Japan Australia Pages

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Japan in 8K

Japan in 8K
Japan is an amazing country full of contrasts from natural landscapes to high-tech modern marvels. Most of us have seen Japan from the ground but taking a look above from the air gives you a totally new and different perspective.

Armadas, a video production company based in Japan recently released a stunning 8K video which captures the beauty of Japan from above. The video highlights major tourist attractions such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, Nagoya and Hakodate. Some of the amazing sights include:

Hakodate, one of the main cities in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island is the gateway to this wild & rugged northern frontier. The city is famous for its dramatic night views from the top of Mount Hakodate and Fort Goryokaku, which was Japan’s first western-style fortress.

Yohohama is a lively port city south of Tokyo that was one of the first Japanese ports opened to foreign trade. This video beautiful captures the Minato Mirai 21 area of Yokohama, which is a seaside urban area that features many large skyscrapers including the Landmark Tower and Queen’s Towers as well as the colourful Cosmo World Ferris Wheel.

Nagoya is a manufacturing and shipping hub in central Japan that was a key player in Japan’s economic revival. The city is home to one of Japan’s best and most historic castles as well as some amazing modern architecture such as JR Central Towers, Midland Square and the Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers.

Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital is home to some of Japan’s most important temples and shrines. The Kyoto Station area features some interesting architecture with Kyoto Station one of the largest buildings in Japan and a shopping and transportation hub. Kyoto Tower is a rocket poised for takeoff on the doorstep of the station and a popular landmark.

Tokyo is Japan’s modern capital and is the world’s most populous metropolis. The city is home to some of Japan’s best architectural marvels from the twin towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku to the iconic Tokyo Tower, regarded as the symbol of Tokyo. Tokyo Skytree towering over the city at 634 meters is the new modern symbol of Tokyo and one of its best landmarks.

Take a look at this video from Armadas and sit back and enjoy the show from above.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

WOWBOX Japanese Snacks

WOWBOX
Japanese snacks are known the world over for their great taste and huge variety with flavours coming and going depending on the season and the time of the year in Japan. Many people will stock up on Japanese snacks while visiting Japan to take home to enjoy as a souvenir, but now you can also easily order Japanese snacks online at your convenience.

WOWBOX is a Japanese snack subscription service that allows you to order your favourite Japanese snacks direct from Tokyo with just a click of your mouse button.

WOWBOX offer one-of-a-kind themed boxes of exclusive Japanese snacks delivered monthly to your doorstep with FREE worldwide shipping. They have four different themes on offer to suit everyone’s taste with one of the most popular being the ‘New & Limited’, which as the name suggests, is filled with new and limited time snacks found in Japan. The four themes include:

Fun & Tasty’ – WOWBOX’s original box designed for all lovers of Japanese snacks or those new to Japanese treats

Kawaii & Beauty’ – for those who love cute and dainty treats made for the health conscious with beauty-themed products and low-calorie snacks

New & Limited’ – a great selection of new and limited snacks from Japan for the Japanese snack connoisseur

Dagashi Box’ – a nostalgic collection of snacks that will remind you of childhood in Japan

You can find more information about all these boxes at the WOWBOX website.

I was recently sent a ‘Fun & Tasty’ WOWBOX full of tasty goodies to try during Obon in Japan. All the snacks were amazing with some cool and unique snacks that I haven’t even been able to find here in Japan at the supermarket or convenience store.

WOWBOX

August WOWBOX

WOWBOX goodies


I was particularly excited about the Meiji Pucca Chocolate Box with its limited edition design featuring the Tokyo 2020 mascots, and the Ottotto Pokemon Box, which featured 40 different kinds of Pokemon shaped treats.

Meiji Pucca Chocolate Box

Ottotto Pokemon Box


I was also really surprised to find included some special September WOWBOX items such as the new KOIKEYA [Feel Aloha] series potato chips in ‘Mango & Butter’ flavour and ‘Coconut & Salt’ flavour, both of which were tropical heaven in summer. To top that off, was the Country Ma’am Cookies in Vanilla & Strawberry Shortcake (a commemorative collaboration to celebrate its 35th anniversary as well as Hello Kitty’s 45th anniversary).

These 3 new & exclusive items are available to anyone who orders any large size box BEFORE August 31st 2019.

