Chiba – The prefecture adjacent to Tokyo consisting of a sheltering headland, also the name of the largest city in that prefecture, located on the western side.

Chuo City – one of the wards or “cities” that make up Tokyo, on the eastern side of the city.

Edo – former name of Tokyo.

Edogawa City – one of the wards or “cities” that make up Tokyo, on the eastern side of the city. The name means “Edo river” which flows through the ward. This is the ward where my home district, Nishi Kasai is situated.

Ginza – One of the cultural centres of Tokyo, located just to the south of the central district. The Kabuki Theatre is located here.

Fuji (Fuji-san, Fujiyama, Mount Fuji) – Volcano with a pleasing symmetrical shape, Japan’s highest peak. It sits on the border of Shizuoko and Yamanashi Prefectures.

Hakone – Onsen (hot spring) village near Fuji

Jigokudani Yaen-Koen – Monkey park in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, famous as being the only location in the world where wild macaques use hot springs.

Kamakura – Town to the south of Yokohama, ancient capital of early Shoguns and site of famous Buddha statue.

Kawaguchi – the name of a lake and the town beside the lake near Mount Fuji

Koto City – One of the wards or “cities” that make up Tokyo, on the eastern side of the city.

Mitaka – District at the western side of the city, location of the Ghibli Museum.

Monzen Nakacho – Lively entertainment district on the south-east part of Tokyo, has many izakayas (bars).

Nagano – City in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, popular destination for skiing.

Narita – Japan’s largest airport and one of two main airports serving Tokyo (the other is Haneda).

Nishi Kasai – District in Edogawa City in Tokyo, has a large immigrant Indian/Bangladeshi population.

Odaiba – Dockland district on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, in the south of Tokyo.

Ohara – Former town on the East Coast of Chiba Prefecture, now incorporated into another town. Location of the Hadaka Matsuri festival.

Roppongi – popular nightlife district and location of prestige Roppongi Hills shopping complex.

Shibu Onsen – Traditional onsen (hot springs) village in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, near the monkey park. Location of both public baths and ryokans (guest houses) that can be enjoyed in timeless, traditional manner.

Shibuya – Business district on the west side of Tokyo, location of the famous “Scramble Crossing”.

Shinjuku – Business district on the west side of Tokyo, location of the Kabukicho adult entertainment district.

Shin Urayasu – District in Chiba Prefecture but right on the border of Tokyo proper, home of Disney World Tokyo.

Tokyo – Capital city of Japan and largest metropolitan area by population in the world.

Ueno – District in the north of Tokyo, home of Tokyo’s largest zoo.

Urayasu – District in Chiba province on the border with Tokyo proper.

Yudanaka – Mountain town in Nagano Prefecture.

Yamouchi Onsen – Onsen (hot springs) town in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture

Yokohama – Port city to the south of Tokyo, a major population centre in its own right.


Artem (pronounced Artyom) – town just to the north of Vladivostok, near the airport

Birobidzhan – Capital of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Far East of Russia, north of the border with China.  Sits on the Bira river.  On the Trans-Siberian railway route.

Domodedovo – town south of Moscow housing one of the city’s four airports.

Elista – capital of the Kalmyk Republic, south of Volgograd, known as Stepnoy from 1944-1957 (a time when the Kalmyks had been forcibly relocated). The Kalmyks are Asiatic people who migrated centuries ago but retain their distinctive appearance, culture and Buddhist faith. The city houses the largest Buddhist temple in Europe.

Irkutsk – Capital of the Irkutsk Oblast, situated just north of Lake Baikal in the south of Siberia, not far from the border with Mongolia.  Founded in the 17th century.  Sits on the Angara river.

Ivanovo – Golden Ring city south-east of Yaroslavl, capital of the Ivanova Oblast.  Not hugely interesting.

Kammeniki – small village just north-east of Rybinsk, (Yaroslavl Oblast) on the Rybinsk Reservoir

Kamyshin – third largest city of the Volgograd Oblast after Volgograd and Volzhsky, some 2 hours south of Volgograd at a historical portage site between the Volga and Don rivers. Famous for watermelons.

Khabarovsk – Capital of the Khabarovskiy Krai (region) and second-largest city in the East after Vladivostok.  Sits on the Amur river.  On the Trans-Siberian railway route.

Klin – town in the Moscow Oblast, associated with the composer Tchaikovsky.

Kostroma – Golden Ring city on the Volga – I was very briefly driven through the outskirts on the way to somewhere else.

Kronstadt – the seaport of St Petersburg, located on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland

Lake Baikal – the deepest lake in the world, located in Siberia, south of Irkutsk

Lake Ladoga – the largest lake contained totally within Europe, east of Saint Petersburg, source of the Neva River

Lake Onega (pronounced On-yay-ga) – a lake in Karelia which hosts the district capital Petrozavodsk on its south-west bank.

