Mini Guide to Japan

Interesting Sites and Natural Wonders

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and is located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It’s 3776 meters high and almost a perfect volcanic cone, making it a feast for the eyes.

Japanese people consider it a sacred mountain and those willing to climb must first visit Murayama Sengen Jinja temple, which is over 1000 years old. The official climbing season happens during July and August and it takes four to eight hours for the average person.

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Hirosaki Castle

Hirosaki Castle is one of Japan’s original 12 castles that wasn’t destroyed during World War II. The castle started being built in 1603 by the Tsugaru Clan lord and it was only finished in 1611. It used to have a five-story tower, but in 1627, the castle was struck by lightning and it burned down. The new three-story tower was built in 1810 to replace it.

The castle housed the Tsugaru Clan for many generations and has museums with samurai swords, armors, and helmets from the era.

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Shiretoko National Park

This national park is located in the northeast part of Japan, the Shiretoko Peninsula. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. You’ll probably need to hire a car to explore the region as local transport is limited. The highlights are Shiretoko Five Lakes and Kamuiwakka Falls, considered one of Japan’s best natural wonders.

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Miyajima is a nickname for Itsukushima, which means “shrine island.” The place is considered one of Japan’s top three scenic sites with its preserved Edo-era look. There are plenty of wild deer around, but most travelers visit the island to see the “floating torii,” which is thought to be the “gate” to Itsukushima.

It’s also possible to take the two-hour hike up Mt. Misen for amazing views of the island.

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Kenroku-en Garden

Kenroku-en Garden is an extremely beautiful traditional Japanese garden located in Kanazawa. It’s a great example of the engineering feats of the Edo era, where many kilometers of pipes were used upstream to fill the ponds and streams of the garden.

Inside the grounds you can see Seisonkaku Villa, which was built by a Maeda Lord for his mother using daimyō architectural style.

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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!

14 Ways to Spot a Frequent Traveler

The moment someone goes on their first trip and gets a taste of freedom and adventure, everything changes. They yearn for more travel, and the more they do it, the more experienced they become. It eventually gets to a point where travel is part of their lives, and it pretty much influences every decision they make. Even though you can find many different types of travelers and styles of traveling, there are some characteristics all frequent travelers share.

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.