Mini Guide to Japan

Festivals

Sapporo Snow Festival

At the beginning of February, Sapporo hosts the snow festival, which is famous for its ice sculpture competition. Artists from all over the world create large and elaborate sculptures with just ice and snow. Although the artwork can be appreciated during the day, in the evening, they’re all lit up creating an amazing atmosphere.

tasch / Shutterstock.com

Cherry Blossom

The cherry blossom is probably one of Japan’s most famous events attracting visitors from all over the globe eager to see the flowers of the Japanese cherry tree. It starts in Okinawa around January but reaches Kyoto and Tokyo around the beginning of April.

In Japan, it’s often associated with the Buddhist concept mono no aware, meaning “awareness of impermanence.”

segawa7 / Shutterstock.com

Nebuta Matsuri Festival

Nebuta Matsuri Festival is a summer festival that takes place in Aomori. Nebuta is a lantern float depicting gods and mythical warriors, which is carried throughout the city while dancers wearing traditional costumes (called haneto) dance and chant around it. Local teams build around two dozen floats, which can be five meters tall and nine meters wide.

AKKHARAT JARUSILAWONG / Shutterstock.com

People and Culture

Japanese people are extremely polite and welcoming. They understand their culture can sometimes be a mystery and make an effort to help foreigners adapt to their “unspoken rules.” If you learn a bit of Japanese, try to bow when you meet someone new, and understand the rules of eating with chopsticks, you’ll probably going to be fine.

Pikoso.kz / Shutterstock.com

SHARE ON

Advertisement

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.

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.

14 Ways to Screw Up an International Trip

There are countless things that could go wrong on an international trip, and many of them are out of your control. However, there’s possibly an equal number of ways to screw up your trip, and unfortunately no one to blame but yourself.

Love Holidays from Around the World

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it’s tempting to rail against the North American traditions that lead us to stress about dinner reservations and spend all our money on chocolates every February 14th. However, we’re not the only ones with elaborate holidays that celebrate love.