Travel together or travel alone

Arranging the ideal travel enterprise includes settling on a great deal of decisions. You can make choices simpler by outsourcing it to a visit gathering, guided visits won’t issue you with the same experience as going only it. Here’s the way to choose the best approach for you.

For the most part, you run into four sorts of guided visit choices when voyaging.

Sound visits: Often found in galleries or verifiable destinations, sound visits issue you the opportunity to investigate at your own pace while as yet absorbing a huge amount of data. In the event that you need your travel experience to be about investigating all alone, this is an incredible approach to do that while as yet getting huge amounts of instructive data on what you’re seeing. You likely won’t discover sound visits outside of specific sights, so be arranged to do your exploration for different parts of your outing like seeing every day life or the neighborhood society.

Individual aide: Hiring somebody to escort you (and your travel associates) around one on one makes for a redid visit. You regularly become acquainted with where you and your aide will invest time. You likewise find the opportunity to ask numerous a greater number of inquiries than you would with a bigger gathering and you get more particular consideration.

Gathering guided experience: If you’re voyaging alone or in a little gathering and need a less costly approach to have a guided visit, this is your most logical option. You’ll have an opportunity to meet others while as yet having the capacity to step away after the visit is over. Gathering guided visits are regularly preset to visit a certain sight or do a certain movement making them a simple approach to get a more composed experience for that sight or action without focusing on a gathering background for your whole excursion.

Whole outing is composed by an aide or organization: This visit sort can be a considerable amount more costly than if you sorted out the excursion all alone, however you may have admittance to sights you’d overall miss. Notwithstanding, you regularly need to stick to a foreordained calendar set by the organization. In the event that you need an exceptionally hands-off travel encounter, this is the guided visit for you. Do your examination before booking to verify you’re utilizing an astounding organization, then you won’t need to stress over anything amid your real trek.

Which of the above sorts you pick (if any by any means) depends generally on what you need out of your get-away.

Images from adoretravel.com and tofugu.com

Touring Nara

One interesting facet of Japanese culture is its bond with nature and outdoor activities. Many of Japan’s greatest cultural sights are to be seen in the nation’s beautiful outdoors, which can have a far more breathtaking beauty than even the busiest city’s lights.

Given Japan’s long and preserved history, many smaller towns and cities exist that mainly revolve around some sort of cultural sight or event that tends to be heavily tried into the local tourism industry. The town of Nara, obviously located in the Nara Prefecture, is one of the best examples of this.

Nara is historically especially significant as it used to, at one point in time over 1000 years ago, considered the capital city of Japan. One of the reasons this changed was because of the city’s local Buddhist culture being too politically unchecked, resulting in the capital city of Japan moving to the town of Nagaoka.

Located only an hour away from Kyoto or Osaka, Nara is literally filled with amazing outdoor-based cultural sights to see for the tourist. There are about 10 different significant sights to see, and given the proximity of them inside the city and its surrounding region, two days are enough to see them all when working with limited amounts of time.

The main attractions to see in Nara are generally temples, ruins and shrines. These become especially interesting when one has a vested interest in Japanese history and the history or culture of Buddhism, the prevalent historic religion of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Nara is not a very large city either, but given its proximity to Kyoto and Osaka, a favored getaway for many looking to relax with nature away from the stressful city life. The city’s population measures in at around 350,000, with the city only spanning 22 kilometers from its northern most point to its southern most point. It is also considered home to a variety of UNESCO World Heritage sites, collectively referred to as the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara. Most of these sights are best explored in the outdoors and are generally available all year around making a trip to Nara from its nearby cities a breeze to organize.

Image by asiarooms.com

Ina Camping Village

The interesting thing about camping is that it really reveals a person’s ability to adapt – and should you happen to be out on a camping trip with a few friends for an extended amount of time, you will truly get to know them. One’s ability to adapt really comes in handy when one visits a variety of camping sites, as each will have access to different facilities, with some providing only a piece of land, nothing more.

Japan has a large variety of campsites, each with its own features and appeals. They can be found far and wide, some at beaches, some near forests, and many even near the major cities. It is generally advisable that prospective campers always prepare for the worst case scenario as sometimes information about campsites can be outdated, or some facilities such as toilets or water outlets, can be under maintenance.

One of the most popular camping spots to recommend to the adventurous visitor is the Ina Camping Village. Located in the Tokyo Prefecture, that is near the city of Tokyo, the campsite is perfect for those looking for an affordable nature-themed getaway after spending some time in the chaotic and busy city that Tokyo is.

Unlike some others, the campsite has access to quite a few amenities. Location wise, the site is conveniently close to Chichibu Tama Kai National Park, which features a variety of beautiful sceneries to experience. The cottages of the campsite are close to a river, which opens up many different possibilities to kill time with. Some fun favorites include fishing, floating along in a boat and even snorkeling, all of which are generally a big hit among kids, making the destination ideal to visit alongside a few friendly families to take a combined holiday away from the city. The cottages on the site wherein one can stay aren’t luxurious by any means, but they get the job done – after all, one doesn’t go camping to stay inside all day, but to have fun outside. There are however, cottages equipped with air conditioning, toiletries and so on, making it more akin to a hostel or rider-side motel, perfect to enjoy some of Japan’s finest outdoors in.

