Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Japan adventure from Osaka to Kyoto! Ohayo!

There is a temple for everyone in Kyoto, Japan. There is a golden pavilion, and a silver one too. Many temples have beautiful Zen gardens. There are picturesque mountain temples, that become even more stunning with the colors of fall. And there is an iconic temple with thousands of vermillion gates. In fact, there are more than 1600 temples in Kyoto.

A visit to Osaka will not be complete if you don't venture to Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, and a World Heritage Site. My Japan adventure continued as I hopped from Karaksa Hotel Osaka to Karaksa Hotel Kyoto. It was a good thing they had train directions handy, which I was easily able to follow to get to Kyoto.

As soon as I arrived in Kyoto, I went straight for the food. What I like about both hotels is that they have customized food maps that help you explore the different restaurants around the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Here’s why your next trip to Japan should be to Osaka

Osaka has become a popular destination for Filipinos, especially for second time visitors to Japan who have already been to Tokyo. Universal Studios is a major draw, especially for families. Plus the city is also the gateway to the historic capitals of Kyoto and Nara.

For my recent trip, I was hosted by Karaksa Hotels, a new hotel chain, and a partner of, where you can book accommodation for Osaka and Kyoto. The hotel’s sister company, Karaksa Tours, arranges tours for the Southeast Asian market. In fact, it was the Karaksa Tours van that picked me up from the Kansai International Airport (Cebu Pacific flies direct from Manila to Osaka). It was very comfortable and equipped with WiFi, so you could update everyone that you’ve just arrived.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Japan: Applying for a Japanese visa in the Philippines

Applying for a Japanese visa is no longer done at the Japanese Embassy. Most visa applications must be made through the agencies accredited by the embassy. Which is why it is very important that you submit complete and accurate documents. The embassy may require certain applicants to appear in person for an interview at the embassy or consulate.

Where to Apply
Contact any of the following accredited agencies of the Japanese Embassy to submit your application for a Japanese visa:

Universal Holidays
Manila Branch: G/F Shopping Arcade, Century Park Hotel, P. Ocampo Sr. St., Malate, Manila
Tel. No. (02) 5250606/5229074/5244370
Makati Branch: Mezzanine, Dusit Thani Hotel, EDSA cor. Arnaiz Ave. Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel. No. (02) 8593811 to 15/(0922) 8403785/(0906) 4665899
Cebu Branch: 2/F JY Square Mall, 1 Salinas Dr., Lahug, Cebu City
Tel No. (032) 5056227/5056228/(0932) 9174873

Rajah Travel Corporation
Manila Branch: G/F GLC Bldg., A. Mabini cor. T.M. Kalaw St. Ermita, Manila
Tel No. (02) 5238801 to 07

Reli Tours and Travel Agency
SM Mall of Asia Branch: SM Department Store South Building, SM Mall of Asia, Bay City, Pasay City
Tel No. (0906) 5136777, (02) 5561445 to 47/5560546
SM Megamall Branch: 5/F Bridge Way, SM Megamall, EDSA, Mandaluyong City
Tel. No. (0906) 5136555/(02) 6374694 to 96/6375020/6329207
SM Southmall Branch: SM Southmall, Las Pinas City
Tel. No. (0906) 5136222/(02) 8004948 to 50/8053588

Attic Tours Phils., Inc.
Manila Office: Unit 203 Coko Bldg. 1, Patio Madrigal Compound, 2550 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City 1302
Tel. No. (02) 5566301 to 05
Traders Hotel Branch: G/F Traders Hotel Manila, 3001 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City 1305
Tel. No. (02) 9840566/6689845
Cebu Office: Waterfront Airport Hotel 1, Airport Road, Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu
Tel. No. (032) 3412299/3412011/3412012/3412015

Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation
Main Office: 3/F Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel. No (02) 8401060/8188896/8195644
Cebu Branch: Unit 101 Bldg.1, Oakridge Business Park, 880 A.S. Fortuna St., Banilad, Mandaue City
Tel No. (032) 3453459/3444825

Pan Pacific Travel Corporation
Main Office: 353 E.T. Yuchengco St., Binondo, Manila
Tel. No. (02) 2436666
Ermita Branch: Space A, G/F and 2/F Pacific Pace Apartelle Suite, 539 Arquiza St., Ermita, Manila
Tel. No. (02) 5213141 to 46
Makati Branch: LG01 Herrera Tower Condo, 98 V.A. Rufino St. (Herrera St.) cor. Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City
Tel. No. (02) 8108551 to 56
Cebu Branch: Diplomat Hotel, 90 F. Ramos St. Cebu City
Tel. No. (032) 2540343/45/47/49

The accredited agencies accept all types of visa applications except for Pan Pacific which can only receive applications without a Japanese guarantor (i.e. no Japanese documents). While the temporary visitor visa is free (gratis), the agencies collect a handling fee and each agency is free to set their own fees.

