Asia

Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in Asia.

japan-festivals

Japan: The Country of Festivals (Matsuri)

Matsuri means both festival and worship, indicating the Shinto origins of Japanese festivals. Some are nationwide, others are local to individual temples and shrines. Matsuri are a link between the human and the divine, often marking stages in the rice-growing cycle (mainly planting and harvest) or historical events.

The aim of the matsuri is to preserve the goodwill of the deities (kami). All matsuri follow a basic form: purification (often by water or fire); then offerings; then a procession in which the kami is invoked at the shrine and escorted in a portable shrine (mikoshi) to a temporary dwelling where there is entertainment such as dancing or archery. The kami is then taken back to the shrine.

The Gion Matsuri:

gion-matsuri

Celebrated in Kyoto in July, is the city’s largest festival and dates back to the 9th century. This image shows one of the floats in procession during the festival parade.

Omizu-tori:

OMIZU-TORI

This festival has been celebrated at Todai-ji temple, Nara, since the 8th century to signal the advent of spring. Water is drawn from a sacred well and purified with fire from huge torches.

Takayama Matsuri:

TAKAYAMA MATSURI

Takayama Matsuri takes place in spring and fall. Spectacular floats are escorted from the Hie Shrine through the town by people dressed in Edo- period costumes.The aim is to placate the kami of plague.

Rice festivals:

rice-festival

Rice festivals all over Japan were central to the matsuri cycle, but have declined as agri­cultural techniques have changed. Women plant the rice in spring, symbolically passing their fertility to the crop. Fall festivals give thanks for the harvest.

Aoi Matsuri:

aoi-matsuri

Aoi Matsuri, or the Hollyhock Festival, in Kyoto, originated in the 6th century. Participants in Heian-period costume parade from the Imperial Palace to Shimogamoand Kamigamo shrines, re-creating thejourney of imperial messengers who were sent to placate the gods.

Nebuta Matsuri:

 NEBUTA-MATSURI

Nebuta Matsuri, held in Aomori in August, is one of Japan’s most spectacular festivals, featuring huge paper lanterns. At the end they are carried off to sea as a symbol of casting away anything that might interfere with the harvest.

Obon, the Buddhist Festival of the Dead:

bon-odori-dancers

Bon Odori Dancers at Obon Festival

Obon, the Buddhist Festival of the Dead, takes place in mid- July or mid-August. Ancestors are welcomed back to the world of the living and then bid farewell again. Bon Odori, hypnotic outdoor dancing, takes place.

Tanabata Matsuri:

TANABATA MATSURI

Tanabata Matsuri in July is known as the Weaver, or Star, Festival. Based on a Chinese legend, it is said to be the only day when the two stars Vega (the weaver) and Altair (the herdsman) can meet as lovers across the Milky Way. People write down wishes and poems and hang them on bamboo poles.

Kanda Matsuri, Tokyo:

KANDA-MATSURI

Held in May in alternate years, this festival is one of Tokyo’s largest. Numerous floats and portable shrines are paraded through the streets of Tokyo to placate the gods of Kanda Myojin Shrine. In addition to communicating with the gods, the festival encourages a sense of community.

Jidai Matsuri, or the Festival of the Ages:

jidai-matsuri

Jidai Matsuri, or the Festival of the Ages, is a relatively new matsuri. It was initiated in 1895 to commemorate Kyoto’s long history. Dressed in historical costumes dating from the 8th century onward, people parade from the Imperial Palace to the Heian Shrine.

kyushu-japan

Best of Kyushu in 7 Days

Airports – Arrive at Fukuoka Airport and depart from Kagoshima Airport.

Transport – It’s about 2 hours by train from Fukuoka to Nagasaki. Traveling from Nagasaki to Kumamoto takes 2 hours and 40 minutes, and it’s 2 hours and 20 minutes from there to Aso. Beppu is 2.5 hours from Aso. The best way of visiting Takachiho is to hire a car in either Kumamoto or Aso.

Going from Kumamoto to Kagoshima by Shinkansen takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. If you are not flying out of Kagoshima, the return trip to Fukuoka by Shinkansen takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Day 1

fukuoka-yatai

Dining at a yatai (street food stall) in the center of Fukuoka

Fukuoka, Kyushu’s biggest city, is a fine intro­duction to the charms of Japan’s largest southern island. Meet friendly locals by pulling up a chair at one of the city’s many famous yatai (outdoor food stalls) and ordering a bowl of ramen noodles. Fukuoka’s eye-catching modern architecture is best viewed at the Canal City and Hawks Town waterside developments. The Hakata Machiya Folk Museum show­cases arts and crafts associated with local festivals and culture.