September WOWBOX

If you are keen to order yourself some amazing Japanese snacks visit the WOWBOX website and enter this exclusive Coupon Code JPAU2019 for Japan Australia followers to receive 10% OFF any large size box. Hurry as the offer expires on 9/15/2019.

You can follow WOWBOX on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with all their exclusive offers.

WOWBOX

Sunday, August 11, 2019

5 Unique Experiences in Tokyo

MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM – teamLab Borderless
Tokyo, Japan’s modern capital has many highlights from the ancient Sensoji Temple in Asakusa to the nightlife of Shinjuku. Tokyo pretty much has it all and is a city like no other on the planet.

If you are looking for something a little bit different from the norm and a totally unique experience, check out these 5 unique experiences in Tokyo.

MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM – teamLab Borderless 


One of the most popular and unique museums in Tokyo is the MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM – teamLab Borderless. This futuristic digital art museum in the Odaiba area of Tokyo is a world of artwork without boundaries that will stimulate all of your five senses. Wander around and experience art moving out of rooms as well as a chance to interact and communicate with the art in a three-dimensional 10,000 square meter world.

Official Website

MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM – teamLab Borderless
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM | Photo by rabbit_akra on flickr

Robot Restaurant 


Japan is known around the world for its robot technology and now you can experience it first-hand at the Robot Restaurant in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku. One of the top tourists attractions in Tokyo, it is one of the wildest and craziest shows on the planet. Be prepared for your eyes and ears to be bombarded with laser lights, noise and kitsch. Enjoy a bento-box meal while you watch the fun-filled show, which includes fembots, robot fights, dinosaurs and sexy dancers.

Official Website 

Robot Restaurant
Fembots at the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku | Photo by Cory Doctorow on Wikimedia Commons

Join a Cooking Class 


Tokyo has more Michelin Stars than any other city in the world with some amazing authentic regional food on offer from all across the country. Food is a big part of any trip to Japan, so why not take it to the next level by joining a cooking class in Tokyo. A wide variety of cooking classes are available such as sushi making, ramen, bento making and wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionary). You can even join a regular Japanese family for some traditional home-cooked Japanese dishes as well as vegan and vegetarian options.

Book an authentic cooking class in Tokyo!

Sushi Making Class
Sushi Making Class

Anata no Warehouse Kawasaki 


Tokyo is home to some of Japan’s best video arcades including Anata no Warehouse in Kawasaki, an industrial city in the Greater Tokyo area. This five-story arcade is specifically designed to look like the former Walled City of Kowloon in Hong Kong. This dystopian amusement arcade is strictly for adults with its sci-fi Blade Runner-esque atmosphere, it feels like you are entering an alien world. If you are a gamer, this is heaven for you, with each level of the building dedicated to different type of gamers.

Official Website

Anata no Warehouse Kawasaki
Anata no Warehouse | Photo by Ken Ohyama on Wikimedia Commons

Odaiba 


Odaiba is a high-tech entertainment and shopping area on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. Here you will find the iconic rainbow bridge which connects Odaiba to the heart of Tokyo as well as a life-size Gundam statue and a replica of the Statue of Liberty. Odaiba is home to the MORI Building Digital Art Museum, Venus Fort, a Venice-themed shopping mall, Zepp Tokyo, one of Tokyo’s largest concert halls/nightclubs and the Aqua City and Diver City shopping centers.

Odaiba
Rainbow Bridge at night from Odaiba | Photo by Gussisaurio on Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Discover 5 Things to do in Takayama

Takayama Old Town
Gifu Prefecture in central Japan is one of the best off the beaten path travel destinations in Japan. The landlocked prefecture is surrounded by stunning mountains and is home to traditional mountain villages and Edo period (1603-1868) castle towns that give you a taste of the authentic Japan of the past.

One of the many must see destinations is Hida Takayama, which is located in the Hida region of Gifu Prefecture in the northern Japan Alps. Takayama is famous for its well-preserved old town, woodwork and its traditional festival, which is one of the most beautiful in Japan.

Here are the top 5 things to experience in Takayama.

Sanmachi Suji (Takayama Old Town) 


The Sanmachi Suji historic district is the home of old Takayama and lined with some of the best preserved Edo period merchant houses in all of Japan. Today, the beautiful wooden buildings are restaurants, cafes, museums, local craft shops and sake breweries allowing you to taste and feel the amazing culture of this authentic part of Japan. Walking these ancient streets you can experience what Japan was like during the age of the samurai.

