What’s driving tourists in Japan?

Posted by - August 3, 2018

It’s true: We (travelers) are very visual people and this theory proves it. Source: Shutterstock.
JAPAN is one of Asia’s top 10 countries in terms of international tourist arrivals in 2017 and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
At least not for the next five years or so, with Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics. Japan will continue enjoying a surge in inbound travelers for sure.
In 2016, there were about 40 million departures from Japan, including 17 million by Japanese nationals.
In 2017, the country attracted a record 28.68 million tourists, reflecting the sixth consecutive yearly increase. As for departures, Japan saw around 45.2 million leaving its shores in the same year.
On top of strong promotional pushes by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the East Asian country already welcomes a steady stream of travelers ready to check out its dark tourism, sakura season, food tourism, heritage tourism, night tourism, fall foliage, and a whole lot more.
But what’s really driving the tourists in Japan these days? It’s not just tourism campaigns and guidebooks for sure.
Source: Shutterstock.
Destinations that are more off the beaten track like Nagano, the capital city of Nagano Prefecture in the Chūbu region of Japan for example, saw more than one million visitors last year.
Which is every bit impressive for the landlocked area as it marks a 36-fold increase in just three years.
How did this happen? First, CNN described Nagano as one of Japan’s most beautiful places, which spurred an influx of postings featuring Nagano’s sights flooding Instagram.
Since then, Instagram’s numbers have seen a steep increase, with Nagano becoming one of the most active markets on the platform.
Zenkoji Temple, one of the most important and popular temples in Nagano, stores the first Buddhist statue ever to be brought into Japan. Source: Shutterstock.
As of June 20, 2018, Instagram has reached one billion monthly active users.
And a majority of these users turn to the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app to match #ootd coordinations, decide where to eat, get suggestions on things to do, and add things to their travel bucket list.
“Instagram is different from other social media because users are the ones taking the initiative to post and spread pictures, not the local municipalities,” Travel And Tour World quoted marketing firm Full Speed Inc.’s Kazukiyo Yonemura of Full Speed Inc. as saying.
Source: Shutterstock.
For Nagano alone, there are more than a handful of Instagram hashtags chalking up thousands of posts such as:
City officials expressed their sheer surprise to see people of all ages visiting the mountains to get a shot of its shrine, with the mass crowds leading to four-hour-long traffic jams.
“We widened roads, built toilets and increased parking from 24 to more than 100 spaces this April,” Nagano city tourism division’s Erika Watanabe said.
The multiple foreign currencies, 27 to be exact, found in the shrine’s offertory box proved that many of the visitors were from overseas.
Last year, Instagram joined hands with the JNTO to introduce a new hashtag, #UnknownJapan, which led to more than five million foreign visitors sharing posts.

Find your center at these temple stays in Asia

Posted by - July 23, 2018

SOME people travel for leisure, some travel seeking adventure, and some to get away personal harsh realities.

For the latter type of travelers, finding inner peace and recentering themselves is what drives them to get on a flight and escape for a little while.

And that’s where temple stays open up opportunities.

Celebrate the life of Buddha at these stunning temples in Asia
In certain parts of Asia, temple stay programs exist with the aim to help travelers connect with themselves by giving them a taste of quiet life. And in countries where Buddhism is still widely practiced, some temples have opened up to offer their facilities to curious travelers.

Most temples or monasteries are located in the rural or remote areas (think places near a forest or somewhere up in the hills) so they’re far from the crowds. Even those in town are designed to block out the noise from the hustle and bustle outside.

Temples are often neither gender-biased nor religion-biased. In fact, these centuries-old establishments, with vast tracts of land and beautiful gardens, are for more than just prayer and worship.

In the past, the temples used to offer accommodation for travelers and pilgrims when they would stop at the temples midway through their journey.

Some provide schools for children and in Thailand, the Tham Krabok Temple‘s monks and nuns help people overcome their addictions.

Source: Shutterstock.

In Japan, temples have begun to offer their facilities for lodging, known as shukubō, for tourists.

