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Japan honeymoon

Your honeymoon in Japan, the land of the rising sun, cherry blossom, snow-capped Mt. Fuji, a unique culture, and so much more

Some highlights of Japan

Tokyo

One of the most populous cities in the world. A thriving center of economy, culture and industry

Tokyo consists of the southwestern part of the Kanto region, the Izu Islands, and the Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and the place where over 13 million people live, making it one of the most populous cities in the world. When the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu established a government there in the early 17th century, the area started to develop, spreading out around his residence, Edo Castle. Most of the city was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and then again by the bombing in the WWII, however, Tokyo was able to achieve a remarkably rapid recovery both times.

cherryTokyo is not only the political and economical center of Japan, it has also emerged as a center of the world economy and culture. There are a number of attractions in Tokyo that should not be missed. There are large-scale downtown areas, including Ginza where famous shops from around the world stand side by side, the sleepless Shinjuku that has become the "new city center of Tokyo," Asakusa which is reminiscent of the traditional Edo (the former name of Tokyo), and Shibuya that starts the trends for the young people. Other unique areas include the computer town Akihabara, a dense retail area where numerous electronic shops compete against each other, attracting many shoppers from Japan and overseas, and Tsukiji, an open-air wholesale food market catering to shops and consumers everywhere in Japan.

Tokyo Disneyland Park/DisneySea Park (Chiba)

Everyone knows these two worldwide-fame theme parks; they have captivated a wide audience from children to adults with a host of attractions where you can enjoy the world of Disney movies or be thrilled by high-speed rides. The "Land Park" and "Sea Park" are each divided into 7 theme areas, so you have a huge choice of where to have fun. In Disneyland Park, the fantasy atmosphere of "Pooh's Honey Hunt", where you search for honey with Winnie the Pooh is very popular. DisneySea Park has dynamic attractions with the waterfront creating a healing ambience. Alcohol is served there, so it is most suitable for those who wish to have some grown-up time. The magnificent parades by Mickey Mouse and his friends are must-sees. They are artistic and joyful, providing the very best entertainment time after time.

japan honeymoon

Kyoto

The former capital of Japan, famous worldwide for its temples and shrines. Kyoto was the center of politics and culture for 1,100 years

Kyoto Prefecture stretches out from the southeast to the northwest in the central and northern parts of the Kansai region. It has four geographical features, the saw-toothed coastal area around Maizuru Bay in the northeast, the Tanba Mountains around its center, the Kyoto Basin in the southeast, and the Yamashiro Basin.

Kyoto became the capital of Japan in the 8th century. It flourished as the center for Japanese politics, economy and culture for some 1,100 years, until the capital functions were transferred to Tokyo in the mid-19th century. There remain many temples and shrines in Kyoto that were built during this long period. Seventeen historic sites including, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Nijo Castle, are inscribed as World Cultural Heritage Sites.

You may meet some 'maiko,' young dancing entertainers, who walk in long hanging-sleeved kimono in the Gion district, see the townscape characterized with popular 19th century style latticework, and visit the Nishijin where they weave traditional 'Nishijin-ori' textiles with vividly colored threads. The festivals in Kyoto are famous not only in Japan, but are also known worldwide. The three major festivals of Kyoto are the Aoi-matsuri Festival in early summer, the Gion-matsuri Festival in mid-summer and the Jidai-matsuri Festival in fall. There is also the Gozan-no-Okuribi, more commonly known as Daimonji-yaki, held on the night of Urabon (August 16th). During this festival numerous torches are ignited on the five mountains surrounding Kyoto, with the flames laid out to form a letter or figure. It is a summer event known both at home and abroad.

Hokkaido

A spacious island located at Japan's northern extremity with festivals throughout the seasons. A region with an abundance of natural beauty

Hokkaido is an island at Japan's northern extremity, surrounded by sea in all directions. It is an extensive land, accounting for 22% of Japan's total land area. Low humidity makes the summers pleasant, while in winter you can enjoy winter sports. The island is gaining popularity as a tourist destination throughout the four seasons.

In Hokkaido you can enjoy the magnificence of nature to your heart's content: Daisetsu-zan National Park, which forms the roof of Hokkaido; the secluded Shiretoko-hanto Peninsula; Kushiro Marsh, home to many precious living things such as Japanese cranes; Shikotsu-Toya National Park, which is full of volcanoes and lakes; and the ever-changing Shakotan-kaigan Coast. There are also numerous hot springs, like the Noboribetsu-onsen, Jozan-kei-onsen and Soun-kyo-onsen, where you can enjoy a leisurely bath to help you get over the fatigue of your journey.

The Sapporo Snow-matsuri Festival and Monbetsu Ice Floes-matsuri Festival are held in winter. In summer enjoy the Furano Lavender-matsuri Festival, as well as port festivals in every coastal town held to pray for a good catch and safe fishing. Hokkaido boasts of over 1,200 festivals and events held throughout the year.

