Must-See List in Tokyo

  

Good Food in Japan

Tokyo is the biggest city in Japan. In this place, a lot of things seems unique and you may not find something in Tokyo like any other places in the world. Here is some list of must-see things in Tokyo.

Cat Café
Outside Tokyo a little, exactly at Chiba prefecture, you can find this café with cat all around the place. You can pet them, stroke them, give some treat, and the most fun is to play with fox tails toys, or any other cat toys. They have strict rules about not to chase them to cuddle, and let them approach near you. No sandals or shoes inside the café. The cats are not placed in a cage, but they are bounce everywhere at the café. Inside the basket, upon the cat-trees, on the table, and chair. If you live in an apartment and cannot have a pet, then you might want to visit this cafe sometimes. This café makes you forget about the outside world of Tokyo as the busiest city. It can make you relax and rest for a while.
Maid Café
Like the story of a manga or the Japanese comics, which the characters are often a cute girl use a short maid dresses colored in black with a white apron. This kind of dresses is very famous and recognizable between the manga reader around the world and the manga-ka (refer to the manga maker). Tokyo has brought this kind of maid-things into a maid in a realistic restaurant. Every guest is served as the master, and be greeted “Welcome home, Master”. This might be the most desirable place for manga lovers all around the world.
Onsen
Onsen, or a natural hot spring, which is very famous and also the first thing to visit when you went to Japan. Not only for tourists, the local Tokyo people also loves to soak in an onsen and become one of their holiday destination too. There also a theme park onsen named Oedo Onsen Monogatari. Usually, they provide yukata or thin kind of kimono for the guests to be wear while in the onsen area.
Food
Japanese food is the most recognizable in the world, as much as French cuisine. Food is the most passionate culinary both for tourist and the local people. If you watch Japan TV, about half of it shows anything about food. There's why a lot of food model made from plastic displayed in front of the restaurant. Kappabashi-Dori is one of the places sold this kind of food models. You have to see the details and how much it resembles the real food. It's really are a fantastic art to enjoy.
The department store
You have to make a swift visit to the department store, although you didn't need anything to buy. You can see a melon with $100 price and other things which are rare and edibles. The fancy thing to buy, but it is worth it since it handled with care. They touch it only when they wear gloves. The taste? Is not something to be asked, the taste, the texture, the price just warrants it all. The Tokyo people shop at this department store, but this kind of fancy fruit is not something to but daily, but it will make a good gift.
Vending Machines
It heard nothing special about it, but in fact, this is very interesting to gawk at a vending machine at Tokyo. You can find vending machines in every corner of Tokyo. But something interesting about it, you must see what they sold inside there. They contain hot canned coffee, cold green tea in bottles, canned bread, beer, hot noodles, and even umbrellas. The technology is also unique and modern. The vending machines menu in a touch screen, and even the face recognition software.
The toilet
Curious about the toilet? Most of them are the usual toilet, but sometimes they have cool features like seat warmers, air dryers, adjusting water pressure, some are surprisingly interesting to raise and lower the seats.
Gundam statue
There's also something to see in Odaiba. Right here, stands a 35 meters tall and 35 tons weight the famous mobile suit Gundam, with the scale 1:1. The famous anime make the idea. They built it to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the anime in 2009.

 

Kagoshima The Island Of Natural Treasures

  

Kagoshima The Island Of Natural Treasures

 

Hey, have you heard about the “Hawaii of Japan”? Do you want to see the conical volcano? Plan a trip to Japan, which gives the pleasure for all by visiting the places like Hiroshima, Where the atom bomb explosion and Kagoshima, where there is an active volcano, which is known as the “Hawaii of Japan” Wow, nobody can expect such natural disasters are now tourist visiting places in Japan. There are many more sites are to be expected to be explored.

