Tokyo has been variously described as one of the most exciting, most metropolitan and most futuristic cities in the world. Frankly, we’d have to agree. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, though, it’s worth bearing in mind that the world outside its capital city is absolutely bursting with the sort of culture, nature and history you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Indeed, nearly 100 million souls reside in the 46 Japanese prefectures outside Tokyo — that makes for almost endless opportunities to become more familiar with one of the most oddly unique countries on earth.
Not yet convinced? Keep reading to learn why you should add at least a few outside-Tokyo destinations to your Japanese bucket list.
Slow down and discover the old world spirit of Kyoto
After exploring the bustling modernity of Tokyo, you may be ready for the quiet and almost meditative introspection of Kyoto.
While the rest of Japan seems to be eagerly following Tokyo’s lead into the ultramodern future, Kyoto is the country’s home base for the traditions of old. Indeed, the city of 1.5 million has historically been referred to as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines. Even today, some 2,000 temples and shrines exist within the Kyoto region.
Temple hunters who want the most bang for their sightseeing buck will want to head straight to one of the region’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The ancient collection consists of 13 Buddhist temples, three Shinto shrines and one very large flatland castle.
Especially popular is the famed 600-year-old Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji. The Zen Buddhist temple is easily one of the most popular sites in all of Japan, and it’s surrounded by a stunning minimalist garden.
Continue Reading Visiting Japan? Escaping from Tokyo is a Must!
For beach lovers, Indonesia is a traveler’s paradise — this South Pacific archipelago is made up of over 13,000 islands, spanning across two tropical oceans. This has created a haven for gorgeous soft sand beaches, stunning waves and sunny skies. Whether you’re searching for popular tourist destinations or untouched shoreline, Indonesia’s islands contain beaches to suit any taste. Surfers, snorkelers and avid divers flock to the coastline to immerse themselves in the sparkling waters, ablaze with tropical sea creatures. What’s stopping you from booking your cheap flight to Indonesia? Chances are, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more from Indonesia’s world-famous beaches.
Continue Reading The Beaches of Indonesia – A Traveler’s Paradise
No trip to China is complete without dim sum. Food is a large part of any culture, and China is no exception. Dim sum is a Cantonese style food is known for being prepared into small bite-size portions, normally served in steamer baskets or small plates. Going out for dim sum in Cantonese is often referred to as going to “drink tea,” since tea is normally served with a meal of dim sum. This style of cuisine has gained large global popularity, with dim sum restaurants popping up all over the world, especially in the Chinatown neighborhoods of large North American cities like San Francisco and New York City. However, to get the full experience requires travel to China. So see if you can find one of our cheap flights to China to try this fantastic cuisine.
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A trip to South Korea is one to remember for a lifetime. This dynamic country is home to delicious food, unique culture and a complex history. It can be overwhelming to decide what to experience first. Once you’ve booked your flight to Seoul, you may consider visiting South Korea’s world-class museums to get a taste of their national pride. And you’ll have plenty to choose from — there are over 500 museums and galleries in South Korea, something to suit everyone’s taste! Now’s the time get your cheap tickets to Korea and start exploring.
Continue Reading What Museums to Visit in Seoul
No trip to Cambodia is complete without a visit to Angkor. This vast site is considered one of the most important archeological landmarks in Southeast Asia. This complex civilization is made up of temples, structures and travel routes. The most famous feature of Angkor is Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. It has become an international symbol of the country, appearing proudly on Cambodia’s national flag since 1863. Angkor Wat or “Temple City” draws in global visitors every day that wish to witness its beauty, history and astonishing preservation. About 50% of all Cambodian tourists visit the temple mountain. You can easily spend hours exploring Angkor Wat’s ruins, considered to be some of the beautiful and historic visions of pomp and grandeur. It unrivaled magnificence has made it one of the most famous historic landmarks in the world.
Continue Reading Visiting Angkor Wat
There’s a reason Bali is considered paradise. Known for its white-sand beaches, beautiful dives and tropical jungles, this Indonesian island has been luring visitors from across the globe for decades. It’s the perfect place to unwind and commune with nature. Bali is by far Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination, winning Travel and Leisure’s Best Island Award in 2010. And aside from Bali’s environmental beauty, the island has a rich artistic and cultural history worthy of exploration. Plus, locals are famously kind and laid back. As they say in Bali, “seng ken-ken” or “no worries!” The only question is where do you begin your Balinese adventure?
Continue Reading A Vacation to Bali
Here’s a quick pop quiz for all the vagabonds and world wanderers out there among you — especially those who might be thinking about visiting Japan at some point in the near future:
- Are you a traveler … or a tourist? (If you’re not sure, try answering question No. 2.)
- When you venture abroad, do you tend to stray off the beaten path? Or do you stick to a checklist of tried-and-true guidebook recommendations and tourist sites?
Here’s the thing: Once you finally get around to buying a plane ticket and experiencing our big wide world, you’ll probably encounter some version of those two queries over and over (and over) again. But as almost anyone with a heavily stamped passport can surely tell you, not only are both of those questions annoyingly pretentious — they’re also pretty much impossible to answer with any sort of accuracy.
Continue Reading 7 Can’t Miss Tokyo Experiences that Might Surprise You
While most American travelers are used to taking a shower before or after they get into a pool, the saunas and other amenities at spas are a way to not just get cleaned up, but experience the local culture when you visit South Korea. There are a number of options in and around Seoul, as well as Busan. Here are some tips on what to consider before you go, as well as some top sites to consider whether you are coming in from the beach, need to clean up after a hike, or simply want to experience the communal atmosphere.
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Sakura festivals whip into Japan for mere days in some cases, unloading swaths of cherry blossoms across the country. Briefly, it seems as if the entire population is en thrall to the fuchsia and lavender shades of the delicate flowers. If one can time his or her travel to visit Japan, locals agree that it is one of the most beautiful periods and offers a look into the beliefs of the Japanese and a celebration of both culture and horticulture alike.
Since the timing of the sakuras vary depending on the weather conditions, there is less pageantry than one might normally find in other Japanese festivals, especially those that ring in the new year in January. In spite of that, as soon as the first flowers are visible, food and drink vendors line the pathways into the grassy areas where cherry blossoms can be found.
Continue Reading Sakura: Japanese Cherry Blossom Festivals This Spring
The mountains in and around South Korea’s second largest city have had a spiritual pull on residents for centuries, if not thousands of years. In order to pay homage as Buddhists, temples and pagodas have become as much a part of the landscape as the peaks piercing the sky. Travelers who visit South Korea and are either looking for a peaceful place to relax and meditate or take in ancient Korean architecture should take time out to visit these temples, well worth the time it takes to reach them.
Continue Reading Visit South Korea: Temples of Busan