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Hiroshima, Japan

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Hiroshima Ken, Higashihiroshima Shi, Saijocho, Taguchi, 2786-1

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  • A Hopeful City That Built Its Way Back Up. Here are 7 Reasons To Visit Hiroshima

    Hiroshima holds a heart-wrenching past and the bombing is often synonymous with the city's name, but the city strives to prove that the event did not stop them from moving forward. If you want to be inspired by the strength of the city and the hopefulness of its people, then you should definitely visit Hiroshima at least once in your lifetime. This brave city has an immense amount of historical places and stories to offer. Apart from that, it's also blooming into a modern city that is presently striving to re-establish itself. The historical places, museums and attractions around Hiroshima represent its past, present and future. If you're still not curious to experience how the city is today, here are 7 reasons why it should be the next destination for you and your loved ones. Read more about Japan 1. Wonderful Spring  We will start off by letting you know when is the best time to visit Hiroshima. This special season allows you to appreciate Hiroshima at an important and unique moment. Spring is known to be the time of rebirth, as the iconic cherry blossoms of Japan start to bloom. It is a significant season for Hiroshima as it represents how they have rebuilt themselves after the devastating hit. Spring symbolises the timeless notion of renewal where the nature boasts its natural beauty in adversity. Here's how you can witness and capture those stunning views. 2. Blossoming Flowers Hiroshima Flower Festival Picture: Hiroshima Every year without fail, a flower festival will be held from May 3rd to 5th. This festival welcomes participants to brighten up Hiroshima with colourful flowers and music. It aims to share the dignity of life with everyone and appeals for a warm-hearted cultural interchange between Hiroshima and the world. As seasons return each year to provide hope and regrowth, this festival serves as a beautiful collection that highlights the circle of life. Flower Tourism in Sera Picture: Hiroshima A small town of no more than 20,000 people, located at the northeast of Hiroshima offers many flower parks for visitors. The parks are unlike any other as they are covered with a sea of specific flowers. Some of them include the Kozan Lavender Hill, which is a blanket of lavender and the Sera Fuji En (Wisteria Park) which is home to around 1,200 vibrant wisteria trees. There are also tulip parks, lily gardens and of course the gorgeous cherry blossoms everywhere. They simply cannot be missed especially when in full bloom. 3. Itsukushima Shrine This shrine was built in 593BC and is completely surrounded by waters as a dedication to the Island which was considered to be a god. This world heritage site from 1996 is the perfect example of Japan’s rich past. Its traditional architecture represents the beautiful and prosperous Japanese history as well as its detailed way of life and religious culture. The complex is huge and holds many shrines that were added along the years in dedication to other deities. This shrine is considered one of the biggest in all of Japan. It has been extremely well-preserved and taken care of. Head down here to admire the handiwork from centuries ago and the impressive architecture that still stands today in immaculate condition. Address: 1−1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588, JapanWebsite: ItsukushimaJinja 4. Japanese Culture Whether it’s wearing a beautiful hand-picked kimono while walking down Miyajima or watching Kagura in Hiroshima Prefecture, the Japanese culture is something very much presented proudly in their every-day life. People of Hiroshima are very welcoming towards tourists who want to experience their culture. There are a few places, including the Okeiko Japan Miyajima, where you can sit through a traditional tea ceremony and learn Japanese calligraphy. If you wish to bring home some souvenirs, there is the Miyajima Traditional Product Hall which boasts exhibits and traditional crafts from centuries ago. Hiroshima's fusion of the past, present and future showcases how it’s possible to preserve traditional craftsmanship and skills for the what lies ahead. 5. Halal Cuisines Halal food in Hiroshima is not impossible to find. If you don't mind going on a vacation without eating meat, Japan is known for its abundance of seafood, ranging from oysters to a wide variety of sushi. Apart from vegetarian and seafood eateries, there are also Halal restaurants and restaurants with Halal menus available in Hiroshima. Here are a few options you can choose from. Zicon - C.D. (Japanese cuisines with a Halal menu)Address: Honju Hall 2F, 6-10 Shintenchi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shiContact: 082-258-2229 Karsiyaka (Halal Turkish and middle-eastern food)Address: 2-6-20 Otemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730-0051, Hiroshima PrefectureContact: +81 82-247-2202 Kanak Otemachi (Halal and vegetarian-friendly Indian cuisines)Address: 2-2-10 Otemachi, Naka, Hiroshima 730-0051, Hiroshima PrefectureContact: +81 82-236-7308 Coco Ichibanya (Halal Vegetarian and Seafood)Address: 2 Chome-7-2 OtemachiContact: +81 82-543-5535 6. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Picture: ExploreHiroshima The park was opened as a reminder of the devastating event and a memorial for all those who were lost. It represents a pledge for permanent peace. This memorial may be one of the more emotional visits on your trip but do remember that its very design and foundation showcase the forgiving and hopeful nature of the people of Hiroshima. There are also other memorials worth visiting including the Children’s peace monument which is dedicated to the lives of innocent children that were lost.  Address: Japan, 〒730-0811 Hiroshima Prefecture, 広島市中区中島町1丁目1Contact: +81 82-504-2390Operating Hours: Open 24 hours 7. Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art Representing the future and abstract nature of life, this museum showcases exhibitions of all kinds. It is a great way to be transported away and allows you to understand Japanese contemporary life through visual representation rather than words. The museum is structured in a way to let you feel and interpret as you desire. It incorporates political, cultural, environmental ideas and applies it aesthetically to give you an idea of Hiroshima’s present and future. Address: 1-1 Hijiyama koen, Minami-ku, Japan 732-0815Contact: +81-82-264-1121Operating Hours: 10AM - 4.30PM (Tues to Sun) In a nutshell, a lot can be learned from Hiroshima depending on your perspective and openness. Despite their dark past and injustices, Hiroshima proves that there will always light and countless positive possibilities. Read more of our travel blogs...