Kagoshima
The Kagoshima, nicknamed as “Naples of the Eastern World”, the city which was known for its bay location was founded in the year 1889. This city is a worth seeing place In Kagoshima, where one can see a Stratovolcano, named “Sakurajima”(Stratovolcano is a conical volcano which has many layers of hardened lava and ash) Kagoshima is the place where one can see the live volcanoes. In the year 1914, when the eruption was caused, the lava flowed and connected with the former island Osumi Peninsula. From that day onwards even today the volcanic activity continues and recently, in the month of February of this year the eruption started, and the Japan Meteorological Agency identified that the volcano is active and instructed not to approach near to that place. Sakurajima, is a mountain which has three peaks namely, Kita, Naka and Minami- dake. Among the three the southern peak Minami-dake is active. In this volcano eruption happens regularly with a ground shake for a few seconds, one can see the plumes in the sky by the nearby areas of the foothills.
Kirishma
According to the Japanese mythology, the god “Ninigi no Mikoto, who is the grandson of Sun Goddess “Amaterasu” , who was sent to earth to rule the Japanese emperors. Even today we can see at the top of the mountain – “Mount Takachiho-no-mine”, the spear sunk which was used by the Ninigi no Mikoto to descend to land on earth. Kirishma is a mountain range which is situated in the Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures. The surroundings of the mountain range are filled with volcanic lakes, highlands and hot springs. The hot springs and the mountain surroundings offers an adventurous exploration for the visitors. Kirishma is one of the 18 young and small active volcanoes in the Kagoshima bay.
Yakushima island
Yakushima is a part of Kagoshima Prefecture. This is the island of the Japanese oldest cedar living trees. To your wonder you can see the trees about 7000 years old. The Japanese call the cedar trees which are of 1000 years old as “Yakusugi”. Most of the tourists visit this place to see the old cedar trees. Some areas in this island ware declared as Natural World Heritage Site in the year 1993.
Izumi
Izumi is a place on the edge of the Kagoshima Prefecture towards the sea of Yatsushiro. This place is famous for migratory cranes. In every autumn season, thousands of Siberian Cranes migrate to this island and stay there until the spring season. Izumi Crane Park, Dome Theater and Crane Museum are very worth seeing places.
Kinko Bay
The Kinko Bay is filled with endless restaurants and shopping centers and the most important view from this place is to admire the Sakurajima's eruption along with the Kagoshima's cuisine. The Kinko Bay belongs to the Jomon-era and having the evidences of human habitation in Japan.
Ibusuki – Hot Sand Bath
Tourists who want to enjoy the hot sand baths can visit this place. Ibusuki is a place famous for sand baths. The bathers are literally buried in the heated sand and the Ibusuki's restaurants also offer Sand bath halls . Apart from the sand baths there are many other attractions in this area. Satsuma Denshokan Museum displays the pottery works of the Japanese people and the displays related to the history one can see in this museum. One can enjoy one more bathing experience at this place is having outdoor baths of Healthy land having a view onto the mountain Kaimondake and the ocean bay.
Plan a trip to the visit the Treasures of Kagoshima Islands.

 

Cherry blossom Sakura sighting guide

  

Cherry blossom Sakura sighting

Hanami is a popular term for a very long held custom that every single Japanese citizens are proud of, which is to enjoy the beautiful blossoming flowers all across the country. There is no shortage of good cherry blossom hot spots around Japan but the best as rated among the locals and international travellers would be at Yoshino. Cherry blossom season varies by geographical regions throughout Japan. In Okinawa, it could appear in early January. In Hokkaido, it will only appear in May annually. The general consensus is that throughout the whole country, the main regions usually have their flowers blossom around the March end period. Parties in groups of 5 can be organized during the blossom season and many people have picnics around the area. Families and couples are more than welcome to join in the fun.

