Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

August 16, 2018 Looking for your coolest vacation yet? How about Japan?
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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(BPT) - If you’re trying to choose the next destination for your big vacation, have you considered Japan? With exciting cities, standout cuisine, traditional charm that echoes the country’s remarkable history, and awe-inspiring natural beauty, Japan embodies a “cool” factor that’s hard to miss.

It’s this unique blend of modern trends mixed with tradition that might be why tourism is steadily growing, year after year, according to Japanese government figures. So far in 2018, the number of American visitors to Japan has increased by 11.3 percent compared to last year.

Without a doubt, Japan’s unmistakable coolness is why it appears on so many bucket lists. In fact, that’s why All Nippon Airways (ANA) launched its “Is Japan Cool?” campaign. For anyone planning a trip, or interested in learning more about this fascinating country and its traditions and history, the campaign’s website is filled with just about everything to help you prepare for the trip of a lifetime. This guide can get you on your way to planning an unforgettable trip to Japan.

It all starts with the journey: Remember those old stories and films where taking the trip itself, whether it was by train, boat or airplane, was an enjoyable part of the experience? Before you book your flight, consider that many travelers swear by All Nippon Airways, which is Japan’s largest airline. The attention to detail found throughout, from the comfortable seats, artfully crafted Japanese meals and smiling attentive staff, makes the overseas flight a vacation-worthy experience in itself.

Mind-blowing natural beauty: It’s not hard to imagine why Japan’s epic natural beauty has inspired people for centuries. If you love to ski, you’ll want to catch some powder on Mount Yotei. Or if a summer visit is more your speed, take a scenic hike among the dormant volcanoes of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, topped off with a visit to Jigokudani Monkey Park for delightful viewings of snow monkeys interacting in their habitat.

Timeless landmarks: A visit to Japan isn’t complete without a visit to some of its gravity-defying architecture. Osaka Castle in Chuo-ku is one of the most famous and visually striking structures in Japan. Also, be sure and plan a stop in the city of Kyoto, which is renowned for its beautiful shrines, temples, and Geishas.

A celebration of craftsmanship: To experience the epitome of Japanese coolness, any traveler should take some time for an up-close look at its many examples of traditional craftsmanship that's never stopped inspiring people the world over.

Samurai armor is a prime example. This armor wasn’t just functional gear to protect them in battle. It was designed to communicate specific meanings to the people they encountered on and off the battlefield. Before your trip, visit and get familiar with samurai armor as an important expression of the warrior’s skill and individuality. Watch the cool 60-second video to view the process of making original Japanese armors, from preferred shapes and colors to the completion of a 3-D armor figure. Then, by following the simple steps, you can build your own virtual samurai avatar. With the help of a 3D printer, you can even turn it into your very own samurai figure, ready to do battle!

While you're in Japan, discover how the art of sword-making has never lost its shine at Tokyo’s Kozuka Koubou. Or learn how artisans centuries ago developed ingenious methods to render plain fabric into rich and vivid colors at Marumasu-Nishimuraya in Kyoto.

Get bold with your personal style: It’s not just the physical beauty of Japan’s landscape and landmarks. Over the centuries, Japan has built a reputation for harnessing some of the most renowned street style. Unlock your inner fashionista with a walk through Tokyo’s high fashion districts such as the Ginza Six Mall. (Full sequin football jerseys? Go for it!) Or, go traditional and learn the art of wrapping a kimono. Whatever speaks to you, you’ll find no shortage of inspired style.

Instagram-worthy dining: While exploring Tokyo, expand your horizons with its many carefully prepared and styled dishes that will please any foodie. When you’re searching for your next bite, be sure and take a moment to enjoy the intricate shapes and food models on display, which is a unique specialty found throughout Japanese culture. For two prime examples of this, be sure and make R&M or Design Pocket, both in Osaka, a stop on your itinerary.

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