Having a Party on Wheels

I love a good party just as much as the next person, but there’s someone among my group of friends who really loves a good party, and this person is kind of hard to impress. Because he’s seen so many parties in his day, it’s hard to throw a party that will really top the ones that he’s been to in the past. For his birthday, my friends and I came up with the idea to have a party on wheels. We talked to a Toronto party bus rental company to rent one of their buses and show our friend a good time.

We picked our friend up at his home and when he saw the bus, it was nothing like what he had ever seen before. Continue reading “Having a Party on Wheels”

Hakone

HakoneThe Hakone region with lake Ashi at the center is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji towering over the horizon. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park offers numerous hiking trails amongst the gorgeous scenery and is perfect for day trips. Hakone is filled with elegant spas and fantastic resorts that complete a relaxing excursion outside the city. Only a day trip away from Tokyo, Hakone continues to draw local and international travelers alike who come to witness the beauty of lake meets majestic mountain. Hop on the shinkansen or bullet train to Odawara, and from there, transfer to Hakone for the fastest route.

The sights of Lake Ashi are best seen with a unique boat ride across the water. Embark across Ashinoko on a fun vessel that resembles a pirate ship and capture the spectacular view of Mount Fuji on a clear day. Along the way, notice the Hakone Jinja Shrine with torii gates on the water to mark its location. This picturesque shrine is one you won’t want to miss, so be sure to hike to the top to

Okinawa

OkinawaThe birthplace of karate, home to rich culture and traditions and magnificent architecture, Okinawa consists of a 1000 kilometers long chain of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands that can be divided into three main groups: Okinawa Islands, Miyako Islands, and Yaeyama Islands. Despite the controversy over the U.S. army bases scattered throughout the islands, there is plenty to explore and enjoy in this region; its sandy beaches and breathtaking coral reefs offer a both relaxing and lazy vacation and thrilling adventurous aquatic sports.

Culture
Okinawa is the home of the Ryukyuan people. The customs and traditions show influences of Chinese, Thai and Austronesian cultures. Karate is one the most infamous cultural gift to the world, developed originally in the Ryuku Islands. Eisa dance depicts the fun and frolic aspect of the culture. Okinawans do not follow Buddhism like most of the Japanese. Rather, they have their own religious beliefs and believe in ancestor worship, and are devoted to the gods and spirits of the natural world. Okinawa is rich with old and modern history, including the famous 82-day Battle of Okinawa

Hiroshima Peace Museum

Hiroshima Peace MuseumThe Peace Museum in Hiroshima, dedicated to the promise of peace that Japan made after the devastation of World War II, is a beautiful park and museum that serves as a reminder of the horrible deaths that Hiroshima residents experienced in the nuclear bombings. The Peace Museum is also a reminder of the beautiful war-free history that Japan has preserved since that terrible experience.

The Museum

There are two main areas of the museum. The East building contains information about Hiroshima before the attack, the attack and atom bomb itself, and the strive toward peace after the nuclear demolition. The main building is dedicated to what survived the attack – both artifacts and people. Survivors of the Hiroshima bombing drew and painted numerous pieces depicting their experiences on August 6, 1945 that are now displayed with captions telling their memories of that day. Special exhibits also alternate throughout the year.

The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the rest of the year (except August

Fun Things To Do Anywhere In Japan

Fun Things To Do Anywhere In JapanIf you are planning a trip to Japan, I’m sure most of you will probably visit a famous temple, visit an old castle and perhaps a famous museum or two. However, visiting these places alone will not give you a well rounded look into Japan and its culture. After visiting Japan every year for the past ten years, I’ve come up with a list of things you should check out. It shouldn’t cost much and you may not have to go out of your way to find them. These are common places, places that you would find in your area. The fun part is to compare the differences between the two.

Disclaimer: This article makes comparisons between Japan and the U.S, because I’m from the U.S. However, I think the general idea should apply to everyone from all countries.

1. Convenience stores

There are several different companies, including Circle K, Lawson, Sankus (pronounced sanks) and, of course, 7-Eleven. On the surface, they look like your ordinary convenience store in the U.S. but look

Tourist Attractions In Japan

Tourist Attractions In JapanWhile Tokyo and Kyoto are the two most important tourist destinations in Japan, there are several other interesting places that are worth a visit.