Image by tripadvisor.com.ph

Golfing Near Tokyo

When you head to Japan, you’re most likely heading to the capital of the city, the metropolis that is Tokyo. Of course, there is much to do in Tokyo, much to see – after all, it is a city of wonders. And despite being a hub of technology and culture, there is also much nature to see in the area, including some wonderful venues for exploring the great outdoors. However, for the lover of Golf, Tokyo in itself might not be the prime destination. One of the reasons for this is the lack of space, constraining many golf courses in the immediate area to smaller-than-average square kilometers of open space, making courses rather challenging as well as uncomfortable, especially on a crowded day. Fear not, however, as there are several worthwhile golf courses within driving distance of the Land of the Rising Sun’s capital city.

The Kawana Hotel Resort isn’t for the golfer faint of heart. This hotel is home to two golf courses which are known for their high degree of difficulty. The more prolific of the two courses, the Oshima course, has nicknames for every hole along the way, one of which is affectionately called “Goodbye” by its veterans, in memory of all the innocent golf balls lost along the hole. Kawana Hotel’s courses also have majestic views of the famous Mount Fuji, and the course is entered on the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World at rank 77. Playing here will set you back Y20,000 on a weekday and Y27,500 on a weekend (USD185 and USD250 respectively). A rather pricey affair but well worth it. It is also to note that the secondary course, the Fuji course, is only accessible by those who have also booked a room in the hotel.

 

For those not willing to risk losing all their balls on that course, the Windsor Park Golf And Country Club might be more along one’s tastes. This one is located very conveniently for those staying in Tokyo as it is only about one hour away from the city via the Joban Expressway. The Windsor Park Golf and Country Club’s course is maintained to a very high international standard, home to some exceptional staff. Compared to the Kawana courses, this one is significantly less harrowing but should still prove to be a good challenge for players of all levels. It is home to beautiful greens and has a clubhouse with a very classic golfing feel to it. Playing here won’t break your bank too badly, as the weekday cost lies at Y6,800 and the weekend cost lies Y13,000 (USD63 and USD121 respectively.)


First image by cnn.com

Second image by japantimes.co.jp

Hakone Hot Springs

The use of public baths and outdoor hot spring resorts has been an iconic and prolific part of both Japanese history and culture, with many foreigners associating the activities exclusively with the Land of the Rising Sun. The nation’s natural geography is almost littered with spots suited for the construction of establishments that take advantage of the country’s abundance of naturally hot water being emitted from far below the earth. Many cities and communities have evolved this practise to a point wherein much of the location’s attraction is tied to its hot springs – called onsen in Japanese. It is to note that bath houses can be visited on a whim in general, whereas some Ryokan require guests to be an overnight guest in their rooms for them to be allowed access to their hot spring-fuelled baths.

 

Of course, with the high amount of locations boasting the existence of their hot springs, competition was bound to emerge with some spots being more popular than others. Hakone is one of the most popular spots across the nation when it comes to the practise of relaxing in a hot spring resort. The relaxing waters from the underground hot springs can normally be enjoyed in two forms – either in a Ryokan, a type of Japanese Inn, or a dedicated bath house, The Hakone area has over a dozen highly acclaimed Ryokan and baths, making it a highly favored location for relaxation for centuries now.

One particular hot srping that stands out among all the others is called Yumoto, and is widely considered the most famous hot spring of the Hakone region, and a place that should be considered a must to visit when in the area. The Yumoto hot spring fuels many of the inns in the area located at the entrance to the Hakone region. Yumoto is revered for its high quality and clarity of water it provides to the establishments nearby, having a long history associated with it.

Overall, there are many Ryokan and bath houses to enjoy in the area, and it is highly recommended for visitors to take the time out of their day to simply soak in the atmosphere of serenity while soaking in the refreshingly hot waters of the famous Japanese hot spings in the area. The endeavour is not very expensive either, with day-pass prices starting at 500 Yen, equivalent to around 5 USD.

First image by japan-guide.com

Second image by haikugirl.me

 

Relaxing in Atami’s Onsen

Many locations in Japan are known for a singularly outstanding trait, and for many smaller towns and regions that trait is often being home to some of the best hot spring resorts the world has to offer. The culture of visiting a bath house to enjoy the naturally hot waters stemming from deep within nature’s ground has much history associated with it and is to this day one of the defining staples of Japanese society. There aren’t all that many communities globally with an extensive culture of public bathing like Japan, making it one of the most refreshing activities to experience in Japan’s outdoors while visiting.

A town well-known for its representation of importance associated with the bath houses and hot springs is Atami. Atami is a relatively small community with a population between 35,000 and 40,000. Atami is located on the far eastern end of Japan’s Shizuoka prefecture and has quite a bit of natural oddity to it as it is located on the sides of a volcano’s caldera, which is partially submerged in the surrounding sea of the Sagami Bay.