  • This Is So #Kawaii! Hop On The Hello Kitty Shinkansen When You're In Japan!

    What is a Shinkansen? Picture Credit: Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash​ Shinkansen is the name given to a network of high-powered trains in Japan, generally used for long-distance travel from Tokyo to distant cities, but also by daily commuters. To English-speakers, a Shinkansen might be better recognizable when called a bullet train.​ Hello Kitty Shinkansen Picture Credit: Nippon​ Japan's latest spectacle combines two things the country loves and is best known for all around the world – Hello Kitty (a cute character created by the company, Sanrio), and bullet trains. The train is operated by one of five Japan's railway operators – West Japan Railway Co and is set to run the Shinkansen line from Shin-Osaka to Hakata Station as a Kodama. The train's main aim is to promote tourism and to bring attention to the regional communities in Western Japan. The company unveiled its newest and cutest additions in June of this year, two revamped 500 series trains decked out fully in pink and white, complete with Hello Kitty motifs and the character's signature pink bow to be seen everywhere. The pink and white bullet train began its run on the 30th of June. The train is said to be in operation only until October 2018, although plans to increase the time period may be taken up depending on the demand. But, why take the chance? If you are traveling to Japan during this time period, do not miss a trip on Japan's cutest high-speed bullet train, it's sure to be a memory of a lifetime! Features of the Hello Kitty Shinkansen Picture Credit: Nippon​ The outside of the train is painted in shades of pink and white, with large pink ribbons, and the image of Hello Kitty decked out in the Shinkansen uniform looking out from each train car. The inside is more of the same, with little motifs of Hello Kitty placed in several parts of the car, including the window shades. The train even plays the Hello Kitty jingle as it approaches each stop instead of the usual Shinkansen tune. Picture Credit: Nippon​ Eight original Hello Kitty designs have been added to the Shinkansen's design, each one holding a local product representing each of the prefectures the train passes by on its journey. Some of these include a green apple for Tottori prefecture, a black shell for Shimane prefecture, and a strawberry for Fukuoka prefecture. Other areas highlighted include Osaka, Hyogo, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi. Hello Plaza Picture Credit: Nippon​ Other than the regular passenger areas, two seat-less train cars have been specially designed to give travelers the ultimate Hello Kitty experience. Car 1 is named “Hello! Plaza”, and is dedicated to showcasing local Japanese products including food, souvenirs, and specialty items. According to Japan Railway, this room features areas for shopping, rest, and a photo spot, as well as a video corner. Kawaii Room Picture Credit: Nippon​ Car 2 is called the “Kawaii! Room”, and it is decked from head to toe in pink. Passengers will be greeted by life-size Hello Kitty doll wearing the Shinkansen uniform standing in a photo booth where fans can take pictures. The car also features other items, all of them in the theme of Hello Kitty and friends. A special Hello Kitty themed cafe, as well as a souvenir shop featuring exclusive Hello Kitty Shinkansen merchandise, were opened at the Hakata Station. Arrive early with time to spare before your journey or spend some time when you get off the train (depending on where you start/stop), and have some fun at these places! Prices & Reservation Prices for the Hello Kitty Shinkansen are similar to regular bullet trains in Japan. Tickets for the train are also included in a Japan Rail (JR) pass, so if you already have one, you are set to go! There are even said to be free seats given out, but we cannot confirm the availability of them on any particular day. Reservations are also technically not required, but we would suggest you do it anyway, given the recent launch, demand, and potentially short run of the Hello Kitty Shinkansen. Car 1 (Hello! Plaza) and Car 2 (Kawaii! Room) are free to enter, but depending on how many passengers are waiting in line, you might have to wait for some time to gain admission. You might also want to reserve your ticket for Car 2 in advance. You can book your tickets at any JR office or online through the JR website. The Hello Kitty Shinkansen numbers are Kodama 730 (Hakata to Shin-Osaka) and Kodama 741 (Shin-Osaka to Hakata). You can find the complete timetable for the Hello Kitty Shinkansen here....

