The Global Basecamps Blog
The churning and international youth culture of modern Japan lives, as always, beside a calming and proud cultural history unique to its islands. Tokyo is no different. Always an exciting mix of tradition and the future, Tokyo offers ancient temples amidst its modern streets, and keeps ancient traditions while embodying the 21st century.
In its nightclubs Tokyo is at its futuristic best, and the city is definitively among the world’s top destinations for night club and dance music lovers. Anyone on a Japanese cultural tour should think about stopping by one of these locations while in Tokyo. The following are only a few examples of what travelers might expect when venturing into Tokyo nights:
Womb opened in 2000 and has since expanded to organizing music festivals and party cruises in Tokyo Bay. The club itself is a nightly (and most afternoons and early mornings) three story music show, light show, food and drink destination with the biggest disco ball you will ever see.
Almost a year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, the country is still struggling to revive their tourism sector. However, as evidenced here Japan is quickly rebuilding and recovering from the destruction and tourism is actually doing better than expected, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. The Japanese people have handled the disaster exceptionally and are striving to bring tourists back to their incredible country. Here are five great reasons to start planning a Japan tour now!
With a 5-month ski season, spring is a great time to hit the slopes in Japan. With excellent conditions, varied terrain, and many easily accessible resorts to choose from, Japan is an ideal ski destination. Most resorts are typically open from December to March, receiving most of the snow in January and February, with plenty of snow left in March in April for some great spring skiing. Kagura resort has even been open until late May for the past few seasons. Gassan, in Yamagata Prefecture, has a very strange season that usually starts in April and continues through July. Though for most resorts, peak season is from mid-January through February. However, during most weekdays even the popular resorts remain relatively uncrowded.
Spend New Year's this year on an unforgettable outdoor adventure. Instead of heading to the crowds in New York or Tahoe, try something different and spend this New Year’s Eve enjoying the fireworks from a cruise ship, hiking the peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro, or exploring the vast deserts of Egypt. Whatever ecotourism adventure you choose, the following New Year's trips are sure to create an unforgettable start to 2012.
The Galapagos Islands is on many people’s bucket lists, and December and January is a great time to visit. Experience the incredible wildlife and scenery on a Galapagos cruise this New Year's Eve! Another ideal travel destination for January is Australia. Sail around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. Go diving, snorkeling, or relax on the sun deck. With white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and incredible snorkeling and scuba diving you can’t go wrong with a cruise in Australia to ring in the New Year!
Staying in a ryokan is a highlight for a lot of travelers on Japan tours. It can be daunting to some, as it is a very traditional experience leaving many non-Japanese confused by the customs common at a ryokan. This guide will give travelers some information on what to expect when staying at a ryokan and tips on how to best enjoy the experience.
What is a ryokan?
A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that allows travelers to experience the elements of Japanese culture and customs, including staying in a room with tatami (straw mat) flooring, changing into a typical yukata (robe) following an onsen hot-spring bath, and sleeping on a futon on the tatami floor. Staying at ryokans is the perfect way to experience something new and to be immersed in the Japanese culture. Our quick how-to guide below will help determine if a ryokan stay would be right for you.
Step 1: Find the right ryokan for you.
Ryokans, like hotels, come in all shapes and sizes. There are budget no-frills ryokans, mid-range ryokans, and very high-end ryokans. Choosing one depends on your budget, and what kind of experience you're looking for. With ryokans, you will normally get what you pay for. The most luxurious, traditional ryokans can be extremely pricey (but the good ones are really worthwhile!). At the same time, there are some really good and economical ryokans. The experience will differ though.