TRAVEL

The most graceful photobomb turns stunning Mt. Fuji picture into miracle shot

Source: grapee.jp

Revered as a UNESCO World Heritage site and an emblem of nature’s wonder in Japan, it’s no surprise that the iconic Mt. Fuji is often the highlight of breathtaking photography. Any given angle or time of day can produce something as beautiful as the the image of the snow-capped mountain looking as if it is floating on top of clouds or uncannily like a water painting.

Japanese photographer Box (@box_box_you) has recently wowed Twitter with a stunning photo that shows sometimes the best shot comes when you have just the right timing, and a little help from surrounding nature.

Take a look at this perfectly timed photo Box took from Lake Yamanakako, one of the Five Fuji Lakes, that showcases the splendor of Mt. Fuji along with a special guest!

Box shared the photo with the caption “A fleeting superb view“, and it’s very fitting. The moment Box snapped the photo, one of the swans that frequent the lake moves out of the water and spreads its wings with as graceful a photobomb as there can be.

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Aizu Wakamatsu Japan – All Our Travel Tips To Visit The Samurai City

Guesthouse in Aizu Wakamatsu - Kakurega Guest House 1

Aizu Wakamatsu is a former castle town located in the Fukushima Prefecture with a long and eventful history. Nowadays, it brings in tourists in droves due to its wonderful variety of local landmarks and attractions that highlight its history (which is entangled with samurais!) as well as reputation for producing award-winning sake.

During the Boshin War in the mid-1800s, Aizu-Wakamatsu actually became the very last stronghold for the last samurais battling the Meiji government reign. You will get to witness many aspects of samurai lifestyle in this region, something that we think will appeal to many people of the masses.

The region itself is surrounded by many mountains, and thus hiking and skiing are popular activities during the appropriate months because not only do you get to do what you love, but to do so whilst being surrounded by the epic scenery around here will make all your friends and family absolutely envious.

How To Get To Aizu Wakamatsu

From Tokyp, take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen to Koriyama Station, and then transfer to the JR Banetsu-sai Line for Aizu Wakamatsu. It will take approximately three hours and cost 9,000 yen. If you have a JR Pass, this entire trip will be covered. For itineraries and timetables, check out Hyperdia website.

If you’re looking to save some money, there are buses that operate between Tokyo and Aizu Wakamatsu Station. The trip will take 4.5 hours and cost roughly 4,800 yen one-way. You can book it at kosokubus.

Where To Stay in Aizu Wakamatsu

Guesthouse in Aizu Wakamatsu – Kakurega Guest House

This quaint and humble guest house is exactly what you’re after if you’re looking for a no-frills accommodation that provides all the basics …continue reading

    

Kurokawa Onsen – A Hidden Gem You Should Absolutely Visit in Kyushu!

Ryokan Fujiya 3

Kurokawa Onsen was one of Kyushu’s best kept secrets, but we reckon time’s up for this humble and authentic onsen town to stop flying under the radar. Kurokawa is immensely popular amongst domestic tourists, but westerners are more likely to never have heard of this onsen town. In saying that, the number of people drawn to this onsen town is no joke.

And you’d think that, because of its growing popularity, there would be continuous high-rise hotels and guesthouse accommodation popping up left, right and centre answering to the number of tourists – but there isn’t (and this is a good thing).

One of the unique characteristics about Kurokawa Onsen is that the entire local community have made a sound effort to maintain the traditional look, feel, and ambience of the original town itself, so despite the number of visitors you see on the streets, you can look up and around, and all you’ll see are the original forms of the onsens dating back many years ago, built with wooden materials, earthen walls, cobblestone stairs, and curved roofs.

Kurokawa Onsen - A Hidden Gem You Should Absolutely Visit in Kyushu! 3

No commercialized hotels, no colourful signs, no skyrise buildings – pure and simple Japanese aesthetics, surrounded by luscious forests and mountains with a calming river running through the town.

Pro tip: general rule of thumb is that if you’re after a bit of space and uninterrupted views, book a ryokan outside of town, possibly alongside the mountain, but if you’re after rustic goodness with touches of culture and history, book the …continue reading

    

Shimabara – Let’s Explore The Beautiful “Koi Fish Town”

Shimabara Nagasaki Japan - Hotel Nampuro 3

Shimabara is located at the eastern tip of the peninsula of the same name, in Nagasaki prefecture. This peninsula was formed following the eruptions of the Unzen volcano at the center of it. Shimabara is the most important city on the peninsula and a unique place I loved visiting!

One of its main characteristics is the amazing quality of its water springs. Shimabara’s spring water is so clean that Japanese carp can live in the city’s pipes! That’s why people call it Koi fish town by the way.

Let’s first find out how to get to Shimabara and where you can stay. We’ll talk more about the city’s cuisine and must-visit attractions later.

