Kawachi Fuji Garden, Kitakyushu, Japan

Located in the city of Kitakyushu, Japan, straight from an impressionnist paint, Kawachi Fuji Garden is home to an incredible 150 Wisteria flowering plants spanning 20 different species. The garden’s main attraction is the Wisteria tunnel that allows visitors to walk down an enchanting tunnel exploding with colour.

Tips

Located about 6 hours from Tokyo, the best time to visit it, is from late April to mid May, typically peaking at the end of April. The garden is private so there is an entry fee. Stay in one of those typical Japanese guest’s house, you will be enchanted.

 

Railay, Krabi, Thailand

Railay or Rai Leh is a small peninsula located between the Thai cities of Krabi and Ao Nang in Krabi province. It is accessible only by boat (longtrail) by virtue of the high limestone cliffs that isolate it from the mainland. Small wooden motorboats commute regularly between Krabi and Railay, capable of carrying a dozen of people, the journey takes 40 minutes; in the Andaman Sea. The arrival on-site is very beautiful with the green rocky peaks which surround the bay. Thanks to its cliffs, the place is known worldwide for being an ideal site for climbing. You can also climb by yourself from the rocks to the South West for accessing a lagoon but it is rather dangerous. Also famous for its beaches Phra Nang (often regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world) and Railay Bay West. You can also see monkeys on the spot. You will find a cave on Phra Nang beach with statue and little special offerings because it’s carved male gender in wood in all the colors for the God of fertility.

Tips

If you decide to stay in Railay, you will find everything what the tourist needs: restaurants, bars, shops, spots type snack bar on the beach, everything is there. To the East of the peninsula, the beach is not passable and serves only to boats, but it is there that we find all cheap hotels, restaurants and bars.
Be sure that tourists here are mostly young people then you must expect noisy nights.
You can also rent kayaks and make excursions to the nearby islands.
The water is green and transparent, and you can swim quietly; there are no rocks or algae or jellyfish.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is the administrative capital of Japan and one of the world’s largest financial centers as the most densely populated urban area in the world. Located on the east coast of the main island of the Japanese archipelago (Honshu). It contains the residence of the emperor, the prime minister, the parliament and ministries as well as all foreign embassies. Destroyed during the Second World War, it was quickly rebuilt and had a strong industrial development (especially in electronics) and its population multiplied by ten in fifty years. Its district, considered the most lively, is Shibuya where there are large shopping centers like the 109. Its architecture is very modern but there are still shinto sanctuaries or Buddhist temples. The city hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964 and will welcome them again in 2020. There is much to see and a great culture to discover.

Tips If you want to see a tiny piece of ancient Tokyo that has miraculously survived, visit the Golden Gai. There are no large buildings or monuments but you will see how the city was in the recent past. There are six narrow streets, too narrow to pass even a small car, where about 200 bars and cafes line up. The buildings are dilapidated and the alleys broken, but the place is much safer than it seems (Tokyo is indeed the biggest city with the lowest crime rate). Each building is only a few meters wide, and most have a small staircase leading to the first floor, either to an apartment or to another establishment. Many of them can only have 5 or 6 clients at a time but beware: there are places that only serve their customers, no new ones are allowed.

Do not miss the visit to the mausoleum of Emperor Meiji, the great-grandfather of the present Emperor Akihito. There is a forest with 120,000 trees. This place serves to pay tribute and make your offerings to the late Emperor Meiji. First ring the bell to get his attention and place a coin in the box in front of you. Then tilt twice and knock into your hands before you bow one last time.

Department stores play a very important role for the Japanese. These giant temples of consumption are found in every era of shopping in Tokyo. They sell only the best quality products, and at very high prices. The ground floor is generally intended for major western brands (Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Tiffany, etc …) and their lesser-known Japanese counterparts. There are also many typical Japanese items such as finely embroidered kimonos, chopsticks from great designers, fans or various lacquered wooden objects.

If you want to see a different theater, go to the Kabuki (Japanese Theater); a popular and dramatic theater. The actors wear masks and costumes designed in bright colors, expressing the nature and feelings of their characters with exaggerated gestures and postures. All the roles are played by men without the spectator realizing that female roles are not really played by women. An orchestra accompanies the performance. At the change of scene, instead of lowering the curtain, it is the whole scene that pivots. The largest and most famous theater of Kabuki is the Kabuki-za.