travel

Shibuya Station 2019: one step closer to the Neo-Tokyo of our dreams

If you’ve been to Shibuya Station recently, you’ll have seen one area in particular that’s filled with crowds, noise and trucks; and it’s not the meeting place around the famous statue of Hachiko.

It’s the massive redevelopment project currently underway to revitalise the district and deliver a completely new-looking Shibuya by 2027. Latest pictures of the next high-rise in the pipeline reveal just how amazing life in Neo-Tokyo will be.

Read More

This “natural planetarium” island could have Japan’s most beautiful view of the stars

Next week, people across Japan will be celebrating Tanabata, the age-old festival dedicated to the folk-tale of two lovers separated by the Milky Way, being reunited only once a year, on July 7th.

While in this romance story the Milky Way is nothing but an obstacle for the lovers, for the people of Aogashima, an island south of Tokyo, the Milky Way is an important part of their life and happiness. The uniquely shaped island has been gaining popularity lately, being dubbed a “natural planetarium.” Needless to say, the view of the night sky from Aogashima is outstanding.

Read More

A wild sushi chase: Our Japanese reporter tries Cuban sushi in a five-star Havana hotel

I mean, we have sushi here in Cuba, but it’s terrible. You’re better off eating it in Japan!” That was the advice our reporter Yuichiro got when, craving a taste of home, he asked a Cuban friend where he could find some tasty sushi in his home country.

But for some reason, his friend’s protestations made our intrepid reporter even more intrigued. “Looking back on it now though,” says Yuichiro, “I wish I’d quit while I was ahead…”

Read More

Japan’s Top 10 Scenic Train Trips–according to two “densha otaku” train guides

Greg Cope and Ken Mitchell have been riding Japan’s railways for over 30 years. “When I first started to travel around Japan,” recalls Greg, “I was struck by the fact that Japan not only has one of the most efficient railway systems in the world, but they have myriad types of railways, from new to old, conservative design to outlandish.

On one of Greg’s succeeding trips back to Japan, he asked his train aficionado friend Ken, who had seen a lot of Japan during a visit in 1967, to come along. “I devised an itinerary…incorporating a variety of different trains. The trip that I had nutted out from the timetable turned out well and I was hooked on Japan’s railway system,” says Ken.

Greg and Ken wanted to share their Japan rail experiences with others, so to achieve this goal they started Trainaway Tours out of Australia in 1998. These guys are living the train otaku dream, so when RocketNews24 started looking into Japan’s best, most scenic railways, we went straight to them for recommendations. From JR lines to small private rails, tourist trains to steam locomotives, let’s look at their picks for the top 10 train trips in Japan.

Read More

We visited Fukui Station to see the dinosaurs! No Chris Pratt, but the Dino Doctor was in!

We’ve talked about Fukui Station, located in Fukui Prefecture, and its Jurassic Park of animatronic dinosaurs before, but today we have a ton more photos and a video of them in motion as the station draws closer to completion. Check out our photos of the rampaging dinosaurs at Fukui Station and call Chris Pratt, because we might need backup!

Read More

Our Japanese reporter offers up some safety advice for anyone traveling to Southeast Asia

‘The other day, I felt a tap on my back while at a Japanese-style shopping mall in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I turned around and there was a beautiful, wide-eyed woman smiling at me. She asked me a favor in broken English: “I don’t have any friends in this city, and I’d like to hear more about Japan. Won’t you get dinner with me?”

I was surprised at myself by my cold reaction–“Ah, not another one.” Despite my efforts to ignore her, she continued pestering me, this time asking how long I was planning to stay in Cambodia. When I responded, “I’ve lived here for over 15 years, she promptly disappeared with a creepy cackling noise.’

Read More

Disney’s lovable mascot flies high — Duffy takes to the air on JAL Happy Journey Express planes!

Duffy, Disney’s lovable stuffed bear character, has a huge following in Japan. Just step inside Tokyo Disney Resort, and the bear’s popularity is abundantly clear as you see the large number of guests carrying their own Duffy toy in adorable and sometimes exquisitely hand-made costumes.