Japan offers extreme natural beauties from its cherry trees. Many are amazed by the flower clouds formed during the blossoming season. It is a national event where live broadcast are being played to all corners of the country. News stations have dedicated mapping services that tracks every single progress from pre-bloom to full blossom. It is the only time where all Japanese unite and party away by having a good time without having any concern for monetary reserves. Picnic parties are common during Hanami. Parties start as early as the first buds begins to bloom right up till the final blooming trees. Parties stretch from daytime till the moonlight shines, and it is pretty standard party SOP. Parks will be flooded with massive crowds, all enjoying their cold beer and laughing away with good humor. As long as there is a blossoming cherry trees, there can be Hanami enjoyment. There are of course a few favourite spots among the locals.
Ueno-koen is the undisputed favorite among all favorite spots for the whole of Japan. It contains more than 1000 cherry trees flowering at the same moment and is seen as the holy spot for Hanami fever. In Tokyo, one can also move over to Shinjuku-gyoen, the largest park in Tokyo, and roam around looking for the bet picnic spots as the crowd there is lesser. If you are in Kyoto region, Maruyama-koen is the place to be to experience Hanami. It has an iconic weeping tree known for its humongous size. It is the landmark for the city, drawing hordes of travellers from all over the world. Its lighting is especially good at night. Every 2nd Sunday for the month of April, a once a year special procession will be held at Daigo Ji temple. The procession attempts to re-create cherry blossoming party organized in the 16th century. Travellers can relive the experience similar to people in the past. Another top spot worth mentioning is Yoshino, located in the hill top of Kansai town. Thousands of lively cherry trees were all lined up to form a carpet spiraling down the sides of the mountains. Many do not regret travelling for the awesome view. It could be packed with visitors during the peak season due to the narrow winding streets but still it is worth visiting at least once.
Top Hanami spots are usually booked well in advance for picnic enthusiasts. You will find tarpaulins scattered all across the greenery where people book their prized turf before the sun shines. In order to get a good view right in the middle of all the action of blossom parties, the only way is to be up early as well. One day trip is all you can get for cherry blossoms at the famous Yoshino unless you had booked you place of stay well in advance.
Do not forget about the local attractions over at Yoshino. There is a wooden building known as Kimpusen-Ji where you can safely reach after a short 500 meters walk from a cable car station. In the Ueno-koen, you will be able to locate the National Museum for Tokyo which has 90,000 items on display. It is known to house the world's biggest Japanese art collection. More info can be obtained from Japan's official Tourist website from the National Tourism Organization.

 

Best of the best summer activities

  

Tenjin Matsuri

Summertime in Japan is filled with festivals. Float parades are held across towns and ladies don their yukata or cotton kimono to walk on the streets. Sake and beer flows amidst the food stalls with fireworks exploding at the background. Famous festivals include Gion Matsuri which is famous in Kyoto and spans the whole of July. Tenjin Matsuri festival runs at Osaka from 24 to 25 July. People from northern Honshu display their strengths by balancing lanterns on bamboo poles on their shoulders for annual Akita Kanto festival. Over at Miyajima there is Kangen sai on the 1st of August with music ceremony on boats. Kodo Drummers perform during Sadogashima on late August for earth celebration. July as well as August are months where fireworks rule the Japanese skies. There is the Sumida gawa festival for fireworks and Biwa Ko festival also for fireworks.