The initiative is the brainchild of Japanese startup Wa-Qoo, which sees it as an opportunity following the implementation of the new law for minpaku last month.

Although the law clamps down on private lodging services like Airbnb, it allows private residences and other non-commercial facilities to be used as accommodation, as long as they are registered with the local authorities.

Cue the over 70,000 temples across the country.

“Osaka-based Wa-Qoo said it is teaming up with Japanese e-commerce operator Rakuten and the Netherlands-based travel booking site Booking.com to bring more tourists to the country’s temples,” Nikkei Asian Review reported.

7 sacred mountain monasteries in Korea listed by Unesco
Along with Japan, here are some temple stays in Asia worth considering:

Japan: Koyasan
With more than 50 temples in the vicinity, Koyasan (Mount Koya) in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Osaka is one of the best places in the country to experience temple stay.

The settlement is in the center of Shingon Buddhism, a prominent Buddhist sect which was introduced in Japan in 805.

Source: Shutterstock.

The original Garan temple complex was built in 826 by Kobo Daishi, a Japanese Buddhist monk, civil servant, scholar, poet, and artist.

It has since grown into the town of Koya, featuring a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 sub-temples.

Many of these temples offer lodging to pilgrims.

Koyasan is also the site of Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum and the start and end point of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

In 2004, Unesco listed Koyasan as one of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” World Heritage Sites.

Source: Shutterstock.

Price: Between JPY9,000 (US$79.75) to JPY15,000 (US$132.92) per person per night, including dinner and breakfast.

Booking: Japanese Guest Houses or Japanican.

Nepal: Kopan Monastery
Just north of the ancient Buddhist town of Boudhanath is the Kopan hill, where the Tibetan Buddhist monastery Kopan Monastery is located.

The monastery is easily recognized as it’s dominated by a magnificent and symbolic Bodhi tree.

Source: Shutterstock.

For the uninitiated, Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism, achieved enlightenment while sitting under a Bodhi tree.

Kopan Monastery was once the home of the astrologer to the king of Nepal.

In 1969, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers, bought the property and established the monastery.

Today, the monastery is home to Lamas, teachers, workers, and monks from all areas of Nepal and Tibet.

Its doors are open to visitors who want to stay to attend courses and learn meditation to develop their hearts and minds.

Source: Shutterstock.

Cost: Dorm beds are US$1.50, private rooms start at US$8.50. Bring your sleeping bag.

Booking: Kopan Monastery.

South Korea: Woljeongsa
Temple stays in South Korea are a dime a dozen, but no two are the same.

Rich in sprawling nature and four very distinct seasons, it’s essential to choose one in a location and with activities that appeal to you.

Source: Shutterstock.

One of the most breathtaking temples that offer temple stay programs is Woljeongsa, located two hours away from Seoul.

Tucked behind a fir tree forest on the eastern slopes of Odaesan mountain in Gangwon-do, Woljeongsa is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.

It was founded in 643 by the Silla monk Jajang, and it’s particularly famous for its iconic nine-story pagoda.

The temple’s quiet surroundings allow visitors to embrace the slower-paced way of life while immersing themselves in activities such as meditation, prayer bead threading, having tea with monks, and communal work.

Physical activities such as walking through the fir tree forest and trekking by the Odaecheon stream while experiencing the Buddhist culture will help lead visitors on a journey of self-discovery.

Source: Shutterstock.

Cost: KRW50,000 (US$43.94) onwards.

Booking: Templestay Center.

The post Find your center at these temple stays in Asia appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

What does Japan’s new vacation rental law mean for travelers?

