When you think of Japan, what is the first image that comes to mind? For many, it is the picture of a geisha holding an umbrella. For some it is their favorite manga or anime. For those lucky enough to have visited Japan during Spring, the iconic view of hundreds of sakura trees in full bloom is hard to beat. This is hanami (“flower viewing”) season in Japan, and it is a highlight of the year for many people. While many might think that they can only see sakura in the country, Tokyo cherry blossom trees are just as beautiful! Don’t worry about where to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo–we’ll show you some of the best places around.
With two international airports, Tokyo is an obvious starting point for any visitor to Japan. At the heart of the city is Shinjuku, a place full of restaurants and bars with a few nightclubs, some karaoke and plenty of hidden treasures. Shinjuku also has one of the busiest transport hubs in Japan, connecting the city to the rest of the country with a dozen train lines moving millions of passengers daily.
With so much energy and so many people moving through for business and pleasure, it’s not at all surprising that there are just as many great hotels in Shinjuku to choose from. From homey hostels to theme hotels and surprisingly inexpensive high-class digs, here are 7 of our recommendations for the best Shinjuku accommodation out there. Continue reading →
For many people, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. It is a chance to meet family, eat amazing food and give presents to loved ones. In Japan New Year is the biggest holiday, with many people returning home to spend time with their extended families. The festive spirit is reflected throughout Japan, with events held from Hokkaido to Okinawa that anyone can enjoy.
When some people think of transportation in Tokyo, they imagine the crazy looking maps they’ve seen of the subway lines. With so many stops covering such a large area, it seems like a daunting system. However, Tokyo train and subway lines are among the most extensive and convenient in the world. There a few other transit options as well but you’ll find them less attractive. The buses are difficult to learn and taxis or private cars are expensive. Rental cars can be convenient because there are many options near railway stations, making them easy to find but parking is a bit of a pain – not to mention expensive. Most tourists choose to use the train systems because they are cheap, fast and easy to use.
Mount Takao, otherwise known as Takaosan, offers a convenient and calm retreat from the hustle of the capital that is only one hour away from central Tokyo. Full of history and tradition, Mount Takao has been a center of religious devotion for centuries—and the climate, perfect all year-round but ideal for summer, offers a cool escape from the heat and humidity. Whether you need to refresh yourself during vacation or just need a break from the exhausting frenzy that is Tokyo, there is something on Mount Takao for you. Keep reading to learn about the wonders that await you on this ancient mountain and discover why it is one of the best day trips from Tokyo.
Japan is a country full of things to see, do and experience. Despite a reputation for being one of the more expensive destinations in Asia, if you plan carefully you can save time and money while traveling. Whether you are looking to visit thousand-year old temples or shop for the perfect souvenir, there is always a deal to be found. Especially for more spontaneous travelers, learning how to travel in Japan on the cheap is not as difficult as it may seem. Just be sure to bring your phone or tablet with you to take advantage of all the opportunities available.
You may know that Kyoto was the capital of Japan before Tokyo. But did you know Nara was the first permanent capital of Japan? The Nara Period (710–794) was an age of great cultural and societal growth, and the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. Today this beautiful, peaceful city offers historical temples, shrines, ruins, and gardens, including eight Unesco World Heritage Sites. It’s also home to countless deer, which are held sacred and allowed to roam the city freely. If you will be heading to west Japan this season, your journey awaits with these 8 things to do in Nara! Continue reading →
Once a castle town during the Edo Period, today Okayama is both a convenient stop between Hiroshima and Osaka and a popular tourist destination known for its awesome castle, beautiful traditional Japanese gardens and great art. Your journey awaits with these 5 amazing things to do in Okayama! Continue reading →
Nagoya might not have the fame of Tokyo or Kyoto, but it is major metropolis in its own right. With these 6 great Nagoya sightseeing options, from exploring a castle to getting a glimpse of cutting-edge car production and more, see how this unsung city of Japan remembers its storied past while keeping pace in the present and looking toward the future. Continue reading →
Hokkaido is best known for two things: snow and Sapporo, and Sapporo definitely has lots of snow! While Japan’s most famous city to north offers plenty of snow activities for the winter aficionado, it also has other activities worth exploring. Keep reading to find out our 5 best things to do in Sapporo in winter for when the mercury begins to drop! Continue reading →