The Japanese slopes


The Japanese slopes

The conditions may not be so ideal for skiers and snowboarders in the United States. It is not the case in the eastern side of the world as the conditions in Japan are just right and may be even perfect. The ski resorts in some parts of the island were open and receiving plenty customers until late March. Unlike the shabby conditions in the western world, Japan has gotten an ideal amount of snow fall this season reaching approximately five meters.

On Japan's most northern of its main islands, Hokkaido, sits Mount Niseko Annupuri. This is the location of the Niseko ski resorts. These resorts have the longest season in Japan. They are normally open way into the early weeks of May. Complimented by the conditions provided by the peak makes the spring skiing in Niseko among the best in the world.
The Niseko peak is famous for its quality and consistency in great conditions for skiing. In the last ten years the peak has become very famous among the Australian skiers and boarders. The yearly visitors to Japan has reduced significantly following the Tsunami and earth quake of 2011. Is has only been recently that the population of visitors are returning and in their great numbers. The center of Hirafu is usually crowded with skiers and boarders alike with property developers transforming the small village into a resort center but it has been quite empty with a lack of activity for the last winter season.
The chairlifts and gondolas of the Niseko peak position skiers and boarders in the perfect position to tackle the slops. It will take about twenty minutes of hiking to get to piste slopes. This area is linked to the trails and roads of the mount's more remote sections. The Hanazono resorts provide a backcountry skiing run for all, including beginners, the Strawberry Fields forest run. This area is never without thigh high powder that is easily accessible. Mount Niseko is home to three other areas the Niseko Village, the Grand Hirafu and Niseko Annupuri and they too offer trails suitable for everyone at any level. The Grand Hirafu offers a variety of ungroomed trails that include the Miharashi expert run. The trails winds into a trail called the Holiday and is one of the longest trails offered by the mountain and stretches longer than two and a half kilometers. The combined length of trail offered by the all areas of Mount Niseko add up to 48 kilometers.
To the southeast of Mount Niseko Annupuri you can find Mount Yotei. This mount is preferred by professionals and powder hounds. It will take approximately five hours to reach the peak and it is usually visited by the skiers and boarders that seek fresh backcountry powder.
Skiing is not the only fun to b had on the Niseko. The Apres Ski might be just as fun. Nothing is more comfortable than a nice hot bath in the cold of winter. There are three baths in the area and the Niseko Yu Meguri pass will give you access to all three for only a bit over a thousand yens. This includes the Apres-ski, the Yu meguri and the Niimi Onsen that is a remote bath house that offers comfort and serenity to all its bathers.
Ezo Seafood is located in Hirafu and they serve only the best they have to offer in seafood delights. This includes snow crab legs, Akkeshi oysters and fresh sashimi of every variety. The Gyu will provide you with a variety of beverages from mulled wine to Hokkaido's single malt whiskey. This is a well concealed cottage like bar that is practically invisible in the snowy area. On Ishikari Bay that lies in the north you can find the Otaru fishing port. It is seventy minutes' drive from Hirafu and it is worth the drive. The area is one with a vintage feel with the Sushiya-dori completely devoted to selling sushi. Lake Shikotsu is only two hours' drive from Hirafu and is one of the deepest lake in Japan second only to one. This location is in an underdeveloped park area that boast the likes of the Marukoma and the Ito onsen that overlooks the caldera. This is the perfect spot to end your visit slow boiling out the aches of the body in a vintage style bath house.


Best Japanese Features and Cultures


Best Japanese Features and Cultures

Life in the land of the rising sun can be stressful but there are more to just mundane work. One of the best things about Japan is Hanami, or the cherry blossom period. During spring season, the weather is beautiful with the cherry blossoms within you sight along your travels. Japan has some of the most innovative Kit-Kat flavors and there are countless flavors to choose from namely Passionfruit, Matcha, Sakura or Spicy Citrus. Nighttime is unusually silent and calm where people return to their homes after 6pm. Japan dog breeds such as Shiba-Inu are cute and polite and friendly to strangers. Train efficiency in Japan is the best in the world where you can travel to any parts of Japan anytime.

