Your Guide to Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival Guide 2017

It’s that time of the year again for Japan to celebrate its yearly cherry blossom festivals. Better known as Hanami in Japanese, which literally translates to “viewing flowers”, people gather under blooming cherry blossoms for food, drinks, entertainment, and of course to experience the dazzling beauty of the cherry blossoms. Here’s your guide to the perfect cherry blossom festival experience:

Cherry blossom viewing

The best cherry blossom viewing spot is undoubtedly Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo, a park encompassed by more than 1500 cherry trees. However, its popularity also makes it an extremely crowded spot, which might cause some viewers to feel daunted. Nevertheless, there are many other viewing spots that offer gorgeous views, such as Ueno Park, Chidorigafuchi, Hirosaki Castle and many more. Here’s a viewing calendar to help you plan your Japan travels during cherry blossom season:

Cherry Blossom Viewing Calendar 2017

Japanese Cuisine

Besides cherry blossom, while in Japan one should not miss out on the opportunity to savour some of the local delicacies.

Japanese yakitori

Image taken from: migrationology.com

 

Like your food grilled or skewered? Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku do both and they do them well. Kushiyaki, which essentially means “anything skewered and grilled” is a must try on your trip, be it grilled chicken, grilled mushrooms or even grilled blood- if you’re feeling a little adventurous!

Image taken from: matcha-jp.com/en/1632

 

Whenever matcha is mentioned, a person’s immediate thought will flit to Japan, the origin of the matcha flavour. While any store selling matcha flavoured ice-cream might satisfy your palate, only Suzukien Asakusa will take you to 7th heaven with the 7 intensity levels of matcha ice cream! So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to try the world’s richest matcha ice-cream in Asakusa.

Themed Eateries

If you’re looking to take a break from all the walking and cherry blossom viewing, pay a visit to the many themed eateries Japan has to offer!

Robot Restaurant, Japan

Image taken from: www.travelcaffeine.com

 

Remember those childhood memories of playing with toy robots? Relive those fond memories again by visiting Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, where 10-foot-tall robots’ ballet dance, sharks with laser beams on their heads and even explosions happening all over the place.

 

Image taken from: shichijyuuni.com

 

Are you a  Final Fantasy fan? Immerse yourself in the world of Final Fantasy by visiting Eorzea Café in Akihabara. When you enter the café, be prepared to be transported to your very own fantasy world, where weapons, armour and even cute Moogles come to life. Eorzea Café is certainly a MUST for Final Fantasy fans, period!

Other activities 

 

Cat Island, Japan

Image taken from: metro.co.uk

 

Are you a cat lover? Who we are kidding of course you are! Pay a visit to Tashirojima Island a.k.a Cat Island to get your daily dose of fluffy feline cuteness. Over here, cats rule and are treated like kings – they are well fed and cared for by their humble servants (the few people who are living on the island).  The island is located at the Northeastern part of Japan, so if you are travelling around the area, Cat Island should be on your travel itinerary.

 

Totoro

Image taken from: his.com.sg

 

Ghibli Museum is a showcase for the renowned animation studio as well as a playground for children. The museum combines a series of rooms with motifs of each and every animation of Studio Ghibli’s, including replicas from the animation. No doubt, this small but perfectly formed museum should be considered as one of the destinations to visit during your stay in Japan.


Thanks for reading and we hope that this blog post will help inspire you to plan your trip to Japan! To help you get started we’re taking 30% off all Japan tours & activities on touristly.com – Just use promo code CHERRY30 upon checkout. Promo ends 15 Mar 2017!

 

Top 10 Places To See In Taipei

Unlike Singapore or Bangkok, Taipei is not as frequently visited in South East Asia by tourists, which is such a shame though. The capital of Taiwan has so much to offer from record breaking skyscrapers, breath-taking natural wonders, bustling night markets to historical landmarks. So let’s not overlook Taipei the next time you’re in South East Asia. Here are the top 10 things to do in Taipei:

 

Taipei 101

Top Ten Places To See In Taipei - Taipei 101

Currently the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101 stands triumphantly at 509 meters tall. There’s a shopping mall on the first 5 floors and the observation decks on the 88th & 89th floor offers a stunning view of Taipei city. It is no wonder this magnificent skyscraper is a must-visit landmark in Taipei.

