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Great view to the Sendai downtown

After stoppting at Sendai just for one night, I´ve wanted to use the chance to see a little bit of the city. Sendai is the biggest city in Tohoku and the best place to see that is from the observation deck of the AER Building.The AER building is a small shopping center just next to Sendai Station. You have to go to the 31 floor of the building to the observation deck. But watch out there is no way to go there at the shopping center. You have to use the elevator at the office area in the same building to go up. From the 31 Floor you will have a great round view over the city. Also many couples using that spot for a date.After visiting the observation deck I would recommend to walk around the big shopping streets around that area!

Can you get rid of the scorching heat of summer ?

It is hot and humid summer in Japan now. Be careful of heat stroke everybody. Do you know everyday many people including children and elderly have to take to hospital only for the treatment of the heat stroke?SO be careful now! Here is some tips how to get rid of the heat stroke:1. Use light dress and try to use umbrella whenever you will go to the sun.2. Take a lot of water/liquid everyday.3.Be careful of heavy food.4. Try to eat vegetables everyday.5. Eat fruits every morning.6. Eat fish rather than red meat.7. Avoid alcohol and smoking.8. Use AC or Fan 9. Do not play outside if it is too hot10. We need to be calm and cool through our lifestyle such as wearing white dress and slipper, use ice bags etc.

How to take care of Bug biting in Japan?

During the summer, a lot of "mushi' disturbs the people of Japan. But here are some tips how to deal with the bugs of summer:1. Avoid the place where un attended trees grows.2. Wear full sleeve dress to avoid the insect bite3. Clean the surroundings. Cut the unwanted weeds.4. Carry antihistamine cream with you. Buy one for your kids. Do not apply it on face!5. If bite then Squeeze the stinger and venom out as quickly as you can if you’re stung. Do not try to suck it out! 6. Apply cream afterward and do not rub too much.7. Go to the hifuka (Skin Hospital) as soon as you can!

Nice water places in Japan

Besides the beautiful beaches Japan has to offer, there are also other nice places inside the country to enjoy the water. Here are some of my recommendations. •    Lake Yamanaka, Kawaguchi, SaikoIf you are visiting Mt. Fuji, you should also make a stop of one of the surrounding lakes like Yamanaka, Kawaguchi or Saiko. These are very beautiful lakes where you can walk around and enjoy the nature or do a boat ride. The lakes are also very popular for water sports and fishing. Especially at lakes Yamanaka and Kawaguchi professional or amateur fishing tournaments are often held at the weekend.•    Izu WaterfallsIf you prefer more to enjoy hiking in the mountains, you can see many waterfalls in the mountains of Izu. There are seven small and big waterfalls in the mountain area of Kawazu. Especially if you are standing in front of the bigger waterfalls, you can enjoy a nice cool breeze. •    Yume no Shima PortIf you are in Tokyo and want to visit a nice port, you can go to Shin-Kiba station at the eastside of Tokyo. That place is popular for the big concert hall, but on the other side of the station is a beautiful small park with a small port of luxurious yachts. It is really nice to walk around the yachts and sailing boats. Also there is a very cute beach restaurant in front of the port where you can sit inside or outside on nice beach chairs or in a hammock. It is also possible to rent a BBQ spot in front of the port. Unfortunately it is very popular to do BBQs there, so you should reserve a spot early. •    Kasai Rinkai ParkAlso at the east side of Tokyo is the huge Kasai Rinkai Park. The park fronts Tokyo Bay and has a big beach area where you can have a BBQ or just a nice picnic. You can also see Tokyo Disneyland from the bay side. A third of the park is designed as a Sea Bird Sanctuary. If you are a bird lover it is a good chance to take some nice photos.•    Party Boat Sumida RiverIf you like to drink and eat and also like to enjoy the view over Tokyo from the water, you can book one of the nice party boats on the Sumida River (for example in Asakusa or Ryogoku) and cruise along the river. They have special party plans for big groups which include drinks/food and often also a karaoke machine. To rent a boat is kind of pricy but if you are in a big group it will be a very nice experience. •    Tomioka MatsuriYou might wonder what a festival has to do with water, but the Tomioka Matsuri is very special. It is held every three years in the Monzen Nakacho area. In the morning of Saturday and Sunday of the festival many people will carry small transportable shrines (Mikoshi) around the area. You can see those at mostly all summer festivals, but the one in Monzen Nakacho is kind of special because there are huge buckets full of water on the side of the streets. If a group with a small transportable shrine is coming, people will throw tons of water on them. It is like a big shower. Especially during the hot summer heat it is very refreshing. If you are watching the Mikoshi parade you should watch out not to get too wet!