The public parks have good facilities for exercising, for instance public gymnasium and running path. Japan has countless theme based dining option ranging from prison cell setting to school classroom. Romantic dining options are also common. Food in Japan is generally good in taste. Nomihodai is where alcohol drinkers can drink all they can within 2 hours for a fixed price. One is guaranteed to have an overhang with such great deal. Karaoke lounges are everywhere in the cities and you can sing your hearts out and enjoy the music with you close friends, all while drinking up.
Okonomiyaki is a pork based dished served with shrimp as well as cabbage. It is eaten together with awesome barbecue sauce. Some of the best Okonomiyaki can be found in Kasuya at Fukuoka Prefecture. There is a beautiful shrine called Dazaifu Tenmangu and is popular among students having major exams where they will pray for knowledge and wisdom. It is located in Kyushu. Plum blossoms are around the compound which gives a great view. During the Winter Equinox, women clad in ancient robes will perform a dance to entertain the guests. Japanese culture involved superstitions and there are many amulets and palm reading service for protection against bad luck. For those looking for honeymoon spots, be sure to check out the beautiful Kyoto. Small bars that shaped like a telephone booth can be found in Japan. Purikura is a photo booth vending machine where you get your picture taken and printed on a sticker against a backdrop of fancy colorful setting. There is the Village Vanguard where all kinds of Japanese merchandise are sold. In Japan festivals are common during summertime and it is just another day's common affair once you get settled in. Advertisement involving a giant doll manned by human in a suit can be seen in the streets of Japan and it is a common sight as well. Tipping for service is not a requirement in Japan compared to in the US, and service is fast and waters are ever friendly to accommodate any requests.
Kaitenzushi is the sushi place delivered by conveyor belt and you have to get used to self-service. The price is cheap due to limited staff on standby. Flying to other Asian countries can be a very cheap affair due to the various airlines serving all major Asian routes. Travelling in Japan involves a lot of walking and it is one of the best ways for experiencing the Japanese culture. Keep an open mind when in Japan where you will encounter strange phenomenons. Package delivery is fast and convenient and you can order anything online and have it delivered within days. Convenience stores or Konbinis are situated at every corner of the street that saves a ton of hassle if you need any last minute purchases. Cicadas roam the streets where these insects of the size of hummingbird will be filling the air with their buzzing melody. Kotatsu, or table heater are good devices for warming yourself during the chilly winter. Combine that with Nabe, a boiling hot soup and you will be the happiest person during the cold weather. Colleagues in Japan office often give food items to each other and are part of the Japanese hospitality. You can forge friendships from international citizens ranging from Australia to France and have the opportunity to have a globalized perspective over current issues. Friends will help you when you are in need no matter where you go and they prevent loneliness and culture shock.
Supermarket Jazz played via computers is a common feature in Japan. Fish is a staple food and you eat them even for breakfast. Onsen or hot spring baths are some of the best spots to wind down and socialize with close friends. Japan has unique seasons every year starting from the cherry blossom to plum rain seasons. Giant ancient castles are preserved and open to public for viewing makes Japan a hot spot among history buffs. In restaurants waters will serve wet-wipes instead of dry paper towels which is great. Game lovers would love to try out the famous game called Taiko Drum at the nearest arcades where you make loud musics during the gameplay. Night life in Japan is lively and you can stay late every day and can get home easily from the taxi services. Japan has many romantic spots for lovebirds, for instance the lantern filled street at Kyoto. Shrines are located at most random places, where you will encounter one just few blocks away. Finally there is this promotion going for 100 yen for 12 eggs which is a great deal for bargain hunters.


The Beautify Surrounding of Mount Fuji


The Beautify Surrounding of Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, as the highest mountain in Japan, is the most famous place for a tourist destination. As famous as the beautiful mountain, it is also being a famous historical site. Let's dig deeper around the mountain, which has a very lot of sites and exciting spot. This volcano mountain surrounded by three prefectures, which is Kanagawa prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture, and Shizuoka Prefecture. Each of the Prefecture has saved a mixture of history, scenery, and a lot of activity to be done by the tourist. Losing the chance might be pitiful since it will be awesome and memorable. The camera is number one included on the top of the list.

