AOMORI PREFECTURE

Aomori is located in the far north of Japan and is the snowiest city on earth with more than 300 inches of snow falling every year. It is the last mainland bullet train stop before Hokkaido.

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The sights, sounds and scents of Tokyo, Japan
Trimming tuna at Tokyo Fish Market

The sights, sounds and scents of Tokyo, Japan

It is eight in the morning and we are a few blocks from the hotel at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market, Japan’ largest. More than 15,000 people work here; international tourists line up in the early hours of the morning for the chance to watch the famous fish auctions,

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Kids (and grownups) learning something about the world aboard a cruise ship
Stargazing at Sea on the Diamond Princess

Kids (and grownups) learning something about the world aboard a cruise ship

Listen up parents and grandparents. If you think great sites are the reason you are treating your children and grandchildren to a cruise, think again. A lot of what they learn about the world takes place right on board in the kids’ and teen clubs, especially when they are meeting so many youngsters from different cultures and countries.

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A haunting visit to an elementary school in Hiroshima
The first day of school ends at Honkawa Elementary School in Hiroshima

A haunting visit to an elementary school in Hiroshima

I’ve got chills as Amber Whaley, 12, and her friend Miko Uno, 11, lead us into their elementary school’s basement. This was all that was all that remained of the Honkawa Elementary School when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima 70 years ago this past August 6.

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Shopping in Tokyo’s ‘Kitchentown’ and other delights to wrap up a great trip
Kitchentown in Tokyo

Shopping in Tokyo’s ‘Kitchentown’ and other delights to wrap up a great trip

There’s shop after shop of kitchen wares—ceramic sake cups, wooden bowls for miso soup, colorful bowls for rice, all varieties of chop sticks and of course hand-made Japanese knives that will be engraved on the spot with your name in Japanese. And everything is a bargain!

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What for dinner in Tokyo? How about 14 courses, small but delicious?
Chef Kenichiro Ooe of Park Hyatt Tokyo

What for dinner in Tokyo? How about 14 courses, small but delicious?

If you think a 14-course dinner might be a little much to handle, come sample Chef Kenichiro Ooe’s fare at Kozue on the 40th floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo with stellar views of the city.

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School in heart of Hiroshima is a memorial and a symbol of peace
Miko and Amber at the Honkawa Elementary School museum in Hiroshima

School in heart of Hiroshima is a memorial and a symbol of peace

The Honkawa Elementary School is in the heart of Hiroshima and when the Atomic Bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, all but one of the 420 students and teachers perished. Today is a again a bustling school and a memorial to those who died.

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Exploring Japanese pop culture at the International Manga Museum in Kyoto
Kids designing manga on computers

Exploring Japanese pop culture at the International Manga Museum in Kyoto

These aren’t just any comics. These are the enormously popular and traditional Manga, the basis for Anime, at the Kyoto International Manga Museum which is run by Kyoto Seika University and the Kyoto City Government. The University teaches aspiring Manga artists and writers in its design and fine arts department.

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Visiting a traditional Japanese Ryokan — not your ordinary hotel
Akemi Nishimura at her Hiiragiya Ryokan in Kyoto

Visiting a traditional Japanese Ryokan — not your ordinary hotel

Welcome to the traditional Japanese Riokan. There are these hotels all around Japan, some in the mountains, which offer the chance to try the Japanese hot springs baths called onseng

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Touring Kyoto with locals and on bikes: seeing more than temples
Wacky scarecrows guard a rice paddy in Kyoto

Touring Kyoto with locals and on bikes: seeing more than temples

Kyoto is famous for its Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. This morning, we’re cycling a 14-mile loop with Kyoto Cycling Tour Project with stops at the Golden Pavilion and Ryoanji Temple with its world-famous rock garden – two of the city’s and Japan’s top tourist attractions.

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