Dorxi Travel

Excellent Tourist Destination

Tokyo, the illustrious capital city of Japan, is also known for its beauty and captivating places and sceneries which make tourists love the city. Plus the rich history and culture behind these tourist attractions, one will surely never forget their stay in Tokyo. No wonder why Tokyo Japan tourism is always dubbed excellent.

While you indulge yourself in looking for the best spots you might want to visit for your Tokyo tour, here is a rundown of Tokyo Japan tourism’s celebrated tourist destinations and activities that you must try.

Try one of Japanese traditional food: Sushi. But for you to enjoy the Sushi you want to eat, visit one of Tokyo’s conveyor belt Sushi restaurants. Pieces of sushi are placed in a conveyor belt which circulates around the shop so you can pick only those that you want to eat, and as much you can or want to eat. They call it Kai-ten Sushi.

Once you learn to love Sushi, visit the renowned Tsukiji Fish Market. You will not only find the best fish for your sushi but you also get to learn how to make one with the help of a sushi master.

Another must try is Sake, Japan’s famous traditional rice wine. While you are in Tokyo, enjoy the Sake sampling in the Meishu Center and The Sake Plaza. Shelling out a minimal amount of yen, you’ll get to taste as much as 5 varieties of Sake.

Off to Tokyo Japan tourism’s icon: Mt. Fuji. A breath-taking landscape for its almost perfect symmetrical cone which makes it an icon for Japan and a frequent subject of the Japanese art. Mt. Fuji is one of Japan’s three Holy Mountains, a center of mountain worship of Japanese ancient times, and it abounds the country’s heritage.

Another Japanese icon is the Samurai. You can see Japanese Samurai performance and display during the Yabusame Festival held during the month of May in the shrine of Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha, just at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

During springtime, Cherry blossoms are the best artistic sight. Traditionally, the locals celebrate this season with Cherry blossom viewing which they call Hanami. Cherry blossom, known as Sakura for the Japanese people, are richly symbolic and another renowned Japanese icon.

Tokyo is the home to the Japanese Emperor, although you may not see the emperor during your visit, you can actually set foot to the Imperial Palace’s grounds. The Imperial Palace East Garden is open for viewing to the public except Mondays, Fridays, and on special occasions, for free! The Imperial Palace East Garden holds Tokyo’s imperial history but is sure fantastic.

These Tokyo Japan tourism’s prides are surely mesmerizing. Planning your tour to Tokyo ahead will give you enough time to get yourself booked for tours to these places, but you can also choose to be a backpacker tourist. Tokyo is known safe and tourist friendly city, although not many locals speak English, but they are good with providing directions and help.

Benefits of Booking Tour Packages

TOUR-PACKAGE-IN-BUDGET5385ebd794f6d18d6f4cAll people need a break to get away from stress at work, home or school. Taking vacations is the best way to relax, unwind and spend time alone or with family in order to keep motivated and get that groove going.

Taking vacations requires planning and planning requires time – time for booking the preferred airline, finding the perfect location, researching for the cheapest hotels and scheduling the activities for the inclusive dates. That alone can also be stressful especially when it’s fast approaching with no preparations been made. As tourists, the experience should have to be stress-free, worry-free and relaxing.

In this regard, consider the benefits of booking tour packages. Not only can it save a lot of time but it’s also popular these days when people can’t seem to find that luxury of organising trips and vacations themselves. Other benefits of availing packaged tours are mentioned below:

• Convenience, completeness and quickness all rolled into one. This is the main reason why people avail of these packages. Searching for tourist attractions is easy over the internet. Then, what comes after is a lot more convenient.

Tour packages usually have detailed information on the trip. From the booking details, itineraries, tour guides, food trips, dinner and hotel accommodations, tour companies will take care of all these for their clients.

Pro tip: Before booking, make sure to discuss what’s included in the package. Sometimes, companies provide minimal package inclusions and require tourists to pay additional fees for all other activities that are advertised on their website.

• Perfect for large groups. Booking packaged trips in groups is more fun than travelling alone. It’s easy to make friends especially with people who also share the same interest – travelling!

Pro tip: Check out attractions where all friends can enjoy their stay. If possible, take a picture of every activity that everyone participated in.

• It offers quality service. Tour companies spent several years in developing business relationships with their suppliers to ensure that tourists receive the kind of service they need.

It’s like a win-win situation for their businesses. Why? It’s because tour companies are constantly able to bring in groups of people via their package tour that’s why, vendors have to take extra care of these tourists. This include front line access, upgrade in services, inclusion of tour guides, ensuring food for breakfast, lunch or dinner, occasional freebies and a lot more. Basically, they treat their guests as stars.