The culture of the hot spring is already made clear by the name of the town – the term “Atami” can quite literally be translated to “hot ocean,” which quite clearly can be considered a reference. Atami’s geographical location gives the town rather short winter periods followed by humid summer months, making an hour of relaxation in the comfort of shade while submerged in refreshing hot water all the more attractive.

Atami’s history with hot springs goes back many generations with the town being considered a prime spot for the enjoyment of inns and baths fuelled by the hot spring water ever since the 8th century, historically noted as being favored vacation spots for some of the most powerful warlords of their times. For many years, Atami has thrived off of national and international tourism, home to many onsen resorts, especially due to its accessibility via high-speed train. This also gives Atami status as a commuter town, allowing its residents to enjoy the peace of a small town but the benefits of being able to work in the large cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, both located within reach of the city.

Visitors staying in either Tokyo or Yokohama should take a day or two out of their trips to take the train down to Atami and enjoy the city’s abundant inns and baths, as no experience in Japan is fulfilled without a trip or two ot a bath filled with the waters of an underground hot spring.

First image by jennajapan.blogspot.com

Second image by suiyotei.com

 

Yakatabune on Tokyo Bay

When people think of Japan, the first images that come to their minds are often associated with the country’s most impressive level of modernization and incredible levels of technological advancements. Tokyo is often thought of as the Japanese version of New York with an even more impressive display of light shows and consumer advertising. Therefore it doesn’t come as a surprise that almost everyone who visits the Land of the Rising Sun pays a visit to Tokyo and stays there for an extended amount of time.

However, Japan does not boast only an extensive level of metropolitan beauty as the nation is one of the most naturally diverse in terms of flora and fauna across the Southern Hemisphere and has much outdoor beauty to offer its visitors.

Those staying in Tokyo however, don’t have to travel far to experience some of the serene settings and beautiful sights that the country has to show. Tokyo Bay is a great way to experience the city away from the hustle and bustle of the city while still being able to appreciate the sights around.

One way to enjoy Tokyo Bay is to simply have dinner there. There are a good amount of establishments serving dinner on actual cruise boats that will traverse along the bay while serving full course meals. This allows patrons to view the city from the bay at night in all of its illuminated glory while enjoying some of the best cuisine Tokyo has. It’s quite popular among people in the corporate world taking their associates out for dinner, as well as families who wish to enjoy the novelty of the experience. These dinner tours normally last two hours and pass by the Rainbow Bridge and Hamarikyu Gardens, some of the visually pleasing attractions to see.

The boats upon which such dinners are normally held are called Yakatabune. The term Yakatabune implies “house boat,” and have been in existence for generations. They’re privately owned and range from being fully functional homes to being lavishly decorated party venues. In the older times, Yakatabune boats were often used by royalty, warlords and the affluent to entertain guests should an occasion call for it. With their traditional feel they also make for an interesting way of exploring Tokyo’s waterways as well as seeing some of the famous Japanese sights, in an direct contrast to the looming skyscrapers that surround Tokyo Bay.

First image by mytokyoguide.com

Second image by tokyotravelpal.com

Spending a night in a traditional Temple!

Modern Japanese culture is riddled with things and aspects with roots and foundations that date back centuries and longer. Literature, entertainment, festivals, sports, education, celebrations and other traditions that are common occurrence in the Land of the Rising Sun have been around for generations upon generations. One of the more culturally ingrained aspects for Japanese culture is the nation’s long and intertwined history with their Buddhist beliefs and Shinto teachings, dating back thousands of years.

Next to Japan’s flourishing and highly diverse pockets of nature, a tourist is likely to notice that temples and shrines are a close second in the diversity of sights to see or experience that Japan has to offer its guests. Many have been simply kept for historical and cultural purposes instead of actual use, however, there are still quite a few temples that still serve the same purpose today as they did decades and centuries ago and are still inhabited and maintained by orders of monks and priests.

Many of these temples are open to visitors, often because tourism signifies an important part of the funding that contributes to a temple’s upkeep, normally alongside donations by the general public.Therefore it is very much possible to visit one of the numerous temples and spend an entire day and night there to experience the lifestyle of the monks and priests in its fullest.

This can be a whole-day adventure for those with a vested interest in the old Japanese culture and history, as well as perhaps for those looking to spend a night in a rather unique way away from home.

The Ekoin Temple is one such place to experience. Located in Ryogoku, Tokyo, the temple is conveniently located for those visiting the country as they are most likely to stay in Tokyo, or close to the capital, regardless. The Ekoin Temple is over 1200 years old and as a Buddhist temple, has much history to it.

Visitors can book a traditional buddhist room in the temple for a night – including traditional style tatami mats, rice paper doors and even access to the temple’s hot spring baths. Views in the temple include a beautiful garden to watch over while enjoying a vegetarian buddhist meal. Those wanting to emerge themselves fully for their stay are also encouraged to sign up to learn the arts of Ajikan Meditation as well as Buddhist Sutra writing in the comfort of one’s own room with qualified teachers.

Images from ekoin.jp