English Bay

How many cities can say they have a beach park downtown?  Well, Vancouver can… here at English Bay Beach (among other beaches around the city). From the late 19th century, the legendary lifeguard, Joe Fortes, taught Vancouver residents how to swim right on this beach.  In 2015, some 2700 liters of cargo ship oil spilled into the…

Stanley Park

In 2014, Stanley Park National Historic Site of Canada [yes that’s its official name] got ranked “Top Park in the Entire World” by TripAdvisor [based on] consumer reviews.  For about 130 years, it has been designated as “green space.” The land on which the park stands was home to First Nations (indigenous) people until 1858 when…

VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver

VanDusen Garden is a sight to behold!  Named after Canadian lumberman and philanropist, Whitford Julian VanDusen, it is one of five parks in the posh Shaughnessy neighbourhood, occupying a parcel of the old Shaughnessy Golf Course. The man who designed the garden, R. Roy Forster, was given the second highest honor for merit, the Order…

Bowen Island Photography Hike, British Columbia

Still part of Metro Vancouver, Bowen Island is an island municipality in Howe Sound, a network of glacier-produced narrow ocean channels between bodies of land northwest of Vancouver. From Vancouver, you can take the BC-99 Northbound bus to Horseshoe Bay and take the 30-minute BC Ferries service to Bowen Island. The aisle to open water,…

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver

Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the top go-to places for Autumn leaf-peaking in Vancouver.  It used to be a forest with salmon-spawning creeks, making it a favorite hunting ground for bears, wolves, and elk.  In 1870 when Europeans settled here, they got rid of the wild animals, cleared the forest, and built pathways on the…

Maple Corridor, Lake Kawaguchi

A news crew documents the first day of Maple Corridor Illumination. Summer took long this year so the leaves have still been getting enough sunshine and chlorophyll, staying green and delaying autumn. It is when the weather gets too cold, hours of sun are shorter, and the leaves are deprived of chlorophyll that they turn…

Tenjo Yama Park Mt. Kachi Ropeway

For a Mt. Fuji Sighting Site, take the Lake Kawaguchi Mt. Tenjō Ropeway to get to the peak of Mount Tenjō, famous for being the place of the Kachi-kachi Story. If you have time to go to the Fujiya Cookie store before or after your ropeway ride, try the different flavours of Mt. Fuji-shaped cookies. (They…

“Spring of the Gods”: Oshino Hakkai Springs

Not-to-be-missed Mt. Fuji World Cultural Heritage Site and Japanese national monument, Oshino Hakkai Springs is situated in an idyllic, picturesque village in the Fuji Five Lakes region where you can explore nature, history, food, and culture while chasing Mt. Fuji. On a clear day, you might see her majesty, the elusive Fujisan.  If you happen…

Planning Hakone Day Trip from Tokyo

Driver-san took us to the mountain top to see this: He said, “Kaba.” That was because the gorgeous scenery in front of us was on the cover (kaba) of the  Hakone travel magazine!!!😍 What a lovely view to cap our Hakone visit! Not bad for an iPhone camera (my shot, not the magazine’s 🙂 [Thank…

Lake Ashi Cruise Hakone and Taxi Information

I’ve been on a Lake Ashi Cruise before but I’m so thankful that this time, the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise we took, takes a different route altogether. [I showed Driver-san the picture of the red pirate ship and I tried oh so hard to tell him that this is the lake cruise I want to take….

Owakudani, Hakone

Breathtaking not only for the full circle majestic nature views but also for the air’s sulphuric vapor [#cough]… around 3000 years ago, Hakone Volcano had an eruption which formed this valley called Owakudani (translated as “Boiling Valley” but sometimes referred to as “Hell Valley” by locals). It has active sulphur vents and hot springs. (Please…

Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Fields, Hakone

Lustrous silvery-gold heads of Pampas grass dance gracefully to the rhythm of the wind on the rolling fields of Mount Hakone. Perfect setting for a romantic movie scene 😍😄❤️🌈💐 . Sengokuhara Pampas (Susuki) Grass Field parts in the middle like the Red Sea allowing an exodus of men, women, and children to ascend the hills…

Venetian Glass Museum, Hakone

Twinkle, twinkle, little star! Er….. I mean glass! Thousands of them! In broad daylight! Little pieces of Venetian Glass gently sway to and fro to the blowin’ in the wind as they hang from trees and a towering bridge canopy . They reflect the light they catch, producing a majestic sparkling wonderland. Add stunning glass sculptures set…

Forest Bathing in Historical Village, Hokkaido

Forest-bathing, apparently…   is a thing!  The Japanese concept called Shinrin-yoku (森林浴) is a therapeutic leisure activity of being in a forest, taking in the fresh air while doing nature walks and is thought to 1. Relieve stress 2. Detoxify the mind and body from an electronically charged environment 3. Lower blood pressure 4. Decrease anxiety,…

Historical Village, Hokkaido

One of the most elaborate and relatable interactive museums on Japanese culture and history I’ve been to is Historical Village, Hokkaido. It is an expansive open-air museum that contains sixty typical buildings from the Meiji and Taisho periods from different parts of Hokkaido. Flowers from the trees had been falling to the train tracks which…