Posted by - June 11, 2018

AS Japan clamps down on private lodging services across the country, accommodation vendors such as Airbnb are acting quickly to avoid costly penalties.
From June 15, Japan will enforce a new law for minpaku (private lodging services). The law aims to provide the vacation rental industry with a clear legal framework.
Take a look inside the Trump-Kim Summit hotel If rental companies do not adhere to the new rules, they could pay more than US$9,000 (JPY1 million) in fines.
The minpaku law will apply to every rental opportunity from single bedrooms to entier houses, most of which currently straddle a grey area of undefined rental law.
But the minpuka law is about to make this clear for all.
What does the new law state? A post shared by Edward Hsieh (@edamameedward) on May 23, 2018 at 9:23pm PDT
By June 16, all rental properties must be registered with the local government. In light of this looming regulation, one of the major players in the rental market, Airbnb recently unlisted 48,200 of its unregistered properties.
Additionally, landlords can only rent properties for a maximum 180 days per year, and local governments can enforce further restrictions, such as stipulating days or weeks of the year when owners can’t rent properties.
Also, every rental must display its registration number on the outside of the property and take measures to prevent noise, garbage, and fire problems.
Landlords must also make an effort to provide overseas tourists with information about facility access and emergency escape plans in foreign languages.
Lastly, the new law has done away with the minimum two-night stay rule but states a management company must be employed to look after the property if owners do not live onsite.
A post shared by arbol (@arbol_architect) on Jun 8, 2018 at 3:02am PDT
Earlier this month, Airbnb issued a warning to its Japanese property owners, stating it would not list rentals until they could prove their registration.
Minpuka law aims to protect neighborhoods and ensure guests are safe.
But until property owners are officially registered and adhere to all the aspects of the regulation, travelers might find themselves with limited options.
Marriott has big plans for Sheraton brand However, as Japan sees a tourism boom ahead of the 2020 Olympics, the government is investing in accommodation infrastructure to cater for increased tourist numbers.
Earlier this year The Japan Times reported the Organization for Promoting Urban Development would be revising its financing rules to loan hotel developers up to 50 percent of hotel construction costs.
With brand new hotels and registered rentals on the horizon, travelers won’t have to wait long for secure and legal stays. But in the meantime, here are two accommodation booking platforms for those off to explore the Land of the Rising Sun.
Japan Experience A post shared by @japan_experience on Jan 24, 2016 at 2:51am PST
Japan Experience is a tour operator providing accommodation, tours, transport, and real information about the country from those who know it well.
It has traditional and contemporary properties in Kyoto, Tokyo, Kanazawa, and Takayama and offers “Tour Angels” to assist you when you arrive in a new city.
Whether it’s one night or a month-long stay, Japan Experience offer hard-to-beat rates in excellent locations.
Beyond resting your head, Japan Experience gives travelers in-depth tours, either self-guided or expert-led.
Just a glance at the website will reveal how well it knows the country and provide a wealth of information for traveling families, couples, friends and solos.
Rakuten Travel A post shared by 楽天トラベル (@rakutentravel) on Feb 15, 2018 at 12:45am PST
Booking with Rakuten Travel makes you part of something bigger than the accommodation industry.
Rakuten is an innovative e-commerce platform that knows a thing or two about offering competitive hotel rates.
It has 31,000 hotels and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) on its books and constantly offers exciting deals.
The post What does Japan’s new vacation rental law mean for travelers? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

