travel

Kid’s video of whirlwind Japan tour reveals otaku paradise, pervy action figures

Kid’s video of whirlwind Japan tour reveals otaku paradise, pervy action figures

Everybody’s got that story. The story of why they decided they wanted to go to Japan in the first place. Unsurprisingly, for a lot of people it’s manga, anime and even J-Pop. For a lot of guys, it’s the girls. For (comparatively fewer) girls, it’s the guys. Some like the food. Some like the “Old Japan” feel of Kyoto and Kamakura. A few even go for the outdoor activities.

And some go for the pervy action figures.

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“The best ryokan I’ve ever visited” – A photo tour of Akita Prefecture’s Miyakowasure inn

“The best ryokan I’ve ever visited” – A photo tour of Akita Prefecture’s Miyakowasure inn

The ryokan [traditional Japanese-style inn] in Akita Prefecture called Miyakowasure (都わすれ; “forget the city”), also known as Natsuse Onsen, is unquestionably the best in all of Japan–at least according to our Japanese correspondent Yoshio. Out of all of the ryokan that he has ever visited, he can confidently say that this is his number-one pick.

Yoshio has stayed at literally hundreds of hotels and ryokan across the country for both business and pleasure, but he recently experienced an unparalleled level of hospitality and overall quality during his stay at this particular inn. He even thinks that hotel managers from across Japan and the world should spend a night there to learn a thing or two! That’s how enthusiastically he praises his most recent visit.

Join Yoshio for an in-depth look at this spectacular ryokan in northern Japan after the jump!

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【TBT】The five Japanese streets that people of Japan most want to visit

【TBT】The five Japanese streets that people of Japan most want to visit

If you’ve ever longed to go back to an old Japan, where samurai stayed at old ramshackle inns and merchants filled the air with the scent of food, then some of these traditional streets will be right up your alley. We take you to five of Japan’s most-loved streets, from well-worn paths in secluded valleys to bustling pilgrimage routes in scenic villages, all with an amazing history and atmosphere. Let’s take a stroll together and see what they have to offer.

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Haneda Airport’s ramen rice bowl is here to save indecisive fliers who hate airline food

Haneda Airport’s ramen rice bowl is here to save indecisive fliers who hate airline food

For the most part, I have very few complaints about air travel. Maybe I’m just incredibly lucky, but usually when I fly, I get through the check-in and security lines fairly smoothly, and while I’d never choose to outfit my living room with seats from an airliner, I can generally put up with them until I reach my destination.

I’ve even largely made peace with the unappetizing flavor of airline food, often sidestepping the issue by picking up something else to eat before I get on the plane. Selecting my last tasty meal for the next couple hours can be tricky, though, and sometimes I’ll find myself waffling between two options, such as ramen or a rice bowl.

Thankfully, a new to-go item at Haneda Airport eliminates that dilemma, though, with a ramen-flavored rice bowl from one of Tokyo’s most popular noodle emporiums.

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Five of our favorite blogs about Japan

Five of our favorite blogs about Japan

There’s a lot of information about Japan floating around on the internet, so finding a really great site can seem like a never-ending endeavor. As self-proclaimed Japanophiles, we have more than a few sites we frequent to get our daily dose of anything about our home away from home. It was hard to choose, but here are five of our favorite blogs about Japan.

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Awesome Narita Airport beer dispenser gives a perfect pour every time 【Video】

Awesome Narita Airport beer dispenser gives a perfect pour every time 【Video】

Whenever I fly back to L.A., I have a standard ritual I go through. I make sure to get to Narita Airport well ahead of my departure time, check in for my flight, and have a beer or two before take-off. This gets me nice and sleepy, and I usually doze off shortly after we reach our cruising altitude, waking up several hours closer to home.

Since I fly coach, there’s a convenience store inside the terminal where I procure my supplies in canned form. Should I ever find myself with a Qantas business class ticket, though, it’s good to know that the Australian carrier’s business longue not only has draft Asahi, but that it’s perfectly poured by an awesome beer-dispensing machine.

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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.

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Dog-carrying accessory spotted on Japanese train is awesome, borders on animal abuse

Dog-carrying accessory spotted on Japanese train is awesome, borders on animal abuse

You know those hilarious baby pouches that parents use to strap their kid to their backs, and the kid instantly falls asleep, because that’s what babies do? And then the baby’s limbs just wobble around while the parent walks and you have to do a double take because it kind of looks like the baby is dead at first?

