Posted by: Rasma R | December 3, 2016

Yokohama, Japan


Yokohama is a city located south of the capital of Japan, Tokyo. It was one of the first Japanese ports that were opened to foreign trade in 1859. Here are many impressive sites to see and many amazing landmarks.

yoko-yamashita-koen-parkYamashita-koen is a wonderful seaside, landscaped park that is just right for strolling and watching ships pass by. It was the first seaside park in Japan and is located right in front of Yokohama Port.


The park has a green field, a rose garden, the “Little Girl With Red Shoes On” statue, the “Guardian of Water” statue, which was a gift from San Diego, a sister city of Yokohama and the “Kamome no Sulihei-san or Seagull Sailor” song monument, water stairs and a stage.


Here you’ll also find the retired luxury 1930 passenger liner NYK Hikawa Maru.

NYK Hikawa Maru is moored at the eastern end of the park. The ship is quite impressive with art-deco fixtures and many stories to tell. Inside visitors can walk through the first class cabins among which one of the staterooms was once used by Charlie Chaplin. You can also see the engine room.

yoko-sank-2Sankei-en was opened to the public in 1906. It is a lovely landscaped garden that features walking paths among ponds, 17th century buildings, several fine tea-ceremony houses and a 500-year-old three story pagoda. The inner garden represents a wonderful example of a traditional Japanese garden.


This garden was once the private home of Tomitaro “Sankei” Hara an extremely wealthy silk merchant. The house that Hara and his family lived in Kakushokaku is large and sprawling with many spacious, inter-connected tatami rooms that overlook a private green lawn.

It is particularly lovely in late March and early April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. In July and August there is a pond bursting with Japanese pink lotus blossoms, In autumn the changing leaves are so colorful and in winter come the plum blossoms in mid to late February letting people know that winter is coming to an end.

yoko-port-museumYokohama Port Museum visitors enjoy taking a look at the docked Nippon Maru, a four-masted barque that was built in 1930 which retains many original fittings. The museum takes visitors through the city’s port history and children especially enjoy the simulated ship ride.

yoko-landmark_tower_9The impressive Landmark Tower rises 296 m high and has one of the world’s fastest lifts at 45 km/h. On a clear day you can get great views to Tokyo and Mt. Fuji from the 69th floor Sky Garden observatory.


The Sky Garden is Japan’s highest observation deck and visitors can reach the observatory in just under 40 seconds. Once there you can get a 360-degree panoramic view of Yokohama, the Yokohama Bay Bridge and Mount Fuji.


Yokohama Museum of Art is the focus of the Yokohama Triennale (the next to be held in 2017). The museum hosts exhibitions from European artwork to artwork from contemporary Japanese artists. Here you’ll find permanent artworks from artists such as Picasso, Miro and Dali.

yoko-passenger-terminalOsanbashi International Passenger Terminal this is an award-winning pier that has an attractive roof deck where you can sit on the lawn or benches and enjoy the harbor view.

yoko-bank-artBankART Studio NYK is located in a former warehouse. This is a multi-floor gallery that focuses on the local art scene. It hosts changing exhibitions from local and international artists. You can relax and have drinks at the 1st floor cafe. There is a shop with great art and design books.

yoko-chinaYokohama Chinatown is known as the world’s best Chinese food spot. Here you can find over 600 shops and plenty of restaurants to choose from. The buildings all glitter in many colors and it seems you’ve entered a completely different world.


Right in the heart of Chinatown you’ll find Kantei-byo an elaborately decorated temple that is dedicated to Kanwu, the god of business.


Sojiji Temple has a Daisodo or Founder’s Hall with a ceiling that is 36 meters high and a floor that is covered with one thousand mats.


Here you’ll also find Hyakken rouka or Long Corridor, 152 meters long. There is also a cemetery with graves of prominent figures. Visitors can get a tour of the Treasure House and the halls guided by a Buddhist monk. You can book a place at the Sanzen (Zen meditation practice) that takes place once a month on a Saturday.

yoko-minatorimaiYokohama Minatomirai Manyo Club is a hot spring facility with hot spring baths, relaxation areas and overnight accommodations. Here the water is carried from hot springs in Atami and Yugawara six times a day on a 20,000 liter tank lorry. There are a variety of baths that overlook the Minatomirai area and the Yokohama Bay Bridge, outdoor baths and cypress bathtubs. There is also traditional Thai massage available and British-style reflexology services and restaurants providing Japanese course meals and many other facilities.

yoko-zouZo-no-hana Park is a waterfront park with a series of promenades which connect it to Minato Mirai’s 21 main attractions.

yoko-cosmo-2Right in the heart of Minato Mirai you’ll find Yokohama Cosmoworld, an amusement park that is famous for its prominent image on the Yokohama skyline. It is reasonably priced, easily accessed and family friendly.  It is divided into three zones according to age. The waterfront views are incredible and when lit up at night it is a romantic place to take a walk. Visitors pay for the individual rides or attractions.


For children there is the area Kids Carnival Zone, featuring rides for the youngest ages. Rides include a two-level merry-go-round, several car and train rides and the Cycle Monorail, offering a bird’s eye view of the area. There is also a children’s game arcade called Cosmo Fantasia Kids.

Nearby you’ll find many restaurants, bars, shops and parks which are just a short walking distance from Chinatown.

yoko-marine-towerA most romantic spot is the Yokohama Bayside area with the Yokohama Marine Tower. The tower was built in 1961 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama Port. It is most lovely if you get to the tower at sunset as from the top you’ll discover a breathtaking view over Yokohama Bay. The 30th floor is 100 meters above the ground. Walking around the deck you’ll see a clear silhouette of Mount Fuji against the sunset.  On the 29th floor you’ll be able to get wonderful night views since there is plenty of seating.

yoko-queens-towerYokohama Customs is also known as Queen’s Tower. The building dates from 1934 and is characteristic for its mosque-like appearance. Lit up at night the building design seems to be quite lady-like.



Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall is also known as Jack’s Tower. It was built in the neo-Renaissance style and opened in 1918. It was affectionately nicknamed Jack and is designated as a historical heritage building, presently serving as the Nakaku Ward Hall. The tip of the clock tower is lit up with lights that over-pass the intersection. The lightshow on the red bricks takes one back in time to a different age – Yokohama’s golden era. The orange reflection from the lighting is pure delight.


Kanagawa Prefectural Government’s Office is also known as King’s Tower. It stands tall and proud in the historical area dating back to 1928. The building was influenced by the Art Deco architectural style. The building is particularly impressive lit up at night. It is often used for location shoots in Japanese TV drama and movies.


Yokohama Bay Bridge is the greatest suspension bridge in Japan. It is 860 meters in length and opened to traffic in 1989. It was built as part of an important transportation route that connects Yokohama to Tokyo.

It is a two-layer bridge with the upper levels serving for high-speed transport while the lower levels have a promenade called Yokohama Skywalk. Walking along you get fantastic panoramic views. On the lower level there is also a parking space. The bridge is also used for many movies and for TV series.


Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is a large theme park that includes Aqua Resorts. Here visitors will find Pleasure Land, shops, restaurants and a hotel. The three distinct major attractions are Aqua Museum, Dolphin Fantasy and the Fureai Lagoon. There is also the Aqua Theater, offering a short movie about marine life around the world.

yoko-aqua-walrusThe Aqua Museum aquarium as several floors and is home to lots of marine life including penguins, sea otters, polar bears and sharks. During feeding time you can see the staff interacting with the marine life. Walruses might do tricks and swim with the sharks. There are two gigantic tanks across several floors. Even though the show is in Japanese it is easy to understand and it is fun seeing sea lions catching rings, walruses blowing kisses and much more.

yoko-aqua-dolphinsDolphin Fantasy is an aquarium full of dolphins that can be seen swimming through a glass tunnel. It almost seems you are underwater with them.


The Fureai Lagoon is more of an interactive experience. It begins with a short introductory video in Japanese but you can get an English cop. It is important for visitors not to touch the heads of dolphin or beluga whales, they must hold onto their hats and other items so they won’t fall into the marine life enclosures and not to feed the marine life. However you can get to pet a dolphin, beluga whale and walrus. There are outdoor enclosures for walruses, sea lions and penguins.

Visitors will find various places to rest, eat and shop. You can head for the arcade, try the rides or roller coaster and stay overnight at the hotel.


Yokohama Zoological Garden ZOORASIA is an unique zoo which consists of as few fences as possible and visitors can see animals living in an environment similar to their natural habitat. The zoo is divided into zones of different climates like Asian Tropical Forest, Subarctic Forest, Amazon Jungle, Japanese Countryside and African Tropical Rain Forest. There is also a grass park and the Wanpaku Forest with play equipment.

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The zoo has a closed facility, Yokohama City Breeding Center, which was founded for researching wildlife and contributing to the preservation of rare species.


Kanazawa Zoological Gardens is located in Kanazawa Natural Park situated next to the Greenery Preservation Area and the Civic Forest on the outskirts of Kita-Kamakura.

This zoo offers a zoological-geographical display divided into the four continents of North America, Eurasia, Oceania and Africa. Rare herbivorous animals are kept in a natural un-fenced environment for the purpose of preservation of species.

There are many plants covering an area of  13.6 hectares, is divided into six zone, namely “Uki-uki-Bayasi”(lighthearted Forest), “Mizu-no-Tani (Valley of Water), “Nandaro-Zaka (What-is-it Hill),”Nonbiri-Nohara”(Relaxed Fields),”Niko-niko Puraza”(Smiling Plaza), “Sida-no-Tani”(Valley of Ferns), “Nonohana-Kan”(Wild Flower Pavilion),

Visitors enjoy taking hiking courses in the outer garden of Kanazawa Natural Park. The Parking Palace is also in the outer garden and is a place for relaxation among many trees and plants.

