The term “MICE” in the context of travel is an acronym for meetings, incentives , conferences, and exhibitions. The MICE market refers to a specialized niche of group tourism dedicated to planning, booking, and facilitating conferences, seminars, and other events, which is a big moneymaker in the travel industry.
The acronym has slowly been falling out of favor in recent years, as some industry professionals hope to move away from the affiliation with rodents. Instead, many now refer to this niche market as the meetings industry or events industry in tourism.
However, using MICE to refer to this industry is useful in that it encompasses every component of this particular travel market. Whether you’re looking to organize a group outing for your company’s employees (incentive) or you want to organize a big event focused on the latest innovations in your field (conference), MICE travel agents can help you book your itinerary.
Components of MICE Travel
MICE travel involves a number of components, and agents working in this field must provide a full range of travel and conference services for large and small groups and events of shorter and longer duration.
Personnel and businesses involved in the MICE market include corporate meeting planners, meetings and convention departments of hotels, conference centres or cruise ships, food and beverage managers, logistics firms, private tour operators and transfer companies, incentive houses, professional trade organizations, tourism boards, tourism trade association , and travel-selling professionals .
Because of the organization and planning involved, typically, years in advance, MICE travel agencies are usually affiliated with large corporations. Destinations often market themselves as MICE locations and bid for events through their convention and visitor bureaus. They might be able to offer subsidies to attract large events because of the increased revenue the visitors provide through their economic impact on the host location.
The Different Types of MICE Travel
When it comes to understanding which type of MICE travel you’ll be booking with your agent, it’s important to understand the different terms that comprise the acronym. While meeting and conference travel may sound similar, for instance, the slight differences between them will be important when explaining your needs to your agent.
The International Association of Professional Congress Organizers defines a meeting as any number of people coming together in one place for a particular activity, which can be a one-time event or recur regularly. Simply put, meeting travel refers to organizing any number of people for such a meeting, which means it could also include a company sporting trip.
On the other hand, a conference is similar to a meeting in that it is a gathering of people coming together in one place, but conferences usually have specific objectives and exchanges of information. Therefore, conference travel involves organizing itineraries, meetings, and events for people from the same profession or field.
Incentive travel may be one of the harder components of MICE travel to understand since it doesn’t necessarily deal with group events. Instead, incentive travel is typically given to employees as a reward. Incentive travel doesn’t usually have a business or explicit educational component but instead is more of a non-business vacation with the aim of continued motivation for performance.
At an exhibition, products or services are displayed, and they might be the primary focus of the event, which means that exhibition travel agents are those who organize such showcases. Exhibitions are often included in other conferences and meetings, though, meaning that there is often overlap between agents in these industries. Businesses court new clients and debut their latest offerings at these events.
A good deal of business travel is related to incentive travel. Incentive travel is business-related travel that is designed to provide motivation or incentives to help businesspeople become more successful.
Incentive travel is business travel that helps motivate employees or partners to increase certain activity or to reach a goal.
According to the Incentive Research Foundation: “Incentive Travel Programs are a motivational tool to enhance productivity or achieve business objectives in which participants earn a reward based on a specific level of achievement set forth by management. The program is designed to recognize earners for their achievements.”
For many decades, managers and business owners have used the promise of travel to appealing or excotic destinations as a motivational tool for both their internal staff and their partners. What many people do not realize, however, is that over the last half-century there have been a great many research-based methodologies and best practices developed around incentive travel. Likewise, an entire industry of professionals now exists with the expertise to use incentive travel as a motivational tool inside organizations.
Incentive travel is more than a trip abroad. To truly motivate a team, a midweek flight to the Med or an end of season ski trip will no longer cut it. Social media and the sharing economy have raised expectation levels to new heights. Travel incentives should be life-changing experiences, but all too often they’re not.
At Black Tomato Agency we specialise in creating bespoke trips to engage and motivate your entire workforce. Inspire them to pursue ambitious targets and communicate fundamental business messages. All through once-in-a-lifetime experiences unavailable anywhere else in the world.
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Research shows that if you’re looking to harness the full potential of your team, experiential rewards are the most effective way to incentivise; a simple thank you email can only go so far. Incentive travel programmes can increase individual performance by up to 22% and of a team by 44%. Moreover, companies that recognise their employees in this way outperform competitors by 30-4Build a connection between teams and targets
Our travel and events experts create remarkable incentive travel programmes across the globe. But a travel incentive is only as effective as its messaging. That’s where our dedicated Communication team adds all-important value, generating excitement, building anticipation and ensuring your entire workforce is aware of the stakes. A deep emotional connection that fuels ambition, increases team effectiveness and boosts productivity in pursuit of a seat on the plane.
0%. We may be biased, but you really can’t argue with the stats.
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It’s not only high-performance teams that enjoy our unparalleled group incentives. Your customers and prospects can be a part of the action too. A memorable reward adds to the buzz around your brand, increases awareness on a global scale and elevates your company above the competition.
Japan is a alluring country surrounded by deep history and filled with a affluent culture that should be experienced by everyone. Japan itself is an island nation in East Asia located in the northern Pacific Ocean Mount Fuji, which is located on the island of Honshu, is the highest mountain in Japan and a must see when visiting the area. Some other popular places to check out are the seven theme parks of Tokyo Disneyland, Harajuku (which is an area around the Harajuku station), the four theme parks of Universal Studios Japan which is located in Osaka, and more.
The culture of japan is considered a contemporary hybrid culture which combines influencers from Asia. Europe, and North America. Another interesting thing to participate in which is popular in the visual arts of Japans culture is the practice of Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arrangements. It has gained fame for its focus on harmony, color use and elegantly simple designs.
Today, Ho Chi Minh City is the big tourism center in Vietnam, attracting a large of visitors to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City has various attractions as Ho Chi Minh Museum, formerly known as Dragon House Wharf, Cu Chi Tunnels, system of museums, theatres, cultural houses… Recently, many tourist areas are invested such as Thanh Da, Binh Quoi Village, Dam Sen Park, Saigon Water Park, Suoi Tien, Ky Hoa…, which draw numerous tourists.
Despite its quite recent past, Ho Chi Minh City nevertheless possesses various beautiful buildings, displaying a characteristic combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and European cultures. These include Nha Rong (Dragon House Wharf), Quoc To Temple (National Ancestors Temple), Xa Tay (Municipal Office), Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theatre as well as many pagodas and churches (Vinh Nghiem, Giac Vien, Giac Lam, Phung Son pagodas…).
After more than 300 years of development, Ho Chi Minh City presents many ancient architectural constructions, famous vestiges and renowned sights. It is remarkable for its harmonious blending of traditional national values with northern and western cultural features.
Hanoi is located in the Red River Delta, in the center of North Vietnam. It is encompassed by Thai Nguyen to the north, Vinh Phuc and Ha Tay provinces to the west and south, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and Hung Yen provinces to the east and south-east.
Hanoi means “the hinterland between the rivers” (Ha: river, Noi: interior). Hanoi’s territory is washed by the Red River (the portion of the Red River embracing Hanoi is approximately 40km long) and its tributaries, but there are some other rivers flowing through the capital, including Duong, Cau, Ca Lo, Day, Nhue, Tich, To Lich and Kim Nguu.
Throughout the thousand years of its eventful history, marked by destruction, wars and natural calamities, Hanoi still preserves many ancient architectural works including the Old Quarter and over 600 pagodas and temples. Famous sites include the One Pillar Pagoda (built in 1049), the Temple of Literature (built in 1070), Hanoi Citadel, Hanoi Opera House, President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum.
Hanoi also characteristically contains 18 beautiful lakes such as Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, and Truc Bach Lake…, which are the lungs of the city, with their surrounding gardens and trees providing a vital source of energy.
Many traditional handicrafts are also practiced in Hanoi including bronze molding, silver carving, lacquer, and embroidery. Hanoi has many famous traditional professional handicraft villages such as Bat Trang pottery village, Ngu Xa bronze casting village, Yen Thai glossy silk.
Halong City, formerly the Hon Gai Town, is the cultural, economic and political centre of Quang Ninh Province. It borders Cam Pha to the east, the Yen Hung District to the west, the Hoanh Bo District to the north and Halong Bay to the south with the coastline of 20km.
The city is divided into two parts: East Halong and West Halong. The eastern part is an industrial zone where most of the province’s official buildings are also concentrated. The western part, also called Bai Chay, is the animated tourism zone.
Halong’s population are most having emigrated from other places to settle here. Halong Bay is famous internationally, and is recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its thousands of natural islands. Also in the city, there are temples, pagodas and historical relics.In addition to the most active branch of tourism, there are other economic activities such as: trade, seaport, coal, marine products and the production of construction materials.
Thailand’s “Rose of the North” is a cultural and natural wonderland with ethnic diversity, a multitude of attractions, and welcoming hospitality.
Chiang Mai literally means “new city” and has retained the name despite celebrating its 700th anniversary in 1996. King Meng Rai the Great founded the city as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom on Thursday, April 12 1296 around the same time as the establishment of the Sukhothai Kingdom. King Meng Rai even conferred with his friends, King Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai and King Ngam Muang of Phayao before choosing the site where the capital of the Lanna Kingdom was to be founded. Henceforth, Chiang Mai not only became the capital and cultural core of the Lanna Kingdom, it was also to be the center of Buddhism in northern Thailand, King Meng Rai himself a very religious leader who even founded many of the city’s temples that remain important to this day.
Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where it is possible to experience both historical and modern Thai culture coexisting side by side: the city features centuries-old chedis and temples next to modern convenience stores and boutique hotels. This dichotomy is best appreciated within the moat-encircled old city, which retains much of the fortified wall that once protected the city center as well as the four main gates that provided access to the former Lanna capital city.
Strangely, for many years tourists had mistaken Chiang Mai simply as the base from which they could plan trekking and rafting trips to hill tribe villages and explore other provinces. Once in Chiang Mai however, tourists are surprised by the fact that there are so many things to discover other than its beautiful and historic temples.