In Japan, you can check-in to your Airbnb at a convenience store

Posted by - May 24, 2018

JAPAN’S biggest convenience store chain, FamilyMart, will soon allow Airbnb guests to pick up their keys at their stores.
The collaboration will enable travelers to easily check-in and also pick up some onigiris (Japanese rice balls) or bento boxes (a meal in a box) while they’re there.
Here’s what Japan did when a train was 25 seconds too early Here’s how it’s done:
Landlords simply need to leave their keys for pickup in special lock boxes at FamilyMart stores.
Their guests will then need to verify their information, such as passport details, and confirm their identities by using a tablet located close to the boxes.
Once their identities have been verified, the lock box will open and they can pick up the keys. Upon checkout, guests will need to return the keys to the lock box at the store.
Guests can pick up their keys from special lock boxes at FamilyMart convenience stores. Source: Shutterstock.
The implementation of a new law on private lodging business is on the horizon for Airbnb in Japan.
It will allow property owners to rent out vacant homes or rooms to tourists for up to 180 days per year after registering with local municipalities.
Both FamilyMart’s check-in service, as well as the new law, will come into force in June.
“Our business will expand if foreign travelers staying in private homes do some shopping at our stores,” The Jakarta Post quoted FamilyMart President Takashi Sawada as saying at a news conference in Tokyo.
Rows upon rows of snacks galore at Ikebukuro’s FamilyMart in Tokyo, Japan. Source: Shutterstock.
Earlier, Airbnb teamed up with Lawson, another chain of convenience stores, to provide the same services at its outlets in Tokyo.
Seven-Eleven Japan Co. is also jumping on the bandwagon, offering a similar key collection and return service in collaboration with Japanese travel agency JTB Corp.
FamilyMart, which operates over 17,000 convenience stores in Japan, said it hopes the service will reach 150 stores by February next year.
However, for now, it will be only available in Tokyo and Osaka.
All of Japan is getting involved in the Tokyo 2020 prep, even airlines Japan is expected to experience a tourism boom leading up to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The government hopes to boost the number of foreign visitors from 28.7 million last year to 40 million in 2020.
The post In Japan, you can check-in to your Airbnb at a convenience store appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Japan bucket list: Peanuts-themed hotel

Posted by - May 16, 2018

SNOOPY is coming to town! By “town”, we mean if you’re anywhere in Japan or if you’re planning a trip to Japan.
Famed for being the “land of cute things”, the upcoming Peanuts comic strip-themed hotel will be yet another adorable addition to the country’s attractions.
Here’s your first look at the magical ‘Ghibli Park’ Set to open in Hyogo prefecture near Sannomiya Station located in the heart of Kobe, the hotel spans six floors of rooms and facilities.
It embodies its motto, “It’s nice to have a home where your guests feel comfortable”.
Guests would be delighted to know that they will be getting a Peanuts Cafe (first floor), a Peanuts Diner (third floor), and three upper floors of guest rooms themed, “Imagine”, “Love”, and “Happy”.
A post shared by PEANUTS HOTEL / ピーナッツ ホテル (@peanutshotel) on May 13, 2018 at 8:14pm PDT
The hotel’s Peanuts Cafe offers the same menu as the Peanut Cafe in Tokyo’s Nakameguro neighborhood, filled to the brim with casual Snoopy-themed food and drinks that are totally Instagrammable.
Peanuts Diner, on the other hand, will serve a slightly more adult menu, complete with pasta and Japanese specialties such as Kobe beef.
And what’s a Peanuts hotel experience if there’s no merchandise?
Peanuts Cafe and Peanuts Diner will also sell Snoopy-themed goods such as T-shirts, tote bags, printed serviettes, and mugs, so you can take a piece of Peanuts hotel home with you.
A post shared by PEANUTS HOTEL / ピーナッツ ホテル (@peanutshotel) on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:01pm PDT
More importantly, be ready to be overwhelmed by the sheer cuteness of the guest rooms.
Each of the 18 rooms will boast its own design and decorations based on different comics from the Charles M. Schulz franchise.
So don’t forget to whip out your camera and snap away.
A post shared by PEANUTS HOTEL / ピーナッツ ホテル (@peanutshotel) on Apr 26, 2018 at 2:15am PDT
Interested? Reservations will start from 10am on July 9, 2018.
The Peanuts hotel will open in Kobe, Japan in August 2018.
Check out their website for more information.
The post Japan bucket list: Peanuts-themed hotel appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Give your furkid a taste of luxury at these pet-friendly hotels in Asia