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Posted by: Rasma R | December 1, 2016

Osaka, Japan


Osaka is a large port city and commercial center located on the Japanese island of Honshu. The city is well-known for its modern architecture and delicious street food. There are also many impressive shrines to visit as well as modern attractions.


Dotonbori Street is a pedestrian street where visitors can find lots of restaurants and theaters among flashing neon light with signage such as a giant 3-D crab, puffer fish and dragon among others.

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Amazing as it might seem just a short walk from all of the hustle and bustle you’ll find a tiny temple known as Hozen-ji down a narrow alley.


The temple is built around a moss-covered Fudo-myoo statue. This statue is a favorite of people who work in the water trade and they stop by before work to throw some water on the statue. This tiny alley is also filled with traditional restaurants and bars.


To get a better look at all of the flashing neon lights on Dotonbori Street walk along the Ebisu-bashi Bridge. 


The National Art Museum of Osaka occupies two underground floors on Nakanoshima Island in central Osaka. The museum highlights Japanese and foreign contemporary art with exhibitions from the museum collection and special displays. The current building was opened in 2007 and was designed to represent the growth and shape of a bamboo plant.


Enjoy nature by visiting Minoo Park, a forested valley on the outskirts of Osaka. This is a great place to see spectacular autumn colors and lovely fall foliage found at temples and gardens, usually in the second half of November. The park has hiking trails that stretch for three kilometers through a valley beside the Minoo River.


The trail begins near Hankyu Minoo Station and heads toward the Minoo Waterfall at a height of 33 meters. The trail from the station to the waterfall is paved and the first half passes through some shops, temples and other facilities.


During the autumn season you can find shops along the path that sell an interesting snack called momiji tempura (maple leaves deep fried in batter).


Along the hiking trail you’ll find the impressive Ryuanji Temple which is part of the Shugendo Mountain worship religious sect.


The Kita district which is also known as Umeda, is one of Osaka’s two main city centers. It is located around the large station complex, comprising Osaka and Umeda Stations. This is the city’s busiest transportation hub and vibrant business district. Here visitors and residents can find shopping, dining, lodging and entertainment.


Osaka Station City opened in 2011 and in this district is the transportation, shopping, entertainment and business complex that surrounds and includes JR Osaka Station. The station’s impressive new design has a giant glass roof high above the train platforms.


Grand Front Osaka opened in 2013 and consists of multiple, connected high-rise buildings. This complex also has many shops and restaurants as well as offices, residential space and small parks. You’ll also find the intercontinental Hotel Osaka here.


Northwest of Osaka Station you’ll find Shin Umeda City, a building complex that centers around the Umeda Sky Building, a fabulous 173 meter tall skyscraper that opened in 1993 with an open-air observation deck on the roof.


HEP is a large shopping and entertainment complex that consists of the HEP FIVE and HEP Navio buildings, east of the Hankyu Department Store. HEP FIVE features a giant red Ferris wheel emerging from its roof and the complex itself has more than 300 shops and restaurants.


At 300 meters high Abeno Harukas is the tallest skyscraper in Japan. The building stands on top of the Kitetsu Osaka Abenobashi Station. It is home to a department store, an art museum, a hotel and an observation deck.


Harukas 300 is the observation deck and occupies this building’s top three floors. The deck has large floor-to-ceiling glass panels all around and from the 60th floor you can get awesome 360 degree views of Osaka. On the 58th floor is a beautifully designed inner court with a wooden deck and cafe. There are also souvenir shops and restrooms.


Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Department Store is the largest department store in Japan with more than 100,000 square meters of retail space. It is comprised of two buildings, tower and wing. The tower building has many international brands  and two floors dedicated to interior and furnishing. Two floors in the basement are food floors and there are also three floors of restaurants. The wing building has shops marketing the “Solaha” brand geared to the younger clientele. Shoppers will also find sports and travel goods and a bookstore for children. Both buildings are connected by passages and short escalators.


The Abeno Harukas Art Museum has found its home on the 16th floor. Even though the museum doesn’t have a permanent collection there are changing exhibitions of Western and Buddhist art every few months. Here you can also find a garden terrace where you can sit and relax.


A rooftop plaza is located above the Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Department Store and has a small vegetable garden and a small shrine.


Shitennoji is one of Japan’s oldest temples that the first to ever be built by the state. The temple was founded by Prince Shotoku in 593, who supported the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. Through many reconstructions the present buildings reflect the original 6th century design.


Visitors can enter the outer temple grounds for free but an admission price is charged to the inner precinct, the Gokuraku-jodo Garden and the treasure house. In the pebble covered courtyard in the inner precinct there is a five-story pagoda that can be entered and ascended and the Main Hall (Kondo) in which Prince Shotoku is enshrined as a statue of Kannon. The treasure house displays paintings, scriptures and other worthy belongings of the temple in periodic, themed exhibitions.


The Osaka Museum of History opened in 2003, just across the street from Osaka Castle. The museum building offers great views of the castle from its top floors. The museum exhibits chronicle the city’s history, beginning with ancient times when Osaka became Japan’s first capital. The upper floors offer the exhibitions while the lower floors have a restaurant, shop and spacious lobby.


One of Japan’s oldest shrines is Sumiyoshi Taisha, founded in the 3rd century before the introduction of Buddhism. It displays an unusual style of shrine architecture known as Sumiyoshi-zukuri. This type of architecture is characterized by straight roofs, decorated by two sets of forked finials and five horizontal billets. These kinds of buildings have their entrance under the gable and are surrounded by a fence. There are four main halls with the first three positioned in a straight line facing west, while the fourth stands just beside the third.


Leading to the entrance of the shrine is the lovely Sorihashi Bridge, creating a unique high arch over a pond.


Construction on Osaka Castle was begun in 1583 on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple. The castle was intended to become the center of a new, unified Japan under Toyotomi rule and at that time was the largest castle. Then a few years after Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s death, Tokugawa troops attacked and destroyed the castle and terminated the Toyotomi lineage in 1615. It was rebuilt.


The present ferro-concrete reconstruction of the castle tower was built in 1931. The castle was given a new look in 1997 and the tower is completely modern now also featuring an elevator for easy accessibility. It is also home to an informative museum about the castle’s history and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The castle tower is surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls and moats.


The Nishinomaru Garden encompasses the former “western citadel”. This is a lawn garden with 600 cherry trees, a tea house, the former Osaka Guest House and great views of the castle tower. The garden has an admission fee.


The Osaka Bay Area is a collection of new city districts on man-made waterfront islands and peninsulas. Here you can find many tourist attractions such as museums, theme parks, observatories and shopping centers.


The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is the city’s largest. It offers awesome panoramic views of the bay area and the city’s skyscrapers.


Naniwa Kuishinbo is a food theme park found inside the Tempozan Marketplace shopping malls. It showcases Osaka’s different native dishes and specialties.


Mount Tempozan is Japan’s smallest mountain with a summit at 4.53 meters above sea level. The area has been developed into a small park with benches, walkways and green space.


Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is located in the Tempozan Harbor Village in the Osaka Bay area. It shows visitors the various forms of life that inhabit the Pacific Rim. Marine life is displayed in 15 tanks with the central tank representing the Pacific Ocean and is home to a whale shark, the aquarium’s main attraction.


Visitors start their tour of the aquarium on the 8th floor and then spiral down floor by floor around the central tank. Some of the tanks stretch over several floors so it is possible to observe the animals from different depths.


You can also see Antarctic penguins, coral-reef butterfly fish, Arctic otters, Monterey Bay seals and jellyfish. The most impressive is the enormous central tank which is home to the whale shark, manta and thousands of other fish and rays. There are good English descriptions and if you prefer you can get the audio guide.

The incredible Sakishima Island is worth a visit. It has been designed to accommodate business conferences and trade fairs. There are some tourist attractions.


Cosmo Tower was formerly known as the World Trade Center. It is the tallest building on Sakishima Island. It has an observation deck on the 55th floor. Restaurants and shops are found on the tower and top floors while the floors in-between are occupied by offices and conference rooms.



Asia Pacific Trade Center is attached to a large mall with shopping and dining facilities. It was designed to hose business gatherings and has large conference facilities.


Nanko Bird Sanctuary was created to provide migratory birds with a stop-over location in the huge urbanized area of Osaka. It has a building from which visitors can watch and learn about birds.


The main attraction of Sakurajima Island is Universal Studios Japan, a popular theme park that opened in 2001. This was the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand to be built in Asia. It opened in March of 2001 in the Osaka Bay Area.


The theme park has eight sections – Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Water World, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are many amusement rides to enjoy and simulators based on popular movies like Spiderman, Back to the Future, Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park.

Visitors can have their pictures taken with popular characters like Snoopy, Hello Kitty and the Sesame Street puppets. There are also different shows performed every day including a night parade that features illuminated floats.


Outside the gates you’ll find Universal Citywalk Osaka, a shopping mall with many official Universal hotels, different restaurants and shops. The Osaka Takoyaki Museum is actually a collection of popular vendors offering local dishes on the mall’s fourth floor.

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Posted by: Rasma R | November 26, 2016

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan skyline at dusk.

Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is a city on the island of Honshu. This city is well-known for its many classical Buddhist temples, impressive architecture and lovely gardens.


One of the city’s most famous landmarks is Kyoto Tower, established in 1964. The tower is made of special steel plate cylinders and welded to give it a round shape. Inside the tower are souvenir shops and several different restaurants on various floors. In the basement is a public bathhouse. From the top of the tower you can get fantastic views.