Sun Moon Lake

Top Ten Places To See In Taipei - Sun Moon Lake

Taiwan’s biggest natural lake, Sun Moon Lake is home to the largest body of water in the in the region. Swimming is usually prohibited but a special exception is made during Mid-Autumn Festival where there will be an annual swimming carnival. If you are a bit more adventurous, there are many hiking trails surrounding the nearby mountains where you will get different beautiful views and angles of the lake.

Hot Springs

Top Ten Places to See in Taiwan - Hot Springs

For a more relaxed and subdued Taipei activity, a soak in one of Taiwan’s many hot springs. The warm heated waters of the spring will leave you relaxed and recharged. Take your pick from the hot springs at Yangmingshan, Wulai, Taian, Lushan, Jiaosi, Jhihben, Green Island and Guanzihling.

Miniatures Museum of Taiwan

Top Ten Places to Visit in Taipei - Miniatures Museum of Taiwan

Have you ever held one of those miniature whiskey bottles and pretend you’re a giant drinking from a teeny tiny bottle? You know you have. The Miniatures Museum of Taiwan is the perfect place to live out your ‘giant’ fantasy. Founded by Lin Wen-jen and Lin Chin-mei, a married couple with a passion for miniature knick-knacks, the displays in the museum are personally sourced and collected by the Lins.

Zhongshan Hall

Top Ten Places to See In Taipei - Zhongshan Hall

This historical building used to function as Taipei City Hall back in the day. The four-storey building boasts a blend of modernist and classical styling. Now the building is usually used for performances and is open to public.

Din Tai Fung – Michelin Star Restaurant

Top Ten Places to See in Taipei - Din Tai Fung

What is a trip without tasting the local cuisine, a meal at Michelin-star restaurant Din Tai Fung is a must. A must try is the famous Xiao Long Bao (savory steamed pork dumplings). Besides the food, which is exceptionally tasty, guests are able to watch the chefs create and prepare their world-renowned Xiao Long Bao in front of the guests.

Taroko (Marble) Gorge

Top Ten Places to Visit in Taipei - Toroko Gorge

One of Taiwan’s greatest natural wonders, the Taroko Gorge is a magnificent 19km long canyon situated near Taiwan’s east coast within Taroko National Park. Considered one of Asia’s 7 wonders, Taroko Gorge is a spectacular geographical area of mountains and marble canyons. Get your camera ready, this is truly a beautiful place to visit when in Taipei.

Lungshan Temple

Top Ten Places to See in Taipei - Lungshan Temple

Lungsham Temple is one of Taipei’s oldest and famous temples. The layout of the temple is square and serene; there is a pair of bronze dragon poles in the front hall, four pairs of dragon poles in the middle hall. The temple is truly a masterpiece of traditional Chinese culture and architecture in Taipei.

Chiufen Village

Top Ten Places To See in Taipei - Chiufen Village

Once a gold mine, Chiufen is a quaint little village located on the hills of northeast Taiwan. Well-known for its unique tea houses, Chiufen also has a beautiful ocean view of Keelung outer sea. One of the village’s highlight is the Jioufen Old Street where you can find local snacks and delicacies.

Night Markets

Top Ten Places to See in Taipei - Shilin Market

Taipei houses a number of night markets, each with its own uniqueness and local specialty cuisine. It’s a great place to get the best deals and to buy souvenirs of course. One of the most popular night markets is the Shilin Night Market; it is so big that it is separated into two sections. The highlight of Shilin Night Market is the street food such as Stir-fried Squids, Oyster Omelets, Shilin Super Size Sausages,Scallion Pancakes, Paopao Ice, Huge Chicken Cutlet, and many more. Yum yum!