Posted by - May 3, 2018

PUTTING YOUR FURKID through a long flight can be life-changing and not necessarily in all the best ways.
In general, air travel is safe for your pet it’s not exactly as relaxing as a belly rub. There are a handful of things to consider such as the physical and mental state of your doggo after traveling hours in a plane’s belly. After all, your four-legged family member can’t tell you how he or she feels.
Death of pet dog in transit prompts Singapore Airlines probe So you and your dog made it through the flight and have landed safe and sound. The next question is, “Where are you going to put up for the entirety of your stay?”
Your furkid is going to need a lot of tender, loving, care after the ordeal. Why not pick a hotel that’s not only comfortable but also accommodating for animals?
Give your furkid a taste of luxury as these pet-friendly hotels in Asia.
Singapore: Four Seasons Hotel Singapore Located on tranquil, tree-lined Orchard Boulevard, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore provides a welcome oasis of calm in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s only 25 minutes from the airport and strategically located steps away from the shopping, entertainment, and business belt of Orchard Road.
Said to be a top choice for those traveling with a pet, guests can rest assured that their pet will be treated like royalty at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. Each room allows one pet up to 7kgs, and pet beds and water bowls will be provided.
Source: Shutterstock.
Details here.
South Korea: Grand Walkerhill Seoul Grand Walkerhill is located at the heart of Seoul, surrounded by beautiful nature and the Hangang River as well as the greenery of Achasan Mountain. Valued as the best urban resort, the hotel offers a comfortable resting place, banquet halls, and venues for entertainment.
Your doggo is going to love the luxury that Grand Walkerhill provides because the hotel is pet-friendly. Up to two dogs under 18kgs are allowed per room for a fee of US$100 per stay, plus US$50 per night.
Source: Korea Tourism Organization.
Details here.
Thailand: Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort Nestled in the heart of Pattaya, Thailand, Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort is an idyllic hideaway for families with children – and pets. It’s only 84kms away from Suvarnabhumi Airport and just a stone’s throw away from the beach, and shopping and dining options.
Aside from its mini water park with a rock wall and caves, tropical gardens, two swimming pools, and slider for family fun, Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort allows two pets up to 10kgs per night. Both dogs and cats are welcome at the hotel’s stylish and comfortable guestrooms.
Source: Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort.
Details here.
Malaysia: The Roots Eco Resort Make the 200km journey from Kuala Lumpur and get a dose of wellness at The Roots Eco Resort. A unique establishment, the resort was inspired by the orang asli (aboriginal people) settlements nearby and boasts villas build from wood and bamboo. There’s even a tree house built around a tree.
The best part is the friendly staff will accommodate your furkid of any size for no additional fee. So you and your furkid can just kick back and relax with The Roots Eco Resort’s lush nature as your backdrop.
Source: Agoda.
Details here.
China: Doubletree Resort by Hilton Wuxi Lingshan This elegant resort overlooks the beautiful Taihu Lake in China’s Jiangsu province. Guests will definitely get their much-needed zen at Doubletree Resort by Hilton Wuxi Lingshan’s posh suites which offer magnificent lake views.
Also good to note is the resort allows two pets up to 46kgs per room, per stay. For a one-time fee, the resort’s staff will kit your room up with amenities like a pet bed, pet shampoo, and food bowl. You just need to ask.
Source: Doubletree by Hilton.
Details here.
Hong Kong: CHI Residences 138 CHI Residences is one of Hong Kong’s leading boutique serviced apartments that’s conveniently located right smack in the middle of the port city’s bustling entertainment and nightlife district. There will never be a dull moment as the establishment is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, shops and designer brand stores.
CHI Residences 138 is also known for being pet-friendly, with trained housekeepers offering pet walking and grooming services. Thinking of taking a trip to Hong Kong with your furkid? Be sure to book and check in to CHI Residences 138.
Source: Chi Residences 138.
Details here.
Japan: Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa Famous for its onsen (natural hot springs), museums and views of Mount Fuji, the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa is perfect for spa-goers who also happen to be dog lovers. It’s easily accessible from major cities in Japan at just one and a half hours’ drive west of Tokyo.
There are a total of 79 spacious Japanese-styled and Western-styled guestrooms and suites that each come with a private sun terrace or balcony. Furkid parents can opt for a dog-friendly room, which can accommodate three pets up to 10kgs or one pet up to 30kgs for no additional fee. The staff also offers pet-sitting services.
Source: Booking.com.
Details here.
The post Give your furkid a taste of luxury at these pet-friendly hotels in Asia appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Asia’s most enchanting tourism videos