Intriguing diversity among ethnic tribes, a number of elephant camps, many cooking & massage schools, numerous outdoor activities, a variety of handicrafts workshops, various cultural performances, and breathtaking scenery make Chiang Mai one of Asia’s most attractive tourist destinations. The phrase “a day in Chiang Mai is enough to see things around town” was once a common expression. Today, two weeks in Chiang Mai may not be long enough for travelers to experience all that Chiang Mai has to offer.
The old city of Chiang Mai is a showcase of the north’s fascinating indigenous cultural identity that includes diverse dialects, a delectable cuisine, distinctive architecture, traditional values, lively festivals, numerous handicrafts workshops, northern style massage, and classical dances. Chiang Mai city features old-world beauty and charm as well as modern luxury and convenience.
In addition to centuries old temples and some outstanding shopping opportunities, Chiang Mai is also blessed with pristine natural resources including mountains, waterfalls, and rivers. The presence of numerous hill tribes that feature a wealth of unique cultures enhances Chiang Mai’s distinctive diversity. Hill tribe trekking, often combined with river rafting and elephant riding has always been one of Chiang Mai’s greatest tourist attractions. Nowadays there are innumerable activities and attractions both in the city and the surrounding province, including massage instruction and golf.
Moreover, visitors can visit workshops where they can learn about the production of silk or silver, and purchase memorable, hand crafted souvenirs. With such a diverse range of attractions and an equally grand selection of dining and accommodation options, Chiang Mai is a place where both backpackers and luxury tourists can enjoy the ultimate Thailand holiday.
The quieter neighbor of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is a land of outstanding natural beauty, where visitors looking to avoid the hordes can visit remote hill tribes, spot exotic wildlife, and check out the golden triangle, the former center of the world’s opium trade.
Chiang Rai has been inhabited since the 7th century, but it was not until 1262 that King Meng Rai established it as the first capital of the Lanna Kingdom. The capital was later relocated to Chiang Mai and since that time Chiang Rai has lived in the shadow of its neighboring province, though for tourists this is a good thing.
Today, Chiang Rai is a traveler’s paradise, endowed with abundant natural attractions and antiquities. Attractions range from ruins of ancient settlements and Buddhist shrines to magnificent mountain scenery and hill tribe villages. For those interested in the natural side of Chiang Rai, jungle trekking is a magical experience; explore the mountains of the north along various hiking trails, many of which access the villages of diverse hill tribes groups, many of whom maintain their traditional lifestyles.
Chiang Rai town, which tends to be a little more ‘laid back’ than its more popular neighbor, now competes with Chiang Mai as a tourist attraction and is fast becoming a popular escape for tourists wanting to leave their troubles behind.
Chiang Rai, the former capital of the great Lanna Kingdom, is a fascinating province filled with cultural and natural wonders, including the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos, and Burma come together; an area that was once the hub of opium production, a trade that had much influence on cultural practices and lifestyles. Chiang Rai had stayed off the tourist radar for many years, its people enjoying very leisurely development and mostly traditional, rural lifestyles. Until this day, entire clans live together in bamboo houses and each village has its own individual character.
Recently tourism has boomed in Chiang Rai, where visitors have come to explore the pristine natural beauty of the countryside and immerse themselves in the indigenous culture, including those of a variety of different hill tribe communities. Fortunately for tourists, Chiang Rai is also a center for community development projects, helping rural villagers develop their attractions without adversely affecting their natural and cultural assets.
As the political, economic, cultural, culinary, and spiritual capital of Thailand, Bangkok features both old-world charm and modern convenience, at times served up in an apparently chaotic manner, but always with a gracious smile.Invariably, every Thailand holiday includes a visit to the kingdom’s capital city, Bangkok, or Krung Thep, “the city of angels” as it is known to its inhabitants. Many tourists who travel to Bangkok are immediately overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city and the vast number of attractions Bangkok has to offer. Indeed there is a wide variety of Bangkok sightseeing opportunities spanning more than two centuries of rapid development following the city’s founding in 1782 by King Rama I, the first king of the present Chakri dynasty.
Since that auspicious date, Bangkok has swelled to a cosmopolitan, 21st century city of more than ten million inhabitants. While the immensity of the city and its bustling streets can be intimidating at first, those who spend some time in Bangkok are quickly enamored by the myriad of attractions Bangkok contains, from exotic temples, which underscore Thailand’s strong Buddhist history, to modern shopping malls, which make shopping an integral part of any Bangkok holiday.
Bangkok features attractions guaranteed to please visitors either simply passing through the city or spending their entire Thailand holiday in Bangkok. Nearly every Bangkok holiday includes a visit to Thailand’s Grand Palace, arguably the premier Bangkok sightseeing attraction. Situated in the heart of Bangkok’s Rattanakosin Island, the gleaming spires of the Grand Palace are conveniently located nearby Bangkok’s most spectacular temples, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo), the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), and Wat Pho, which features an enormous reclining Buddha and was home of the first Thai massage school in the kingdom.
These iconic destinations are top attractions to all visitors who travel to Bangkok looking to appreciate Thailand’s unique cultural traditions. In fact, there are more than 400 functioning Buddhist temples throughout the city and it’s not uncommon when you travel in Bangkok to spot saffron robed monks collecting morning alms or traveling throughout out the city, including along the Chao Phraya, the “River of Kings”, which passes alongside the Temple of the Dawn. The winding Chao Phraya is connected by numerous canals from which Bangkok has earned its nickname the “Venice of the East”; when you travel around Bangkok, a cruise on the Chao Phraya, a visit to a floating market, or an exploration of the cities “back alley” canals (khlongs) are themselves unique Bangkok attractions.
Other historical and cultural Bangkok sightseeing ‘must sees’ include the National Museum, Vimanmek Mansion, and Suan Pakkad Palace, all of which either house fine art or are national treasures in their own right. Beyond Bangkok’s historical district, there are plenty of other attractions that make a Bangkok holiday both enjoyable and memorable. The downtown districts along Silom and Sukhumvit Roads have a convenient electric rail system, including an elevated sky-train and underground subway, that have made travel in Bangkok both easy and enjoyable.
Connecting hotels directly to shopping malls and traditional markets, such as Mah Boon Krong Center and Chatuchak (JJ) weekend market, the MRT and BTS systems have literally elevated Bangkok shopping to world-class status. Of course, no Thailand holiday is complete without experiencing Thailand’s vibrant nightlife. Whether, the purpose of your Thailand holiday is to immerse yourself in Thailand’s unique culture or simply to splurge in Bangkok shopping malls, when you travel to Bangkok you are guaranteed a fascinating experience of both old-world charm and modern convenience and luxury.
One of the hottest beach-resort destinations in Thailand, Pattaya may not be idyllic but it certainly makes up for it with a wide variety of activities, accommodation and nightlife venues.Pattaya is a popular beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand just 150 km. southeast of Bangkok – a mere two-hour drive. Pattaya’s pulsating nightlife is well known, but local authorities have, in recent years, improved the quality of the beaches and reinvented the resort as a more family-friendly destination. Today, hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn each year to Pattaya to windsurf, water ski, swim, sunbathe, snorkel, sail, or take trips to nearby islands. Other activities include Bungee jumping, cycling, skydiving, go-Karting, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), and Paintball.
Golfers, both novice and expert, are well catered to as well, with a wide selection of golf courses around Pattaya. Another major draw for visitors to Pattaya is the wide selection of restaurants serving some of Thailand’s freshest seafood. Due to the high number of expatriate foreigners in Pattaya there is also an excellent selection of authentic foreign eateries serving French, Italian, Swiss, German, Hungarian, Scandinavian, English, Indian, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese cuisine. Drawing such a large number of diverse visitors from across the world, it’s no surprise that Pattaya also boasts an incredible choice of accommodation. Those on a tight budget and those with money to spend are equally able to find rooms to suit their needs.
Visitors can always find some peaceful beach time at nearby Jomtien beach, just 3 kilometers south.Just over one hour from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Pattaya is a lively beach town that draws visitors from around the world. With activities that include a wide array of water sports, golf, shopping, cabaret shows, an elephant village, and fascinating museums, it’s impossible not to have an action-packed Pattaya holiday. Unless of course it’s relaxation you crave, in which case there are beach chairs and umbrellas lining the Pattaya shore, where wandering vendors will cater to your every need: from barbequed shrimp to a foot massage. Pattaya is certainly a Thai beach resort that meets the needs of any visitor on any budget.
Hua Hin, one of Thailand’s premier beach resort towns on the Gulf of Thailand, is less than 200 km south of Bangkok, making it one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations for city residents. A resort equally popular with young couples and families, tourists and Thais, Hua Hin is also the location of the King of Thailand’s summer palace, Klai Kang Won, “Far from Worries.” Hua Hin features a beautiful, powdery sand beach, numerous seaside seafood restaurants, a lively night market, numerous beach activities, and some great inland activities, not least of which is golfing at some of Thailand’s most renowned courses. Just down the coast at Takiab Bay visitors can take seaside horseback rides and visit a hilltop Buddhist temple with a spectacular view.
Accommodation along the beach and on the streets leading away from the sea range from simple guesthouses to luxury resorts, and includes some of the finest spa-retreats in the world. Hua Hin is accessible via train, bus, or car and the seaside community of 60,000 residents is a fine example of warm and welcoming Thai hospitality.The seaside town of Hua Hin, meaning “Stone Head”, was named after the rocks at the north end of the powdery sand beach. Hua Hin became Thailand’s first beach resort after a train line was laid in the 1920’s to provide access from Bangkok and King Rama VII established his summer retreat in the area.
With a 5 kilometer-long beach that features numerous activities, the laid back and hospitable town of Hua Hin continues to draw both tourists and Thais. In addition to beach fun and games, outstanding seafood restaurants, and a vibrant night market, Hua Hin is well known for having some of the finest golf courses in Thailand, as well as some of the most renowned resorts and destination spas in the world.
Ko Samui is the premier island destination in the Gulf of Thailand. Samui is easily accessible, features beautiful beaches and a variety of activities, and caters to visitors on any budget.Ko Samui, Thailand’s second most popular island destination, is located in the Gulf of Thailand roughly 700 km. south of Bangkok and 80 km. from Thailand’s southern coast. Samui is the third largest island in Thailand and the largest in an archipelago of more than 80 islands that includes the Ang Thong National Marine Park, a kayaking paradise and day trip from Ko Samui. While Samui is small enough to be circumnavigated in just a couple of hours by motorbike or car, the island features such a variety of beaches and activities that it would be impossible to experience everything in a single visit.
