Tag: observation point

Lugano: to the other side from the mountains

Lugano is the biggest city in the “Italian” part of Switzerland, canton of Ticino. Located on the eponymous lake and surrounded by picturesque forested mountains, it offers the most typical impressions of nature and culture of this region of the country.

I have to say, travelling across Italian Switzerland is quite a strange experience. It is almost impossible to tell Lugano from cities of Northern Italy. Everything is the same: food, vegetation, building styles… Pretty much everything, except for prices. Looking at them, you are reminded that it is still Switzerland… So why pay more if Milan is only one and a half hours away by train? Let’s try to find out.

A day of fresh air in Arashiyama

At Kyoto’s western border, a small but scenic Hozu river separates the city from pure, forest-coated hills of Arashiyama which also gave their name to the nearby Kyoto outskirt. The area is a great choice to visit on a sunny day as it offers a variety of outdoor activities such as forest or river walks, monkey park and a cruise down the river with a traditional boat.

It’s not surprising that Arashiyama experiences a huge inflow of tourists to its best assets. It will take careful planning and willingness to wake up at dawn to avoid the crowds, secure all the tickets and get the most out of your visit to this place.

Visiting Kyoto temples

No one really knows how many temples are exactly in Kyoto, but most estimates lie between 1600 and 2000. Even a very strict sample of the biggest and the most famous counts a few dozen, so it is quite difficult (and pointless) to try visiting all of them within one trip.

So here’s my list. Each temple here has its own specialty which differs it from the others. I ranked them by my subjective impressions after visit =)

First time in Japan: Mount Takao

Looking back at my experience with New York, this time I decided that four days in a big city is all I can take and that I would definitely need a nature retreat after that.

A quick search revealed that there is a cool mountain called Takao just an hour by train from Tokyo center, with a number of hiking trails up to the summit and cherry trees that bloom later than in Tokyo thanks to the altitude.

First time in Japan: old and new Tokyo

Traditions and history dive-ins are not really Tokyo things, and it is better known for the chaos of a huge city, neon lights, and crazy youth culture. Those seeking old characteristic Japanese architecture should set their way to ancient Kyoto or at least pay its little sister Kamakura a short visit from the capital.

Nevertheless, even though Tokyo does not have that many and that diverse temples as Kyoto does, you can still get in touch with its ancient culture right in the center of the city, just next to the most bizarre districts and entertainments Tokyo has to offer.

Today we will try to maximize the diversity of impressions that you can get in Tokyo in a single day. This program implies a lot of walking, but you can shorten some distances by taking subway.