Tag Archives: travel guide

Tottori’s Skin Care Hot Springs – Osaka and Kyoto!

Hot springs (Onsen) are said to promote beauty, health and improve your wellbeing. The Tottori prefecture is home to many – its people are considered to have the most beautiful skin in Japan. The Tottori prefecture is easily accessible from Osaka and Kyoto. The hot springs should be a serious consideration for any travel itinerary.

Misasa Onsen – A World-Leading Radium Spring

Misasa – “three mornings”, is in Kurayoshi. It is a radium hot spring that has the world’s highest concentration of Radon. Radon is said to help boost metabolism, immunity and increase the body’s natural ability to heal. They say it also helps prevent cancer, slow down aging, and prevent certain lifestyle diseases. The healing effects after spending “three mornings” in the Misasa hot springs. It has become a popular travel destination from people all over the world, with both local and international people visiting. You can get to Misasa through a 20-minute bus ride from JR Kurayoshi Station. Kurayoshi itself can be accessed in 3 to 4 hours by the JR Limited Express train, from Osaka or Kyoto.

Kaike Onsen – Sulfate Salt Spring

Located in Yonago, the Kaike hot spring is mixed with seawater and is said to be a ‘sulfate salt spring’. 

This type of spring is effective in treating nerve pain, gastrointestinal disorders, cold sensitivity, rheumatism, and a variety of other skin diseases and disorders. It also helps to beautify one’s skin. Beyond the hot spring, one can also enjoy seafood, stunning views from this coastal town and stay at one of the many hotels within the Kaike area.

To get to Yonago, you take a 3- to 4-hour train journey by the JR Limited Express from either Osaka or Kyoto. And spend 20 minutes on a bus from the JR Yonoga station to the Kaike Onsen.

Tottori Hot Spring

Tottori city is a popular travel destination on its own. It is home to the Tottori Sand Dunes in the east, and the Uradome coast. The Tottori Onsen accommodates travelers who are looking for an overnight experience or are there only for a day.

For overnight visitors, you can stay at one of the ryokans (traditional Japanese inn).  Each ryokan is unique and offers something different from the other. The hot spring is very accessible. It is located only 5 minutes from the JR Tottori station. You can get to the JR Tottori Station in 3 to 4 hours through the JR Limited Express from either Osaka, or Kyoto.

Explore the other Onsens

There are a handful of other hot springs in the Tottori prefecture that you can also choose to visit. The Hawaii and Togo Onsens are in central Tottori, at the shore of Lake Togo (not too far from Kurayoshi). And the Sekigane Onsen (platinum springs) and Iwai Onsen (located near the Tottori sand dunes) are not too far away either. All within travelling distance of each other.

Tokyo Hotels

Traveling to Japan for the first time is exciting. However, finding a place to stay can be a pain. This guide will answer all your questions concerning accommodation for first time tourists or business travelers to Tokyo. There are many amazing hotels in Tokyo.

The following are top of the list. The three of them are in Ginza and Shinjuku—which are the best areas to stay when visiting Tokyo. Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku: if you consider yourself a practical traveler, you will love this hotel. It is in an amazing place in Shinjuku and charges reasonable prices. Their Twin Rooms are quite spacious.

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Shinjuku: for those traveling as a group or family, this is a wonderful place to stay. The hotel has a free Disney shuttle bus so you can conveniently go to Tokyo Disney.

Millennium Mitsui Garden Ginza: this one suits those that are planning to shop like it is their last day or those that want to be close to the Tokyo Station. 

Is It Expensive to Stay in Tokyo Hotels?

Contrary to popular belief, Tokyo hotels are not that expensive. You can easily find an awesome 3.5* hotel in Tokyo for about $150—similar hotels in Hong Kong and Singapore go for the same price. 

This is how much you should expect to pay for hotels:

3 – 3.5* hotels – $100 to $200

4 – 4.5* hotels – $150 to $300

5* hotels – $300+

Hotel Zebra

Hotels in Asia, generally, offer value for your money. The service standards are very high even for the hotels that are considered 3.5*. 

Twin Rooms Vs Double Rooms in Tokyo Hotels

In Tokyo, you will find that hotels have two kinds of rooms. 

Double room: the room is typically 15 – 19 sqm in size and has one double-sized bed. The bed is set against a wall. These rooms are best suited for couples.

Twin room: the typical size is 20 – 25 sqm (in Central Tokyo) and there are two twin beds. Outside of Tokyo Central, you can find even bigger twin rooms. 

Twin rooms tend to be pricier than double rooms, but they are also bigger. 

Peak Season and Saturday Rates

During peak seasons or Saturdays, you may pay an extra 30% for regular rooms. The Japanese love to take weekend trips and that is why prices surge. It is also difficult to get rooms during this time. 

Stay Near a Metro or Train Station

Taxi fares are very high in Japan and you are better off staying near major train stations (think the JR Yamanote Line train loop). If you cannot find a hotel close to the Yamanote line, book one near the Tokyo metro subway. 

7 Best Tokyo Tourists Districts to Stay In

Tokyo has 20 district wards. The seven listed below are more suitable for tourists. Shinjuku is the overall best. 

