Featured

2019 cherry blossom forecast for Japan

The Japanese cherry blossom, or sakura, has long been adored by people across the globe. It is regarded as a symbol of renewal, vitality, and beauty. During the spring season of each year, thousands travel to Japan to view the wondrous spectacle of these white or pink flowers blooming en masse.

Update 03/20/2019: eighth forecast for 2019 has been released today. Blooming dates are expected to arrive earlier this year. Please check again for updates on the 2019 forecast in many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

Continue reading “%s”

The Umeda Sky Building: Osaka Travel Guide

The Umeda Sky Building, also known as the “New Umeda City,” is one of the most unique high rise buildings in the world. How tall is this skyscraper? It is 173 meters (over 567 feet) tall and is, in fact, not one building, but two. The Sky Building’s two forty-story towers are connected at the thirty-ninth floor by the Floating Garden Observatory, where you can look out at Osaka through windows or an open-air deck.

Continue reading “%s”

Exploring Tsukiji Outer Market

The streets are narrow and full of people. Cardboard produce boxes line the aisles, overflowing with tall leeks, sturdy root vegetables, brightly colored citrus fruits, and more. The boxes are stacked to chest height to allow easy access to the items they contain. Nearby, chefs prepare sushi and other mouth-watering delicacies at small outdoor food stalls.

This is Tsukiji Jogai Shijo, the Outer Market of Tsukiji.

Continue reading “%s”

The New Japan tourist eVisa: Available from 2020

Travelers heading to Japan will no longer need to queue at a Japanese embassy or consulate to apply for a visa for Japan. The new tourist eVisa for Japan will launch in April 2020 and tourists will be able to complete the application online in just a few minutes.

The first eligible nationality will be Chinese tourists as they represent the largest demographic (over 60%) of visitors to Japan. The electronic visa will be gradually rolled out to other nationalities later on in the year.

Continue reading “%s”

Ashikaga Flower Park Travel Guide

The Ashikaga Flower Park first opened in 1968 under the name “Hayakawa Farm.” In 1997, it was relocated and now spans 94,000 square meters (23 acres).

During that relocation, something unthinkable happened. A 130-year-old wisteria tree was uprooted and transplanted in the new location. Now over 150 years old, this Great Wisteria still stands and symbolizes the park itself. Spanning over 1,000 square meters, this tree was designated as a national monument by the Tochigi Prefecture. It was also named one of the “Top 10 World Dream Destinations” in 2014, and CNN has compared it to the fictional Tree of Souls featured in the 2009 film Avatar.

Continue reading “%s”

Useful vocabulary for train travel in Japan

Many people who visit Japan are unfamiliar with transportation by train. Most foreign travelers are not fluent in the Japanese language. These two factors can make navigating a busy train station seem an intimidating task.

Most signs in areas frequented by tourists are written in both English and Japanese. However, knowing a few simple words and phrases can help your trip run smoothly. It is also helpful to recognize the kanji, or characters used to write these words in the Japanese language. When you take along your Japan Rail Pass and the following vocabulary, you’ll be ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Continue reading “%s”

Visiting Chureito Pagoda: Access and travel guide

What is a pagoda? It is a towerlike, tiered structure traditionally associated with Buddhist temple complexes. Pagodas are common sights throughout eastern and southeast Asia, including Japan. Pagodas are meant to symbolize sacred mountains and often shelter religious relics.

The Chureito Pagoda, also called the Chastain Tower and officially named the Fujiyoshida Cenotaph Monument, is a shrine located in the Fuji Five Lakes region at Mount Fuji’s northern base. The Pagoda has five stories; it is situated on a mountainside overlooking Fuji Yoshida City, with Mount Fuji itself visible in the distance. You have probably seen pictures of a beautiful pagoda with Mount Fuji in the background, this is the Chureito Pagoda.

Continue reading “%s”

Robot Restaurant: Tokyo’s most surreal experience

Japan is known for always being at the forefront of technology. The metropolis of Tokyo is a buzzing hive of innovation, often referred to as the “neon city”. One of Tokyo’s most popular attractions takes this status to the next level.

Dancing girls. Robots. Dinosaurs. Monsters. Ninjas. Disney-style princesses. Superheroes. Lasers, drinks, and loud music. You name it, and the dinner show at the Robot Restaurant has got it.

Continue reading “%s”

Japan train tickets: Travel guide

Japanese trains are famed for being fast, punctual, efficient, and comfortable. However, one thing that can confuse visitors is the wide variety of tickets on offer as it can be hard to work out which offer the best value.

Japan train tickets can be bought from touch-screen machines at all major train stations using credit or debit cards. The vast majority can be read in English and they are fairly simple to use.

Continue reading “%s”