Mt. Fuji

A sacred mountain captivating people since ancient times

The highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters above sea level, and is located more or less in the center of Japan, stretching over Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Its elegant conical form has frequently been depicted in many paintings and literary works since ancient times. Many Japanese dream of standing on the summit at least once in their lifetime, and Mt. Fuji is visited by some 300,000 climbers every year. The mountain officially opens only in summer; the climbing season runs from the beginning of July to the end of August. If time permits, why not aim for the summit? From the mountain top, you will command an exquisite view of a field of clouds spreading endlessly into the distance under the indigo sky. In particular, the early morning scene of the sun rising from the sea of clouds is of an inexpressible beauty, and this sunrise is regarded as a deity and worshipped by the Japanese who call it 'Goraiko'. The sun rising up on New Year's Day known as 'Hatsu-hinode' or 'the first sunrise of the year' has a symbolic importance, attracting many tourists to Mt. Fuji.

mt-fuji

On the mountain top, there is a mail box, so you can send letters with your impressions upon reaching the summit.

Every year, there is an increasing number of foreign hikers coming to Mt. Fuji, and the hiking routes are now marked with signboards in English, Korean and Chinese.

Other than the joys of mountain climbing, Mt. Fuji offers the delights of appreciating scenic beauty. There are various tourist spots in the vicinity, where you will be able to fully enjoy the pretty landscapes of each of the four seasons.

Affordable Japan

"Many foreign visitors mistakenly believe that it is very expensive in Tokyo but this is not really true. Many visitors know about "100-yen Shops" and enjoy shopping at these and other discount shops, while dining out is also becoming more affordable for them. Some would go to soba (buckwheat noodles) shops to have tempura (deep-fried in vegetable oil, fish and vegetables) soba noodles, rather than going to tempura shops only to order tempura. Also, they go in a group to enjoy sharing nabe (pan menu). It seems that they really know how to enjoy their stay in Japan in an affordable way," says Mr. Katsuo Tobita, the owner of Ryoken "Shigetsu" in Asakusa, Tokyo.

japan honeymoon

Sports

Whether soccer or baseball, sports are very popular in Japan. But if you are coming to Japan, why not take a look at some of the traditional Japanese sports as well?

SUMO

Sumo is a traditional combative Japanese sport that is well known throughout the world. Most rikishi (Sumo wrestlers) are professional competitors weighing 100 to 200 kg.

Rules are simple compared to western-style wrestling: two competitors wearing mawashi (silk belts) fight in a ring 4.5m in diameter and placed on a square mound. When any part of a competitor’s body, except the sole of the feet, touches the ground or goes out of the ring, he loses the bout.

The professional sumo tournaments take place six times a year for 15 days each in January, May and September at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, March in Osaka, July in Nagoya and December in Fukuoka.

Tickets for the Grand Sumo tournaments which are held at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan three times a year (January, May and September) can be reserved from overseas.

KENDO

Kendo is Japanese-style fencing, which originated from kenjutsu, the most important martial art of the samurai. In the match, the competitor wears special protective gear and strikes at the opponent’s head, chest or hand with a bamboo sword.

JUDO

Judo is well known throughout the world as a Japanese combative sport. The basic principle of Judo is a self-defense technique that makes use of the opponent's force. The player wears a coloured obi (belt), to show his or her level of ability, with white being for beginners and black for advanced.

KARATE

Karate is a combative sport that came from China through Ryukyu Kingdom (present day Okinawa). The competitors of the match do not wear any kind of protection and use only their hands and fists. Compared to other combative sports, karate is a more practical martial art.

AIKIDO

The basic principle of Aikido is “Do not fight force with force”.
It is a sport that only practice forms for the sake of forms and is therefore not so rough as Judo or Karate. Aikido is excellent as mental training or as a fitness sport, and has become especially popular with women and senior citizens.

BASEBALL

Baseball is so popular in Japan that many fans are surprised to hear that Americans also consider it their "national sport."

Professional baseball is well developed, with twelve teams being sponsored by major corporations. In Tokyo, the most favored place to see a game is the Tokyo Dome Stadium located in the ground of Tokyo Dome City Amusement Park.

SOCCER

Soccer is a sport which now a focus of explosive popularity among children and young people in Japan. Japan has hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Korea.

Skiing in Japan

Hot springs, beautiful autumn mountain scenery and Fuji-san. These are probably just a few of the more enduring images of Japanese nature. The white wonderland that many of the Japanese mountains transform into for a third of the year may come as a surprise to many.

