Get a Taste of Japan, Visit the Cities of Niigata and Tsuruoka

On the north-east coast of Japan, where mountains roll into rice fields and waves crash on sandy shores, two historical cities stand out for their gastronomic delights. Harbour side Niigata and mountainous Tsuruoka - located in the Tohoku region of Japan, a few hours from Tokyo by train - have a very different culinary style, but both approach cuisine in a way that celebrates the farmlands, oceans and mountains that surround them. The cities may  be 140km apart, but their commitment to the country's natural abundance unites them in reputation: as true culinary capitals of Japan.

Okinawa - Beyond the Beaches

If you read anything about the coral-fringed islands Okinawa archipelago, you'll quickly find out that diving, whale-watching and island hopping are among the best things to do here.  The archipelago of Okinawa, made up of over 160 islands slung across the East China Sea, is a place of chalk-white beaches and mangrove forests, located closer to Taiwan than Tokyo.

A Ski Destination for Any Budget

Thinking of going skiing this year, but not sure where your budget can take you? Let us help you with a few options. You have to be quick though before these well-kept skiing and snowboarding secrets are discovered by the masses.  Destination ranges from Europe, North America to the Far East. Some of these were once used as Winter Olympic destinations.

Kyoto - The Heart of Japan

There it was again. A streak of colour and a scurry in the tiny alleyway up ahead. I crept forward, treading lightly past wooden facades and unmarked doors, careful not to knock the red lanterns that cast an atmospheric glow across the cobbled path. A sharp turn to the left, and there she is: a geisha.  A quick glance over her shoulder, her white made-up face contrasting with the elaborate design of her kimono - and she's gone.

While we all know that geishas' inherent beauty, grace and charm have been admired for centuries, the same could be said of Kyoto. Like waiting for a glimpse of a shy nocturnal creature, you can wait all day for the city to reveal its secrets, and just as you're about to give up in favour of fast food and a night at karaoke, Kyoto's discrete world will reveal itself.

5 Places to Run Wild with Nature

Japan is a land of great natural beauty and there are plenty of remote walking trails to get you amongst it all. The Kunisaki Trek is one of the best: you can follow in the footsteps of Monks who have wandered the mountains of the Kunisaki Peninsula for more than 1,000 years.

Take Quiet Time Out in Tokyo

Tokyo: one of the world’s largest cities. It’s big, buzzy and loud. But the Japanese capital isn’t all frantic-paced living and cramming on to impossibly packed subway trains. There are blissful pockets of peace and tranquillity too. From discovering the intricacies of a traditional tea ceremony to zazen meditation and dining experiences that last all afternoon, here are five ways to find calm in Tokyo.

Ishigaki, Japan’s Hidden Wonderland

You probably haven’t heard of it but Ishigaki, a small Japanese island, has just been named TripAdvisor’s top-trending travel destination for 2018. Once virtually ignored, even by the Japanese, this banjo-shaped isle is currently being compared to Hawaii thanks to its heartbreaking white-sand beaches, translucent waters and epic marine life.

Go Off The Beaten Piste This Winter Season

With the winter ski season coming, the craving for that soft white powdery piste is starting to kick in, and you might be thinking, where should I go? With so many options where can you go to get this year's fix  of adrenaline rush and the feeling of that fresh scripts wintery wind in your face as you ski down chosen run: blue, red or black. For this season we want you to set your sights beyond Val d’Isere, because we have a list of some weird and wonderful mountains from which to hurl yourself.

Visit Fukuoka via Japan's Golden Route

Fukuoka has been rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world, which also makes it a great place to visit. It is also said to be the oldest city in Japan. However, it is probably best known for its yatai or street food stalls, which serve yakitori chicken, oden hot pots and tonkotsu ramen.  The food served is both delicious and affordable and the cuisine is a reflection of the history of this cosmopolitan city on the north coast of Kyushu, the closest of Japan’s four main islands to the Asian mainland.

Enjoy The Bright lights and Big City Life of Tokyo

Tokyo was voted the most satisfying city in the world to visit in 2014. Despite the massive population of over 13 million, visitors said it was friendly, clean and easy to get around. Japan’s capital was also third in the world for restaurants and nightlife and fifth for shopping, according to the same Trip Advisor list.

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