When you can’t visit the ocean, the adventure park, aquarium and show space at Maxell Aqua Park brings it to you! Light and video displays bring a new level of theatrical excitement to the shows here, creating a next-level aquarium experience. There are 11 different zones to explore at the Aqua Park, and the first begins with a European-style carousel ride with an aquatic theme. Additional attractions include the slowly lilting, therapeutic jellyfish walk, the dynamic dolphin shows at “the stadium” and “Wild Street,” where visitors can see penguins, sealions, seals and otters. A trip to Maxell Aqua Park is the perfect rainy-day activity and a certain crowd pleaser for children.
Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa
Tokyo Dome Bowling Center (CuBAR Lounge)
Classic past times also have a place in the modern megalopolis of Tokyo. Bowling is timeless, and the 54 lanes available on the fifth floor in a non-smoking environment at Tokyo Dome Bowling Center offer a great way to spend a few leisurely hours. The CuBAR LOUNGE on the fourth floor also has lanes, not to mention luxurious sofas and a chandelier, providing an upscale bowling experience complete with full bar. A mural by Taro Okamoto, one of Japan’s leading artists, completes this high-end bowling space. It’s the perfect place to take some great photos! Test your bowling skills and relax during a visit to Tokyo Dome in the heart of the city.
Book and Bed Tokyo
The printed word has a powerful cultural cachet in Japan—between calligraphy, literature, manga and poetry including haiku, this is a highly literary society. The Book and Bed Tokyo hostel is a good example of this fact. The accommodations include beds that double as bookshelves stocked with different genres, and a lounge space open to the public for reading during the day. Single rooms start at 5,000 yen per night, and there are currently four locations—Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Kyoto and Osaka. Book and Bed Tokyo is the perfect affordable accommodation for any book lover traveling to Japan.
Premium Sake Pub GASHUE
Japanese nihonshu, or saké, is the most culturally important alcoholic drink in the country. Breweries producing the rice-based drink are located in every corner of Japan, and some have thousand-year histories. Premium Sake Pub GASHUE in Ueno, Tokyo is dedicated to the preservation and global advancement of saké culture. The establishment touts a “moment of supreme bliss” that occurs when sharing saké, and also offers lectures on nihonshu and tasting events. Saké is also available for purchase daily, alongside a pairing menu offering delicious Japanese dishes. Reservation support is available online in English. Kanpai!
Nyuto Onsen Hot Springs Village
Onsen, or natural hot springs, are at the core of Japanese health and relaxation. This hot spring village in Akita Prefecture includes seven different hot springs located in Towada-Hachimantai National Park. Each has its own unique source of hot spring water, with different qualities that affect their feel and ideal temperature. It’s said that soaking in hot water and sweating hard once a day boosts overall vigor and longevity – and Japan’s world-leading life expectancy bolsters the belief. Letting your inhibitions go while remaining modestly covered with a small towel and diving in for a soak might be one of the best, most revitalizing experiences you have in Japan. Go for it!
Brazilian Park Washuzan Highland
This Brazilian theme park in Okayama Prefecture offers many different attractions and rides, including samba dancing and bungee jumping, alongside a Ferris wheel, vertical drop, rollercoaster, merry-go-round, swimming pool, roller- and ice-skating rinks, bowling lanes, and a sky cycle ride. This last attraction puts riders 16 meters in the air to pedal cycles attached to a metal track for an exhilarating view, including the Seto Inland Sea and Seto Ohashi Bridge. The park also includes a Brazilian restaurant serving specialty dishes from the country, and a gift shop offering Brazilian beer, food, soap, shampoo and more. Brazil has a strong presence in Japan, and a trip here to enjoy Brazilian culture against the backdrop of the Seto Inland Sea will show you why!
Night Cruise with Mizushima Refinery View
The Seto Inland Sea was designated as Japan’s first national park. It’s similar to the Mediterranean in Europe, with seasonally warm, calm waters. The sea is dotted with many small and large islands, and views from the bluffs, lookout spots and boats offer resplendent views, including those seen from the water during a night cruise under the Seto Ohashi Bridge. The adjacent Mizushima Refinery is sure to impress with its colorful and vivid steampunk-esque factory facade. The sunsets here against the serene ocean under the massive suspension bridge are also unforgettable. A cruise lasting 90 minutes costs 1,800 yen for adults and 900 yen for elementary and middle school students. Cruises maybe canceled in the case of inclement weather, and reservations are required on Saturdays from April to November.
Iwami Kagura Traditional Performing Art
Shimane Prefecture in Western Japan has been a seat of cultural and spiritual tradition since ancient times. Specific to Shimane, this performance features lavishly detailed costumes, expressive masks and fast-paced, dynamic dance maneuvers. The simple stories of the performances makes them easy to understand by all, regardless of language barrier. One popular story is Orochi, the tale of an eight-headed giant serpent that terrorized the townspeople. The performances can be viewed in Iwami area in Shimane, mainly on Saturdays. Reservations are not required.
Beach Horseback Riding
Fukuoka is the largest city in Kyushu, but traveling just a short distance from the city allows for unparalleled outdoor activities. A fine example is horseback riding at the Canadian Camp Riding Club along the beaches of Munakata, Fukuoka. The club offers horseback riding lessons and trail excursions, alongside clubhouse facilities, horse stables, racetracks and pastures. Although Japan is densely urban and concrete in its cities, saddling up on horseback in the land of the rising sun will provide a lasting memory of Japan’s natural beauty.
Nakasu Yatai Food Stalls
Fukuoka is the largest city in Western Japan, and its nightlife is particularly vibrant and welcoming. Nakasu is a neon-lit entertainment area on an island in the center of the city, and its canals are lined with yatai food stalls open late into the night. Ramen is the main attraction, but there’s something for everyone. The Jonetsu no Chidoriashi stall offers rare fare like game meats alongside staples such as nikomi stews and yakitori skewers. Also, Chez Rémy is an exciting stall including Western dishes like pâté and quiche, run by the eponymous and entertaining proprietor from France—Remy! Come to Fukuoka and stay for the exciting nightlife and delectable edibles.
Amami Oshima 4WD Wildlife Night Tour
Amami Oshima is an ancient island and the largest in the Amami archipelago between Kyushu and Okinawa. Aside from typical island activities such as beach excursions and scuba diving, there is a nighttime safari excursion in a 4WD vehicle available for adventurous travelers. Several ancient species still exist on the island, including the famous Amami black rabbits. The two-hour tours include flashlights, binoculars and raincoats, and cost 8,000 yen for adults and 5,000 yen for children. Tours are available in English from licensed guides and include insurance. Proceeds from the operation go toward protecting the invaluable nature of Amami Oshima.
Kagoshima Prefecture is at the southernmost tip of Japan’s island of Kyushu. On the island of Okinoerabujima, which is actually a part of the Amami island archipelago, brave travelers can test their wits spelunking in gorgeous underground limestone cave systems. Professional guides lead the tours, which begin with a hike through the woods to discover the cave mouth. Protective gear including jumpsuits, helmets, gloves and kneepads is provided, while your own sandals, towel, change of clothes are recommended. For keen photographers, a waterproof camera is a must. Prices range from 16,000 yen for a 2–3 hour adventure, or 50,000 for a 5-hour excursion.