sightseeing

Six random, but very cool, sightseeing spots in Japan

Six random, but very cool, sightseeing spots in Japan

For most, a trip to Japan usually involves hitting as many of the big sights as possible. Tokyo Tower, the ornate temples of Kyoto, Hiroshima’s Atomic Bomb Dome, the “floating” torii gate of Hiroshima’s Miyajima Island, and of course the famous Shibuya Scramble intersection are all top tourist spots. But what if you’ve lived in Japan for a while or already seen most of the more famous sights? The good news is, there are tons of smaller locations that, while they may not top many people’s lists of must-see spots, are definitely worth checking out if you have the time or are simply looking for something a little off the beaten track.

Thankfully, a handful of Japanese net users recently provided us with a list of locations that they’d personally like visitors to their country to know a little better. Join us after the jump for six smaller, but equally cool, spots to add to your sightseeing list.

Read More

Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to take taxis everywhere or the ample patience necessary for a bus tour, sightseeing in Japan means a lot of walking. As exciting and fascinating as the country can be, hour after hour on your feet is enough to leave anyone looking for a place to sit down and have a drink, which is part of the reasons why you can always find a Starbucks near Japan’s major travel destinations.

Still, vacation only lasts so long, and many tourists don’t want to waste their time in a new city sitting in a boring old coffee house that looks just like the one in their hometown. Thankfully, the world’s most popular coffee house has gone all out with the design of these five Japanese Starbucks locations, making them sightseeing attractions in and of themselves.

Read More

Tokyo Tower celebrates Tanabata with a beautiful case of the summertime blues

Tokyo Tower celebrates Tanabata with a beautiful case of the summertime blues

Since the opening of the Tokyo Skytree in 2012, Tokyo Tower is no longer the tallest or most fashionable structure in Tokyo. Still, the 56-year-old steel giant has managed to hang onto its reputation as one of the city’s most romantic locales, thanks in part to its location in quiet, sophisticated Shiba-koen as opposed to the boisterous Shitamachi district where the Skytree stands.

This month, Tokyo Tower is doing a little more to set the mood, with a beautiful light display that ties in with Japan’s Tanabata star festival.

Read More

Hokkaidō’s “Sea of Clouds” Terrace now open, just a 13-minute chairlift ride away! 【Photos】

Hokkaidō’s “Sea of Clouds” Terrace now open, just a 13-minute chairlift ride away! 【Photos】

Nope, the above image isn’t a production still from a live-action version of The Pilot’s Love Song or Zelda: Skyward Sword. Rather, this glorious view can be seen from the popular “Sea of Clouds” (unkai) Terrace on Mount Tomamu, which is entering its ninth year of service.

Such a magnificent vista is generally the sole privilege of determined hikers, but this resort attraction in the heart of Hokkaidō delivers you to it in a mere 13 minutes, and you don’t even need an ounce of upsidasium! Whether you’re a nut for Laputa, a hardcore Bioshock Infinite cosplayer, or just a nature lover like me, you’ve got to check out this unique mountaintop experience.

Read More

The country that sent the most foreign visitors to Japan in 2013 was…

The country that sent the most foreign visitors to Japan in 2013 was…

In 2013, a grand total of 10,363,904 foreign tourists visited Japan! That number surpasses the goal of the Visit Japan Campaign, which began in 2003 with a goal to increase the number of overseas visitors to 10 million.

The Japanese language version of popular travel planning and information website TripAdvisor was quite excited by this news, and recently produced their own visual graphic detailing some fun facts about foreign tourists in the Land of the Rising Sun during 2013. Can you guess which country most of the visitors came from, or which country had the highest percentage jump in visitors? How about the most popular tourist destinations for foreigners traveling in Japan? Find out all that and more after the jump.

Read More

Take a tour of Tokyo-3 on an Evangelion bus

Take a tour of Tokyo-3 on an Evangelion bus

In 2012, Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus Company, which operates bus service to the mountain town Hakone, ran a Neon Genesis Evangelion-themed bus. Hakone corresponds to the anime series’ Tokyo-3, a new version of Tokyo built there after an apocalypse demolished its predecessor. The bus service’s popularity has led to an Evangelion bus revival.

Read More

Travel through time from Shibuya

Travel through time from Shibuya

Most Japanese history buffs know that Kyoto is a must-see, but for those who prefer not to be one in a mob of tourists, it’s essential to find the hidden gems like the Kyū Asakura House. It is one of those rare places where you can experience what it may have felt like to live in another era—and this one is in the middle of Tokyo! Because it is relatively small and not too well known, visiting is a peaceful experience.

Read More

“We came all the way to see THAT?!” The top disappointing sightseeing spots in North America

“We came all the way to see THAT?!” The top disappointing sightseeing spots in North America

Ah, the joys of international travel. You shell out the majority of your paycheck for a ticket and spend sleepless nights counting down the days to your adventure of a lifetime. Then the day of departure finally comes and you board the plane, arriving hours later at your destination and trembling with anticipation. Camera in hand, you journey to the first famous place on your list that you’ve been dreaming about for weeks on end. Finally there, you take a quick look around, eyes widening in surprise, and blurt out, “…that’s it?!” 

Read More

Eight Tokyo observation towers – all free, all awesome

Eight Tokyo observation towers – all free, all awesome

One of the best reasons to come to Tokyo is to experience the sheer energy of being in the biggest city in the world. There’s no better way to get an idea of the massive scale of Japan’s capital than with a bird’s eye view from hundreds of feet above its streets.