This city becomes famous because of its historical background. It has been a place for shikken (the head of the authority charges) during the Kamakura period (1185-1333) by the shogunate. This city with the coastal line is also one of the proliferation of Buddhist religion, which made a lot of shrine or temples around. One of the famous is Tsurugaoka Hachiman. This temple was built under the authorization of Minamoto Yoritomo on 1191, in order to worship the God of War, Hachiman Daibosatsu. This temple located in the center of the city. There's a famous promenade from the shrine to the sea, as long as 1,8 kilometers called Wakamiya Oji. This promenade becomes a backbone of the street network nowadays. There's also a bridge behind San no Toori gate as the inheritance of the Shogun. There's a canal underneath the bridge, which linked with two ponds, and each of it represents of each feuding clans during Yoritomo period. This Shinto shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachiman has become a Buddhist Temple for centuries.
To the southwest of Tsurugaoka Hachiman, there is a big temple of Kotoku-in. At this temple, there's a famous giant statue of Daibutsu, the statue of Amida Budha. It is 11,4 meters high and made from bronze. It's been there since 1252 but has no luck with the hall, which has been destroyed by the storms and tsunami. From Tokyo, Kamakura can be reached by train for one hour.
Mount Oyama
Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Mount Oyama has been a sacred place to be worshiped. Nowadays, it becomes a spot for mountain climbing, which represents the great view of mount Fuji on top of it. Mount Oyama is 1252 meters at the peak, and when it's clear, we can look at the Boso Peninsula and the skyscrapers at the central of Tokyo. Other than climbing, the tourist can ride a cable car, which looks so classic, to go to the mountain slopes and leering the temple there. Mount Oyama is 90 minutes away from Tokyo, tracing the Odakyu line from Shinjuku to Isehara.
Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Hakone presented the famous onsen, or the hot spring. Tour to Japan won't be completed without soaked in the onsen. Besides that, there're two big art museum and tall ship cruises. You can also see the scenery of mount Fuji from here. The Hakone open air museum is really great to see. There's a large art sculpture spread all across a lawn scape. There's also a collection with a mixture of Japan and West collaborate in a modern art like Rodin and Miro. A huge hand knitted in wonderful color won't escape the look. The last-added museum in Hakone is Okada Museum of Art, contains a lot of artworks by Okada from Japan, Korea, and China. Hakone is two hours' length from Tokyo (Shinjuku Station).
This city is located at the Yamanashi Prefecture, this city built from lava flows from mount Fuji. It has become a spot for spiritual gathering for the pilgrims. Surrounded by cedar trees, along path spread ahead the Old Yoshidaguchi Trail for 19 kilometers. At the end of it, there are Fuji Shengen Shrine. The shrines along the trail stamped a white robe inside, which usually use to climb (it also use for the death). There's an annual festival every 27 August, called Yoshida no Himatsuri, or the Fire Festival. This festival held to appease the Goddess of Mount Fuji and let her not to erupt. Fuji-Yoshida located two hours by bus from Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Tokyo Station.
It's another climbing spot to mount Fuji. And the first climb by non-Japanese people ever recorded (by Sir Rutherford Alcock) in 1860. There're some waterfalls in Fujinomiya, with the biggest and famous one is Shiraito Falls. This beautiful waterfall formed from the drops of the melted water underground from mount Fuji.


Okinawa Southwest Islands cuisine


Okinawa Southwest Islands

Most people are familiar with standard Japanese delicacy such as sushi or ramen. Okinawa has unique offerings which gives you a different taste for Japanese food. The culinary style evolved from combination of subtropical climate in Okinawa and island topography. It has also evolved as key historical events occur such as independence from Japanese ruling until end 19th century, trade connections with China and US occupation during World War 2. Its local fare combines influences from Japan mainland, Korea, US and China. It is said that Okinawan delights can lengthen the lifespan. Fish and other seafood are not the main ingredients. Pork is made the main dish ingredients. Seaweed is also a treasured delicacy.

