Sakura season

Sakura season

Kyoto is reminiscent of ancient Japanese, complete with bamboo groves, traditional Zen gardens, streets and lanes populated by geisha and many Buddhist temple structures at various locations. Already a booming travelling hotspot, Kyoto will see surge in tourist arrivals during the cherry blossom period every year without fail. It is considered a Japanese distinct culture where thousand flock over to the best spots for picnic parties. It is a symbol of spring arrival, where sakura are formed which decorates the rivers of Kyoto and dramatically changes the garden scenery which resembles a coat of fairy floss.

Cherry blossom has long been associated as culturally significant to Japan only. 100 yen coins are imprinted with cheery blossom images and it is used as a motivational campaign to spur nationalism spirit among Japanese during the Second World War. It is widely believed that cherry trees blooming are a symbol of how short life can be and a timely reminder that one should appreciate the importance of time. Cherry blossom has a deeper meaning where it calls for reflection on our achievements and to always plan ahead and not waste any precious time. Moving on from philosophical discussion, it is a time where commercial brand popular in the Japanese home country seize the opportunity for launching products related to Sakura. Examples of launches include Sakura Frappucino by Starbucks or Sakura based Kit Kat filled with white chocolate topping with a tinge of cherry flavor.

Hanami, a tradition deeply rooted in Japanese culture, has no defined official start date, but its depiction has appeared in classic literature. Its first appearance is in Tales of Genji, a Japanese literature classic first written around 12th century. Locals will have their own good time partying and organizing all-day picnics while breaking free from their conventional hardworking routine. All you need for a good time during Hanami parties is to get ready with some beer and bento box available for sale from the closest convenience store. Kyoto has plenty of awesome viewing spots for one to fully immerse in the sakura culture. Be mindful of the huge crowd you will encounter on the popular viewing spots. One good tip to take into consideration is claiming your spot by arriving early with a decent picnic rug. Booked spot is honored by picnic goers and will remain yours for the remainder day.

First in the list of top viewing spots is the Kodai ji. It is actually a Zen temple strategically located at the Higashiyama region. It is credited with being the maiden temple to launch in the dark illuminations where gardens are filled with multicolored spotlights during the night. It allowed viewing of cherry blossom to stretch all the way into nighttime. A famous path named Tetsugaku no michi which stretches for 3km along a tiny river located in the east side of Kyoto is another highly recommended viewing spot. The name originated from a century old philosopher by the name of Nishida Kataro, and links Nanzen ji to Ginkakuji temple. It is famous pedestrian path decorated with blooming cherry trees and its reflection is clearly seen from the calm waters. It is the perfect spot for admiring the natural beauty.

At the bottom of the western mountains of Kyoto lies the Arashiyama region which is regarded as a great tourist spot due to the magnificent bamboo groves and stunning foliage views. Tourists flock to the place all year round, but arrivals really surge ahead during the sakura season. People will get on the Togetsukyo Bridge for a good unobstructed view of the trees so be sure to avoid the main path less you want to be surrounded by hordes of humans. Food stalls selling Japanese snacks are operated throughout the night and the area will be lit with bright lights for maximum viewing pleasure at night.

Around the southern region of Higashiyama, there is another magnificent spot names Maruyama Koen. It is perfect for those seeking peace and tranquility after having a tough long day visiting temples all over Kyoto. However, the cherry blossom period will draw huge crowds and the park may be noisy owing to its huge popular weeping trees. The most optimal viewing period is from March to April, and spans no longer than 2 weeks. The period for blossoming trees is short and swift, and progresses from southern to northern region of Japan. Japanese Meteorological Department will closely monitor the progress every year and issues status report every night on the news. More information can be gathered from forecast releases issued by the Japan Tourism Organization.

The Japanese slopes

The Japanese slopes

The conditions may not be so ideal for skiers and snowboarders in the United States. It is not the case in the eastern side of the world as the conditions in Japan are just right and may be even perfect. The ski resorts in some parts of the island were open and receiving plenty customers until late March. Unlike the shabby conditions in the western world, Japan has gotten an ideal amount of snow fall this season reaching approximately five meters.

On Japan's most northern of its main islands, Hokkaido, sits Mount Niseko Annupuri. This is the location of the Niseko ski resorts. These resorts have the longest season in Japan. They are normally open way into the early weeks of May. Complimented by the conditions provided by the peak makes the spring skiing in Niseko among the best in the world.

The Niseko peak is famous for its quality and consistency in great conditions for skiing. In the last ten years the peak has become very famous among the Australian skiers and boarders. The yearly visitors to Japan has reduced significantly following the Tsunami and earth quake of 2011. Is has only been recently that the population of visitors are returning and in their great numbers. The center of Hirafu is usually crowded with skiers and boarders alike with property developers transforming the small village into a resort center but it has been quite empty with a lack of activity for the last winter season.