Unfortunately, the city’s two most famous observation towers, Tokyo Tower and its younger sibling the Tokyo Skytree, both charge hefty admission prices. But if you just spent your last bit of cash because you couldn’t say no to the chance to buy hot coffee in a can, here are eight spots that offer awesome views of Tokyo that won’t cost you a single yen to see.

Read More

NPO lobbies to rebuild Edo Castle at the cost of 50 billion yen (US$500 million)

NPO lobbies to rebuild Edo Castle at the cost of 50 billion yen (US$500 million)

Naotake Odake, former managing director of the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) and once director of the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau, spent years of his professional life traveling to cities across the globe in order to promote Tokyo as a worthwhile tourist destination. In his travels, he noticed a trait shared by all the major cities: they each had a unique and well-recognized landmark embodying the history and culture of the land. According to Odake, a structure of this sort is vital to bolstering a spirit of pride in any given population. Unfortunately for Tokyo, he believes that this sort of historical landmark is something that Japan’s capital city severely lacks. What he has against Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower, or Tokyo Skytree, I’m really not sure. But, it is for this reason that Odake has taken the lead as the chairman of a non-profit organization which hopes to rebuild the Edo Castle’s innermost tower. “In order to present Tokyo as a proud tourist city, we need something like Edo Castle,” he says. But will the payoff really outweigh the costs?

Read More

Five things not to do on a romantic getaway in Japan

Five things not to do on a romantic getaway in Japan

Who doesn’t want to take a vacation alone with their special someone? Couples’ vacations are quite popular in Japan with both the young and old. In a country that boasts a wealth of hot springs, rustic townships, and even big tourist-centered cities, there is no end to exotic places to visit. Shared vacations can be a great way to learn more about the local areas and spend some time with your Japanese boyfriend or girlfriend.

But what happens after the first couple days of excitement wear off? What do you do when he starts snoring too loudly or she takes too much time picking out an outfit to wear for the evening?

Here are some helpful hints for couples looking to take a trip with their Japanese partner.

Read More

Old becomes new again: The beauty of traditional Japanese homes

Old becomes new again: The beauty of traditional Japanese homes

With raw, unpainted wood, tatami rooms, and a tranquil atmosphere, traditional Japanese homes can be quite beautiful. Appreciated by many for their historical look and feel, the buildings have recently undergone a bit of a surge in popularity.

Though probably not something the average person can afford to live in (or would even want to live in), the larger houses have found new life in many forms, including as group homes and rural hotels.

Here’s some great examples and photos of traditional homes in use today.

Read More

Places you simply must visit: Toyama Prefecture

Places you simply must visit: Toyama Prefecture

Japan, as I’m sure you know, is a gorgeous country. Whether it’s sand dunes, beaches, forests, mountains, or snowy plains, there’s something for nearly everyone.

But even with so much amazing scenery, some places still manage to stand out, like Toyama Prefecture! Here’s a list of places in Toyama you simply must visit at least once!

Read More

Finally, an Udon Museum Where You Can Taste the Difference Between Over 45 Kinds of Udon Noodle Dishes From all Over Japan!

Finally, an Udon Museum Where You Can Taste the Difference Between Over 45 Kinds of Udon Noodle Dishes From all Over Japan!

This Udon Museum will open on December 22nd from 11:00 in the Gion area of Kyoto. Udon is a thick noodle made from wheat flour.  With all the variations out there – over 45, including noodle shape, thickness, soup varieties, ways to be eaten, included ingredients and cooking procedures – it makes perfect sense to have a ‘Udon museum’!

One of the best things about Japan is its vast and comprehensive food culture where a wide variety of culinary dishes can be enjoyed. Japanese people take great pride in their ‘washoku‘ (Japanese food), with multiple varieties of the same dish according to geographical location. Different areas have their own version of country cooking, sweet or savory, which becomes that area’s ‘meibutsu or speciality, often times giving that area a name which they become famous for. So it is with Udon. Read More

Fish of Love: Koi Carp with Heart-Shaped Mark Becomes Firm Favourite Among Tourists

Fish of Love: Koi Carp with Heart-Shaped Mark Becomes Firm Favourite Among Tourists

Thanks to the unusually shaped red mark on its head, a koi carp has brought busloads of tourists to its home in Ishikawa prefecture, Japan, as word spreads of the “heart fish” and excited sightseers jostle for position to get a snap of it.

The fish, naturally oblivious to the reason for the attention it is suddenly receiving, now spends most of its day treading water near the bridge in Kenroku-en gardens, peering up at excited tourists’ faces, thankfully unable to hear the shrill cries of teenage girls proclaiming how “kawaii!!” it is…

Read More

Is It Possible to Take a Photo of Mount Fuji from Kyoto? One Teacher Says Yes

Is It Possible to Take a Photo of Mount Fuji from Kyoto? One Teacher Says Yes

Alright all you photographers, this might be your chance to take a historical, never-before seen shot of Mt. Fuji taken 261km (162mi) away in Kyoto.  Although it was calculated to be possible by a geography teacher at Tsukuba University High School, Hiroshi Tashiro, it’s certain to be easier said than done.

Read More

Visit the US Navy Ship Held Prisoner for Over 30 Years in North Korea

Visit the US Navy Ship Held Prisoner for Over 30 Years in North Korea

In 2012, a Japanese man was allowed to take a supervised tour of the secretive country of North Korea, we’ve reported some of his observations about their fine dining, public transportation, and more.  And now we bring you coverage of one of the most unique tourist spots in the world: the only currently captured United States Navy Ship, the USS Pueblo.

Our correspondent’s tour guide and government appointed escort took him to the ship moored in Pyongyang where the guide told him “even today, America continues to beg the ship be returned.”

Read More

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,592 other followers