Reliving the natural habitat and scenery

Reliving the natural habitat and scenery

Old Japan used to be symbolized with ponds filled with carp, valleys filled with mist and onsens hidden in the vast thick forest. It is now being overshadowed by the modern image for Japan, a bustling city filled with neon lights and never ending building of skyscrapers. It is also being filled with high tech supermarkets and super fast bullet trains. Many fancy modern inventions have since replaced the old Japanese image, which includes vending machines for raw lobsters, patrolling vans blasting out at top volume propaganda messages and nappies especially for dogs. It completely erased the old Japan from memories of the citizens. To visit and truly experience Japan, one must factor in travelling time to big busy metropolis such as Tokyo and Osaka. Amidst all the modern hype, one must need to escape the modern world once a while to rejuvenate the soul and brain by going back to natural habitats and rediscover the original beauty of Japan. There are plenty of nature spots perfect for travel groups in 5 or less members.

First on the list is Kamikochi. It forms part of Chubu Sangaku Japanese National Park (or known to outsiders as Japan Alps Park). It is located in Nagao prefecture. It is actually a highland approximately 1500 meters right above ocean levels. Many go there for its scenic view and many replicate the view in the form of watercolor paintings. You can rediscover you sense of purpose in life and find deeper meaning to you journey in life, away from the mundane working culture. Rivers clear as crystal displays peace behind rolling hills. Boats docked beside piers come in different shapes and sizes giving you the perfect photo worthy pictures. The best period for visiting would be around autumn as that is when amber hues surround the forests.

The next destination spot is Akame shujuhachi taki. It is known's as the 48 Akame Waterfalls to outsiders and located right around Mie prefecture. The name represents all the waterfalls collectively, no matter the size. Breathtaking views await the travelers as rocks covered in moss can be seen against a backdrop of gushing river and dramatic gorges. A few good hours is required for one to roam you way on the 4km walking trail along the river. The riverside trail is the perfect spot for escaping the summer heat in the cities. It is also the perfect spot for catching the cooling breeze. One can feel free to dip inside the refreshing river water at the lower side of the waterfalls. Beware of trout tickling you toes as it may get ticklish. Generally it is a fun experience to dip yourself in the cooling water. One would be able to reach the waterfalls by taking the train line from Namba train station location in Osaka all the way to Akameguchi. From Akameguchi the place can be reached within a 10 minutes' walk.

Iya Valley is another great nature spot located on Shikoku Island. However many dispelled the official title as nature's paradise due to the ongoing construction and noisy hammering. Despite all the accusations of not being a good nature spot, it is actually a great place to relieve from the city stress and concentrated crowds. Driving would be the best mode of transport around the area.

You can plan your own travelling pace by making occasional stops at hot spring outdoor baths along your travels. If you fancy an exciting ride, there are vine bridges awaiting travelers which can be pretty mind-blowing. It is a good spot for traveler looking for adrenaline rush and the adventure of crossing the gushing river will make the trip an extremely memorable one.

9 Top shopping destinations

9 Top shopping destinations

Tokyo is the shopping haven among all major cities with high end fashion, traditional crafts, made in Japan only souvenirs and gadgets that many lust for. There are many Tokyo neighborhood that can satisfy all your shopping cravings be it department store window shopping or used goods.

The first famous shopping destination is Ginza. It is the home for posh boutiques for example Dover Street and Mitsukoshi. Itoya is a place not to missed with nine stories full of supplies. One can find endless barrage of toys at the infamous Hakuhinkan. There is a mixture of posh shopping area and more common shops retailing common crafts which reflect the city's varied consumer culture.

The second place Is Asakusa. It is the dwelling place for artisans and merchants. Its streets are littered with tight lanes and alleyways. There are wide range of good for sale ranging from vintage curios to beautiful shopfront curtains. Souvenir hunters can try the gift shops at Nakamise-dori. There are long rows of little stalls supplying quality unique Japanese made souvenirs.

The third place would be Kagurazaka. It is located a few stations from Shinjuku, and buildings are fairly proportionate to human levels. Walking past the slope at Kagurazaka coming at Iidabashi station, one can find stores selling geta or wooden sandals and purses crafted from kimono fabric. There are also dyed textiles from hand and other accessories. Deep inside there are also stores selling puppets and sweets, sandwiched between pharmacies and pachinko parlours.