Mid-August is the period of O-bon, a ceremonial festival for showing appreciation to ancestors spiritually. Whole of Japan goes on holiday and one would be able to witness the Bon-Odori traditional dance. It is a simple repetitive dance with dancers using fan or towel as dance prop. An excellent place for admiring Bon-odori is Awaodori Matsuri at Tokushima. Dancers compete in teams for prizes. Gujo Hachiman, a small mountain town at northern Nagoya offers spectators 32 nights of continuous dancing, some stretch into the mornings. Spectators are welcome to join in the dance and fun.
Summertime dining dishes are unique in Japan. One specialty include cold noodle or somen noodles. It is refreshing to many. The noodles are chilled and served with tasty sauce and fresh vegetables and eggs. One can also experience catching your own noodles flowing from bamboo pipes by using chopsticks. It is called nagashi somen and is a local delicacy. Summer festivals are accompanied by stalls selling fried stuff and bite size snacks. Fried stuff or yaki dominate sales levels and you can find immense flavor for yakitori or tako-yaki. Kakigori, a refreshing dessert is a must try if you fancy shaved ice with syrup and fruit toppings under the hot summer. Different syrup flavors are available to the masses.
Beer garden officially opens from May to September. Students, party groups, working adults and families will all flock to the beer gardens to escape the heat by having a cold drink. Meals come in standard buffet packages complete with beer. The cost is affordable ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 yen. It is definely not fine dining standards. Department stores are places you can find beer gardens. Alternatively try looking at hotels and parks. Popular spots include Mori-no, located at Meiji Shrine. Others include Kyoto Tower rooftop at Kyoto. For those in Osaka, you can check out Hankyu Top. Ask around and you will be directed to the nearest beer garden.
Travel to the northern islands of Japan if you are tired from the summer heat.
Go north. It is the best time for hiking as cold weather restricts hiking activities around Japan's national parks. Try out popular hiking spots such as Yotei-zan or Shiretoko Park. Alpine flowers start to bloom during summer time and breathtaking Furano flower fields begin their life. Tomita Farm landscape will transform into different colour ranges from pink to purple. Sapporo Festival during summertime is a good hangout spot as well. It is organized around July to August with one large beer garden setting in the center. The seating capacity is 13,000 people. There are plenty of traditional dance performances, fireworks and firefly observation. You will definitely have a great time drinking away and listening to the loud cheers and lively spirits.

 

Enjoy The Trip By Simple Etiquette Tips

  

polite in japan

A trip to Japan is a pleasure for one and all, before stepping into the country, just have a glance about the code of etiquette which is considered as very important among Japanese people. One has to appreciate the Japanese people by preserving their traditions and Manners from the ancient times. Japanese culture is fascinating and at the same time inscrutable for the first time travelers to accustom for the etiquette of the Japanese.

How to Greet People in Japan?
Japan has a unique culture of greeting people. Bow your head to greet someone. A small bow of the head indicates a casual greeting. A small nod of the head is suffice for thanking, requesting, apologize and for favor also. Shaking hands is very uncommon, and it is best for you to wait if the other person offer their hand. Keeping your palms upto the chest level and bowing is not common greeting for the Japanese people.
Etiquette While Giving Gifts
Giving gifts is a common culture of Japanese people. Gifts are given usually in different occasions like returning from a trip, changing the house, for seasonal changes and so on. You have to pay attention while giving a gift to Japanese people. Make sure before giving a gift that it has to be properly wrapped and remember that gifts in four sets must be avoided, because number four is considered an unlucky number for Japanese people. In Japan people use the number four for “death”. It is very important for one to remember that while giving or receiving a gift, handle it with two hands. For the first time visitors, it is the best idea to keep small gifts from their native country to distribute someone in their trip. A simple nod and a small gift from your home country is highly appreciable. Giving gifts on special occasions like birthdays and festivals is not Japanese tradition. However with some western influence, some families are exchanging gifts on special occasions also.
Exchanging Business Cards
For formal introduction, it is better to exchange a name card with your two hands. It is always suggestible to stand and exchange the business cards with higher rank people. Place the card in your shirt pocket or in a wallet if you meet any one while you are passing. A small bow is suffice to give or receive a card from Japanese people.
Public Observance
You must be very polite when you are travelling in a public transport. Mobile phones are kept in silent mode, not to disturb fellow passengers. You are not supposed to speak loudly in public places. Follow queue while boarding a train, to guide the people, passenger lines are drawn on the platforms. It is very barbaric if you blow your nose in public. Always better use masks if you have cold.
Visiting temples and shrines
Behave very gently and respectfully in temples. Just throw a coin into the offering tray, followed by a prayer. You are asked to remove your shoes while entering into the temple. Many temple authorities permit you to take photographs, but in some place you are not supposed to. Better watch the sign before you enter the temple. While visiting a shrine if you are sick, you are not permitted, because Japanese tradition indicates that it is a cause of impurity. So, if you are sick or having any open wound better not to visit a shrine.
Eating Habits
There are things to remember when you are using chopsticks. Some of your actions may be associated with the funeral actions, for example, don't leave chopsticks in a rice bowl straight upright . You have to hold your chopsticks at the end not in the middle. Don't point anybody with your chopsticks. Do not use chopsticks to spare your food. You are not supposed to play with the chopsticks even after you finished your eating, just lay them down with tips to left on the table in front of you.
Simple and basic formalities make your trip enjoyable. Follow the Etiquette tips and enjoy the trip.