However, this was not always the case. Until the late 20th century, Samui was home to a small community engaged primarily in fishing and harvesting coconuts. There were not even any roads on the island until the early 1970’s. However, once foreign visitors discovered this island gem, lush with tropical forest, fringed with palm tree lined stretches of golden sand, and surrounded by pellucid, aquamarine water, development quickly followed. Today the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai are bustling beach towns with fabulous beach resorts, internationally acclaimed restaurants, and world-class nightclubs.
Activities around Ko Samui include cooking courses, yoga instruction, Muay Thai training, scuba diving, and even golf. While there are a few quieter beaches that are ideal for relaxation, particularly those that feature some of the finest 5-star resorts in the world, and some that exude old world charm, such as Bo Phut, which features converted, old Chinese shop houses, Samui is a lively, exciting place than it was a few decades ago. Ko Samui has developed into its own style of island paradise, retaining much of its natural beauty while offering nearly every imaginable activity or service for the ultimate beach holiday.
Krabi, a province on southern Thailand’s Andaman coast, is an almost otherworldly region of labyrinthine archipelagos, where islands seem to erupt vertically out of the sea and secluded beaches are only accessible by colorfully adorned long tail boats. Krabi’s myriad of bays and coves have sheltered pirates, merchants, and sea gypsies for thousands of years and archaeological evidence indicates that Krabi was originally inhabited as early as 25,000 – 35,000 years ago! With attractions including hot springs, a wildlife sanctuary, sea caves, flourishing coral reefs and exotic marine life, limestone cliffs that draw rock climbing enthusiasts from around the world, and national parks that include the island paradises of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, one could easily spend weeks in Krabi and leave yearning for more.If that wasn’t enough, Krabi features some of the most photogenic sunsets in Thailand, often accompanied by spectacular displays of cloud to cloud lightning, that are best enjoyed from a beachside bar or restaurant.
Meanwhile, with all the tourists spread out among various beaches and islands, life goes on in Krabi Town, the somewhat sleepy provincial capital. Surprisingly few tourists spend time in the charming riverside town, whose hilly streets feature a number of cozy cafes and inexpensive and authentic Thai cuisine is served at an outdoor, riverside evening market. “Town” to most visitors is Ao Nang, a seaside strip of guesthouses, hotels, bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops that continues to grow as tourist arrivals increase, now spreading north into Noppharat Thara, whose quiet, shady beach is part of the national park that includes the Phi Phi Islands. Ao Nang is the major launching point for boat trips to nearby islands and the isolated beaches of Phra Nang Cape, where the famous former hippie enclave of Railey Beach is located.
Krabi Province, which lies along the coast of the Andaman sea in Southern Thailand, is a top tourist destination as a result of its plentiful natural attractions including, white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, extensive coral reefs, numerous caves and waterfalls, and over 130 islands, including Koh Lanta and the jewels of the Andaman coast, the six islands of Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park. While not the top destination in and of itself, Krabi Town is a charming provincial capital located along the banks of a river that leads to the nearby Andaman Sea. Consequently, Krabi is an important port city for both local fisherman as well as boats ferrying visitors to the nearby attractions, including Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, and Railey Beach, one of the premier rock climbing destinations in the world.
What comes into the mind of travellers when we talk about sea, sun and sand? Phuket must definitely be one of the answers. A number of exciting activities can be found on this island. In the early days of regional maritime trade, the cape of Phuket was locally referred to as Jung Ceylon, while locals called it Thalang, which evolved to be the name of the main town to the north of the island. As the perfect stopover sheltering traders from monsoons, Jung Ceylon welcomed merchants from India, Persia, Arabia, Burma, China, and also Siam. During the 16th century, the island was a popular trading port for tin.
In 1785, Thalang town was surrounded by Burmese troops who invaded the coastal area. It was under the leadership of Chan, the widow of the governor, and her sister, Muk, who united the local residents and successfully fought and drove the invaders out of Phuket. It took over 30 days for the defending troops of Phuket, under the command of Chan and Muk, to claim their victory. As a result of such heroic deeds, noble titles were granted to Chan and Muk as Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Soonthorn, respectively. They are still highly respected by Phuket residents even today.
When the city was in a peaceful state, the development of mining was so unprecedented. Chinese businessmen and miners later migrated to Phuket and soon enjoy thriving wealth. The island’s long history has shaped the Phuket of the present with its diverse ethnic groups, culture, architectural influence, and fine cuisine. These attributes have made Phuket a complete tourist destination that offers a lot more beyond its natural heritage of sea, sand, forest, and world-renowned diving sites. Sino-Portuguese architecture casts its spell delighting travellers to the city, while Phuket style of hospitality has never failed to impress visitors from all walks of life.
Getting to Know:
1. Phuket is located approximately 862 kilometres south of Bangkok.
2. There are only two seasons in a year the green season (May to October) and the hot season (November to April).
3. Phuket is divided into 3 administrative districts: namely, Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Thalang and Amphoe Kathu.
Songkhla is both one of Thailand’s most important port cities and a coastal province known for its ethnic diversity and its unique traditions, dialect, and folk entertainment.An outpost of the Srivijaya Empire from Sumatra (c. 7th century C.E.), Songkhla served as a port and a coastal trading post where Indian, Persian and Arabian merchants came to exchange their products. The city was named “Sing Lha” after the 2 lion-shape islands at the mouth of the city’s lake. At present, these 2 islands are called Koh Noo (Rat Island) and Koh Maew (Cat Island).
An undeniably historic town endowed with ancient ruins and places of cultural importance, Songkhla is a melting pot of Thais, Chinese and Malays, and charms visitors with its unique traditions, dialect, and folk entertainment. These characteristics are reflections of the province’s rich cultural heritage, which has been preserved and passed down from generation to generation.Hat Yai, a district of Songkhla, is perhaps better known than the provincial capital itself. Hat Yai serves as a southern hub of communication, trading and transportation as well as a gateway to Malaysia and Singapore.
In light of this, Hat Yai has gained importance as the driving force of economic growth in the southern region. Over the last few decades, Songkhla has been rapidly developed and is currently a unique attraction worth visiting. Blessed with natural resources, such as fine beaches, enchanting waterfalls, and a tranquil lake, the province has an abundance of tourist attractions and an amazing number of seaside resort towns.
Moreover, the old section of Songkhla still maintains its unique identity of ancient and historical flavors through local architecture and cuisine.While Songkhla is noted as a fishing community set in a peaceful atmosphere, Hat Yai, on the other hand, serves as the transportation and communications hub of the south with links to various destinations in the neighboring provinces and Malaysia.
Hat Yai (frequently spelled Had Yai) is the largest city in southern Thailand, located near the border of Malaysia and populated by nearly 800,000 Thais. Hat Yai is located in Songkhla Province and, while not the provincial capital, is home to The Prince of Songkhla University, making it Southern Thailand’s educational center as well as the south’s heart of transportation, commerce, and tourism.Among other things, Hat Yai is renowned for its outstanding seafood, which is served in various styles thanks to Hat Yai’s diverse population of Chinese, Malays, and Thais.
Hat Yai also features a multitude of markets, both local and international in style, and has a festive nightlife, including pubs and discos that are particularly popular with tourists from neighboring Malaysia. While there have been occasional violent attacks from regional terror groups, Hat Yai is a relatively safe city to visit, particularly if one avoids the most crowded tourist venues and enjoys the local flavor of the city and the culture of its diverse inhabitants.
The populous city of Hat Yai, the largest in Songkhla Province, is Southern Thailand’s commercial, shopping, and entertainment center. Hat Yai is located roughly 950 km (600 miles) from Bangkok and just 30 km (18.5 miles) from the Malaysian border. Consequently it is a popular destination for visitors from Malaysia, who enjoy dining on seafood and experiencing Hat Yai’s lively nightlife. Regional attractions include Songkhla Lake (the largest in Thailand), an enormous reclining Buddha that visitors can walk inside, the Bhasawang Big Splash (a 15 meter long water slide), and the region’s most popular spectator sport, bullfighting.
Taipei 101 – located in Xinyi District, Taipei 101, is a new landmark in Taipei. 101 floors above ground and 5 floors underground, the total height of 508 meters, the tallest building in Taiwan. The world’s largest, most important, the only exposed to visit the wind damper, and the world’s most high-speed constant pressure elevator. Set foot on the elevator is a need for 39 seconds in the end 89 floor observation deck, this can make pleasant to the eye the beauty of Taipei 360 degrees from a height.
Sun Moon Lake is located in Nantou County, central Taiwan the island full-Tan area of 827 hectares, the lake surrounded by about 33 km, is Taiwan’s largest fresh water in lakes, but also the most beautiful alpine lakes. The east side of the lake surface shape is round the west side shaped like a month hook, hence the name.
Alishan – railways, forests, clouds, sunrise, play, more than are synthetic Alishan five odd. Alishan sunrise sunset, drifting clouds in between Hill Love cloud waterfall, thrashing around, every minute every second moved! Cliff, cliffs, waterfalls, flying rocks everywhere amazing! Alishan mountain green love, Sclerotium like waterfalls, clear streams, calling the Leshan Yue water tourists come to visit, big mouth respiratory phytoncid and anion, watching the fish play, precipitation in natural mountain forests. Alishan is shaped by a rich tourist treasures Taiwan preferred, will not be excessive.
Taroko Gorge – Taroko National Park is a magnificent, almost vertical, the marble canyon landscape famous line along the landscape profile reach the gorge wall, cliff, stretching and winding canyon cave tunnel, marble rock formations and streams, and other scenery .
Kenting – Kenting mountain surface of the sea, located in the southernmost tip of Taiwan, is the only tropical areas of the island of Taiwan. Four Seasons warmth, sunshine, blue sea and sky, the Kenting let people forget Worry, energetic and enthusiastic. Beach, sun, sea breeze, you are welcome to visit.