Day 2

lover-garden

Glover Garden – Nagasaki

Picturesque Nagasaki has a cosmopolitan vibe thanks to centuries of international trade. There’s plenty to see here, including Chinese temples and Catholic churches; a mansion that served as the setting for Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly in Glover Garden; Hollander Slope, the old hilltop concession where the foreign community lived in the 19th century; plus, the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park.

Day 3

kumamoto-castle

Kumamoto Castle

Its center dominated by Japan’s third-largest castle, Kumamoto is the ideal base from which to tour central Kyushu. Visit Suizen-ji Garden early in the morning to avoid the crowds; it’s a small stroll garden, taking only 30 minutes to walk around, leaving you plenty of time to tour the traditional crafts center.

Day 4

mount-aso

Mount Aso

The town of Aso is the base for sightseeing around one of the world’s biggest calderas, Mount Aso. Of the five volcanic cones within the 130-km (mile) circumference crater, Mount Nakadake is active, A cable car (ropeway) that goes up to its steaming summit is indefinitely closed due to safety concerns.

Day 5

hot-spring-inbeppu

Hot Springs at Beppu Resort

In the touristy onsen resort of Beppu drop by the Boiling Hells (Jigoku) to see bubbling pools of mud and mineral-colored waters. On the beach, experience being buried up to your neck in hot sand. Then head 25 km (miles) inland to stay at the smaller, more refined onsen town of Yufuin, set next to serene Lake Kinrin.

Day 6

takachiho-gorge

Takachiho Gorge

Takachiho is at the heart of a mountainous area rich in local mythology and natural attractions, including caves associated with Shinto deities and the spectacular Takachiho Gorge, which you can see from river level in a rowboat.

Day 7

sakurajima-volcano

Sakurajima Volcano

With the smoking bulk of Sakurajima Volcano brooding across the bay, Kagoshima has an unforgettable setting. Take a boat out to the volcanic island for a closer look and for a dip in one of its onsen, Kagoshima has several pleasant gardens, includ­ing Sengan-e, (also known as Iso-teien), a well-designed aqua­rium, and a decent art museum.

To extend your trip…

The Saga Pottery Towns Tour, around Karatsu Bay, will appeal to ceramics enthusiasts.

For a taste of tropical Japan, fly to Na ha City, the capital of the southern archipelago of Okinawa.

japanese-cuisine

A Splendid Tour of Central Japan and Its Traditional Cuisine

Airports – Arrive and depart from Narita or Haneda airports, both serving Tokyo. An alternative international access point is Chubu International Airport (Centrair), 30 km (miles) south of Nagoya.

Transport – Trains are generally the best way to get around the mountainous region, with Nagano con­nected to Tokyo by a Shinkansen line that also runs to Kanazawa. Hire a car in Kanazawa to travel around the Noto Peninsula. Bus (or hired car) is the best way to travel between Kanazawa, and Takayama. From there on, use the train to access the charming post towns of the Kiso Valley and connect with either Matsumoto or Nagoya.

The alpine regions of Central Honshu and the Japan Sea coast are the ideal places to sample a wide range of Japanese cuisines – from simple noodles to elegantly prepared banquets.

Day 1

The venerable temple of Zenko-ji is the prime attraction of Nagano, the gateway to the Japan Alps, From Nagano, you can also make a half-day trip to Jigokudani Onsen, the hot pools famous for attracting snow monkeys. Soba noodles made with buckwheat are a specialty here. If you pause in quaint Obuse on the way back from Jigokudani Onsen, you could also sample chestnut confectionery and good sake.

Day 2

Kaga ryori dishes

Kaga ryori dishes

Kanazawa, by the Japan Sea, has an illustrious heritage. Visit the impressive castle, the Nagamachi Samurai Quarter, and the Higashi (Eastern) Pleasure District of traditional teahouses. Other highlights include Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan’s “great three” gardens, and the striking architecture and art on display at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. Sample succulent sushi at Omicho Ichiba market, or seek out a restaurant serving the refined cuisine known as kaga ryori.

