trip includes a personal guide, who arranges meetings with curators and gallery owners, and with...
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Ureshino, Saga Prefecture, Japan
I love tea but never visited a place where it grew until my Japanese friend told me about Ureshino. I expected to see factories and machines and outlet stores. But hey, this is Japan, not America. Ureshino is a quiet town known not only for its...
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4 Chome-13 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
When I stumbled upon a pristine vintage Airstream trailer in a tiny lot in one of Tokyo's most expensive neighborhoods, I had no idea what would be inside. I was amazed to find a gem of a café, ironically called Uchu (Space) Café. With no more...
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Japan, 〒299-2100 千葉県Awa-gun, Kyonan-machi, Motona, 安房郡鋸南町鋸山
After riding the ropeway cable car up the mountain from the fishing port of Kanaya, and taking in the view of Tokyo Bay, a short hike up the forested mountainside leads to this five-story Kannon (aka Avalokitesvara and Guanyin) carved into the...
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Japan, 〒922-0242 Ishikawa-ken, Kaga-shiYamashiroonsen, 55, 55 1 3 YAMASHIRO ONSEN
The public areas of this beautiful ryokan [inn] are modern, but many of the rooms are purely traditional, with nature right outside the window. It’s very peaceful. And the people who run it are so nice. They kept insisting we use their Wi-Fi. ...
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104-0061, Japan
The stark contrast of an ancient religion with the glitzy streets of Ginza.
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409 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 247-0247, Japan
This is a stone statue of Buddha (jizou in Japanese) positioned in front of a withered tree on the grounds of Engakuji Temple in Kita-kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The large temple complex comprises 18 temples and was founded in 1282 by a...
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388-5 Asato, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 902-0067, Japan
One of the most popular Okinawan dishes is goya champuru, a stir-fry of bitter gourd, tofu, eggs, and sliced pork (or Spam). Try it at Urizn, a local restaurant that has recently opened branches on the mainland. Its version of another traditional...
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Tetsugaku-no-michi, Jōdoji Ishibashichō, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 606-8406, Japan
When we arrived in Kyoto in mid-April, most of the cherry blossoms were no longer coloring the trees but sprinkled on the ground. We got lucky, though, spotting a few along the Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku no michi) still afluff with pink...
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Higashiyama, Gotenba, Shizuoka Prefecture 412-0024, Japan
This Golden Buddha statue sits inside the main structure of Nipponzan-Myōhōji temple on the grounds of Gotenba Peace Park in Gotenba, Shizuoka Prefecture. Mt. Fuji is visible in the background. The Peace Park is an interesting blend of different...
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Watanabe Dori, Watanabedōri, Chūō-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka-ken 810-0004, Japan
This is one of the temple in Fukuoka in Japan. When I visited this city, all sakura were blooming. That scenary took my breath away.
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2 Chome-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-8588, Japan
Along with the Great Buddha (Kamakura Daibutsu), the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū Shinto shrine attracts hundreds of visitors each day in Kamakura (Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan). The rituals for seeking good fortune are many. These ema—wooden votive...
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1074番地 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 601-1111, Japan
This was a great day trip that allowed us to temporarily leave behind the amazing urban part of Kyoto. We took the train to Kibune (the second to last stop on the Eiden Eizan main line). Then there's about a 20-30m walk uphill, with no shortage of...
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1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-8111, Japan
A large park area surrounding the residence of Japan's Imperial Family is the perfect place to explore at the end of a long day. Built on the site of the old Edo castle, it is truly a magical place with a deep history. Tranquil and quiet as the...
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Japan, 〒064-0805 Hokkaidō, Sapporo-shi, Chūō-ku, Minami 5 Jōnishi, 3 Chome, 南5条西3丁目
Enter Ramen Alley near Susukino station and shoulder up to the counter at Aji No Karyu. This small shop seats about 20 and serves up Sapporo-style miso ramen, distinct for the addition of a large slice of butter combined with the thin slices of ...
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Japan, 〒604-0982 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Matsumotochō (Gokomachidōri), 御幸町通夷川上る松本町577
The cozy Kaboku Tearoom at the Ippodo Tea Company's main store in Kyoto is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy Japanese green tea served with a confection. Friendly servers show guests how to cool boiling water to the proper temperature for...
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Japan, 〒390-0873 Nagano-ken, Matsumoto-shi, Marunouchi, 4, 松本市丸の内4番1号
Hidden floors.
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1458 Iwanouecho, Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture 859-5121, Japan
Perched above Hirado Bay, the five-story Hirado Castle is surrounded on three sides by water. Once occupied by the Matsura Samurai clan, the castle’s exhibits showcase items from Japan’s feudal period including, documents, drawings, armor, and...
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Yakushima, Kumage District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Mossy landscapes and ancient, indigenous cedar trees make for fairytale hiking heaven here, and moisture is plentiful at this elevation – Yakushima is the highest mountain in southern Japan. The exquisite scenery of this island, its mountains and...
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Japan, 〒900-0034 沖縄県那覇市Higashimachi, 4, 東町4−6 東壱番館B1
Okinawan folk music is called Ryukyu minyo. The archipelago’s top minyo joint, Shimaumui, is owned by the islands’ most famous traditional singer, Misako Oshiro, who regales mostly elderly patrons in her basement bar. Her music often features...
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Ueno, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0005, Japan
Ueno is a great spot for a walkabout in Tokyo. It has almost everything that someone looking for an urban getaway could want—good food from countless cafes, restaurants, and food kiosks; a park (Ueno Park) to walk around; and even a children's...
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17-5 Sarugakucho, 渋谷区 Tokyo 150-0033, Japan
A short walk from Daikanyama Station is one of the metropolis's iconic bookstores, Tsutaya at T-Site. Designed by Klein Dytham Architecture, the Tsutaya bookstore is celebrated not only for the beauty of its three buildings but also for the...
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1 Narita, Narita-shi, Chiba-ken 286-0023, Japan
Metal detail on the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple grounds. I believe this is the character for fish, more or less signifying abundance. This large complex is a 30-40 minute ride away from Tokyo's Narita International Airport and is worth a trip...
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1-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-8557, Japan
Meiji Jingu, Ise Jingu, and Atsuta Jingu are the three great Shinto shrines of Japan. Meiji Jingu is located in central Tokyo northwest of Harajuku station. It was built in 1920 in honor of Emperor Meiji, who was largely responsible for Japan's...
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Nagawa, Chiisagata District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Japan brings to life the beauty and simplicity of order. This rock garden was one example of thoughtfulness in aesthetic. While traveling this lovely country, keep your eye out for deliberate design in unexpected places, and a deep respect and...
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1 Chome-1 Komachi, 小町 Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0006, Japan
I toured this 500-year-old temple in Kamakura with my oldest son in 2012. A very humbling and spiritual visit!