Note that there are exceptions. When I applied for a Japanese visa last year, I did direct at the Japanese Embassy since I was invited by a UN agency. If you fall under any of the following cases, you can apply directly with the Japanese Embassy:
(1) Diplomatic or official visas
(2) Visas for invitees by Japanese government organizations or institutions, independent administrative agencies of Japan
(3) Visas for invitees of Japan local governments or national, municipal educational institutions of Japan to participate in educational, cultural exchange programs and youth exchange programs
(4) Visas for scholarship awardees sponsored by the government of Japan
(5) Visas for commercial purpose of employees of a joint venture company or a branch office of a Japanese enterprise listed in the Japanese Stock Exchange or a member of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines
(6) For cases requiring humanitarian consideration such as serious illness of a relative in Japan

To clarify if you fall under any of these cases, you can contact the Japanese Embassy:
Manila: (02) 8347514
Cebu: (032) 2317321/2317322
Davao: (082) 2213100/3200

All documents must be original unless otherwise stated:
(1) Philippine passport (broken lamination of the photo part is not accepted; must have signature and have at least two blank pages)
(2) Visa application form
(3) Photo (4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background; photo must be pasted on the application form)
(4) Birth certificate of applicant (NSO issued within one year)
(5) Marriage contract (if the applicant is married; NSO issued within one year)
(6) Daily Schedule
(7) If visiting a friend, documents or photos to prove relationship
(8) Invitation letter from guarantor in Japan (must have handwritten signature)
(9) Bank Certificate
(10) Income Tax Return (Form 2316) original and photocopy
(11) Residence Certificate or Juminhyo (if guarantor is a Japanese)
(12) Foreign Registration Certificate from City Hall (if guarantor in Japan is not a Japanese)

If the applicant presents an old or valid passport with a used Japanese visa, no need for (4) and (5). If on package tour, no need for (8). Make sure you can produce all the requirements for the visa. You can also submit additional documents such as proof of income, economic and social ties with the Philippines, or urgent cases such as medical certificate or a wedding invitation. Remember that submission of requirements does not guarantee issuance of visa.

If guarantor in Japan will shoulders any part of travel or living expenses, you will need to submit (i) guarantee letter (mimoto hoshosho) and (ii) income certificate of guarantor (shotoku shomeisho) from City Hall, tax return certificate (nouzeishomeisho form 2) from tax office, kakuteishinkokusho hikae or bank certificate (yokin zandaka shomeisho).

Application Procedure
(1) Applications filed through accredited agencies
Applications will be accepted from 8:40 to 9:40 a.m. on weekdays except Wednesdays. After accepting the application, a receipt stating the verification date will be issued to the accredited agencies.

If the examination of an application is not completed by the verification date, the additional required documents or reasons for the delay in processing will be noted in the receipt. If you wish to know the status of your application, please inquire with the accredited agency.

(2) Applications filed direct with the Japanese Embassy
Manila: Applications will be accepted from 8:40 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on weekdays except Wednesdays. A receipt stating the verification date will be issued for accepted applications.
Cebu and Davao: Applications are accepted on weekdays from 8:40 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. After an application is accepted, applicant will be contacted by telephone on when to report at the consular offices.

Multiple Entry Visas
To see if you qualify for a multiple entry visa, you can read the eligibility and requirements in the Japanese Embassy website.

Download Japanese Visa Application Form (print on A4 paper)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Japan: Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji, Nikko, Takayama, Shirakawa-go & Osaka

After five days in Hiroshima to attend the UNITAR Series on the Management & Conservation of World Heritage Sites 2011 (where I celebrated my birthday) and another five days exploring Miyajima, Himeji, Nikko, Takayama, Shirakawa-go and Osaka, I'm finally back in Manila. Here are photos from the trip which are now in the Ivan About Town FB page. I'll also try to upload photos of a 2008 trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Nagoya which are currently in my Multiply.