One such interesting destination is Hiroshima, a city that has virtually risen from ashes after getting decimated completely due world’s first nuclear bomb attack during World War II. Hiroshima Peace Memorial is the most famous war memorial located in Hiroshima, symbolizing the destruction caused by the atom bomb. Another important place to visit is the Peace Memorial Museum that houses details about the events that led to the attack.

Hokkaido Island of Japan is a nature’s paradise with most of its area being protected as national parks. Filled with fantastic volcanoes, ‘bottomless’ crater lakes, hot springs and numerous mountain and ski resorts, Hokkaido is also home for Japan’s indigenous Ainu tribe. Diasetsuzan National Park is Japan’s largest national park located in central Hokkaido.

Another premier tourist destination in Japan is the Mount Fuji, the highest mountain peak in Japan with a perfectly symmetrical volcanic cone. There are various hiking trails on either

Yakushima Island

Yakushima IslandYakushima is an island located off the south-east coast of Japan. It is officially recognized by UNESCO and is on the World Heritage List since 1993. Yakushima is an extraordinary travel destination, referred to even as a magic island, as more than seventy-five percent of the place is covered with dense forests and mountains. Mountain tops are covered with snow throughout the winters and climate is sub-tropical in the coastal regions. These mountains receive heavy rainfall, making Yakushima’s climate soggier than other parts of Japan. The word Yakushima means Medicine Island and herbologists around the world have been cultivating local herbs for various cures for a long time.

With one main road circling the island, beautiful mountains, trails, and waterfalls along the way attract a lot of hikers and nature lovers. Fruit gardens and museums are some of the main tourist attractions that make Yakushima an enchanting place. The fruit garden is at the south-west coast of the island, offering a relaxing stroll between the tropical trees and fruit plants. The museums and visitor centers in Yakushima exhibit the natural

Kobe

KobeSituated in the mid of Honshu, the main island of Japan, Kobe is the capital city of the Hyogo prefecture, and is accessible easily by air, sea and land. It is approximately a three hour ride from Tokyo by the Shinkansen (bullet train), making it a worthy candidate for a daytrip from Tokyo. Along with Kyoto and Osaka, it creates a central hub for the wealth of Western regions of Japan. With most of the houses in semi-Japanese and semi-Western style, the city is opulent in exotic atmosphere. Some houses, known as ‘ijinkan,’ which were occupied by foreign traders in the 19th century, are now open to the public to see and are used sometimes as boutiques or restaurants.

An exciting thing to do in Kobe is to visit the Arima Spas. It is one of oldest spa resorts of Japan. Its mineral rich silver and gold water is said to treat various skin diseases and digestive ailments. Situated around the spa resort are a wide variety of tourist attractions like Zuihoji Park where a popular warlord, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, held a

Things To Do When Holidaying In Japan

Things To Do When Holidaying In JapanJapan packs a punch of cultural wealth, a dollop of natural beauty and a twist of modern rarities, which means that you can travel from the hustling and bustling metropolis of Tokyo into a natural hot springs setting in barely a few hours. Therefore, when booking your tour package be sure to travel less and enjoy the country more!

Here’s a short list of 10 ‘must dos’ when holidaying in a scenic setting like Japan:

1. A sumo stable visit

When in Japan, do as the Japanese do! Well, not really; however, it is really recommended for you to see and live the culture of the place you’re vacationing at. So what better place to visit a sumo stable than Japan? The Arashio sumo stable is a place that reeks of perspiration and the spirit of the sport. The fighting ring, the humungous sumo wrestlers, the thumping sound beating in your ear drums; all of which is an experience that you will take to your grave. Wait no more and make sure to

Travel Costs in Japan

Travel Costs in JapanToday I was researching travel costs to Japan for a client and found that the Japanese Yen is now trading at approximately JPY 80 to the US Dollar. I remember in April 1995 when the Yen hit its all-time high against the Dollar at 80.43…OUCH. I started to wonder where the currency might be in the coming weeks and months as more and more travelers visit Japan during the peak cherry blossom season. When you do the simple math, it hurts. Japan can be very expensive, but like many aspects of this great nation, what is not said is often the most important.

One theme that continues to be on the minds of people today is the cost of travel. Given the current economic malaise in the USA and around the globe, many individuals have been forced to postpone or even cancel travel due to financial hardship or uncertainty. Travel is one of the first things to be eliminated when one has to make spending cuts due to new budgetary realities, but it is also one of the

Travel Tips in Japan

Travel Tips in JapanJapan has always been a nice to go country, with their superb service which is well known in the world and the never-ending scenic spots found in the country. In addition, if you are a hot spring fan, Japan is one of those countries which you should not give a miss.