Enter the world of  Zen temples at Daitoku-ji. This temple is the headquarters of the Rinzai Daitoku-ji School of Zen Buddhism. Among the highlights here are 24 sub-temples. Daitoku-ji was founded in 1319, burnt to the ground in the next century and rebuilt in the 16th century.


The San-mon Gate dating from 1589 has a self-carved statue of its erector, the famous tea master Sen on Rikyu on its second story.


On the far western edge of the Daitoku-ji complex is a lovely garden. The garden Koto-in is one of the best in Kyoto. It is located in a beautiful bamboo grove and there is a small garden for strolling which leads to a rectangle of moss and maple trees, backed by bamboo. You can relax on the veranda and take it all in.

ky-tofuku-temple.Tofuku-ji is one of the finest temples in Kyoto. It was founded in 1236 by the Priest Enni. This temple belongs to the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. The present temple complex has 24 sub-temples.


The huge San-mon is the oldest Zen main gate in Japan.


The Hojo (Abbot’s Hall) was reconstructed in 1890. There are lovely gardens that were laid out in 1938. The northern garden has stones and moss neatly laid out in a checkerboard pattern. From a viewing platform at the back of the gardens visitors can see the Tsuten-kyo (Bridge to Heaven) which spans a valley filled with maples.


Chion-in has a collection of soaring buildings and spacious courtyards. It serves as the headquarters of the Jodo sect, the largest sect of Buddhism in Japan. This is the most popular pilgrimage temple in Kyoto. The temple was established in 1234 and the oldest of the buildings here dates back to the 17th century.


The two-story San-mon, a Buddhist temple gate at the main entrance is the largest temple gate in Japan. The huge main hall has an image of Honen. It is connected to another hall, the Dai Hojo, by a “nightingalefloor that sings and squeaks with every move.


Up a flight of stairs southeast of the main hall you’ll find the temple’s giant bell. It was cast in 1633 and weighs 70 tons. It is the largest bell in Japan and is rung by the temple’s monks 108 times each year on New Year’s Eve.


On top of a hill you’ll find  Kiyomizu-deru, one of Kyoto’s most popular temples. This ancient temple was first built in 798 but the present buildings are reconstructions dating from 1633. This temple is an affiliate of the Hossu School of Buddhism.


The Hondo (Main Hall) has a huge veranda, supported by pillars and juts out over the hillside.


Below the hall is the Otowa-no-taki waterfall, where visitors drink sacred waters that are believed to bestow health and longevity.


When entering the Tainai-meguri, the entrance in the darkness if you spin the rock in either direction you can make a wish.


The steep approach to the temple is known as Chawan-zaka (Teapot Lane) and is lined with shops that sell Kyoto handicrafts, local snacks and souvenirs.


Shoren-in also commonly called Awata Palace is a small, intimate temple with giant camphor trees growing outside the walls. It was originally the residence of the chief abbot of the Tendai School. Founded in 1150, the present building dates from 1895 and the main hall has sliding screens with painting from the 16th and 17th centuries. Here you can also find beautiful landscape garden where you can relax and have a cup of tea.


Visitors enjoy visiting Gion, the famous entertainment and geisha quarter on the eastern bank of the Kamo-gawa. By the 18th century this was Kyoto’s largest pleasure district. Hanami-koji runs north-south and bisects Shijo-dori. The southern section is lined with 17th century traditional restaurants and tea houses, many of which are exclusive establishments for geisha entertainment.


Shimbashi (sometimes called Shirakawa Minami-dori is one of Kyoto’s most beautiful streets especially in the evenings and during cherry-blossom season.

Farther on you’ll come to Shinmonzen-dori and Furumonzen-dori where you will find wonderful old houses, art galleries and shops specializing in antiques.


Kurama-dera is located high on a thickly wooded mountain dating back to 1680 and is one of the few temples that still retains an air of spirituality. It is a secluded temple with raked gardens set back in the woods. Among the temple buildings is a small gallery with frequent exhibitions featuring local and international artists.


The Kyoto National Museum is the city’s premier art museum and is host to the highest level exhibitions. The museum was founded in 1895 as an imperial repository for art and treasures from local temples and shrines. In the original main hall you’ll find 17 rooms with displays of more than 1000 artworks, historical artifacts and handicrafts. The new Heisel Chishinkan, designed by Taniguchi Yoshio, opened in 2014, is a brilliant modern counterpoint to the original building.


Entering Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is like stepping into another world. The thick green bamboo stalks seem to stretch endlessly and offer a strange quality of light. It is really a magical place.


The Imperial Palace or Gosho is the former residence of the Emperor of Japan. No emperor has resided there since 1869. The palace sits in the large Kyoto Imperial Park.


The park has many imperial buildings including the Sento Imperial Palace which was a palace for retired emperors, dating from the early 17th century. There are also tennis courts, baseball fields and an Imperial Household Office.


The Kyoto Imperial Palace Park has been planted with a large variety of flowering trees and open fields. It is a great place for picnics, taking strolls and relaxing. The pond at the park’s southern end is a lovely place filled with carp. The parks is particularly beautiful in the plum and cherry blossom seasons. The plum arbor is on the west side and there are several large weeping cherry trees at the north end of the park.


Of interest is Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama where you can enjoy the antics of the monkeys and see them up close. Not only can you enjoy the monkeys but you can get fantastic views over Kyoto.


Visit Owl Family Cafe or Fukuro-no Mise in Japanese where you can enjoy seeing various kinds of owls. Every hour from 12 PM there are petting sessions where you can hold and touch the owls. Photos can be taken but without flash as the owls are weak against light.


Kyoto City Zoo is Japan’s second oldest zoo and was opened during the Meiji period in 1903. The zoo is being reconstructed and it is a great place to meet lots of baby animals, including elephants, giraffes, gorillas, mandrills and more.


At the Elephant Forest you can see four baby elephants walking about and bathing. At Africa’s Savannah you can view giraffes and zebras from a wooden stage set above their heads. You might find a red panda and a sloth walking above you.


At Savage Animal World, lions, tigers and jaguars can climb a corridor set up in the air. You can find entertaining monkeys at the Japanese Monkey Island.

In the Children’s Zoo visitors can pet a goat, sheep and a pig. You can sit and relax on benches set in the south side of the zoo and feel the cooling breezes coming from the Biwako Canal. The zoo also features a library cafe and buffet style eatery.

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Posted by: Rasma R | November 22, 2016

Kobe on Osaka Bay


Kobe is located in central Japan on Osaka Bay. The city is known for its signature marbled beef and scenic mountain setting framing the harbor. A great way to see the city is from top of Mount Rokko, offering panoramic views.


Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum is found at Hakutsuru which is the dominant sake brewer Kobe’s Nada-ku, one of Japan’s major sake-brewing centers. Visitors take a self-guided tour through its historic, wood-built former brewery building. The present, giant concrete factory sits behind it. You can take an amazing look into traditional sake-making methods; life-sized models appear on old equipment, and a pamphlet and videos are available in English. After the tour you can have a free sake tasting.


There is a natural beauty to Nunobiki Falls. The waterfall is divided into four sections with the longest being 43 m tall and it has been the subject of art, poetry and worship for centuries.


Some of the poems that have been inspired by the waterfalls have been reproduced on stone slabs at the site. You can reach the falls by a steep, 400 m path.


Kitano Tenman-jinja is a beautiful little shrine found up a steep hill. It is a great place to relax, people watch and see the wonderful views across the city to the Inland Sea. 


Take a walk in the lovely, hilly neighborhood Kitano-cho where you can see the well-preserved homes of Western trading families and diplomats who settled here during the Meiji Period. There are wonderful winding streets to explore, souvenir shops and cafes and restaurants to relax in. Here you’ll find a European-American atmosphere.


Ikuta Shrine dates back to 201 AD. This is a wooded shrine that has played a key role in the history of sake brewing. It has survived civil wars and WW II and has become a gathering place for residents after natural disasters like the 1995 earthquake. Here you’ll find lovely forest and landmark camphor trees.


The Kobe City Museum offers visitors a look into the history of Kobe as a trading port and an east-west meeting place through art and artifacts with English signage. There are items displayed to show foreign influence from clock to oil lamps and even hairstyles.


Visit Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden and Ropeway and find an escape from the bustle of the city on a 400 m high mountain ridge with fantastic views across the city to the bay. You can gain access via ropeway (cable car). A paved path leads downhill past themed gardens to the ropeway’s mid-station. Once you exit the gardens, the trail continues downhill to Nunobiki Falls.

Kobe, Japan - November 17 2013: Nankinmachi is a compact chinato

Kobe China Town, Nankin-machi is an interesting place to visit where you’ll find more than 100 Chinese shops and restaurants as well as three Chinese-style gates, including the amazing Changan Gate, a pavilion and a Chinese temple. Visitors enjoy the many Chinese eateries and love to shop for many different kinds of souvenirs here among them Chinese lanterns, tea and incense.

Visit Port Island, where you’ll find many interesting places to see:


The Kobe Convention Center consists of an International Conference Center and International Exhibition Hall, hosting many international conferences.

The Kobe Science Museum also includes a planetarium and offers hands-on experience for both children and adults.


The UCC Coffee Company just opened its new headquarters on the island and offer visitors a Coffee Museum with displays on the history of coffee as well as showing how to prepare tasty coffee.


Visitors really enjoy The Kobe Flower and Bird Garden parrots and penguins are the specialty.

The Tasaki Pearl Company offers a small, free museum displaying pearls.


The impressive Kobe Fashion Museum has been designed to look like a giant spaceship. It is the first fashion museum in Japan and is located on Rokko Island. Here you’ll find a permanent collection in several themed galleries. The museum is also home to an extensive library of fashion books and magazine in many different languages.

