Top 10 steam trains in Japan

The haunting whistle of a vintage train is so ingrained upon our collective consciousness that even the youngest of children often recognize the sound. Before the advent of the bullet train and the modern railway system, the steam locomotive, or SL train, was the fastest way to get around.

Japan has preserved many of these trains, some dating back to the nineteenth century. You, too, can experience the nostalgic thrill of the steam locomotive. Grab your Japan Rail Pass, and have fun exploring the following SL trains.

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The 10 Best Spots in Tokyo for Instagram-Worthy Photos

Do you relish filling your Instagram feed with dazzling travel photos? Where can you find the best places to capture historic or modern culture, or to make your photos pop? Consider our picks for the coolest places to brush up on your photography in Tokyo.

The following list encompasses ten of the best Instagrammable spots in Tokyo. Don’t forget to use your Japan Rail Pass for fast and easy travel.
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Skiing in Japan: Best ski and snowboarding resorts

Japan has hosted the Winter Olympics twice and holds the world record for the deepest ever snow cover, so it’s no wonder that snowboarding and skiing holidays in Japan are only growing in popularity. There are hundreds of high quality resorts on both Honshu and the northern island of Hokkaido for foreign thrillseekers to explore.

Japan is famed for its large amounts of quality dry powder snow. Many resorts average 10-18 meters of annual snowfall, and four or five days of fresh powder snow a week during the ski season. There are also a ton of exceptionally well-maintained routes, as grooming is heavily practiced on Japan’s pistes.

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Tokyo Skytree: Visiting Tokyo’s Tallest Tower

Rising above the Tokyo skyline is a structure that looks like a conglomeration of the Eiffel Tower and the Seattle Space Needle. It is one of the tallest structures in the world, and it combines Tokyo’s futuristic character with traditional Japanese values. How?

The Tokyo Skytree was built using the same principles as the Japanese pagoda, a type of tower with many roofs stacked atop one another. Its stability springs from its central pole, called a shinbashira. In the case of the Skytree, this central pole is in the form of a massive concrete tube, fastened to the rest of the tower using fuel dampers invented by NASA. Even in an earthquake, the tower is designed to sway against this pole without sustaining harmful structural damage.

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The Sanyo Shinkansen with the JR Pass

What thrills you most about western Japan? Is it the succulent taste and fine marbled texture of the famous Kobe beef? It is the surreal reminders of historic events to be found in Hiroshima? Is it the rich history of the area’s countless shrines, gardens, and temples? Or, do you wish to indulge in the modern shopping experience of Osaka Station city?

Whatever draws you, western Japan holds something for every traveler. Now, with the help of your Japan Rail Pass, getting there and getting around are faster and easier than ever. Find out how you can use the Sanyo Shinkansen Line to enhance your next Japanese vacation.

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Kanazawa travel guide: Access and things to do

Kanazawa is known as ‘Little Kyoto’ though it’s a magnificent destination in its own right. It’s the capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture and has an impressive number of historical attractions, Buddhist temples, well-presented museums as well as fascinating samurai and geisha districts.

Its best-known attraction is the 17th-century Kenrokuen Castle and its superb garden. Its one of the country’s very best landscape gardens and it draws visitors from Japan and abroad.

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Best Day Trips from Osaka by train

Osaka might not exude beauty the way Kyoto might, but the city definitely has charm, color, and great food. Set in the Kansai region, Japan’s third largest city is extremely well connected and has plenty of surprises in store.

If you’re a foodie, Osaka is the place to be. Its unofficial slogan is kruidaore which means ‘eat until you drop’.  A highly photogenic spot in the city is Dōtombori, here you will find several pedestrian streets and numerous illuminated billboards. One of the most famous signs is the Glico Running Man.

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Best Michelin star restaurants in Japan

Are you a foodie – someone who eats, not just out of hunger, but because you have an ardent interest in food and make enjoying it your hobby? Do you like to travel? Trying new foods – and splurging beyond the ordinary – are two of the best aspects of travel.

Today, dedicated foodies go out of their way, sometimes making international sojourns, to sample the best foods that the world has to offer. Michelin-starred restaurants, ranked among the best in the world, are frequent destinations.

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