Shopping trips to Tokyo

Shopping Streets in TokyoEven if you don’t try to drive, navigating Tokyo can be overwhelming as it is the world’s biggest Metropolitan area. Tokyo is a huge city with an enormous number of subway and train lines running all around it and through it. It can take time commuting from one place to the other but once you get used to the subways and their complicated schedules, a journey through Tokyo can be very exciting. Ueno, Tokyo and Ikebukuro stations are all giant hubs for throngs of people going to work, travelling and coming back home. I live in a rural area of Japan, so a Tokyo trip is the most exciting, adventurous, and at the same time potentially exhausting way to spend a day. It requires planning ahead and figuring out platforms for departure and arrival in advance. Using a smartphone as you go saves preparation time (until the batteries run out!) but it is best to plan your transport and stay in advance. So far, I have been to Jimbocho (Tokyo’s biggest bookstore district), to Harajuku, to the Ikebukuro fashion district, and to Nippori.HarajukuTokyo’s fashion district for youth which is in Shibuya ward, is located west of Tokyo Station. Harajuku Station is surrounded by Yoyogi park in the west, Shinjuku National Park in the north, and Jingu Stadium in the northeast.It was a beautiful sunny day and when I set out to explore Harajuku, and the streets were quite crowded. Having made the mistake of wearing uncomfortable shoes, I dropped in a few shoe stores and soon had a lovely new pair of comfortable sandals for 1,700 yen. The day was saved and my feet were happy to explore. My companions soon got tired of shopping, and fortunately, right next to Harajuku’s bustling streets, Yoyogi park is quiet and full of trees and good places to relax.JimbochoJimbocho is the city’s biggest bookstore district, where you can buy cds, dvds, and books of all genres in old and new editions. So many books are stored in these classic, old city blocks that anyone can find a bit of everything here, from antique Japanese books to books in English about trains around the world. Science, literature, history, and many other sorts of books are for sale in English and in Japanese. Jimbocho Station is just north of Tokyo station.IkebukuroIkebukuro is located northwest of Tokyo Station in Toshima ward. I haven’t had a chance to properly window-shop Ikebukuro yet, but it was bustling when I went and seemed full of younger people, and had a party atmosphere in the evening.Nippori fabric and textile townNippori is Japan’s textile town, located north from Tokyo Station. Maybe this is where ambitious fashion designers come to shop for their materials. I have not planned yet what materials I need for certain projects. When I was in the lining section, I thought of “Sex and The City” and the New Yorker tulle skirt. There is are also plenty of silks, leather, cushion fabrics, sewing materials, and kimono fabrics to browse. I am really grateful that I am able to explore Tokyo once a month. It has always been a pleasure to see the crowds, trains and subways as well as the city’s unique markets and other areas for shopping.

