To your left and to your right are massive red beams with blackened footings. Above you, too, are red beams with sparklings of sunlight filtering through in between. The color, called shuiro in Japanese, is said to represent the sun. The torii gates tower above you, but lessen in number as you ascend the mountain. When you reach the Yotsutsuji intersection, halfway up the mountain, all of Kyoto sprawls before you in a breathtaking panorama. This is what a trek on the hiking trails of Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari shrine is like.
Tokyo and Osaka are Japan’s two biggest cities and are both fascinating places to visit. Tokyo is Japan’s capital and most popular tourist destination and Osaka has its own unique charm. It is renowned for its modern architecture, incredible restaurants, lively nightlife, and its 16th-century castle.
Traveling from Tokyo to Osaka is simple. The two cities are very well-connected and there is a range of options when deciding how to make the journey. The fastest way is the Shinkansen bullet trains which are covered by the JR Pass.
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 1/10/2019: First forecast for 2019 has been released today. Blooming dates are expected to arrive slightly later this year. Please check again for updates on the 2019 forecast in many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
Japan Rail (JR) East will open a new station, Takanawa Gateway Station, in the spring of 2020 (the exact opening dates are yet to be announced). It will be located on the Yamanote Loop Line, between Shinagawa and Tamachi stations. The Keihin Tohoku Line will also run through the new station.
When you think of Japan, what comes to mind? You may think of the busy streets and flashing lights of Tokyo. However, travel from Tokyo along the Akita Shinkansen Line can introduce you to many other faces of Japan.
Akita City serves as the capital of the Akita Prefecture, located in the northern portion of Japan’s Tohoku Region. Its most famous attraction is the Kanto Matsuri festival held each August. This festival produces stunning visuals as attendees take to the streets, balancing long bamboo poles laden with dozens of glowing paper lanterns. Other points of interest include the Akita Museum of Art, the panoramic views of the Port Tower Selion, and the Akita Omoriyama Zoo.
“Pikachu, I choose you!”
If those words are still ringing in your ears from your favorite childhood anime cartoon, JR East’s POKÉMON with YOU train may be the perfect day trip during your next visit to Japan.
Visiting Japan during New Year (Shogatsu) is a once in a lifetime experience. It is Japan’s most important National Holiday, even bigger than Christmas! It is a family affair, where everyone gets together and exchanges gifts. There are also many tourist attractions and fun things to do. Stores and restaurants are closed so getting around may be a bit of a challenge.
The New Year’s season in Japan is full of special traditions, in particular, one before the new year begins, when the Japanese look back on the past year and bid farewell to old worries as a way to start fresh. A bonenkai, or “forget-the-year party” is an end of year party for friends and coworkers to forget the trouble and stress of the year about to finish. Lately, countdown parties have become more popular in large cities.
Imagine a day of skiing or snowboarding on fresh, white powder, followed by a relaxing soak in a natural hot spring. In Japan, Yamagata’s Zao Onsen Ski Resort is a prime location for a winter wonderland get away. But how do you get there?
The Yamagata Shinkansen is the answer. The Yamagata Line begins in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo and offers easy access to Yamagata Prefecture. Much international travel to Japan involves a trip to Tokyo, either by air or by land. Why not branch out into Yamagata during your next visit to the Neon City?
Imagine yourself strolling through a winter wonderland. Snow blankets the ground, painting the city a shining white. Trees are decked with twinkling lights, and statues crafted of ice and snow tower over the mingling crowds. At night, the sculptures are illuminated by entrancing, moving colored lights that give the park an enchanted atmosphere. The scents of delicious, exotic foods greet your nostrils and your taste buds.
Welcome to the Sapporo Snow Festival. Called Sapporo Yuki Matsuri in Japanese, the snow festival is held for one week each February in Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island.
Just hours from Tokyo, you will find the island of Kyushu. This island was inhabited early in Japanese history, and remains a stronghold of historic artifacts, natural beauty, and contrasting modern cities.