However, despite all its alluring attractions, Japan may prove to be a trip disaster if you are not well prepared. Check out the following 5 tips for a smooth and fruitful trip in Japan.

Tip 1
If you are planning to tour around Japan for more than 7 days and want to explore further than Tokyo, it is highly recommended that you buy a JR pass. This will enable you to hop on unlimited shinkansen (bullet train) rides and JR trains throughout your journey. Considering that a shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Osaka costs more than 10,000 yen per trip, it is definitely a good catch. Besides, one can easily move around on JR normal trains.

Tip 2
Never hop onto a taxi from the

Best Souvenirs to Get in Japan

Best Souvenirs to Get in JapanWhen traveling in Japan you are sure to encounter many intriguing items that are unique to Japan, which would make for fantastic gifts to share with your friends and family back home. So what are the best souvenirs to bring back from Japan? Luckily, many great gifts and souvenirs you can find in Japan are low priced yet provide an authentic glimpse into Japanese tradition and cultural history.

Traditional Japanese items are some of the perfect souvenirs to remember your journey by. Things that can be found nowhere else but Japan include traditional clothes such as robes or kimonos, summer robes or yukata and sandals called geta, and paper items like ukiyo-e prints and origami paper.

You can also never go wrong with traditional teapots and matcha tea sets that can be used to wisk up great memories, as well as great tasting green tea. Japanese teapots and tea sets come in all shapes and sizes. Some are decorated with village scenes and Japanese characters that complete an elegant design. Many other specialty cooking and

Things To Do and Food to Eat in Fukuoka

Things To Do and Food to Eat in Fukuoka, JapanFukuoka isn’t that small of a place. Actual numbers bring the population to about the 5 million mark, with the city having roughly 1.3 million people. With that amount of people around, you know there has got to be something to do. On any day of the week if you look you will be able to find something that interests you. There are often festivals in one area or another in Fukuoka city. With a little help from a friend or the domestic foreigner magizines and information centers you will be able to find out where the festivals are being held.

The center of Fukuoka city will have to be Tenjin (though others may argue it to be Hakata). It is the shoppers haven of the prefecture. Feel you need to do a little shopping for some nice named brands from Italy or France? head on over to Tenjin. Want to blow off some steam and hit a bar (including foreigner bars)? Tenjin is the place to be. want to meet some

Halal Vegetarian Food in Japan

halahYou know what irritates me when I travel? Being a vegan and not finding a good restaurant to satisfy my growling stomach and being a Muslim having to find Halal food is a big task in itself. When I visited Japan I had no idea I’d find vegan restaurants so easily and finding halal restaurants in Japan is a piece of cake nowadays since the government has announced Muslim friendly policies. All I had to do was a simple Google search on the super fast internet in Japan and there was a huge list of Halal Vegetarian restaurants in Japan. Out of the many choices, I found these three the best. Go ahead and read my reviews on these famous Halal restaurants in Japan.

Bejita Hamamatsu

Bejita Cafe offers brown rice and vegetable which is useful for health. To guarantee nourishment and health, they are specific about the cooking process. There are regular dishes, for example, the Month to month Special Kobachi platter” and additionally treats not using ingredients like white sugar, eggs, dairy product. This restaurant also features a

Before You Book Seats on Flights to Japan

Before You Book Seats on Flights to JapanJapan’s magnificently developed cities and exotic locations make it an ideal destination to spend your vacations. Gear up to get acquainted with charming east and book flights to Japan with the help of online travel service providers. Read this article to plan your vacations in Japan to make it a memorable one.

Climatic Conditions of Japan
Japan lies in the temperate zone and hence the mercury varies from north to south. It varies from city to city. If you want to experience the nation to the fullest, fill your bags with both woolens and summer wear before boarding flights to Japan.

Not-to-Miss Destinations in Japan
Though being a superpower, Japan still abides to its culture and takes pride in exhibiting its cultural heritage. Here is a list of some favorite tourist destinations of Japan so that you feel comfortable once you board expensive or cheap flights to Japan.

Tokyo
The capital city of Japan is the ideal destination to start the tour of the country. There are scenic beauties as well as

High Quality Fruits in Japan

High Quality Fruits in JapanGiant “New Pione” grapes – Seedless and juicy!