Horse Farm in Saku (Nagano)

Slowly it gets hot in Tokyo, so we took the opportunity and went to the cool Nagano Prefecture for a weekend. By car it took 2 1/2 hours from Tokyo to Karuizawa / Saku. For the first time without traffic jam.Our first goal was high up in the mountains, the Suetoshi horse farm. We were lucky that the rain stopped when we arrived and the sun came out while we had 20 degree.The Suetoshi horse farm has over 100 horses and ponies as well as many other small animals. The highlight, however, are the so-called miniature horses, which are just 80 cm tall. The horses were very kind but as soon as you had something to eat, they started to fight for the food. I am usually afraid of big horses, but these small miniature horses were so sweet.There were also many small and large dogs laying around or playing with the visitors. Right next to the horses was a small minizoo with goats, geese, cape barracks, pigs, guinea pigs and rabbits. I really love rabbits, that´s why I played and feed them for a while. The farm offers various options for riding. Once the normal guided ride around the farm for starters. However, you can also take lessons or even take a trip with the horses through the mountains. I would have loved to go on a tour to the nature, but unfortunately I´m just a beginner, so it is kind of difficult. If you are a big horse fan you should use that chance!After that I visited the small Sheltland Ponies. There was a 2 weeks old little folen, which was so sweet and already much bigger than the miniature horses.The horse farm is really a great adventure if you love horses very much!

From Kanazawa-shi to Wajima-shi: A Noto Peninsula Roadtrip!

How to roam a place that is barely visited by BUS and unreachable by TRAINS? Answer, drive a car. Japan is a very convenient country to travel around. Almost everything is connected by trains or subways. There are buses that go around the nooks and crannies of every street. However, if you’ll visit the faraway gems of Noto Peninsula, by car is the best option to see the most of it. And wouldn’t it be fun to have a road trip by the sea with this hot weather?Shiroyone Senmaida in Wajima-shi *** Since we don’t have a car, we rented one. Rental cars are easy to find in Kanazawa-shi. There are tons around the station, plus, the information center in Kanazawa station has an English support, making it easier for non-Japanese speakers to locate one. • Make sure you have the papers you needed to rent. • There are rent-a-cars that only accept CREDIT CARD so make sure to check on that. • There is an English guide about “Driving in Japan,” get one! • Most of the rental cars are AUTOMATIC. • It cost about 7,000- 10,000 yen (or more). • Some GPS can be translated in English. Ask the rental service about it. We still used GOOGLE MAPS because the GPS of the car we rented wasn’t very reliable. Additional Info: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2024.html *** Why Kanazawa? We were captivated by a poster of Shiroyone Senmaida at the train station, so we decided to plan a trip around that area.Fukura Lighthouse (Shika-machi)  Fukura lighthouse takes about an hour by car from Kanazawa station. We didn’t plan to visit it, but we got lost and spend a lot of time driving around! We were afraid we won’t see the beauty of the coast outside the car.After minutes of googling, we found our first destination; Fukura Lighthouse, the OLDEST wooden lighthouse in Japan that was built around the Keicho Era. Among the bushes and narrow path, you’ll find it. There’s another lighthouse nearby that might confuse you. But, don’t fret! OLD Fukura is just couple of steps away. Additional info: http://satohama-tokei.jp/english-guide/ Ganmon Rock Ganmon, which means “Gate Rock,” offers a 20 minute boat ride for an up close glimpse of its majestic rock formation and other sightseeing spots. There is also a cave that you can check out, which is according to legend; it is where Minamoto no Yoshitsune hid when he was escaping from the founder of Kamakura Shogunate, Yoritomo. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time. Hence, we just viewed it from afar. Additional Info: http://www.hot-ishikawa.jp/kanko/english/20002.html Shiroyone Senmaida From Ganmon to Senmaida by car, it takes about an hour. There is another rock formation on the way called Hatago Iwa, but the sunset was almost on its way so we quickly drove to our main destination. At 5:00pm, finally, we saw the sunlight made the sea sparkle and the rice paddies golden. It was indeed a relaxing scene and a wonderful place to take photographs. Using machineries in Shiroyone’s small paddies is a bit challenging, thus, planting and harvesting the rice are done by volunteers and locals. Sunset viewing in this place is perfect by the end of April to July. That is why this is the TIME to pack your camera, get ready to listen to the ocean hit the shore, and anticipate the cool breeze of Noto Peninsula. Additional Info: http://senmaida.wajima-kankou.jp/en/

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