The fourth shopping haven is Roppongi. It is known for bars and pick up spot, as well as housing the city's interesting showrooms. Some of the more famous dining and entertainment areas are Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown. Interior design lovers can patronize the Axis Design shops and galleries. One can also pay Japan Sword a visit for a peek at samurai weapons.

The fifth spot would be Daikanyama and Naka-Meguro. It is located near Ebisu and has a host of café and fashion boutiques. Naka Meguro on the other hand, just minutes of walk away has more secondhand goods and lounge bars. One should visit Vase for its cultural pieces.

The sixth famous spot for shopping is Shibuya. It is a hot spot among teenagers who are into the teenage trend. One might feel overage being 30 and above, but is nonetheless a good experience. Music shops are everywhere and outrageous apparel can be found at every corner. Hip kids can be spotted at every corner posing and flashing their latest apparel. For those looking for teenage wear, feel free to visit Shibuya 109 or Fake Tokyo. For those looking for gadgets, be sure to pay Tokyu Hand a visit.

The seventh hot spot is Shimo-Kitazawa, located just southwest from Shibuya. It is popular hangout for artsy people and restaurants. Several famous stores converge here including Shimokita, Haight and Ashbury and Otonomad. For all your shopping needs with diverse treasure, be sure to take a look around Shimokita Garage Store Department, a covered market with unique stalls.

The eighth popular shopping destination is Harajuku and Aoyama. It is the home for the ever popular Harajuku girls as well as boys. There are myriad of eccentric shops selling secondhand goods. You can find good deals for souvenirs at Tokyo's Tokyo, clothes and accessories at Sou-sou and high fashion at the final parts around Omote-sando.

The ninth shopping destination would be Shinjuku. It can be energy consuming for most people shopping around Shinjuku. Lights and noise accompany your every step once you alight from the trains and step outside of the station as malls and stores cover every inch of the streets. The scene is similar to a busy casino full of patrons. There are awesome shops located right at the heart of Shinjuku and perfect for all you shopping needs. There is Isetan, the revered store in Tokyo. There is RanQueen, store suitable for all ages. There is Disk Union, a place for music lovers to shop till they drop where it is filled with music CDs. Huge variety of electronics can be found here too. Be sure to visit Kita Kore for its fashion store collections. Last but not least would be Akihabara, also known to many as the electronics hub for Tokyo. The district is increasingly popular among geeks (otaku) who loves anime and manga, as well as J-Pop. Mandarake Complex is a large complex housing all the stores specially for the geeks. Book lovers would love to visit Jimbocho which houses a little less than 170 plus bookstores. One can also find souvenir bazaars along Akihabara.

Tokyo tour for the Budget Conscious

Tokyo tour for the Budget Conscious

One will definitely look with a pair of skeptical eyes when they heard that there is a link between cheap and Tokyo. Tokyo is known as an expensive metropolis with high food cost and skyrocketing rentals which will put much strain in any Tokyo traveller's budget. However, there are ways to get around without having to eat just plain rice every day in order to have a fulfilling Tokyo experience.

First on the list is settling your sleepover needs through the night. Internet sites are very robust and accommodation providers have all gone high tech by listing on webpages. Shop around in the online space many months earlier diligently as room rates can have volatile fluctuations and you may be able to get a good deal depending on current demand and the specific day you are making the booking. More budget accommodations are usually located far away from train hubs and you may have to contend with the noise and smaller room. Some of the highly recommended places include Sanya, described as an old hood located north from Asakusa. Juyoh Hotel has decent clean rooms for traveller with low expectations and requirements. Traveller can also consider Hotel Accela or New Azuma. For those in the Chiyoda (photo) area a cheap stay can be obtained at Sakura Hotel. Browse around travelling sites for good deals.

Getting the best food deals is also essential to satisfy everyone's 3 meal per day requirement. Sushi served on conveyer belts offers reasonably priced sushi made in advance. Tachiqui, or stand up noodle shops offer delicious noodles that is guaranteed to fill your stomach. Sakata is revered as the classic noodle hot spot in Tokyo. Their sanuki udon is also a must try item that will make you wanting more. Street stalls can also be found around Tokyo where you can grab cheap drinks and small bites (think yakitori or grilled skewered chicked). Head over to any of the pubs (aka izakaya) for a quick refreshing alcoholic drink. Lunch hour menu are usually at least half the price compared to dinner menu and you can eat your hearts out by devouring fresh sashimi served at noon. Look out for restaurants having long queues outside as longer line means higher quality food and lower prices. There are vending machines that sell all imaginable items and a can of kirin beer is only half the cost compared to the bar.

