Day trip to Himeji Castle, Japan

Day trip to Himeji Castle, Japan | PACK THE SUITCASES

We had a day trip to Himeji Castle, Japan as part of our two-week trip in January. It’s considered Japan’s most beautiful castle, towering over the city with its pure white facade and silvery grey tiles. Its exterior has a real castle-based wow factor. Like lots of this sort of thing in Japan, it’s an UNESCO World Heritage Site and official National Treasure.

We also saw loads of cats.

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One day in Nara, Japan: home of the deer selfies

One day in Nara, Japan: home of the deer selfies | PACK THE SUITCASES

As part of our fantastic trip in January, we had a day of deer and Buddha in Nara, Japan. We did this day trip from where we were staying in Kobe. Nara’s Todaiji Temple is one of Japan’s most famous temples, home to a ginormous 15-metre high bronze Buddha. But Nara is most famous for its tame, free-roaming deer, whose cuteness has made the city a popular tourist destination.

You can follow a pilgrimage route to the temple via loads of cute Bambis. And if that doesn’t sound like a good day out to you, we’re no longer friends.

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One day in Kobe, Japan: things to do

One day in Kobe, Japan | PACK THE SUITCASES

One day in Kobe, Japan is not enough to view everything this floral, coastal and mountainous city has to offer. But here’s a few things you absolutely have to see and do (and of course, eat). We cover the Shin-Kobe ropeway, Kobe Nunobiki herb gardens, Kitano (European-style area), Nankinmachi (Kobe’s Chinatown), Flower Road, shopping and Kobe port harbour at night.

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A weekend on Naoshima art island, Japan

Naoshima art island, Japan | Pack The Suitcases

Naoshima art island, Japan, is an off-the-beaten path destination perfect for a second visit to Japan. Sculptures, installations and modern art galleries are everywhere. It’s thoroughly immersive, completely different and somewhere we will never forget.

We stayed in Naoshima for a long weekend, which felt about right. It was part of our Japan trip that lasted for two weeks in January (#Japanuary). This is the first post in our series on Japan. We’re lucky enough to have friends there so get a local’s unique insight into the country when we go. Hopefully this should make for some good blog posts for (all three of) our readers, too.

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Pack The Suitcases’ 2016 travel roundup

Four days in Reykjavik, Iceland | PACK THE SUITCASES

We thought we’d do a roundup of all our travels in 2016 to finish off the year. This is the first blog post we’ve ever written that isn’t a story of one specific destination. So, not sure how this is going to go down but let’s give it a shot anyway… It’s basically a glorified list and who doesn’t like lists? Read on for the best and worst of our 2016 travel.

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A winter weekend break in Shrewsbury: things to do

A winter weekend break in Shrewsbury | Pack The Suitcases

The town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire is perfect for a winter weekend away or just a day trip around Christmas time. For some reason, people seem to pick Chester or York for a weekend of shopping and eating, overlooking the smaller Shrewsbury, which is exactly the same deal but without the crowds. It has pretty Tudor buildings, a public garden designed by the famous Percy Thrower of Gardener’s World fame, cosy pubs, good restaurants and independent shops. And you can get there easily by train, which means sampling all said cosy pubs is a must.

The Guardian recently featured Shrewsbury in their top 10 UK towns for winter breaks, similar to their top 10 UK towns list that featured our other favourite, Kirkby Lonsdale. There’s obviously a running theme here.

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