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Travel Guide: Japan

Where to start? This was my second trip in Japan because I felt like I just didn’t have enough time the first time around and I really wanted to experience the city . I had no idea how much I would fall in love with Japan. I know you will too, so I put together this travel guide full of tips and recommendations during my one week stay there.

Though very expensive, Japan is one of the most amazing, beautiful, and friendly countries in the world. That’s why I love Japan. It was a dream come true to go there. Japan has delicious food, serene temples and shrines, zen gardens, national parks, and a culture with a long and rich history. It’s a great place and, while it may be an expensive country to visit, there are plenty of ways to make this country affordable. Don’t get scared off by the prices. You won’t regret your visit here because it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

After You Arrive (Narita International Airport) – Arrange to have your Pocket WiFi Rental shipped directly to a 24-Hour Courier Counter at the airport. Or you can just simply register your email address at the counter of “TravelAccess” which is a free WiFi to all tourists but the connection is not available in all locations.  Just pick up your package and take the next Keisei Skyliner (high-speed train) to Nippori Station. Transfer from Nippori Station to a local train to take you to your hotel.

 

 

Vending Machines for everything – I love the vending machine culture in Japan. I wonder how convenience stores make money? Vending machines are located everywhere in Japan. They have the most high-tech vending machine which sells a wide variety of sodas to junk foods.

Believe it or not, those fancy Japanese toilets with all the push buttons aren’t only found in luxurious establishments. You’ll even find fancy Japanese toilets at the sidewalks or at fast food chains.

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Eat lots of Ramen – You will eat the best ramen of your life in Japan. I promise. Don’t get caught up in where or how because all the ramen their id so good you keep searching for more.

Do check out Tokyo Ramen Street located in the basement level of Tokyo Station. Just buy your ticket from a vending machine – insert cash first, look at the pictures and push the button of the ramen bowl you want. The machine will spit out a ticket and your change. Hand your ticket to your server and she’ll direct you to a free seat.

Must try their green tea ice cream or matcha ice is a Japanese ice cream flavor. This flavor is extremely popular in Japan.

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Crazy for KitKats. Name the flavor you want, they got it. Japan has a lot of flavors of KitKat to choose from. As a result a hungry traveler could eat scores of different flavors of Kit Kat.

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Universal Studios Japan was the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand to be built in Asia. You can enjoy many amusement rides, ranging from child-friendly carousels to thrilling roller coasters and simulators based on popular movies such as Spiderman, Back to the Future, Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park.

In addition to rides, the theme park offers many opportunities to take pictures with popular characters’ mascots such as Snoopy, Hello Kitty and the puppets of Sesame Street. There are also various shows put on every day, including a night parade featuring illuminated floats that are paraded through the streets.

On your way to the Universal Studios, enjoy walking around the Universal City Walk. The city is best when at night because of the lights.  It also includes a number of restaurants selling signature Osaka dishes such as takoyaki as well as souvenir and retail stores.

Tokyo Disneyland is a theme park based on the films produced by Walt Disney. Modeled after Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland is made up of seven themed lands and features seasonal decorations and parades.

Tokyo Disney Sea is a theme park unique to Japan and features all sorts of interesting and new rides you won’t find elsewhere. It was super cool just to wander around a Japanese theme park and see how different the snacks and souvenirs are too.10371478_873925735956871_5351392980322615110_n

The Osaka Castle is surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls and moats. The entire Osaka Castle Park covers about two square kilometers with lots of green space, sport facilities, a multi-purpose arena (Osakajo Hall) and a shrine. The park is one of Osaka’s most popular hanami spot during the cherry blossom season, which usually takes place in early April. Enjoy walking around the Osaka Castle which is one of the best places to view Sakura flowers.

The Osaka Mint Bureau is famous for the more than 300 trees, which stand on its premises. Over 100 cherry varieties, mostly later blooming yae-zakura trees (with more than five petals per blossom) can be viewed on the premises. Every year, the gates to the cherry garden are specially opened to the general public during a one week period in mid April.

Also one of the best places to view Sakura flowers. Imagine walking in a street full of flowers partnered with street food and a view of the city as well.

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The Bamboo Forest most beautiful spot is not at the beginning of the path, but further away past Tenryuji temple entrance, where bamboo groves grow further apart from each other, allowing it to become thick and beautiful.

You can rent a bike or stroll the path to enjoy the beautiful sight of sunlight shining through the bamboo grove, casting soft shadows on the path. Especially when the wind blows through, you can see moving images exuding a tranquil feel. That is the true charm of these forests of the east.

Strolling though the bamboo forest will cost you nothing. You just have to prepare yourself and your camera to take this wonderful path.

 

Tokyo Sky Tree is standing in the center of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower is the world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower and 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower.

The view is breathtaking and the city just seems to go forever and ever. The sky tree is the best place to view Japan 360 degrees. There are also some “look down windows” in the floor to stand on, a souvenir shop and a café. When visibility is good, visitors can see the Tokyo Sky tree and Mount Fuji in the distance. I recommend booking ahead of time – it’s always busy. Many foreign and local tourists wants to experience Japan in another view. It only takes a one-minute elevator ride to get to the top of the tallest tower in the world.

Mt. Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain. It is not surprising that the nearly perfectly shaped volcano has been worshiped as a sacred mountain and experienced big popularity among artists and common people throughout the centuries.

Note however, that clouds and poor visibility often block the view of Mount Fuji, and you have to consider yourself lucky if you get a clear view of the mountain. Visibility tends to be better during the colder seasons of the year than in summer, and in the early morning and late evening hours than during the middle of the day.

Onsen Spa (Japanese Hot Spring) are numerous and highly popular across Japan. Every region of the country has its share of hot springs and resort towns, which come with them.

I definitely recommend hitting a traditional Japanese Onsen water spa on the last day of your trip. It’s like a spa theme park for adults with an indoor and outdoor water therapies, relaxation rooms and more. They also give you a kimono to wear during your visit. . You can never leave Japan without experience their Onsen Spa. Onsen is believed to heal body pains and also rejuvenate your body.

Shibuya For the ultimate people scramble, head to Shibuya Crossing to watch what is Tokyo’s version of Times Square. A wide selection of restaurants and fast food chains are located near the crossing and its neighboring streets. Also, local and international brands can found in the area. While you’re in the area, make sure to check out Shibuya 109 for some amazing shopping.

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Say Hello to Hachiko at Shibuya Crossing – Hachiko is the most loyal dog in the world. Remember the movie Hachiko? Well, guess what he is more than just a dog in the movie but see a statue of him at Shibuya crossing. He would show up to the station every evening to meet his owner and continued to do so after the owner’s death. The train station employees fed him, gave him water and took good care of him.

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Asakusa is the center of Tokyo’s shitamachi (literally “low city”), one of Tokyo’s districts, where an atmosphere of the Tokyo of past decades survives. Asakusa’s main attraction is a Buddhist temple. The temple is surrounded by a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries.

 

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