Things to Do in Sapporo, Japan

Things to Do in Sapporo, Japan

When people think of the name Sapporo their thought often turn to drinking beer. Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan and is the capital of Hokkaido. It offers its visitors a lot more to do than to sit back and sip on a cold beer, but not everyone is aware of where they should go if they visit this city. There are certain attractions that stand out from the others and that need to be included on the list of things to do when you visit Sapporo, Japan.

1. Sapporo Beer Museum – While there are many things to do in Sapporo that does not mean that you should ignore the importance of beer when visiting. The beer museum is the perfect place to find out about the birthplace of beer in Japan. Sapporo beer was first brewed in 1877 and is one of the most popular brands of beer that is sold in the world today. This museum was opened up by the Sapporo brew company in 1987. It offers the complete story of beer making in Japan and the process that is used. Visitors can get samples of the beers that are brewed. They can also visit one of the two restaurants that are located at the Sapporo Beer Garden which is near the museum.

2. Teine ski Resort – There may be some people who may not think that skiing and snow sports are a big thing in Japan. This resort is proof that there are places to go to enjoy the winter sports. The resort is located about 40 miles from the center of the city and is a great place to enjoy winter activities. It has two ski runs that were used in the 1972 Winter Olympics that were held in Sapporo. The Olympic Torch from those games can still be seen at this resort.

3. Shiroi Koibito Park – This is a theme park that was created by a candy company in Sapporo. Visitors can browse the shops and restaurants that are in this park for free. They can find the Shiroi Koibito cookie which is a must have souvenir for anyone that takes the time to visit this park. Visitors can also enjoy the museum and a tour of the chocolate factory in the park.

4. Susikino – This is the entertainment district of Sapporo. In addition to the stores that can be found hear, tourists can take in the bars, karaoke shops and pachinko parlors that fill up this area. A must have when visiting this area of Sapporo is a taste of the real ramen noodles that were made famous here.

5. Nijo Market – Like so many other places in Japan, the open air market is one of the places that visitors must take in. The hustle and bustle of the vendors and their patrons is only surpassed by the aroma that you get from the vendors selling their wares. A trip to one of the restaurants in this market can allow a visitor to get some of the freshest possible seafood around.

Things to Do in Osaka, Japan

Things to Do in Osaka, Japan

Things to Do in Osaka, Japan

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan with over 2.5 million residents. It is located on Japans main island of Honshu in Asia. A trip to Osaka allows visitors to enjoy both the modern world and the old world charm of Japan. You can find just about everything that you want when you travel to Osaka, but there are some things that you do not want to miss.

Universal Studios

This amazing theme park is located on the waterfront of Osaka. It is a popular destination for tourists with families. The park is separated into 8 different sections that include Hollywood, New York, Jurassic Park and other famous names. Visitors will be able to ride the rides and see the shops that are located in this theme park. The streets are full of costumed characters that visitors can get their picture taken with. It can take several days to experience all that this park has to offer. The most common ways to get to the park are by bus, train or ferry.

Osaka Aquarium

This is another modern tourist attraction. The aquarium is home to a wide variety of marine life that can be seen in 15 different tanks. The wildlife and marine life of the Pacific Rim are highlighted in tours of this attraction. The main attraction is the Central tank that depicts life in the Pacific Ocean. It is over 9 meters deep and is something that needs to be seen. The aquarium opens at 10 in the morning and is open until 8 in the evening. Visitors are allowed to enter up until 5 in the afternoon.

Osaka Castle

This castle was originally built in the 16 years with the latest building done in 1931. The architecture of the castle and its surrounding buildings is truly amazing and the garden where 600 cherry trees can be found is a delight. Visitors should be prepared to pay an admission fee to get into the garden.

Museum of History

This modern building allows its visitors to discover the history of Osaka. It is a modern building that opened in 2003 and it is located next to the Osaka Castle. The museum offers some great views of the castle along with the displays that depict the history of the area. The museum is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and there is a price for admission.

Shitennoji Temple

This temple is not only one of the oldest temples in Japan; it is the first one that was built by the state. It was built in 593 A.D. and is important to the history of Buddhism in Japan. The gardens that surround this temple are beautiful and visitors can walk around these gardens without paying any admission price. There is a price of admission to see the inside of this temple. The temple is a five story pagoda. Although it has been damaged through its years, it has always been carefully rebuilt the way it was in the past.