Day 3

noto-peninsula

Noto Peninsula

Freshly caught seafood is a must-try on a trip around the scenic Noto Peninsula. Continue to Wajima, a port at the northern end of the peninsula that hosts a daily market and is renowned for its high-quality lacquerware. On the way back to Kanazawa, take in the strange rock formations around Sosogi.

Day 4

shokawa-valley

Shokawa Valley

Three picturesque villages in the Shokawa Valley make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aim for Ogimachi, where there’s an architectural park that displays the distinctive thatched frame houses and other traditional buildings from the region. Guesthouses and restaurants here will serve sansei ryori (mountain vegetable dishes). Continue to Takayama for your overnight stop.

Day 5

Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall

Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall

Takayama is one of the most characterful towns in the Japan Alps. The Sannomachi Quarter is packed with wooden buildings housing cafes, shops, and sake breweries. Drop by the Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall to see some of the elaborate floats used in the town’s twice-yearly festivals. Takayama is the place to sample mitarashi-dango – rice balls dipped in soy sauce and roasted on skewers.

Day 6

Kiso Valley

Kiso Valley

Of the 11 Edo-era post towns staged along the Kiso Valley, the most picturesque is Tsumago, where it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Consider hiking part of the Nakasendo, the Edo-period stone-pathed post road that runs between Tsumago and Magome. Spend the night in one of the Kiso Valley’s traditional minshukus (B&B).

Day 7

matsomoto-castle

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto has a splendid 16th-century castle, the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, with its collection of woodblock prints, and the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, displaying works by local artist Yayoi Kusama, Sasamushi (eel steamed inside rice wrapped in bamboo leaves) is one of the town’s delicacies.

To extend your trip…

The lively metropolis of Nagoya offers a castle, the Tokugawa Art Museum, and several fascinating sights linked to its industrial heritage. The Fuji Five Lakes area has several lovely lakeside resorts; if the weather is favorable, you’ll be able to see and, depending on the season, climb Mount Fuji

hokkaido

7 Remarkable Days in Hokkaido & Tohoku

Airports: Arrive at New Chitose Airport, 40 km (miles) south of Sapporo, and depart from Sendai Airport in Natori, 2 hours south of Matsushima by train.

Transport: The train trip from Sapporo to Noboribetsu takes 1.5 hours; from Noboribetsu to Hakodate, 2 hours; from Hakodate to Hirosaki, 3.5 hours; from Hirosaki to Kakunodate, 3.5 hours; from Kakunodate to Hiraizumi, just shy of 3 hours; from Hiraizumi to Sendai, 1.5 hours; and from Sendai to Matsushima, one hour.

Day 1

botanical-gardens-of-saporro

Botanical Gardens of Sapporo

Learn about the Ainu, the original inhabitants of Japan’s main northern island, in the Exhibition Room of Northern Peoples in the Botanical Gardens of Sapporo. Hokkaido’s dynamic modern capital is perhaps best known for its local brand of beer.

Drop by the Sapporo Beer Garden and Museum to taste some and to eat the grilled mutton dish known as “Genghis Khan,”. Enjoy the nightlife of Susukino, a short walk south of central Odori Park.

Day 2

hikotsu-Toya National Park

hikotsu-Toya National Park

The volcano-punctuated area of Shikotsu-Toya National Park includes a couple of caldera lakes: Lake Shikotsu to the northeast and Lake Toya to the southwest.

The latter is close to the highly active volcano Mount Usu, the crater of which can be reached by cable car. Spend the night in the popular hot- spring resort of Noboribetsu.

Day 3

an-aerial-view-of-hakodate

An aerial view of Hakodate

One of the first ports in Japan to open up foreign trade in the late 19th century, Hakodate has a wealth of historic Western-style buildings in its Motomachi district, including a Russian Orthodox Church. The view from the top of Mount Hakodate is spectacular. Tuck into super-fresh seafood at the stalls in the Asaichi Morning Market.

Day 4

Tsugaruhan-Neputa-Mura

Tsugaruhan Neputa Mura

The 54-km- (33 mile-) long Seikan Tunnel links Hokkaido with the Tohoku region, which covers the north of Honshu, Head for the feudal-era town of Hirosaki, where you’ll find the remains of a 17th-century castle in a picturesque park renowned for its cherry-blossom festival. Nearby, Tsugaruhan Neputa Mura displays the elaborate floats used during the August Neputa Festival.

Day 5

Kakunodate Samurai District

Kakunodate Samurai District

Another town that has pre­served its samurai and merchant quarters is Kakunodate.