 

Five Primary Places to Hike in Japan

  

japan alps

Few people know that hiking is by far the best kept secrets of Japan. You can simply go to one hut to another in the Japan Alps, climb the Kyushu volcanoes, climb the Big Snow Mountain of Hokkaido and you can also walk through the hills around Kyoto. Anywhere you go, you will not be left alone. The Japanese are very fond of hiking and there are also powerful hikers as well. One of the very first mountains that you can climb is the Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido. The name says it all, Big Snow Mountain. When the snow melts over the mountain, the hiking will be very vivid. It is also the biggest national park in Japan. The wild area has soaring mountains, remote Onsen, active volcanoes, thick forests and pristine lakes. This is the kind of place that can help in getting rid of your stress. There is the onsen hotel where you can rest while in the premises of the forest.

Kamikochi or Nagano-Ken is a sanctuary that is located at the center of the Japan Alps. It has some of the best scenery in Japan. This is where you can find some hiking trails too. In the latter part of the 19th century, it was the foreigners who discovered this place. This has been the base for hikers, walkers and climbers. There is also a riverside that is in line with the sasa or what they call the bamboo grass in English. Another option for climbers is the Fuji-San or the Shizuoka- ken. Why will the climbers and hikers go to Japan if they do not want to try the trails of the highest peak of Japan? It is best visited from July to August where you can find the highest and the most popular peak that draws tourists to this part of the world. Climbing this mountain can lead you to some of the best views of the untouched volcano from the Fuji Five Lakes. During winter and spring, you can see the beauty of the mountain. The snowcapped peak will be visible then in the morning.
Yakushima Kagoshima-Ken is an island of the southern part of Kyushu, which is a home to the old Jomon Sugi tree and some beautiful mountain hiking. It is tagged as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. It is one of the best and the most beautiful islands in the Southwestern part of the Island. The peaks of the island mountain are the home of the world renowned Yaku-sugi. It is the old cedar tree that has been said to have the inspiration for some of the scenes in Miyazaki Hayao's classic animated tale Princes Mononoke. Hiking is the primary activity in this place, however the island is also a home to some of the best coastal onsenand and some sandy beaches. Bear in mind that this is also a place where the mountains wring every drop of the moist from the clouds passing through.
Don't go hiking without a map and a gear to keep you protected and help you enjoy the activity. Aso San is a semi-active volcano that provides some of the best hiking trails and views. The threat of eruption is what makes it more thrilling and exciting. Nearby this place is also a beautiful and pristine view of the Aso San volcano caldera. It is by far the biggest in the world. You can see the entire view over the windows of your car. It just erupted 3 Million years back; the outer crater of the volcano is around 90,000 years old already which is now surrounded by villages, towns and train lines as well.

 

Find the Peace at the Animal Cafe in Tokyo

  

Animal Cafe

Cuddle and getting involve with the animal is one way to get the stress out. But not all of people could have a pet at their house because of their busy life or the circumstances. If you want to sneak out a little and get relax, go to your favorite café at Tokyo. There are a lot of this kind of café at Tokyo, but we present you with three good choices. Here are the options.

