My exchange semester in Japan

I will share my experience throughout my exchange Semester in Japan on this site. The goal is to compile a list of interesting travel and sightseeing spots. I will also include some interesting facts or historical background information such in a way that this page could be seen as a short wiki with some personal sitenotes. Also take a look at My Traveldiary in Japan in which i described my time in Japan in a more personal manner.

0. Compilations

Compilation: Viewpoints of Tokyo

This compilation lists some places which promise to provide a nice city view. The ratings are my personal opinion and ...
Read More

Compilation: Garden and parks in Tokyo

This is a compilation of gardens and parks. There are certainly more worth seeing but i will share my impressions ...
Read More

1. Tokyo

The metropolitian Tokyo actually consists of many wards which in turn consists of many cities which were historically merged after the end of World War II. These wards have an individual administration and town hall. The following posts shall give you a small summarized overview on the different wards and their potential sightseeing spots. This content is  not comprehensive enough and only covers spots i actually visited and believe to be worth mentioning.

The Senso-Ji Temple

Ward: Taito

In my personal opinion Taito is the best wards out of all wards in Tokyo, though of course i might be biased since i used to live here for 3 months. The popular district of Asakusa and Akihabara are located here as well as the Ueno park and Shinobazu pond ...
Read More

Ward: Minato

Minato is located in the south of Tokyo and is home to various embessies and domestic companies such as Honda, Sony, NEC and Toshiba. One of Tokyo's symbol, the Tokyo Tower, is located her not far away from the KEIO university which i used to attend in my exchange semester ...
Read More

Ward: Shibuya

Shibuya is probably one of the more famous wards in Tokyo. Hearing that name, one of the world's most busy crossroads and streets filled with blinking advertisements and clothing brands come to one's mind. However additional to that busy shopping part, there is also this big busy greenery park offering ...
Read More

Ward: Shinjuku

Today the in the west located Shinjuku ward is the commercial and administrative centre of Metropolitian Tokyo. A variety of areas can be found here ranging from business, shopping to leisure and food. Docomo Tower As of 2019 the Docomo Tower with its 240m is the fourth tallest building in ...
Read More

Ward: Chiyoda

Seen as a wide green area on google maps in central Tokyo is the Imperial Garden and together with the Yasukuni Shrine, Hibiya Park and National Museum of Modern Arts it actually makes up for 22% of Chiyoda's area (wiki, 01.11.2019). Imperial Palace East Garden There is a huge green ...
Read More

Ward: Bunkyo

Bunkyo (文京) uses the Kanji for culture (文) and capital (京) and indeed has some very fancy aristocratic gardens and is home of the Tokyo University - the first imperial university and now known as one of Japan's most prestigious universities (wiki, 02.11.2019 ). Bunkyo City Hall The Bunkyo City ...
Read More

Ward: Chuo

Formerly known as the downtown area of Edo-Tokyo and main commercial center, the Chuo Ward continues to build on this reputation today. Makes sense to name it Chuo (中央) where both Kanji mean 'center'. Ginza shopping street This street offers a lot of named brands which are all located in ...
Read More

Ward: Meguro

Meguro is more of a residential area in the South West of Tokyo.  Contrary to its name, Meguro station is actually nto located in the Meguro Ward but slightly off on its eastern border. I believe the main attraction Meguro is known for is its beautiful Sakura viewing spot in ...
Read More

Ward: Koto / Edogawa

These two wards are located east from central Tokyo across the Sumida river (Koto) and further east across the Arakwa river (Edogawa). Although these wards are relatively remote and were not of much interest for me while i stayed abroad, i feel that it is still necessary to write about ...
Read More

 

2. Specials

Spots or Topics i deemed to deserve an extra posts.

A mini version of the statue of liberty

Odaiba

According to a local Japanese the islands of Odaiba were artificially build in the Edo Period (1850). Because the Americans ...
Read More
Entrance of the Sengokuji-temple

Sengokuji-temple

The Sengokuji temple is famous within the Buddhismn culture. For layman who are not too interested in Buddhismn though, it ...
Read More

Ueno

Ueno is a district in the Taito ward and the area where i used to live during my exchange semester ...
Read More

Asakusa

After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Asakusa grew as an entertainment district. However after the World War II it lost ...
Read More

Gotokoji Temple

The Manekin Neko - beckoning cat - has many different stories of origin. The most popular story takes place at ...
Read More

Fushimi Inari

If you wander around Japan for a while you will realize that there are a lot of smaller shrines which ...
Read More

Tohoku Sandai Matsuri

The Tohoku region is located north from the Kanto region. There is a very unique week called the Sandai Matsuri ...
Read More

3. Trips

Possible one day trips around Tokyo which you can do at the weekend.