Pro tip: Do research on your preferred tour company before booking them. Read reviews and Facebook comments on their site with regards to the overall quality of service people have experienced starting from how their flight details were booked up to the point of their actual stay.

• It’s fun and educational at the same time. Enjoy the view but listen to tour guides whenever they provide information on every itinerary. Although they may not be residents of that place, they surely have accurate knowledge about the important information based from their study and personal experiences.

Pro tip: Since the tour is definitely fun and educational, it’s recommended to explore and experience everything in groups. Taking pictures of various attractions and eating dinner with friends all result to fond memories.

And those are the benefits of availing tour packages. With the right combination of season and destination, everything is going to be a rewarding experience.

Picking a Romantic Destination For Your Honeymoon

The moment you begin to think about your honeymoon after the long planning of your wedding, there are many places to choose from. You should try to come up with the perfect setting that will make your first day as a married couple truly memorable.

There are many beautiful honeymoon spots to consider. But of course, you have to select the best-one that will offer a romantic and dreamy atmosphere for you and your partner to relish. Here are a few choices that you can consider:

1. Tropical Island Destinations
Tropical Islands are among the most common and delightful of honeymoon destinations. From beautiful sandy beaches, stunning blue waves and spectacular sunset, this type of location is an ideal destination for newlywed couples. There are many exciting activities and relaxations that await you in this type of setting, such as water sports activities, romantic boat cruising, relaxation in hammocks and sailing. This type of destination will definitely enhance your enjoyment of your romantic escape with your spouse. Some of the beautiful tropical destinations you can choose from are Hawaii, the Caribbean,Tahiti, the Maldives, or Bali.

2. Mountain Destinations
Some couples prefer a more laid-back and tranquil type of location for a honeymoon, and mountain destinations a prominent candidate for this kind of retreat. There are many things to love about mountain destinations. The venue is just appealing and romantic. Mountain destinations are also advantageous in a way, since it is very possible to spend honeymoon celebrations on mountain peaks regardless of the season. This type of destination offers you a wide variety of activities. You can go hiking, mountain biking or camping while appreciating the attractive and scenic views you will see. And if you spend your honeymoon in the mountains during the winter, you can enjoy skiing and appreciate the beauty of snow-covered highlands. If you consider this type of destination, try spending it in some of the most notable destinations like Aspen (Colorado), Chamonix (France), Fort William (Scotland), Davos (Switzerland) or Garmisch (Germany).

3. City Destinations
If you want to celebrate your honeymoon in an urban and metropolitan locale where there are city lights and endless parties and shopping, a city destination is probably your first choice. City destinations are undeniably expensive, but if you want to enjoy the luxury of city life while relishing your moments as newlyweds, this type of destination is worth the cost. In a city destination, what you will be able to appreciate is the extravagance of hotels and elegant amenities as well as the pampered lifestyle you will experience as you visit a variety of shopping malls, bars, clubs, restaurants, spa centers, casinos, and concerts. Some of the best city destinations you can consider are Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Ibiza or Amsterdam.

Tourist Attractions In Japan

sfgvsfWhile Tokyo and Kyoto are the two most important tourist destinations in Japan, there are several other interesting places that are worth a visit.

One such interesting destination is Hiroshima, a city that has virtually risen from ashes after getting decimated completely due world’s first nuclear bomb attack during World War II. Hiroshima Peace Memorial is the most famous war memorial located in Hiroshima, symbolizing the destruction caused by the atom bomb. Another important place to visit is the Peace Memorial Museum that houses details about the events that led to the attack.

Hokkaido Island of Japan is a nature’s paradise with most of its area being protected as national parks. Filled with fantastic volcanoes, ‘bottomless’ crater lakes, hot springs and numerous mountain and ski resorts, Hokkaido is also home for Japan’s indigenous Ainu tribe. Diasetsuzan National Park is Japan’s largest national park located in central Hokkaido.

Another premier tourist destination in Japan is the Mount Fuji, the highest mountain peak in Japan with a perfectly symmetrical volcanic cone. There are various hiking trails on either sides of the mountain. Considered as a dormant volcano, Mt. Fuji can be climbed during summer season. Situated around Mt. Fuji is the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, a recreational paradise offering hot spring resorts, golf courses and facilities for fishing, hiking, camping, swimming and boating.