How To Go To Shimabara

To go to Shimabara from Nagasaki, the most convenient way is the train. You should first take the JR Nagasaki Line to Isahaya Station, then transfer to the Shimabara Railway and stop at Shimabara Station. The trip takes about 2 hours and costs 1940 yen.

From Fukuoka, it will be easier to take the Highway bus which goes directly to Shimabara in 3 hours, from the Hakata terminal. A one-way ticket costs 3040 yen and the round trip costs 4820 yen.

Where To Stay In Shimabara

If you’re planning to spend a few days in Shimabara, I recommend you book at the Nampuro hotel! It’s a seaside hotel where you can enjoy beautiful views from your room and the onsen.

Shimabara Nagasaki Japan - Hotel Nampuro 3

The onsen of this hotel are a sight to behold! There are different types with indoor and outdoor baths (rotemburo) and a view of …continue reading

    

Explore the surface of The Moon at Tottori Sand Dunes this November

Source: grapee.jp

If you’re a lunar-curious soul and have always been fascinated by the moon and the idea of being in outer space, this ‘astronaut experience’ taking place at Tottori Sand Dunes at night could be the perfect opportunity for you to step into the boots of your inner space-walker.

The event fuses together the strange and seemingly out-of-place landscape of Tottori Sand Dunes with lunar experiences through ​​VR and AR goggles.

Kzaral | CC by 2.0

A rather unexpected sight, the Tottori Sand Dunes are Japan’s largest deposit of sand, reaching 50 meters in height and stretching 16 kilometres along the shore of the sea of Japan. Though most people come to visit this natural attraction during daylight hours, for those who venture here after dark, the already other-worldly landscape seems to take on the appearance of what looks like the scenery one would expect on the moon.

Taking advantage of this natural environment characteristic, creative space simulation company amulapo have created an unique event where participants can become a lunar explorer and take on moon missions at Tottori Sand Dunes through the immersive power of Virtual and Augmented Reality.

Using the latest AR goggles, participants will experience the perspective of an astronaut, from the first successful landing of Apollo 11 in 1969 to the futuristic concept world of a moon city, which – in accordance with the simulation’s theoretical story – will be built on the moon sometime in the near future.
The visuals which can be experienced through the goggles include both real life footage from past lunar expeditions, to adventures and concepts created digitally by artists and scientists at amulapo.

The leading story of the simulation will follow a team of astronauts (made up by the event participants) as they set out …continue reading

    

Hiking in Kamikochi – A True Nature Lover’s Paradise

Hiking is one of the most popular weekend pastimes for people who live in Japan. This is no wonder, as 70% of the country consists of mountainous areas, which means that Japan is dotted with amazing hiking opportunities. One of the best hiking areas in Japan is a remote highland valley in the Hida Mountain Range called Kamikochi (上高地). People from all over the world travel to Japan to go hiking in Kamikochi, located in Nagano Prefecture – known for its great winter season. Besides the beautiful mountain range, flora and fauna you can also expect to encounter some wildlife such as monkeys and various birds. Bears are rarely encountered, […] …continue reading

    

Autumn Foliage Forecast 2021 Japan – When and Where To See Autumn Leaves

Autumn Foliage Forecast Japan 2021 Momiji

Autumn Foliage Forecast 2021 Japan – It’s this time of the year again! Autumn is one of the most beautiful season in Japan and it’s personally my favourite. The leaves on the trees will slowly turn yellow, orange or red, giving a colourful look to the amazing natural landscapes of Japan.

As you may know, Autumn foliage is largely influenced by weather and this natural phenomenon doesn’t happen at the same time in all the country.

The Japan Meteorological Corporation recently released its second Autumn foliage forecast 2021. These dates are basically the best viewing dates of Autumn leaves for each region in Japan.

During the Koyo season, you will be able to see 2 popular Autumn leaves: the red Momiji (maple trees) and the yellow Ginkgo. The viewing dates for these 2 categories of leaves are slightly different as you will see in the maps below.

2021 Best Viewing Dates for Momiji in Japan

For the Momiji, the red maple leaves, the best time to see them will be early November (11/4) in Sapporo, Hokkaido. To view them in Tokyo, you will have to wait until the end of November. For Osaka and Kyoto, the best time to view Momiji in 2021 will be early December.

Autumn Foliage Forecast Map Japan 2021 Momiji

2021 Best Viewing Dates for Ginkgo in Japan

Autumn Foliage Forecast Japan 2021 Ginkgo

As you can see, the best viewing dates for Gingko leaves are a bit different from the …continue reading

    

Photographer shows that Kyoto’s non-major attractions are just as gorgeous with stunning autumn shots

Source: grapee.jp

Japanese photographer Usadanu (@usalica) is known for capturing breathtaking photography around the Kyoto area, particularly in shots that display its natural beauty throughout its very distinct seasons.

That means Usadanu and his camera are pretty busy in the fall, when koyo, brilliantly colored foliage, paint the already gorgeous city vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange. While many across Japan travel to Kyoto’s major attractions such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Arashiyama, and Bishamon-do Temple to witness the colorful leaves, it’s sometimes in the more nondescript areas that one can find some truly beautiful fall scenery.

Usadanu showed just that, once again turning heads with a recent set of stunning photos he took of a fall leaf covered river in Kyoto.

Source: @usalica
Source: @usalica
Source: @usalica

燃え上がるような紅葉の川 pic.twitter.com/WPYnxq1TMx

— うさだぬ-『極彩色の京都』写真集・カレンダー発売中 (@usalica) September 27, 2021

The photos almost look like an oil painting with powerful layers of paint to create vividness and depth of color, and really show that some of Kyoto’s most beautiful scenery can be found away from the major tourist areas.

Of course, Kyoto changes its expression through out the seasons. Usadanu captures not only autumn, but also cherry blossoms in spring, snowy landscapes in winter, and other scenes of Kyoto that even the locals don’t know about, with a photo book and calendar that show off many wonderful shots.

Be sure to follow Usadanu on Twitter for even more splendid photography of Kyoto!

Source: @usalica
Source: @usalica

この度『極彩色の京都』写真集とカレンダーを出版させて頂くことになりました!
僕がこれまで全力で撮影してきた京都写真の中でも選りすぐりの写真を選んで載せました。

また、今回は全ての撮影地の名前を記載しています!

僕の京都写真家として初めての出版です。
どうぞお手に取ってみてください! pic.twitter.com/L46Zu1lNIQ

— うさだぬ-『極彩色の京都』写真集・カレンダー発売中 (@usalica) September 11, 2021

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Experience the real and virtual Akihabara!

Source: grapee.jp

Here is exciting news about Akihabara, one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Japan!

The NPO Akihabara Tourism Promotion Association is currently running the Akihabara Hybrid Tour project for one month only. The association has also announced that from October 18th to October 31st, the tour content will also be broadcast online. This hybrid tour is a combination of a real and virtual tour that is suited for the new normal of COVID prevention measures.

*The details have not yet been announced, for updates please check their website.

Why is the tour “hybrid”?

This tour is a combined real and virtual tour, so it is being branded as a “hybrid experience.”

To put it simply, participants will move around Akihabara physically, but they will experience each of the attractions virtually. Participants can enjoy touring Akihabara without worrying about the risks of the pandemic.

A driver will take tourists around Akihabara on this electric tricycle, which seats two. The driver will only be doing the driving, while the tour guide will be provided remotely by National Government Licensed Guide Interpreters. This tour experience is currently planned to be offered only in Japanese and English.

When participants arrive at the attraction, they will wear VR goggles that look like this:

They will experience the various maid cafes, facilities, stores, and more through their VR goggles in this new style tour. There are two courses to enjoy Akihabara differently. Where do you think they will take you?


Gourmet Course

In this course, you will “visit” many popular restaurants and cafés virtually. Fruits de Saison フルーフ・デゥ・セゾン is a café where you can enjoy delicious and fresh seasonal fruit. I used to work as a maid in Akihabara, and I sometimes dropped by this café. It was a long time ago, …continue reading

    

The 10 Most Beautiful Autumn Leaves Spots In Japan

Tsuganoki Ryokan Kinugawa Onsen

Beat Autumn Leaves Spots in Japan – If you are asking when is the best time to visit Japan, one of the popular answer is : autumn. In fact, it’s my personal favourite season in Japan!

The weather is great, not too hot, not too cold. The humidity level is low. But most importantly, from October, the leaves will start to turn yellow, orange, yellow and even red, giving amazing colours to the beautiful natural landscapes of Japan.

This season is called Koyo in Japan, which literally means “red leaves” and one of the most appreciated type of leaves is the Momiji, the maple leaves.

To help you enjoy the autumn colours in Japan, we made a selection of our 10 best spots nationwide. Have a read and visit the ones you prefer! ?

The 10 Best Autumn Leaves Spots In Japan

Here’s our selection of the 10 most beautiful autumn leaves places in Japan. Make sure you add them to your itinerary if you are in Japan during autumn season!

  1. Kegon Falls in Nikko
  2. Mount Takao in Tokyo
  3. Meiji Jingu Gaien in Tokyo
  4. Chureito Pagoda in Yamanashi Prefecture
  5. Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture
  6. Tofukuji Temple in Kyoto
  7. Eikan-do Temple in Kyoto
  8. Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto
  9. Katsuoji temple near Osaka
  10. Minoo Park near Osaka

For your information, we tried to select spots that are easily accessible with public transport. Please also note that we specified below the best time to visit these places but the exact dates may change from one season to the other.

1. Kegon Falls in Nikko

Credits: @tsumizo

Without any doubt, Kegon falls is one of the most amazing autumn leaves spots in Japan! It’s located near Nikko which is easily accessible from Tokyo (2h by train). All Nikko area is actually a fantastic place during the Koyo season so make sure you check it out!

If you want to stay over night near Nikko, …continue reading