2017 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.

Note: New forecast announced! (30/03) Cherry blossoms have flowered already started Tokyo and the outskirts. Make sure to check this article weekly for the newest information on cherry blossom forecasts.

Continue reading “%s”

How to use the local city bus in Japan

When most people think of transportation in Japan, they envision the vast railroad network and the Shinkansen bullet trains. While the trains are a primary means of transportation throughout the country, the rain lines do not go everywhere. Sometimes, the traveler has to take a bus to get around town or from the train station to their destination.

The use of local buses is especially useful in large cities such as Kyoto. Additionally, local buses are at times the only way to access some of Japan’s greatest secrets, getaways to small towns located deep within the countryside.

Continue reading “%s”

Riding Japanese night trains with the JR Pass: Sunrise Express and more

While many people choose to fly or take a bullet train, the still-popular overnight trains are a real treat for international travelers. Why take a night train? These trains allow you to travel quickly overland, arriving at your destination by the following morning. Also, you will be able to sleep while you travel, more comfortably than on an airplane or an overnight bus. If you are planning a visit to Japan, consider booking travel on one of these trains, using the following tips.

Continue reading “%s”

Staying in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese guest house

Would you like to relax and unwind during your international travels? Are you interested in a traditional Japanese experience? If you answered yes to either of those questions, a stay at a ryokan may be for you.

What is a ryokan? A ryokan is a traditional style Japanese inn or guest house. Typically small in size, these inns have often been run by the same family for generations. Ryokans are usually located near onsen, or hot springs used for therapeutic bathing, and their design, décor, and setting often focus on the simplistic beauty of nature.

Continue reading “%s”

Takayama and the Japanese Alps: Travel guide with the JR Pass

When many international travelers think of Japan, they call to mind visions of crowded “neon cities” such as Tokyo. Japan, however, has a much gentler side, complete with rolling hills and rustic charm. The town of Takayama and the Japanese Alps mountain range in the Hokuriku region represent one such rural destination.

Continue reading “%s”

Transporting luggage in Japan: luggage forwarding and coin lockers

You’re using your Japan Rail Pass to tour Japan. You depart your train in a new town, and you want to see some of the sights before settling into your next location. What, though, will you do with all of that luggage?

Fortunately for you, Japan has the solutions for just such a travel dilemma. International travelers may be unfamiliar with the luggage forwarding services and coin-operated lockers available in many places throughout Japan. Consider the following travel tips to make your stay in this beautiful country easy and hassle free.

Continue reading “%s”

All about Onsens: the Japanese hot springs

The Japanese word onsen refers to the hot springs that dot the islands of Japan, fed by warm, mineral-rich spring water. Japan hosts a volcanic geography, so the water is heated naturally by geothermal forces. It bubbles forth from the ground, filling pools with water that is somewhat hotter than a standard Jacuzzi or hot tub.

Onsens are a popular attraction for Japanese tourists, due to both their cultural significance and their relaxing, recreational nature. Onsens play a significant role in Japanese culture, and they are used extensively by Japanese residents. It is thought that onsen have healing and rejuvenating qualities, helping conditions such as skin ailments and cancer.

Continue reading “%s”

Tokyo 2020 Olympics with the Japan Rail Pass

Some would consider it the trip of a lifetime: attending the 2020 Olympic Games in the bustling city of Tokyo, Japan. Tourists are already scrambling find tickets. The games, often simply called Tokyo 2020, are scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 of that year. Over twelve thousand athletes from two hundred and seven countries are expected to participate in thirty-three types of summer sports.

Continue reading “%s”

Osaka Loop Line: Getting around Osaka with the JR Pass

Osaka City is a bustling metropolitan area popular among international tourists. Osaka itself is home to many unique attractions, including vast parks and gardens, historic Osaka Castle, the Tenmangu Shrine, Osaka Aquarium, and the National Bunraku Theater.

Visitors to Osaka also enjoy the Dotonbori district, where travelers can experience the local nightlife with restaurants and shopping centers open twenty-four hours a day; the covered Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street; and the Kitashinchi entertainment district.

Continue reading “%s”

Japanese Etiquette Tips: Do’s and Don’ts for International Travelers

When traveling to a new country for the first time, “culture shock” is expected. You may be expecially intimidated if you have heard that there are a lot of “do’s and don’ts” for Japan. Consider these tips for traveling to Japan, and you will be sure to fit right in this warm and inviting country.

Continue reading “%s”