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3/8/2010

Video: A quiet tour of Kyoto

Here’s a really great video tour of Kyoto. It’s dead quiet, and it must have been shot with a steadycam. It makes you feel like you’re a tourist wandering around the city.  Have a look for yourself: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by 3yen in Kyoto | 1 Comment »

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2/16/2009

Getting to the Airport without breaking your pocket

Expensive rides to the airport is not exactly the most pleasant thing when you have a long flight haul after. But there are cheaper alternatives out there besides asking a family or friend to fetch you there. The best and cheapest way to get to an airport in Japan is by the Keisei Skyliner.

It is fast, reliable, comfortable and most importantly affordable. The airport express leaves the central of Tokyo to Narita airport daily. Check out the instructions on how to get yourself a Skyliner to the airport: http://www.japan-guide.com/ad/skyliner.html

Visit the Skyliner’s Official Site

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Transportation, Travelling in Japan | No Comments »

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11/25/2008

Travel Tips: Cheap Digs!

Staying in an authentic Ryokan or a guesthouse in Japan can be an enriching experience. Nothing like capping the holiday in the Land of the Rising Sun in an authentic Japanese Guesthouse but they are expensive. Some travelers have made the conscious decision to split their stay in ryokans and backpackers to stretch their money. But even backpackers don’t come as cheap, although cheaper ones will probably set you in a rat-hole or the likes.

Anyway, there is another alternative accommodation choice to look into and you wouldn’t believe where….*drumrolls* Internet Cafes!

It’s true, numerous internet cafes in Japan offers overnight stays, foods and shower facilities in their vicinity. Their price ranges from 500yen/hour to 2000yen/night and for that value, it is hard to beat. However, it is not exactly the most family friendly option as sleeping arrangements can vary from a reclining chair to a sofabed.

How to find internet cafes that offers such services? Check out World 66 for your pick!

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Accomodation, Backpacker Hostels | No Comments »

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11/17/2008

Check out for Hanatoro events near you!

Play of lights can be seen in sets on the Hokkaido region in december. Hanatoro basically translate to flower and light and participating temples and shrines will be light up their vicinity and the whole place just because a breath-taking scene. \

Higashiyama Hanatoro:

Yasaka Pagoda

The next Higashiyama Hanatoro will be held March 13 to 22, 2009.

During the March Hanatoro the streets of Kyoto’s historic Higashiyama district are lined by more than 2400 lanterns that stretch from Shorenin all the way to Kiyomizudera. Nearly all of the popular temples and shrines in the district are illuminated and have extended opening hours.

The Hanabutai stage is set up in Kodaiji Temple Park where daily live music, dance and performances are held. Additionally, performance areas in front of the large central weeping cherry tree (shidarezakura) in Maruyama Park and Kiyomizudera are set aside for street performances.

Many shops also have extended opening hours during Hanatoro, and in combination with the illumination events makes for a pleasant evening atmosphere which attracts many people to the area during a time of the day when it is usually rather deserted.

People strolling around Higashiyama

Lit up shops and streets

Arashiyama Hanatoro:

Togetsukyo Bridge illumination during the Arashiyama Hanatoro

The next Arashiyama Hanatoro will be held December 12 to 21, 2008.

Arashiyama is a pleasant district on the outskirts of Kyoto that holds its Hanatoro every December. For ten days, more than five kilometers of streets around the town center and along the river are lit up by lanterns. Many temples and shrines, such as Daikakuji, are illuminated and have special extended hours.

Of the most spectacular attractions are the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge spanning the river and the bamboo forest behind Tenryuji Temple. Both are illuminated during Hanatoro with the Togetsukyo Bridge being particularly beautiful as it is lit up along with the surrounding mountainsides.

