The Akita Shinkansen line

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.

Continue reading “%s”

Celebrating New Year in 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.

Continue reading “%s”

The Yamagata Shinkansen line

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?

Continue reading “%s”

Sapporo Snow Festival 2019: Yuki Matsuri Travel Guide

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.

Continue reading “%s”

International airports in Japan

Many international travelers consider the flight to be the most confusing and nerve-wracking portion of their trip, from booking flights to navigating customs and airport terminals. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.

We’ve compiled a list of the most important airports in Japan, complete with access information and abbreviation codes, to help your vacation run a bit more smoothly.

Continue reading “%s”

The Joetsu Shinkansen line to Niigata

Picture a crisp winter morning. You’re eager to hit the ski slopes. Whether you favor the bunny slopes or advanced terrain, that is just what you do. Later, after a long day on the powder, you find yourself ready for a bit of après-ski, perhaps soothing well-exercised muscles in a natural hot spring or indulging in a bit of saki.

This scenario aptly describes the hot spring onsen and classic ski resorts that yearly draw tourists – international and domestic alike – to the Japanese towns of Gunma and Niigata. The Japan Rail Pass covers the Joetsu Shinkansen Line, so you can get there faster than ever before – even from Tokyo. Yes, with the help of the Joetsu Line, you can wake up in Tokyo and ski the same day! Consider the following information to find out how.

Continue reading “%s”

The 10 best 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.

Continue reading “%s”

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.

Continue reading “%s”