Apart from being the commercial hub of Japan, the city of Osaka is also recognized around the world for its exquisite Japanese cuisine, historic Osaka Castle, performing arts of Kabuki and Bunraku, theme park and impressive aquarium. Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Aquarium are both located in this city.

Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, is known for its pilgrimage circuit of 88 temples dedicated to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. Also present on the island are the attractive city of Takamatsu, the historic and beautiful Ritsorin Park and the mountain top Kotohira Shrine. The islands of Kyushu and Okinawa also offer a variety of tourist attractions including national parks, caves, coral reefs, clear turquoise seas, fine beaches, white sands, water sports, hot-sand saunas, hot spring resorts, temples, shrines and amusement parks.

Skiing on Thin Ice in Japan

Skiing on Thin Ice in JapanArriving in Hakuba, we checked into our lodging with a few friends, stowed our things, and eagerly embarked off to the nearby ski fields. Within 30 minutes we were suited up and embarrassing ourselves trying to learn the ‘pizza’ style of skiing. The good news – the snow was super soft and powdery, an excellent cushion for when I decided to sit down (read: fell over). The bad news – face first into the snow isn’t as entertaining as I first thought. Luckily, our friends were particularly patient with us; as you can see, I eventually learned to stand! Toddlers everywhere would be so proud.

One thing is for sure – the views were superb. We soon ventured to the advanced ski fields at the top of the slopes and were astonished at the vastness of it all. It seemed as if the snow knew no bounds – every visible crevice and mountain was covered in it. We also had an interesting time getting to the “mid-way” restaurant in the middle of the intermediate slopes – sliding down at speeds exceeding 30km/hour was a little scary but thankfully shortlived, and rewarded with a delicious bowl of ramen.

As the day drew to a close, we retired to our lodging. Buried in the snowfall but cosy as we stepped in, we were greeted happily by the owner. Approaching our room down the hallway, we noticed a nondescript woman opening its door, checking her surroundings in each direction, then heading inside and closing the door behind her. A little confused, we slowly approached the door and went to open it. Without warning it opened on its own, and the woman stepped out, briefly mumbling “sorry, wrong room” before scurrying down the neighbouring hallway. No further explanation or even an apologetic glance was offered. We checked our belongings and nothing appeared to have been disturbed, but we were uneasy with the situation. It turns out the doors of this establishment couldn’t be locked to prevent any further intrusions, and understandably were worried for our passports and cameras.

Now, the only thing I hate more than a meaningless confrontation is probably these foods. Unfortunately sometimes, confrontation finds you no matter where you go. Later on during the night we ventured to the common area downstairs, happening to discover the same woman. Merely wanting an explanation, I approached her to discuss and conveyed that her behaviour seemed strange. She clarified that she had stayed at this lodge a number of times and incorrectly thought that our room was in fact hers. I happily accepted the explanation and carried on with dinner.

Later on that night, I was summoned by the owner, who had apparently received word of what happened. Expecting an apology for the room allocation confusion, he instead proceeded to ask me to apologise – under the threat of being thrown out of his lodge. Apparently I was rude to one of his regular visitors; presumably, the woman had complained. Under normal circumstances I would have refused – however in a frozen remote town in a foreign country, we have to play by the rules. I conceded, apologised, and nothing more came of it. Although shaken at the mere suggestion of being thrown out into the cold, it was also quite fascinating. Until this point, my experiences in Japan had been filled with the most polite people I had ever met – the Japanese locals will stop at nothing to assist foreign guests. Of course, I then realized the difference – the lodge owner wasn’t Japanese. In the interests of ensuring we continued to enjoy our holiday, I gave it my best attempts to let the ordeal pass.

The next day, we ventured away from the ski fields and into culinary and cultural excitement. Have you ever seen a snow macaque? It turns out in Japan, they bathe just like we do – in style with steaming onsen baths. They live near incredible settlements situated in the mountains such as these – and are supported by the locals with regular food supply during the winter.

Sites to See in Japan

The next great destination in Asia is Mount Fuji, the most important iconic symbol in Japan. UNESCO has just awarded this mountain World Heritage status, so the significance for climbing it is that much greater, but if you are not into climbing then there are so many other ways to appreciate the view. I recommend climbing Fuji at least once in your lifetime if you decide to either visit or move to Japan.

For millions of backpackers and holiday makers, Mount Fuji has been a must-go-to place, especially for those who want to experience being in the presence of one of Japan’s most venerated sites, and to feel the history of the region. It goes without saying that so many great poets, scholars, and men of high repute have trekked this mountain in search of enlightenment. For many, to get a glimpse of an ethereal realm where the Japanese race once evolved from according to ancient lore.