Posted by - May 2, 2018

THE global tourism industry is worth an estimated US$7.6 trillion and almost every nation in the world is angling to entice travelers.
One of the ways they do this is through promotional tourism videos.
Methods of tourism promotion have evolved with technology, from the days of beautiful, hand-drawn tourism posters to the multimedia creations of today.
Videos provide travelers with a sneak peek of the destinations which await them.
A post shared by The Poster Smiths (@thepostersmiths) on Oct 16, 2017 at 2:50pm PDT
Whether they’re created by tourism boards or amateur filmmakers commemorating their trip, each promotional video is enticing.
Some target niche audiences while others appeal to every sense in the human body, playing on people’s adventurous side or tempting them with unrivaled serene calm.
Here our favorite tourism videos, certain to get you contemplating quitting your job and venturing off.
The Philippines is getting Muslim-friendly Malaysia The point-of-view camera shot lets you be the person exploring Malaysia.
From the shushing ocean of Redang island in Terengganu to traditional dikit barat performances, and sampling some of Malaysia’s finest dishes, to snorkeling in the Perhentian islands and making new friends.
Created by Malaysia Truly Asia, the short film tugs on your sense of exploration.

Thailand Amazing Thailand figured the best way to show off their nation is to take viewers on a tour of Thailand through the eyes of real travelers.
Real travelers’ footage were compiled to appeal to those with wanderlust.
The video addresses different communities, including LGTBQ+, animal lovers, adrenaline junkies, foodies and anyone who is “open to new discoveries”.

Japan A perfect union of tradition meeting the future happens in this video.
Tranquil temple scenes are juxtaposed with busy hawker-filled streets.
An immaculately dressed geisha is contrasted with a futuristic arcade and traditionally pulled rickshaws with AI robots.
Japan’s natural beauty fleets through the video and is complemented with beaming smiles of locals.

Fiji An oldie, but a goodie.
The narrator’s deep voice lulls you into relaxation while he tells you a tale of Fiji.
“Happiness lives here because here it is not hunted, not chased or pursued. You simply come here, and happiness will find you”, he says.
Sapphire skies and crystal waters, vacationers and locals, wildlife and marine life are all harmoniously featured in the video.
While it may be short and simple, it works a treat.

Indonesia Being the largest archipelago in the world with 13,466 islands, fitting the best of Indonesia into just a three-minute clip might sound hard, but Indonesia Travel did it – and won an award.
The paradise nation straddles the equator and provides visitors with both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as well as towering volcanoes, and lush rainforest.
With the sweet sound of Louise Armstrong’s Wonderful World playing over the top of stunning scenes, the video takes you on an immersive tour of Indonesia.

Sri Lanka Shot by the ultimate #couplegoals duo, Salt in our Hair, the two-minute video showcases the beauty of Sri Lanka.
Using slow motion and zoomed in to super zoomed out shots, the film captures the diversity of Sri Lanka’s landscapes.
From rocky hills to extensive railways lines trundling over viaducts and long shorelines to cascading waterfalls, Sri Lanka is displayed in all its magnificence.

Philippines The Tourism Promotions Board roped in The Black Eyed Peas rapper and Philippine’s tourism ambassador, apl.de.ap (real name Allan Pineda Lindo), to write a song for the video.
Titled It’s More Fun in the Philippines, apl.de.ap takes viewers on a tour of the country, from Manila to Bohol and everywhere else.
Local people, traditional crafts, water sports, beaches, nightlife and cuisines all feature in the video.
Although some of his rhymes may be a little questionable, the video certainly exhibits the beauty of the Philippines.