  • One Week Itinerary for Solo Travel in Japan

    It has often been said and still it is true: Japan is one of the safest country for solo travelers, especially women. In fact, Japan might be the place most suited for a single female visitor. The Japanese are well known for their friendliness and polite character. The high level of politeness and safety makes Japan a very relaxing place when travelling solo. The variety of things to see and do make it especially good for the kind of travel that lets you see and do what interests you. Japan is as stunning as it is convenient: The public transportation system is modern, clean, and has English signage. A lot of hotels in Japan have single rooms available, which makes it cheaper for the single traveler. With or without companion, Japan is that fascinating country that will definitely offer you a wonderful time. Find Halal Restaurants in Japan Find Mosques and Prayer Places in Japan   Getting Around: Japan is famous for the Shinkansen bullet trains that you might already have heard of. The Japan Rail Pass (also called JR Pass) is a very cost effective rail pass for long distance train travel in Japan. The JR Pass can be used only by foreign tourists. The pass can be purchased online or through a travel agent outside of Japan. You will then receive a voucher that has to be exchanged to the actual pass inside Japan within three months of purchase. The pass will not pay off for urban travel alone. But if you cover some long distances within a relatively short time period, the pass is likely to save you some dollars. Furthermore, the pass provides convenience and flexibility in addition to saving money. Pass holders don’t need to buy tickets before riding trains and can spontaneously make trips at no extra cost. In general, the 7-day pass costs about the same as regular Shinkansen tickets for a round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto. It will most likely not pay off if you travel less than that. The Japan Rail Pass Calculator and the timetable website Hyperdia are good tools to compare regular ticket costs with the pass. You will find further information on the official website: http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/   Day 1: Landing in Tokyo Picture Credit: Adrian Chandler, www.flickr.com A good starting point for your trip is Tokyo. The city has so much to offer, you could spend months in it and still will have adventures and places to explore left. So, just let us give you some suggestions: For foreigners, it is very nice to stay in Asakusa. Asakusa is the center of Tokyo's shitamachi (literally "low city"), one of Tokyo's districts, where an atmosphere of the Tokyo of past decades endures. It’s popular with tourists and locals alike. Senso-ji, a very popular Buddhist temple, which was built in the 7th century, is the main attraction of the district. You can approach the temple through the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. It’s highly recommended to explore Asakusa on foot, but you should also consider a guided tour on a rickshaw. Asakusa is served by several public transport lines such as Ginza Line, Asakusa Line, Tsukuba Express and Tobu Railways.   Day 2: Roaming in Tokyo Tokyo Skytree Picture Credit: japan-magazine.jnto.go.jp Start your day with a visit to Tokyo Skytree. This television broadcasting tower one of the tallest buildings in the world, measuring 634 meters, and a landmark in Tokyo. There are two observation decks: At 350 meters, there is a restaurant, a café and shops behind large windows. The highest platform is at 450 meters altitude. An outer ramp surrounds this segment. Visitors can enjoy the view over one of the biggest cities in the world. You can purchase the entry tickets at the tower itself, 365 days a year. A shopping complex and an aquarium are located at the base of the tower. You will find the entrance to the Tokyo Skytree on the 4th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town, which comprises the range between Tokyo Skytree Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line, and Oshiage Station on the Asakusa Line, Keisei Oshiage Line and Hanzomon Line. Alternatively, you can walk across the Sumida River from Asakusa in about 20 minutes. Buses from Tokyo Station, Ueno Station, and Haneda Airport also reach Tokyo Skytree. You can refer to the image below and identify the different routes to get to Tokyo Skytree Town. Web: http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en/Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045 Picture Credit: www.tokyo-skytree.jp Shibuya Crossing Picture Credit: www.francescocattutophotographer.com After that, take a subway ride to the legendary Shibuya Crossing. The intersection is heavily decorated by neon advertisements and giant video screens. This iconic place gets flooded by pedestrians each time the crossing light turns green, making it a popular photo and movie filming spot. Some people recommend watching the crossing from an elevated position like Starbucks or the public Shibuya Mark City, but if you really want to soak in the atmosphere, you should stand down at ground level with all the other people around you. Shibuya is a well-known center for youth fashion and culture, and its streets are the origin of many of Japan's fashion and entertainment trends. To get there, take the Hachiko exit from Shibuya Station, which leads directly to the Shibuya Crossing. Cat Cafe MoCHA Picture Credit: digjapan.travel A short walk from Shibuya Crossing you will find one of the famous cat cafés, MoCHA. When you’re done with shopping and have had enough of the scramble at the busy Shibuya crossing, come here to relax, play with the kitties, and spend some healing time. Website: http://www.catmocha.jpAddress: 32-12 Udagawacho Assorti Shibuya 8F, Shibuya 150-0042 Shinjuku Picture Credit: fastjapan.com A short subway ride will take you to Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku is one of the 23 city wards of Tokyo, but the name commonly refers to just the large entertainment, business and shopping area around Shinjuku Station. There is a lot to see near JR Shinjuku Station, which is the busiest station in Japan with 3.5 million passengers per day. At the east exit are the entertainment districts of Kabuki-cho and Golden Gai, and there are plenty of shops and department stores. The business district on the opposite at west exit is dominated by office buildings and hotels next to the town hall, and here and there you can see publicly accessible art installations. The south exit leads to a broad terrace with skyscrapers surrounding, ideal for a pleasant walk. Here you’ll find the park Shinjuku-Gyoen, an oasis of peace in the heart of Tokyo. The various areas of Shinjuku each have their own charm, waiting for you to explore them. Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka Picture Credit: www.halalmedia.jp After exploring the Shinjuku neighbourhood you will most likely be hungry and weary. While finding a halal local restaurant in Shinjuku may not be one of the simplest things to do in Japan, the Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka is definitely worth a shot. This restaurant lets you indulge in the taste of Japan just like a local. Just like any other ramen restaurants, they serve you a hot bowl of Japanese goodness and warms you up during the winter. However, what's different about this ramen stall is that it is halal and is run by Muslims. Don't miss the chance to fit in like a local and slurp some delicious ramen.  Address: 1-11-7 Shinjuku | 1f, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture Day 3: Tokyo - Kyoto Golden Pavillion Picture Credit: handsonkyoto.com In the morning, take one of the convenient Shinkansen bullet trains to Kyoto. You will pass the Mt. Fuji, so better sit on the right-hand site of the train. Sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful landscape. When you arrive in Kyoto, there should be time to visit the Golden Pavillion, also called Kinkaku-ji. The golden pavilion, which is a Zen Buddhist temple, is the picture perfect symbol of the traditional Japan. Its top two floors are completely covered in gold. Reflected in the adjacent "Mirror Pond" with its small islands of stone and pine trees, the Kinkaku-ji Temple offers a breathtaking picture that you should not miss. It’s one of those iconic buildings you want to see in person. The temple garden will captivate you with its landscape and a charming teahouse in the middle. Kinkaku-ji can be reached from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus number 101 or 205. Website: http://www.shokoku-ji.jp/Address: 1 Kinkakuji-chō, Kita-ku, Kyoto Manga Museum Picture Credit: www.kanpai-japan.com Close to the subway station Karasuma-Oike, you will find the Manga Museum. This is the first museum in Japan that is all about mangas. It offers an impressive selection of exhibits, encompassing everything from 19th-century Japanese journals and books to popular contemporary works from Japan and abroad. The museum owns around 200,000 manga and manga-related exhibits. Special exhibitions also take place here. Furthermore, the museum serves as a library. Of course, there is also a museum shop and a café. Website: http://www.kyotomm.jp/english/Address: Karasuma-Oike, Nakagyō-ku, Kyoto 604-0846   Day 4: Enjoying Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine Picture Credit: thetruejapan.com When in Kyoto, you must not miss the infamous Fushimi Inari Shrine. Fushimi Inari is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of gates, the torii, which line the path behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters. Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice cultivation, fertility – and foxes. Foxes are believed to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. The hike to the summit of the mountain and back takes about 2-3 hours, however, visitors are free to walk just as far as they wish before turning back. Along the path, you will see numerous smaller shrines with piles of mini torii gates that were donated by visitors with minor funds. Along the way, there are also a few eateries that offer local dishes such as Inari Sushi and Kitsune Udon ("Fox Udon"), both containing fried tofu, thought to be a favored food of foxes. Just be warned: Fushimi-Inari Shrine is one of the most popular sights in Kyoto, so better come early on a weekday morning. However, whenever you go, rest assured that you’ll leave most of the crowds behind as you ascend the mountain. Fushimi Inari Shrine is situated close to JR Inari Station on the JR Nara Line, not far from Kyoto Station. The shrine can also be accessed by a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line. Website: inari.jp/en/Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto 612-0882 Tenryu-ji Temple Picture Credit: www.thousandwonders.ne Afterwards, head toward the Tenryu-ji Temple & Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Right off the main drag in Arashiyama, a few steps from the main bus stop Tenryuji-mae and the Keifuku Line’s Arashiyama Station, Tenryu-ji Temple is the logical first stop for any exploration of Arashiyama. Tenryu-ji is the most important temple in Kyoto's Arashiyama district. This Zen temple is registered as a UNESCO world heritage site. You start by exploring the main hall and observing the famed garden and pond from inside the hall, then you put your shoes back on and explore the garden, which is the main attraction, on foot. The Tenryu-ji Temple Garden is said to have been built by the founder of the temple, Muso Soseki, in the 14th century. The garden is arranged so that visitors can enjoy the changing scenery while walking around the pond in its center. Visitors can also have a taste of the temple's Zen vegetarian cuisine. The temple is a short walk from either Arashiyama station or Saga Arashiyama station (served by different subway lines). Website: http://www.tenryuji.com/en/Address: 68 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga Tenryu-ji, Ukyo-ku Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Picture Credit: www.insidekyoto.com Tenryu-ji Temple is connected to the iconic Arashiyama bamboo groove, make sure to take a stroll there as well. The bamboo trail can be accessed via the North Gate of the temple. The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist attractions and for good reason: standing among these sky-high stalks of bamboo is like being in another world. There’s just one main path through the grove, which leads leisurely uphill. Strolling through the forest will cost you nothing, since there is no entry fee. The Bamboo Forest is a popular location for wedding photographs – the presence of the newly married couple is quite common in the grove. Also, it is popular among Japanese girls and couples to put on their kimonos and head to the Bamboo Grove for a photoshoot. The crowds are worst in the weekends and particularly during the spring cherry blossom and fall color seasons, so just try to avoid these times. Address:  Saganonomiyacho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8394, Japan   Day 5: Kyoto - Nara Nara Park Picture Credit: www.wesidetrip.com With easy access from Kyoto, a trip to quiet Nara is the right idea to escape from Japan's well-known tourist magnet. Nara Park