The Zamami Island and the ocean “Kerama Blue”

Zamami Island and the ocean Kerama Blue

The Okinawa Prefecture and its dozens of small islands

Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture and it is divided into three major island groups: the Okinawa Islands, the Miyako Islands and the Yaeyama Islands. Anyway, in this article, we talk about the Zamami Island and the ocean “Kerama Blue” located in Kerama Islands, one group of the Okinawa Islands.

A paradise to discover away from the crowd

Zamami Island is surrounded by the ocean “Kerama Blue”. It has crystal clear waters, white sand, a great variety of corals and endless marine species. Certainly, it is paradisiac island.

The best time to visit the territory is between May and October. Anyway, if you want to see whales, you must come between January and March.

On the other hand, you must take a ferry in Tamarin (Naha) to access the island. You can use the traditional ferry that lasts 2 hours or the express ferry that is faster. Once there, you can use the bus, the taxi or rent a bike.

The economy of the island is based on tourism, specifically snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking.

What to do in Zamami Island?

Firstly, we recommend you visit its two famous beaches: the Furuzamami beach, attractive for its white sand and clear water, and the Ama Beach where you can see turtles. The first one is the main beach of the island where you can find some tourism agencies. They offer water activities like paddlesurf, snorkel, boat rides, etc. Certainly, some people rent a kayak to explore the rest of the small islands.

Also, you can visit three important observatories:

  • Takatsuki Observatory, located on the hill of Zamami population.
  • Kaminohama Observatory, which offers views of the two desert islands of Gahi and Agenashiku.
  • Inazaki Observatory, located in the north of the island with views to the rugged north coast.

In addition, you have to taste the Japanese, Occidental and Okinawan food. Some of the best restaurants are:

  • Marumiya: favourite restaurant for locals. There are traditional dishes like the rafute and the jimami.
  • La Toque: the typical ingredient is swordfish (Kajiki).
  • The Urizun.
  • Others: Izakaya Santa, Torajir o, Ao No Umi, Nanamaru and Bar zoz.

Usually, tourists come to the island to sight tortoises and whales. These animals comes during winter to reproduce.

In conclusion, if you want to visit a less touristy place in Japan, Zamami Island and its surroundings are a perfect place. Note that the tourist in Japan needs visa, so you should apply for an evisa Japan in your next trip.

An unforgettable experience in the Toyosu Fish Market

An unforgettable experience in the Toyosu Fish Market

The old Tsukiji Market and the new Toyosu Fish Market

Tsukiji Market was famous for its large tuna auctions. This market was built in 1935 and closed in October 2018 due to the size of the enclosure. For this reason, the internal market moved to Toyosu Fish Market. Certainly, it is the largest fish and marine products market in the world.

Next, we explain some things about the new market and we give you some recommendations.

Toyosu Fish Market

The Toyosu Market has three main buildings: the wholesale market building where they sell and auction seafood; the intermediate building where there are retailers and restaurants; and the building of fruits and vegetables.

Now, the facilities are much more organized to prevent tourists from interrupting and interfering with auctions. There are some walkways and viewpoints around the building to maintain a certain security. Also, there are some good restaurants like Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi.

In addition, they have enabled a glazed room to enjoy the auctions. In order to access this room, you must request it through the web at least 1 month in advance.

The market opens from 5 am to 5 pm and closes on Wednesdays, Sundays and holidays. Also, admission is totally free and you can visit the roof garden to enjoy the cityscape of Tokyo.

Currently it is said that it looks more like a museum than a market. Certainly, Japan is the country that catches more tuna in the world.

Other interesting japanese markets

There are other types of market that are interesting if you travel to Japan. For example:

Finally, whether or not you had the opportunity to visit the old Tsukiji Market, we recommend you to visit the new Toyosu Fish Market. It is an essential stop if you travel to Japan.

Please, keep in mind that from 2020 you must apply for a Japan application form to enter the country.

The Shinto Shrine of Togakushi

The Shinto Shrine of Togakushi

A spiritual experience

A visit in Joshinetsu Kogen Natural Park will allow you to discover the Shinto buildings, the lost mountain of Nakano and the Togakushi Shrine located in the Nagano Mountains. The last one, is divided into five small sanctuaries scattered throughout the territory.

The legends of Togakushi area

The Togakushi Shrine is located on a mountain of 1,904 meters high and is a special place for Japanese mythology.

The story tells that two brothers, Amaterasu (goddess of the sun) and Susanoo (god of the sea), were playing when suddenly Susanoose got angry and began to break everything. Subsequently, Amaterasu hid in a cave leaving the world in darkness. The gods did their best to get her out. When she left, the world regained light.

Also, Togakushi is famous for hosting the beginnings of the Togakure ninjutsu school, a children’s martial arts school. This school, created 900 years ago, was the place of refugees from China escaping wars in the Tang dynasty.

The five shrines of Togakushi

The Shinto shrine of Togakushi is divided in five buildings, although the most important are three:

Hokosha Chusha

Firstly, you will find the Chusha shrine, located in the central part of the Togakushi shrine. If you visit it, you will see lush forests and a famous tree over eight hundred years old.

Santuario Shrine

Secondly, you will find the Hokosha, surrounded by three hundred copies of cryptomerias or “sugis”. This sanctuary is dedicated to the protective goddess of motherhood, academic life and sewing.