The first Okinawan food favorite is brown sugar. It has been in production for centuries. They come from sugar cane harvested in areas rich in minerals. It has beneficial iron and calcium content that is pleasing to the taste bud as well. It is often used for making sweets or ice cream. It can be used for tea as well. Eating It raw is also an option that will give you much needed adrenaline boost. Okinawan doughnuts are small in shape and filled with black sesame and coconut or sweet potato. It is best eaten fresh and hot. Most restaurants serve them together with ice cream. Sweet potato purple in color is another highlight. They are a loyal ingredient to many local Okinawan dishes. They come in different shapes and sizes in the form of ice cream, doughnut or sliced chip.
Another top delicacy is the Okinawa soba. It is thick and white in color. They are best eaten with hot broth boiled with pork. It is tasty and nutritious. Extra flavoring can be added such as chilli peppers or pickled ginger. Mozuku seaweed is also worth mentioning. It is usually eaten raw as serves as a side dish, combined with sesame seeds. Eating the seaweed coupled with tempura would form the best combination. It is light and delicious. Tender seaweed coated with crispy batter would make a hearty meal. Bitter melon is another delicacy unique to Okinawa. It is bitter, as the name suggests and not suited for certain people. It takes time to appreciate the taste. It has high levels of vitamin C. It is usually served with tempura or as a side dish. Goya beer can be made out of the melon juice and it is well loved by many travellers.
Awamori is a rice liquor without sugar. It was first produced during the Ryukyu Kingdom's reign and exported to China about few hundred years back. It has high levels of alcoholic content, up till 80% but tastes mild and mellow. It is a good social drink consumed at dining events. People usually drink it after dilution with water. A recent recipe was made to combine Okinawa brown sugar to form plum liquer, rich in taste and intensity. Awamori can also be served with ice cream with raisins as toppings.
Shikuwasa is a citrus fruit best consumed during summer time. It is served with ice and extremely sweet and addictive. Freshly made shikuwasa juice are better compared to the pre-packaged vending machine bottles. It can be used as sashimi sauce, or mixing with rice liquor. The fruit actually resembles a lime, but plumper. Its taste is hard to describe, most refer it as a fusion between lime, lemon as well as grapefruit.
Coffee is another local Okinawan drinks delight. It has its famous roasted Coffee 35. It can be found at selected cafes around the Naha region. Try out a café named 1-15-23 located at Tsuboya, where the digits in the shop's name literally means coral. Coffee used are locally roasted using coral, and 3.5% cut of profits is channeled towards preserving corals around all the islands.


Ogasawara Islands - hot tourist spot


Ogasawara Islands

Not many people will expect seeing clear dark skies dotted with shining stars, clear blue sea and romantic sunsets when they travel to Japan with their friends and families. There is a hidden wonderful spot just for the observing nature's beauty lying just 1000 kilometers south from Tokyo, the bustling city of Japan and the place is none other than Ogasawara Islands.

Ogasawara Archipelago, or more commonly known to locals as Bonin Islands, was awarded the prestigious World Heritage site title. It is located in the center of Pacific Ocean. The distance may seem far away from Tokyo but the Islands are considered a member of the Tokyo prefecture. Human footprints and local dwellers populate the small islands such as Chichi Jima as well as Haha Jima. If you take the ferry from Tokyo, you will be docking at Chichi Jima. It is an island well developed for tourist arrivals and houses Japanese restaurants and plenty of fine accommodation. It is a popular spot for travellers looking for breathtaking beaches. Haha Jima, on the other hand is more but it is a great place for solitary confinement and peaceful outing. Ogasawara Islands is definitely a heaven for nature enthusiasts. The islands have multiple seaside activities that you will not get tired of ranging from snorkeling to kayaking. Great adventures await you if you fancy forest hiking as well as observing whales.
There is no better spot for snorkeling and diving at around Ogasawara Islands. Divers are in for a treat as they are able to spot rare manta rays roaming the seabed of the Islands. Plenty of unique sea creatures await the patient divers ranging from sea turtles to whales. There are also beautiful coral reefs all around the island. Chichi Jima is the best diving spot one could find. Diving packages are available and you can take your time to select from the best operators. As for snorkeling, one should visit Miyano Hama as well as Tsuri Hama where the beaches are the undisputed kings. They are accessible via foot just over a hill. Miyano Hama is a good spot for beginners looking for more shelter. Tsuri Hama on the other hand has more rocky beach but offers better coral.
Whale watching is and activity not to be missed. Do not miss the sighting season from January to April every year if you crave to see the great humpback whales. Be wary of the cold weather in January as well as February which is not conducive for island exploration. Sperm whales can be sighted from May right to November. Whale tours are widely available from multiple operators. One could just indulge in swimming non-stop around the beaches just west of Chichi Jima. Copepe as well as Kominato Kaigan are attractive spots. One could also hike up a mountain trail to witness the sparkling white sand from John Beach. Make sure that you bring enough drinking water supply as the walk by take more than 2 hours.