Among the samurai houses open to the public is the large, thatched Aoyagi-ke, where you can eat the local noodle dish udon, and the impressive Ishiguro-ke, with its lovely garden.

Day 6

city-of-sendai

City of Sendai

The cedar-clad hills around Hiraizumi harbor a couple of the most important sights in Tohoku: the temple complex of Chuson-ji, which includes the Golden Hall, a temple smothered in gold leaf and mother-of-pearl, and the gorgeous gardens of Motsu-ji, arranged around a large lake. Accommodation is limited around Hiraizumi, so spend the night in the major city of Sendai.

Day 7

The bay of Matsushima, dotted with some 269 islands, is one of Japan’s top scenic views. It’s a touristy location but worth visiting for the elegant temple Zuigan-ji, which is a national treasure,

To extend your trip…

Join the pilgrims climbing the 2,446 stone steps to the thatch-roofed Dewa Sanzan Shrine on Mount Haguro, Once a place of political exile, Sado Island is now a pleasant escape and home to the internationally famous Kodo drummers.

kansai

One Amazing Week in Kansai and Western Japan

Airports: Arrive at Kansai International Airport and depart from Hiroshima International Airport

Transport: The trip from Osaka to Okayama by Shinkansen takes about one hour, as does the journey from Osaka to Takamatsu. Takamatsu to Matsuyama is 2.5 hours. From Matsuyama to Hiroshima Port by hydrofoil takes one hour.

A 20-minute ferry trip links Hiroshima Port to Miyajima, or there’s a 10-minute ferry ride to the island from Miyajima-guchi, a 55-minute tram journey west of the center of Hiroshima.

Day 1

 osaka-city

Osaka City at Night

What Osaka lacks in looks, it makes up for in dynamism and friendliness. The main central sights include the reconstructed Osaka Castle and grounds, the National Museum of Art, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, and the Floating Garden Observatory. Beside Osaka Bay is the impressive Osaka Aquarium, one of the best in Japan. The lively downtown areas of Namba and Dotonbori are best for eats and nightlife.

Day 2

Kitano-cho - Kobe

Kitano-cho – Kobe

Kobe, 15 minutes train journey west of Osaka, has a colorful Chinatown and elegant Meiji-period homes in the hillside Kitano-cho district; both areas deserve at least a quick visit. The star attraction of Himeji, 20 minutes farther down the line, is the spectacular feudal Himeji Castle. The main keep looks fantastic after its restoration. Finish your day in Okayama another short hop by Shinkansen bullet train.

Day 3

koraku-en-garden

Koraku-en Garden

Rise early to visit Okayama’s Koraku-en Garden, one of Japan’s top-three gardens, which “borrows” the scenery of the black-walled Okayama Castle, across the Asahi River. Take a 15-minute train ride to Kurashiki to stroll around the charming Bikan Historical Area of old merchant houses turned into boutiques, cafes, and guesthouses, and to visit the Ohara Museum of Art, which includes works by the likes of Gauguin and Picasso.

Day 4

 takamatsu

Takamatsu, the first major urban center on Shikoku

From Okayama, take the mammoth Seto-Ohashi Bridge, which leapfrogs the islands of the Inland Sea, to reach Takamatsu, the first major urban center on Shikoku. The beautiful Ritsurin Garden is this city’s main landmark. A one-hour train journey from here takes you to Kotohira, home to the important Shinto shrine Konpira-san, which can be reached by climbing 785 steps up a wooded hillside. The town has lovely traditional inns to stay in and many places to eat.

Day 5

matsuyama

Matsuyama, Shikoku’s largest city

Two hours from Kotohira is Matsuyama, Shikoku’s largest city. Graced by a splendid hilltop castle, it also boasts the magnificent public bathhouse of Dogo Onsen, where visitors can experience Japanese bathing culture.

Day 6

the-peace-memorial-park

The Peace Memorial Park of Hiroshima

The Peace Memorial Park of Hiroshima is the obvious draw of this city rebuilt after the destruction of World War II. The centerpiece is the Peace Memorial Museum, which presents a balanced view of the why the atomic bomb was dropped here in 1945. While in town, try the local specialty okonomiyaki, a savory pancake.

Day 7

itsukushima-shrine

Itsukushima Shrine

The vermilion gate of Itsukushima Shrine, rising out of the sea off the coast of Miyajima, is one of Japan’s most famous sights. Behind the covered walkways and halls of this seaside shrine rises Mount Misen, the summit of which provides panoramic views across the Inland Sea.