Leningrad – see Saint Petersburg

Listvyanka – small town on the northern shore of Lake Baikal.

Medvezhigorsk – city at the north end of Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia.  The northernmost place in Russia – or in the world – that I have visited.  The name means “Bear City.”

Moscow (Moskva) – Capital of Russia (and the Moskva Oblast), situated on the European side of the Urals in the north-west of the country.  Sits on the Moskva and Yauza rivers.  Start of the Trans-Siberian railway route ending in Vladivostok, a journey which takes 6 days.

Novgorod – see Veliky Novgorod

Peterhof – Town south-west of St Petersburg, home of Peterhof Palace and Gardens, famous for its ostentatious fountains.

Petrograd – see Saint Petersburg

Petrozavodsk – City in the Republic of Karelia, and administrative capital of that region.  Located on the south-western bank of Lake Onega.  Founded during the reign of Peter the Great.  The name means “Peter’s Factory.”

Ples (pronounced Plyos) – village on the south bank of the Volga river in the Ivanova Oblast, famous for it’s picturesque views, wooden architecture, and its artistic community, particularly its association with the artist Levitan.

Povoretz – small village on the road between Medvezhigorsk and Vologda.

Rybinsk – City in the Yaroslavl Oblast, located at the point where the Volga was dammed, creating the Rybinsk Reservoir – technically not the source of the Volga as another branch of the river flows into the reservoir, and if the reservoir was allowed to drain, this would just be a curve on the Volga River.  Nevertheless, this is where the “Mother Volga” statue was built, in the middle of the river, to mark the start of its longest uninterrupted stretch.  The city is beautiful in its own right.

Saint Petersburg (Sankt Peterburg) – city on the Gulf of Finland, close to the borders with Lithuania and Finland, founded in 1701 by Peter the Great.  Capital of Imperial Russia and the Leningrad Oblast and residence – and burial location – of almost all the Tsars from Peter onwards.  Famous for the Hermitage Museum in the former Winter Palace, and site of the most significant events of the October Revolution in 1917.  Known as Petrograd from 1914 – 1923 and Leningrad from 1923 – 1991.  Commonly just referred to as “Peter.”

Sheremetova (pronounced SheremYETova) – Town to the north of Moscow housing the city’s main international airport.

Shkotovo – tiny village north-east of Vladivostok, nearest village to the Primorskiy Safari Park

Stalingrad – see Volgograd

St Petersburg – see Saint Petersburg

Suzdal – Golden Ring town in the Vladimir Oblast, once part of the powerful state of Vladimir-Suzdal and famed for its ancient earthen Kremlin walls, it’s cathedral and monasteries.

Syasstroy – village on the southern bank of Lake Ladoga where the river Syas flows into it.

Tsaritsyn – see Volgograd

Tutaev – town on both sides of the Volga between Rybinsk and Yaroslavl.

Tver – City between Moscow and Veliky Novgorod, capital of the Tver Oblast.

Veliky Novgorod – One of Russia’s oldest cities, current capital of Novgorod Oblast and ancient capital of the Grand Duchy of Novgorod, famous for it’s Kremlin and old cathedrals.  Located south-west of St Petersburg.  The name means “Great New City” – the Veliky is added to distinguish it from another Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod, east of Moscow.

Vladimir – Beautiful Golden Ring city on the Kiyazma river, capital of the Vladimir Oblast.  Full of interesting sculptures and museums.

Vladivostok – Capital of the Primorskiy Krai (region) and largest city in Russia’s East.  The final terminal of the Trans-Siberian Railway.  Home of the Russian Pacific Fleet, and situated close to the borders of China and North Korea, and on the other side of the Sea of Japan from Japan.  Originally founded as a military post in 1860.

Vnukovo – Moscow’s third international airport, located to the south-west.

Volzhsky – City in the South of European Russia just north of, and on the opposite bank of the Volga River to Volgograd.  Sits on the Akhtuba river (a tributary of the Volga).  Originally developed in the 1950s to service the building of a hydro-electric power station which remains the city’s biggest employer.

Volgograd – Capital of the Volgograd Oblast in the South of European Russia on the west bank of the Volga river.  Previously known as Stalingrad and site of the Battle of Stalingrad, the largest tank battle in history and an influential battle in deciding the outcome of World War 2.  Originally founded under the name Tsaritsyn after a smaller river feeding into the Volga.

Vologda – Large northern city and administrative centre of the Vologda Oblast, located on the Vologda river.  I strongly recommend the restaurant “Barbary.”

Yaroslavl – Golden Ring city north-east of Moscow, capital of the Yaroslavl Oblast.  Sits at the point where the Kotorosl River joints the Volga.  Considered “Kilometre Zero” of the Golden Ring of cities.