Well, those pouches are apparently also being used on dogs in Japan lately.

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Great hotel in Hokkaido has hot spring, all you-can-eat seafood for under 10,000 yen a person

Great hotel in Hokkaido has hot spring, all you-can-eat seafood for under 10,000 yen a person

With beautiful natural scenery, delicious food, and an unhurried atmosphere, Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is one of the country’s most popular vacation spots. There’s one big drawback, though, which is that airfare to and from Hokkaido can eat up a big part of your travel budget, leaving you less cash to spend on a hotel with nice amenities or local delicacies like fresh salmon roe and scallops.

Recently, though, we found a hotel in Hokkaido that offers it all, with soft beds, all-you-can-eat seafood, an all-night hot spring, and even a price that makes it a very affordable luxury.

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How many references can you find in these bustling hidden object images?

How many references can you find in these bustling hidden object images?

How would fourteen of the world’s most vibrant cities look if you asked an artist to cram everything that represents them into one explosive image? Read on below for all the wonderfully diverse pictures, and see if you can spot the hidden passenger.

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【Exploring Unfamiliar Japan】We stayed in a 120-year-old Japanese home, here’s how you can too

【Exploring Unfamiliar Japan】We stayed in a 120-year-old Japanese home, here’s how you can too

When European writer, Lafcadio Hearn, wrote about Shimane prefecture in 1894, he described a land steeped in tradition and nature. Since then, all of Japan seems to have ignored this sleepy area of the Chugoku region whose most recent claim to fame is having the country’s largest population of the elderly. But if Shimane prefecture is stuck in the olden days, the Oki Islands are lost in time. Lazily floating out at sea in what is technically Shimane, but is actually an entire world of its own, Oki is a forgotten gem tucked in a dusty corner of Japan. Rambling down the overgrown back roads, you’re sure to come across a wrinkled face and a hearty “konnichiwa,” a small experience that seems to have become a rarity in the always busy metropolises of this country.

It is in this uncommon place that we had the privilege of staying in a home that has stood for over a century. Join us as we share our experience staying at the Japanese guesthouse called Tsukudaya.

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Travel Warning: Beware Taiwan’s creepy zombie bus driver

Travel Warning: Beware Taiwan’s creepy zombie bus driver

I can only imagine what it would be like for a tourist from some far off country to inadvertently disembark in the United States right in time for the Halloween holiday. Stepping off the plane to be surrounded by blood-covered nurses, mad scientists and cackling witchcraft wielders would be extremely traumatizing for someone not specifically told that people are going to be walking around in costume like it’s no big deal.

Well, now I sort of have an idea of what that might feel like now that I’ve watched this YouTube video of a Taiwanese bus company that decided to replace its bus driver with a creepy zombie for Taiwan’s annual Hungry Ghost Festival.

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Pack on Titan! Anime suitcase is perfect for a trip outside the walls

Pack on Titan! Anime suitcase is perfect for a trip outside the walls

In at least one way, the members of Attack on Titan’s Survey Corps have it good. Sure, they may have to spend every day in fear of the legions of man-eating giants that surround their city, but they also get to zip through the air in their cool wire-firing harness system known as the three dimensional maneuver gear.

Those of us who aren’t part of the Titan-fighting band of warriors have to make do with more mundane forms of transportation. If you’re looking to still feel a connection to Attack on Titan’s tan-jacketed group of heroes, though, this anime suitcase may be just the thing.

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Get a room, you two, with this love hotel-finding smartphone app and its 2,000-yen discount

Get a room, you two, with this love hotel-finding smartphone app and its 2,000-yen discount

In many ways, Japan’s love hotels are a brilliant concept, offering a room with discreet staff, simple amenities, and large beds for couples looking for a place to physically and nakedly express their feelings for one another. There is one sticky point to utilizing them, however.

People generally find themselves in need of a love hotel when overcome by a spontaneous wave of passion, so they don’t usually book ahead. And while a hand-in-hand dash to the love hotel district can be a bit of heady fun, finding a place to do the deed is sort of a time-sensitive objective. Spending too much time walking around searching for a hotel with a vacancy can put a damper on the mood and/or contribute to your sobering up and realizing that maybe it isn’t a good idea to sleep with your boss’ nubile 23-year-old daughter, no matter how willing she says she is.

Such problems may soon come to be a thing of the past, though, with a new smartphone app that can help you find and book a love hotel in as little as 10 seconds, plus, right now, even help you out with the bill.

