The Best Parks in Tokyo

Are you looking for places to visit in Tokyo? There are many types of natural and manmade sites, and some of the top ones are the Best Parks in Tokyo. There’s several to pick from so which ones are the best options: Here are some to consider:

1. Kichijoji
This neighborhood often gets average reviews, but one of the key features is Inokashira Koen that’s a park that’s become famous for its spring viewing of cherry blossom flowers. However, there are actually other things to enjoy at Kichijoji besides the cherry blossoms.

What else can you enjoy? It’s located in Musashino, which is a city that’s west of Tokyo and under half an hour from the city center if you take a train. It’s been a shopping/entertaining center since shopping streets started to develop near the station following the end of World War II. Afterwards, places like department stores, restaurants, and music venues were built in the area.

Kichijoji London is one of the top locations in the neighborhood. You can find lots of fish, meat, veggies, and prepared food in the area. There’s also a high-end supermarket chain and dining/fashion street where you can buy a meal or new outfit. You can do a lot of shopping in the area and get whatever you need.

2. Ueno
This park is located beside Ueno Station. It includes several museums, a shrine, pond, and zoo. In the spring it’s an excellent place to visit to celebrate cherry blossoms. Ueno Park founded nearly 1.5 centuries ago in 1873. There are about 8,800 trees, marshland, shrubs, lotus beds, and winter birds.

3. Shinjuku Gyoen
Here’s another city park in Tokyo. TI’s a big park in the Shinjuku ward and covers 144 acres. It’s an excellent place to enjoy the seasonal beauty of Japan. Shinjuku Gyoen includes woods, gardens, pond, and cherry trees. In early April it’s one of the most popular places to view cherry blossoms.

The park includes over 20,000 trees that originate throughout the world. If you’re a fan of nature, you’ll enjoy the wide variety of flowers. There are several gardens including an English landscape, French formal, and traditional Japanese garden. Other features include ponds, azalea hill, maple hill, and others. There are also several cherry/plum trees.

4. Yoyogi
Yoyogi Koen is another park you should consider visiting while you’re in Tokyo. It’s one of the biggest city parks in Tokyo and features things like lawns and ponds. You can enjoy several activities in the city park including picnicking and jogging. It’s one of the best options if you’re looking for a Tokyo park for such activities.

Yoyogi Park has a lot fewer cherry trees versus other Tokyo parks. However, it’s still an excellent place to view cherry blossoms during the springtime. There’s also a gingko tree forest that turns bright gold during the fall season.

Yoyogi Park became a city park half a century ago in 1967. It’s also the place where the Olympic Village was located during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Before that time the area functioned as a residential area where US military personnel lived.

The Origins of Love Hotels, Shibuya, Shinjuku and beyond

Are you looking for accommodations in Japan? If so then one of the most popular options is love hotels. These are standard hotels except gusts pay per hour and usually up to 2 hours. Love hotels often include perks like adult channels, sex toys, and adult costumes. The items can be purchased through the telephone to maintain the customer’s privacy.

The love hotels in Japan have become big business and an interesting part of Japan’s culture. It’s an option you should consider if you visit the country. The prices are somewhat low, but the hotels are very clean and include lots of features.

Many people stay in the hotels because hotels in Japan are often crowded and little privacy. Another cultural issue is it’s uncommon for unmarried couples to cohabit before they tie the knot. So this gives them the chance to have some time alone. Love hotels are especially a good option in the winter. The reason is there’s usually little insulation or quality bathtubs in Japanese apartments. So during the cold winter months, a love hotel is a better option if you want some quality time with your lover.

How did the hotels get started? Today you can find several in Tokyo wards like Shibuya and Shinjuku. Some historians argue that in the past Japan had open attitudes regarding sex. However, the 1600s shoguns made it a requirement for some kinds of establishments to only operate in one area in Kyoto that its red light district was later modeled after. This allowed the samurai to stay discrete while following their code for public behavior.

It’s believed that at first men visited geishas at teahouses and could get extra services if they wanted. However, that changed to special places and soba (buckwheat) shops. Then during the Meiji Restoration era, there was a popular idea that translates into “good wives, wise mothers.”