Takayama Old Town
Takayama Old Town

Takayama Jinya 


Takayama Jinya is a beautifully preserved government building from the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate. During the age of the samurai, the Hida region was placed under the direct control of the Shogunate due to its valuable timber resources. This historic building is now a museum giving you a look at how a local government office controlled by the shogunate would have looked.

Hida no Sato 


Hida no Sato (Hida Folk Village) is an open air museum located just outside of the center of Takayama that recreates a traditional mountain village of the Hida region. This amazing attraction features over 30 traditional buildings from Hida, including traditional thatched-roof gassho-zukuri farmhouses, which were moved here from nearby Shirakawago (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Okuhida Onsen 


Okuhida Onsen is a collection of five onsen villages just outside of Takayama. This is one of the best spots in Japan to experiences natural outdoor hot springs with the area having the most open air baths (rotenburo) in all of Japan. Stay overnight at a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan) to soak up the experience even further.

Takayama Festival 


The Takayama Festival is regarded as one of Japan’s three most beautiful festivals. Held twice a year in spring and autumn, the main attraction of the festival are the traditional yatai festival floats, which highlight the famous woodwork of the master craftsmen of the area.

Learn more about Hida Takayama by watching this amazing video from japan-guide.com

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Best Free & Cheap Things to do in Hokkaido

Furano
Hokkaido, once an island not even considered by more than a few tourists, is on it’s way to becoming one of Japan’s most interesting, and authentic, travel experiences. Not over commercialised like cities on Honshu can feel, Hokkaido is the place to get away from it all and enjoy the real Japan.

Usually this kind of place would come with higher prices, but while traveling around and researching for my latest book, Super Cheap Hokkaido, I was surprised to find that the island is actually a cheaper place to travel than most other prefectures in Japan. While things are more spread out, hostels and hotels are cheaper, and tourist traps are few and far between.

There are many free and cheap things to do in Hokkaido, but the following are the must visits. Any budget traveler to the island should include them on their trip!

Explore the Volcanic Kawayu Onsen 


Kawayu Onsen, located in the north-east of Hokkaido, is a popular hot spring town. Getting there is half the fun, as you can walk here from the station via the Iozan, a non-dormant volcano with wide sulfurous vents. When you arrive at the town, you can dip your feet in the free footbath or spend a few hundred yen at the municipal hot spring for the full onsen experience. Kawayu Onsen therefore ends up being a really cheap day trip, and is one of the easiest places in Hokkaido for first-timers to try out hot springs.

Kawayu Onsen


Try Fresh Sashimi in Kushiro 


Kushiro is often just used as a transportation hub when in the east of Hokkaido, but it’s worth exiting the station to check out the Kushiro Washo Ichiba Market. Full of recently caught fish from the nearby harbour, it contains over 50 shops, restaurants and takeaways. Best is to head to one of the seafood stalls, point at the sashimi items that look appetising and ask it to be served on rice. A few seconds later, you’ll be eating one of the freshest, and cheapest, seafood bowls of your life!

Washo Fish Market


Sashimi

See the Flowers in Furano 


The famous lavender and flower fields of Furano and nearby Biei really pull in the crowds, but as this is Hokkaido, it never feels too packed. Almost all of the colourful fields are free and special trains are put on in the lavender season so that it’s super easy to reach them on a Japan Rail Pass or a Hokkaido Rail Pass. You can spend at least a day or two exploring the area, trying out lavender-flavoured ice creams and the delicious locally-produced melons, then stay in one of the many budget hotels or hostels along the train tracks.

Farm Tomita


Go for a Walk in the Onuma Quasi National Park 


Onuma is a nice little stop off point along the way from Hakodate, the main city in the south of Hokkaido, to Sapporo, the prefecture’s capital. The beautiful lakes here do have cruises on offer, but they tend not to be that busy due to the excellent, numerous walking trails around the various islands. Some people also rent a bike and cycle around the whole lake area.

Onuma


Stroll Around in Otaru 


About an hour or so from Sapporo, Otaru is a seaside port town, and was once a major commercial hub. It’s now a more chilled-out location, with a quiet canal, frequent festivals and lots of tax-free souvenir shops. It’s especially pleasant on winter evenings, when the canal is lined with snow and old-fashioned Japanese lanterns.