Many of us have not been fortunate enough to climb Mount Fuji, at least not yet. Now I have an excuse to go for it this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this mountain from afar. The awe of this mountain can still be felt from every cardinal direction, including the air and from under the sea.

You can enjoy views of Mount Fuji from the comfort of a speeding bullet train across hundreds of miles of tea plantations dotted along Shizuoka Prefecture. You have your lunch box and cold rice brew there on the tray table while taking in one of the best views of the greatest mountain in Japan. If you are bound for Shizuoka via Shin-Yokohama, you should be sitting in the right starboard side window seat.

You could also enjoy Fuji from air if you have a window seat. You are sitting there on your domestic flight to Sapporo, and from the left side of your window you can see the snow-capped peaks of Fuji with your lunch box and cold beer in hand. The weather is gorgeous and you know you are off to a good start.

If you are a city dweller type, then you can visit the Mori Building in downtown Tokyo. Take the elevator up to the top floor, order some drinks at the bar, and sit down near the window and take in a nice sunset with Fuji in the backdrop while humming the national anthem of Japan in between sips.

If you are a tree hugging nature lover then perhaps the best way to enjoy views of Mount Fuji is from a pine grove. Miho no Matsubara is a pine grove that was also included in Mount Fuji’s world heritage list of areas. If you have ever seen a picture postcard of Japan, you will immediately identify with this imagery of lake, pine grove, and Fuji in the backdrop. It is perhaps one of the oldest and most photographed areas of the whole mountain.

If natural hot spas are your thing, then I highly recommend visiting either Puku Puku Hot Springs in Yamanashi Prefecture, or Benifuji no yu in Yamanakako. There are other hot spas as well, but these two are quite popular if you want to take in views of Mount Fuji from a luxurious open-air hot bath in nature.

And then lastly, Diamond Fuji. From October to late February during the sunset hours you can enjoy witnessing a brilliant sunset behind the mountain and all over Lake Yamanakako. In the early mornings of October you can see a cone-shaped cloud cover pattern over the peak of Fuji. It looks like a hat if you look carefully, and in the wee hours of the morning the mountain looks purplish sometimes.

So there you have it, a list of different ways to enjoy Fuji and how to enjoy it. If you have any questions drop me a line and I’ll get back with you. As of this year, climbing Fuji is free of charge, but now that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage the city council will implement a charge for climbing this mountain.

Tips to Save Time and Money for Tourists

People all over the world take an opportunity to go on vacations during summer. For them, it’s the best time to spend time with their families and enjoy themselves before the start of schooling season and return of cold weather. Taking a break doesn’t require too much money. In fact, there are a lot of ways where tourists can enjoy their vacations and save time and money at the same time.

• When going to the airport, fall in line behind business travellers and avoid falling in line behind families that carry a lot of stuff to put into the x-ray machine tray. This is because frequent travellers already know how to move quickly through that line than the others.

• When taking a flight, choose the type of plane to ride on. Not all airplanes are made equal so it’s recommended to check out the ones that offer nice seats and amenities. Some airlines have inline Wi-Fi onboard while some do not. Newer airlines have the comfort of nicer seats and more leg room. Furthermore, not all planes also have personal television screens for passengers either. Sometimes, trips also require airport transfers.

To ensure comfort and to avoid inconvenient trips and airport transfers, always check out the airlines’ quality and their amenities on various sites online.

• During room accommodations, deals processed last minute on sites such as Hotwire and Priceline can give tourists a discount of over 60% on the normal rates. They can also use the site Better Bidding to bid on their preferred rooms. Once the bid becomes successful, then it’s considered to be a steal if they will able to get a cheaper room rate during peak season. Looking at other people’s bids doesn’t require forum memberships; however, membership is required in order to place a bid.

• Ask for a hotel upgrade when checking in. Other than advance booking online, it’s also recommended to ask for free upgrades and goodies on the actual day of check in. Some hotels recommend free upgrade on certain rooms if there a lot of guests checking in to keep their customers happy. Guests should use that as an advantage especially when they came from long trips and airport transfers.

• When travelling with a group of people, getting suite rooms is much cheaper. Some king suite rooms have couches that can be folded out into beds. Ask friends to chip in to make the room rates more affordable and enjoy the comfort of staying in that place for a number of nights.

