Okinawa #4

When Okinawa became Japanese in full again, in 1974, it was the economic boom, airlines were growing fast, so as mentioned in a previous post, ANA and JAL picked up great locations and built up hotels on the island, launching the boom of domestic tourism to the islands.

I stayed at the ANA InterContinental on Manza Beach, wonderful location, 31 ha of activities, gardens, swimming pools, a private beach, boats, sailing, it is a unique resort.

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Tokyo lights

One thing to note is that all fairs are an opportunity in Japan. Mother’s day, baseball, Halloween, Christmas, New Year, you name it, anything works!

IN december, near Yoyogi park, adjoining the NHK buildings, there was this amazing blue alley, every day at 17h00, it would switch on along the 750m that lead up to Shibuya.

They used to have this in Meguro but moved it there 3 years ago. it is a fairy tale when all lightens, I was very impressed. If you are in town in December, dont miss out, it is worth the moment, try to be there at 16h50 to see the launch any evening of the week. You may also enjoy it in 6 others cities across the country – Nagoya, Sendai, Sapporo, Hiroshima, Osaka and Fukuoka.

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Christmas Shopping

Christmas is not a bank holiday here but still a nice opportunity to celebrate and shop. People shop and celebrate just about anything here!!

Takashimaya, large luxury shop, located in Nihombashi is a fabulous building in itself, great architecture to admire and the traditional window shopping

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But of course the must is Ginza with the famous brands, and Mitsukoshi, this year the avenue has Christmas trees all along, impressive

 

Ao no Dokutsu

During the whole month of December, Koen Dori is lightened in blue from 17h00 to 22h00. This is a project that started in 2014 in Meguro but moved last year to Yoyogi. The best location is to be at the entrance of Yoyogi park on the side of NHK building just before 17h00 and be surprised by the blue light going on suddenly, it is truly amazing!. then walk along this 250m totally covered with LED lights. the avenue takes you down to Shibuya in a lighter version

 

This concept also exists across Japan in Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Osaka.

Kenrokuen

Japanese people are very close to nature and have a very tight relationship with their environment. Most of the bank holidays are related to nature (day of the mountain, day of the sea, day of the nature etc)

Among other items, they love gardens and there are the 3 most beautiful gardens of Japan to be visited once in a lifetime. I had this opportunity while in Kanazawa where is the Kenrokuen located.

I was not sure I would connect with this place as I was afraid of the crowd, potential queues, etc. I went there in the morning and really felt it was a beautiful place. Entrance fee is only Y100.- to help maintain the place. Although there were many people, it never felt crowded and, as always in Japan, people were so respectful that you could still enjoy the silence and peace of the place. a must if you are in the region!!

 

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There was a photo shooting as we were wandering there, it was so cute,

 

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One funny thing, Kanazawa is known to be the golden city, people like gold here and many things are made of gold (even ice creams). I was therefore amused to see that the mushrooms look golden over here!

Kiyosumi Gardens

Walking around the Fukugawa area, we found this precious Kiyosumi Garden

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, this was created by the founder of Mitsubishi who then gave it as a legacy to the city of Tokyo, nowadays, you can walk around it in peace, it feels like a moment of peace in the hassle and bussle of the city.

You can see turtles, bird, insects. this is countryside for 10mn! On the Fridays, people over 60 can get in for free with 1 person. Otherwise, the fee is only 150 yens.

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Close by are many cafes and shops.

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