sight seeing

Creepy or cute? Feel the Panda Train’s intense gaze before sightseeing in resort town Shirahama

Though the “Panda Train” that runs between Kyōto and the beach resort town of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture has been around for a few years, Japanese netizens recently have been making quite the hubbub over photos of its panda seats. Online reactions range from “Kawaiiii!” to “It looks like it’ll hug me to death!”, but most agree that they’re simply confused by the presence of polyurethane pandas on a train heading to a former honeymoon Mecca.

While Shirahama (lit. “White Beach”) is famous for its beautiful sand, hot springs, and remarkable rock formations, many in Japan are surprisingly unaware of its other claim to fame: pandas. Read on to learn more about the crowd-pleasing train and a theme park complex called Adventure World, which has a panda-breeding and research facility with an impressive track record that’s second only to mainland China. If you’re already tired of the cold this winter, this article may give you some ideas for next summer!

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12 amazing creations people have built in the game ‘Minecraft’

“Minecraft” is a huge, open-world sandbox game, which was released for the PC in 2009. Since then, it’s been released on other platforms, and as of February 2014, it has sold over 14 million copies on the PC, and 35 million across all the other platforms.There are various activities you perform in the game: combat, exploration, crafting, gathering items, and building things. There are no specific goals to accomplish, but there are different modes. For example, there’s Survival mode, where players have to craft items in order to build certain things. There are baddies that come out at night, and there’s a health bar that you need to check up on.

Then there’s Creative mode, in which players have the freedom to use their imaginations and build things, without worrying about health meters and bad guys.

Building in “Minecraft” is easy. You get tools, like shovels and axes, to chop down trees and cut through stone. And without a time limit or a place to go, some players have taken their creative freedom to the next level.

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12 of the best places in Kyoto to enjoy the autumn colors

September has finally arrived, bringing with it…well, not cooler temperatures, but promises of cooler temperatures. Maybe. Sometime soon, we’re sure it’ll cool down and we’ll all stop going from dry to drenched in sweat two seconds after stepping outside.

September also, obviously, means the approach of autumn–that glorious time of year when all the leaves explode into yellow and red hues. Though many think of sakura blossoms when they think of Japan’s beautiful trees, the country is no less proud of its fall colors. And Kyoto boasts more than a few excellent destinations for autumnal sightseeing. Here are 12 of Kyoto’s best places to enjoy the fall leaves!

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Nanao Bay, Ishikawa Prefecture: 98-percent chance of seeing dolphins in the wild!

Some of the smartest and cutest creatures to ever flip in and out of the sea, dolphins have long captured the imagination and hearts of us land-dwellers. Dolphin watching excursions seem to be as popular as whale watching excursions, and there’s hardly anyone who isn’t thrilled by these friendly mammals’ smiles and enthusiastic squeaks.

So, if you happen to be melting in the Japanese heat this summer, why not head out to Ishikawa Prefecture where you can cool off in the ocean—and have a 98-percent chance of seeing some dolphins!

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