Things to Do in Nagasaki, Japan

Things to Do in Nagasaki, Japan

Mount Inasa

Calling Mount Inasa a mountain is being rather generous. It’s really a big hill however it plays a grand role in the history of the city of Nagasaki in Asia. It rises 1,093 feet above the the landscape and gives beautiful views of the city at night. The Nagasaki Ropeway is the preferred method visitors use to reach the top. There are several buildings located at the top however there hill does not have any inhabitants. The night time views are so breathtaking the locals say it is a “10 Million Dollar Night View,” similar to some famous views found in China.

Dejima Wharf

It started as a small Dutch Trading post in the mid-17th century through 1855. It was once Japan’s only insight into the customs of the outside world. This site was once sectioned off. The Dutch were only allowed to interact with their Japanese trading partners and their support staff, which included courtesans. As such, it was once the center of Japan’s world trade. Today it is an open-air mall of sorts with restaurants, bars and shops facing the bay.

Nagasaki Night Life

When we travel it is to see the sights and sounds of the native locale in which we have traveled. However, there comes a time when you just want to feel at home. Here is a list of assorted restaurants and night spots that might help make your visit to Nagasaki all the more pleasant. Moonshine is not only a ramen shop. Its menu features Chines, Japanese and Western cuisine. But its bar scene is one of the best around. Ayer’s Rock is a basement bar filled with headnodding techno beats, bongs and is a popular hangout for local musicians. Albert’s Diablo’s atmosphere is laid back and mellow. Jazz, blues and reggae can be heard floating from the bar on any given night. If you’re in the mood for some down home country done up Nagasaki style then you should check out Country Road. The cuisine is described as Americana with a Japanese touch.

Suwa-jinja Shrine

Established in 1825, Suwa-jinia can be reached by tram lines 3, 4 and 5. Suwa-jinja Shrine becomes a hotbed of local activity between October 7th and 9th. That is win the shrines hosts the dragon dance of Kunchi Matsuri. It is one of Nagasaki’s most important celebrations and only happens once a year. You will find komainu on the inside. Komainu are prayer dogs that visitors use to pray for luck and fortune in their occupations.

Five Sights to See In Hiroshima

Sights to See In Hiroshima

Every middle school student is aware of the tragic history of Hiroshima, Japan and its place in world history. It was the first (and only one of two) city to ever face a nuclear attack in the world. But the city’s history, people and sites are far more than its unfortunate distinction. It is a beautiful metropolis of beautiful people, monuments and architecture in Asia. Here’s an abbreviated list of some places you may wish to see if you are ever fortunate enough to visit this beautiful city.

1. The area that encompasses Peace Memorial Park was once the political and commercial heart of Hiroshima. Because of this it was ground zero for the atomic bomb drop that leveled everything within a two-square mile radius during World War II. Today, Peace Memorial Park is the most visited locations in the city. The park covers over 120,000 square meters and features beautifully manicured lawns, trees and walking paths. Four years after that fateful day, as Hiroshima was being reconstructed, it was decided that ground zero would be rebuilt in a similar manner as the rest of the city. It would be dedicated to monuments of peace. The Peace Memorial Museum, the A-Bomb Dome, and the Cenotaph are featured prominently within the park.

2. Peace Memorial Museum consists of two buildings and documents the history of Hiroshima and the creation of the atomic bomb. It is the center point for August 6th activities commemorating the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Some of the exhibits document human suffering on a scale that remains unmatched to this day.

3. If you would like to take a walk 17th century feudal Japan look no further than Shukkei-en Garden. This miniature landscape garden was restored after its destruction in during World War II.

4. Car enthusiasts might want to swing over to the Mazda Museum. Founded in 1920, MazdaMotor Corporation Headquarters is a prominent feature in the history, economy and society of Hiroshima. But if you really want to take a trip back in time then you should take a guided tour of the Mazda Museum. Though not as large as Toyota, Mazda has been on the cutting edge of Japan automotive manufacturing almost since its incorporation. The company became the first and only company to win the prestigious Le Mans Grand Prix in 1991. Reservations for the 90 minute tour can be made up to a year in advance and offers insight into the company’s history, the technology its autos incorporate and future automotive development.

5. Hiroshima Castle (also called Carp Castle) is one of the most prominent pieces of architecture in the city. Built by feudal lord Mori Terumoto in 1589, Hiroshima castle was once the physical and economic epicenter of the city and an important power base in Western Japan. The main keep is five stories tall and the grounds are encapsulated by a moat. Like most of the city, Hiroshima Castle was destroyed in 1945 but was later rebuilt.

