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.

The Best Natural Wildlife Areas In South Africa

Natural Wildlife Areas In South Africa

The country of South Africa is a large area of the tip of the African continent, and has been making large strides in terms of developing tourism over recent years.  The end of Apartheid in the country may have been a turbulent time for the people of South Africa, but it was also an important step in making the country acceptable in the eyes of the rest of the developed world.  Today tourism is an important part of the economy of this African country, and it is the natural beauty and the sights that can be seen here that bring people into the country from around the world.

Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is probably the most famous of the parks in South Africa, and is located in the north east of the country spanning the borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe.  As well as being one of the most well known, it is also one of the largest parks in Africa, with animal stocks recovering well after a significant period of poaching in the 1980s.  A safari in the Kruger National Park can reveal all of the important game animals in one trip on a good day, with healthy populations of African Elephants, Black Rhinos, Buffalo, Lions and Leopards to be found in the park.

This national park is one that is geared towards tourism, with several sites across the park that allow visitors to stay overnight for extended visits in the park.

The Addo Elephant National Park

This is one of the most impressive natural locations in South Africa, located in the Eastern Cape area of the country which is on the south coast.  Although the park itself is named after the elephants that are to be found in the park, the mission of the park is to maintain populations of the five major game animals spotted on safari along with the whales and white sharks to be found in the waters off the coast of the park.  With over four hundred elephants living in the park this is one of the main attractions but a guided safari will often allow visitors to also spot buffalo, leopards, lions and zebra too.

The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

While many people may associate South Africa with safari and the rolling plains, the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park is located around the eastern borders of Lesotho.  The park incorporates much of the Drakensberg mountain range which has some sensational scenery, and also has some of the best hiking routes in South Africa taking visitors through some sensational locations.  The park is home a variety of highland animals such as the bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, baboons and the lammergeier, a huge species of bearded vulture.  As well as the animal attractions here, the park is also home to over five hundred caves filled with rock art.

Mapungubwe National Park

Located on the northern border of South Africa, Mapungubwe is not only a naturally beautiful location but is also one of historical significance, with archaeologists having revealed a significant Iron Age settlement on the site.  There are many animals that live in the park, but as well as the game animals Mapungubwe National Park is also noted for the diversity of the bird population in the park.  The sandstone outcroppings of the hills in this region give Mapungubwe a very distinctive landscape that is different from many other parts of the country.

The Top Activities To Enjoy In Namibia

The Top Activities To Enjoy In Namibia

The country of Namibia is a large territory on the west coast of southern Africa, and is one that has been developing its own identity since it gained independence from South Africa in 1990.  One of the main differences is that Namibia is formerly a German colony, and this culture is felt in the language that is spoken in the country and the heritage of the people who live in the country.  The country also benefits from superb natural resources, with beautiful scenery and is also known for producing some of the world’s best diamonds.

See The Rock Engravings At Twyfelfontein

Twyfelfontein is the name for a valley in the north west of Namibia where the native people of the country have been living and hunting for thousands of years, which is noted for the superb rock engravings and paintings found in the caves in the area.  Some estimates suggest that the earliest art here could be as much as ten thousand years old, with the paintings depicting men, animals and creatures of legend.  As well as the fifteen individual sites in the area where the rock art has been found, this part of Namibia is also near several other important natural attractions in the north west of the country.

Hiking In The Fish River Canyon

The Fish River Canyon hiking trail is one of the most popular long distance walks in southern Africa, and is located inland in the south of Namibia.  The trail itself is around ninety kilometers in length, and takes visitors along the course of the Fish River for almost the entire length of the canyon, which is the second longest canyon in the world, offering some sensational views.  The route is known for the harsh climate for much of the year, and for the safety of visitors hiking is only allowed in a narrow season between the first of May and the fifteenth of September.

Climb The Spitzkoppe

The Spitzkoppe is a group of granite mountains located in the Namib desert region on the west coast of the country.  Rock climbing in the Spitzkoppe is one of the most popular visitor activities in this region of Namibia, and is noted for offering quite technical climbing routes that tend to be very exposed, meaning it is a destination for experienced climbers.  The peaks are visible for miles around, as they rise seven hundred meters above the plains that surround them, and offer some excellent climbing challenges for those looking for a remote and isolated climbing challenge.

Explore The Desert In Kaokoland

Kaokoland is the arid region of Namibia that is a short distance inland from the Skeleton Coast National Park, and is a great place to find out more about the desert itself and the native tribes that live here.  One of the interesting experiences available in Kaokoland is the cultural visit to the Himba people, who still faithfully maintain their traditional way of life whilst also introducing this to the visitors.  The area is also a good place to spot animals such as the black rhinos, mountain zebras, giraffes and springboks.

The Top Activities To Try In Senegal

The Top Activities To Try In Senegal

Senegal is a relatively small country located on the west coast of Africa, and takes its name from the Senegal River which is one of the most prominent features in the country.  The country spent many centuries as a French colony, and still retains many French features in the culture and language in the country.  As a coastal country there are many international influences that can be found in Senegal, with the capital city of Dakar being an important trading port as well as an economic center.

Go Bird Spotting In The Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary

Located in the north west corner of Senegal is the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, which is one of the most important wetland habitats for birds in this part of Africa.  The park is located on the Senegal river and is a particularly important resting place for the migratory birds that have flown north over the Sahara desert.  Visitors to the park will find it a beautiful place to visit with various bird populations present depending on the time of year, with pelicans, ospreys, flamingos and aquatic warblers all present at different times of the year.

There are also several animals such as jackals and crocodiles that feed on the birds, and visitors can use the paths and hides located around the sanctuary or it is also possible to visit the area on a small boat.

Visit Saint-Louis

The city of Saint-Louis is located in the north west of Senegal, and is a city that is particularly noted for the vibrant cultural scene with regular festivals held throughout the year.  Having served as the capital of Senegal for many years before this was transferred to Dakar in 1902, the city has some wonderful colonial architecture and in many areas looks more like a French town than a traditional African city.  For those who are music fans visiting Senegal, timing a trip to coincide with the annual Saint-Louis Jazz Festival is well worth doing.

Go Shopping In Dakar’s Sandaga Market

The thriving city of Dakar is one of the busiest cities in Africa, and with good transport links with Europe and beyond is one of the main points of arrival for visitors coming in to West Africa.  The Sandaga Market is one of the most interesting and notorious spots in the city, and as well as being a thriving market it is also popular with pickpockets, so make sure you keep your purse or wallet close.  Despite this, exploring this wonderful market is a joy, with the area around the main building packed with all manner of different stalls offering almost everything you might want, while inside the market there are two floors of food stalls and a top floor of restaurants offering traditional Senegalese cuisine.

Relax And Unwind In Cap Skirring

Located on the south west coast of Senegal is the beautiful and relaxed town of Cap Skirring, which is now a popular tourist destination for those looking for wonderful beaches and a relaxed atmosphere.  There are several hotel complexes here to accommodate the visitors, many of whom travel from Europe, and a trip here is a relaxing way to end a trip to Senegal.  The golden sandy beaches and warm waters of the Atlantic help to make this a stunning place to unwind.