2015 Top Onsens in Japan

Onsen in Japan has been as old as history with Dogo Onsen in Ehime Prefecture (Shikkoku) probably being the first recorded Onsen in Japan history in year 712. Throughout history from the 12th to the 17th century, the culture and practice of using an Onsen has been largely credited to Buddhism influence for the religious practice of cleansing and purifying the body. In addition, there is also the widespread recognized health benefits to be obtained from different types of Onsen. Of course, with its healing properties comes numerous myths and legends of various Onsens having miraculous properties where injured warriors […]

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10-12 Days Hokkaido Itinerary Ideas

This itinerary idea is based on my last year’s trip to Hokkaido for 11 days with my family of four. Hopefully this could also give others planning trips to Hokkaido for similar periods an idea of where to start and where to go. Starting point would usually be at Sapporo or Chitose where the international landing flights come into from all over the world. So Sapporo or Chitose would normally be the starting point of most itineraries in Hokkaido. And largely depending on the Season, and the MUST GO that one already has in mind, the time taken per place […]

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A Winter Look at Otaru Canal

[Otaru Walking Guide] Otaru … one of my first point of visit upon reaching Sapporo, Hokkaido. There were quite a fair bit of snow on the ground around by the time we landed in Hokkaido in mid December from Singapore. But what made this place really memorable was that upon stepping out of the train station (Otaru Station), while orientating our direction to walk towards the Otaru Canal, the first snow flakes came dropping from the sky! While this was not the first time see snow flakes from the sky, nevertheless, it gives us a childish delight … like …. […]

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Noboribetsu Bear Park and more …

A visit to Noboribetsu should have the itinerary planned for at least a portion to explore and enjoy the Onsens available here, that is considered the Best in Hokkaido, and rank 4th in the whole of Japan. I feel most Asians generally have a concern about nudity that is required for Onsen. Put that thought aside, you will very soon realize it’s all in your mind that’s all. Having said that, Noboribetsu is not all just about Onsen. There are other activities too 🙂 One could drive to view the scenic crater-lake (caldera), Lake Kuttara located in the Shikotsu Toya National […]

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Noboribetsu – Hokkaido Best Onsens

White …. white …. white everywhere! That is the beauty of Winter, at least to someone like me that lives in a country that is all-year round summer, hot and humid. The only cool time is when one sets foot into an air-conditioned room or venue. We arrived at Noboribetsu station from Sapporo, and made our way to Noboribetsu Grand Hotel by cab, that took roughly 10 minutes. Yes! We have made it to the famous Hot Spring area in Hokkaido and we are so gonna spend the next 2 days enjoying the warmth of the onsens  😆 If you see […]

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Winter Trip to Sounkyo Ropeway ~ Hokkaido

Sounkyo is located in the Daisetsuzan National Park, situated in a gorge between high flanking forested cliffs. In the Spring and Autumn seasons, the views that can be seen are panoramic and colorful especially with the 2 famous waterfall here: Ginga no Taki (Milky Way Falls) and Ryusei no Taki (Shooting Star Falls)! Not to mention the onsen baths where some onsens offer fantastic views while relaxing in the hot spring water. In fact other than poor timing where I arrived in late Dec, the Ice Waterfall Festival Grounds were actually just in front of Hotel Taisetsu where my family and […]

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Shirahama – The Resort Town south of Wakayama

Shirahama is a onsen-resort town by the south coast of Wakayama. By train, it would take roughly 1hour 30min to reach from Wakayama as I don’t remember there being any express or rapid-express train for stops into the countryside, therefore the train stops at every stop until Shirahama station … and it does feel really long. Looking back on the trip made to Shirahama, I really do feel that 2 days would be a good enough time to explore this resort town, which I only had about 3/4 day then. So I couldn’t really explore this place to satisfaction having […]

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Shiroi Koibito Park (白い恋人) – Origins of one of the Best Chocolate Cookie ever from Hokkaido

It is probably one of the best chocolate cookies ever made, ever tasted. All my children, nephews, even my working colleagues and friends know this packaging, this name by 白い恋人. In case one is still not aware of how it looks like, check out the photo below, hopefully it could jolt your taste buds into an over-run 🙂 My kiddos were entirely fascinated to be able to visit these cookies’ place of origin, whereas for me … well … due to time constraints, I had to give the Sapporo Beer Museum a miss … no big miss though since I […]

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Tranquility at Koyasan (Part 2)

If you ask me as a typical person if a cemetery would fall into my Must-Go places? Most likely one would get a bewildered, big eye look from me, expressing “You Gonna Be Joking ?” Not unless Buffy is my good friend hahah! But here I am, bring my family exactly to one, not to mention that this is an ancient graveyard, but an enormous one too !!! In Mt. Koya, this graveyard is called Okunoin, wherein lies the mausoleum, the final resting place of Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi), a legendary Shingon Buddhist monk who is believed to have giving aid […]

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Tranquility at Koyasan (Part 1)

At Wakayama, one of the MUST GO place is definitely Mount Koya or Koyasan. Koyasan is one of the religious location steeped in Japanese Shingon Buddhism, where there is opportunities to see many famous and majestic temples, some offering lodgings to visitors too. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. For me personally, it was one of the place that I managed to see overnight snow in Autumn, for its attitude is ~ 900m above ground! To get to Koyasan is not hard. If my memory serves me right, we bought our tickets from Gokurakubashi station for […]

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