The building is also home to an event space and the Kobe Artists Museum, exhibiting western-style artwork from local artists.


Meriken Park received its name because it was the local pronunciation of “American” in the Meiji Period. This is Kobe’s most distinctive stretch of waterfront. The park also has a memorial to the 1991 Great Hanshin Earthquake victims. Meriken Park is a lovely waterfront park built on an outcropping of reclaimed land. The park is covered by grassy lawn and has open courtyards that are dotted with a collection of modern art installations and fountains. It is also home to the city’s most iconic contemporary architecture like the red Kobe Port Tower and the Kobe Maritime Museum.

The Kobe Maritime Museum sits in the center of the park. The building is topped by an impressive white steel framework that is meant to evoke the image of sails. On the first floor visitors can discover how the Kobe Port functions and see exhibit models of modern ships. On the second floor the museum introduces the history of the port and how it became an important connection between Japan and the outside world. Outside of the museum you can see historic boats on display.


In the other half of the Maritime Museum building you’ll find the Kawasaki Good Times World. This is the corporate museum of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, manufacturer of various mechanical components and vehicles among them Shinkansen trains, jet planes, helicopters and motorcycles. The museum exhibits the history of the company and its products and visitors can have hands-on experience with some of the vehicles.

Kobe tourism destinations

To the west of the museum you’ll find the Kobe Port Tower, an unusual red-painted steel structure which has become a symbol of the port and the city. It was built in 1963. The tower stand 108 m tall and visitors can take an elevator up to its five top floors. Two of the floors have a restaurant and a rotating cafe. The other three floors have observation decks that provide 360-degree views of the city.

Kobe Harborland is a fascinating shopping and entertainment district offering a large selection of shops, restaurants, cafes and different kinds of amusements. It is a popular place for strolling and people watching.


At Kobe Harbor you’ll find Umie, a busy, multi-level, contemporary megamall with around 235 stores in three separate sections. Here you can also find some fine dining and great views of the city. The shopping complex consists of three parts – Mosaic, South Mall and North Mall.

Mosaic Ferris Wheel, Merikenpark, Kobe, Japan

Mosaic stretches along the waterfront offering a wide selection of restaurant with harbor views. It is particularly nice at night when all lit up. At the southern end there’s a Ferris Wheel and the Anpanman Museum, dedicated to the popular manga and anime series. The South Mall and North Mall are enclosed shopping malls.


Of interest is the Gaslight Street which is lit up in the evenings by old-fashioned gas street lamps and electric lights.


The Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution is a museum that is dedicated to the devastation that occurred during the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. It measured 7.2 on the Richter scale and more than 5,500 people were killed. Buildings and highways collapsed and fires swept the city. This glass covered museum was built with an exterior frame that was designed to sway in an earthquake with shock absorbers to withstand vertical and horizontal movement. Here you can see a computer-generated film about the disaster, a diorama of a Kobe city street after the quake and real footage of the happening.

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Mount Rokko stands 931 meters high and is the highest peak in the Rokko mountain range. It provides a lovely green backdrop to Kobe and offers panoramic views of the urbanized Hanshin region (Kobe and Osaka). The most awesome views come at sunset.

On Mount Rokko you can find different tourist attractions like a botanical garden, a music box museum, a pasture of flowers and sheep, Japan’s first golf course and the Rokko Garden Terrace, a tourist complex with some restaurants, shops and an observation deck.


A great place to get together with nature and animals is at the Kobe Rokkosan Pasture. Here you can get up close to lots of farm animals among them sheep, cows, donkeys, ponies and goats.


All of this is in a wide, pastoral-like setting on top of Mount Rokko. At the Mt. Rokko Q’B’B Cheese House visitors can see the process of making Kobe cheese (Camembert cheese). There are lots of fun hands-on classes held like wool craft and ice cream, butter, cheese, soft caramel and sausage making.


Visitors also enjoy the Oji Zoo which is the only zoo in Japan where you can see both Giant Panda Bears and Koalas.


This is home to about 150 different kinds of animals from around the world. Lots of other attractions and events are held like “Splash Time of North Pole Bears” and “Animal Class for Kids”. In the spring this is a great place to see cherry blossoms.


Since it opened in 1957 both residents and visitors have enjoyed Suma Aqualife Park. Here you can see bottlenose dolphins doing tricks and sharks and stingrays swimming about.


You can also see pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish in the world.


The Earless Seal and Penguin Pavilion has a petting field.


Alpine Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Japan, opening in 1933. Here you can find about 1,500 kinds of rare alpine plants and wild plants of Mount Rokko. The garden is located at 865 m above sea level.


Kobe Winery is located on a picturesque hillside with lovely views. The winery offers visitors a look at the brewery, a barbecue space and also provides pottery classes.


KOBE Animal Kingdom is a theme park featuring rare birds and animals in a weather-proofed green house that is full of blooming flower all year round.


It has one of the largest owl collections in the world.

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Posted by: Rasma R | November 17, 2016

Nagasaki, Japan


As we leave China behind in our armchair travels we hop on over to Japan. Nagasaki sits on the northwest coast on the island of Kyushu. The city is set on a large natural harbor with buildings on the terraces of the surrounding hills. This city is remembered for a key moment that happened during WW II, when it suffered an Allied nuclear attack in August 1945. 


The Peace Park is located north of the hypo-center of the attack.


The highlight here is the 10-ton bronze Nagasaki Peace Statue which was designed in 1955 by Kitamura Seibo. There is also the dove-shaped Fountain of Peace and the Peace Symbol Zone, a sculpture garden with contributions on the theme of peace from all around the world.


Visitors can see how the nuclear attack destroyed the city and took the lives of so many through photos and artifacts at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Some of the things you can see here are mangled rocks, trees, furniture, pottery, clothing and a clock that stopped at precisely 11:02 (the hour of the bombing). There are also first-hand accounts from survivors and stories of heroic relief efforts.


Adjacent to the museum you’ll find the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. The memorial was completed in 2003 by Kuryu Akira. It is a peaceful place where visitors can read the carved inscriptions and walk around the sculpted water basin. In the hall below are 12 glass pillars which contain shelves of books with the names of the deceased.


Suwa-jinja is an enormous shrine that is found on a forested hilltop and only reachable by multiple staircases. It was established in 1625. On the grounds you can find statues of komainu (protective dogs), among them are kappa-komainu (water-sprite dogs), which you can pray to by dribbling water onto the plates they have upon their heads.


The Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture was opened in 2005 and focuses on Nagasaki’s proud history of international exchange. The main gallery is an impressive reconstruction of a section of the Edo-period Nagasaki Magistrate’s Office, which was in control of trade and diplomacy. There are detailed English-language explanations.


The Tokugawa shogunate banished all foreigners from Japan in 1641 the exception being Dejima, a fan-shaped artificial island in Nagasaki harbor. From then until the 1850s, this tiny Dutch trading post was the sole sanctioned foreign presence in Japan. Today the city has filled in around this island but there are still 17 buildings, walls and structures.


When visiting don’t miss the Dejima Museum, a cluster of small buildings along with exhibits on the Dutch and other foreign contact with Nagasaki and also free walking-tour maps of the entire site.


Of interest to visitors is the Atomic Bomb Hypocentre Park with a smooth, black stone column that marks the point above at which the bomb exploded. Nearby you can see bomb blasted relics like a section of the wall of the Urakami Cathedral.


Sofuku-ji is an Obaku temple (Obaku is the third-largest Zen sect after Rinzai and Soto). It was built by Chinese monk Chaonian in 1629. The red entrance gate is a good example of Ming dynasty architecture. Inside the temple you can see a huge cauldron that was used to prepare food for famine victims in 1681. There is also a statue of Maso, goddess of the sea, worshiped by early Chinese seafarers.


Glover Garden is a hillside garden where you can see the reassembled former homes of the city’s Meji-period European residents. The garden is named after Thomas Glover,  the Scottish merchant who built the first railway in Japan, helped  establish the shipbuilding industry and whose arms-importing operations influenced the course of the Meiji Restoration.While visiting the garden stop by to see the Glover House.


Exiting Glover Garden visitors walk through the Nagasaki Traditional Performing Arts Museum where they can see a wonderful display of dragons and floats that are used in the colorful Kunchi Matsuri, a festival that is held each year in October.


Visit the 26 Martyrs Memorial a memorial wall with reliefs of the 26 Christians crucified in 1597. It commemorates a harsh crackdown when six Spanish friars and twenty Japanese were killed. Behind the memorial is a museum with Christianity-related displays.


Fukusai-ji Kannon is a temple that takes the form of a huge turtle carrying an 18 meter-high figure of the goddess Kannon on its back. Inside, a Foucault pendulum that demonstrates the rotation of the earth on its axis hangs from near the top of the hollow statue.


Oura Catholic Church is a hilltop church that is the oldest in Japan dating back to 1865. It is dedicated to the 26 Christians crucified in Nagasaki in 1597. Inside you can see an ornate Gothic altar, a bishop’s chair and an oil painting of the 26 martyrs.

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West of the harbor you’ll find Mount Inasa-yama rising 333 meters-high and offering fantastic views over the city. You can take a cable car to the top. One ascends every 20 minutes.


Some of the most spectacular views are of the city at night.


The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum was designed by Kuma Kengo. It is located by a canal and is an environmentally friendly building with a roof garden. Here you can see a permanent art collection that covers both Nagasaki-related art and Spanish art. Special exhibits are eclectic, from Chinese to Chagall. You can relax at a lovely cafe in the bridge over the canal.


