Mini Guide to Japan

Main Cities and Towns


Tokyo is Japan’s capital and with over 13 million citizens, it’s the most populated urban area in the world. What was once a fishing village is now a powerful financial center bustling with skyscrapers, neon lights, and the latest technologies. With an amazing transportation system, travelers can spend the morning gazing at massive shopping malls and still have time to visit the many shrines telling the old stories of the city.

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Shirakawa-Go has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 and you just need to see some pictures to understand why. It’s a fairytale village, which was built in the gasshō architectural style. The design helped to easily shed the snow from the roofs and the attic was used to house silkworm. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a truly authentic cultural immersion.

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Kyoto was once Japan’s capital (for over 1000 years) and is regarded by some as the country’s most beautiful city. It has a strong cultural heritage with many temples, shrines, and palaces constructed for monks, emperors, and shoguns. Kyoto managed to keep its architectural wonders as it was one of the few cities that was not bombed during World War II. There are many self-guided walks around the city including highlights such as the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.

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Nara is one of Japan’s ancient capital cities. Due to the strong influence of Buddhism, the city grew culturally creating many buildings (shrines and temples), which are nowadays considered treasures of Japan.

Travelers can visit Nara Park, which has dozens of friendly deer and visit Tōdai-ji, which was the largest wooden building in the world until 1998. The temple houses Daibutsu, the second-largest Buddha statue in Japan.

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If you’ve always been fascinated by the Onsen, the Japanese bathing experience, then Beppu is the place to visit. It has an unusually high number of hot springs and therefore several onsens to choose from. Just make sure you learn the correct bathing etiquette, so you don’t disrespect the locals.

You can also visit the “Eight Hells,” which are several volcanic pits and one geyser that goes off roughly every half an hour.




The Most Common Scams from Around the World

There’s nothing like traversing the world and exploring new countries and cultures, but sometimes the experience is spoiled by dishonorable people preying on uninformed travelers. If you make an effort to learn about the classic scams, you’re unlikely to fall victim to them and can just enjoy the positive side of your trip. To help, here’s a list of common scams around the world for you to get acquainted with.

How to Make Friends During Your Trip

One of the biggest fears of people who want to embark on a solo trip is being alone. They think meeting new people will be a struggle, and if they can’t find a partner to travel with, they just cancel or postpone their adventure. The truth is that with a little bit of planning and initiative, it’s actually harder to be alone than you think. The travel community is extremely welcoming and one doesn’t need to try hard to be part of it.

This Is the Fastest Way to Get through Customs

No one enjoys lines, and custom lines are some of the worst. The hundreds of confused flyers with paperwork in hand is daunting, but what if I told you that you can bypass that line for free – without paying for Global Entry? Whether you travel internationally 30 times a year or once a year, you’ll love the app. The Mobile Passport Control app speeds up the process of filling out and processing your U.S. immigration paperwork. This little-known app gets you your own line, away from the crowds, and lets you get to baggage claim that much quicker – likely before your baggage!

8 Bizarre Ocean Phenomena

The ocean is storied, deep, and complex. Whether it is the folklore surrounding Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle, or the weird-looking fauna and flora that arise out of it, the ocean is a great source of fascination. In fact, only five percent of it has been properly explored, leaving plenty of gaps for our imaginations to fill in.

Worst Celebrity Statues from Around the World

We buy their albums, tickets to their movies, and all the products, brands, and questionable colognes that they endorse. Surely that’s enough to quell the hungry egos of some of the world’s biggest celebrities. Well, not exactly. You see, immortalization via cultural significance, world records, and millions of dollars sometimes isn’t enough. Tradition dictates that our celebrity idols need to be re-created in gold, bronze, wax, and stone, so not even the elements can dismantle the memory of their monumental rise to the top.

How to Become a UNESCO World Heritage Site

If you’re an active traveler or live in a uniquely historic part of the world, chances are you’ve been exposed to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This phrase is thrown around frequently. When we first hear it, the first thing that comes to mind is that it must represent something historic and old. Many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are famous buildings, landmarks, or areas that are renowned because of their beauty and historical significance.