The post Asia’s most enchanting tourism videos appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Italian luxe brand Bulgari glams up Asian cities

Posted by - April 30, 2018

IN 2001, Bulgari (stylized as BVLGARI) formed a joint venture with Luxury Group – the Luxury Division of Marriott International to launch their luxury hotel brand, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts.
The first hotel opened in Milan three years later.
Now, the company has announced plans to expand its hotel empire to Japan. Particularly, Tokyo.
This hotel in Japan looks posh, but is exceptionally kind to Mother Nature According to Bulgari’s website, the Tokyo outpost will be located in an ultra-skyscraper planned for construction in the Yaesu 2-Chome North District Category-I Urban Redevelopment Project.
Occupying the 39th to 45th floors of the building, the Bulgari Hotel Tokyo will offer 98 guest rooms in a variety of configurations, including the extraordinary Bulgari suite. Other iconic features that will share the same space are such as Il Bar, Il Ristorante, the fireplace Lounge, Il Cioccolato store, and a dramatic ballroom.
Source: Bulgari.
Of course, there will also be a 1,500-sqm Bulgari spa, offering the ultimate wellbeing experience with immersing and innovative treatments as well as a fitness center with an indoor pool.
Finally, as with all the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, the Tokyo hotel will be designed by Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel.
The Bulgari Hotel Tokyo will be just a stone’s throw away from some of the city’s best attractions such as the Imperial Palace and the vibrant shopping havens Nihombashi and Ginza.
Source: Shutterstock.
It’s set to open in 2022.
Other Bulgari-branded hotels in Asia include:
Bali (opened in 2006) The earliest of the slew of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts to open in Asia, the Bulgari Resort Bali is the pinnacle of tropical luxury.
Source: Bulgari.
Located on a rugged Balinese cliffside, the resort boasts the same bold and sleek aesthetics.
Like the other establishments, the Bulgari Resort Bali features Il Ristorante, Il Bar and the Bulgari spa, but also a restaurant with a more local flavor named Sangkar (which means “nest”).
Beijing (opened in 2017) The Bulgari Hotel Beijing is the first Chinese addition to the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts’ luxury hospitality collection.
Source: Bulgari.
Located in the heart of China’s exclusive Embassy District, the “urban resort” blends art with nature, as it is adjacent to the Genesis Art Foundation and surrounds by lush gardens.
Other than featuring 199 rooms and suites to Beijing’s sophisticated elite and business travelers, the Bulgari Hotel Beijing also offers the trademark Bulgari spa, Il Ristorante, Il Bar, and a grand ballroom.
Dubai (opened in 2017) When the Bvlgari Resort & Residences Dubai opened last year, shortly after Bulgari Hotel Beijing, it was cited to be the costliest hotel in the Middle East, surpassing the room cost of Burj al Arab.
Source: Bulgari.
The resort is situated on the exclusive, manmade Jumeira Bay, and stands out like a jewel on the island.
The 158,000-sqm property boasts six residential buildings with 173 sea-facing apartments, 15 private mansions, and Bulgari’s first-ever marina and yacht club, as well as Il Bar, Il Cafe, and Il Ristorante.
Shanghai (2018) A Bulgari establishment that’s slated to open in Shanghai later this year will undoubtedly be a nice addition to the Bulgari Asian hotels roster.
Source: Bulgari.
Located on a 40-story building by the river near the central business district’s iconic Bund and city center, the Bulgari Hotel Shanghai will have 82 hotel rooms and suites.
The ultra-luxe Shanghai outpost will feature Il Bar, Il Giardino, Il Cioccolato, Il Ristorante, the must-have Bulgari spa, a fitness center, and a grand ballroom.
The post Italian luxe brand Bulgari glams up Asian cities appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

What does Japan’s volcanic eruption mean for your trip?