The other day, I found giant “New Pione” grapes at a local supermarket and I could not help buying one even though the price was rather high compared to other grapes (750 yen per pack while regular grapes are sold at 350 yen per pack). They are seedless and each grape has a diameter of 4cm or more. They have a thick body and plenty of sweet juice – they are so good! It does no longer feel like eating grapes, at least not the ones we are familiar with. They were utterly delicious!!

We have many top world-class fresh fruits producing areas in Japan such as Okayama for grapes and peaches, Yamanashi for grapes, Tottori for water melons, Aomori for apples, Wakayama for oranges, just to name a few.

There is a stereotype that fruits in Japan are outrageously expensive. Such a stereotype is wrong as regular fruits in regular supermarkets are generally reasonably priced. At the same time, there is a relatively large market

Lets Go to Japan

Let's Go to JapanConsidered as the land of the rising sun, Japan is found in the east of Asia. It is an archipelago that is comprised of four large islands namely Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. This country is one of the world’s largest exporters and importers. Japan has a good economy. It is a modern and interesting country that has long been a popular tourist destination. Japan is a very expensive place to live in but still, if you are on a budget you still can afford a good vacation to this country. There are a lot of tourist spots. Historical and cultural treasures, modern and futuristic sights, wonderful forests, mountains and sea coasts, you name it and you can find it, because they have it all.

Like any of the other cuisines, Japanese food is a result of its own culture. Japan’s distinct cuisine is considered as one of its greatest attractions. Japanese cuisine has gained more appreciation from all over the world in the recent years. It possesses a wide range of exotic dishes. Its cuisine is characterized

Reasons a Japan Snow Trip is a Must

Reasons a Japan Snow Trip is a MustThe country that brought us the kids’ favourites ‘Hello Kitty’ and ‘Pokémon’, forgot to tell the rest of the world about the fresh powder snow in their backyard. Although Nagano had the 1998 Winter Olympics, it’s only been recently that Japan has really started to demand some attention from the International powder hunter, as a ‘must-shred’ destination.

For most Japanese resorts, the snow season generally starts around mid-December, peaking in January and February, and goes through until about the end of March. Whilst the weekends and national holidays at popular resorts can sometimes get pretty busy with the locals, on weekdays you will often find yourself riding solo on the slopes.

The huge investment into the Snow scene in Japan during the 1980’s, means the large ski and snowboard resorts in Japan have fairly modern lift systems, with high-speed quad lifts, gondolas and ropeways. Many resorts now feature snowboard and ski parks, halfpipes, quarterpipes, snow tubing, and other facilities to add to your experience.

Japan has over 500 ski resorts, and

Japanese Food

Japanese Food - Five Dishes for NewcomersJapanese food, once little more than a niche occupant in the greater scope of American cuisine, has become increasingly popular in recent years. The harmony of flavors and lightness emphasized in the typical Japanese dish appeals to the palettes of many in the United States, where heavy and often deep fried foods have long dominated the market. Many people remain reluctant about exploring this aspect of ethnic cuisine, however, for fear that they’ll find something on their plate which appears as though it came from the Iron Chef. This is far from the truth! The intent of this article is to introduce readers to a variety of different Japanese dishes, that they might go out and try something new without fear of what they’ll be eating.

Domburi: This dish is quite simply a bowl of rice adorned with some sort of topping. A variety of toppings are popular in Japan, many of which have successfully migrated across the Pacific and into American restaurants. One example of this dish is oyakodon, which uses both chicken and

Dining Etiquette In Japan

Dining Etiquette In JapanJapan is a country of many traditions and etiquettes. Everything in Japan has its own way to be done and if you do something different, everyone will look at you wonderingly. Tourists coming to Japan are amazed and interested by the large variety of food available. However, there are some basic table manners that foreigners should know so that they don’t feel like a fish out of water in Japan.

In Japan, it is an important etiquette to say traditional phrases before and after a meal. People start a meal by saying “itadakimasu” (“I gratefully receive”) and after finishing eating they say “gochisosama (deshita)” (“Thank you for the meal”) with a bow. It is crucial for you to say these phrases, especially when you are invited for a meal or someone cooks for you.

Chopsticks are used widely in all Japanese homes and restaurants. It may be very difficult for foreigners to become familiar with using Japanese chopsticks. Besides knowing how to eat using chopsticks, foreigners have to know some rules of this kind of utensil. One