Must-See List in Tokyo


Good Food in Japan

Tokyo is the biggest city in Japan. In this place, a lot of things seems unique and you may not find something in Tokyo like any other places in the world. Here is some list of must-see things in Tokyo.

Cat Café
Outside Tokyo a little, exactly at Chiba prefecture, you can find this café with cat all around the place. You can pet them, stroke them, give some treat, and the most fun is to play with fox tails toys, or any other cat toys. They have strict rules about not to chase them to cuddle, and let them approach near you. No sandals or shoes inside the café. The cats are not placed in a cage, but they are bounce everywhere at the café. Inside the basket, upon the cat-trees, on the table, and chair. If you live in an apartment and cannot have a pet, then you might want to visit this cafe sometimes. This café makes you forget about the outside world of Tokyo as the busiest city. It can make you relax and rest for a while.
Maid Café
Like the story of a manga or the Japanese comics, which the characters are often a cute girl use a short maid dresses colored in black with a white apron. This kind of dresses is very famous and recognizable between the manga reader around the world and the manga-ka (refer to the manga maker). Tokyo has brought this kind of maid-things into a maid in a realistic restaurant. Every guest is served as the master, and be greeted “Welcome home, Master”. This might be the most desirable place for manga lovers all around the world.
Onsen, or a natural hot spring, which is very famous and also the first thing to visit when you went to Japan. Not only for tourists, the local Tokyo people also loves to soak in an onsen and become one of their holiday destination too. There also a theme park onsen named Oedo Onsen Monogatari. Usually, they provide yukata or thin kind of kimono for the guests to be wear while in the onsen area.
Japanese food is the most recognizable in the world, as much as French cuisine. Food is the most passionate culinary both for tourist and the local people. If you watch Japan TV, about half of it shows anything about food. There's why a lot of food model made from plastic displayed in front of the restaurant. Kappabashi-Dori is one of the places sold this kind of food models. You have to see the details and how much it resembles the real food. It's really are a fantastic art to enjoy.
The department store
You have to make a swift visit to the department store, although you didn't need anything to buy. You can see a melon with $100 price and other things which are rare and edibles. The fancy thing to buy, but it is worth it since it handled with care. They touch it only when they wear gloves. The taste? Is not something to be asked, the taste, the texture, the price just warrants it all. The Tokyo people shop at this department store, but this kind of fancy fruit is not something to but daily, but it will make a good gift.
Vending Machines
It heard nothing special about it, but in fact, this is very interesting to gawk at a vending machine at Tokyo. You can find vending machines in every corner of Tokyo. But something interesting about it, you must see what they sold inside there. They contain hot canned coffee, cold green tea in bottles, canned bread, beer, hot noodles, and even umbrellas. The technology is also unique and modern. The vending machines menu in a touch screen, and even the face recognition software.
The toilet
Curious about the toilet? Most of them are the usual toilet, but sometimes they have cool features like seat warmers, air dryers, adjusting water pressure, some are surprisingly interesting to raise and lower the seats.
Gundam statue
There's also something to see in Odaiba. Right here, stands a 35 meters tall and 35 tons weight the famous mobile suit Gundam, with the scale 1:1. The famous anime make the idea. They built it to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the anime in 2009.


Kagoshima The Island Of Natural Treasures


Kagoshima The Island Of Natural Treasures


Hey, have you heard about the “Hawaii of Japan”? Do you want to see the conical volcano? Plan a trip to Japan, which gives the pleasure for all by visiting the places like Hiroshima, Where the atom bomb explosion and Kagoshima, where there is an active volcano, which is known as the “Hawaii of Japan” Wow, nobody can expect such natural disasters are now tourist visiting places in Japan. There are many more sites are to be expected to be explored.