However, a major event was in the mid-1920s US-style hotels started to show up in Japan. They included “enshuku” places where one person could rent one room for one hour. The hotels were different from standard hotels since they contained exotic rooms with locking doors and double beds. The “enshuku” and bathhouses then became places for couples to meet outside their homes until the late 1960s.

How about love hotels specifically? They first started to appear during the 1970s. “The Meguro Emperor” was one of the first ones in the country. They often had Western/Disneyland themes. Then hotels with names like “Paradiso” “Aphrodite” and “Casablanca” started to appear in Tokyo.

Many of these establishments benefited from companies that maintained “entertainment budgets.” This provided workers with a budget for things like bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. A concept began in Japan that men were required to work hard to support their family, but they were also required to meet their social obligations with coworkers.

Today the social environment has changed. Workers don’t get funds for after-hour recreation, and the salaries of many men aren’t enough for the activities. However, it’s now more common for young people to walk and hold hands.

Some of the Weirdest Museums in Tokyo

What should you include on your itinerary when visiting Japan? There are several cities/towns, historic structures, and natural wonders to visit while in the country. Another option is museums, and there are several unique ones including the following ones:

1. Meguro parasitological Museum
The parasite museum is easily one of the unique and interesting museums you can find in the country. In fact, it’s the world’s largest museum of its type. It’s about a 15-minute walk from Tokyo’s JR Meguro Station so you can get some exercise before visiting the museum. The Tokyo parasite museum reportedly includes about 60,000 parasite samples that represent around 1,500 types. The majority are stored on the museum’s research floors, but there are still 300 displays located in the public section.

Are you a science fan? Even if you don’t like the idea of seeing thousands of parasites you might be interested in viewing the different samples in the museum. Some of the most interesting samples are the ones that include hosts that parasites have already infected. They include parasites in the stomach and eyes of fishes. Such displays are gross yet fascinating.

2. Tokyo Tobacco and Salt Museum
This museum moved in April 2015 to its current location in Sumida-KU, which is near the Tokyo Skytree. What’s the museum all about? It’s a high-tech building that shows the various usages of salt and tobacco during world history. You might be wondering why the two substances are featured in the same museum. The reason is they were both monopolies of the Japanese government until recent years.

The museum’s second floor features displays about slat including formation and production during ancient /modern years. There are many interesting items in the salt displays include a huge piece of rock salt that weighs 1. 4tons and was mined in Poland. There are also things like a piece of rock salt that’s been carved to look like the St. Klinga statue. The original artwork is located in a Polish salt mine and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Then there’s the museum’s tobacco section. It includes displays about things like tobacco smoking, the history of tobacco in the Americas and the history of tobacco in various countries of the world like Japan. You can also find a replica tobacco shop from the Edo era and another one from the 1975-1985 period.

3. Kite Museum
Here’s another interesting museum in Japan. Kites have decreased in popularity in Japan during recent years. However, it’s still very popular among kids and during traditional festivals. The museum is located on the 5th floor of a popular restaurant. Named Taimeiken. It shows kites of many shapes/sizes from countries including Japan. If you visit the museum, you can also buy rare souvenir kites that are hand-made.

4. Tokyo Trick Art Museum
This museum can provide lots of fun for yourself and also friends/family. It’s a maze of optical illusions and 3D paintings that includes five areas. It includes different areas like Edo Area and Ninja House to provide a time machine element to the fun experience. Make sure to bring your camera so you can snap lots of pictures at the museum.

Asakusa vs. Akihabara – Historical Tokyo and the Modern Electric Town

Which Tokyo areas do you want to include on your itinerary? There are different approaches to take when planning your trip to the nation’s capital city. That includes visiting historical and modern regions of the country. One example is Asakusa and Akihabara.

Asakusa
This popular sightseeing district in Tokyo is located in the Taito ward. It’s become most famous for the Sensoji Temple including its big gate at the main street. When visiting Tokyo, it’s one of the best places to visit while in the area. Asakusa is one of Tokyo’s seven metropolitan centers. If you want to experience old-time Tokyo, it’s certainly a place you should visit while in the city.