in central Nara alone is worth a full day. The park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Believed to be messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, Nara's nearly 1,200 deer have become a symbol of the city. Nara's deer are quite tame, although you should always keep in mind, that they are still wild animals. Deer crackers can be purchased around the park, and some deer have learned to bow to visitors to ask to be fed. Visiting and feeding the deer is a nice activity for families. Nara Park is a five minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station or a about a 20 minute walk from JR Nara Station. Alternatively, you can reach the park by bus. There are multiple stops around the park. Website: https://www.visitnara.jp/destinations/area/nara-park/Address: Noboriojicho, Takahatacho, Kasugano, Zoshicho, Nara-shi, Nara-ken Of course, Nara does not lack of temples and shrines. In fact, Nara has a variety of shrines, temples, and ruins that are collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, if you are not into deer feeding, why not visit Ikoma Sanju Amusement Park or hike Mt. Wakakusa?   Day 6: Nara - Osaka Umeda Sky Building Picture Credit: www.elevatorimagazine.com With 2.7 million inhabitants, Osaka is the third largest city in Japan after Tokyo and Yokohama. The city is the traditional trade center of Japan and today one of the most important industrial centers and one of the most important ports in Japan. To get an overview, pay a visit to the Umeda Sky Building. If you stand in front of the sparkling glass walls of the 173-meter-high building, you will get a sense of the incredible achievements that were necessary to build this impressive structure. The Umeda Sky Building is a pair of skyscrapers connected in midair. The names of the two are the "Tower East" and "Tower West" which both are 173 meters tall with 40 floors. The building is a land mark of Osaka and at the very top of it there is a “floating garden observatory”. Don’t get mistaken by the name: oddly, the garden has no flowers or trees. Nonetheless, the stunning 360 degree panoramic view, which can be enjoyed from the open deck, is certainly worth a visit. The building is not only popular among tourists but also among couples. On the 39th floor, which is also where the entrance is, there is a restaurant, bar, and café to elegantly enjoy the best food and sights. Additionally, there are other places to enjoy besides the observatory. On the first basement level, there is the "Takimi Lane of Restaurants" that replicates the downtown romance of the early Showa Era. Many restaurants there serve typical Japanese dishes like Ramen, Teppanyaki, Tempura, and Sukiyaki. On the third floor of "Tower East", there is a cinema, showing movies from all over the world. At the outdoor space "Wonder Square" which is in between the Eastern and the Western towers, many festivals, exhibitions, shows, concerts, and fairs take place throughout the year. The nearest station is JR Osaka Station and Umeda Station of the Osaka City Subway, Hankyu Line, and Hanshin Line. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to walk to the building from either station. Web: http://www.kuchu-teien.com/global/index.htmlAddress: 531-0076 1-1-88 Oyodo-naka, Kita-ku, OsakaCity   Day 7: Beautiful Osaka Osaka CastlePicture Credit: www.layoverguide.com Start your last day by visiting Osaka Castle. It is one of Japan's most famous castles and played an important role in uniting Japan in the 16th century. When it was built in the late 16th century, it was the largest and most impressive castle Japan had ever seen. The entire Osaka Castle Park covers about two square kilometers with lots of green space, sport facilities, a multi-purpose arena (Osakajo Hall) and a shrine dedicated to its builder, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Inside, you will find a museum displaying artefacts that includes art and armor. We recommend visiting the castle in the morning, so you will have enough time for more Osaka City sightseeing in the afternoon. The best approach to Osaka Castle is through Otemon Gate at the southwestern corner of the park. The closest subway station is Tanimachiyonchome Station along the Tanimachi Line and Chuo Line. Web: http://www.osakacastle.net/english/Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0002 Aqua Liner Picture Credit: www.japan-highlightstravel.com After enjoying Osaka Castle, we recommend taking an Aqua-bus, the “Aqua Liner”, as a pleasant way of sightseeing. There are several rivers flowing through the city of Osaka crossed by many bridges. A great number of outstanding historical sites can be seen and enjoyed along those rivers.You can board an aqua bus from the Park (Osaka Castle port). The long, flat boat rises only 1.6 meters from the water surface so it can pass under bridges. The cruise, which lasts for an hour and runs every day, covers Osaka's main sightseeing spots, including Osaka Castle, Nakanoshima, Osaka Business Park, and Osaka Amenity Park. Website: http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/facilities/cat37/post_263.html Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan Picture Credit: almanac.charmlab.org/osaka-aquarium-kaiyukan.html Finish your stay in Japan with a visit at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. Being one of the greatest aquariums in the world, the Kaiyukan has 30,000 creatures and 580 species, mostly from the Pacific Ocean. The main attraction is a huge whale shark. The arrangement of the basins designed in a way that it corresponds to the actual geography as far as possible. At the very end you will find a huge pool full of rays and mini sharks. The pool is open and visitors are allowed to pet the creatures in there! Website: http://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/Address: 1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 552-0022 After this week in Japan you will most likely be already addicted to the country. The country will leave you awe-struck for sure. You will come home from your trip feeling confident about navigating a foreign country on your own, and you will have fun telling stories about what you discovered on your trip. And who knows? Maybe you will come back and explore what has not been covered by this one-week itinerary like Kobe, Hiroshima, or Okinawa. For sure, Japan has so much to see, do and explore! Book a trip to Japan with us! Check out our City Guides in Japan!...

  • Shop Till You Drop - 10 Best Shopping Malls in Hokkaido

