travel

We Check Into the Cheapest Hotel in Japan, US$6 a Night

Located near the center of Osaka City is an area called Kamagasaki which was once known to be a gathering place for day laborers.  Now, it’s a rather charming place where street cars run that kind of takes you back half a century.  On the other hand, beneath the surface runs some violent energy as this area is often ground zero for riots and other acts of civil disobedience.

It’s here that I went in search of the cheapest hotel in Japan, The Kimiya, where it is said one could spend the night for a mere 500 yen (US$6).

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One Man’s Junk Food is Another Monsieur’s Gourmet

There’s this new potsticker (aka gyza, aka dumpling) restaurant that opened in Paris, that people are actually lining up to get into. We wondered what all the fuss was about, so we went there to check it out ourselves. Read More

A Couple of Train Stations Create Their Own Cutie Gods in an Effort to Boost Tourism

Sadly with Japan’s many recent economic woes, visitation to the remote stations of Kofuku and Aikoku has been low.  So in an effort to drum up some visitors, the local communities did what anyone would do in this situation.  They made some gods.

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46 things that surprise foreigners in Japan

Japan is a weird, amazing, amusing and confusing place, and I’m not just talking about the maid cafes and pornographic manga. Even things that your average Japanese would consider completely commonplace and boring can be captivating for foreigners. After exhaustive research (well, some research anyway), Rocket News has compiled this list of 46 things visitors to Japan find surprising.

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The World’s Most Beautifully Isolated Homes

Everyone has those days where you just feel like getting away from it all, but some people have acted on that impulse in spectacular ways.

The following are some photos of the most beautiful and most secluded residences in the world.  You can’t help but wonder how people live in these places and as you’ll see, it usually requires monk-like discipline.

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Tunisian Can of Coca Cola Zero Is Confusingly Awesome

Coca-Cola is probably the most popular brand name beverage on Earth, and as a result it pops up seemingly everywhere you go.  A fun side effect of this level of popularity is to see the metamorphoses the product goes through as it crosses borders around the world.

Our correspondent has traveled to the birthplace of the Arab Spring end unearthed such a treasure.  Behold the Tunisian can of Coca-Cola Zero (the calorie-free version of Coke).

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Are the people of Evian Naïve Enough to Buy Evian Bottled Water? We Investigate

It’s safe to say Evian is the most popular brand of bottled water one the market today. It’s also well known that the water is said to come from various collection points of a spring around Évian-les-Bains (Evian for short).

However, the metaphysical question of the day is, do people in Evian drink Evian?  Rumor has it that all through the town, the water is readily available for free, and no one ever buys it. RocketNews went in to answer this and deeper questions.

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From Starbucks Russia With Love: Cute Nesting Doll Tumblers!

You’d have to be living in a cave not to know Starbucks Coffee has stores all over the world, but did you know that there are limited edition Starbucks tumblers and mugs that are only available in certain countries? Among those much-in-demand merchandising items, the one often said to be the cutest and most desirable comes from Russia.

On a recent trip there, we decided to check them out for ourselves. Entering the shop, we immediately clapped eyes on them! Designed to resemble traditional Russian matryoshka, or nesting dolls, these tumblers were a hot cupful of cute. It would be hard to see one and not want to put your morning latte in it. They come in three sizes, and lined up next to each other, they looked so much like real matryoshka, I couldn’t resist buying the set. Read More

TripAdvisor Japan to Give Away T-Shirts Full of Overseas Obscenities, We Examine Their Meanings

Popular travel website TripAdvisor is giving away 100 free T-Shirts to lucky visitors to their Japanese website. What’s the catch you might ask?  They are covered with hand gestures deemed obscene by other countries’ peoples.

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TripAdvisor Ranks Top 20 Japanese Travel Destinations For Foreign Visitors, Hiroshima Edges Kyoto For Top Spot

The Japanese arm of tourism website TripAdvisor gathered user comments and evaluations from the past year and used them to rank the Top 20 travel destinations in Japan over that time. Hiroshima Prefecture maintained its popularity with two destinations in the Top 5 while five Kyoto sightseeing spots made the list.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and A-Bomb Dome moved to the top of the list after coming in second last year. Read More

Lakeside Resort Accentuates their Scenic Beauty with Some Freakishly Huge Funhouses

A lot of older people complain that the younger generation spends far too much time on their Z-Boxes and Nintendo Wee-Wees.  It’s not hard to imagine why when younger people are presented with fantasy worlds full of castles and dungeons they aren’t too keen to go to the farmer’s market.

