Category Archives: TRAVEL

Beyond Kyoto: A Daytrip to Hiroshima

Hiroshima is different from other tourist spots in Japan. This country is filled with places that absolutely need to be experienced to be fully understood, but Hiroshima is different than cultural spots like Kyoto or the areas of scenic beauty around Mt. Fuji. It has an intangible feeling of history to it that is unlike anywhere else. The subject matter of the city’s main historical focus is dark, but Hiroshima offers moments of surprising lightness that stand out as a welcome counter. The key is finding this balance when visiting, which can be done conveniently as a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka.

KyoTours Japan doesn’t currently offer tours to Hiroshima, but judging from the amount of requests we get, it’s a popular destination. I often tell guests that Hiroshima is a pretty straightforward sightseeing experience that they can do on their own with a little bit of preparation and planning, so that’s what this blog is all about! Read on for some helpful info and tips for planning your day in Hiroshima.

Give Peace a Chance

It’s undeniable that Hiroshima stands as one of the most important locations in 20th century history, if not the history of all mankind. As the first of only two places where nuclear weapons have been used in warfare, the monumental nature of Hiroshima is clear. As uncomfortable as this can be to confront as a tourist, to ignore it is a mistake.

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Quick Guide to SIM Cards in Japan: Budget-Friendly Short and Long-Term Options

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

Heading East, and wondering what your Japanese SIM card options are? There are a range of prepaid and contract SIMs to choose from, but figuring out which one(s) will work best for you can be tricky—especially since much of the information is in Japanese. To make things simpler, we’ve put together this quick read on the SIM cards that offer the best bang for your buck (or zen for your yen).
Relying on free wifi alone for connectivity isn’t recommended in Japan. SIMs are cheap enough, and easy to find too.
Short-term use: Prepaid SIM cards
If you’re winging into Tokyo (or any part of Japan, really) for a spot of sightseeing or perhaps a business trip that’s under three months, you’ll want a nice and easy, c

The post Quick Guide to SIM Cards in Japan: Budget-Friendly Short and Long-Term Options appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

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Sumida River Fireworks Festival

Partners Information: Sumida River Fireworks Festival – The oldest fireworks festival in Japan

The Sumida River Firework Festival is one of the largest and most famous fireworks festivals in Tokyo. The annual event dates back to the Edo period. Enjoy watching around 20,000 fireworks light up the Tokyo night sky.

Date and time

This year’s festival will start from 7:00pm on Saturday, July 28.

If the weather is bad, the festival will be postponed to the following day, Sunday, July 29.

From some places along the Sumida River, you can enjoy both fireworks and a view of Tokyo Skytree.

Find out more about Asakusa and Tokyo Skytree here ↓

The post Sumida River Fireworks Festival appeared first on Japan National Tourism Organization.

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Discovering Karuizawa

Karuizawa ski slopes in autumn

Karuizawa is a mountain resort town in Nagano Prefecture. From Tokyo, it’s a 65 min one-way trip by Hakutaka Shinkansen or 75 mins if you take the slightly slower Asama Shinkansen (both are covered by the JR Pass). In winter, Karuizawa is a popular snow resort, but doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of snow other Nagano resorts like Hakuba, so it’s more popular with locals than overseas tourists.

If anything, Karuizawa is better known as a summer (June-August) holiday destination, particularly for wealthy Japanese that have holiday homes in the area.

Karuizawa ski slopes in autumn – they had the snow machine going

Nature Tours at Picchio

I visited Karuizawa to learn about eco tourism. I headed straight to Picchio, an award-winning nature and eco tour operator based in the area. They are also active in wildlife conservation.

Picchio operate a variety of eco tours, from cycling to bird-watching. We started the tour at the Picchio Wild Bird Sanctuary Visitor Center, which also has a small cafe and gift shop. In winter, the pond out the back freezes over and becomes an ice-rink! It was the middle of October, so the autumn leaves had only just started to change colour. I was told they’d reach their peak in around two weeks.

Picchio Wild Bird Sanctuary Visitor Center

Picchio Wild Bird Sanctuary Visitor Center

I borrowed some hiking clothes and then went on a private afternoon nature tour my friendly English speaking guide, Yamazaki san.

Even though it was drizzling and a bit grey, it was a beautiful walk. The trail was an easy walk, even for beginners. We saw some frogs and then I saw some musasabi (Japanese giant flying squirrel) nest boxes that had been set up in the …continue reading