Japan Tourism Topics
1. See archers on horseback amidst stunning cherry blossom scenery in Shimane prefecture
Yabusame is a style of horseback archery practiced in Japan that dates back to ancient times. On each first Sunday in April - April 2nd this year - you can watch horseback archers at the Washibara Hachimangu Shrine in Tsuwano in Shimane prefecture galloping down a 250-meter track beneath cherry blossoms The archers take aim and shoot arrows at three targets while yelling "in-yo!" - an incredible and unique experience.
Washibara Hachimangu Horseback Archery
2. Millions of tulips set to explode into bloom in Tonami
North of Nagoya, in Toyama prefecture's Tonami city, is a beautiful tulip park. It boasts over 300 different varieties of tulips and over three million flowers, which will be in full bloom from mid-April. The Tonami Fair, running from April 22nd to May 5th this year, will showcase the best of these. Toyama prefecture started tulip cultivation in the Taisho era (1912 - 1926) and is now the largest source of tulip bulbs in Japan. Be sure to check out their fun, tulip-themed souvenirs at the fair.
Tonami Tulip Fair
3. Experience the beautiful rising sun from a hot air balloon in Matsushima Bay
The best way to view the scenic town of Matsushima in Miyagi prefecture is from a balloon hovering at a height of 20 meters. The beautiful orange glow reflecting off the surface of the water is sure to captivate and stimulate your senses. A wheelchair-friendly tour offering English support is available, so anybody can participate. Be sure to arrive early and bring your friends and family!
Matsushima Hot Air Balloon Experience
4. Real Japanese Swordsmiths: Nippon Genshosha
There are fewer than 200 licensed swordsmiths in Japan, and Nippon Genshosha's workshop on Kyoto prefecture's north shore is home to three of these swordsmiths. Though still in their thirties, they each have more than ten years of experience, crafting authentic swords out of rare tamahagane steel. Believing that the future of sword smithing lies more in the creation of fine art, they additionally fashion and create a variety of products, from art pieces to smaller knives and jewelry. They proudly display their forge, gallery and finished pieces to visitors.
Japanese Swords in Tango
5. Cycling paradise in northern Nagano
North of the city of Nagano in Nagano prefecture lies the city of Iiyama, a cyclist's paradise. This picturesque city is best explored by bicycle, and these can be rented at the bullet train station when you arrive. With a 20-kilometer-long flat paved trail that runs alongside a beautiful river, people of all fitness levels can enjoy the warm spring breeze as they ride through the sea of yellow nanohana flowers (canola blossoms). There are several shops and points of interest along the way, such as Nanohana Park. Be sure to also check out the gold lacquer and uchiyama-gami (Japanese paper) crafts.
Iiyama Cycling Paradise
6. Last-minute skiing and snowboarding in Yamagata
Feeling like you missed your chance to hit the ski slopes this season? Don't worry - Yamagata prefecture's Mt. Gassan has you covered - you can ski and snowboard there from April until July! The snow lays for a long time despite the relatively warm temperatures. Yamagata is also famous for its cherries, which are available from late spring to early summer. Why not enjoy some delicious cherries from a local fruit farm after a day on the slopes?
Summer skiing in Mt. Gassan
7. Live the Heian period in a full costume experience
The Nachi-Katsuura town of Wakayama prefecture is the ideal place to retrace the old Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes along paths lined with Japanese cedar and cypress trees. You can don historically accurate Heian period (794-1185) costumes, stroll around the sacred Mt. Nachi, visit a tea house (Daimonzaka-chaya), and experience what life was like for pilgrims in those days.
The Experience of Heian Period Costumes (Nachi-Katsuura)
8. Canoe across the pristine Kushiro River Headwaters in Hokkaido
You can now try canoeing and kayaking in eastern Hokkaido's Kushiro river headwaters, which are surrounded by woodlands. This section of the river is narrow, with trees overhanging both banks creating tunnels with their branches. You might see wild animals up close or hoofprints in the silt, as the river is a waterhole for local deer.
Hokkaido Canoeing Tour
9. Watch the Matsuyama Castle parade in Ehime prefecture
The Matsuyama Spring Festival in Ehime prefecture in Shikoku is held on April 1 and 2 this year. The festival features a procession of people parading through the city center wearing armor, kimonos and other authentic costumes. There will also be a yakyuken contest, a stylized form of "rock-paper-scissors" which originated in Matsuyama, along with other events.
Matsuyama Spring Festival
10. Explore Tokyo's newest high-rise and have a playful adventure
April 14th will see the opening of the TOKYU KABUKICHO TOWER in Shinjuku, Tokyo's latest high-rise complex, with entertainment facilities, a cinema, and restaurants. The building also contains a hotel and restaurant on the 17th to 47th floors, providing breathtaking views of the city. The facility seeks to entertain visitors and enable them to enjoy the nightlife district of Shinjuku; showcasing local history and culture, it will be a must-see spot for those visiting the area.
Tokyu Kabukicho Tower
• Items 1-8 are based on information from JNTO Partners.
• The above details are correct as of the time of publication, and are subject to change.
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