Nagai Takashi Memorial Museum celebrates the courage and faith of one man. Dr. Nagai was suffering from leukemia but managed to survive the atomic explosion however lost his wife. He then devoted his time to treat bomb victims until his death in 1951. In his final days, he continued to write prolifically and kept securing donations for survivors and orphans, thereby earning the nickname “Saint of Nagasaki”. You can see videos in English.


Koshi-byo shrine claims to be the only Confucian shrine built by and for Chinese outside of China. You can see statues of sages in the courtyard.

Behind the shrine you’ll find the Historical Museum of China with displays of Chinese art, jade artifacts and Neolithic archaeological finds along with terracotta warriors and Qing-dynasty porcelain. In the gift shop there are Chinese trinkets.


Visit the vibrant Chinese community Sinchi Chinatown. Visitors love to see it all, to enjoy the food and to shop for Chinese crafts and trinkets.


Kofuku-ji temple dates back to the 1620s. It is noted for its Ming architecture of the main hall. This is also an Obaku Zen temple and the oldest in Japan.


The bridge Megane-bashi is the best known of several bridges that span the river. The river Nakashima-gawa is crossed by a picturesque collection of 10 17th century stone bridges. At one time each bridge was the distinct entrance way to a separate temple. The Megane-bashi or spectacles bridge was given its name because the water and the arches come together to form a reflection in the water thus creating a spectacular effect.


Urakami Cathedral was once the largest church in Asia. It took three decades to complete and only but a moment to flatten. A smaller replacement was built and completed in 1959 on the ruins of the original. You can walk around the side of the hill and see a belfry lying there where the original structure fell after the explosion.


Visit Dutch Slopes where you can see flagstone streets that were once lined with wooden Dutch houses. Several buildings have been restored and let visitors take a look at Japan’s early interest in the West. Koshashin-shiryokan and Maizo-shiryokan showcase the area’s history but most of the signs are in Japanese.


Of interest is the Madam Butterfly Statue of the Japanese opera singer Miura Tamaki and inspiration for the famous opera by Puccini. This story took place in Nagasaki.


In the central part of Nagasaki Prefecture is Omura Bay. Close-by is Nagasaki Airport stretching towards the sea. The whole bay area is designated as Omura Park, a prefectural nature park.


You’ll enjoy Huis Ten Bosch, a residential-style resort that is modeled after a medieval 17th century European town, lying in the northern part of the bay. Canals run thorough the vast park, where the landscape and buildings have been reproduced. It includes an amusement park, museums, restaurants and hotels. Visitors can look around on rented cycles or canal cruisers.


On the west side of the bay you’ll find Nagasaki Bio Park, a nature and animal park with 170 different kinds of animals.


Visitors enjoy Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium with eight species of penguins among them little penguins and King Penguins, which can be 90 cm tall. Here you can also see the Mekong giant catfish, Golden mandarin fish, Japanese horseshoe crab among others.


Adjacent to the aquarium is Tachibana Bay where a part of the sea is isolated by using nets and fences and the penguins are released into this part to that visitors can observe them. Some other highlights are penguin parades, touching penguins and sea kayaking.


Tashibana Bay

In the Nature Zone is a biotope that re-creates the environment of the countryside of Nagasaki. Here you can see native grasses, flowers and trees as  well as endangered species grow. Among the plants live Japanese rhinoceros beetles and Japanese killifish just like they would in nature. The scenery is lovely.

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Posted by: Rasma R | November 11, 2016

Beijing, China


In our armchair travels our last stop in China is Beijing. Beijing is a the huge capital city of China with a history stretching back 3 millennia. It is known for its mix of ancient sites like the amazing Forbidden City complex and modern architecture.


The Imperial Palace, also known as the Forbidden City, is China’s most significant building and has roots in the Yuan Dynasty of the 13th century. Enlargements were made during the Ming Dynasty between 1406 and 1420. This lovely palace has been home to 24 Ming and Qing Emperors.

The complex is surrounded by a 10-meter-high wall with towers in the four corners and a 50-meter-wide moat. Among the highlights here are:


  • The Meridian Gate built in 1420.
  • The Golden River Bridges – five decorated white marble bridges.
  • The 35-meter-high Hall of Supreme Harmony with the wonderfully decorated gilded imperial throne.
  • The Hall of Preserving Harmony functioning as the Emperor’s banquet hall.
  • The Hall of Military Courage – a permanent residence and private audience hall for the emperors.

Nearby you’ll find the Imperial College, founded in 1287 by Kublai Khan and closed in 1900.


Tiananmen Square (The Square of Heavenly Peace) is the world’s largest inner-city square. It was designed to hold a million people and built to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Republic in 1958.

Highlights include:

  • The Monument to the People’s Heroes – a 38-meter tall obelisk that consists of 17,000 pieces of granite and marble.
  • Tiananmen Gate (The Gate of Heavenly Peace) was completed in 1417 and was once the main entrance to the Imperial City.

Tiananmen with chairmen Mao portrait, Tiananmen Square, Beijing, Chinabei-lion

The Gate of Heavenly Peace has double eaves and is characterized by a giant-framed portrait of Mao Zedong and guarded by two pairs of Ming stone lions. It was built in the 15th century and restored in the 17th century and this was formerly the largest of the four gated of the Imperial City Wall. It was from this gate that Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.  For great views of the square visitors can climb the gate and get an awesome look at the impressive beams. Altogether there are 60 gargantuan wooden pillars and 17 vast lamps suspended from the ceiling. In the gate tower you can find a fascinating photographic history of the gate and Tiananmen Square and footage of military parades.


Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is a prominent landmark in the middle of Tiananmen Square. On public display is Mao Zedong’s embalmed body within the mausoleum.  The body lies in a crystal cabinet, draped in an anachronistic red flag emblazoned with hammer and sickle.


Not far from the Imperial Palace is Beihai Park, one of the oldest surviving imperial gardens in Beijing. It was laid out in the 19th century and takes its name from the nearby Lake Beihai (North Lake). 

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Among the important structures here are the Round Fort dating from the Yuan period of 1271 – 1368 and the amazing Hall of Enlightenment, built in 1690 and it’s home to a one-and-a-half-meter tall Buddha carved from a single block of white jade and a large black jade vase from the early 12th century.


Upon Lake Beihai is Jade Islet where you’ll find the 36 m-high Tibetan-style White Dagoba, built in 1651 for a visit by the Dalai Lama and rebuilt in 1741.

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On the northern shore of the lake is one of the most interesting temples in Beijing, Xitian Fanjing. The first hall is The Hall of the Heavenly Kings. Nearby is the Nine Dragon Screen, a 5 m-high and 27 m-long spirit wall with colored glazed tiles that depict coiling dragons. 


The Temple of Heaven dates back to 1420 and includes a group of some of Beijing’s most sacred buildings. It is surrounded by lush vegetation.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests was built in 1420 in customary Chinese fashion of wood entirely without nails. The hall sits on a three-tier marble terrace with balustrades and a roof covered with 50,000 blue glazed tiles. A marble plaque of the floor represents the dragon and the phoenix stone, symbols of the emperor.


East Annex Hall at the Temple of Heaven

Another highlight is the Hall of the Vault of Heaven built in 1530 with a blue-tiled conical roof and was used to store the ceremonial plaques of Heaven and the Officials.


Visit the temple’s Echo Wall where echoes reverberate and have an effect exaggerated by three unusual echoing stones.


The Lama Temple is also known as The Yonghe Temple and it is one of Beijing’s most attractive and best-preserved temples. The temple was completed in 1745 and it served a political purpose by giving Lamaism, the religion of the then just annexed Tibet, an official seat in the capital.


The most important feature is The Hall of the Kings of Heaven with its Buddha statue surrounded by the four kings who are provided with symbolic objects – a toad, a sword, a snake and a shield.

Other Important buildings are:

  • The Pavilion of the Four-tongued Stele – featuring a stele dating back to 1792, containing the history of the Lama religion written in Chinese, Manchurian, Tibetan and Mongolian.
  • The Hall of the Buddhist Wheel – the teaching and assembly hall of the monastery. The interior has a six-meter-tall statue, two thrones and many scared manuscripts.
  • The Pavilion of Four Thousand Fortunes – with an enormous 18-meter-high sandalwood statue.


The Bell Tower stands behind the impressive red-painted Drum Tower which used to be the city’s official time keeper, with drums and bells beaten and rung to be able to mark the hours of the day. It was originally built in 1272 and was once the heart of the Mongol capital of Dadu, as Beijing was then known. After a fire it was rebuilt as a Qing Dynasty structure.

Inside you can climb the steep inner staircase to view the grey-tiled rooftops in the surrounding hutong alleys. There are regular drumming performances using the reproductions of the 25 Ming Dynasty watch drums. On display are the 25 original drums – the Night Watchman’s Drums.


The Beijing Capital Museum is one of the country’s leading art museum. It was opened in 1981 and has a vast collection of artifacts among them ancient items of porcelain and bronze, traditional calligraphy and artwork as well as many impressive statues from Chinese and other Asian cultures. Some of the other highlights include over 200,000 important cultural artifacts, a great many of them originating from in and around Beijing. Quite impressive is the huge stele of Emperor Qianlong, weighing over 40 tons, standing nearly seven meters in height and containing ancient scripts and writings.

Beijing National Grand Theater, The Egg, Tiananmen, Beijing, China

The National Centre for the Performing Arts is well worth a visit and is a most modern landmark, nicknamed the Giant Egg. It is considered to be one of the best opera houses in Asia. It was opened in 2001 and has played host to many of the world’s leading operatic performers.


Marco Polo Bridge is a 266 meter-long, multi-arched granite bridge. It is the oldest bridge in Beijing and decorated with 485 individually carved stone lions, each one different. The bridge dates back to 1189 and spans the Yongding River.