Little Zoo Café
You can find this restaurant in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture, outside of Tokyo. Little Zoo Café presents a reptile to be pet while you eat and drink, iguana to talk to while sipping coffee, an owl to stroke while eating a cake, or a snake to cuddle with. The other option is to choose your favorite corner and has a sight of all of this reptiles. This restaurant only has 20 seats, so you just need to look around to be able to see a lot of different animal at a time. You don't need to worry about hygiene either, since they have an open air separate kitchen to make the food, and an alcohol based dispenser to totally clean up your hands.
The background of this restaurant to be built is the pet therapy effects. In Tokyo, a lot of people decide to live in an apartment. And one of the strict rules of the apartment is pet are not allowed. The research has proofing that animal can make people less stress and fatigue. It is good for health, both physically and mentally. An animal therapy or activities with the animal can help reducing anxiety and get the blood pressure lower. It also makes a better cope with cancer, heart disease, and mental disorder.
This café has been open since 2011, and a bunch of tourists has visited the place, because of their love for the animal, curiosity of the unique restaurant, and also the new experience eating with reptile and bird around.
Sakuraoka Café
You can get into this restaurant for only five minutes from Shibuya JR station. This is the only café with a goat to pet with. With not so many rules, people in many different interests besides animal can also go to this café and only enjoy the meal and drinks. There are two goats live here at the Café, named Chocolat and Sakura. They are free for pet and stroke, and they seem to love it. They really get used to human and even try to attract people to come closer, people in the restaurant, and people passing by on the street. Their droppings are also valuable to nourish the flower beds. Opened in 2009, this café has 50 seats, a bar, and a unique goat décor to be staring at. You can enjoy pasta, salad, or a bowl of rice with pork.
Hapineko Café
As its name in The Japanese language, hapi refer to happy and neko means cat, this café allowing guests to interact with cats while enjoying their drinks. This restaurant has some rules to obey, include to let the cat to approach, and no chasing for a cuddle. A lot of variety of cat live here, without a cage, so they could easily interact with guest, receive their love and stroke. People can see how cute their attitude is, and adorable, just the way they do anything, they look so cute. The best part is people can give them a treat or play along with them with fox tail toy, or any other cat toys. This café suits every people, adult, children, and also for a family activity to get a quality time together. With only about $10 per person, you can enjoy a cup of coffee, or chocolate, or tea, and half an hour to enjoy your cat time. This cat cafe locates in Shibuya. A lot of Japanese people also believe that cat will bring luck to their life.

 

Explore Tokyo in Different Ways for Free

  

Shibuya Crosswalk

Exploring Tokyo need not be expensive with all the places that do not ask for a registration fee such as Place your bid for Tsukiji. Are you interested in auctions? The Tsukiji market is just the best for you, but this is different, because here you will bid for tuna. You must go there before 5 in the morning, since the registrants accepted are only 120 daily. This is a market with an off, they do not operate daily and they will move to a new location this year, so you need to check the website for more details. Check the Senso-ji is another option. Be one of the pilgrims by going to Senso-ji. It is a popular Buddhist Temple in Tokyo. It is lined with vibrant stalls that sell souvenirs from big rice crackers to well embellished battledores.

Discover Harajuku. The environment surrounding Harajuku has been a beautiful in the eyes. It is a classy boulevard of boutiques that are housed in a one of a kind architecture. Relax in the Meiji-Jingu. When the Harajuku impends the sensory overload, run to the thick wooded grounds that enclosed the premier capital of the Shinto Shrine of Meiji-jingu. During the festivity, you can find men and women dressed in beautiful kimonos. Oh! Odaiba is a reclaimed land at the Tokyo Bay, which is connected to the city through the Rainbow bridge. There is an artificial beach there where you can sunbathe. Get to see the washi making. The art of paper folding is being offered free of charge at the Origami Kaikan. This is a free art workshop for everyone.
Shibuya scramble will make you find the Myth of Tomorrow in this place. Drop by the Tokyo Museum. The old ads give an illuminating visual history of the trading in Japan in this place. The culture in Akihabara is one of the best if you are a fan of Atom Boy, this place is just the best for you. You can find everything about manga as well as anime here. Art crawl on the other hand, offers a mixture of exhibits as well as interactive installations. Political junk tour is an option too if art or anima is not your preference, how about touring learning the political side of Japan? Here you can find the seat of governance of Japan.
Green areas. The traditional gardens in Tokyo are the best. You can check the Hotel New Otani, Hotel Chinzanso and the greeneries on the grounds of Happo-en. Tokyo has some of the best and the nicest parks in Asia. Join some festivals is another option. Weekly there is a Matsuri of various types in Tokyo. That starts from the Cherry Blossom viewing to fire walking as well as grand parades of costume parties. Stroll around the Yanesen. The streets of the Yanaka, Sendagi and Nezu can give you a hint of what the pre-World War 2 Tokyo was like. You can find small temples as well as shrines, galleries, coffee shops and others. It is by far the cities ancient graveyards. Witness the sumo practice. Though, you cannot make it to the sumo tournament, you can see the wrestlers with your own eyes as they go through the training and the drills. You can watch their morning practice.
Take a peek at the Depachika. It is the abbreviation of the department store basement food halls. They are drooling places to divert your appetite and satisfy your cravings. Be familiar with the newest innovations. You will be able to see the newest gadgets since Toyota as well as Sony has their showrooms here that are open to the public. Art and architecture. There are so many public arts that are scattered around the commercial complexes in Tokyo.