To extend your trip…

Matsue has an original castle, samurai houses, and a lovely setting between a lake and the Japan Sea. The pine tree-lined Amanohashidate Sand Bar is also one of Japan’s most scenic locations.

kyoto

Spending Unforgettable 48 Hours In The Marvelous Kyoto

The former imperial capital offers Japan’s best collection of temples, palaces, shrines, and gardens. Kyoto is a city steeped in history and tradition, where you can spy geisha on the streets and eat exquisitely presented meals.

Arriving: Kansai International Airport Is 100 km (miles) southwest of Kyoto, con­nected to the city by a train that takes just over one hour. Kyoto Station is linked by Shinkansen lines to Tokyo and Nagoya to the east, and to Osaka, Fukuoka, and Hiroshima to the west.

Day 1

Morning:

kiyomizu-dera-temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Make your way to Higashiyama district, on the eastern side of the city, and the hillside perch of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, where the wooden terraces provide sweeping views across Kyoto. Wander down cobbled Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka toward Maruyama Park, a famous cherry-blossom viewing location. Pass through the vermilion gate of Yasaka Shrine into Gion, Kyoto’s geisha quarter, where there are plenty of places for lunch.

Afternoon:

 ginkaku-ji-temple

Ginkaku-ji Temple

Admire the wooden buildings lining Hanamikoji-dori on your way to the subway station of Sanjo Kelhan. From here, ride the two stops on the subway to Keage. Admire the beautiful gardens at Konchi-in Temple, then explore the precincts of neigh­boring Nanzen-ji Temple. Just north of this quintessential Zen temple is the start of the 2-km-(mile-) long Philosopher’s Walk. Should you need to rest, there are plenty of teahouses along the way. The route ends at Ginkaku-ji, the Temple of the Silver Pavilion, where the refined gardens are the star attraction.

Day 2

Morning:

kyoto-palace-park

Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens

Having booked a tour with the Imperial Household Agency, enter the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park to admire its impressive stroll garden, with a delightful pond and arched bridge. Hop on the subway from Imadegawa to Kitaoji, the closest stop for Daitoku-ji Temple, a walled complex where you can contemplate the artful arrangement of a Zen garden from the teahouse of the sub­temple Daisen-in.

Afternoon:

nijo-castle

Nijo Castle

Take the 15-minute walk from Daltoku-ji to the wooded hills of Kitayama, where you’ll find Kinkaku-ji, famous for its Golden Pavilion surrounded by gardens and reflected in an ornamental pond. If you’ve time and energy for one more temple, make it Ryoan-ji, the location of Japan’s most famous and abstract Zen rock garden. The contrast with the dazzling opulence of Nijo Castle, a short taxi ride back toward the center of Kyoto, couldn’t be more acute. Having admired the castle’s gorgeously decorated interiors, end your day with a meal and nightcap In Pontocho Alley, an area where you’re sure to spot geisha going about their business.

To extend your trip…

Arashiyama is a beautiful wooded, riverside district where the imperial court retreated for relaxation, Nara, which pre-dates Kyoto as imperial capital, has a spectacular park that is home to wooden temples and a monumental bronze Buddha. The Grand Shrine at Ise is one of Japan’s most sacred places.

tokyo-1

2 Great Days in Tokyo

Unmissable sights in the Japanese capital include Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa and the grounds of the Imperial Palace. Save some time for casual exploring, since Tokyo’s neon dazzle and buzzing energy are attractions in themselves.

Arriving: Narita, 60 km (miles) northeast of the center, and Haneda, 20 km (miles) south, are Tokyo’s two international airports, both connected to the city by speedy train lines.

Moving on: The journey from Tokyo to Kyoto takes 2 hours and 15 minutes by the fastest Nozomi trains.

Day 1

Morning:

 tsukiji-fish-market

Tsukiji Fish Market

If you’re going to see the best of Tokyo in just two days, you’ll need to make an early start, and where better than at Tsukiji Fish Market. Spend a couple of hours exploring this famous market and enjoy a sushi breakfast before riding the subway 15 minutes north to reach Tokyo National Museum, next to Ueno Park. The museum hosts the world’s largest collection of Japanese art, supplemented by other Asian antiquities. Afterward, stroll around Ueno Park, home to a zoo, pagoda, Toshogu Shrine, Shinobazu Pond, and the Shitamachi Museum which gives a glimpse of Tokyo’s past. Also check out the bustling Ameyoko Market tretching beside and under the raised train tracks between Ueno and Okachimachi stations.