National Palace Museum – one of the famous world’s four major museums. The National Palace Museum’s collection of heritage treasures, is a world famous cultural assets from the imperial collection to the total of the whole people, sustainable heritage of the National Palace Museum Taipei collection, the era of its collection of virtually every aspect of the history of eight thousand years of Chinese culture as a whole has not been interrupted, from the Neolithic to Tang Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing and Republican period, unique in the history of world civilization. 650 000 museum collections, most of the old Chinese royal collection royal collection of original from the Song dynasty, 1000 years ago.
British Consulate at Takao – alive the small hills of West Bay in 1858, the Qing Dynasty of foreigners in Taiwan, built the first seat of the consulate. Consulate General of the internal rows of precious the Kaohsiung historical literature, photographs, models, consulate, also known as the Kaohsiung Historical Relics Museum.
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall Taipei – Memorial Hall specially designed to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Dr. Sun Yat-built. Sun Yat-sen is the forerunner of Chinese revolution, is an outstanding figure in modern Chinese history. The Memorial Tang Dynasty palace-style building, Zhuang Yan Dengli. Outside the Zhongshan Park surrounded by zigzag bridge, ponds, rockeries, willow and other attractions dotted. The museum’s four exhibition room is beautifully decorated, and perennial based development.
Yangmingshan – Yangmingshan National Park, and dense vegetation, environmental quality, located in the urban nature reserve is not only unique in Taiwan, the world’s rare. Belong large Xiao Youkeng of sulfur Valley, the mountain’s volcanic activity of the most famous yellow smoke curl in the valley, like a fairyland. The annual Yangmingshan Flower Festival will attract millions of people up the mountain flowers, become a grand occasion.
Yehliu – Taiwan’s northernmost Yehliu Geopark scenic areas of natural beauty, with a variety of transgressive spectacle. Is the most famous queen’s head, like the noble queen heroic glow to lemon, let the years and the sand the next round after round of traces of painting in his body ruthless. Variety of rare transgression terrain. Referred to as the Geological Museum.
Shilin Night Market – Shilin Night Market is one of Taipei’s largest night market, famous for a variety of traditional snacks at home and abroad, many tourists come here especially, has become a food landmark, a collection of the north and south snacks, tourists must to the night market, one of the must-visit place for tourists around the world to Taipei.
Tuntex Sky Tower or Kaohsiung 85 Building – Kaohsiung side of Kaohsiung 85 Building, is a landmark of southern Taiwan. “High” as the building shape, height of 347.5 meters, coupled with the antenna, a total of 378 meters; the 85th floor of the ground, underground, was completed in 1997, is inferior to Taipei 101, Taiwan’s second high-rise.
Aquaria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur – Nestled in the heart of the bustling Golden Triangle and within walking distance from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, Aquaria KLCC is a state-of-the-art aquarium showcasing over 5,000 different exhibits of aquatic and land-bound creatures over a sprawling multi-level space in the Concourse Level of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
From the tropical waters of the Asian region to the rainforests of the world, Aquaria KLCC takes you on a journey to discover the fascinating nature of aquatic life as well as the unique behaviour of animals and crawly creatures above water. Immerse in an absorbing aquatic experience (without getting your feet wet!) from the moment you enter Aquaria KLCC. An educational study charting the course of natural waters flowing from the highlands to the streams and deep sea is devised to help visitors appreciate water as a habitat and ecosystem.
Highlights include a 90-metre tunnel tank with a moving travelator where you can marvel at Sand Tiger sharks, stingrays, marine turtles and other sea creatures swimming around unhindered in the vast oceanarium, a spectacular live show of divers feeding these creatures at meal times and a rare opportunity to come into contact with live starfish and bamboo shark at the Touchpool area.
Central Market KL – Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, a few minutes away from Petaling Street, Central Market is a famous landmark for Malaysian culture and heritage. The building was built in 1888 and originally functioned as a wet market. It has since been classified as a Heritage Site.
Tourists flock to Central Market for its variety of handicrafts, art, kebaya, songket, batik and authentic Malaysian souvenirs. A Batik Emporium houses well-known designer labels, with the best Malaysian-made batik items ranging from clothes, shoes, bags to home furnishing. The Central Market Outdoor Stage is where visitors can catch colourful arts and cultural events. During the country’s main festivals, the area will be lit up in theme, reflecting the multiracial diversity of Malaysians.
For a more contemporary take on the local arts scene, The Annexe Gallery, located at the back of Central Market, is a popular venue for events such as film screenings, art exhibitions and public discourses.
Cocoa Boutique Kuala Lumpur – Cocoa Boutique is the place where you can savour a wide selection of the finest locally produced chocolates. Created by chefs, the chocolates are always fresh and made from the highest quality ingredients, offering chocolate connoisseurs an exciting experience.
The range of fine chocolates are created and made to original Belgian recipes, using 100% pure cocoa butter in accordance with authentic Belgium formulation. Most of the cocoa ingredients are from Belgium but products from Ghana and Malaysia are also used. Durian Chocolate is most sought after for its unique taste and was awarded The Winner of the Most Innovative Chocolate Product 2004 by the Malaysian Cocoa Board. The Vezzo and Harriston brands are exported to China, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong, Australia and the Southeast Asian region.
New and innovative products are constantly being created at the factory. Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) and stringent quality control comply with international standards of hygiene.
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia Kuala Lumpur – Interest in the Islamic arts has grown tremendously in recent years. Reflecting this awareness, in December 1998 Malaysia became home to Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic art. The building occupies 30,000 sq.m., situated amid the leafy surroundings of Kuala Lumpur’s Perdana Botanical Gardens.
The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia houses more than seven thousand artefacts, as well as an exceptional library of Islamic art books. The art objects on display range from the tiniest pieces of jewellery to one of the world’s largest scale models of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The aim is to create a collection that is truly representative of the Islamic world.
Instead of concentrating on works from the heartlands of Persia and the Middle East, IAMM also puts the emphasis on Asia. China and Southeast Asia are especially well represented. The third component of the Malaysian melting pot is India, which is also given special status. India, China and the Malay world are in an exclusive category. Other parts of the collection are displayed according to type of artefact rather than geographical origins in the museum’s 12 galleries.
KL Bird Park – The KL Bird Park is located in the serene and scenic Perdana Botanical Gardens, 10 minutes away from the Kuala Lumpur city centre. Home to more than 3,000 birds of 200 local and foreign bird species, the main feature that distinguishes KL Bird Park from other bird parks is the concept of free-flight.
Stroll through the park, and take the opportunity to see Mandarin ducks, hawk eagles, hornbills, ostriches and other birds. Visit the Egg Incubation Room and Nursery and see how chicken eggs are artificially incubated using incubators.
Don’t forget to take photographs with the different species of birds, and catch the feeding programme and daily bird shows taking place at the semi-open air amphitheater at 12.30pm and 3.30pm daily.
KL Tower Kuala Lumpur – Standing majestically atop Bukit Nanas at 421 meters and 94 meters above sea level, KL Tower is a prominent feature of the city’s skyline and perhaps one of the most enduring images a visitor to KL will remember.
Its architecture reflects the country’s Islamic heritage, with the construction detailing Arabic scripts, Islamic tiles, classic Islamic floral and abstract motifs and soothing colour combinations. Besides the panoramic view, KL Tower has something for city dwellers who love nature. The verdant green surrounding Menara KL is the Bukit Nanas Forest – the only oldest gazetted forest reserve in the country.
It covers an area of 10.05 hectares and is considered the green lung of Kuala Lumpur. It is sanctuary to a wonderful array of flora and fauna, unique to the country’s tropical climate.
Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur Malaysia – The 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers, otherwise known as KLCC, is the world’s tallest twin structures. Inspired by the geometric shape found in Islamic architecture, this gleaming mega-structure was designed by Argentinian-American architect Cesar Pelli. Stretching out to one side of this architectural masterpiece is the spacious and beautifully landscaped KLCC Park.
Other attractions at KLCC are Suria Shopping Complex, Petronas Philharmonic Hall, Petrosains Science Centre, Petronas Art Gallery and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, where the Aquaria Oceanarium is situated.
Masjid Jamek Mosque KL – Built in 1909, Jamek Mosque – better known as Masjid Jamek among the locals – is the oldest mosque in the city. The mosque sits at the meeting point of the Klang and Gombak rivers, which is also the birthplace of Kuala Lumpur. Its architecture is inspired by Mogul influences of northern India. In 1965, it was officially declared as the National Mosque.
Today, there is a new National Mosque not far away, but Jamek Mosque remains important due to its strategic location in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Petaling Street KL – Petaling Street, the centre of Kuala Lumpur’s original Chinatown, maintains much of its traditional atmosphere, particularly at night when vendors fan out their merchandise along the street. While you can shop for anything from gems and incense to toys and t-shirts, the true allure of this night market is in wandering about and enjoying its sights, sounds and energy. Food is plentiful with many scrumptious varieties to choose from; some of the restaurants here have been in business for generations. Locals flock to Petaling Street primarily for bargain accessories and great Chinese food. So, go on, be brave – head down to Petaling Street with an empty stomach and an adventurous spirit. Even if you don’t spend a penny, (which will be hard!), you are guaranteed to have an amazing experience here.
At the end of Petaling Street, you can further explore the Chan See Shu Yuen Temple which dates back to 1906. The interior of this building features open courtyard pavilions, intricate carvings and paintings. On the exterior, the temple depicts elaborate glazed ceramic sculptures which grace the facade and roof ridges.
For more adventurous tourists, further down from Petaling Street is the South Indian Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. This temple is situated at Jalan Tun H.S. Lee which is within walking distance from Chinatown. Built in 1873, the temple is said to be the most ornate and elaborate Hindu temple in the country. The design and decorative features include intricate carvings of Hindu deities, gold embellishments, precious stones and hand-painted motifs. Exquisite Italian and Spanish tiles provide further ornamentation. A silver chariot housed within the premises features prominently in religious processions, transporting the statue of the deity through the city streets.
