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Archive for Japan

Hi Travel Buddies, 

Do you know this year marks the 10th anniversary of Tokyo DisneySea, which opened since September 4 2001?  To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Tokyo DisneySea will hold the “Be Magical” special event from Apr 23 2011 to March 19 2012!

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Categories : Destinations, Japan
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Popular Cherry Blossoms Places

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Hi Travel Buddies,

If you are planning to travel to Japan during the coming cherry blossoms season, be sure you know where are the popular viewing spots for that picture perfect shot.

One of our top picks is Matsumae Park in Hokkaido where there are 250 different kinds of cherry trees in the park, blooming one after another for around one month.  So if you are planning to a trip to Hokkaido in May, make sure you make a point to visit this park.

*** Shinjuku Gyoen Early April
  10 minute walk from Shinjuku Station, 200 yen, 9:00 to 16:30
** Ueno Park Early April
  A few steps from Ueno Station, no admission fee
** Chidorigafuchi Early April
  Kudanshita Station
  No admission fee
* Sumida Park Early April
  A few steps from Asakusa Station
  No admission fee
* Sankeien Garden Early April
  10-25 min bus ride from Negishi or Sakuragicho Stations
  500 yen, 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
* Mitsuike Park (Mitsuike Koen) Early April
  Mitsuike Koen Kitamon bus stop (city bus number 104 from Shin-Yokohama or Tsurumi Stations). Admission: Free
** Northern Shores of Kawaguchiko Mid April
  15-25 minutes by retro bus from Kawaguchiko Station
** Chureito Pagoda Mid April
  15-20 minute walk from Shimo-Yoshida Station
  Admission: Free
** Yamazakigawa Riverside Early April
  10 minute walk from Mizuho-Undojo-Higashi Station
  Admission: Free
* Nagoya Castle Early April
  Short walk from Shiyakusho-mae Station
  500 yen, 9:00 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)
*** Philosopher’s Path Early April
  Between Ginkakuji and Nanzenji Temples
  No admission fee
** Maruyama Park Early April
  Next to Yasaka Shrine
  No admission fee
** Arashiyama Early April
  Northwest of central Kyoto
  No admission fee
** Heian Shrine Mid April
  Behind the main building
  600 yen, 8:30 to 17:30
*** Kema Sakuranomiya Park Early April
  Sakuranomiya Station (JR Loop Line)
  No admission fee
** Osaka Castle Early April
  Osaka Castle Park
  No admission fee (except Nishinomaru Garden)
** Expo 70 Commemorative Park Early April
  Banpaku Kinen Koen Station (Osaka Monorail)
  250 yen, 9:30 to 17:00 (until 21:00 for light up)
** Osaka Mint Bureau Mid April
  10 minute walk from Temmabashi Station
  Free, opened to the public during only one week
* Nara Park Early April
  Starts a five minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station
  Admission: Free
* Hiroshima Peace Park Early April
  Next to Genbaku Domu Mae tram stop
  No admission fee (Peace Museum: 50 yen, 8:30 to 18:00)
** Miyajima Early April
  45 minutes by train and ferry from Hiroshima Station
** Miharu Takizakura Mid April
  Miharu Town near Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture
** Kakunodate Late April to Early April
  Akita Prefecture
*** Hirosaki Castle Late April to Early April
  Aomori Prefecture
** Goryokaku Fort Early to mid May
  Hakodate City
** Matsumae Park Early to mid May
  Matsumae Town
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Cherry Blossom Forecast

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Hi Travel Buddies,

Spring is coming.  Spring time reminds us of  Cherry Blossom in Japan.  Do you know that when Cherry Blossom opens up, they will normally last for a week to 10 days only.  So be prepared to stay around the area for at least a week or two to catch the cherry blossom season.

The climate of the preceding months will affect when the cherry blossoms open.  As the winter this time seems more harsh than prior year, we forecast that the cherry blossom season may start a bit later than last year, what is your guess? 😛

While we do not have the crystal ball to predict, it is always good to look at what happened last year.

You will notice the timing of the cherry blossom season varies depending on the geographical location.  So if you cannot travel in April, you still have a good chance to view the cherry blossom in Hokkaido in May.  Check out our travel itineraries and photos from our Japan trip if you need more ideas.  Good luck! 🙂

In our upcoming post, we will share with you some of the popular places to view the Cherry Blossom.

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Drift Ice in Hokkaido

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Hi Travel Buddies,

Hokkaido has always been one of the top destinations come to our mind whenever someone asks us for suggestion where to go for a unique winter holiday.

If you decide to travel to Hokkaido during winter, make sure you go for the ice-breaking cruise to tour the Okhotsk Sea, which will be filled with drift ice (also known as “Ryuhyo”) around late January to March every year.  If you are lucky, you may be able to spot seals relaxing on the ice.

There are 2 drift ice sightseeing boats in Hokkaido:
1) Aurora-gou at Abashiri (3300 yen/adult) or go slightly further north to 2) Garinko-gou at Monbetsu (3000 yen/adult).  However, do note that the cruise only operates when weather permits (depending on the current and wind direction on the day).

You can also take the tram service (“Ryuhyo Norokko”) between Abashiri and Shiretoko-Shari for 810 yen per  adult.  We watched in a TV travel programme that the train is equipped with a stove as a heater.  Passenger can purchase dried fish and cuttlefish onboard the train and grill them on the stove while enjoy the panaromic view of drift ice onshore the Sea of Okhotsk.

Another must-try is probably the Drift Ice Walk at Shari Town.  For 5000 yen, you can put on a dry suit to walk on the drift ice for a once in a lifetime opportunity.  The entire tour tour should last for around 90 minutes.

Lastly, do not miss the Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum at the top of Mt. Tento-zan, a suburb of Abashiri where you can get a simulated drift ice experience in a room.  We experienced that when we were there in summer in 2007. 😛  You can also get a chance to see the cute little Clione, also known as angel fish, which are normally attached to the drift ice.

So when is the best time to view the drft ice?  Mid to late February is probably a good time to visit, so you can start planning now for a memorable trip at the winter wonderland in Hokkaido! 🙂

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Categories : Destinations, Japan, Winter
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