Santuario Okusha

Finally, you will find the Okusha sanctuary, at the top of the mountain. It is dedicated to the god of the three wonderful rocks. Next to the Okusha sanctuary you find the Kuzuryu sanctuary.

Other interesting places

It is necessary to mention that there are other points of interest in the area such as the Togakushi Minzoku-kan, a set of buildings that supports the presence of the former ninja school.  Also, you can find some restaurants, mainly noodles. Certainly, this region is famous for its Togakushi-soba.

In conclusion, Japan offers thousands of experiences for tourists who wish to discover the Japanese culture and their customs.

As a last advice, we recommend you to apply for Japanese visa before your trip due to from 2020 this transaction will be mandatory.

Takayama, a popular destination!

Takayama, a popular destination!

Takayama, an impressive place

What to see and do in Takayama?

The city of Takayama is located in the mountainous region of Hida, in Japan. It is in the Japanese Alps and boasts unparalleled beauty. Certainly, we recommend you to visit Takayama, a popular destination!

Also, the city offers traditional accommodation, sake wineries, temples and wooden shrines and an spectacular old town full of houses from the Edo period.

Next, we give you some adivices and recommendations about what to visit in Takayama.

  1. First of all, it is essential to walk through Sanmachi Suji, the old town. This area preserves Edo period houses that currently function as museums, art galleries, craft shops or coffee shops.
  2. Visit the Hida Kokubun-ji temple, one of the oldest in the city.
  3. You must enter one of the old houses of the Edo period. For example: the house of the Kusakabe family or the Yoshijima family.
  4. Visit the former Takayama Jinya government office in the Edo period.
  5. Visit one of the sake factories.
  6. Cross some of the bridges that cross the Miyagawa River, such as the reddish Nakabashi Bridge.
  7. Visit the Sakurayama Hachimangu shrine.
  8. Taste Hida meat.
  9. Take a walk through the stalls of the morning markets or Asaichi of Takayama, which are held every day in the square near the Takayama shrine and along the eastern margin of the Miyagawa River between the Kaiji and Yayoi bridges.
  10. Staying in a ryōkan or traditional Japanese accommodation.

What to eat in Takayama?

Takayama has a wide variety of restaurants and street food stalls where we can try local specialties such as Hida meat, hobo miso or chuka soba.

Where to stay in Takayama?

Takayama is a small city but very touristy, so there is plenty of accommodation. For this reason, we recommend some places: the Oyado Koto no Yume, the Ryokan Asunaro, the Wat Hotel & Spa Hida Takayama or the Hida Hotel Plaza. Also, there are other good options.

Finally, we hope the article “Takayama a popular destination!” has been interesting for you. If you decide to visit the city, do not forget you will need a Japan travel visa to enter the country.

The best tour of Japan’s major volcanoes

The best tour through Japan's major volcanoes

The nature of Japan

It is a fact that Japan has beautiful mountains full of energy, incredible landscapes and wonderful nature. It is necessary to respect and admire these beautiful creations. We will talk about the best tour of Japan’s major volcanoes.

Unfortunately, it is true that volcanoes provoke fear. They are the protagonists of great natural tragedies in Japan. Certainly, the country has 101 active volcanoes. The 7% of all active volcanoes in the world are in this archipelago and some of them are the most dangerous.

On the other hand, fortunately, the strong point of the country is prevention. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monitors for 24 hours the most dangerous mountains using cameras and different types of equipment. They are focusing on the craters with the highest risk of explosion. Anyway, a recent JMA study showed that there are 21 volcanoes that can erupt from unmonitored craters.

For this reason, the organ is already moving to ensure security cameras to monitor those craters and prevent a new disaster like the one at Mount Kusatsu Shirane in Gunma.

Anyway, volcanoes beauties are obvious. We recommend you to visit Mount Fuji from outside, as it is the most visited volcano in the country.

For instance, we recommend you to visit some volcanoes mentioned below.

Mount Hakone (Kanagawa)

Firstly, it is situated between the provinces of Kanagawa and Shizuoka. It is an active volcano at least 400,000 years old.

The strong point is a walk through the Owakudani Valley, accessible by the Hakone Ropeway cable car. At the time of ticket purchase, a medical handkerchief is provided for those who may have respiratory problems with the release of volcanic gases.

In addition, there are other quite peculiar attractions, such as black eggs, cooked in the waters heated by the volcano and even black ice cream.

It is important to visit Hakone, the city famous for its hot springs, the beautiful Ashi Lake and the Yagai Bijutsukan, an open-air museum with a beautiful garden.

Mount Sakurajima (Kagoshima)

The Mount Sakurajima is in the province of Kagoshima (southern Japan). It is one of the most eccentric volcanoes of the archipelago and also one of the most dangerous in the world. For this reason, is not possible to climb.

However, visitors can contemplate a unique landscape, take advantage of the island’s hot springs and sometimes witness the rain of ashes.

Beppu (Oita)

In southern Japan, in the Kyushu region, the city of Beppu was built around Mount Tsurumi. The mountain transformed the city into a bastion of hot springs, with more than 2,500 springs and vapors flowing from the avenues.

Beppu is known for its medicinal and therapeutic waters. The visit to the fountains is the main motivation of tourists. Anyway, there is a much more exotic tour for those who decide to visit the city: the “hells” of Beppu.

One of the most eccentric is the “Kamado Jigoku”, which is a collection of smoking springs.

In conclusion, we hope this article has been useful to plan your trip to Japan!