Outside the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple are stalls selling garlands and strings of sweet smelling jasmine. Additionally, the strong aroma of Chinese traditional herbs and that of freshly brewed coffee waft through the air from across the street.
Little India Brickfields Kuala Lumpur – Brickfields is many things to many people: a concentrated wedge of Indian culture; a bewildering smorgasbord of different worship houses; a haven of blind massage centres; the crossroads for commuters coming in from all parts of the country; a perfect study in contrasts. However you define it, one thing is in agreement: Brickfields is a vibrant community with a soul of its own.
Brickfields began as the centre of brick-making in the late 19th century, after a huge fire and flood swept through Kuala Lumpur in 1881. The double disasters took turns destroying the town’s wooden and thatched structures. Sir Frank Swettenham, British resident at that time, responded by ordering the use of brick and tile in the construction of buildings, thus summoning the town’s purpose into being.
The area soon developed as the nation’s main locomotive depot for the Malayan Railway during the colonial administration. The sights, sounds and colours of South Asia came to Brickfields along with the human capital brought in to work the railway and depot, which have since been transformed into KL Sentral, the nation’s transportation hub.
These days, old government quarters (The Hundred Quarters, built in 1905) can still be found around Jalan Rozario. As you walk along the roads and alleys, the smell of curries drift to entice passers-by, while popular Indian songs blast from family-run businesses that also seem to run round the clock.
In 2009, Little India was moved from the area surrounding Jalan Masjid India to Brickfields, in recognition of the township’s status as one of the pioneer Indian settlements in Kuala Lumpur, and its potential to further develop as a centre for Indian culture.
Visit the Vivekananda Ashram (1904), which is still used for spiritual education classes, prayer meetings and yoga. The Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) can be found closer to the river along Jalan Berhala. Famous Southern Indian restaurant, Annalakshmi, is housed in the TFA building.
Other notable attractions are the Sri Lankan Hindu Temple, Sri Kandaswamy Temple on Jalan Scott and the Buddhist Temple Maha Vihara. The Zion Lutheran Church (1924), St Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church and Holy Rosary Church (1903), as well as the Madrasathul Gouthiyyah Surau, a mosque built in the 1980s catering mostly to Indian Muslims can also be found in the area.
These attractions can be visited through the Brickfields Guided Walking Tour, held every first and third Saturday, starting at 9.30am from the YMCA. Run by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Brickfields’ fascinating history is explained in detail through the walk.
The entire peninsula from the Changbai Mountains in the north to the south of Jeju Island, no matter what season, the mountain is covered with bright and multi colours of the Maple Leaf or snow flakes flying decorating the beautiful land. Let us take a look at South Korea, a good place to visit.
Spring : March to May is spring in Korea. After the harsh winter, it is the best season for travelling, with new shoots and beautiful flowers blooming. The warm and pleasant weather in April and Cherry blossoms season has transformed the whole town into vibrant colours and full of life. What a feast to the eyes!
Nanshan cherry blossoms and winter jasmine – from the Namsan Library to the octagonal, winter jasmine, azaleas, cherry blossoms can be seen from the octagonal to the the Jangchung Cave National Theater, very beautiful. Though Nanshan has a altitude of 262 meters, it is a relaxing walk along the trail up to the hill with beautiful scenery.
Reclamation cherry Tunnel – has 220,000 cherry trees, In spring, reclaimed urban areas are famous for cherry blossoms viewing . Tourist can enjoy cherry and other flowers from Emperor Hill Park, overlooking the reclamation land and near the sea. On can climb a total of 365 steps to watch the cherry blossoms and winter jasmine.
The Mustard flower of Jeju – Jeju Island, because of the location at the southernmost tip, so South Korea could experience Spring early. End of February in Jeju island, one is able to see the sprouting of the mustard fields and from March – April, the whole area is in full bloom of bright yellow mustard flowers, very impressive sight. The end of February to early spring will be able to continue to see a bright yellow mustard fields. The most beautiful and spectacular views of the mustard flowers field is Jeju Island is found in east of the Seongsanpo area. 99 the pinnacle of the formation of the walls of the Mo Yang, hence the name “Shiroyama”. Every March, the bright yellow of the mustard plants, the mountain city of green and blue of the sea form a colorful picture.
Autumn : Seoraksan – talking about maple leaves, Korean will think of Seoraksan . To them, it is the sacred mountain of Korea, in addition to the beautiful landscape, South Korea Maple Leaf is the best. South Korea in addition to distinct climate, four seasons are very beautiful, but the fall is the most beautiful Maple Leaf season. Maple leaves spreads from Seoraksan famous Daecheongbong main qingfeng, small Qingfeng , slowly to Hangyeryeong, 12 fairy soup and so on, the whole Seoraksan formation of a mountain is covered with leaves of an impasse. Seoraksan, the famous tourist attractions, are worthy of tourists to visit the famous Food Street, close to the beach, a variety of seafood, raw fish and seafood, are the finest cuisine . Well received by visitors alike.
Jeju Island – South Korea’s Jeju Island in the southernmost tip of South Korea ,North Pacific Ocean , is the largest island in South Korea. Jeju is also South Korea most beautiful exotic island. A lot of newly married couples spending their romantic honeymoon here. Therefore, the “honeymoon island” and “Romantic Island” reputation are derived. Jeju Island has got three most comprising : Stone, the wind, the sea women. Leading rock attractions of Jeju Island is the the first attraction. Leading rock formed 200 million years ago after lava eruption cooling, like the one leading from the sea out of the sea. South Korea’s Jeju Teddy Bear Museum for centuries has been the world’s favorite teddy bear museum. 100 years with 1300 pieces of precious works of the traditional teddy bear museum houses large and small teddy bears and the world’s most expensive LV teddy bears, the world’s smallest teddy bear, it has 4.5 mm. We certainly feel very familiar with the picture or Korean (Palace) to film it here.
Coffee Prince / Hongdae completion card – located near Hongik University, Coffee Prince, now a tourist attraction. (Coffee prince the 1st shop), the location turned out to be a closed down café. For filming, the drama group step by step converted the Coffee Prince into finished filming place and it has become groupies pilgrimage, business is booming. The location is one of the favorite meeting place for young people in Seoul. There are nearby coffee shops and PUB everywhere, there are many street vendors and stores selling clothes, jewellery. Besides Lihwa university, this place has yet became another modern cultural base.
Dongdaemun Market – Dongdaemun Market is South Korea’s largest wholesale and retail markets. T he market has more than 20 kinds of shopping complexs and more than 30,000 specialty shops. It is the shopping Kingdom of Seoul with Doosan Building, MIGLIORE FREYA Building, designers, clubs and other large shopping centers, as well as peace Market new peace Market, East peace market, modern shopping malls and traditional markets mixed region. From leading popular trinkets, to the gentleman clothing, ladies clothing, shoes, etc. to all the items of the foot. In the Dongdaemun market, prices are 20-30% cheaper than other places. Here with wholesale and retail, many late night shoppers like to frequent this place.
Suwon Hwaseong – Hwaseong Fortress guards ceremony is referred to as the world cultural heritage of the Chinese city. North Korea Jeongjo King will be established to strengthen the imperial power Yong Ying is royal amount Chikae Force. Among them, the guard the Hwaseong Yong camp outside the camp on the Jeongjo King most loyal. Suwon City history to create a “Chinese City, OK Camp Yong camp guard ceremony, reproduce Jeongjo King Forum Search Chinese city have conducted Yong camp guard ceremony and military honors ceremony
New Village Ladies – before leaving South Korea, this is a must visit place. ! The last leg to come to New Village Ladies. New Village Ladies is where New Village subway station is. It is surrounded by a number of major universities. Young people often gather and shop here. New Village, along the road are a variety of restaurants, fast food restaurants, cafes, shops, as well as female students favorite clothing store, the entire street full of youthful vitality of university students to learn about the latest fashion, this is definitely your first choice and not to be missed.
Myeongdong – Myeong-dong is a place where people Lenovo since a great shopping city. Here, a wide variety of brand stores, department stores, duty-free shops densely together. Here is called the center and fashion, you can buy leading apparel, footwear, accessories, and so on. Here is different from the Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, focused on quality brand feature here. In addition, there are a variety of stores gathered at Central Avenue and on both sides of the alley. In Myeongdong, in addition to shopping, there are many delicious cuisine and fun things to do. Eating, restaurant, fast food shops, as well as Korean, Western, Japanese, and other kinds of restaurants, including Myeongdong pork cutlet, are the most famous.
Winter : Seen (Endless Love), (Winter Sonata), (Snow Queen), drama Seorak, Gangwon-do, tree-lined trail, Gyeongbokgung Palace – scenery everywhere picturesque, like Scenery Video (Winter Sonata), snowflakes, people yearning for more and more want to embrace the winter in South Korea. South Korea, most of the skiing is concentrated in Gangwon Province, loved by young people.
Phoenix Resort – Phoenix Resort 700 meters above sea level, with hotel, apartment suites, ski resorts, golf courses, a full range of cultivation apartment. Phoenix resort two hours’ drive from Seoul with convenient transportation. 1998 has been designated as tours to all seasons of cultivation resort. Especially in the winter ski season, tourists flock. From a few years ago, visitors can take the peak of the Senior Snow Road, Paradise slope and the ski slopes. The beginning of the points of each ski, 3, visitors are free to choose different levels of play. The ski resort built on mountains, a total of 12 ski runs. Settings of the ramp so that visitors can see 500 meters wide base of the ski resort, in terms of where to enjoy the excitement and fun of skiing. In addition, the ski Mogul lane, 8-seater cable car, East Asia’s largest ski base-class facilities of international standards. Other facilities include the most advanced rent, and can accommodate more than 1,000 people, cafeteria, meeting room, children playroom.
Ski paradise – Gangwon-do – Gangwon-do, Korea first into the winter areas, is also the longest region in winter. The vast majority of ski resorts are concentrated in a total of eight ski resorts in Gangwon Province.l Gangwon and Nami Island are familiar in the show (Winter Sonata), the audience must feel these two places first cordial, play a lot of classic scenes are filmed here. In the show, two hand in hand through the two rows of green trees, beautiful picture, it is the beauty of the Nami Island.