Otaru


Today's guest post is by Matthew Baxter, author of Super Cheap Hokkaido. Like what you see? Super Cheap Hokkaido is the ultimate travel guide to this wonderful island, full of loads of tips, listings and maps to make sure you have an enjoyable, and affordable, time there. It’s available now on Amazon and at the official Super Cheap Guides website.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Kifune Shrine - A Hidden Gem of Kyoto

Kifune Shrine Staircase
Kifune Shrine is a hidden gem of Kyoto tucked away in a rural village near Kurama in the mountains of northern Kyoto. This charming shrine is full of history and natural beauty, but is often overlooked by tourists on their travels in Kyoto due to its remote location.

The ancient shrine is only 30-minutes from downtown Kyoto, but it feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of Kyoto with its calm and tranquility.

Kifune Shrine is probably most famous for its stone staircase which is lined with beautiful red wooden lanterns. A walk up the well-worn staircase to Kifune Shrine’s main hall will take you away to another time and place and is truly a magical experience.

Kifune Shrine Staircase
Kifune Shrine Staircase | Photo: Chi King on Wikimedia Commons

According to legend, a goddess traveled in a boat from Osaka all the way up the river into the mountains north of Kyoto. The location of where her boat journey had come to an end was honoured by building a shrine on the sacred site.

Kifune Shrine enshrines the god of water and rain and at 1,600 years old is actually older than Kyoto itself. The shrine received Imperial patronage during the early Heian period (794-1185) and as such was a place that imperial envoys used to visit in order to pray for rain. It wasn’t just royalty that visited the shrine, farmers and sake brewers also traditionally paid homage to pray for rain in order to grow good crops.

First Torii Shrine Gate
The First Torii Shrine Gate | Photo: Yanajin33 on Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking to escape the summer heat of Kyoto, which is one of the hottest places in Japan during mid-summer, the shrine is an oasis due to its fresh mountain air and cool stream which help to keep the grounds cool and comfortable.

In summer, many restaurants and ryokan (traditional inns) in the area serve meals out on platforms built over the cool pure mountain water of the Kibune River. This style of dining is called kawadoko in Japanese, and is a relaxing way to enjoy a traditional kaiseki meal and beat the heat.

Kawadoko Along the Kibune River
Kawadoko Along the Kibune River | Photo: 663highland on Wikimedia Commons

If you are planning to visit Kyoto, definitely put Kifune Shrine down on your list of places to visit. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Tokyo Metropolitan Area at Night

Rainbow Bridge at night from Odaiba
Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities in the world with the action never stopping day or night. Japan’s energetic capital mixes the modern (neon-lights and skyscrapers) with the traditional (historic temples and zen gardens).

The Greater Tokyo Area is the world’s most populous metropolis consisting of 23 central city wards and approximately 30% of Japan’s total population. It covers an area of 13,500 km2 and includes parts of Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Yamanashi prefectures.

One of the best times to explore Tokyo is at night when its amazing architecture and ultramodern buildings really come alive. Pick up a good travel guide for suggestions and the latest up-to-date advice on the must see places destinations and attractions.

The beautiful nighttime cityscape of Tokyo includes Tokyo Tower, the second tallest structure in Japan and the iconic symbol of Tokyo, Tokyo Skytree, the second tallest structure in the world at 634 meters and the new symbol of Tokyo, Odaiba, a high-tech entertainment hub located on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, and Shinjuku, home to the busiest train station in the world and many of Tokyo’s tallest buildings.

One of the best things to do in Tokyo is to explore the city at night. Luckily you have quite a few options available to you for enjoying the Tokyo nightlife. For the best views, check out one of the many observation decks located in towers of tall buildings. Some of the best are the observation decks at Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

Rainbow Bridge at night from Odaiba
Rainbow Bridge at Night from Odaiba | Wikimedia Commons

If you are feeling brave and adventurous, you could try a helicopter ride over the city. For those of us that like to take our time and leisurely enjoy the sights, try a boat cruise along Tokyo Bay where you can enjoy the waterfront scenery with the amazing lights of the city.

This short video from Aramadas, a video production company based out of Japan will give you a stunning glimpse from the air of what Tokyo looks like at night. Strap in and enjoy the ride!

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