  1. Shinjuku
  2. Ginza
  3. Tokyo Station
  4. Shibuya

Best places to stay with family:

  1. Asakusa
  2. Odaiba
  3. Tokyo Disney

Hokkaido Winter Itinerary

Do you have a winter trip to Hokkaido coming up? Maybe you do but you have not had the time to create a plan for your stay. You’ve probably not even made a hotel reservation. If that is you, read on.

Day One: Chitose > Niseko

This is an assumption: you will touch down before 13:00 at New Chitose Airport. The last bus from the airport to Niseko is at 15:30.

Niseko has five ski resorts and the most popular one is Grand Hirafu. Book a room for two nights at Niseko Park Hotel or Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei. 

Day Two: Niseko

Grand Hirafu is fun but you should also get to see the rest of the ski resorts such as Moiwa, Hanazono, Niseko Village and Annupuri. 

When you stay for two nights at Niseko, you will have time to explore.

Day 3: Niseko > Sapporo

The next stop is Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido. There are great hotels here such as the Sapporo Grand Hotel, which is near the JR Sapporo Station. 

When you check in, maybe take a nap or rest. In the evening, get out and see the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri—the most famous snow festival in Japan.

Day 4: Sapporo > Otaru

During winter, Otaru is the most famous holiday destination. It has an annual winter event known as the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival.  The snow lanterns and snow illuminated sculptures are so beautiful. 

The festival goes on for 10 days in the month of February.

Day 5: Sapporo > Abashiri

Go to the JR Sapporo Station and get a train (early morning) to Abashiri. Let the hotel know the night before. The journey will take about 6 hours and it is a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful landscape. 

When you get to Abashiri, check in at the Dormy Inn Abashiri. Next, head out and explore the Abashiri Drift Ice. 

Day 6: Abashiri > Asahikawa

Asahikawa is a must-visit, especially if you have kids. The best thing is that you can get cheaper accommodation. There are also numerous restaurants in which you can taste the finest local cuisine. Make sure to enjoy the Asahiyama Zoo and Asahikawa Winter Festival. 

Day 7: Asahikawa > Sapporo

Book a reservation at the JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo. 

From there, have lunch at a cool restaurant, go shopping and make sure you visit the Sapporo Beer Garden. 

In the evening, explore Mount Moiwa and enjoy breathtaking views. 

Day 8: Sapporo > Noboribetsu

Make an early morning visit to the Curb Market or Nijo market in Sapporo. You will have a fresh seafood breakfast.

After that, hop on a train to Noboribetsu and enjoy hot spring waters. 

Day 9: Noboribetsu > Chitose

Stay at a hotel near the airport so you can witness the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival in Shikotsuko Onsen. Be sure to wait for the illumination. 

Day 10: Chitose

Go back home with a full heart! You can modify this itinerary to make it perfect just for you.

Tokyo Night Guide

Activities do not end when the sun sets in Tokyo. The nightlife there has something for everyone including chilling out, dining, partying, sightseeing, and much more. Here are activities that you may enjoy. At night, Tokyo becomes a city lit with bright lights. Up until 22:00, you can enjoy the view from the observation decks in tall buildings and towers.

The best observation decks include those at the Sunshine 60 in Ikebukuro, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tokyo Tower, and the Tokyo Skytree.  Additionally, some skyscrapers have restaurants at their top floors.

You can dine as you check out the breathtaking view. Although these restaurants are usually expensive, they are the better option for enjoying the night view once the observation decks are closed. For a unique experience, there are helicopter rides available—if you have the money. A boat cruise is also a good option.

Food

Dining is the most popular night activity. Whatever kind of dining establishment you are looking for, you will find it in the city; from small family restaurants, traditional izakaya to fancy Michelin restaurants. For an old-fashioned and authentic experience, Asakusa is your best option. Tokyo Station, Shiodome, and Shinjuku are known for top floor restaurants. 

Tokyo also has unique, themed restaurants. Shibuya has a prison-themed one, Shinjuku has a gothic church-themed one and Akasaka has a ninja-themed one. 

Theme Parks and Museums

Generally, museums cannot be considered night destinations because they close early. However, you can still find aquariums and museums that do not close until a little later. They include: Sunshine International Aquarium, Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa, Sumida Aquarium and Mori Museum. 

DisneySea and Disneyland close at around 22:00.

Nightlife Districts

The best districts for nightlife in Tokyo are Roppongi, Ginza, Shibuya and Shinjuku. 

Kabukicho in Shinjuku is the biggest red-light district in Japan. There are literally hundreds of massage parlors, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and hostess clubs. Although the district can be considered safe, you will occasionally bump into adult posters and shops. Shibuya is favorite for the younger audience. There are restaurants, dance lounges, bars, and nightclubs.

Ginza is a high-end district with chic nightclubs and bars, fine restaurants, and upscale hostess and host bars. Several establishments here are exclusive. Roppongi is more welcoming to foreigners. The restaurants, bars and nightclubs are easily accessible to tourists. It is generally safe but recently there have been rising cases of bad practices and vice.

