Everything Travel, Japan

Free discount coupons for Don Quijote in Japan

If you're headed to Japan for the holidays (or anytime in the coming months), here's some FREE shopping coupons you can use at Don Quijote! Click here to get your free coupon! Don Quijote is a chain of stores that sells a huge variety of items from houseware, to apparel, to souvenirs, to cosmetics. If there's something you need, you'll probably find it there. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nina/7157542925 The…read more
Everything Travel

Shangri-La Tokyo’s “My Tokyo” Photo Contest

Have you been to Tokyo? Got some gorgeous photos to share of this vibrant city? Want to go back and travel in style and luxury? Share your photo that best capture what Tokyo is, and get a chance to experience shangri-la.

Presidential Suite, Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo
This could be your home in Tokyo for five days!

Inspired by James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon, the Shangri-La hotel group takes the name to heart and aims to deliver that sense of serenity and tranquility in their properties around the globe. Now you’ll get the chance to have the Shangri-La experience, and in Japan, no less!
read more

Destination, Japan

Chubu Trip Wrap-up

What a trip to cap the year! I have been looking forward to this trip for months, and speculated endlessly about our itinerary. When I received the itinerary, I ended up having to Google every place listed, because I did not know any of them, apart from Nagoya, Takayama, and Shirakawa-go, which was actually perfect, since I’m all too happy to go off the beaten tourist path, specially in Japan.

Dai-o Wasabi Farm at Azumino
A section of the Daio Wasabi Farm where Akira Kurosawa filmed the “Village of the Watermills” segment in his movie “Dreams”

The Chubu region shows plenty of promise, and it’s an amazing place to explore. If you love history, heritage, nature, and small towns and cities, this is the place for you. I liked Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo, but it can get too crazy and crowded there, so I take refuge in smaller, quieter places in between.
read more

Destination, Japan

Chubu Day 4: Shiojiri, Magome, and Nagoya

It was another early morning for all of us. The travel agents making sure to drop of their big luggage at the reception to have it sent to their hotel in Yokohama, us writers making sure we have everything packed for our trip back to Manila.

Fuji apple
Fuji apple

We tucked in a heavy breakfast, which proved to be a mistake, as our first stop was apple picking at Shiojiri, a town about half and hour’s drive away from Matsumoto. It was a farm that had both apples and grapes, and though the grapes are already all gone, the apple trees are laden with fruits.
read more

Destination, Japan

Chubu Day 3: Nagano, Obuse, and Matsumoto

It was another early morning, and we drove out of Matsumoto towards Nagano. As we got farther from the city center, we were able to see that Matsumoto lies in a basin — surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. Green mountains with patches of reds and oranges near the lip of the basin, snow capped mountains farther on.

Zenko-ji, Nagano
Zenko-ji at Nagano City

We arrive at at the Zenko-ji Temple, where we were met with Mr. Mikinori Komatsu, a representative of the Nagano Prefectural Government. Along with our tour guide Yoshi, he took us around the temple grounds and answered our many questions.
read more


Maximizing your Japan Rail Pass

When I published my Japan travel expenses, most of you balked at the price of my train ticket: Php 23,000 or ¥45,100. I also had the same reaction when Ivan told me about the pass, but upon reading up on it and calculating the amount of money I’ll save vis-a-vis buying the tickets separately, I made sure to buy the pass before I left for Japan.

Rail travel in Japan is very comfortable. All the trains are in great condition, and the seats have legroom airlines can only dream of. While it’s cheaper than flying domestic, it is more expensive than taking the bus. While the bus can save you money on fares and overnight buses can save you on accommodation costs, it eats up more time to travel the same distance. Besides, this is Japan we’re talking about! I can’t pass up the chance to ride the bullet train!
read more