    When in Hokkaido, Japan, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, and the country’s coldest region, shopping will surely drive away the cold and keep you warm and running! Hokkaido is known for its volcanoes, natural hot springs and ski areas. However, a popular answer to ‘what to do in Hokkaido?’, is also ‘shopping’. With its variety and range of retail outlets and shopping malls designed for the shopaholic - from high-end designer wear to affordable shopping malls, Hokkaido offers shoppers of varying budgets a super choice to shop till you drop.   One of the most popular cities is Sapporo where one is spoilt for choice of shopping malls and department stores. However, for those Muslim tourists going to other cities such as Asahikawa and Hakodate, there are some good shopping places here too.     So, while on your Halal friendly travel to Hokkaido, try out these 10 most famous shopping malls and enjoy an experience like no other!   1. Parco Shopping Center | Odori Shopping District | Sapporo Picture Credit - www.matcha-jp.com   Parco has 19 shopping centres across Japan. The Parco Sapporo shopping centre has close to 140 shops and eateries across floors B2 to the 8th. The range of goods and services are wide and varied, from lifestyle, cosmetics, accessories to clothing for men; women and children, and restaurants and cafes. The shopping centre also features stores by fashion brands like COMME Des GARÇONS, CABANE De ZUCCA and BAO BAO by ISSEY MIYAKE.   Address: 3 Chome Minami 2 Jōnishi, Chūō-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 060-0062, Japan   Hours of Operation:   Shops: Monday - Friday, Sunday 10:00 am to 08:00 pm | Saturday 10:00 am to 08:30 pm Restaurants: Monday – Sunday 11:00 am to 11:00 pm Starbucks Coffee Shop: Monday – Sunday 7:30 am to 11:00 pm   Public Transport Access: a 3-minute walk from Odori Station *Subway Namboku Line, Tozai Line, Toho Line a 1-minute walk from Shiden Nishi-yonchome Station Directly connected to Pole Town Underground Shopping Mall a 10-minute walk from Subway Namboku Line Sapporo Station   2. Mitsukoshi Shopping Complex | Odori Shopping District | Sapporo Picture Credit - www.japanshopping.org   This is a long established Mitsukoti shopping complex in the famed Odori district of Sapporo. Offering a range of luxury goods from branded clothing to food, there is also a currency exchange available to Muslim travellers. The complete product range includes groceries, confectionary, cosmetics, Western and Japanese style clothing, jewellery, and home appliances. The Shopping Complex also offers a range of restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets serving various cuisines.   Address: Sapporo Central District, Minami 1 Nishi 3-8, Hokkaido   Hours of Operation:   Daily including Holidays: 10:00 am to 07:00 pm Closed: January 1st and 2nd   Public Transport Access:    Subway Odori Station Exit 12, 13     3. Mitsui Outlet Park | Sapporo Kita-Hiroshima Picture Credit - www.sapporo.travel The Mitsui Outlet Park is the largest outlet mall in the Hokkaido/Tohoku area which is famous for its global brands like Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, United Arrows, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren, and many more. There is a range of shopping for clothes, bags & shoes, watches and accessories, sports and outdoor, fashion goods to gourmet foods. There are also many restaurants and cafes, where shoppers can take a break and rest between the shopping marathon.   Free luggage storage lockers available for shoppers as well. Address: 3-7-6 Omagari Saiwai-cho, Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido   Hours of Operation:   Shops: Monday to Sunday 10:00 am to 08:00 pm Restaurants: Monday to Sunday 11:00 am to 09:00 pm (Last order varies by shop) Food Court: Monday to Sunday 10:30 am to 09:00 pm (Last order 08:30 pm)   Public Transport Access:   Recommended Direct 50-minute bus from Sapporo Station Recommended Direct 30-minute bus from New Chitose Airport     4. Paseo Shopping Mall | JR Sapporo Train Station Picture Credit - www.sapporostation.com The Paseo Mall is located right outside the JR Sapporo Train Station. Considered one of the oldest shopping centres in Sapporo, it is divided into the East and West sides of the Station. The Eastern side is filled with several floors of boutiques and designer clothing, accessories and other products, while the Western side has drugstores, cheap restaurants, and even tourist information on the ground floor. This is a must-visit mall while on your Halal trip to Hokkaido. Address: Kita 6 Jo Nishi 2 Chome, Kita-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido   Hours of Operation:   Shopping: Monday to Sunday 10:00 am to 09:00 pm Restaurants and Cafés: Monday to Sunday 11:00 am to 10:00 pm (Note: Hours of Operation differ store to store)   Public Transport Access: Directly connected to JR Sapporo Train Station: 36 minutes from New Chitose Airport JR Rapid (Airport) 80 minutes from Asahikawa Station Super Express (L Tokkyu Kamui) 28 minutes from Otaru Station JR Rapid (Airport) Subway: Directly connected to the Sapporo Station through the Nanboku Line and the Toho Line Bus: Directly connected to Sapporo Station Bus Terminal Directly connected to JR Sapporo Station from the Sapporo Station North Exit Bus Terminal 1-minute walk to the Tokyu Department Store south side from the front of Sapporo Station Taxi: At both Sapporo Station South and North Exit Private Vehicles: Parking available for a fee       5. Sapporo Stellar Place | JR Sapporo Train Station   Picture Credit - www.uu-hokkaido.com   The Southern half of Sapporo Station has several floors of shops with balconies which overlook an enclosed open-air piazza, with a movie theatre on the seventh floor. There are close to 220 stores offering goods and services for the entire family. Shops include clothes, cosmetics, health and beauty care, book and music stores, and restaurants and cafés that serve a variety of cuisines. All the popular fashion brands are also available. Address: Kita 5 Jo Nishi 2 Chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido, Japan   Hours of Operation:   Shopping: Daily 10:00 am to 09:00 pm Dining: Daily 11:00 am to 11:00 pm   (Note: Hours of Operation differ store to store)   Public Transport Access:   Directly connected to JR Sapporo Train Station: 36 minutes from New Chitose Airport JR Rapid (Airport) 80 minutes from Asahikawa Station Super Express (L Tokkyu Kamui) 28 minutes from Otaru Station JR Rapid (Airport)   Subway: Directly connected to the Sapporo Station through the Nanboku Line and the Toho Line   Bus: Directly connected to Sapporo Station Bus Terminal Directly connected to JR Sapporo Station from the Sapporo Station North Exit Bus Terminal 1-minute walk to the Tokyu Department Store south side from the front of Sapporo Station   Taxi: At both Sapporo Station South and North Exit   Private Vehicles: Parking available for a fee     6. Daimaru Department Store | | JR Sapporo Train Station Picture Credit - www.sapporostation.com   Located in the Southwest section of the Station, this is another building opposite to the ESTA, bordering the Sapporo Station’s outdoor plaza. The Daimaru is inundated with luxury brands such as Hermes, Bulgari, Tiffany’s, and Gucci to name a few together with gourmet sweet booths and food stands, fresh food stalls and a quality restaurant on the top-most floor. Special events are organized for seasonal celebrations and festivities that can be enjoyed by visitors.   