 

Japanese hot sento guide

  

sento bath

A great pleasure can be derived by taking a soothing hot sento bath which temporarily washes away all your depressing work troubles after a hard day at the office. Sento are dying a slow death and rare outlets can be found outside of the cities. Only a few baths can be found around central Tokyo which makes them more unique and appreciated. Sento are usually patronized by local Japanese, and this article will explain the dos and don'ts when visiting a sento to avoid any embarrassment from the naked eyes of the seasoned sento visitors. Make sure to bring the essentials which will be explained.

First rule in sento is that you will be completely naked once inside the bath. Always have one or two small towels for covering you private parts. It is essentially the most important item and makes other kit secondary. Sento does not provide any shampoo or soap for free, and they come at a price, so be sure to pack some toiletries before heading to one. Avoid bringing along valuable items and do not be afraid of stares if you have tattoo all over your naked body. Local Japanese may very well be more afraid as they associate tattooed bodies with yakuza members. You can bath well in peace if you do not have any.
There are different sento packages ranging from common baths to Tokyo's super high class sento. Shoes can be stored at the locker facilities. Payment for entrance fee of around 450 yen is paid to and old lady manning the ticket counter or paid to vending machine which will duly spit out tokens for entry.
Be sure to enter the right bath for the correct gender as separate baths are made for male as well as female respectively. There will be a changing room where you can store your belongings in a locker. Next would be to undress all your clothes and cover your private parts with a small towel. Locker bracelet is worn around you hand for safekeeping. A sliding door separates the baths and the changing room. Cross over and you are well on your way for a tranquil bath.
Baths are large enough for many customers soaking at once. Try to speak softly as possible to keep the atmosphere peaceful and quiet. Shower cubicles can be found beside the baths. A small stool facing a blank wall can be used to wash up. The water is warm and temperature just nice. Baths cannot be used for cleaning yourself. Always ensure you are well washed before soaking in. Toilets can be accessed anytime whenever the need arises.
You must be completely naked to enter the bath. If you belong to the shy type, cover using your small towel and remove right before entering. Some baths have lightning symbol boards to signify possible experience of electric shocks. The shocks are mild which enables you muscles to contract and provides a soothing feeling. Some baths have higher temperature so be wary of the heat. Test the heat by starting with a hot bath. Relax and ignore the other bathers for a relaxing time. Think of peaceful scenery that you have visited and all your sorrows will be thrown wide out for the moment of extreme peace.
Once you are done with hot bath, enter the cold icy bath to wake you up from slumber land. Good sento comes with mineral bath filled with rich water black in cola color. Once you have done the entire above, step out to clean yourself on the all facing stool, and repeat another round of bath. You have just completed the sento ritual passed down since centuries ago. The final bath should be in the mineral water bath. Immediately put on your pyjamas for an authentic Japanese style sento bath. Warm your inner body with a hot milk and slowly stroll back your comfy bed and get ready for one good slumber.