Finally, Sagami Lake Resort is doing something about it by adding two colossal real world attractions to tempt kids to give their thumbs a rest and take their legs out for a spin instead.

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The Ultimate Camping Chair Capable of Holding Over 700 Times Its Own Weight

As the warm weather has finally started to kick in, most of us are looking to get reacquainted with the great outdoors.  But for many camping is a new experience and getting the right equipment can make or break their overall enjoyment.  Sure you can buy a bulky trailer full of equipment but who want to use the time, money, and muscle power for all that.

Camping equipment brand Doppelganger Outdoor has released a series of lightweight chairs and tables ideally portable and durable for outdoor use.  The pièce de résistance of this collection is the Ultra Light Micro Chair, more affectionately known as C1-54.

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The Japanese version of the popular travel information site Trip Adviser recently published a list of the best factory tours in Japan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the nation’s most popular exports makes it to number one. Read More

Visit the US Navy Ship Held Prisoner for Over 30 Years in North Korea

In 2012, a Japanese man was allowed to take a supervised tour of the secretive country of North Korea, we’ve reported some of his observations about their fine dining, public transportation, and more.  And now we bring you coverage of one of the most unique tourist spots in the world: the only currently captured United States Navy Ship, the USS Pueblo.

Our correspondent’s tour guide and government appointed escort took him to the ship moored in Pyongyang where the guide told him “even today, America continues to beg the ship be returned.”

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What to do when you need to find a good sushi restaurant – hire a Sushi Taxi, and get some sightseeing done at the same time!

Whether you’re Japanese or a foreign tourist, it can be difficult finding a good sushi restaurant when you’re in a part of Japan you’re not familiar with. Well, if you find yourself in that predicament in the city of Kanazawa, there’s an excellent solution to the problem – hire a sushi taxi! Read More

Just for Laughs—Funny but Definitely Flimsy Souvenir From Famous World Heritage Site

Machu Picchu is an Incan site from the 15th century located in Peru at an altitude of over 2,000 meters and is a well-known World Heritage Site. Each year, a huge number of tourists from around the world visit the site, and some say that the they are moved to tears by the magnificent view. It is probably on many people’s list of must visit places. Read More

North Korean Souvenirs Unwelcome in Japan, Travelers Must Throw Everything Away

Our correspondent who travelled to North Korea recently met with an unwelcome reception at Narita airport as he returned via Beijing.  “Customs officials, without any idea it was about to happen, spent about 10 minutes going through my things” he described. “It’s a sketchy country, so I guess they have to do these things, but still – it’s disappointing.”

The result of the search was that he had to give up every single souvenir he got in North Korea.

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Suspected Serial Train Toilet Saboteur Snagged in Shiga

For nearly four months morning commuters have been terrorized by a serial toilet clogger.  However, finally, Otsukita Prefectural Police currently have a suspect in custody; a 61 year-old auto-mechanic from Takashima City.  They believe the man was disgruntled and acting out frustrations with his work. Read More

A Fast-Food Joint to Visit Before You Die

First Kitchen is a Japanese fast-food chain that has been rapidly expanding in the Kanto and Kinki areas. Readers in Japan have probably been to a First Kitchen at least once, but did you know that there is a branch with phenomenal views that rival high-end resorts and skyscraper restaurants?
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Six Business Hotels in Tokyo You Can Spend the Night in For Under 3,500 Yen

When deciding to travel in Japan we are faced with a rather large assortment of hotels that don’t exist in our home countries, one of which is the “business hotel”. The label of business hotel may conjure up images of the infamous “capsule hotels” for some, while for other’s it may have the sense of a dank, narrow, room that was occupied by the cast of Mad Men. I suspected such things at first until, in an effort to save money, I bit the bullet and tried a few out.

I can now confidently say that despite their label, business hotels are actually rather comfy – some of them downright elegant!

These hotels don’t skimp on the amenities. For instance, it wouldn’t be hard to find a business hotel that offers air conditioning, humidifier, or even an air purifier. Most have fairly spacious bathrooms and offer a complimentary breakfast. Even if you are just looking for a place to have a brief romantic rendezvous, a business hotel can be a cheaper alternative to a dingy motel or robotic love hotel.

Let’s take a look at 6 prime business hotels that can be found in the Tokyo area. All hotels charge rates less than 3,500 yen (US$44.80) per person when two people are staying in the room at a rate of 7,000 yen total ($89.60).

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