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Japan Travel GuideAbout Japan
Japan is a country where ancient temples and castles stand side by side with some of the world's most cutting edge technology. This contrast of old and new is evident in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. Direct flights between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and Tokyo Haneda Airport, a distance of about 4,580 km, last slightly more than five and a half hours.Don’t Miss
Japan is lovely at all times of year, but many believe the best time to visit the country is during the annual sakura (cherry blossom) season between late March and early April. Golden Week, Japan's longest holiday, follows not long afterward between late April and early May. Even though Golden Week itself is not an ideal time for foreign tourists to come to Japan because of the increased crowds and higher hotel prices, the weeks immediately before and after are some of the best times of year to visit.
Japanese New Year, between December 30 and January 3, is another busy time of year. Some of the towering ice sculptures at the early February Sapporo Snow Festival are almost as tall as the ski slopes surrounding Japan's northernmost major city. Two of Japan's biggest summer fireworks festivals are the late July display over Tokyo's Sumida River and the two August nights when fireworks with diameters as large as 90 cm explode over Nagaoka's Shinano River. Families with children will not want to miss Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, or Osaka's Universal Studios Japan.Restaurants and Bars
Tokyo restaurants not only serve virtually every type of cuisine under the sun, but also offer unique dining experiences unavailable anywhere else on Earth. Diners can have their meals served by waitresses dressed like French maids at maid cafés, eat surrounded by furry friends at animal cafés, or even browse through some of their favourite Japanese comic books at manga cafés. There is even a ninja themed restaurant named Ninja Akasaka as well as the Robot Restaurant show where robots battle dinosaurs and superheroes in Tokyo's Shinjuku district.
Red lanterns hang outside the traditional Japanese bars called izakayas. Tuna auctions at Tokyo's 1,000-stall Tsukiji Fish Market start at 05:00. Other famous fish markets can be found in Kanazawa (Omicho Market), Kyoto (Nishiki Market), Sapporo (Nijo Market where unique cold water fish are on offer) and Osaka Central.
Some foodies, however, may prefer the takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (a special type of pancake) served in Osaka, the city long known as 'the country's kitchen’.Activity
Many of the castles found throughout Japan, including Osaka Castle, are reconstructed versions of the original castles damaged during WWII. The island of Shikoku contains more original castles than anywhere else in Japan. One of Japan's most popular onsen hot springs resorts, Fujikawaguchiko, stands near the northern foothills of iconic Mount Fuji 105 km west of Tokyo. Anime, manga, and video game fans may enjoy dressing as their favourite characters at the cosplay cafés close to Tokyo's Akihabara Station.Shopping
Prices in Japan are generally more expensive than in Thailand, but many bargains on food, cosmetics, shoes, and vitamins can still be found in Japan's numerous 100 yen shops. Uniqlo clothing and Anello bags are a couple of the trendy items for sale at Tokyo's Shinjuku and Osaka's Shinsaibashi shopping districts. Electronics lovers will undoubtedly want to check out the latest gadgets in the Akihabara district near Tokyo’s Akihabara Station. The Don Quijote discount store is also in this area.