The Houhai Lakes consist of three lakes – Qianhai (Front Lake), Houhai (Back Lake) and Xihai (West Lake). This is one of the city’s favorite outdoor spots with many people gathering in the summertime both locals and visitors. Here you can see people strolling along, use the exercise machines scattered along the lakeshore, fish, fly kites or just relax.

At night it becomes a great nightspot with all of the restaurants, bars and cafes opening up around the lakes. There are many neon lights illuminating the night and lots of karaoke playing everywhere.


During the day you can also choose to go biking round the lakes and in the winter they freeze over and become the best place in Beijing to ice skate with Qianhai Lake being the most popular. Local vendors hire all the gear needed. There are also chair sleds, ice bikes, ice bumper cars and a giant ice slide.


798 Art District is a vast area of disused factories that were built by the East Germans. This is where you’ll find the main concentration of contemporary art galleries.  Here you’ll find signboards with English language maps to guide you.



Some of the bigger galleries include the 798 Art Factory, a Bauhaus hangar-like space with ceilings decorated in the 1950s Maoist slogans and original machinery scattered among changing art exhibitions by Chinese and foreign artists.

The Danish gallery Faurschou Foundation Bejing has exhibitions by internationally acclaimed artists.


Among other highlights you’ll find the Xin Dong Cheng Space for Contemporary Art which showcases young avant-garde Chinese artists. Zhu Bingren Art Museum features the copper and bronze sculpture of renowned Shandong artist Zhu Bingren.

There are also many unusual and interesting open-air sculptures scattered around the site.


The Great Wall of China is a World Heritage Site. It was continuously built from the 3rd century B.C. to the 17th century A.D. on the northern border of the country as the great military defence project of successive Chinese Empires with a total length of over 20,000 km. The Great Wall begins in the east at Shanhaiguan in Heibei province and ends at Jiayuguan in Gansu province to the west. Its main body consists of walls, horse tracks, watch towers and shelters on the wall and includes fortresses and passes along the Wall.


The Beijing World Park is a miniature of the world with five continents represented and located inside following the pattern in which they exist in the world. Visitors can see 109 world-famous attractions from 40 countries. Scattered all about are Italian or Japanese-style gardens. You’ll also be able to see hundreds of statues. There are laser fountains and a maze made up of plants and fairy-tale land.


Beijing Botanic Gardens are lovely and come alive every spring. They are set against the backdrop of the Western Hills. Here you can walk among bamboo fronds, pines, orchids, lilacs and China’s most extensive botanic collection. There is a rain forest house, Beijing Botanical Gardens Conservatory with 3,000 different varieties of plants.



About a fifteen minute walk from the front gate but still on the garden grounds is Sleeping Buddha Temple. It was first built in the Tang Dynasty and houses a huge, reclining effigy of Sakyamuni, weighing 54 tons.


On the eastern side of the gardens is the Cao Xueqin Memorial, where Cao Xueqin lived in his latter years. Cao (1715–63) is credited with penning the classic “Dream of the Red Mansions”, a vast and prolix family saga set in the Qing period.


Beijing Zoo is now the biggest zoo in China. It features pandas, elephants, gorillas and dolphins and sharks. The zoo is a natural garden with dense groves of trees, plenty of grassland, a small stream, lotus pools and small hills dotted with pavilions and halls.


It was called Wansheng Garden in the Qing Dynasty which literally means the “garden of 10,000 animals”. In 1955 it was officially opened to visitors as the City Zoo of Beijing. One of the main highlights is the Hall of the Giant Panda. The giant panda is native to China and recognized as one of China’s national treasures and a national symbol. The lush bushes and bamboo make the hall similar to the wild habitat of the giant panda.


The Beijing Ocean Hall is located in the northeast of the zoo. The hall resembles a gigantic ocean trumpet shell.  It is subdivided into several zones – The Hall of Tropical Rain Forest, the Hall of the Shark, the Ocean Theater and the Ocean Library and Reading Hall. Visitors can touch the aquarium in which the dynamic ocean bottom is visible.

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Posted by: Rasma R | November 5, 2016

Kunming, China

China: Aerial Kunming view

Kunming is the modern capital city and transportation hub in the southern Yunnan province of China. The city is known as “the Spring City” because every season there is like spring. It has a large student population. There are lovely bridges, pavilions and temples. In a amazing location it’s surrounded by snow capped mountains and red lands.


Green Lake Park is a beautiful green space for relaxing and strolling. The roads along the park are lined with trendy cafes, tea houses and shops. The park has four small sub-lakes and four islands.

Mid-Lake Islet offers visitors the Lotus Temple, Fish-Viewing Pavilion and Mid-Lake Pavilion.

Goldfish Islet is a great place for strolling among cedar and camphor trees.


Bamboo Forest Islet has about 40 categories of bamboo. You can also see folk artisans here putting on plays, singing and dancing. Near this islet is Nine-Dragon Pond which is actually a spring and locals believe is home to nine dragons.

Palm Islet has a variety of subtropical plants.


One of the best things about Green Lake Park is that you can see thousands of red-beaked seagulls from early November to late May. Visitors can buy bread to feed them.


TCG Nordica  is an art gallery, exhibition hall and cultural center. It offers live jazz and dance, art and photo exhibitions and an English corner on Mondays. You can find a nice restaurant here offering Scandinavian and Chinese food.


Yuantong Temple is the largest Buddhist complex in Kunming. The temple is over 100 years old and a hall has a statue of Skyamuni which was a gift from the King of Thailand. The temple sits at the foot of Luofeng Hill in the northern part of the city. It was built during the Tang Dynasty.


Yunnan Provincial Museum was once housed in a 1950’s-era building and now has a home in a new modern building.


Here you can find exhibits on Dian Chi or Dian Lake, prehistoric and early cultures. The highlight is the section on Yunnan minorities with great displays of ethnic costumes and musical instruments.

Kunming - Bamboo Temple

Bamboo Temple is a most serene temple with no photographing inside. It was built during the Tang Dynasty and rebuilt in the 19th century by master Sichuanese sculptor Li Guangxiu and his apprentices.


To the south of Kunming is the shoreline of Dian Chi or Dian Lake, dotted with settlements, farms and fishing enterprises. The lake is elongated about 40 km from north to south. You can see fanchuan (pirate-sized junks with bamboo-battened canvas sails) upon the water. The area around the lake is for enjoying the scenery and for hiking.


Nancheng Mosque was originally built over 400 years ago. The mosque was torn down in 1997 in order to build a larger version.



Sanqing Ge, near the top of the mountain, was a country villa of a Yuan-dynasty prince and was later on turned into a temple dedicated to the three main Taoist deities. Sanqing refers to the highest level of Taoist “enlightenment”. If you prefer you can get a chairlift to the summit.


The Stone Forest Scenic Region has many scenic areas for visitors to enjoy like the Greater and Lesser Stone Forests also known as the Lizijing Stone Forest, Naigu Stone Forest, Zhiyun Cave, Long Lake, Moon Lake, Qifeng Cave, and the Dadie Waterfalls.


These intricate stone formations are in the shape of columns, cones, pagodas and mushrooms as well as animals, plants and some even as human figures. It has been declared a World Heritage site as part of the South Chine Karst.


If you want to get away from the crowds take a look at Naigu Stone Forest which is 8 km northeast of the Greater and Lesser Stone Forest. It is older and quieter and also a World Heritage site. Naigu literally means “ancient black” in the language of the Yi ethnic group. This stone forest consists of the Eastern Area, Western Area, Baiyun Lake, Baiyun Cave, and Old Battlefield. It features spiky stones, karst caves, a large waterfall, vast grassland, and an impressive causeway of black volcanic blocks.


About 250 km northeast of Kunming you’ll find the Dongchuan Red land with an altitude of 1,800 – 2,600 meters. Some of the best times to visit are May to June when the red fields have just been ploughed and before the crops grow and September to November in the autumn season when the fields become more colorful with Yunnan’s unique white cole flowers.


The Western Hills are 2,350 meters above sea level on the shore of Dianchi Lake. From the hills you can get awesome views of Dianchi lake and Kunming City.


The Dragon Gate Grottoes are the most important part of Western Hills Forest Park. The grottoes were carved out of the steep cliffs. You can hike right up to Dragon Gate using a flight of steps.

The Dragon Gate:


Huating Temple is located in the middle of the Western Hills. This 900-year-old temple is one of the largest temples in Yunnan Province. It is well-known for its colorful statues combining the Buddhism and Taoism styles. You can see many Buddha figures in the temple.


.Taihua Temple sits on Taihua Hill, the highest hill in the scenic area. This is the oldest temple in the Western Hills and is known for its architecture and rare species of flowers.


Sanqing Pavilion perches on the cliff of Luohan Hill. It is a Taoist temple with unique architecture.


Black Dragon Pool is one of the ancient scenic spots located at the foot of Longquan Hill. It is surrounded by towering old trees and bamboo groves. The water is deep and clear. It is divided in two by a bridge, one deep and one shallow. Here you’ll find the Lower Temple and the Upper Temple.

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Posted by: Rasma R | November 1, 2016

Lijiang, China


In our armchair travels through China we’ve arrived in the Northwest Yunnan Province near Tibet. This has become a popular area for hiking offering fantastic natural scenery. There are many different accommodations available and it’s your choice between hostels, hotels and inns. You can delight in high mountains, forests, wild rivers and streams. The Yangtze River flows through this area. We will visit the city of Lijiang, offering many cultural and historical attractions. Three ancient districts of the city became a UNESCO World Heritage area in 1997.


You’ll be amazed by the tall peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Yulong Snow Mountains. The ski area here is a popular place for local people. Even though few Chinese ski they love to go there to enjoy the snow. There is a beginner’s ski field. This is a good area for a day trip since it isn’t a resort. On those peaks there are glaciers that are the southernmost in the world.