Japanese winters are cold and severe and for city dwellers the winter season may well be their least favorite time of the year. But for many, skiers and snowboarders, winter is by far the best season as they are treated to some of the heaviest snowfalls and best quality snow in the world. With ski resorts dotted around the mountainsides throughout Japan, incredibly a large percentage of the Japanese population is literally within hours of quality skiing and snowboarding action. Many of the resorts are small local ski hills, but there are still a few hundred decently sized resorts to choose from, including a number of large world-class resort towns and regions. A fair number of these ski resort towns are also natural hot springs, and this combination of a day on the slopes followed by a soak in an onsen makes the Japanese ski experience irresistible to many.

There are around 600 ski and snowboard resorts throughout Japan all the way down from the northern island of Hokkaido to the southern island of Kyushu. The first snowfall of the season usually arrives in the north in November and the majority of resorts are able to open in the month of December, meaning that a White Christmas is almost guaranteed in the mountains of Japan. Another impressive feature of the Japanese snow season is the huge quantities of snow that fall - some resorts during the peak season report a snow depth of 6 or 7 meters! So reliable are the snowfalls that if you are in Japan during the period January to mid-March, you are almost guaranteed excellent snow conditions. Such huge quantities of snowfall also means that many regions have a long ski season, with some resorts in higher locations being able to stay open until around in early May.

Snowboarding arrived in Japan in the early 90s and at first only a few ski resorts allowed snowboarders on their slopes. That quickly changed as snowboarding became more fashionable than skiing and now there are only a small number of skiers-only resorts remaining. Currently the number of skiers and snowboarders on the slopes in general is even. The number of resorts currently offering terrain parks and items is now increasing and is probably a trend that will continue.

Skiing and snowboarding in Japan is actually relatively inexpensive when compared to other countries. For example, a one-day lift ticket will typically cost around 4000-4500 yen, sometimes cheaper, and many resorts now also offer a large range of tickets including half-day, multi-day and season passes. Ski and snowboard equipment, as well as ski and snowboard wear, is also available at the vast majority of resorts so you do not need to be fully kitted out in order to give it a try.

The attractive packages including travel, accommodation and lift tickets are often available at travel agents, and you will also find good deals by contacting hotels directly if you want to plan your own trip.

There are many resorts within easy reach of Tokyo and even day trips are possible. Within 2 hours you will be able to visit ski resorts in Niigata, Gunma, Tochigi and Nagano and within 3 hours the options greatly increase.

The taste of Japan

The Japanese archipelago stretches from north to south, which means that each region has a different climate and that Japan is abundantly blessed with seasonal changes. Amid such environmental conditions, numerous delicacies have developed in each locality and these local cuisines together with traditional Japanese dishes such as sushi and tempura produce a dietary culture unique to Japan.

Japanese Color and Shapes

Among the vibrant green of the mountains, amidst the fluttering cherry blossom petals, within the transition of the four seasons, people see colors.
Within characters painstakingly written by brush, in Japanese-style homes fragrant of wood, in tableware that colors the dining table, people admire shapes.
Japan's colors and shapes are messages that convey spirit and culture.

Traditional Performing Arts

Japan is a treasure-trove of traditional performing arts.

You can purchase tickets or obtain details of the theater schedule at the theater box office. Reservations must be made in advance for popular performances. Tickets can be purchased at the "Play guide" ticket sales desks located in large department stores or shopping malls in the main cities.

We recommend that you also check at your hotel, for they may have a ticket sales desk. For more advice on the purchase of tickets or more detailed information, please access the English site of individual theaters or consult with a TIC (Tourist Information Center).

KABUKI

The best known and most loved by people around the world, the traditional performing art of Kabuki is a more popular form of theater than Noh. Rhythmical lines spoken by actors, colorful make-up and a stage full of mechanical devices for special effects are essential characteristics of Kabuki, but the most important is that all the roles, including those of women, are played by male actors.

An explanation in English is available at the Kabuki-za Theater (in Tokyo), the representative theater designed exclusively for Kabuki.

NOH

The highly stylized theater of Noh exudes the world of yugen, a deeply aesthetic value based on a profound and refined beauty that goes beyond words and concrete shapes. Its origin is in religious ritual and it has a long history of 700 years. Though the actor, dressed in traditional Japanese costume, either wears a mask to hide the expression on his face or performs without expression, his dance is lyrical and graceful.

BUNRAKU

A Bunraku puppet play is a wonderful and heartfelt description of conflicts between established ethical ideas and the reality of love and life and turmoil in the emotions of the common people. It is performed along with jouri (ballad chanting) to the accompaniment of shamisen (a 3-stringed musical instrument).

Bunraku is Puppet Theater performed by three puppeteers. The movement of the lead puppet is operated by the three puppeteers working in precise cooperation. The Bunraku puppets almost become alive in the eyes of the audience, accompanied by shamisen music, the narration of dialogue and gorgeous costumes, and one can only marvel at the quality of the performance.

The Osaka Bunraku Gekijo Theater was designed exclusively for Bunraku. This popular performing art attracts large audiences in Osaka, and the National Bunraku Theatre puts on regular performances every other month.

Source: www.jnto.go.jp

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