Visiting Niigata with the JR Pass

Posted on Categories Travel Guides

Niigata Prefecture, located in the Chubu Region and skirting the Sea of Japan, is well known for its quality rice, summer fireworks, winter skiing, and year-round onsen. The prefecture’s capital, Niigata City, represents the largest port on the nation’s Japan Sea coast, home to more than 800 thousand people.

One of Niigata’s most famous landmarks is the six arches of the Bandai Bridge. The bridge was completed in 1929. It is illuminated at night and supports 20,000 dancers during the annual daiminyonagashi, or Folk Dancing Parade. The bridge represents just one of the sights that Niigata has to offer.

Continue reading “%s”

The 7 best food festivals in Japan

Across Japan, you will encounter celebrations called matsuri. Matsuri are festivals, ranging from Shinto shrine festivals to government holidays to food festivals. They may celebrate the changing of the seasons, a historical event, or traditional culture. In this travel guide, we will focus on a specific type of matsuri: the food festival.

When traveling abroad, sampling traditional cuisine is one of the best ways to experience the authentic culture. Said cookbook author Ronni Lundy, “If you read between the lines of recipes, you can often find the things unspoken, the clues to their lives, the keys to discovering what they value. You see what’s important enough to make for a celebration…it’s all there, just between the lines.”

Continue reading “%s”

The 10 best onsen and onsen towns in Japan

No trip to Japan is complete without a relaxing dip in an onsen. What is an onsen? Onsen are natural hot springs, fueled by volcanic activity, as well as the resort atmosphere that has emerged around many such springs.

Japan offers around 2,300 onsen to choose from, many of them included in ryokan r(traditional inns). We’ve compiled a list of ten of the best onsen in Japan. No matter what region you’re traveling to, you’ll be able to unwind. Reaching the onsen is simple and affordable when you use Japan Railways and the Japan Rail Pass.

Continue reading “%s”

Japanese capsule hotels: the best in Tokyo and Osaka

Japan is an incredible country to visit but it’s pricey. If you’re traveling on a budget or you miss the last train and find yourself in need of accommodation, you can stay at a capsule hotel.

Capsule hotels (also known as pod hotels) have been steadily growing in popularity in recent years and more and more of them continue to pop up in Japan’s cities. They are like normal hotels but instead of a normal-sized room, you sleep in a small cubicle.

Continue reading “%s”

Guide to the Obon Festival 2018 in Japan

The Obon festival (also known as Bon festival) is an annual Japanese holiday which commemorates and remembers deceased ancestors. It is believed that their spirits return at this time to visit their relatives.

Chochin (paper) lanterns are hung to guide the spirits and Obon dances (bon odori) are performed. Families have reunions and visit the graves of their relatives and make food offerings at altars and temples.

Continue reading “%s”