Three perfect days in Vietnam

Fuelled by increasingly simple access & a strong, determined culture that seems to thrive on hospitable optimism, holidays in Vietnam are currently gracing the top of many a modern traveller’s wish-list. Once a backpacker staple, this beautiful, intriguing stretch of South East Asia has blossomed into a versatile & accommodating destination.

You can stay anywhere from magnificent Colonial-era hotels in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), to cabins on board the traditional wooden junks that drift across Halong Bay. You may be drawn to explore the mighty Mekong River by boat, or perhaps trek to visit traditional hill-tribes in the misty, paddy-terraced northern mountains. If you’re seeking long deserted stretches of exotic sandy beach, Vietnam miraculously still has plenty, & splendid cultural heritage sites festoon the entire country.

It’s nice to turn up in Vietnam & appreciate its many surprises, but there are several places that deserve your special attention:

Early birds catch the best of Hanoi
If you habitually stumble into the hotel breakfast room just as the plates are being cleared away, this might require some effort. But many Hanoi folk habitually rise before dawn every day, to practise tai-chi round lovely Hoan Kiem Lake as the sun slips up from the horizon. The lake is home to critically endangered turtles, & a picturesque, centuries-old building called Turtle Tower sits on a tiny island in its centre.

Once you’ve absorbed the dawn tranquility, head to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, in Ba Dinh Square. Be prepared; here you’ll find the embalmed body of “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh, who orchestrated Vietnam’s liberty in the 1970s, on display for all the world to pay their respects. It opens at 9am but the queues get long, so it’s good to get up early! Afterwards, try exploring on foot (easily done in Hanoi) & find some delicious street food for lunch. It’s safe as a restaurant; just choose something that’s prepared while you watch.

Trek with traditional hill tribes in Sapa
North-west of Hanoi, 10 hours by train, Sapa is a remarkable mountain region occupied by several ancient tribes, not to mention diverse wildlife. Some tribespeople may surprise you by speaking reasonable English, but they do frequently deal with tourists, & their traditional lifestyles are otherwise astonishingly unchanged by modern life. Sapa offers particularly great opportunities for trekking, hiking or photography. The markets are social & political gatherings as well as a chance to trade – you’ll see tribespeople chatting over chickens, bartering, brokering & putting the world straight.

The Mekong Delta’s mad floating markets

Another iconic Vietnam tradition, the floating markets that burst into life each Mekong Delta morning are truly something else. Motorised sampans (long open boats with pointed prows & sterns) jostle together, piled with perilous stacks of fish, vegetables & fruit, all caught or farmed in the Delta’s fertile landscape. Most buyers come from restaurants & markets in nearby cities. It can be bewildering & you might wonder how they don’t all end up tipping into the river. But, if you get the chance, buy a nice steamed bun for breakfast, sit back, & soak up the productive mayhem; you’ll really start to get a feel for what drives the Delta.

A Perfect Blend of Cultures and Landscapes

thailandThailand is a country with a mixture of a diverse culture and even more diverse landscapes with mountains in the north and gorgeous beaches elsewhere. Travelling through the country can lead you from the busy metropolitan city of Bangkok to more serene, peaceful areas with hardly a soul anywhere.

Travelling around Thailand is very easy due to the country having a well equipped bus and rail system as well as internal flights if you wish to get there quicker. You can of course hire a car for your trip if you are exploring the country and not just staying in the one place. However, the driving there is a bit more chaotic than usual. It is certainly advisable to not hire a car if you have had no experience of these conditions before.

Thailand is really seen as a backpackers delight. Accommodation can cost next to nothing yet it can be located in the most stunning of places meaning you can wake up to a view straight from paradise. The food, especially off the beaten track, can also cost very little however you might have to be a bit more adventurous in trying things but this is not really different to other countries in the Far East.

The main, and most popular, destinations are Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui with these spread over the country. Indeed Phuket is one of several islands off Thailand and you can then find Chiang Mai in the north of the country in the more mountainous area. But if you are not pushed for time then travelling between the places can let you see what life is like for normal Thai people.

Places such as Bangkok have all of the tourist lights and are geared up for people from all over the world and indeed the prices of food and accommodation in Bangkok can be significantly higher than other places. For Bangkok it is certainly best to do your homework first as it can save you a lot of money. You are therefore best to check out what others have said and go with the general consensus before finally booking where you are going to stay.