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I’m Back From Japan! See My 20 Favorite Photos!

Julia and I just returned from a 10 day trip to Japan. We started out in Kyoto and took day trips to Miyajima, Nara, and Koyasan. We then traveled to Tokyo and added day trips to Kamakura, Nikko, and Mt. Takao. Here are my 20 favorite photos!

See My Full Itinerary For 10 Days In Japan


Julia and I just returned from a 10 day trip to Japan. We started out in Kyoto and took day trips to Miyajima, Nara, and Koyasan. We then traveled to Tokyo and added day trips to Kamakura, Nikko, and Mt. Takao. I took over 2000 photos in Japan, and will be doing individual write-ups for each trip. I’ll also be doing a “how-to-guide” for those of you planning to make your own trip to the “land of the rising sun”. For now, I give you my 20 favorite photos!


1.) Staying at a temple in Koyasan was my favorite part of this trip. We woke up at 6:00 AM to partake in prayer and for one and  a half hours were treated to one of the most moving chants I’ve ever heard.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Staying In A Koyasan Temple: Dinner is served

2.) We arrived in Kyoto just as the cherry blossoms were beginning to color the landscape.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Cherry Blossoms In Japan

3.) Tokyo is a special place. The blend of old and new can be found around every corner.

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Outside Of The Imperial Palace

4.) You’ve never experienced train travel until you’ve taken a ride on the high speed Shinkansen.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
A High Speed Ride On The Shinkansen

5.) A stunning five story pagoda in Nara.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Five Story Pagoda In Nara

6.) When the tide is low, you can walk right out to the Torii Gate in Miyajima.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Watching The Tides And Sacred Dear Of Miyajima Island

7.) It was cold in Nikko, but well worth the trip

Nikko Lake Chuzenji Japan Tokyo Day Trip
Lake Chuzenji

8.) The Giant Buddha in Kamakura is the third largest Buddha in Japan.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Giant Buddha in Kamakura

9.) It was a tough call between Shinjuku and Shabuya at night for this 9th slot. So much character in these neighborhoods.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Shinjuku Tokyo

10.) Kyoto Tower made for a welcome introduction to the beautiful city of Kyoto

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Kyoto Tower

11.) Nijo Castle was once the seat of the shogun.

Nijo Castle Japan Kyoto
Nijo Castle

12.) This was our first day in Tokyo. Asakusa was a great place to begin.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Our First Day In Tokyo

13.) Danjo Garan in Koyasan is the temple complex built by Kobo Daishi.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Danjo Garan

14.) Cherry Blossoms at Kiyomizu-dera

Kiyomizudera Temple
The Blossoms

15.) This was taken in the garden of the Yasaka Shrine.

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Yasaka Shrine

16.) From the summit of Mt. Misen on Miyajima Island

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
Mt. Misen Summit Miyajima

17.) It’s impossible to truly capture the scale of the wooden Todaishi Temple

Nara Todaiji Temple Japan Kyoto
Approaching Daibutsuden

18.) I’m going to have to revisit Lake Chuzenji in summer to take these duck boats for a spin.

Nikko Lake Chuzenji Japan Tokyo Travel
Lake Chuzenji

19.) The view of Nara from Nigatsu-do was pretty special

20 Favorite Japan Photos Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Nikko Kamakura Miyajima
View From Nigatsu-do

20.) No caption needed here. Just a beautiful bell.

Nara Todaiji Temple Japan Kyoto
The Bell

I'm Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

29 comments on “I’m Back From Japan! See My 20 Favorite Photos!

  1. It all looks so incredibly beautiful. I’d love to visit Japan, we have friends who are going back again this year in May. Lucky them.

  2. This makes me want to book a flight right now! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great photos and looking forward to reading the write-ups. Having completed the Camino last year, I’m heading to Japan later this year to walk the Kumano Kodo and gain my dual pilgrim status. I’ll also be staying at Koyasan actually but with limited information available online, I’ll definitely be keen to read your thoughts. Did you do any trekking while you were in the mountains there?

    • Thanks, Kelly! The Kumano Kodo looks amazing. I’m hoping to return to Japan for the 88 temple pilgrimage some day. Koyasan is an incredible place and their are an abundance of temples there for accommodation. We didn’t do any trekking, but we did do a lot of daily hiking. Most of the information online is in Japanese though.

  4. Amazing! Would love to go. Looking forward to reading more about your trip.

  5. Another country on my list! I look forward to reading about the different places on your trip. Was it a very expensive place to travel?

    • Japan is really affordable right now. The exchange rate has kept us from visiting in years past, but right now it’s about 100 Yen to 1 US Dollar. This makes the prices just like being at home. The other great thing is that foreign visitors can buy a Japan Rail pass allowing for unlimited travel on all JR trains and Shinkansen. This allowed us to travel all around Japan on high speed trains for a fraction of what a local would have to pay.

  6. They Looks So Beautiful

  7. So this is why you’ve been so quiet! Not a bad reason to be!

  8. Glad to hear and see you had a wonderful trip!!

  9. Stunning photos. From your captions it sounds as though you had an amazing trip.

  10. I am mostly can see the Orient was very pretty sure envy you and the pictures were awesome.

  11. Wow….just, wow! Your photos are absolutely stunning. Looks like an incredible trip!

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