In fact, in many ways, life on the district’s streets hasn’t changed much over the years. You can see things like rickshaws, vendors, and festivals. The district was once known as an entertainment district and especially the Rokku area that’s a little west of the Sensoji Temple. Today’s visitors can still enjoy many kinds of entertainment, and especially in the “downtown” area It still includes the look and feels of old Edo.

You can also enjoy visiting Asakusa in the daytime and nighttime. If you’re there at night, you can see lit temples and big crowds. The majority of the shops are closed at night, but you can still have an exciting time visiting the old district.

One of the most fun experiences in Asakusa is a rickshaw ride. They’re located at the front of the temple. You can experience riding through the old neighborhoods throughout the year. The prices for a 20-minute ride start at 4,000 yen for one passenger and 3,000 yen for two.

Akihabara
This is also referred to as the name of the past local shrine Akiba. The shrine is located in central Tokyo and has become famous today for having several electronics shops. In recent years
Akihabara has become famous as the center of the country’s “otaku” (fan) culture. Several shops specialize in manga and anime. They’re found among the district’s electronic stores. On Sunday the main street Chuo Dori is closed to vehicle traffic from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

The modern district has undergone a lot of big development in recent years. That includes constructing new buildings and expanding Akihabara Station. There’s also a big electronics store and business complex. These are some places worth visiting while in the district.

There are also several big electronic stores in the area. This gives you the ability to find just about any electronics you need to find in the area. Make sure to research which stores specialize in whatever item(s) you have to buy.

You can also find various Otaku goods in the district. In recent years Akihabara has become the hub of Japan’s anime and otaku culture. You can find several stores that specialize in things like manga, anime, video games, card games, figurines, and various other collectibles. The shops are located among the electronics stores. You can also find several establishments related to animation.

How to Island Hop in Japan

Are you looking for activities to do in Japan? There are many options including Island Hopping in Japan. A country is a group of islands, so there are many options, but it’s important to take the right steps to have the best experience possible.

What do you want to see when you do Island Hopping in Japan? The options range from sandy beaches to thick jungles. You can also see things like blue seas and exotic wildlife. It depends on the particular islands you visit so make sure to consider this issue when planning your island-hopping trip. For example, if you visit “Japan’s Hawaii” you’ll have the chance to visit many different islands in the Okinawa region. Here are some of the many things you can experience when island hopping in Japan:

1. Sandy Beaches
When island hopping in Japan, you can enjoy white sandy beaches that are a great feature for various activities like sunbathing, volleyball, beachcombing, etc. It’s one of the best features you can experience when island-hopping in the country. In fact, the beaches are so enjoyable it would be worth spending some time on each one you land at. Beaches are one of the most common types of terrain you’ll experience when island hopping but each one can provide a unique experience.

2. Snorkeling/Diving
This is a great way to see the coral reefs and sea creatures in the region. It’s a new world to explore including many kinds of fishes, plant life, etc. you could spend a few hours or several days diving or snorkeling in the area. Before you enjoy these activities make sure you’ve secured the right equipment and have the training needed, so you have the best experience possible. This is important, so your underwater experience is as safe and fun as possible.

3. Dense Jungles
If you want to explore more exotic terrain, then you should spend time in dense jungles when island hopping. It’s an incredible place to explore the vegetation and wildlife growing in the areas. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll see some that you can’t find on the other islands of Japan. They’re some of the most interesting things to discover when doing island hopping in the country.

4. Blue Seas
When doing Island Hopping in Japan, you can enjoy clear blue seas around the island. There are many activities you can experience including jet-skiing, fishing, and swimming. You’ll be around a lot of blue seas when island hopping. However, if you do activities like snorkeling/diving, in particular, you’ll find that there’s a new world to explore under the seas.

5. Friendly Inhabitants
You’ll also find that the people living on the more secluded islands are very friendly. This will help to make your island hopping experience even better. The cultures are also somewhat different than on the larger islands. This gives you the experience to learn about Japanese culture that’s less well-known than the ones throughout most of the country.