Afternoon:

tokyo-skytree

Tokyo Skytree, the tallest building in Japan, topped by a broadcasting mast

You can have lunch in either Ueno or Asakusa, just three subway stops east. This atmospheric area is home to Senso-ji, Tokyo’s most venerable Buddhist temple, which is best approached via the Nakamise-dori arcade of traditional craft and souvenir shops. Detour across the Sumida River for the bird’s-eye view from Tokyo Sky tree. Return to Asakusa to join the Sumida River Trip to Hama-rikyu Gardens. It’s a short walk from here to the Kabukiza Theater with its dramatic gabled facade.

Day 2

Morning:

 imperial-palace

Imperial Palace – Tokyo

Sign up for a free guided tour of the grounds of the Imperial Palace; you’ll need to register in advance but worth it for a close-up view of a fragment of this vast compound that has been home to the emperor and his family for nearly 150 years and, before that, was the location of Edo Castle. Explore the excellent collection at the National Museum of Modern Art, housed in a building across the moat that used to surround the castle.

Afternoon:

meiji-shrine

Meiji Shrine

Hop on the subway to reach Harajuku District, a good spot for lunch. From here, you can crunch down the gravel pathway to Meiji Shrine, the city’s main Shinto shrine. Check out teen fashions and trends on the shopping street Takeshita-dori, followed by more window shopping along tree-lined Omotesando, where you’ll find the Oriental Bazaar, perfect for souvenirs. The Nezu Museum is a lovely introduction to the arts of the region, and it also has a serene garden with a teahouse. Finish the day enjoying the bright lights and electric vibe of either Shibuya or Shinjuku, both easily accessed by subway or train.

To extend your trip…

Among the many day trips you can make are ones to Nikko, the mountainous home to the grand Tosho-gu Shrine and Kamakura, Japan’s ancient seaside capital, dotted with serene temples and shrines.

Amazing Treasures Of Shanghai Are Waiting For You

SHANGHAI MUSEUM

This vast repository of Chinese art, celebrates one masterpiece after another while guiding visitors through Chinese history. It’s best to arrive in the morning, as only 8,000 people are allowed in daily and queues can be long. The star attraction is a collection of ancient bronzes, some dating back to the 21st century BC.

M50

Shanghai may be famous for its glitz, but it has an edgy subculture, too. The M50 art complex is a prime example, with galleries set up in disused factories and cotton mills to showcase contemporary Chinese emerging and established artists. There’s also great street art en route as you pass graffiti -splashed walls along Moganshan Rd.

M50

M50

PROPAGANDA POSTER ART CENTRE

If armies of red tractors, bumper harvests, muscled peasants and lantern-jawed proletarians fire you up, this small gallery in the bowels of a residential block should intoxicate. The collection of original posters focuses on the Maoist era and there is also a shop.

SUNNY BEACH

If the sun is out, pop down to this small, but amusing artificial strip of sand right by the river, with the Lujiazui district’s shiny high-rises as a backdrop. You’ll find a limited bar, deckchairs, beach volleyball and Frisbee. The beach is north of Cool Docks – a regenerated area surrounded by brick warehouses, and full of restaurants and bars illuminated at night.

THE BUND

Symbolic of colonial Shanghai in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bund was once the city’s Wall Street, a place of feverish trading and fortunes made and lost. This grandiose curve of buildings, lining the western bank of the Huangpu River in front of Pudong’s ever-changing skyline, was originally a towpath for dragging barges of rice. Visit early morning when locals practise tai chi or early evening when both sides of the river are lit up.

THE BUND

THE BUND

YUYUAN GARDENS & BAZAAR

With shaded alcoves, glittering pools churning with fish, pavilions and pines sprouting wistfully from rockeries, the Yuyuan Gardens are one of Shanghai’s premier sights. The Pan family, rich Ming Dynasty officials, founded the gardens in 1559. The attached bazaar is a treasure trove of handicrafts (if a little tacky). Crowds can be overpowering, so try to come midweek.

JIAN GUO 328

Frequently crammed, this boisterous, two floors, MSG-free spot does a roaring trade on the back of excellent well-priced Shanghainese cuisine. You can’t go wrong with the menu: highlights include the deep-fried duck legs, aubergine casserole, scallion-oil noodles and yellow croaker fish spring rolls.

