Many people asked me where to travel in Japan, besides the usual, well known Kyoto, Tokyo or Nara destinations… One recommendation for a day trip would be Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture. You can find here two amazingly beautiful places to visit, the Shorinzan Daruma Temple (the temple where the first Daruma Doll was created) and the Takasaki Jigen-in Temple (in the photo) where right next to the temple, you can also see the huge, 41.8 meters tall Byakui Dai-kannon statue.
Travel tips: From Tokyo you can reach Takasaki very easy, in just under an hour, with the Jōetsu or the Nagano Shinkansen. Shinkansen tickets are expensive (4600 yen - approx. $60 - one way trip from Tokyo to Takasaki), but the trip can become convenient if you will use the brand new JR Kanto Area Pass (available only for foreign tourists, from January 1, 2012).
This new JR Pass costs only 8000 yen (approx. $100), but it will be valid for 3 days in Tokyo and the Kanto area, for regular trains and reserved seats on limited expresses and Shinkansen ordinary cars.
Inside the JR Takasaki Station you will find one of the best information centers I have visited in Japan, offering a huge amount of English language maps and guides and, what’s most important, the schedule of the Takasaki buses, because you can reach the two objectives only by bus (or taxi…).
The problem is that the buses run infrequently so if you miss one you may not be able to reach the second destination during the same day. But if you arrive in the morning and pay attention to the bus schedules, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of these places…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: