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The dawn of Japan’s contact with the western world
The beautiful temples and churches of Hirado
What makes Hirado so interesting is not just its historic ties with the west, but its well preserved old streets and general feel of ancient Japan. The city is for the most part located on an island of the same name and was not even connected to the mainland until a bridge was built in 1977 connecting it to Kyushu island.

Day-trips from Tokyo: Karuizawa
Everything you need to know about this resort town
Toto, we're not in Tokyo any more: the main road north from Karuizawa station
Karuizawa is a tranquil resort town an hour by train from Tokyo, a good place for a fun day-trip or relaxing two- or three-day break

Public Onsen near Lake Chuzenji
Soak and take in the scenery at Nikko Lakeside Hotel
The front of Nikko Lakeside Hotel
Nikko Lakeside Hotel offers public hot springs on the shores of Lake Chuzenji. Enjoy a relaxing soak while enjoying scenic views of the area.

Creating Soba in Iiyama
Noodles and more in Nagano
Yellow oilseed rape blossoms in Iiyama
Combine a soba-making experience with the comfort and hospitality of an overnight stay at a family-run Japanese hot spring inn

Ajimu Rural Homestay
Experience Japanese farming culture
Beautiful views
The Ajimu Rural Homestay is a unique opportunity to experience Japanese farming culture. The peaceful atmosphere, farming experience, and kindness of the hosts will ensure a fun, edifying, and memorable trip.

Taki no Yu Hot Spring in Naruko
Naruko's most famous bath house
The Taki no Yu bath house 
 Taki no Yu (滝の湯) is Naruko's most famous hot spring with over 1000 years of history. It can be easily accessed via a three minute walk from JR Naruko-Onsen Station. 

Yama-no-yu, Yuzawa
Possibly the best-loved of the public onsen in Yuzawa
Yama-no-yu is a public onsen run by Yuzawa town in Niigata. It is located near the spring source that feeds it so is popular with onsen aficionados.

The Nozawa Onsen Fire Festival
A glorious exhibition of drunken insanity
The pyre up in flames after the men charged with defending it have fled.
The Nozawa Onsen Fire Festival, an outrageous combination of flames, kindling and tons of sake is held every year on January 15th in Nozawa Onsen, a hot spring resort and ski village in northern Nagano Prefecture.

Iwa-no-Yu Onsen in Iwappara
Onsen with a stone bath tub by the side of a river
Iwa-no-Yu is just outside Yuzawa.
Iwa-no-Yu is a quaint locals' onsen on the banks of a river just outside Yuzawa town.

Kaido-no-yu by Kagura Ski Resort
One of the best of Yuzawa's 5 town onsen
The sign for Kaido-no-yu just off R17 in Mitsumata
Kaido-no-yu is one of the 5 public onsen run by Yuzawa town. It is a great little hot spring facility that also has an outdoor bath.