Well, we’ve already seen the well-loved bear tuned into an amazing furry bus that made a special tour from Tokyo to Shizuoka Prefecture a little over a year ago, and now it seems the mascot will be embarking on a whole new journey — into the big blue sky!   Read More

Traveling with Totoro (and Kiki too)! Official Studio Ghibli suitcases go on sale

Last week, we took a look at an ad for West Japan Railways that was produced by animators affiliated with Studio Ghibli. If its images of a happy family enjoying the great outdoors had you ready to pack your bags, why not make said bags anime-style too, with these My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service suitcases?

Read More

Japan’s 10 best restaurants, as chosen by foreign travelers

People travel to Japan for all sorts of different reasons. Many are seeking a taste of tradition and history, and plan visits to the country’s most important shrines and castles. Some are drawn by Japan’s natural beauty, heading for its mountains and forests, while still others come to throw themselves into its neon-soaked urban entertainment centers.

But no matter what’s on your itinerary, at some point you’re going to need to get something to eat, and when your stomach starts growling, you can rely on the experience of those who made the trip before you with TripAdvisor’s list of the 10 best restaurants in Japan.

Read More

When guards attack: This is why you don’t mock the big guys with the guns!

A stereotypical scene of a visit to London includes a trip to Buckingham Palace and a touristy photo-op of a silly pose next to one of the Queen’s Guards. With their distinct, bright red coats and big poofy black hats, to many tourists they might just seem like ceremonial guards, but they are actually fully operational soldiers entrusted with an important job, and they take their job very seriously.

People seem to get a kick out of trying to get a reaction out of these guys, but you really don’t want to mess with them. Someone probably should’ve warned this kid, before he pushed a soldier a little too far and ended up staring into the barrel of his gun!

Read More

50 things our Japanese reporter learned while driving in the U.S.

Our Japanese-language reporter Go recently returned from a trip to the U.S. While there, he hunted for aliens and sampled the local cuisine, but mostly what he did was drive.

While Japan is filled with winding mountain passes that make for enjoyable drives, the wide-open American road has an appeal all its own. After days of barreling down the highways of the southwest, Go came back to Japan with these 50 experiences he had driving in the U.S.

Read More

Four areas in which Japan needs to improve if it wants to attract more overseas travelers

Japan’s National Tourist Organization recently released its statistics on the number of overseas travelers who visited in the country in 2014, and we’re proud to say that 13,413,467 of you came to visit (though we’re also a little hurt that so few of you called us up to get ramen while you were here). That number represents almost a 30-percent increase from the number of foreign tourists Japan received in 2013, and a whopping 60-percent jump compared to 2012.

Still, Japan only ranks 27th globally in its ability to draw travelers from abroad, making it eighth in Asia, behind world-number 22 Korea and number four China.

So what’s holding Japan back from becoming an even more popular international travel destination? RocketNews24’s non-Japanese staff put our heads together, and after getting over the initial pain from our foreheads violently colliding, came up with the following list of areas Japan could do better in that foreign travelers would definitely appreciate.

Read More

Japanese highway rest stop to get world’s largest Evangelion Unit-01 replica

For Evangelion fans who are tired of Gundam hogging the spotlight when it comes to large-scale, replica robot statues, the wait for your vindication will be at an end in under a month, according to Japanese media.

That’s because the beloved anime franchise will finally boast its very own replica robot of series hero Shinji’s iconic mech, the Evangelion Unit-01. And while the famous 1:1-scale Gundam that looms over Odaiba stands outdoors, the Evangelion Unit-01 replica will be housed in its very own badass mech hangar!

Read More

Studio Ghibli animators’ West Japan Railway ad has us ready for summer! 【Video】

The hot summer months of July and August are almost upon us, and for families with young children, you know what that means…SUMMER VACATION! That’s right, like in many other parts of the world, families in Japan will be thinking about how and where to spend their summer holidays, including plans for travel. It seems quite fitting, then, that West Japan Railway Company, or JR West Japan as it’s commonly called, has recently announced the launch of the “JR West Japan SUMMER TRAIN!” campaign to showcase the appeal of traveling in western Japan by rail.