The Kagoshima, nicknamed as “Naples of the Eastern World”, the city which was known for its bay location was founded in the year 1889. This city is a worth seeing place In Kagoshima, where one can see a Stratovolcano, named “Sakurajima”(Stratovolcano is a conical volcano which has many layers of hardened lava and ash) Kagoshima is the place where one can see the live volcanoes. In the year 1914, when the eruption was caused, the lava flowed and connected with the former island Osumi Peninsula. From that day onwards even today the volcanic activity continues and recently, in the month of February of this year the eruption started, and the Japan Meteorological Agency identified that the volcano is active and instructed not to approach near to that place. Sakurajima, is a mountain which has three peaks namely, Kita, Naka and Minami- dake. Among the three the southern peak Minami-dake is active. In this volcano eruption happens regularly with a ground shake for a few seconds, one can see the plumes in the sky by the nearby areas of the foothills.
According to the Japanese mythology, the god “Ninigi no Mikoto, who is the grandson of Sun Goddess “Amaterasu” , who was sent to earth to rule the Japanese emperors. Even today we can see at the top of the mountain – “Mount Takachiho-no-mine”, the spear sunk which was used by the Ninigi no Mikoto to descend to land on earth. Kirishma is a mountain range which is situated in the Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures. The surroundings of the mountain range are filled with volcanic lakes, highlands and hot springs. The hot springs and the mountain surroundings offers an adventurous exploration for the visitors. Kirishma is one of the 18 young and small active volcanoes in the Kagoshima bay.
Yakushima island
Yakushima is a part of Kagoshima Prefecture. This is the island of the Japanese oldest cedar living trees. To your wonder you can see the trees about 7000 years old. The Japanese call the cedar trees which are of 1000 years old as “Yakusugi”. Most of the tourists visit this place to see the old cedar trees. Some areas in this island ware declared as Natural World Heritage Site in the year 1993.
Izumi is a place on the edge of the Kagoshima Prefecture towards the sea of Yatsushiro. This place is famous for migratory cranes. In every autumn season, thousands of Siberian Cranes migrate to this island and stay there until the spring season. Izumi Crane Park, Dome Theater and Crane Museum are very worth seeing places.
Kinko Bay
The Kinko Bay is filled with endless restaurants and shopping centers and the most important view from this place is to admire the Sakurajima's eruption along with the Kagoshima's cuisine. The Kinko Bay belongs to the Jomon-era and having the evidences of human habitation in Japan.
Ibusuki – Hot Sand Bath
Tourists who want to enjoy the hot sand baths can visit this place. Ibusuki is a place famous for sand baths. The bathers are literally buried in the heated sand and the Ibusuki's restaurants also offer Sand bath halls . Apart from the sand baths there are many other attractions in this area. Satsuma Denshokan Museum displays the pottery works of the Japanese people and the displays related to the history one can see in this museum. One can enjoy one more bathing experience at this place is having outdoor baths of Healthy land having a view onto the mountain Kaimondake and the ocean bay.
Plan a trip to the visit the Treasures of Kagoshima Islands.


Cherry blossom Sakura sighting guide


Cherry blossom Sakura sighting

Hanami is a popular term for a very long held custom that every single Japanese citizens are proud of, which is to enjoy the beautiful blossoming flowers all across the country. There is no shortage of good cherry blossom hot spots around Japan but the best as rated among the locals and international travellers would be at Yoshino. Cherry blossom season varies by geographical regions throughout Japan. In Okinawa, it could appear in early January. In Hokkaido, it will only appear in May annually. The general consensus is that throughout the whole country, the main regions usually have their flowers blossom around the March end period. Parties in groups of 5 can be organized during the blossom season and many people have picnics around the area. Families and couples are more than welcome to join in the fun.