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How many have you seen? 18 must-visit sites in Japan 【World Heritage】

How many have you seen? 18 must-visit sites in Japan 【World Heritage】

Visiting World Heritage Sites is a great way to see Japan. Since the sites are scattered all around the archipelago, you’re bound to be close to at least one of them no matter where you are in the country, and having gained the prestigious status by UNESCO, you can be sure you’re seeing the very best of Japan. After all, World Heritage status is not easily obtained and competition is stiff.

Join our peripatetic reporter as she takes you to each site and gives you the lowdown on what to see, how to avoid the crowds, and how to enjoy the sites on your own terms. Ready? Let’s go!

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Udon Museums set to bring oodles of noodles to Tokyo and Osaka this year

Udon Museums set to bring oodles of noodles to Tokyo and Osaka this year

Compared to ramen, udon has a decidedly low-key image. Ramen is actually a comparative newcomer to the Japanese dining scene, and so it’s generally the more likely candidate for crazy experimentation. Udon, on the other hand, is simpler, and in its most basic form, the thick white flour noodles, floating in a basic salty broth, can seem almost austere by comparison.

At least, that’s the impression eating udon only in train station noodle joints and school cafeterias would leave you with. The truth is, in the several centuries Japan has been eating udon, it’s come up with dozens of different takes on the dish, and later this year, you’ll be able to sample dozens all in the same place, with the opening of two Udon Museums in Tokyo and Osaka.

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The top 5 places to see the sun set in Japan

The top 5 places to see the sun set in Japan

Japan may be known as the Land of the Rising Sun for good reason. The Japanese are extremely reverential to the sun and, if you can find a spot somewhere that doesn’t have a skyscraper blocking your view, Japanese sunrises are impressive and breathtaking to behold. They also happen at like 4 a.m., when no one in their right mind is awake – and those that are are likely enormously drunk and just getting ready for bed.

So for a lot of people, you might be better off watching the sun set in Japan. It’s equally gorgeous depending on location, and even in the middle of summer, the sun starts to slip behind the horizon around 6:30 or 7 p.m., so catching that perfect sunset is easy to work into your plans and doesn’t require remaining awake at some ungodly hour.

Of course, some places are better than others for catching a great Japanese sunset. While it’s cool and all to watch the sky turn all kinds of magnificent colors and the neon lights of the city winking on one by one from whatever street you happen to be standing on in the middle of Tokyo, it’s just not the same without a perfect backdrop and that eye-searing, crimson glory of the sun itself visibly sinking behind the landscape.

Here are our top five picks for watching the sunset in Japan (in no particular order):

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Some flights are more cramped than others – 29 sumo wrestlers pack into one tiny plane

Some flights are more cramped than others – 29 sumo wrestlers pack into one tiny plane

Flying, as magical as it is, is not without its inconveniences. Standing in line at security, listening to someone’s baby cry for ten hours, and fighting to get the airline to give you back your luggage are some of the less rewarding aspects of getting flung through the air at over 500 miles per hour. But perhaps the worst part about flying is being crammed together with a bunch of strangers while crappy movies play on a tiny screen at just the wrong angle.

But at least you’re not squished between a couple dozen sumo wrestlers!

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Ryokan etiquette: What not to do when staying at a traditional Japanese inn

Ryokan etiquette: What not to do when staying at a traditional Japanese inn

Ryokan are traditional Japanese hotels whose roots can be traced back to the Edo Period (1603–1868). Although nowhere near as ubiquitous as they once were, there still exist thousands of such establishments, which are most often associated with relaxation, hot spas and, of course, good Japanese food and drink. Even those who would ordinarily choose a bed over a futon would be wise to experience staying at a ryokan at least once during a visit to Japan, but there are a number of dos and don’ts that visitors – both Japanese and otherwise – really ought to know before setting foot inside one.

Trip Advisor Japan has helpfully published a list of tips, designed to look like set of cards teaching the characters from the Japanese syllabary, which instructs visitors on the right way to enjoy a Japanese inn. Some are as obvious as telling guests not to take stuff home with them, but there are others that really ought to be given your full attention.

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Get the most out of your visit to Japan with these tourist-only deals 【Ninja Life Skills】

Get the most out of your visit to Japan with these tourist-only deals 【Ninja Life Skills】

Japan has a reputation as a very expensive place to travel, but it is trying to raise its profile as an international destination with some deals available just for foreign visitors. We here at RocketNews24 have gathered all the information together in one place for your travel-planning pleasure, so now you have no excuse not to visit us!

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