Mt-Fuji and Chureito Pagoda

Trip: Kawaguchiko and Fuji-Q Themepark

The most iconic picture of Mt. Fuji is probably the one where you can see a pagoda in front and Mt. Fuji in the back of it. And it does not take you much to take this picture by yourself! This scenic photo spot is easily accessible from Kawaguchiko city ...
Read More
buddha statue with cap and jacket

Trip: Hiking Mt. Takao

Mount Takao is a 1 hour train ride away from Tokyo and is therefore the nearest and most easiest accessible mountain around Tokyo. There are several trails with different difficulties and to see different sights. Tokyocheapo explains it quite good however there is also a very big map with trails ...
Read More

Trip: Nokogiriyama and Nihonji temple

The Nihonji temple area is a big temple complex at the 330 meter tall Nokogiriyama mountain. Although the opening hour states that it is only open until 17:00 i believe this only concerns the ropeway and you could still stay longer at that area, however be careful to get back ...
Read More

Trip: Nikko and Chuzenji lake

The corresponding diary and impressions can be found here. Nikko is a city around 140km north from Tokyo however when you talk about going to Nikko for a trip you most likely mean to go the Nikko national park area, which is famous as the final resting place for the ...
Read More

Trip: Climbing Mt. Fuji

Mount Fuji is THE mountain in Japan. It is 3776 m tall, is surrounded by flat land and has this particular snow cap which makes it so iconic. Truth be told climbing Mt. Fuji is probably not everyone's cup of tea. If you just want to take nice pictures with ...
Read More

Trip: Ashikaga flowerpark

Wisteria trees are beside cherry trees a very popular kind of plant in Japan. You can see those and many other flowers in the Ashikaga flowerpark around 2 hours north from Tokyo. The park is big and offers a lot of colorful and different flowers depending on the season. In ...
Read More

Trip: Okinawa

Okinawa is an island southwest from the mainland and was the former Ryukyu kingdom until 1879. It was a very important strategical location during World War II and today, within Japan, still harbours  74 % of all US military bases (, Accessed: 01.10.2019). It is a very good place to ...
Read More

Trip: Yokohama, Kamakura, Hakone

To complete this list of short trips around Tokyo the destinations of Yokohama, Kamakura and Hakone should be mentioned here as well. I only passed them on my Tokaido hike so i am not able to give an in depth description but rather just give some teasers why so many ...
Read More

4. Kyoto

I grouped Kyoto’s sights in 4 different areas which can be used as a baseline for a day to day itinerary plan.

Kyoto – central

This post describes the sightseeings north from Kyoto station, west  from Kamo River and east from ...
Read More

Kyoto – east

This post will cover the Higashi-Yama area South from the Gion district and east of the ...
Read More

Kyoto – northeast

This post covers the area north of the Gion area / Higashiyama station. Heian Shrine If ...
Read More

Kyoto – west

This post will mostly cover the Arashiyama area which has a lot to offer on its ...
Read More

Kyoto – Vibes

This post includes some images which depicts Kyoto's feeling and which i couldn't categorize in any ...
Read More

Trips: Osaka, Nara, Nagoya

This is definetely not extensive enough but i still want to outline some of the sights ...
Read More

5. Reviews

Monthly reviews and thoughts while being abroad.

Using Keio's template of "Useful Information and/or advice from the Former Exchange Students" (keio.ac.jp, accessed 07.11.2019) i also want to give my 2 cents to the troubles i encountered. Things to bring from home: I found it really convinient to bring a socket distributor for my electronic devices since Japan ...
Read More
English proficiency In Tokyo i already had major problems speaking with people in english since their proficiency is not that high. This is probably also why most of the foreign workers are either english teachers or people working in IT. On my Tokaido journey i had to rely entirely on ...
Read More
Earthquakes and catastrophes Earthquakes do happen a lot - at least in Tokyo. (I did asked a friend who lived in Kyoto and he never actually experienced an earthquake throughout his exchange semester). Unlike how i expected it though, they were mostly smaller one and i got used to it ...
Read More
As already shortly mentioned food here in Tokyo (Japan?) is quite expensive in comparison to good old Dresden. Bentos are a cool invention but i do eat a lot and they just won't do it for me. Furthermore they are mostly the same, don't include much vegetables and are pricey ...
Read More
Japanese are super determined I do attend some sports circles. It seems that in Japan spots circles are not too competition focused and organized by students themselves. Still i met people who train 5 times a week besides studying and having a part-time job. Not all but the graduate students ...
Read More
What did i learn and experienced in this one month: Rules in Japan: Japanese people seem to like detailed ruling. Everywhere, but  most evidently seen at stations, are marks on how to queue. Additionally rules seem to be very strict. Dormitories have separate male and female floors. Without permission from ...
Read More