Posted by - April 23, 2018

LAST Thursday, Japan witnessed the eruption of Mount Io in the southernmost main island of Kyushu.
The volcano had remained dormant for over 250 years until it spewed a potentially deadly plume of thick grey ash last week.
Asia’s most dangerous airports The ash cloud prompted officials to shut the usually walkable peak and monitor the situation to ensure the zero death and injury count remains the same.
“There is a possibility that (Mount Io) will become more active,” Makoto Saito, an official from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), cautioned in a report by AFP.
A post shared by Rachel W. (@rachelc.tw) on Mar 2, 2018 at 6:56am PST
The warning level was raised to three over the weekend, with the maximum on Japan’s scale being five.
While the volcano itself does not pose much of a threat to anyone unless they are close by, falling rocks emerging from the thick ash clouds could potentially cause serious harm to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way.
Savannas to rainforests – these are Asia’s newest Geoparks In a later televised interview, Saito urged residents not to go anywhere near the spewing mountain, also establishing a no-go zone around the area.
This is a temporary rule hikers will have to follow too.
While no airline has announced route closures to the island, holidaymakers looking to explore the mountain peaks will have to rethink their itineraries.
A post shared by Amanda Msf (@amanda_msf) on Jan 12, 2018 at 3:09am PST
The volcano is set within the Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park, famous for its hiking trails which snake through baron wasteland, thick forests and rocky paths.
However, there are hundreds of other peaks to climb on Kyushu Island.
Mount Sobo offers hikers a challenging and steep climb with rewarding views of the lush landscape and the sweet scent of beautiful blossoming flowers on the way up.
A post shared by Johan Carlsson (@j0hancarlsson) on Apr 24, 2017 at 5:55am PDT
Alternatively, another brilliant hike can be found on the southern tip of the island at Mount Kaimon.
This particular trail takes hikers around the circumference of the dormant volcano, through woodlands up to the rocky summit.
It’s a fantastic trail climb for adventurous families all year round.
So, any plans to visit the southern prefecture don’t need to be changed, just rejigged.
The post What does Japan’s volcanic eruption mean for your trip? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

‘Goodbye’ will soon come with a price tag in Japan

Posted by - April 12, 2018

YESTERDAY, the Japanese Parliament passed a bill for a new tax that will enforce a fee of JPY1,000 (US$9.37) for all travelers leaving Japan.
The “Sayonara Tax”, which means “Goodbye Tax”, will be added to airfares or ship fares as a surcharge. It applies to both international as well as Japanese travelers, except children under two years old and passengers who are in Japan for less than 24 hours.
This means you won’t be charged if you’re just popping by Japan on a layover. And you won’t need to pay an additional duty at the airport.
In the mood for Sakura: Blooming delicious seasonal eats in Japan According to Japanese news agency Jiji Press, revenue from the tax is estimated to amount to around JPY43 billion (US$402 million) per fiscal year.
The East Asian country has enjoyed a surge in inbound travelers. In 2016, there were about 40 million departures from Japan, including 17 million by Japanese nationals. In 2017, the country attracted a record 28.68 million tourists, reflecting the sixth consecutive yearly increase. As for departures, Japan saw around 45.2 million leaving its shores in the same year.
The numbers are expected to skyrocket in 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympic and Paralympics Games.
The Kenzo Tange-designed Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building adorned with a large rendering of the Tokyo 2020 Games logo. Source: Shutterstock.
In fact, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to increase tourist arrival numbers to 40 million by 2020 and 60 million by 2030.
But where will the money go, you ask? The tax collection will be used to promote tourism to Japan. This includes boosting infrastructure and technological advancements and funding tourism campaigns for off-the-beaten-track destinations in rural Japan and other tourism-related projects.
In the near future, travelers to Japan can expect free WiFi service on public transportation, electronic payment options, and facial recognition technology at airport gates.
The new tax is scheduled to kick in on Jan 7, 2019.
A Japan Airlines flight preparing for take-off at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Source: Shutterstock.
That having said, Japan is not the first country to impose a departure levy.
Other Asia-Pacific countries that have implemented similar fees include:
China charges US$16 for all visitors leaving by air. Australia’s “Passenger Movement Charge” slaps a hefty US$45 on travelers departing for another country. Cambodia taxes people leaving the country US$25. Malaysia’s “Airport Tax” charges between US$0 to US$16 for non-Asean departures. South Korea imposes a US$9.37 departure fee on all air travelers. The post ‘Goodbye’ will soon come with a price tag in Japan appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.