And it so happens that there’s something unique about this campaign that makes it hugely appealing to anime fans in particular — the commercial for the campaign features animation created by members of the Studio Ghibli team, and their beautiful artwork is immediately recognizable.

Read More

Osaka International Airport has a sake tasting machine for 100 yen a cup

There are many lovers of nihonshu (often called sake in English) in Japan, but a challenge of a true nihonshu fan is finding that perfect brand to suit their tastes. With the hundreds of different kinds each with their own flavors and ways to serve, you might drink for years without being able to settle on a type to call your favorite.

In addition to time, it can also be a burden on the wallet to go through bottle after bottle searching for that right one. Luckily, Mr. Sato stumbled upon something that might help speed up and cheapen the sake selecting process.

It’s a sake taste testing machine in Osaka International Airport that sells cups from nearly 30 different brands for only 100 yen (US$0.81) each.

Read More

Rolling suitcase with built-in desk is perfect for mobile businesspeople and cosplayers alike

Modern technology makes it easier than ever for people to work anywhere, not just in a traditional office setting. But every telecommuter or creative type knows the frustration of grabbing your laptop and any other necessary items, then carrying them to your local cafe, anxious to punch in and get some projects done, only to discover there’re no available seats.

Sure you might not need a whole office, but not even having a small desk to work on can really hurt your productivity. Here with a solution is ambitious and creative design house Bibi Lab, which is now selling a wheeled suitcase with an attached desk and chair that’s not only great for mobile professionals, but for artists, cosplayers, and all sorts of other people on the go.

Read More

Our 7 best conveyor-belt sushi restaurants in Sapporo

When you think of the Hokkaido city of Sapporo, you probably think of winter. After all, this is the city that hosts the annual Yuki Matsuri snow festival where massive ice sculptures line its bustling streets, and millions of people stop by the city every year while en route to Niseko for some ski or snowboarding fun.

But when Japanese people think of Sapporo, they tend to think summer, when the far-north metropolis boasts cool, mild weather and abundant nature in a season where much of Honshu is blanketed in oppressive heat and humidity; the kind that makes you physically angry every time you step out the door.

Anticipating an influx of Japanese tourists to the area, our Japanese sister site recently put together its top picks for the best conveyor belt sushi restaurants in Sapporo, and we thought we’d share, since, honestly, Sapporo is a really, really nice place to visit this time of year and their seafood is to die for.

Read More

Swiss hotel fights food wastefulness with photos of starving children

As a child, did your parents ever try to get you to finish everything on your plate by telling you how there are starving children in the world who aren’t lucky enough to have the luxury of a decent meal? As a kid, it probably just seemed like an unfair guilt-trip, but as adults hopefully we have all now realized the truth behind those words and the importance of not being wasteful.

A particular Swiss hotel has taken similar tactics to curb the wastefulness of its guests at the breakfast buffet, after shameful amounts of food have been left partially or wholly uneaten and then thrown away. But the hotel took it a step further by including shocking photos to help drive the message home.

Read More

Regionally themed cat socks are insanely cute, great souvenirs, even educational

I love socks. Not your boring old gym socks and stockings, though. I like ’em bright and patterned, the more obnoxiously the better. If it doesn’t look like something a child should be wearing, I’ll pass.

Two other things I love are Japan and cats, so you’ll understand why my squees of delight filled the aisles of popular bargain chain 3 Coins when I spotted this huge rack of cat socks with designs inspired by each of Japan’s 42 prefectures and regions. 

Read More

RocketNews24 Japan writer gets haircut in Cuba, gets more than he bargained for

What do you like to do when you travel? Eat local cuisine? Visit famous landmarks?

Sure, those are all fine. But for me, one thing I always look forward to doing whenever I travel somewhere new is getting a haircut there. I know it sounds crazy, but each place really does have its own distinct style, different atmosphere, and unique way of getting your hair from head to floor.

Wasai, one of our Japanese writers, is a man after my own heart. He recently went on a trip to Cuba, and while he was there, one of the top items on his to-do list was to get a haircut. Did it end up as a failure or fabulous? Read on to find out!

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. ...
  9. 25
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,142 other followers