 

Discovering 10 Washoku in Japan

  

Washoku

Culinary from Japan are also as familiar as French cuisine in the world. It is approved by Japanese Cuisine (Washoku in the Japanese language) to be added to UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. This makes Japanese cuisine in the same position with French cuisine, which is honored for its traditionalism. If you want to try the original taste of washoku in Japan, you should come and check this place with its own specialty washoku :

Tokyo
The famous fish market called Tsukiji is located in Tokyo. Sushi is the most recognizable Japanese Cuisine in the world- with the fresh raw meat cut in special shape upside the vinegar rice. Since it is very fresh, you can taste the sweet and the juicy meat. Right here in Tokyo, sushi is being made for the first time in Japan. At first, sushi called Edomae-zushi, following the word Edo, the old name for Tokyo. You can find the freshest sushi at the stall at Tsukiji Market.
Kyoto
Your culinary experience of washoku won't be completed without eating Kaiseki-ryori. Kaiseki-ryori is a traditional meal, usually for dinner, contains multi-course dish. It is containing the seasonal food and often arranged artistically in one tray. Nakamura-ro restaurant in Gion serves Kaiseki-ryori for 400 years. Its traditionalist can be seen from the dinnerware; it's made from the furnished wooden tray and the food served in Chinese bowl. If you're a vegetarian, you can also find this shojin-ryori, the vegetarian version of the kaiseki-ryori in Isuzen, near the Temple Daiji-in.
Osaka
Takoyaki, as famous as sushi and ramen, a ball-form of batter contains octopus and veggies. The recipe comes from Osaka, as the known as a place for takoyaki. Okonomiyaki also the best-known come from the Osaka. With a very delicious pancake-like-batter, contains meat and vegetables on top, with brown sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes and powdered dry seaweed. The taste of the mixture of it like blow out in your mouth, creating an umami taste.
Hakodate
Hakodate is one of the tourism culinary destination. It is famous for its ramen, and also the jingisukan (lamb barbecue). It is named so after Genghis Khan because the table for grilling this meal shaped like Mongolian helmet. The most wanted of Hakodate are also the seafood, especially the crab and the salmon. You can find the freshest seafood at Asa-ichi, the fish market in the morning.
Nagoya
Nagoya is famous for its unagi, or the grilled eel. The sweet sauce infiltrates the soft eel meat perfectly. Atsuta Horaiken Restaurant at Nagoya dish out this unagi named hitsumabushi. It is served in 3 ways to eat : First, eat it plain (already has a sweet taste) with a bowl of rice. Second, with sprinkles of spring onion, seaweed, and wasabi (very spicy horseradish paste). Third, soak it in the soup.
Matsumoto
Located in Nagano prefecture, this place known for its handmade soba, or the cold noodle. Nomugi is one of the famous vendors. For its very famous reputation, the customer has to line up from the morning. It closes at 2 pm or before it if the soba all sold out. Or, if you want something different, try basashi at Kura Restaurant. It is a raw horsemeat sliced thin.
Takayama
Located at the Central of Japan, it is known for the sake. Suzuya Restaurant in Takayama is the famous one serving sansai-hyori, a dish made from mountain veggies, fern, and wild plants. Hoba miso usually eaten along with it. Hoba miso is a mix of beef or vegetable with miso paste roasted with charcoal on top of Magnolia leaf.
Fukuoka
Located on the southern island of Kyushu. Famous for its fugu, or blowfish. This fish is very poisonous, so the chef who cut it should have passed the test to get the certificate. You can find it during winter time. Tonkatsu ramen or Hakata ramen is also the best- the ramen with a rich pork broth. Anything can't be tastier than this. You can find this on the small stall of atyatai which spread all over Fukuoka.
Takamatsu
This place known for its Sanuki Udon, which is the big noodle made from wheat, serve with the separately soup and wasabi. One of the best place to try it is Waraya restaurant, outside Takamatsu a little, near Shikoku Mura.
Naha
Located in Okinawa Prefecture. All of the pig's part are cooked here. From ear to trotters. Doesn't like pork? You can eat seafood too. Find the stall which sells it at Dai-Ichi Kosetsu Makishi Ichiba.
  
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