Exploring Fukushima, Gunma, and Ishikawa Prefectures

Sazaedo Temple

We sent freelance travel photographer and content creator Pat Kay to explore Fukushima, Gunma, and Ishikawa Prefectures. Learn about his adventures through lesser known Japan below.

Over the past 4 years exploring hundreds of locations all across Japan, from top to bottom, east to west, I still feel like I’m not even close to being done.

There’s just so much depth to this country, so many hidden gems, so many untold stories, so many experiences to be had, and parts of culture to be understood.

It’s always a blast, then, when I get a chance to visit somewhere new for me, off the well beaten track; somewhere most foreigners don’t bother to go.

This particular trip was just that: a collection of uncommon locations in Honshu (the biggest island), spread over four days. We’d go to 200-year-old wooden temples to snow-covered mountain ranges. We’d eat manju and see river trains. We’d experience flowers that only grow in the winter and explore the houses of old samurai.

Only in Japan can you experience a trip with this much diversity in a mere four days. Here’s what we got up to:

Day 1 – Fukushima

Our first day started with a few hour’s commute from Tokyo to Fukushima, where our first sightseeing location would be a temple called Sazaedo Temple.

Sazaedo Temple

As a huge architecture nerd and lover of all things culture, this completely hand-made, wooden, double-helix structure created in 1796 is a cultural gem I couldn’t get enough of.

Sazaedo Temple exterior

Although in modern architecture the double-helix is a commonly known design, back in the 1700’s, it was a rare occurrence. The double-helix structure means that visitors ascending don’t clash into visitors descending. The entire building …continue reading