In the late spring, summer and early autumn this is a great place for hiking. The tallest peak is Shanzidou at 5,596 meters. So that people can climb safely on one of the smaller peaks at 4, 680 meters a specially constructed stairway and path lead up to the summit but no to the very tip. From there you can see spectacular scenery like the Yangtze River flowing below through the valley with many waterfalls and rapids.


Baisha Old Town is one of the oldest towns in Lijiang. This is the earliest settlement of the Naxi people and is the birthplace of “Tusi”, chief of the Mu clan. In the town you can see many ancient buildings that were built during the Ming Dynasty. Among them are Dabaoji Palace, Liuli Temple and Wenchang Palace.


The well-known Baisha Frescoes are located in Dabaoji Palace.


There are 28 fresco groups in the palace. These mural paintings are a wonderful display of over 100 figures depicting religious tales and activities from Taoism, Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. 


Jade Spring Park offers visitors lovely scenery along with a large crystal pool. beautiful trees, a tall mountain and historic buildings. The park is also known as Heilongtan Park which literally means Black Dragon Pool Park. The park was first built in 1737 and is located in the north of Lijiang Ancient Town at the foot of Elephant Hill. The pool covers an area of about 40,000 sq. meters and is as clean as jade. In the summer and autumn this crystal clear pool is decorated with pretty milky flowers (blossoms of Ottelia acuminate) on the water. The pool is surrounded by chestnut trees and ancient monuments such as Longshen Temple, Deyue Pavilion, the Suocui Bridge and the Hanyue Stage. 


The front gate of the park is a grand decorated archway with a board inscribed with the name of the park. Deyue Pavilion is located in the center of the Heilongtan Pool and connected with the bank by a bridge. The pavilion has triple eaves and was built in 1876. It is used as a research institution for Dongba culture.


In the north of the park you’ll find the Five Phoenix Tower also known as Fayun Pavilion and was built in 1601. It was moved to the Jade Spring Park from Fuguo Temple. This is an amazing structure of Naxi architecture combining the architectural style of Tibet, Bai minority and Han nationality. The pavilion is decorated with colorful paintings and exquisite carvings. It is 23 meters tall with three layers.


Dongba Culture Museum lies in the south of the park. The museum was built according to the development of Naxi architectures. Visitors can enjoy the performance of the Dongba sacrificial ritual.


Longshen Temple was built in 1737 and has five courtyards with various types of flowers and plants. In ancient times this temple was known as Longwan Temple or Dragon God Temple. The Chinese people regarded the Dragon god as being in charge of the rain and this is the place for holding sacrifice rituals to gods and praying for rain. Visitors can enjoy the ancient music of Naxi minority.


A UNESCO World Heritage site Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges on the planet and it offers the best hiking trail in the Lijiang area. The scenery is amazing. For hikers there are inns and guesthouses available. Tourists can tour the gorge area on tour buses that follow a road at the bottom of the canyon following the course of the river. The tour road is popular with Chinese tourists while foreigners prefer the High Trail above the road.


Dongba Village is within the Yushui Village Scenic Area. It is a Naxi theme park with a museum, gardens, ponds and a stream. This is one of the best places to go in the Lijiang area to learn about Naxi culture and writing.


You might like to visit Joseph Rock’s old residence in nearby Yuhu Village. Joseph Rock was an Australian-American botanist, linguist and explorer who lived in this area and put together a Dongba language dictionary.



The Mufu Wood Mansion is a reconstruction of the original building to give an idea of what the palace of the Mu clan looked like. The Mu clan of the Naxi rules here as vassals of the Ming Empire and then vassals of the Manchus of the Qing Empire. Built half way up a hill the building offers a great view of the surrounding city of Lijiang. The present wooden complex and gardens stretches for about eight acres. Visitors can walk about on walkways and climb up and down stairs to enjoy the scenery and see the interiors and courtyards. In the courtyard you can take a drink of tea and people can purchase beverages and alcoholic drinks. The azalea and orchid gardens are lovely At the top of the complex is a Daoist temple and Daoist fortune tellers can be hired.


Baoshan Stone Village lies in the Jinshajiang River ravine, 110 km north of Lijiang city. Around 100 families live in the village, which got its name by being located near a giant stone, resembling a mushroom. The village can be entered only from two stone gates, one on the south and one on the north.

All of the houses in the village are made of natural stone. Visitors are impressed by the superb craftsmanship done by the village ancestors hundreds of years ago.


In the Baishui River are numerous white stone terraces from water flows in small cascades. It is fed by many small springs that originate from melted snow on the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.


The river flows eastward under Baishu Bridge and meets Heishui or Black River before emptying into Heibaishui or Black and White River. Heishui River got its name due to the pebbles in the riverbed being black.


The Three Parallel Rivers Protected Area is the place where the headwaters of the Salween, the Mekong and the Yangtze rivers flow close together. These great rivers and the ecology is protected by a national park. UNESCO World Heritage calls it one of the world’s most biologically diverse temperate regions on the planet. This is a popular area for ecotourism.

The rivers flow down north to south through deep parallel canyons in the national park. In some places the gorges are 2,000 meters deep and at their closest, the three canyons are 18 and 66 km apart.


The Mekong runs through a 310 km long gorges and crosses both Cambodia and Vietnam.

Visitors are amazed by the high mountains, deep valleys, snow-capped peaks, large glaciers, lakes with potable water, wild forest, marshy grassland, rare animals and precious plants.

Here you can find 6,000 species of plants including 200 varieties of rhododendron and over 100 species of gentians and primulas.


Making their home here are 173 species of mammals, of which 81 are endemic and 417 species of birds, of which 22 are endemic. The rare mammals inhabiting this region include the black snub-nosed monkey, Indian leopard, snow leopard, Gongshan muntjac, Chinese shrew mole, stump-tailed macaque, Asiatic wild dog, black musk deer, takin, hoolock gibbon, Asian black bear and red panda.

Within the preserve are 3 prefectures and 8 counties including Lijiang City, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture with a town the Chinese call Shangri-La after the fictitious novel and Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture.


Stone Drum Town is located at the base of the mountain and flanks the First Bay of the Yangtze. The town derives its name from a white marble carved monument in the shape of a drum. The monument memorializes the victory and subsequent spread of Baizhuang power, the Tusi of Mu Family of Lijiang, during the Jiajing years of the Ming Dynasty. The stone monument was erected during one of the earliest periods in Lijiang. To the right of it you’ll find a beautiful willow forest and on the left flows the Chongjiang River.


The 17 m long Tiehong Bridge spans the river. The bridge was constructed of boards paved over iron chains and has iron chains as boarders on both sides. Stone Drum Town is a historically important town on the ancient trade route for tea and horses between inland provinces and Tibet. It still features a vibrant trade fair that is held every three days.

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Posted by: Rasma R | October 27, 2016

Tianjin, China


Located in northeastern China, Tianjin is a major port city. The city is proud to be the largest artificial harbor in northern China. Following the 1858 Treaties of Tianjin, several Western nations established concessions in the city. Today it is a most modern city but you can see European-style houses, municipal buildings and churches from this period.


The Astor Hotel was founded in 1863 by Pastor John Innocent. It was built in classic British style using brick and wood. At one time it wasn’t larger than a cottage but with expansion through the years and two buildings on this site it can now serve as a hotel. In the hotel you’ll also find a museum with a wooden promenade and arched windows with carved designs. The museum displays different types of Chinese technology such as old telephones, gramophone players and the first Chinese elevator.


Tianjin has five great avenues found to the southern side of modern downtown running east-to-west. They’re lined with over 230 buildings preserved from colonial days. Some are quite modern but about 50 were built for wealthy Europeans in opulent style. As you go along you’ll notice the mix of architectural styles – Renaissance, ancient Greece, Gothic and the Romantic period. There is also architecture of the Chinese Qing Dynasty.


The Haihe or Hai River originates at the King Bridge in Beijing and flows for over 70 km before running into the Bohai Sea. This is the arterial river that flows through Tianjin. it is considered to be the “mother river” of the city.  Along its banks is a great place to get a look at the impressive architecture of the Old Town.

Along its banks you’ll find the lovely Haihe Park which is a great place for strolling and relaxing. Within the park are two groups of bronze sculptures. There are verdant trees, beautiful flowers, green lawns, long corridors under ivy-laced frames and fountains.


Haihe Cultural Square got its name from the adjoining Ancient Culture Street. The square gives visitors  a look at Tiajin’s cultural traditions and folk customs. There is amazing high-tech lighting, causeway pavement and a wooden floor which make this square stand out from the rest.

Haihe Fountain Amusement Park – was completed in 1985. In the central area you’ll find an awesome colorful fountain. For enjoyment and entertainment there are bumper cars, passenger-propelled airplanes and motorcycles. The playground also offers three luxurious sightseeing ships and several speed boats for tours along the Haihe River.


On the north bank is the Wanghailou Church, one of China’s cultural relics. During the Qing Dynasty there was a Wanghailou Tower, a pleasure location for emperors who made trips to their provinces.

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The Laolongtou Rail Station is noted as the first rail station in China’s ancient commercial ports after the Second Opium War (1856-1860).


Ancient Culture Street is located in Nankai District on the west bank of Hai River. It was built in 1986 and opened to tourists. Here you’ll find more than a hundred different stores. At the entrance to the street is a giant archway inscribed with the words “An Old Neighborhood of Tianjin”. Behind it is a street lined with buildings built in the architectural style of the Qing Dynasty.