Japan offers extreme natural beauties from its cherry trees. Many are amazed by the flower clouds formed during the blossoming season. It is a national event where live broadcast are being played to all corners of the country. News stations have dedicated mapping services that tracks every single progress from pre-bloom to full blossom. It is the only time where all Japanese unite and party away by having a good time without having any concern for monetary reserves. Picnic parties are common during Hanami. Parties start as early as the first buds begins to bloom right up till the final blooming trees. Parties stretch from daytime till the moonlight shines, and it is pretty standard party SOP. Parks will be flooded with massive crowds, all enjoying their cold beer and laughing away with good humor. As long as there is a blossoming cherry trees, there can be Hanami enjoyment. There are of course a few favourite spots among the locals.
Ueno-koen is the undisputed favorite among all favorite spots for the whole of Japan. It contains more than 1000 cherry trees flowering at the same moment and is seen as the holy spot for Hanami fever. In Tokyo, one can also move over to Shinjuku-gyoen, the largest park in Tokyo, and roam around looking for the bet picnic spots as the crowd there is lesser. If you are in Kyoto region, Maruyama-koen is the place to be to experience Hanami. It has an iconic weeping tree known for its humongous size. It is the landmark for the city, drawing hordes of travellers from all over the world. Its lighting is especially good at night. Every 2nd Sunday for the month of April, a once a year special procession will be held at Daigo Ji temple. The procession attempts to re-create cherry blossoming party organized in the 16th century. Travellers can relive the experience similar to people in the past. Another top spot worth mentioning is Yoshino, located in the hill top of Kansai town. Thousands of lively cherry trees were all lined up to form a carpet spiraling down the sides of the mountains. Many do not regret travelling for the awesome view. It could be packed with visitors during the peak season due to the narrow winding streets but still it is worth visiting at least once.
Top Hanami spots are usually booked well in advance for picnic enthusiasts. You will find tarpaulins scattered all across the greenery where people book their prized turf before the sun shines. In order to get a good view right in the middle of all the action of blossom parties, the only way is to be up early as well. One day trip is all you can get for cherry blossoms at the famous Yoshino unless you had booked you place of stay well in advance.
Do not forget about the local attractions over at Yoshino. There is a wooden building known as Kimpusen-Ji where you can safely reach after a short 500 meters walk from a cable car station. In the Ueno-koen, you will be able to locate the National Museum for Tokyo which has 90,000 items on display. It is known to house the world's biggest Japanese art collection. More info can be obtained from Japan's official Tourist website from the National Tourism Organization.


Best of the best summer activities


Tenjin Matsuri

Summertime in Japan is filled with festivals. Float parades are held across towns and ladies don their yukata or cotton kimono to walk on the streets. Sake and beer flows amidst the food stalls with fireworks exploding at the background. Famous festivals include Gion Matsuri which is famous in Kyoto and spans the whole of July. Tenjin Matsuri festival runs at Osaka from 24 to 25 July. People from northern Honshu display their strengths by balancing lanterns on bamboo poles on their shoulders for annual Akita Kanto festival. Over at Miyajima there is Kangen sai on the 1st of August with music ceremony on boats. Kodo Drummers perform during Sadogashima on late August for earth celebration. July as well as August are months where fireworks rule the Japanese skies. There is the Sumida gawa festival for fireworks and Biwa Ko festival also for fireworks.

Mid-August is the period of O-bon, a ceremonial festival for showing appreciation to ancestors spiritually. Whole of Japan goes on holiday and one would be able to witness the Bon-Odori traditional dance. It is a simple repetitive dance with dancers using fan or towel as dance prop. An excellent place for admiring Bon-odori is Awaodori Matsuri at Tokushima. Dancers compete in teams for prizes. Gujo Hachiman, a small mountain town at northern Nagoya offers spectators 32 nights of continuous dancing, some stretch into the mornings. Spectators are welcome to join in the dance and fun.
Summertime dining dishes are unique in Japan. One specialty include cold noodle or somen noodles. It is refreshing to many. The noodles are chilled and served with tasty sauce and fresh vegetables and eggs. One can also experience catching your own noodles flowing from bamboo pipes by using chopsticks. It is called nagashi somen and is a local delicacy. Summer festivals are accompanied by stalls selling fried stuff and bite size snacks. Fried stuff or yaki dominate sales levels and you can find immense flavor for yakitori or tako-yaki. Kakigori, a refreshing dessert is a must try if you fancy shaved ice with syrup and fruit toppings under the hot summer. Different syrup flavors are available to the masses.
Beer garden officially opens from May to September. Students, party groups, working adults and families will all flock to the beer gardens to escape the heat by having a cold drink. Meals come in standard buffet packages complete with beer. The cost is affordable ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 yen. It is definely not fine dining standards. Department stores are places you can find beer gardens. Alternatively try looking at hotels and parks. Popular spots include Mori-no, located at Meiji Shrine. Others include Kyoto Tower rooftop at Kyoto. For those in Osaka, you can check out Hankyu Top. Ask around and you will be directed to the nearest beer garden.
Travel to the northern islands of Japan if you are tired from the summer heat.
Go north. It is the best time for hiking as cold weather restricts hiking activities around Japan's national parks. Try out popular hiking spots such as Yotei-zan or Shiretoko Park. Alpine flowers start to bloom during summer time and breathtaking Furano flower fields begin their life. Tomita Farm landscape will transform into different colour ranges from pink to purple. Sapporo Festival during summertime is a good hangout spot as well. It is organized around July to August with one large beer garden setting in the center. The seating capacity is 13,000 people. There are plenty of traditional dance performances, fireworks and firefly observation. You will definitely have a great time drinking away and listening to the loud cheers and lively spirits.