Night Walk

Taking a stroll in the evening is a simple yet awesome way to experience the night in Tokyo. Sensoji Temple is a great place to visit at night. You will love the dimly illuminated lanterns.

For a quiet experience, consider Odaiba’s waterfront area. 

Onsen

Hot spring establishments are common in Tokyo. They offer entertainment, dining, relaxation, and baths. They are more like onsen theme parks. 

Other Entertainment

Tokyo has countless theater venues and concert halls where you can catch all kinds of shows. You can enjoy every genre of art festivals, drama, recitals, and concerts. Other things you can enjoy including winter illuminations and shopping.

Tokyo travel guide – introduction

Traveling to a foreign country is adventurous, more so when you are doing it with children. A lot is involved, including safety concerns and logistics. Because of this, you should be perceptive when choosing destinations so your trip can be both easy and safe. Japan is an awesome holiday destination.

The difference in culture will broaden the horizons for your kids. Besides, it is one of the safest countries in the world. The following tips will help you get a fantastic experience from your trip. Japan has a very low crime rate such that subway graffiti will make front-page news. Another thing, it is a cash economy. ATM machines are countable and not many vendors will take credit cards.

Anyway, feel free to carry cash without fear of robbers and abduction. Unlike in Europe and North America, Japan has very few traffic signs, guard rails, and other things meant to prevent the occurrence of accidental injuries. Since there is a low crime rate, spend less energy guarding your wallet and more watching your kids. Be careful where there are potential hazards.

Signs are in Japanese writing (kanji). You will notice that some streets do not have names and building numbers are not in geographical order; they are in chronological order. Never leave your hotel without a map and. To be on the safe side, plan your routes in advance. Also, make a sketch of the main kanji you will require for your trip—station or city names. When in populated areas such as public transport, you can easily lose one or two family members in the crowds. always keep hands on each other, especially when moving.

Sexual media is all over in Japan—posters, vending machines, comic books, and even daily papers. In many towns, you may come across a giant statue of a vagina or penis. This is a fertility shrine. Do not let them ruin your family trip. Be ready to answer whatever questions your young ones may have concerning the topic. This is not something that should stop you from enjoying the Land of the Rising Sun. Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s are prominent in Japan.

Do not be tempted to let your kids eat American fast foods—even for one meal. It is not a good idea. Instead, visit yakitori restaurants, sushi shops and local food stalls. Japan has quite the diverse cuisine. You will miss out on so much if you do not try most of it.

Your family may not like it all but at least you will have stories to tell for years to come. English is taught in many schools, but many Japanese are not quite fluent. Your pocket dictionary will help with important phrases.

You can always point at a phrase and allow the locals to help you. When planning your trip to Japan, you should have an idea of what you should or shouldn’t do. This amazing country is a culturally interesting destination. Its history is both rich and intriguing.

Additionally, the society is bound by rules of behavior. This is necessary because of the huge population. A set of rules is required to hold together the society’s moral fabric. 

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Do not litter

The Japanese are recycling fanatics. Rubbish bins are rare. In fact, there is such a thing as rubbish shaming. 

Try pachinko

This is an illegal way to gamble. If you are not into this, then just find a pachinko parlor and enjoy the color and noise. 

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Have an onsen

Make sure you read the rules first. 

Try Japanese food

Japanese food includes okonomiyaki, Miso soup and, of course, sushi. 

Learn Japanese phrases

If you are visiting a foreign country, it is nice to know a few phrases such as how to say, ‘thank you’.

Embrace the inner Hello Kitty in you

The Japanese are obsessed with cute. Try and find out why.

Enter a drinking competition

You will lose in a beer or sake drinking competition with the Japanese. 

Drinking sake in Japan

Drinking sake involves a few rituals in Japan. Sake may be smooth, but it kicks. 

Go to karaoke

In Japan, all booths are private. It is a good opportunity to make a fool of yourself.

Acquire a Suica card

This is an e-card that you can use to buy goods and pay for train rides. It simplifies things.

Eat at train stations and at a convenience store

In train stations and convenience stores, you will find fresh food. They change it every two hours.

Take off your shoes

Outside Tokyo, you may be required to take off your shoes while entering a restaurant or house. 

Japanese toilets

Have fun with the buttons in the toilets. You may get an unexpected wash, but it is still fun.

The vending machines

Vending machines are convenient for the large population. 

Slurp and burp

Slurping means you are enjoying your noodles. Go at it.

Do not finish your meal or drink

This implies that you are not satisfied and is considered offensive to the hosts.

Do not tip

No one will expect you to tip them. It is almost insulting.

Cell phone

Feel free to use your phone but not for calls on trains. Keeping quiet is considered respectful. 

Stay in a Ryokan

This is a traditional inn. It has tatami floors and is owned by locals. 

Do not eat or drink while walking

This is bad manners in Japan.

Explore Tokyo

Be sure to check out this big city. You will come across anime and manga characters. 

Punctuality

Being on time is crucial. The Japanese expect punctuality, always.

Eat at KFC on Christmas

This is one of the few places where you will get turkey.

Carry your business card

Exchanging cards is part of etiquette.

Do not blow your nose

You can sniff, just don’t blow.