6. Local Cuisine
You’ll also find that the cuisine is a bit different on Japan’s smaller islands. Make sure to try it out since it can improve your experience and also allow you to taste test some unique Japanese dishes.

Why Osaka Has the Best Food

Are you planning to visit Osaka, Japan? If so then there are certain foods you should consider trying. There are many great options but here are some of the top choices:

This is a great place to find a hearty meal in Osaka. It’s a small sushi bar where you can find some excellent sushi. If you want to sample different kinds of sushi, you should try options like a 12-piece set. These sets are usually based on the types of fish/seafood are available at the time. As a result, you’ll get to try the best types of sushi available at the time.

1. Yakiniku & Horumon
This is Japanese BBQ that you should certainly try if you’re in Osaka. Grilled Japanese beef/meat is a kind of meal you should try besides sushi when you’re in Osaka. In fact, Japanese beef is considered one of the top varieties in the world. Yakiniku is Japan’s grilling style for beef. There’s usually charcoal grill that sits on the table where you can prepare DIY grilled beef.

One of the best features of the beef is the grill is usually charcoal instead of gas. This provides better flavor and adds to the experience of grilling beef. There are different types of beef to pick from so you can get a wide variety of options.

2. Sushi/Sashimi
These foods are found throughout the country so it’s important to know which ones you should check out in Osaka. The city has one of the country’s biggest fish markets. There’s a tuna auction that happens early in the morning, so this is one of the best options if you’re looking for types of sushi/sashimi to try in Osaka.

They’re available in different places in the city including supermarkets and restaurants. It’s interesting that the price is affordable as well with a quality plate of sushi costing about $10.

Try the box sushi. You can purchase it at markets in Osaka, department store basements, and also various restaurants. It’s certainly one of the must-try types of sushi in Osaka.

A sushi bar is a great place to try some excellent sushi. If you want to sample different kinds of sushi, you should try options like a 12-piece set. These sets are usually based on the types of fish/seafood are available at the time. As a result, you’ll get to try the best types of sushi available at the time.

3. Ramen
Ramen is another major option when picking cuisine in Osaka. It’s a major dish, and you can find Osaka restaurants where some people wait in lines for a long time to get a bowl of hot ramen. There are many options when picking ramen including the type.

What makes the ramen a good choice? They’re usually made from wheat noodles like China’s Damian. Sometimes the noodles are soft, and other times they’re al-dente. However, one of the main features of ramen is the broth. There are various styles that are based on flavor and richness. Some of the many options in Osaka include ones based on soy sauce, salt, and pork bones.

3 Days in Kyoto- Fushimi Inari, Rock Gardens, Golden Temple, and Gion District

Are you planning to visit Kyoto? The city located on the island of Honshu was the former imperial capital for over 1,000 years and now has a population of nearly 1.5 million. There are several places to visit in the city, but if you have 3 Days Kyoto- Fushimi Inari, Rock Gardens, Golden Temple, and Gion District should be included on your itinerary.

1. Fushimi Inari
The Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important shrine that’s located in southern Kyoto. The shrine has become famous for its bright red torii gates that number in the thousands. The gates are located in the series of trails located behind the shrine’s main buildings. These trails extend into the wooded forest located in Mount Inari. The sacred region stands 223 meters high and is part of the shrine’s grounds.

Inari is the Shinto god of rice in Japan, and the Fushimi Inari is the most significant one that numbers in the thousands. It’s believed that foxes are the messengers of Inari, so there are several fox statues located on the grounds of the shrine. The Fushimi Inari Shrine was built before the capital relocated to Kyoto during 1794.

2. Rock Gardens
The rock garden is the most famous one in Japan and is located at Ryoanji Temple. Each day hundreds of people visit the garden. The site was originally the villa of the nobles during the Heian Period. Then it was converted in 1450 into a Zen temple. It’s within the Myoshinji school of a Zen Buddhism sect. Its head temple is just one kilometer south.

The history of the rock garden is somewhat unclear. It is uncertain when the garden when constructed and there are several theories about the designer. The garden includes a rectangular plot made of pebbles and is surrounded by earthen walls that are low. There are 15 rocks organized in small groups on areas of moss.