Enjoy The Trip By Simple Etiquette Tips


polite in japan

A trip to Japan is a pleasure for one and all, before stepping into the country, just have a glance about the code of etiquette which is considered as very important among Japanese people. One has to appreciate the Japanese people by preserving their traditions and Manners from the ancient times. Japanese culture is fascinating and at the same time inscrutable for the first time travelers to accustom for the etiquette of the Japanese.

How to Greet People in Japan?
Japan has a unique culture of greeting people. Bow your head to greet someone. A small bow of the head indicates a casual greeting. A small nod of the head is suffice for thanking, requesting, apologize and for favor also. Shaking hands is very uncommon, and it is best for you to wait if the other person offer their hand. Keeping your palms upto the chest level and bowing is not common greeting for the Japanese people.
Etiquette While Giving Gifts
Giving gifts is a common culture of Japanese people. Gifts are given usually in different occasions like returning from a trip, changing the house, for seasonal changes and so on. You have to pay attention while giving a gift to Japanese people. Make sure before giving a gift that it has to be properly wrapped and remember that gifts in four sets must be avoided, because number four is considered an unlucky number for Japanese people. In Japan people use the number four for “death”. It is very important for one to remember that while giving or receiving a gift, handle it with two hands. For the first time visitors, it is the best idea to keep small gifts from their native country to distribute someone in their trip. A simple nod and a small gift from your home country is highly appreciable. Giving gifts on special occasions like birthdays and festivals is not Japanese tradition. However with some western influence, some families are exchanging gifts on special occasions also.
Exchanging Business Cards
For formal introduction, it is better to exchange a name card with your two hands. It is always suggestible to stand and exchange the business cards with higher rank people. Place the card in your shirt pocket or in a wallet if you meet any one while you are passing. A small bow is suffice to give or receive a card from Japanese people.
Public Observance
You must be very polite when you are travelling in a public transport. Mobile phones are kept in silent mode, not to disturb fellow passengers. You are not supposed to speak loudly in public places. Follow queue while boarding a train, to guide the people, passenger lines are drawn on the platforms. It is very barbaric if you blow your nose in public. Always better use masks if you have cold.
Visiting temples and shrines
Behave very gently and respectfully in temples. Just throw a coin into the offering tray, followed by a prayer. You are asked to remove your shoes while entering into the temple. Many temple authorities permit you to take photographs, but in some place you are not supposed to. Better watch the sign before you enter the temple. While visiting a shrine if you are sick, you are not permitted, because Japanese tradition indicates that it is a cause of impurity. So, if you are sick or having any open wound better not to visit a shrine.
Eating Habits
There are things to remember when you are using chopsticks. Some of your actions may be associated with the funeral actions, for example, don't leave chopsticks in a rice bowl straight upright . You have to hold your chopsticks at the end not in the middle. Don't point anybody with your chopsticks. Do not use chopsticks to spare your food. You are not supposed to play with the chopsticks even after you finished your eating, just lay them down with tips to left on the table in front of you.
Simple and basic formalities make your trip enjoyable. Follow the Etiquette tips and enjoy the trip.


1  2  3  4  5  6  7 
Page 1 of 7
up Top