The chairlifts and gondolas of the Niseko peak position skiers and boarders in the perfect position to tackle the slops. It will take about twenty minutes of hiking to get to piste slopes. This area is linked to the trails and roads of the mount's more remote sections. The Hanazono resorts provide a backcountry skiing run for all, including beginners, the Strawberry Fields forest run. This area is never without thigh high powder that is easily accessible. Mount Niseko is home to three other areas the Niseko Village, the Grand Hirafu and Niseko Annupuri and they too offer trails suitable for everyone at any level. The Grand Hirafu offers a variety of ungroomed trails that include the Miharashi expert run. The trails winds into a trail called the Holiday and is one of the longest trails offered by the mountain and stretches longer than two and a half kilometers. The combined length of trail offered by the all areas of Mount Niseko add up to 48 kilometers.

To the southeast of Mount Niseko Annupuri you can find Mount Yotei. This mount is preferred by professionals and powder hounds. It will take approximately five hours to reach the peak and it is usually visited by the skiers and boarders that seek fresh backcountry powder.

Skiing is not the only fun to b had on the Niseko. The Apres Ski might be just as fun. Nothing is more comfortable than a nice hot bath in the cold of winter. There are three baths in the area and the Niseko Yu Meguri pass will give you access to all three for only a bit over a thousand yens. This includes the Apres-ski, the Yu meguri and the Niimi Onsen that is a remote bath house that offers comfort and serenity to all its bathers.

Ezo Seafood is located in Hirafu and they serve only the best they have to offer in seafood delights. This includes snow crab legs, Akkeshi oysters and fresh sashimi of every variety. The Gyu will provide you with a variety of beverages from mulled wine to Hokkaido's single malt whiskey. This is a well concealed cottage like bar that is practically invisible in the snowy area. On Ishikari Bay that lies in the north you can find the Otaru fishing port. It is seventy minutes' drive from Hirafu and it is worth the drive. The area is one with a vintage feel with the Sushiya-dori completely devoted to selling sushi. Lake Shikotsu is only two hours' drive from Hirafu and is one of the deepest lake in Japan second only to one. This location is in an underdeveloped park area that boast the likes of the Marukoma and the Ito onsen that overlooks the caldera. This is the perfect spot to end your visit slow boiling out the aches of the body in a vintage style bath house.

Best Japanese Features and Cultures

Best Japanese Features and Cultures

Life in the land of the rising sun can be stressful but there are more to just mundane work. One of the best things about Japan is Hanami, or the cherry blossom period. During spring season, the weather is beautiful with the cherry blossoms within you sight along your travels. Japan has some of the most innovative Kit-Kat flavors and there are countless flavors to choose from namely Passionfruit, Matcha, Sakura or Spicy Citrus. Nighttime is unusually silent and calm where people return to their homes after 6pm. Japan dog breeds such as Shiba-Inu are cute and polite and friendly to strangers. Train efficiency in Japan is the best in the world where you can travel to any parts of Japan anytime.

The public parks have good facilities for exercising, for instance public gymnasium and running path. Japan has countless theme based dining option ranging from prison cell setting to school classroom. Romantic dining options are also common. Food in Japan is generally good in taste. Nomihodai is where alcohol drinkers can drink all they can within 2 hours for a fixed price. One is guaranteed to have an overhang with such great deal. Karaoke lounges are everywhere in the cities and you can sing your hearts out and enjoy the music with you close friends, all while drinking up.

Okonomiyaki is a pork based dished served with shrimp as well as cabbage. It is eaten together with awesome barbecue sauce. Some of the best Okonomiyaki can be found in Kasuya at Fukuoka Prefecture. There is a beautiful shrine called Dazaifu Tenmangu and is popular among students having major exams where they will pray for knowledge and wisdom. It is located in Kyushu. Plum blossoms are around the compound which gives a great view. During the Winter Equinox, women clad in ancient robes will perform a dance to entertain the guests. Japanese culture involved superstitions and there are many amulets and palm reading service for protection against bad luck. For those looking for honeymoon spots, be sure to check out the beautiful Kyoto. Small bars that shaped like a telephone booth can be found in Japan. Purikura is a photo booth vending machine where you get your picture taken and printed on a sticker against a backdrop of fancy colorful setting. There is the Village Vanguard where all kinds of Japanese merchandise are sold. In Japan festivals are common during summertime and it is just another day's common affair once you get settled in. Advertisement involving a giant doll manned by human in a suit can be seen in the streets of Japan and it is a common sight as well. Tipping for service is not a requirement in Japan compared to in the US, and service is fast and waters are ever friendly to accommodate any requests.

Kaitenzushi is the sushi place delivered by conveyor belt and you have to get used to self-service. The price is cheap due to limited staff on standby. Flying to other Asian countries can be a very cheap affair due to the various airlines serving all major Asian routes. Travelling in Japan involves a lot of walking and it is one of the best ways for experiencing the Japanese culture. Keep an open mind when in Japan where you will encounter strange phenomenons. Package delivery is fast and convenient and you can order anything online and have it delivered within days. Convenience stores or Konbinis are situated at every corner of the street that saves a ton of hassle if you need any last minute purchases. Cicadas roam the streets where these insects of the size of hummingbird will be filling the air with their buzzing melody. Kotatsu, or table heater are good devices for warming yourself during the chilly winter. Combine that with Nabe, a boiling hot soup and you will be the happiest person during the cold weather. Colleagues in Japan office often give food items to each other and are part of the Japanese hospitality. You can forge friendships from international citizens ranging from Australia to France and have the opportunity to have a globalized perspective over current issues. Friends will help you when you are in need no matter where you go and they prevent loneliness and culture shock.