• When spending more than a week in the city, renting furnished apartments is much cheaper checking in hotels. Tourists can choose from a lot of good apartments on websites such as 9Flats, AirBnB, Home Away and Wimbu.

Apart from saving money on room rates, travellers can also save money on food expenses because apartments have kitchens where they can cook good food.

• Consider visiting sites like Hospitality Club and Couchsurfing to enjoy a free stay with the locals. These sites are perfect for finding inexpensive places to stay in the city and learn more about it while hanging out with the locals. These locals act more than guidebooks in providing information on what the tourists want to know.

In planning the next vacations, remember to keep these things in mind because travelling should not have to be an expensive and time consuming process. Instead, it should have to be convenient, affordable and fun.

Tips for Tropical Climate Holidays

Looking to go on holiday to somewhere with a tropical or sub-tropical climate?

If so, following some of the following tips might be useful and help you to enjoy yourself even more.

  1. Don’t over-economise on your luxury accommodation at the resort. Tropical can mean high humidity at some times of the year and however much you love sun and warmth, you’ll want great pool and air conditioning facilities to allow you to sometimes escape and freshen up. Some ‘bargain-basement’ holiday accommodation might be disappointing in those respects.
  1. Take it easy for a day or two after arrival. Allow your body to acclimatise to its surroundings rather than rushing off to try and climb that hill in the distance right after your hotel check-in
  1. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Keep alcohol to very sensible/modest levels due to its natural de-hydrating effects, as they’ll be exacerbated by the heat.
  1. Avoid very demanding swimming objectives unless you’re fit. Heat can be exhausting and even strong swimmers can sometimes find themselves in trouble if they’ve pushed themselves a little too far in hot conditions. That can be an even more significant risk if your fitness isn’t perhaps what it should be.
  1. Comply with those now very (or should be very) familiar medical tips relating to barrier creams and protecting yourself from over-exposure to the sun. Remember that a hat is often almost essential – even if you’re not usually someone that wears one.
  1. Think about that siesta. Many peoples around the world who live and work in hot and tropical climates will take it easy for 2-3 hours during the early to mid-afternoon when the temperature is at its highest. Find a tree by the pool or on the beach then park yourself with a book or have a gentle snooze – rather than trying to start playing football.
  1. Take local expert advice on insect protection. Actually, the risks here in many tropical areas are often hugely exaggerated by urban myth and very poor scaremongering advice from people who might never even have visited the destination! Even so, think about repellents etc. Sometimes ordinary common-sense is far more important that repellent compounds.
  1. Obey local safety instructions. This, of course, applies even in your local park back home! Nevertheless, tropical holiday destinations often incorporate beautiful nature and local wildlife. Local specialists will have provided safety advice when touring and sightseeing and that needs to be obeyed. Those who don’t because they ‘think they know better’ are often a danger to themselves and others around them.
  1. Research the local weather patterns. Some times in the year are a little hotter, cooler or wetter/dryer than others on average. You can select average conditions that are most suited to your requirements and preferences etc.
  1. Avoid heavy meals. Packing away big plates of carbohydrates in tropical conditions is likely to leave you feeling very uncomfortable and lethargic. Most local people tend to incline towards lighter meals taken in the evenings when it’s cool although very light snacking during the day is more commonplace (and sometimes necessary for an energy boost) and particularly so if you’ve only eaten a light lunch.

Lakes of Mount Fuji

Japan is known for its strong culture, superb restaurants and ultra-modern cities. What most tourists often forget about is that Japan has its fair share of natural wonders to explore as well. One of these happens to be Mount Fuji. With an almost perfect conical shape, Mount Fuji is considered by many to be the most coveted sight to see in the entire country. However, Mt. Fuji is not the only stunning spot to see during a day trip from Tokyo. If you want to capture the true essence of this Japanese icon, then try to spend a few days in the region referred to as Fuji Five Lakes.

Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Yamanakako, Lake Saiko, Lake Shojiko and Lake Motosuko are situated at the northern base of Mount Fuji and they are collectively called the Fuji Five Lake region. Regardless of which lake you choose to stay near, you will be privileged with beautiful panoramic views of Mount Fuji and the surrounding countryside. This region also makes an excellent base for climbing the mountain.

Of the five lakes, Kawaguchiko tends to be the busiest because it serves as the primary transport hub in the region. Aside from its accessibility to the mountain, it is also known to be an outstanding hot spring resort town, which also has its fair share of attractions. Kawaguchiko is also particularly popular during the cherry blossom season, which is from mid-April until November. During this time, the seaside promenade is a picturesque spot to marvel at the cherry blossoms.