Yongpyong Resort – This place became very famous because of the show ,Winter Sonata. Asian visitors were well aware of the footprint along the (Winter Sonata), all the way around. Yongpyong Resort is South Korea the largest and most famous ski resorts, a total of 31 surface of the blood aside, 15 cable car run. DRAGONVAKKEYHOTEL not only overlooking the ski resort of, is also (Winter Sonata), shooting location. The visitors can also take the cable car to the top of the hill, overlooking a beautiful scenery. TIgerWorld South Korea, is the first large indoor ski slope. In particular, set the most advanced artificial snow equipment, and high-end air conditioners provide excellent snow quality visitors quality and fresh air, in particular, allows you to experience a rapid decline of a snow basin stimulate and Chao Kuaigan, which also has an indoor ski slope experience the fun of skiing, skateboarding is the best choice for skiers.
Yongin Everland – full of laid-back ambience, the world’s only comprehensive playground – Everland, give it to the endless happiness of mankind, and fantasy, full of thrills and excitement, poetic and romantic. Yongin Everland is an integrated international resort for leisure, entertainment, education and culture, has 23 years the amount of historical and joy in the world posed by the five themes, with the different seasons and expand the different celebrations in held within fourteen thousand square garden of tulips, roses, lilies, chrysanthemums: the colorful Flower Festival: the world’s largest indoor and outdoor waterpark. People like being back in the childhood of the world to enjoy the unparalleled state-of-the-art recreational facilities. Take the cable car to visit the lions, tigers, giraffes, fire bear safari park, etc., should be as much. To find a copy of their own happiness in the world full of laughter,
Nami Island – if you see the snowflakes in the show Winter Sonata, you must have felt very romantic. In winter, South Korea, from the most southern island of Jeju to the most northern part of Gangwon-do, the whole place has become the snow world. Speaking of the best snow place, it must be the southern island of Jeju. Complex island topography, climate changing, sometimes early in the morning sun shines at noon will be covered with dark clouds, but afternoon there will be snowflakes.
A spacious island located at Japan’s northern extremity with festivals throughout the seasons. A region with an abundance of natural beauty.
Hokkaido is an island at Japan’s northern extremity, surrounded by sea in all directions. It is an extensive land, accounting for 22% of Japan’s total land area. Low humidity makes the summers pleasant, while in winter you can enjoy winter sports. The island is gaining popularity as a tourist destination throughout the four seasons.
In Hokkaido you can enjoy the magnificence of nature to your heart’s content: Daisetsu-zan National Park, which forms the roof of Hokkaido; the secluded Shiretoko-hanto Peninsula; Kushiro Marsh, home to many precious living things such as Japanese cranes; Shikotsu-Toya National Park, which is full of volcanoes and lakes; and the ever-changing Shakotan-kaigan Coast. There are also numerous hot springs, like the Noboribetsu-onsen, Jozan-kei-onsen and Soun-kyo-onsen, where you can enjoy a leisurely bath to help you get over the fatigue of your journey.
The Sapporo Snow-matsuri Festival and Monbetsu Ice Floes-matsuri Festival are held in winter. In summer enjoy the Furano Lavender-matsuri Festival, as well as port festivals in every coastal town held to pray for a good catch and safe fishing. Hokkaido boasts of over 1,200 festivals and events held throughout the year. Ice floes arrive in Abashiri every year in late January. A tourist icebreaker departs from Wakkanai Port, enabling you to see the beautiful, rough blue ice floes.
“Navel town,” located in the center of Hokkaido. Its beautiful rich fields of lavender tempt tourists with their fragrance.
Furano is situated along the middle reaches of the Sorachi-gawa River in the central part of Hokkaido and it belongs to Furano-Ashibetsu Nature Park. Because of its geographical position, which is almost right in the middle of Hokkaido, Furano has a unique nickname – “the navel town.” Every summer, a humorous navel festival is held in Furano, during which about 3,000 participants draw funny faces on their bellies and dance around in the main street.
A beautiful lakeside spa resort. Enjoy watching the spirals of white smoke emanating from the Mt.Usu volcano.
Lake Toya, which is situated in the southwestern part of Hokkaido, belongs to Shikotsu-Toya National Park. This caldera lake lies 11km east and west, 9km south and north and measuring 43km around. The active volcano that stands proudly near the lake with white smoke rising above it is Mt.Usu. It is one of the most active volcanoes, with repeated eruptions on a cycle of between 30 and 50 years. Its most recent eruption was in 2000. Live craters and the remains produced by volcano eruption can be closely observed. It was registered in world Geopark for the first time in Japan in 2010. Lake Toya hot spring, which stretches out along the lake, is one of the best spa resorts in Hokkaido. Various events such as fireworks are held throughout the year. The G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit was held in 2008. Many people from around the world gathered at Lake Toya. Abundant in nature, it is an excellent place to exchange world view on the global environment and climate change. There are many places of interest around Lake Toya including the Volcano Science Museum where they show visual images of the eruption that occurred in 1977 and 2000, complete with a special sound system.
Lake Toya is an ice-free lake. It never freezes, even in winter when the temperature falls quite drastically. The beauty of the ice-free lake can therefore be admired anytime during the year. There are big and small four islands called Nakajima in the middle of the lake, and on it is the Toyako Forest Museum, which is a part of the sightseeing boat route. Trout and smelt fishing are very popular sports in and around the lake. There are also fully facilitated camping sites.
Furano’s natural beauty can be appreciated throughout the seasons of the year – beautiful stardust in the winter sky, charming ‘mizubasho,’ Japanese skunk cabbage flowers along the roadside in spring, the inviting fragrance of lavender in summer, and the gloriously red and yellow tinted leaves in fall. The name “Furano” actually originates from the Ainu (an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido) word ‘furanui’ – meaning fragrant flame. Furano created the Furano Lavender-no-Mori lavender field to commemorate the 80th anniversary of its municipal government. Many people visit the lavender field in summer when the lavender bloom is at its best. Taking a stroll along the path through the forest of sweetly scented lavender is really a must when you visit Furano in summer.
You can also enjoy outdoor activities in Furano all year round. Rafting trips down the Sorachi-gawa River and hot-air balloon flights are organized by the Alpine Visitor Center, and the nearby Kita-no-Mine is a popular ski resort in winter.
A large clock tower and trendy shopping center. Odori Avenue Park is the location of a magnificent snow festival.
Sapporo in western Hokkaido is divided up in a grid pattern, and is the largest city on the island. Odori Avenue Park stretches from east to west in the center of the city, and is a symbol of the city – full of art objects, fountains, lilac and acacia plants and lots of flowerbeds. To the north stand trading companies, financial institutions and local government offices, while to the south is a large underground shopping mall, which as the city’s main shopping center is always busy. It is connected directly to Sapporo Station, which is the transportation hub for all of Hokkaido and the place to board JR lines, the subway, and both local and tourist buses.
The city contains many essential sights: the Sapporo City Clock, which has been marking time for over a century; the old Hokkaido government building, a neo-baroque building known as “Red Brick” that is lit up after dark; and the poplars outside Hokkaido University (formerly Hokkaido Agricultural College).
Odori Avenue Park is more than 1,400 meters long. In summer it is full of beer gardens, while in winter it becomes the location for a snow festival. During the festival, this big park is lined with magnificent snow statues and beautiful ice statues.
The town’s nostalgic, old-fashioned mood is enhanced by its architecture and layout. A beautiful large canal flows through it.
Otaru is situated in the western part of Hokkaido, facing Ishikari Bay. It has developed and prospered as “the sea entrance of Hokkaido” over the last 100 years and it has gained the nickname “Wall Street of the North.” The glassworks shops, coffee shops, restaurants and shopping malls along the canal have been converted from stone-built or brick-built warehouses, which were used for storage in the days when commerce flourished and the canal was crowded with jostling barges. When night falls, oil lamps on the cobbled streets are lit, and the town evokes a gentle, nostalgic mood.
Otaru’s nickname is “the town of hills” as there are so many hills, including Jigoku-zaka (hell hill) – a very steep slope, and the long, winding Funami-zaka. Mt. Tengu-yama that towers behind Otaru is a popular ski resort in winter. There is an observation point on Mt. Tengu-yama, and the panoramic view including the whole of Otaru and its port area is absolutely wonderful. There are also cable cars to take you to the mountaintop.
A vibrant and active morning seafood market. A unique blend of Japanese and Western architecture exists in the city.
Located in the southwest of Hokkaido and facing the Tsugaru Strait, Hakodate developed as a port town for trade with foreign countries at the end of the 19th century, and is a gateway connecting Hokkaido with Honshu by the Seikan Tunnel.
A morning market is held at the bay area near the railway station, where more than 360 stalls packed tightly together attract shoppers with freshly caught squid, scallops, salmon eggs, Atka mackerel, and many other kinds of fresh fish and shellfish. A five-minute walk will take you to the moored Seikan Strait ferryboat, named the Mashu-maru Memorial Ship, which used to link Aomori in Honshu with Hokkaido. There is a restaurant and a coffee shop at its bow where you can spend a nice, relaxing time viewing the scenery around the port.
The area around Motomachi maintains a congenial blend of Japanese and Western cultures, being home to the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward, an important cultural property, the old British Consulate with its tea lounge, Haristo Sei-kyokai, a Russian Orthodox church, as well as the Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple, a branch temple of the Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple in Kyoto. At the waterfront overlooking the Hakodate-ko Port, there is a shopping mall inside remodeled red brick warehouses, the Old Kanamori Haberdashery Museum and the Hakodate Beer Hall.
Plumes of volcanic gas and hot springs are huge attractions. Broadleaf trees sway boldly in Noboribetsu Primeval Forest.
Noboribetsu in southwestern Hokkaido is the location of the Noboribetsu-onsen, Karurusu-onsen, Shin-Noboritbetsu-onsen hot springs, and has a rich variety of scenery including forests, lakes and marshes. It has been designated a part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park.
The Noboribetsu-onsen is one of Hokkaido’s best-known hot springs, and is surrounded by a virgin forest 200 meters above sea level. It has 9 different kinds of water, containing minerals such as hydrogen sulfide, salt, and iron. The quality of these minerals results in the spa being ranked among the world’s most exceptional hot springs.