Watching movies at cinemas or getting a game at bowling alleys are expensive affairs. Instead head over to Sony building for free console playing sessions for the latest games on their trademark PlayStation consoles. If you really want to watch movies, be sure to ask for offers and discounts available for children, students and senior citizens. Same goes for museum tickets. For nature lover, head over to Imperial Palace for their magnificent East Garden sights for a temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Entrance is free of charge. If you need to stock up on snacks and toiletries, stop by large supermarkets or 100 yen per item shops that will give you the best bargains over convenience stores. Hunt your souvenirs over at flea markets and antique fairs. One can try out Nogi Jinja or Azabu Juban flea markets.

Do not take taxis unnecessarily and always strive to get by walking around. Ren a bike if possible as there are dedicated bicycle lanes all over the city. Always keep in mind the operating hours of subway where they halt their lines from midnight to 1am. Save you budget from taxi rides and use the subway to get around. For those wanting a complete tour of the city, you can always purchase a Rail Pass offered by Japan Railways. That way you can reach multiple destinations at a much cheaper fare.

Peak travel season for Tokyo happens around December to January period, late April to early May period and middle of August. If you want to save up, avoid the abovementioned travelling period. Do not procrastinate on looking for the best travel deals online and plan as early as possible. Utilize all great sources for local deals such as local publications Tokyo Journal or Metropolis.

Tokyo around Yamanote Line

Tokyo around Yamanote Line

Tokyo which is the capital city of the innovative and technologically savvy country, Japan, is well known as a major attraction centre for its modern technology applications that are applied to the public in the city. Technology is a public amenity in Tokyo it can be said. A visitor to the city who wants to see it with all its modern advancement and diversity, all needs to do is take a ticket, and ride along the Yamanote Line. It is different in every aspect from others be it the one station from other or the east from west or the south from north.

The Yamanote Line is a railway track that is running since 1925 and forms a loop in the heart of the city separating two aspects of the city: the downtown side of Tokyo defined within the railway loop and the residential housing aspect that lies outside the loop. A ride along the iconic Yamanote Line is a well-recommended way to see around Tokyo as suggested by its civilians.

The Line connects 29 stations in all, carries millions of passengers every day and runs between stations within few minutes when the hours of commute are at their peak. There's no doubt in saying that Tokyo's functionality and high profile workability is massively dependent on this line. But as said, Yamanote Line doesn't just serve the functional needs of Tokyo. It also provides a window for tourists travelling within the city to speculate the entirety of the capital by taking you on a journey right from its high rising modern buildings that leave you awestruck for sure, to the street low life or the more covert intimate side of the city. Once a person has travelled across all the 29 stations along the line, the perception of a city the was coherent within itself as a sky scraping fast lane land of organisation and advancement, which changes to a truly amazing city which is composed of a collection of small diverse towns each with a different story of its own to tell. Which is why commuting on the line as a tourist, you'll be suggested to drop by at every single station on the Yamanote Line if you really want to know Tokyo as Tokyo is.

Visit places such as the Meiji shrine at the Yoyogi station, the shopping spot for youth especially the teenagers at Harajuku, the signature Tokyo Tower at Hamamatsucho station, Imperial Palace at the-the Tokyo station, Yebisu garden place at the Ebisu station, the park well known for it's mesmerising cherry blossoms the Ueno park along with Ameyoko shopping street at the Ueno station, the what-is-called 'old Tokyo' Nippori at the Nippori station and a lot more which can be experienced once you hop the Yamanote trains and let the railway tracks guide you while the engines of the train drive you. It is the best way to see the best of Japan.

And while you are at it, travelling around Tokyo spectating a fine city in a train along the loop, do make sure to visit the Imperial Palace and the East Gardens to be a part of the Japanese culture. It is where the Emperor of Japan and his family reside. But the palace buildings and the gardens are open to public only on two dates; Jan 2 and Dec 23. On these two dates, the royal family can be viewed greeting from their balcony

It's certain to say that Yamanote is much more than just a commercial purpose serving facility in Tokyo. It's Tokyo's beating heart without which the city won't be able to survive a day.