Lake Yamanakako is the largest among the five lakes. It is also the second most developed lake just behind Kawaguchiko. This lake’s eastern and western ends are occupied by small charming towns with various accommodation facilities. There are also restaurants and camping grounds all around Yamanakako. If you happen to have a 1000 yen bill, you can try to capture the very same picture that is printed on this Japanese bill. And after capturing the incredible scenery of Mt. Fuji, why not try to relax at one of the public hot springs baths around Yamanakako. One of these establishments, Benifuji no Yu even offers great views of Fuji from its baths.

Lake Saiko is the next door neighbour to Lake Kawaguchiko. You will get views of Mt. Fuji from this lake by heading out to its western end. Saiko is surrounded by wooded mountains, which adds to its appealing scenery. It is also home to a few campsites. These are just some of the reasons why the lake has become a favoured spot for outdoor activities like boating, camping, fishing and hiking. Saiko also maintains a hiking trail network, which leads to the hills, mountains and to the extensive forested area called Aokigahara Jukai.

If you would prefer more of a tranquil feeling while in the Mount Fuji region then consider visiting Lake Shojiko or Lake Motosuko. Both of these still offer breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, but since they have less development and fewer accommodation choices available, they tend to be quieter with fewer tourists. To get the best photos of Fuji from any of the five lakes, wake up early on a clear day and capture the reflection of Fuji on the surface of the water.

Japanese Travel Locations and People Names Can Be Confusingly Fun

Learn a bit about the Lingo and get an Inside View!

If you wondered why Japanese people refer to Mt. Fuji as Mr. Fuji, you are not alone.

When I first came to Japan, and actually until about two years ago, well okay, actually it still happens a lot, I was confused and continue to get confused by place names.

In Japanese, Mt. Fuji is called Fujisan. Also, as you know, the honorific for addressing people in Japan is to add a “san” to their name. For this reason, I really thought that Japanese people truly respected Mt. Fuji because they were referring to Mt. Fuji as Fuji “san” or Mr. Fuji. So keep in mind that you add san as an honorific to names as well as use san for mountain. Oh, and by the way, “san” also means “three”. Lots of “san” in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The other thing I realized a few days ago was that since the Edo Castle had moats that are “Hori” in Japanese, there are two central roads in Tokyo called Uchibori-dori and Sotobori-dori. “Uchi” means “inside” moat and “Soto” means “outside” moat. I understand that the moats around the Edo castle of old were land-filled and are now main thoroughfares running through Tokyo. You will hear directions that include “Sotobori dori” and “Uchibori dori” and now you will know that these roads used to be moats to protect the Edo Castle.

Here is another interesting place name for you. How about Shiodome? Hmmm. Guess what that means? “Shio” means “Tide” and “Dome” means to “stop” or “hold back”. So the area around Shinbashi station that is called Shiodome is actually a low-lying area that used to be underwater. It would stop the tides coming into the Shinbashi area.

How about places like Yamanaka-ko, Kawaguchi-ko, or Biwa-ko? Yes, you guessed it! “Ko” means lake. But ah-hah! That is different from names like Hanako, Hoshiko or Yoko. The “Ko” in these names mean “Child”. Pretty hippie don’t you think? Hana-ko can mean “Flower Child” or Hoshiko can mean “Star Child” or Yoko can mean “Sun-Child”. Nice, beautiful, natural and earthy names for a country seeped in a Shinto respect for nature and spirits in every living thing.

Have you heard the word “Ohayou”? This is translated as “Good Morning” but actually means “Its early” with the honorific “O” at the start of the word. Just like good night which is “Oyasuminasai” which literally means “Rest Now” with an honorific “O” to start the phrase. “Oyasumi” is also the word for holiday or time off and literally means “rest” with the honorific “O” at the top. How about “Oseiji”, hmmm, that’s and interesting one. It means “empty compliment” and you would use it when someone is telling you how great you are and you want to play it down. “Sonna Oseiji ha iranai yo!” is kind of like saying “Hey, you don’t need to butter me up so much!”. O yeah and don’t forget the word “Oishii!” this means “Delicious” and is the best compliment you can give your host during and after a nice meal. There is no honorific used here because the word in itself is kind and expresses your heartfelt thanks.

Learning a few words in Japanese and being able to recognize honorifics gives you a glimpse into the history of the area, geography and also how Japanese view that expression. A culture is expressed best in its own words so when you are in Japan try to give the lingo a try.

Ganbatte Kudasai! (Please do your best!

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