SUMERIAN

Good-looking Sumerian packs a lot into a small space. The real drawcard is the coffee: the cafe roasts its own single-origin beans sourced from Ethiopia, El Salvador and China. Next door, the same bright team runs pocket-sized bar Dogtown; on weekends, there’s a free keg of Asahi going from noon until it runs out.

telangana-featured

The Wonders of Telangana

The region region achieved statehood after a prolonged struggle and is loom for its unique culture, dialect, cuisines and other aspects. Constituting a major part of Deccan plateau, Telangana has a pleasing climate, with abundant natural and water resources. The state is the gateway to Krishna and Godavari Rivers in South India and is considered the seed capital of India.

Telangana, the 29th and youngest state of India, formally recognised on June 2, 2014 is a treasure trove of tourist destinations. One of the largest states in South India, Telangana is known for its hospitality and multicultural and pluralistic society. Hyderabad, the capital city of this state is the fifth largest city in India and home to some of India’s best educational institutions, public sector and defence companies and a thriving global services sector and film industry. The state hosts of tourist destinations to cater all kind of travellers.

HYDERABAD

hyderabad

Hyderabad is the capital city of the Indian state of Telangana. The city is a hub for film industry, world-class public and private hospitals, central and state level research institutions, information technology industry, biotech, pharmacy industry and many public sector entities.

CHARMINAR:

charminar

Charminar a monument and a mosque, considered synonymous with the history of Hyderabad. It is a landmark monument of Hyderabad and it is believed that Mohammed Quli Qutub Shahi, the fifth sultan of the Qutub Shahi dynasty had built this monument to commemorate the end of a deadly plague menace that had gripped the city then. It is located near the banks of the river Musi.

GOLCONDA FORT:

GOLCONDA-FORT

Golconda Fort is located in the western part of Hyderabad city which occupies an area of three square kilometers, and is approximately 4.8 kilometers in length. It was initially a mud fort under the reign of the Raja of Warangal that was then fortified between 14th and 17th centuries by the Bahmani Sultans followed by the Qutub Shahi dynasty.

HUSSAINSAGAR LAKE:

HUSSAINSAGAR-LAKE

The boulevards of Hussain Sagar with its boulevards on a pleasant evening makes tourist enjoy the cool breeze smoothly caressing their senses welcoming them to this place. The tank bund is dotted with elegant statues of eminent historic personalities, which is the dam/embankment to the Hussain Saga; serves as the link between the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

palazzo-reale

An Unsuspected Relationship: Japan’s Reflection in Palazzo Reale

The exhibition represents one of the most significant cultural events celebrating the 150th anniversary of relationships between Japan and Italy

The age-old friendship between Italy and the “Land of the Rising Sun” dates back to 25 August 1866 when the first Treaty of Friendship and Commerce, marking the beginning of diplomatic relations between the two countries, was signed.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the treaty, different cities in both countries have organized a series of cultural events including art exhibitions, plays and modern and traditional dance performances, film screenings, events dedicated to design and architecture but also comics, sporting events and cuisine. For example, one of the events staged in Japan includes an important exhibition on Botticelli at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.

the-cushion-pine-at-aoyama

The Cushion Pine at Aoyama

The most significant event on the Milanese events calendar is a major retrospective at Palazzo Reale dedicated to Ukiyoe masters Hokusai Hiroshige and Utamaro, featuring a selection of 200 xylographs and illustrated books including the famous Great Wave and the Thirty Six views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai (a part of the Cushion Pine at Aoyama, dated circa 1830-1832) on loan from the Honolulu Museum of Art. On the other hand, Situations (30 September- 29 January 2017) is the first retrospective dedicated by a European institution to Kishio Suga, a key figure on the contemporary Japanese art scene.

great-wave-and-the-thirty-six-views-of-mount-fuji

Great Wave and the Thirty Six views of Mount Fuji

The exhibition showcases over twenty of Suga’s installations (re-adapted by the artist for the occasion) dating from 1969 to the present in the ‘Navate’ space of Pirelli Hangar Bicocca. In parallel with the exhibitions, the public will have an opportunity to further their knowledge about Japan, thanks to the staging of several events of a scientific, artistic and cultural nature. The events program, dedicated to Japan, will culminate on 7 December with the premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the La Scala Opera house.