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 Best Gifts for Travelers

If you’re a traveler, chances are you’ve spent the last few holidays receiving kitschy, travel-themed gifts from friends and loved ones while wishing they had given you something more useful, like airport lounge passes or an Airbnb gift card. While there are some gifts like cash, and airline tickets that will always be useful, there are a few items that we’ve sourced that have amazing reputations and are appreciated by even the most minimalist travelers.

Stress Free Tips for Traveling with Kids

Going to the grocery store with children in tow can be hard enough, let alone going on a vacation; but that doesn’t mean that your globetrotting has to end when you become a parent. In fact, studies have shown that children who go on holiday with their families are happier and tend to score higher in math and reading. They also obtain more general knowledge than their fellow classmates who do not travel.

Don’t Fall for These 10 Scary Traveler Scams

Hopping aboard a transcontinental flight on route to a new, ready-to-explore destination is a rush. Traveling teaches us about the world, sure. But, more than that, it teaches us about ourselves. You also probably already know that, unlike your comfort zone, traveling presents a lot of inherent risks. It’s a sad reality, but it’s a reality that rings true. You, as a tourist, are a two-bit criminal’s dream target. After all, you have absolutely no idea where you are, no idea where to go for help, and no clue what the scammers have in store.

Most Intense Long-Distance Marathons (Not for the Faint of Heart)

For those among us who love a challenge, these long-distance marathons and outdoor challenges are activities that can only be attempted after years of training, with the right gear, and only by those who are mentally ready to undergo such a feat. Here are some of the most intense and challenging marathons in the world.

Cultured Palate: Dishes from South Africa

South Africa’s incredible biodiversity and rich cultural heritage has given it a unique cuisine unlike any other place on Earth. There are visible influences from the Dutch, German, French, and Cape Malay colonizers, as well as indigenous dishes that have been passed down for generations. If you’re spending your next holiday in South Africa, here are some amazing dishes you must try.

Culture Palate: Dishes from Ukraine

Typically, Ukrainian dishes are hearty, filling, and made with a variety of cooking techniques. In one dish, it’s not uncommon for cooks to have to boil or fry multiple ingredients before they’re finished together in the oven or in a bubbling stew. If you’re visiting Ukraine, make sure to check out some of these dishes. If you get a chance to taste them in their ideal form, you can easily recreate them at home.