For more info go to Hanataro, Japan Guide.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Tourist Attractions, Travelling in Japan | No Comments »

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11/17/2008

Beautiful clip on Sendai

I found this really informative and beautifully made video clip on Youtube on Sendai.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Tourist Attractions, Travelling in Japan | No Comments »

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11/11/2008

Niseko, Hokkaido

Does the white powdery snow make you want to jump in and make some snow angels or maybe ski your way down in exhilaration? Check out Niseko, Hokkaido, it’s possibly the best place in the world for winter sports.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Hokkaido, Tourist Attractions, Travelling in Japan | 1 Comment »

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11/4/2008

Chichibu Night Festival

709px-chichibuyomatsuri1.jpg

The Chichibu Shrine (Chichibu Jinja?) is an ancient Shinto shrine in the city of Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. The shrine is devoted to Yagokoro-omoikane-no-mikoto, Chichibuhiko-no-mikoto, and Ame-no-minaka-nushi-no-kami, and also enshrines Prince Chichibu.

Chichibu’s annual night festival draws the biggest crowds. Celebrated in December, it spans the first six days of the month. The parading of floats is listed as part of the national cultural heritage. The festival is one of the most colorful festival in Japan and because it was held at night, the festival is like a celebration of lights.


Check out its official website.


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10/31/2008

Mt Shosha Ropeway

shoshazan_ropeway.jpg

The Mt. Shosha Ropeway (書写山ロープウェイ, Shoshazan Rōpuwei?) is Japanese aerial lift line in Himeji, Hyōgo, operated by the city government. The actual operation is entrusted to Shinki Bus (神姫バス, Shinki Bus?), a local bus company. Opened in 1958, the line climbs Mount Shosha of Engyō-ji, a famous temple.

Official Website

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Himeji, Tourist Attractions, Travelling in Japan | No Comments »

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10/31/2008

At the end of the world Tokyo

Kurobera is the furthest a person can go from the city of Tokyo. “It is a place that has never seen a convenience store, a place that cell phones don’t work. People work in the fields all day and practice an ancient form of the Noh at night. Family names: Fujiwara, Miahara, date back to the Heike, over 800 years. Recent archeological digs show that people have lived here since the Jyomon.
Now there are less then 10 residents year round. The youngest, 71, you can see dancing in this video.”


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10/28/2008

Dewa Sanzan, Tohoku

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This reminds me of a scene in Spirited Away when Chihiro and her parents found the deserted theme park. But Dewa Sanzan are the three sacred mountains in Yamagata Perfecture and is very real. The three mountains are named Haguro-san, Gas-San, Yudono-San and is a center for worship for a Shugendo, a folk religion that goes through extreme physical endurance and religious devotions.

It’s remoteness is a big reason for it’s preservation.

How to get there?

Regular buses from Tsuruoka (鶴岡; ~40 min; ¥800) connect to Haguro-machi (羽黒町), get off at the “Haguro Center” (羽黒センター) stop for the trailhead. Some buses also continue all the way to the top, taking an extra 10 minutes.

The bus stop is right in front of the Tsuruoka train station. There are 4 different stops served by multiple bus lines, so be careful about which bus you board. You may wish to ask the driver: “Haguro-san ni ikimasu-ka?” (Do you go to Haguro-san?)

Here is the bus schedule:

Tsuruoka – Haguro Center – Haguro-San (peak)

6:02 AM – 6:35 AM – 6:50 AM

7:02 AM – 7:35 AM – 7:50 AM

7:52 AM – 8:30 AM – 8:45 AM

9:22 AM – 10:00 AM – 10:15 AM

10:37 AM – 11:15 AM – 11:30 AM

11:42 AM – 12:20 PM – 12:30 PM

12:52 PM – 1:30 PM – 1:45 PM

2:27 PM – 3:05 PM – 3:20 PM

3:52 PM – 4:30 PM – 4:45 PM

5:27 PM – 6:05 PM

Haguro-San (peak) – Haguro Center – Tsuruoka

9:00 AM – 9:15 AM – 9:50 AM

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM – 11:20 AM

11:50 AM – 12:05 PM – 12:40 PM

1:00 PM – 1:15 PM – 1:50 PM

2:15 PM – 2:30 PM – 3:05 PM

3:50 PM – 4:05 PM – 4:40 PM

5:00 PM – 5:15 PM – 5:50 PM

5:15 PM – 5:30 PM – 6:05 PM

Less frequent buses also connect Yudono-san to Yamagata.

NOTE: Once you get to Tsuruoka, do not expect to find much English. Your journey will be a lot easier if you speak Japanese or have someone with you who does.

For more information on traveling to Dewa Sanzan.


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