3. Golden Temple
This Zen temple is located in northern Kyoto. Gold leaves completely cover the top 2 floors of the temple. The temple was previously the retirement villa of a shogun. The temple became a Zen temple based on the shogun’s will following his death during 1408. The Golden Temple also inspired to “Silver Pavilion” located on the other side of Kyoto. The shogun’s grandson built the Silver Pavilion a couple of decades later.

4. Gion District
This is Kyoto’s best-known geisha district. There are many restaurants, shops and ochaya (teahouses). The district includes many traditional wooden merchant houses. The houses have a thin façade just 5-6 meters wide as a result of old property tax laws. However, the houses extend to a maximum 20 meters.

Hanami-koji is the most popular area located in Gion. It’s a good place to dine, but the prices are quite high. You can also find several buildings in the side alleys that now operate as restaurants. They serve Kyoto-style haute cuisine as well as other varieties of local/international dishes. There are also several teahouses within the restaurants that include some of the most expensive dining establishments in Kyoto.

Why You need a JR Rail Pass – Getting around Japan

How do you plan to get around Japan? There are many options including taxi, bus, and plane. However, one of the best options is the JR Rail Pass. Why is it such a critical tool for traveling around the country? Here are some of the top benefits to consider:

1. Cost
The main benefit of purchasing one is savings. If you plan to do a lot of traveling around the country between cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara, then it’s a must-have during your stay in Japan. The key is to do the math to determine whether or not it’s a cost-effective option. If you don’t plan to use Japan Rail too much, then it might not be a good option for you.

2. Time
If you don’t want to wait in line for several minutes to buy a Japan Rail ticket, then the JR Pass is definitely a good option. There might be times when you have to get to a destination as soon as possible. In that case, the pass is especially helpful. You can skip the entire process of waiting in line to buy a ticket and directly board the train.

3. Reservations
You can also use the JR Pass to make seat reservations. This is a plus when you have to go from Point A to Point B within a certain timeframe, For example. In that case, you want to be 100% sure you’ll have a JR seat. Using your pass to make a reservation is one of the best options. It can save a lot of time and effort and give you peace of mind that you’ll have a ride to your destination.

4. Options
It’s important to note that there’s also many kinds of JR passes you can purchase. There are also ticket deals you can enjoy so whether or not you purchase a JR Pass you can also find deals that suit your particular travel needs. The main benefit is it will improve your rail travel around the country by saving you money in the process.

Regarding different passes, some of the options include entire regions like JR West or JR Pass Tokyo. These offers provide you with affordable and unlimited travel within a certain region so you won’t have to spend money each time you travel there. It’s easily one of the best ways to get around the country in a fast and economical way!

5. Ticket
More specifically you won’t have to secure a physical ticket whenever you use your JR Pass to ride the train. This provides more convenience since it can be a hassle to buy a ticket each time you board the train. How does it work? You’ll have to show it at the entry gate inside the train station. Then once you board the train, you’ll also have to show the pass to the conductor. That said, if you make a reservation, you’ll need a physical ticket that shows which seat you’ve saved. So this process is very convenient and shows Why you need a JR Rail Pass – Getting around Japan.

Princess Monoke Island – Yakushima

Are you planning a trip to Japan? If so you should consider visiting Princess Monoke Island – Yakushima. The island was inspired by Fukushima’s natural wonders. The island also includes many incredible tales, fables, and myths that are related to the spirits/gods that live in the trees and mountains. These stories are very interesting and show how they inspired Princess Monoke. Here are some of the most interesting ones:

1. Sprite
A tree sprite that looked like a lovely woman appeared and smiled in the forests. If the person who met the sprite didn’t smile she sucked some blood from the neck of the person. The sprite did a lot of work during the New Year and mountain gods’ festivals. So during these days, the locals stayed out of the mountains and woods.

2. Typhoon
There’s a cave close to Tachu take from Yakusugi Land. It’s believed that the cave vibrates with a conch shells sound three days before a typhoon arriving on the island. Japan is affected by the typhoon season in the Pacific region. This takes place each year from May to October. Japan’s peak typhoon season takes place during August and September.