The most impressive scene at the hot spring is the Jigoku Valley (hell valley), where yellowy gray volcanic gas seeps from the surface of the rocks. This makes the whole place smell strongly of sulfur, and gives it an image like that of hell. The valley is a 450-meter-diameter mouth of a volcano, which produces 3,000 liters of hot water per minute.
In the northeastern part of the hot spring grow many sorts of broad-leafed trees, including oaks, and a bamboo grass called ‘kuma-zasa.’ The area is called Noboribetsu Primeval Forest, and has been designated as a natural monument. To the east is Shihorei-Peak , from which you can view Lake Kuttara-ko, with its clear water said to be the second most transparent in Japan.
A thriving world of art, filled with sculptures. Set against the magnificent background of Daisetsu-zan mountain range.
Asahikawa is located almost in the center of Hokkaido, and is the second largest city in the prefecture after Sapporo. The city is full of natural splendor, with the magnificent Mt. Daisetsu-zan in the background and 120 rivers flowing through it. It is also the gateway for tourism to Soun Gorge and the Furano area. Asahikawa’s thriving art world has led it to be called a town for art. Sculptures that made a famous sculptor dot the shopping park along Heiwa-dori Avenue, the road that leads straight from Asahikawa Station.
Situated on a hill overlooking the town, the Hokkaido Traditional Arts and Crafts Village is full of buildings resembling castles from the Middle Ages in Europe, and has the atmosphere of an amusement park. There is a gallery of works made using the world-famous Yukara-ori, the traditional textile fabric of Hokkaido, from which you can get a better understanding of traditional Japanese fabric.
Japan’s northernmost Zoo, Asahiyama Zoo is a one of the highlight of the city. The concept of the zoo is to provide an environment where each species can use their abilities and a space where each animal can relax. Visitors enjoy watching diving polar bear, a spotted seal swim in the narrow tunnel and more very close at hand.
Also, Asahikawa has a ramen-noodle area the equal to that found in Sapporo, and its countless ramen-noodle restaurants are always busy.
Beautiful flowers, trees, and snow are all what astonishes visitors. Biei is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Hokkaido, a prefecture that welcomes many tourists.
The town of Biei is located almost at the center of Hokkaido, in the hilly district at the foot of the Tokachi-dake Mountain Range (Daisetsu-zan National Park). It was only in the 1970s that the town became regarded as one of the best sightseeing spots in Hokkaido. Shinzo Maeda, a leading Japanese landscape photographer with a worldwide reputation, once visited Biei and was very moved by its beautiful scenery, as well as by the wonderful views of hills in the neighboring town of Kami-Furano. Since then, he visited Biei repeatedly over 10 years to take photographs, which were used for photo collections, post cards, posters, films, TV commercials, etc., making the views of town well known throughout Japan. On a hill in Biei, in a former elementary school building, the Takushinkan photo gallery is open to the public and exhibits Maeda’s excellent works, which greatly impress visitors.
The attractiveness of Biei, where as many as 1.2 million people visit every year, is represented by its spectacular views of flowers found in areas named “Road of Patchwork,” “Hills of Seasonal Colors (Shikisai-no-oka),” and “Hills of Zerubu,” as well as by the views from the hills overlooking the horizon.
You will be astonished by the magnificent views of colorful flowers such as lavenders, sunflowers, poppies, cosmoses, and purple salvias, blooming just like beautiful patchworks. You can walk through these flowers at some locations. One of the best viewpoints is where you can see poplars and oaks standing imposingly on a vast green field. By taking a sightseeing taxi, or by renting a bicycle, you can go to see around these special trees used in TV commercials and posters, such as “Tree of Ken and Mary,” “Tree of Seven Stars,” and “Tree of Parent and Child.”
If you like outdoor activities, you will love all nature has to offer in Biei. In summer, you can stroll in wild woods, climb trees, walk along the river, go canoeing or camping, or play golf. In winter, the town is transformed by snow, whose magnificent appearance will astonish you as you ride on a snow buggy or snowmobile
Abashiri boasts of the breathtakingly beautiful Koshimizu Gensei-kaen garden. The town becomes surrounded by ice floes in winter.
Abashiri, the largest town on the Okhotsk Coast of northeastern Hokkaido, is a product of fishing and tourism. In addition to an abundance of seasonal seafood available throughout the year, it is also blessed with natural beauty, such as primeval flower gardens, lakes and ice floes.
Abashiri has lots of places to enjoy: Koshimizu Gensei-kaen (wild flower preserve), where about 40 kinds of flowers bloom in spring and summer; Lake Notori-ko, where coral weed makes the surface red as if a carpet had been laid over it; Lake Saroma-ko, which is separated from the sea by a long, thin sandbar; and Lake Tofutsu-ko, famous for its swans.
Mt. Tento-zan in the suburbs is a great place from which to view Abashiri. In the Okhotsk Ryuhyo-kan (ice floe museum) you can see real ice floes even in the middle of summer, and experience a temperature of minus 15 degrees Celsius. You can also see a type of conch there called a clione, whose back is plumed like a fairy tale angel, and is known as the “angel of the ice floes.”
Ice floes arrive in Abashiri every year in late January. A tourist icebreaker departs from Wakkanai Port, enabling you to see the beautiful, rough blue ice floes.
Various activites and attractions to enjoy, including canoeing, hot-air ballooning, and the hot spring baths around the Lake Shikaribetsu-ko area.
Obihiro occupies the central part of the Tokachi Plain along the middle reaches of the Tokachi-gawa River in the southeastern part of Hokkaido, and it is the region’s center of politics, economics and logistics. The city center is divided into sections like a checkerboard, which imitates the layout of Washington, D.C. in the United States, so it is therefore very easy to get around even if you are very new to the city.
The magnificent Midori-ga-oka-koen Park and Suiko-en Garden, which are located one kilometer from the city center, are proud of their 50 hectares of green area. The Obihiro Centennial Memorial Hall in the park was built in 1982 and contains many references to and much information about Obihiro’s history. Wildlife habitats that symbolize the nature of Tokachi are also on display there. There is also a memorial museum near the park dedicated to Naomi Uemura – the great mountaineer. In summer, an idyllic view is created when some 1,500 cows are put out to pasture at the Yachiyo Public Farm.
Lake Shikaribetsu-ko is another place for you to visit. This beautiful lake is situated at the southeastern tip of Taisetsu-zan National Park and is surrounded by a primeval forest of white fir and spruce trees. Canoeing and hot-air ballooning can be enjoyed on the southwestern side of Lake Shikaribetsu-ko.
The Tokachi-onsen Hot Spring is an ideal place for you to relax. It is famous for its high quality spring water – very smooth to the skin, which bubbles out of the center of Tokachi Plain. It is a very popular spa resort that links the scenic Taisetsu and Akan areas.
A misty port town that exudes an aura of illusion. Kushiro Marsh, Japan’s largest marshland.
Kushiro, which is well known as “the town of mist,” is situated in the southeastern part of Hokkaido, facing the Pacific Ocean. Kushiro plays a leading role in the politics, economics and culture of eastern Hokkaido. The marine products industry of Kushiro has flourished since the early 20th century, and the long and narrow city centering on Kushiro Port still retains many features of the streets of the early 20th century port town. Takuboku Ishikawa, a famous poet and novelist, lived in Kushiro during those days, so there is also a literary atmosphere to the city.
A monument to Takuboku Ishikawa can be found in Yonemachi Park, where you can enjoy a fantastic view of Kushiro Port from an observation point. If you would like to treat yourself to a gourmet meal or enjoy shopping, Kushiro Fishermen’s Wharf MOO is the place to go. This is a very popular place for both the local people and visitors, and there is always a lively, cheerful and welcoming atmosphere.
In the north of Kushiro is Japan’s largest marshland, Kushiro Marsh, which stretches out over the majority of the Kushiro Plain. Kushiro Marsh is listed as a national park. Kushiro Tancho Nature Park is known as the site of the first successful artificial breeding of tancho cranes (Japanese cranes), which are designated as special natural monuments. There are currently about 20 tancho cranes residing in the park. They can be seen all year round.
Magnificent natural beauty and an awe-inspiring landscape. Spherical shaped moss enhances the mystery of this natural wonder.
Akan National Park is a mountainous park that stretches across the eastern part of Hokkaido. The park includes a group of volcanoes, such as Mt. Meakan-dake, Mt. Oakan-dake and Mt. Akan-Fuji, which are situated around three famous volcanic lakes: Akan-ko; Kussharo-ko; and Mashu-ko. Akan National Park is a very popular destination offering magnificent panoramic views and hot spring baths. Since the park is situated inland, the temperature fluctuates rather sharply – it may rise as high as 30 degrees Celsius on a hot summer’s day, but it can also fall to as low as 10 degrees Celsius during the early morning hours and at night due to the radiative cooling phenomenon. This phenomenon often produces a sea of beautiful clouds that can be viewed from high elevations. Glittery stardust that completely fills the night sky and spectacular soft rime provide further delights for the eyes in winter.
Lake Akan-ko is a lake of mystery and beauty. It is well known for ‘marimo’ – a curious looking species of moss that grows into large green balls, a natural monument that is unique to the lake. The elegant Mt. Oakan-dake overlooks the eastern shore of Lake Akan-ko. Lake Mashu-ko is internationally famous for having the highest level of clarity in the world. There is also a primeval forest of spruce and white fir trees located nearby. Akan National Park attracts many visitors throughout the year with its magnificent scenic wonderland.
Those who visit Akan National Park can also see traditional Ainu (an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido) dances at their ‘kotan’ (village), and enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing, mountain bike tours and camping. The hot spring baths on the lakeside will surely help you to unwind and relax at the end of an exciting day.
Niseko, its all here! from romantic getaways in the resort hotels of the area, to back country camping, a wealth of outdoor activities for everyone in the family, this is one part of Japan that you can truly say is an area of endless discovery, every time you visit it will be different and something fresh will certainly catch your eyes.