Located centrally in the street is the Tianhou Palace. Tianhou means Heaven Queen who was the goddess of the sea and protector of sailors and is known as Mazu and Niangniang in other parts of China. Two booms outside of the gate of the palace are already 600 years old. The square in front of the palace can hold a thousand people. Arts and ballad halls have been built around the square. Here great performances are given on festival days.

The main hall is the Niangniang Palace, featuring an effigy of Tianhou in a glass case, flanked by weapons and attendant monsters.


For a bird’s eye view of the city take a ride on The Tianjin Eye or officially The Yongle Bridge Tientsin Eye.  This huge Ferris Wheel spans the Hai River. Amazing as it might seem it serves both as a bridge and a fantastic ride it is 35 stories in height. There are 64 transparent, 360-degree viewing gondolas that can seat eight people. The ride offering great views of up to 40 km goes for 30 minutes. At night it is lit up with changing colors.


The Porcelain House is a traditional French-style building furnished with antiques. The owner, Zhang Lianzhi has decorated it with furnishings and different decorations along with ceramic items which he collected over a considerable period of time. Here you can see exquisite pieces of porcelain as well as stone items of white marble, crystal agate and other decorative materials. In the collection are numerable tiles and on display are 300 lions of all kinds and sizes placed all over the building.


Tianjin Museum has a fine collection spread over three-floors with more than 200,000 pieces that range from oracle bones to an ink stone exhibit to various artifacts and document related to the city’s historical development. The highlight is the third-floor which focuses on Tianjin’s development as a modern city from the Opium War onward.


In the center of the Old Town you’ll see the large Drum Tower. North of the tower is a pedestrian shoppin street with many handicrafts for sale.


The Guangdong Guild Hall dating from 1907 is a lovely courtyard complex, centered on a beautiful, ornate, wooden hall. Here on Sunday afternoons popular Peking opera performances are held. In the back courtyard you can see fading murals by the south entrance. The hall is opposite the Drum Tower.


Monastery of Deep Compassion is the city’s most important Buddhist temple. It was built in three stages from 1436 to 1734. It is a large and very active place. Here you can see the huge, multi-armed statue of Guanyin in the Great Compassion Hall in a side courtyard.


St. Joseph’s Church was erected in 1917. It is a domed Catholic church and is the largest church in Tianjin. It was built of brick and has a most decorative interior.


The Shi Family residence has many courtyards and enclosed gardens. It used to belong to a prosperous merchant family and was built in 1875. Here is a theater and 278 rooms, some of them furnished.


The Liberation Bridge dates from 1927 and this historic bridge is located opposite the Main Train Station.


The Treaty Port Area south of the station across Liberation Bridge was the British concession. This riverside facade has been rebuilt and is quite an impressive sight at night. Walk along Jiefang Beilu and see the original, amazing hundred-year-old European buildings, which once were home to the city’s international banks. There are names posted on plaques outside of each building and many of them still are banks.


One building that is most impressive is the Quin Dynasty Post Office where visitor can see a historic stamp collection on display.


The Tianjin TV and Radio Tower was built in 1991 and rises 415-meters into the sky. It is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers and is the 10th tallest. It is referred to as “Tian Ta” for short and is located south-west of Tianjin surrounded by a lake. There are three stories in the tower. On the first story you’ll find the Xiankelai Restaurant which can serve up to 100 people and offers Chinese food, banquet services and Karoke. The second story is at a height of 253 meters and has the Observation Hall. The third story at 257 meters has a revolving restaurant with two hundred seats and the revolving platform takes 45 to 60 minutes to turn round once.

Panshan Scenic Area is located 120 km from Tianjin and 90 km from Beijing. Mt. Panshan stands east of Beijing and is known as the No. 1 Mountain in the Capital’s East. Its highest peak is 858 m above sea level. The best scenery here is the pine forests at the top, the strange rocks in the middle and the streams at the foot of the mountain. Many emperors of different dynasties visited here and many Buddhist temples were built on the mountain.


Tiancheng Temple

The four major ones are Tiancheng Temple, Yunzhao Temple, Wanfo Temple and Wansong Temple.

Huangyaguan Great Wall is located in the mountains 30 km north of Jixian County. It’s 42 km long and belongs to a part of the old Great Wall. To the east it reaches Malanguan Pass in Hebel Province, to the west it meets with JiangiuguanPass in Beijing. The Huangyaguan Great Wall has four towers with city gates, facing east, west, south and north. Originally it was built in 557 AD and was rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty. Qi Jiguang a national hero contributed a lot to this section. In 1984 the Great Wall was rebuilt by the government and later on many cultural attractions were added to the area among them the Great Wall Museum and Bagua Town.


Tianjin Zoo covers an area of 10.68 hectares and has more than 1,800 animals. Such first-class nationally protected animals like Giant Pandas, Siberian Tigers, Golden Monkeys, Golden Takins and Red-crowned Cranes.


There are also rare animals from exotic lands like Jaguars, lions, Asian Elephants, Chimpanzees, Giraffes, Rhinoceros and Macaws.

At the zoo visitors can take a walk in the woods, boat on the water, fish by the lake, eat delicious snacks and participate in recreation games and activities.

There is also an open herbivore area where people can get up close to the animals.

Tianjin Zoo also offers animal medical treatment, animal scientific research, precious and rare animal breeding and wildlife protection.

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Posted by: Rasma R | October 22, 2016

Chongqing, China


A large city in southwestern China Chongquin is located at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers. This is a vibrant and exciting city with a lot to offer visitors. The city center is a peninsula jutting out horizontally between the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers.


There is a steep climb leading up to Baolun Temple. The temple dates back to the mid-6th century. From the temple you can get fantastic views over the town and the river. This is one of the last remaining of Ciqikou’s five temples.


Three Gorges Museum offers visitors the history of settlement in the Chongqing region. You can see displays that include a model of a dam, clothing and artwork relating to southwest China’s minority groups.


Luohan Temple was built around 1000 years ago. Today it’s an active temple surrounded by modern skyscrapers. One of its notable features is a corridor flanked by intricate rock carvings.


The main attraction is Arhat Hall which contains 500 terracotta arhats (a Buddhist term for those who have achieved enlightenment and who pass to nirvana at death).


Huguang Guild Hall is an amazing museum complex that once served as a community headquarters for immigrants from the Hu and Guang provinces, who arrived in Chongqing several hundred years ago. The museum rooms display artwork and furniture. There is a temple, a tea house and there are several stages for Chinese opera performances.

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Visit the interesting Ciqikou Ancient Town which gives visitors the opportunity to get a look at old Chongqing. It is located in Shapingba district on the Jialing River west of the center. Go through the archway that is the entrance to the town and you’ll see that most of the buildings date back to the late Ming Dynasty. The central street offers a lot of different things for sale and away from it you’ll find a living and working village. At some tea houses you can hear performances of traditional Chinese music.


Only a fragment of the Chongqing Ancient City Gates remain. They were once a magnificent part of the Ming Dynasty city wall that stretched 8 km around the Jiefangbei peninsula and was over 30 m tall in places. Two of the 17 gates that were standing before demolition in 1927 still remain. The moss-hewn Dongshui Men can be found beside the Yangtze River Hostel and the other Tongyuan Men near the Qixinggang metro station.


Liberation Monument is a clock tower monument right in the heart of the city. It commemorates China’s victory over Japan in WWII. The pedestrian streets surrounding the monument offer great shopping in the malls.


Hongya Cave is a Disney-like recreation of the old stilt houses once lining the river fronts of Chongqing. Today this is an eleven story shopping, dining and entertainment complex.


The Dazu Rock Carving is located in Dazu County 167 km from Chongqing. Here you can find stone statues distributed in 76 places in all of Dazu County. There are 60,000 stone statues.


General Stilwell Museum was founded in 1991. It is the former residence of General Joseph Warren Stillwell. He was the Chief of Staff of the Allied Forces in China and the Commander in Chief of the US forces in the China Burma India Theater (CIB) and stayed here from 1942 to 1944 when he was in China.


In the museum you can see the guard’s room once used by the General’s adjutant. There is the conference room once used for military discussions with a military map on the wall, a mini cinematograph, a gramophone and different military documents. Visitors can also see the General’s office, living room and dining room. In the basement are exhibits of various articles and items and over 200 historic pictures record the General’s time spent in China. Visitors can see how General Stilwell helped the Chinese government and the people fight against Japanese aggression. There are also military vehicles displayed in the museum.


Chongqing People’s Hall was built between 1951 and 1854. It is known as the Sino-Soviet Building. The hall has a 4,000 seat auditorium. It is considered to be one of the symbols of the city and has a large square in front of it with fountains and lights. The square is used for performances and official functions. The building has a red-tiered dome that is 55 m high.


Loquat Mountain Park is located on Loquat Mountain 345 m above sea level. The park is the highest place in the old urban area and offers fantastic views over the city. Here you can find winding roads, evergreen trees, bamboos and flowers. People enjoy watching Chongqing at night from here.


At the top of the mountain you can find the Red Star Pavilion, built in 1955 and is located in the highest place of the park.

In Fuyuan Garden visitors can enjoy attractions like the long gallery, a pavilion, a pool and the lute-playing girl-shaped statue.


Chongquing Zoo has more than 200 species of animals and 1,000 birds. Visitors can see the rare South China Tiger which is considered to be the rarest kind of tiger and there might be less than 20 left in the wild. There is also a Tibetan bear with a yellowish head that dance when people offer it treats.

Netizen Accused Chongqing Zoo Not Giving Enough Bath To Giant Pandaschon-zoo-red-panda

The Panda Room has giant pandas and small cat-like pandas. Between 8:30 and 10:30 AM is the panda feeding time.

There is also a children’s play area, a roller skating rink, a stage and some restaurants.

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