3. Trees
Men from Miyanoura talked about how they would use a tree’s lumber after they chopped down the tree. Then they heard the noise of a saw cutting into the tree. Next, the men heard the sound of the fall as it crashed down. After they witnessed these events, the men returned to the village and warned the people that the tree’s spirit had told them not to cut down any trees if it wasn’t necessary.

4. Deer
A lord was forcing a new type of Buddhism on residents. The mountain gods became anger, which resulted in the island rumbling with tremors and plagues hitting the region. Nichizo Shonin then sent a priest of the new Buddhism school to the mountains. He took an amulet to make the gods happy. However, the wind then picked up the amulet and threw it back to the village. This happened when another priest tried to make the gods happy. Nichizo Shonin then went himself and spent a week chanting Buddhist sutras. He carried the amulet to a shrine in the mountains. A white deer then showed up and bowed to the priest. It is believed that the tremors/plagues stopped afterward.

Yakushima is a popular island for locals and foreigners. For example, the magical forest of “Yaku Cedars” is covered with moss and is popular with visitors. Yakushima is located 60 km (37 miles) south of the southern tip of Kyushu island. The island’s climate has a range of sub-tropical to cool.

Its diverse/unique ecosystem and lovely nature have become very popular, and in 1993 it became a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The area is also known as “the island of ancient forest and water.” That’s because it has big Yaku cedars that are more than 1,000 years old. They have moss and a big water system.

Snowboarding in Hokkaido

Are you planning a trip to Hokkaido, Japan? The “Northern Sea Circuit” is Japans second biggest island and the biggest and northern-most prefecture Sapporo is the biggest city on Hokkaido, and a Russian island is about 43 kilometers north of the Japanese island.

If you’re planning to visit Hokkaido, there are several fun activities you can enjoy including Snowboarding in Hokkaido. In fact, if you’re a fan of winter sports in general then the island is one you should add to your itinerary. It provides excellent powder conditions, a long snow season, heavy snow cover, and facilities that are equal to ski resorts in North America and Europe.

Niseko and Furano are the two big snowboarding areas to visit on the island. The former includes a huge boom based on an investment mainly from Australia that’s boosted the number of snowboarders that visit Japan’s top areas. Here are some tips for Snowboarding in Hokkaido:

1. Rent a phone/SIM card

It can be tough to get a mobile phone in Japan, so a good option is to rent a phone or SIM card. The rates for data SIMs are sky-high, and you can also find long-term options. Make sure to shop around to get the best rates and service. Even if you don’t buy a phone, it’s important to minimize the number of issues you have texting, calling, surfing, etc.

2. Bring enough cash

Japan like several other Asian countries is mostly cash-based. Should you bring an ATM card? There are some available at convenience stores, post offices, etc. but they’re less common than in regions like the US and Europe. In fact, you should expect to pay cash for lift tickets at several resorts, and it’s a preferred payment at several restaurants/bars also.

You might feel uncomfortable about carrying a ton of cash with you. Take some time to think about how much cash you feel comfortable bringing with you. You can also withdraw cash at places like post offices where the cash withdrawal rates are the lowest available.

3. Bring your snowboarding gear

When Snowboarding in Hokkaido, it’s a good idea to bring your gear with you. There are some places where you can find god retail/rental options like Sapporo and Niseko. However, several regions in Japan have few options for snowboarders. It’s a good idea to purchase your gear before you leave your home country so you won’t have to deal with the issue after you arrive.

4. Learn some basic Japanese

This will help you to get around since English isn’t widely spoken in the country. You can also use apps like Google Translate for written language.

5. Use low-light goggles

You should expect several low-light cloudy days. There are also some bright days, but the light conditions are usually changing and varied. If you wear low-light goggle lenses, you’ll be able you’ll see the terrain better when there’s only snow around you. You should also bring a spare pair of goggles. When they’re full of powder, it’s helpful to have a fresh pair of goggles. You should consider snowboarding at night since the majority of resorts allow night snowboarding.