The department store even has a prayer room for Muslim travellers, making it a must-visit mall during your Halal-friendly travel to Hokkaido. Address: 4-7 Kitagojyo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido   Hours of Operation: Shopping: Daily 10:00 am to 09:00 pm Dining: Daily 11:00 am to 11:00 pm Stores/Shops & Art Gallery: Daily 10:00 am to 08:00 pm Daimaru Restaurant Area: Daily 11:00 am to 10:00 pm Temomin, UCC Café, Comfort Stationery, Office Supplies, Pokemon Center Sapporo: Daily 10:00 am to 10:00 pm Closed: January 1st   Public Transport Access: Directly connected to JR Sapporo Train Station     7. Sapporo Factory | Sapporo Picture Credit - www.japan-guide.com   The Sapporo factory located in the city, is a shopping mall separated into three main zones - Nijo and Sanjo areas in the mall sell clothes, footwear, home items, while the Renga area sells local handicrafts and souvenirs. Many consider the Sapporo Factory as one of the top Hokkaido shopping malls that is the ideal place to purchase uniquely Japanese goods. Address: 4 Chome Kita 2 Johigashi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido   Hours of Operation:   Shopping: Daily 10:00 am to 08:00 pm Restaurant: Daily 11:00 am to 10:00 pm (Note: Hours of Operation differ store to store)   Public Transport Access:   Subway: 3-minute walk from the Tozai Line "in front of bus centre" station from Exit 8   Bus: Hokkaido Chuo Bus factory line "Sapporo factory"   Private Vehicles: Parking available for a fee     8. Rera Chitose Outlet Mall | Chitose | Sapporo Picture Credit - www.map.uu-hokkaido.jp   Chitose, where you would land if visiting Sapporo, is around an hour’s drive from the city. The Rera Chitose Outlet Mall is an open-air outlet mall and the largest in Hokkaido with more than 400 brands under one roof. There are more than 140 shops that offer goods ranging from clothes, shoes, sports goods, homeware and accessories. Special events are also regularly held at the Mall. The mall offers some great discounts as well. This would be the ideal place to visit on your return journey to the airport… just don’t lose track of time and miss your flight!   Address: 1-2-1 Kashiwadai-Minami, Chitose City, Hokkaido   Hours of Operation:   Daily 10:00 am to 07:00 pm   Public Transport Access:   From New Chitose Airport a free shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes and arrives in about 10 minutes 35 minutes from Sapporo Station by JR trains, Close to Chitose Junction on the highway and the Tomakomai ferry platforms     9. Marui Imai | Sapporo Main Store Picture Credit - www.japanshopping.org   One of Hokkaido's oldest department stores the Marui Imai has a variety of luxury brand of clothing and fashion accessories and also sells Hokkaido’s regional delicacies.   Address: Minami 1-jo, Nishi 2-Chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido   Hours of Operation:   Daily 10:00 am to 07:00 pm Closed: January 1st   Public Transport Access:   Subway Odori Station Exit 20, 22 & 33     10. Aeon Stores and Malls | Asahikawa, Sapporo Hiraoka & Tomakomai Picture Credit - www.aeonmall.com   Considered a favourite shopping stop in Japan with stores, malls and supermarkets spread across the country, the Aeon brand stores and malls in the Hokkaido Prefecture offer a wide range of good from clothing, accessories, home appliances, groceries and so much more to shoppers from all walks of life. The main malls in Hokkaido are in Asahikawa near the station, Sapporo Hiraoka & Tomakomai. The Aeon Malls would be a good place to look for unique Japanese souvenirs and gift items to buy while on your Halal trip in Hokkaido.   Hours of Operation:   Most of the stores and malls are open daily from 09:00 am to 09:00 pm. Some have different opening hours.   Public Transport Access:   Most of the Stores and Malls are close to Train Stations   Halal Food and Restaurants: It is not clear if these restaurants and cafés in these malls offer Halal food. However, Japan is famous for its seafood and sushi. So, please check with the restaurants before placing an order on the Halal status of food items. However, Hokkaido does have a range of Halal restaurants situated in close proximity to their main attraction areas. Download the HalalTrip app to look for Halal food and restaurants. ...

  • 7 Affordable must Try Halal Buffets in Singapore

    Looking for an excellent cheap Halal buffet in Singapore? You will be pleased to know that you can try out Muslim-friendly food places in Singapore with delicious varieties of international and local flavours – without breaking your bank of course. Singapore is one of the best places for foodies on a budget who want to experience diverse cuisines. After a day out with your friends or family, drop into any of the Halal buffet restaurants in Singapore listed below for good food at affordable prices.   1. Flame Café   Picture Credit - flamecafe.com.sg/   Flame Café is where you will get your money’s worth when you try out their daily Pagoda Steamboat Buffet. You can enjoy a variety of delicacies from Flame Café, and choose from their buffet options which are Supreme, Deluxe and Premium. The Deluxe option is ideal for someone on a budget, where you can take your pick of meat and vegetable from the self-service counter. Some popular items include Char Siew Chicken, Sliced Beef and Sea Urchin Fishball.   Deluxe Monday to Friday – 19.90 SGD Weekends and public holidays – 21.90 SGD   Premium Monday to Friday (Lunch and Dinner ) – 24.90 SGD Weekends and public holidays – 31.90 SGD   Supreme All Day – 38.90 SGD Kids – 15.80 SGD (for all buffets)   Timings:  Monday to Sunday, 11:30 am to 1 am Saturday and Friday – 11:30 am to 3 am   Contact : +65 6288 6346 Address: Level 1, 73 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 534818   2. Penang St Buffet Picture Credit - sg.openrice.com If you enjoy a variety of seafood and street food, Penang St Buffet should be your next stop when you are looking for Halal food in Singapore. Whether it’s live oysters, fresh mussels or nasi lemak, you can taste some delicious local flavours and seafood at an affordable price. Do check out other favourites such as rojak and kueh pie tee too – and don’t miss their special durian cendol either. Penang St Buffet also has a seasonal All You Can Eat Crab Buffet with delectable crab dishes such as Salt Egg Crab, Pepper Crab, Tom Yam Crab and so much more.   