The Hakone Open Air Museum (彫刻の森美術館) is the first of its kind in Japan since 1969, displaying splendid art pieces and statues in a fantastic 70,000 m2 outdoor space. I love this idea because the museum uses four seasons as a backdrop to display artwork and I would imagine it would have a completely different outlook during the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. One of my personal favorite is the Symphonic Sculpture, a kaleidoscopic tower embellished with stained glass with spiraling staircase down the middle. It’s a small tower full of life, beaming with rainbow colors and it immediately gives you a joyous smile when you step into the tower. It’s a little something atypical of stained glass where they are mostly seen in churches like Saint Chapelle (in Paris) where the atmosphere is usually more solemn and sacred. Continue reading
It is smoking at Owakudani, Hakone. Owakudani (大涌谷) literally means “boiling valley”and there’s no other name more suitable than that because the whole place is indeed an active volcanic zone with bubbling hot onsen and overwhelming pungent sulfuric fumes. Continue reading
Enoshima (江の島) is a little island in the Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県), 40 minutes by train from Tokyo, and just 24 minutes away from Kamakura. You will see that there are dragon statues on the island because legend has it that Kamakura was once tormented by a 5-headed dragon. Continue reading
On a trip to Nikko, the top attraction to visit would be the Nikko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with elaborate shrines and temple including Nikko Toshogu Shrine (東照宮), Taiyuyin Shrine (大猷院), Futarasan Shrine (二荒山神社) and Rinnoji Temple (輪王寺). The buildings played an important role in architecture during early Edo Period. Continue reading
Edo Wonderland (日光江户村), or “Nikko Edomura” in Japanese is a theme park that reenact the culture and history of the Edo Period ( 1603 – 1868). The 45000m2 park with its lush greens, stone paths and wooden architecture, has plenty of things to do and see. Museums, parades, haunted houses, ninja shows, water shows, boat cruises, archery ranches, costume dress-ups, shopping, eating and more. I must say that one day wasn’t enough for us. Continue reading
Paris, a city of romance and sophistication, has plenty of attractions. My time is precious in Paris, so I’ve planned my itinerary to maximize time to get the best out of Paris. Knowing which day the attractions have extended hours or when they are closed helps to avoid disappointment. Note that the opening hours vary during summer and other months. Continue reading
The Dutch Fort or “Kota Belanda” in Malay, on Pangkor Island was first built by the Dutch in 1670’s as a base for tin storage and also as a protection ground for themselves. The locals being dissatisfied with the Dutch holding monopoly in tin trade, launched the first attack in 1690 but to find that the fort was rebuilt with re-enforced guarding. It was the second attack in 1743 that forced the Dutch to leave. Continue reading
It is magical at the Butterfly Farm in Cameron Highlands with a plethora of butterflies doing staccato dances on the flowers, or simply resting on leaves.