Supermarket Jazz played via computers is a common feature in Japan. Fish is a staple food and you eat them even for breakfast. Onsen or hot spring baths are some of the best spots to wind down and socialize with close friends. Japan has unique seasons every year starting from the cherry blossom to plum rain seasons. Giant ancient castles are preserved and open to public for viewing makes Japan a hot spot among history buffs. In restaurants waters will serve wet-wipes instead of dry paper towels which is great. Game lovers would love to try out the famous game called Taiko Drum at the nearest arcades where you make loud musics during the gameplay. Night life in Japan is lively and you can stay late every day and can get home easily from the taxi services. Japan has many romantic spots for lovebirds, for instance the lantern filled street at Kyoto. Shrines are located at most random places, where you will encounter one just few blocks away. Finally there is this promotion going for 100 yen for 12 eggs which is a great deal for bargain hunters.

The Beautify Surrounding of Mount Fuji

The Beautify Surrounding of Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, as the highest mountain in Japan, is the most famous place for a tourist destination. As famous as the beautiful mountain, it is also being a famous historical site. Let's dig deeper around the mountain, which has a very lot of sites and exciting spot. This volcano mountain surrounded by three prefectures, which is Kanagawa prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture, and Shizuoka Prefecture. Each of the Prefecture has saved a mixture of history, scenery, and a lot of activity to be done by the tourist. Losing the chance might be pitiful since it will be awesome and memorable. The camera is number one included on the top of the list.


This city becomes famous because of its historical background. It has been a place for shikken (the head of the authority charges) during the Kamakura period (1185-1333) by the shogunate. This city with the coastal line is also one of the proliferation of Buddhist religion, which made a lot of shrine or temples around. One of the famous is Tsurugaoka Hachiman. This temple was built under the authorization of Minamoto Yoritomo on 1191, in order to worship the God of War, Hachiman Daibosatsu. This temple located in the center of the city. There's a famous promenade from the shrine to the sea, as long as 1,8 kilometers called Wakamiya Oji. This promenade becomes a backbone of the street network nowadays. There's also a bridge behind San no Toori gate as the inheritance of the Shogun. There's a canal underneath the bridge, which linked with two ponds, and each of it represents of each feuding clans during Yoritomo period. This Shinto shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachiman has become a Buddhist Temple for centuries.

To the southwest of Tsurugaoka Hachiman, there is a big temple of Kotoku-in. At this temple, there's a famous giant statue of Daibutsu, the statue of Amida Budha. It is 11,4 meters high and made from bronze. It's been there since 1252 but has no luck with the hall, which has been destroyed by the storms and tsunami. From Tokyo, Kamakura can be reached by train for one hour.

Mount Oyama

Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Mount Oyama has been a sacred place to be worshiped. Nowadays, it becomes a spot for mountain climbing, which represents the great view of mount Fuji on top of it. Mount Oyama is 1252 meters at the peak, and when it's clear, we can look at the Boso Peninsula and the skyscrapers at the central of Tokyo. Other than climbing, the tourist can ride a cable car, which looks so classic, to go to the mountain slopes and leering the temple there. Mount Oyama is 90 minutes away from Tokyo, tracing the Odakyu line from Shinjuku to Isehara.


Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Hakone presented the famous onsen, or the hot spring. Tour to Japan won't be completed without soaked in the onsen. Besides that, there're two big art museum and tall ship cruises. You can also see the scenery of mount Fuji from here. The Hakone open air museum is really great to see. There's a large art sculpture spread all across a lawn scape. There's also a collection with a mixture of Japan and West collaborate in a modern art like Rodin and Miro. A huge hand knitted in wonderful color won't escape the look. The last-added museum in Hakone is Okada Museum of Art, contains a lot of artworks by Okada from Japan, Korea, and China. Hakone is two hours' length from Tokyo (Shinjuku Station).


This city is located at the Yamanashi Prefecture, this city built from lava flows from mount Fuji. It has become a spot for spiritual gathering for the pilgrims. Surrounded by cedar trees, along path spread ahead the Old Yoshidaguchi Trail for 19 kilometers. At the end of it, there are Fuji Shengen Shrine. The shrines along the trail stamped a white robe inside, which usually use to climb (it also use for the death). There's an annual festival every 27 August, called Yoshida no Himatsuri, or the Fire Festival. This festival held to appease the Goddess of Mount Fuji and let her not to erupt. Fuji-Yoshida located two hours by bus from Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Tokyo Station.


It's another climbing spot to mount Fuji. And the first climb by non-Japanese people ever recorded (by Sir Rutherford Alcock) in 1860. There're some waterfalls in Fujinomiya, with the biggest and famous one is Shiraito Falls. This beautiful waterfall formed from the drops of the melted water underground from mount Fuji.