Niseko is located in the Southwestern part of Hokkaido, in an alpine region that is dominated by Mt. Yotei (Yotei National Park) to the east and Mt Annupuri to the west. Niseko is conveniently located 100 kms from Sapporo which is Hokkaido’s largest city. The Niseko district has earned a reputation as one of the best ski area’s in the world, home to the Annupuri Ski Resort and the Niseko Village Ski Resort the resort is gaining momentum on the world stage.
However it is not just winter that is popular in Niseko, the summer’s are also very special and the district stands out as a all year round outdoor activity destination. The name Niseko is derived from the ethnic Ainu language of Hokkaido. Niseko Annupuri translates to “Mountain with a river, which runs around the bottom of a sheer cliff” The weather is typical inland weather, with an annual average temperature of 6.3 degrees Celsius, the deepest snow in winter is 200cm in depth.
Niseko is beautiful throughout every season of the year. The summer brings with it a variety of outdoor pursuits like climbing, canoeing, rafting and other outdoor activities. Winter brings with it not only beautiful scenery but also a variety of extreme winter sports. The area has a vast variety of Hot Springs on offer throughout the year however these are best enjoyed after skiing and really add value to your Niseko experience.
In Spring through to Summer (July to late August) the area is carpeted in colorful flowers, one of the most photographed scenes in Niseko is the ‘Famous Twin Cherry Blossom’ scene, it is 2 Large Cherry Blossom trees in the middle of a green field on the top of a small mound with Mt. Yotei in the background.
The walkways and treks around the district are world class. The views of Mt Yotei from the observation deck at the 1000 metre level on Mt Annupuri are absolutely out of this world, take a gondola up the mountain in the morning and enjoy the sensation of floating on clouds as the entire valley below is covered in cloud with Mt. Yotei the regions famous landmark majestically standing out above the clouds. From the viewpoint it is a very short 1.3 km walk to the Summit of Mt Annupuri, to get the feeling of truly being on top of the world. This is a great trek for everyone.
The Winter months bring with them a world of excitement with vast Ski Slopes and Powder Snow, You can enjoy world class skiing, a vast variety of Restaurants and Ski lessons. Ski Lessons are available for everyone from beginners to professionals.
One of the most populous cities in the world. A thriving center of economy, culture and industry.
Tokyo consists of the southwestern part of the Kanto region, the Izu Islands, and the Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and the place where over 13 million people live, making it one of the most populous cities in the world. When the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu established a government there in the early 17th century, the area started to develop, spreading out around his residence, Edo Castle. Most of the city was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and then again by the bombing in the WWII, however, Tokyo was able to achieve a remarkably rapid recovery both times.
Tokyo is not only the political and economical center of Japan, it has also emerged as a center of the world economy and culture. There are a number of attractions in Tokyo that should not be missed. There are large-scale downtown areas, including Ginza where famous shops from around the world stand side by side, the sleepless Shinjuku that has become the “new city center of Tokyo,” Asakusa which is reminiscent of the traditional Edo (the former name of Tokyo), and Shibuya that starts the trends for the young people. Other unique areas include the computer town Akihabara, a dense retail area where numerous electronic shops compete against each other, attracting many shoppers from Japan and overseas, and Tsukiji, an open-air wholesale food market catering to shops and consumers everywhere in Japan.
Osaka Castle with its huge lawn park. The bustling Umeda Underground Mall and Namba are also main attractions.
Osaka prefecture located in the center of Kinki region in the Midwest Japan covers the smallest prefecture land area in Japan, but boasts of largest population and highest population density second only after the capital, Tokyo. Mountains surround three sides of the prefecture and the west faces the arc-shaped Osaka Bay. Since it is close to former capitals of Japan Kyoto and Nara, it prospered as an important point for land and water transportation as well as a commercial city.
In the Osaka City is the Osaka Castle with a five-layer donjon as its core, on a lawn park that stretches for about 60,000 square meters. During the cherry blossom season in the spring, this park is especially crowded with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) crowd. Osaka’s north gate, Umeda, has a gigantic stretch of underground mall that houses many restaurants, fashion and sundry goods stores.
In contrast to Kita with Umeda as its core, Minami is an area with core cities Namba, a popular business and shopping district, and Dotonbori with many restaurants on both sides of Dotonbori-gawa River. Minami is known as a town of public entertainment and has many theaters and cinemas.
Tenpo-zan Harbor Village, which has a 112 meter-high Ferris wheel, shopping mall and Kaiyukan Aquarium, one of the biggest aquarium in the world, and ATC(Asia Pacific Trade Center), Japan’s largest outlet mall, are also popular. Suntory Museum Tempozan will close thier doors on Dec. 2010.
The former capital of Japan, famous worldwide for its temples and shrines. Kyoto was the center of politics and culture for 1,100 years.
Kyoto Prefecture stretches out from the southeast to the northwest in the central and northern parts of the Kansai region. It has four geographical features, the saw-toothed coastal area around Maizuru Bay in the northeast, the Tanba Mountains around its center, the Kyoto Basin in the southeast, and the Yamashiro Basin.
Kyoto became the capital of Japan in the 8th century. It flourished as the center for Japanese politics, economy and culture for some 1,100 years, until the capital functions were transferred to Tokyo in the mid-19th century. There remain many temples and shrines in Kyoto that were built during this long period. Seventeen historic sites including, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Nijo Castle, are inscribed as World Cultural Heritage Sites.
You may meet some ‘maiko,’ young dancing entertainers, who walk in long hanging-sleeved kimono in the Gion district, see the townscape characterized with popular 19th century style latticework, and visit the Nishijin where they weave traditional ‘Nishijin-ori’ textiles with vividly colored threads. The festivals in Kyoto are famous not only in Japan, but are also known worldwide. The three major festivals of Kyoto are the Aoi-matsuri Festival in early summer, the Gion-matsuri Festival in mid-summer and the Jidai-matsuri Festival in fall. There is also the Gozan-no-Okuribi, more commonly known as Daimonji-yaki, held on the night of Urabon (August 16th). During this festival numerous torches are ignited on the five mountains surrounding Kyoto, with the flames laid out to form a letter or figure. It is a summer event known both at home and abroad.
The highest mountain in Japan with a beautiful cone shape. The center of mountain worship since ancient days.
Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters high and is the highest mountain in Japan, situated at the border of two prefectures, Shizuoka and Yamanashi. With unrivaled magnificence and a beautiful cone shape, Mt. Fuji has often been selected as the subject of paintings and literature. It is the world-famous as a symbol of Japan.
At the foot of Mt. Fuji are Fuji-Goko (Fuji’s Five Lakes), Aoki-ga-hara-jukai (a sea of trees that is dark even during the day), and Kitaguchi-Hongu Fuji-Sengen-jinja Shrine (which was constructed to calm the eruption of Mt. Fuji). The Fire Festival of Yoshida, held at the end of the summer as a ritual for closing the climbing season for Mt. Fuji, is one of the three most peculiar festivals in Japan.
Mt. Fuji has long been the center of mountain worship of ancient Japan. Today, it is a popular mountain to climb, and many people climb Mt. Fuji to watch the sunrise called Goraiko from the top. Access to the 5th station is well maintained, so you can go up to this point and thoroughly enjoy the magnificence of Mt. Fuji by just looking at the beautiful sight and its surrounding environment close at hand in all seasons without having to climb all the way to the top.
UNESCO World Heritage Site, Historic towns, hot springs, cormorant fishing, local dancing, and the gorgeous Takayama Festival.
Located in the center of Honshu, with more than 80% of its total area occupied by forests, the Prefecture spreads out from the mountainous Hida region to the flat Nobi Plains downstream from the Kiso-sansen (Three Kiso Rivers). The Hida Mountain Range, rising to a height of 3,000 meters above sea level, is part of Chubu-Sangaku National Park. The Ryohaku Mountains, with a vast forest of Japanese beech and alpine plants, are part of Haku-san National Park. The rows of traditional thatched roof houses at the World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go, located at the foot of Mt. Haku-san, are a must-see!
Gifu Prefecture abounds with places of natural beauty, such as Ena Valley, which is dotted with interesting rock formations and Gero hot spring, a popular spa resort that dates back to about the 10th century.
Visitors to Gifu shouldn’t miss the traditional cormorant fishing, which has a history of about 1,300 years in the area and takes place on the Nagara River between May 11th and October 15th.
Takayama, with its historic streets and alleyways, is known for the gorgeous Takayama Festival. Every summer, Gujo Hachiman becomes the stage for the Gujo-odori dance, which continues for 32 nights. Visitors can relax in Gifu’s tranquil scenery and be fascinated by its traditional festivals.
Aso, one of the world’s largest calderas. Amakusa-Gokyo bridges and a saw-toothed coast add to the splendor.
Kumamoto is situated in the center of Kyushu at the western end of Japan. Mt. Aso-san stands in the east and the Chikuhi Mountains lie to the north, while the Shira-kawa River, the Kuma-gawa River, and other rivers flow from the mountains to the western part of the lower current area, forming the Kumamoto Plain and Yashiro Plain. The Uto-hanto Peninsula juts out to the southwest from the Kyushu mainland, and the Amakusa Islands lie beyond the peninsula.
Kumamoto has two national parks, namely Aso-Kuju and Unzen-Amakusa, and two quasi-national parks, namely Mt. Yabahita-hiko-san and the Kyushu Central Mountains. The total area of these natural parks occupies 20 percent of the prefecture. The Aso district has an active volcano, Mt. Aso-san, with one of the largest calderas in the world and many hot springs. The Amakusa district has the Amakusa-Gokyo (five bridges), historic sites with tragic stories of Christian martyrs, and scenic sites of the islands and a saw-toothed coast. The central mountainous area attracts people with its valleys, virgin forests, and beautiful mountain sights.
Other must-sees in Kumamoto include Kumamoto City with Kumamoto Castle noted for its stonewalls with ‘musha-gaeshi,’ a special defense designed to prevent enemy attacks, and the Suizenji-joju-en Garden, hot spring villages and valleys in the basin of the Kikuchi-gawa River, which empties into Shimabara Bay, and the Hitoyoshi and Kuma area with abundant historical sites from the 12th to 14th centuries.