Monday to Thursday Lunch – 26.90 SGD Dinner – 34.90 SGD   Friday to Sunday Lunch – 32.90 SGD Dinner – 38.90 SGD   Timings: 11:30 am to 3:30 pm, 4:45 pm to 10 pm Contact: - +65 6894 7872 Address: Causeway Point #05-12/13, 1 Woodlands Square Singapore 738099 (Woodlands MRT)   3.Rhombus Pizza Picture Credit - eatbook.sg Rhombus Pizza is one of the unique Muslim-friendly food places in Singapore where you get to make your very own mini pizza at your table. Take your pick from sweet or savoury options such as pepperoni, shrimp or sprinkles and chocolate – there is plenty of cheese to go around too. You can also enjoy free-flow drinks, soup and spaghetti. However, you will need to call in before dropping by, as they only take reservations at the moment.   Price Adults –15 SGD Kids – 12 SGD   Timings: Tuesday To Sunday – 11 am to 10 pm, Closed on Mondays   Contact: +65 9844 0210   Address: 116 Changi Rd, Singapore 419718     4. Seoul Garden Picture Credit - Seoulgarden.com.sg Seoul Garden is the best place to go for an all-you-can-eat buffet complete with delicious Korean marinated meat, seafood, sushi, desserts and more. They also have some delicious sauces to try out. You can cook your own meals at the table, which will have its own grill and steamboat. They have nine outlets across Singapore including in Bugis Junction, Tampines Mall and Jurong Point too.   Lunch Monday to Friday Adults –17.99 SGD Kids – 8.99 SGD Weekends and public holidays Adults – 28.99 SGD Kids – 11.99 SGD   Dinner  Monday to Thursday Adults – 28.99 SGD Kids – 11.99 SGD Friday to Sunday  Adults –31.99 SGD Kids – 13.99 SGD   Timings: 11.30am to 10.30 pm   Contact :  6339 1339   Address (1 of 8) : Marina Square, #03-210,  6 Raffles Boulevard  S(039594)       5. Marina Bay BBQ Steamboat Picture Credit-facebook.com/pg/marinabaysteamboat Located at Satay by the Bay, this is an ideal spot to for food that won’t break your bank when dining out with a crowd. This is one of the best Halal buffet restaurants in Singapore to visit if you love seafood, and this Halal buffet has excellent selections of meat complete with hotpot and grilling at the tables. They also offer complimentary ice cream and the drinks are free-flowing too – definitely worth the price.   Monday to Friday Adults – 25 SGD Kids – 14 SGD   Saturday to Sunday Adults – 29 SGD Kids – 14 SGD (Free entrance for children below 7 Years)   Timings: 5 pm to 11.45 pm   Contact: 9131 1272   Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Satay By The Bay, #12/13/14 Marina Bay, Singapore       6. Sakura International Buffet Picture credit - sg.kidlander.com Sakura International Buffet is one of the best places for Halal food in Singapore that has an impressive selection of Japanese, Western and Asian cuisines. Look out for sashimi, teppanyaki and their Hiroshima Oyster Omelette – there are a few DIY stations as well. Don’t forget to try out their dim sum and the seafood either – this is another great spot for those who are dining out in a large group. Sakura International has five outlets across Singapore that includes Clementi Woods Park and Downtown East.   Lunch Monday to Friday Adults – 22 SGD Kids – 14.90 SGD   Saturday to Sunday Adults – 33 SGD Student/Senior Citizen – 29.90 SGD Kids – 15.90 SGD   Dinner Monday to Thursday Adults – 33.90 SGD Kids – 29.90 SGD   Friday to Sunday Adults – 38 SGD Kids – 15.90 SGD (The prices stated above are subjected to 10% service charge and 7% GST)   Timings: 12 pm to 10 pm   Phone: 65 6760 9197   Address 1 of 5 : 210 Ang Mo Kio Ave 9, Singapore 569777     7. Kublai Khan Mongolian BBQ   Picture Credit - kublaikhanbbq.com   Kublai Khan is among the Halal buffet restaurants in Singapore that has an awesome range of dishes from different cuisines. However, the Mongolian BBQ selection has remained a favourite – customers can select meats and get their meal freshly prepared by the chef. The buffet has plenty of Chinese dishes too. You can even get some delicious sushi, sashimi and other seafood delights choose from a good dessert selection.     Monday to Friday Lunch : Adults – 18 SGD Student/Senior Citizen – 17 SGD Kids – 12 SGD   Dinner : Adults – 29 SGd Student/Senior Citizen – 24.80 SGD Kids –16.80 SGD   Saturday to Sunday Lunch : Adult – 20 SGD Student/Senior Citizen – 19 SGD Kids – 14 SGD   Timing Lunch – 11.30am – 3 pm Dinner – 6 – 10pm Contact – 63344888   Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, 02-01, Singapore 059817     BONUS Asian Market Cafe If budget is not a concern, then the Asian Market Cafe, Located at Level 2 of the Fairmont Singapore, would be a great choice for dinner. They provide a large buffet spread of both International Asian cuisine and local favourites such as Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Indian and more. Time to get digging!   Asian Market Cafe was officially launched as a Halal certified restaurant in 2010. Have a closer look at their Halal friendly services with through our  interview with Fairmont Singapore during their opening. P.S There’s also separate prayer rooms right outside Asian Market Cafe. These are frequently used by the restaurant patrons as well as shoppers at the adjacent Raffles City mall.   Opening Hours:  Lunch:  Monday to Friday - 12:00pm to 2:30pm Saturday & Sunday - 12:00pm to 4:00pm Dinner:  Sunday to Thursday - 6:00pm to 10:00pmFriday and Saturday - 6:00pm to 10:30pm. 1st seating 6:00pm to 8.15pm, 2nd seating 8.30 to 10.30pm. Price: Lunch - Daily, SGD$ 62++ per adult , SGD$ $32 ++ per child   Dinner: Sunday to Thursday -  SGD$ 72 per adult, SGD $37  ++ per child Friday and Saturday:  1st seating: 6 pm to 8.15 pm SGD$ 75 per adult, SGD 38 ++ per child 2nd Seating : 8.30pm to 10.30pm SGD$ 68 per adult, SGD 35 ++ per child   *Note that prices are based on menu as of 24 January 2018 Contact: +65 6431 6156 Website/URL: http://www.fairmont.com/singapore/dining/asianmarketcafe   Address: Level 2, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd, Singapore 189560     Don’t forget to use the HalalTrip app to easily find Halal food places near you in Singapore or to locate Halal restaurants on your mobile.  ...



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