July 4-8 - Hiroshima, Japan
July 7 - Miyajima, Japan
July 8 - Himeji, Japan
July 9-10 - Nikko, Japan
July 10 - Takayama, Japan
July 11 - Shirakawa-go, Japan
July 12 - Osaka, Japan

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ivan Henares celebrates 25 years of traveling & travel writing

While looking through my old stuff, I found a travel journal which I made in 1985 about our family trip to Japan and Taiwan. I was five at that time and after the trip, my mom encouraged me to write about the trip which was bound into a scrap book called My Trip to Japan and Taipei: April 15-24, 1985.

The photo above is my family at Zojoji Temple with Tokyo Tower in the background, a testament to the fact that despite their push for modernity and progress, Japan prides itself in its heritage and puts in a lot of effort for its preservation.

Zojoji Temple, the chief temple of the Jodo Buddhist sect, was founded in 1393. Tokyo Tower on the other hand was built in 1958. Modeled after the Eiffel Tower, it is 1092 feet high and broadcasts most of Japan's TV and radio stations.

I even made my own illustrations to accompany the hand-written text of the scrap book. It took me several months to complete it, October 1985 to be exact. But it was my first attempt at travel writing.

In Japan, we visited the 1985 International Exposition in Tsukuba, Tokyo Disneyland and the different districts of Tokyo such as Ginza and Akihabara.

There's also a drawing I made of the subway system which really wowed me as a young kid. I'm sure even as adults, we're still impressed with the very efficient public transportation system of Japan today.

After Japan, we spent an additional four days in Taipei before returning back to the Philippines. We got to visit the Taipei Zoo and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall among other attractions in Taipei.

Twenty-five years ago, who would have thought I'd be traveling and writing like this now? It's fun to look back at where it all started, and why I continuously yearn to visit other places and experience different cultures even more.

Ivan About Town just turned five!
I didn't realize it either that my blog turned five this month too! I wrote my first blog entry on April 19, 2005 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. As the first line of my first entry went, "What a way to start my blog, writing about my journeys in some really exotic place!"

It was my first backpack trip. And I thought, instead of having to repeat my stories to my friends when I got back, I'd just update them through a blog. So that's how Ivan About Town was born. Hope to visit Kota Kinabalu again this year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Japan: Nagoya Castle and more from Nagoya

The next day, we left for Kyoto for Nagoya via the Shinkansen. We were flying back to Manila from the Nagoya Airport. The reserved section Shinkansen tickets from Kyoto to Nagoya cost Y5440.

We took the noon train and got to enjoy the scenery along the way. The train took 37 minutes to travel the 108-kilometer distance between the two cities. The first thing we looked for was lockers to keep our big luggage and then we were off to visit Nagoya Castle.

We found out there was a Y500 day pass on the Nagoya Sightseeing Route Bus. And that gave us discounts to the attractions such as the Nagoya Castle. What a way to end our Japan tour walking around a grand Japanese castle that towered over the landscape. The entrance fee to Nagoya Castle is Y500. But with the bus day pass, you just pay Y400.

The Nagoya Castle is a wonderful sample of a Japanese castle. This was actually reconstructed in 1959 after it was destroyed by U.S. bombs in 1945. How I wish we restored our own Intramuros churches after the Americans carpet bombed Manila during the Second World War.

On the grounds of the castle was a colorful display of chrysanthemums. The next thing we knew, it was time to get to the airport which was another train ride away. Airports are no longer located within main cities (which is why they are proposing to transfer NAIA operations to DMIA). But again, the transportation system was so efficient, it was a breeze to get to the Nagoya Airport.

On my next Japan trip, I’ll definitely purchase the 7-day Shinkansen pass so I could simply hop-on and hop-off the train from Hokkaido to Kyushu!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Japan: Buddhist monuments of Horyu-ji (Ikaruga, Nara)

Our plan was to go a little further down the road to the town of Ikaruga to visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Horyu-ji Temple (法隆寺 or Temple of the Flourishing Law). The full name of the temple is name is Horyu Gakumonji (法隆学問寺 or Learning Temple of the Flourishing Law).

From the JR Nara Station, it’s only three stops away (Koriyama, Yamato-Koizumi, and Horyuji) and very convenient to visit. Tickets cost Y420. I really love the efficiency of the Japanese public transportation system!

When we got there, we were met by a Y1000 entrance fee. But with all the temples, shrines and palaces we entered and paid for already the past few days, the group was content with taking photos outside. We wanted to make sure we had enough for our last day in Japan. So after Horyu-ji, we went back to Nara, and back to Kyoto where we stayed for our last night.

Japan: Feeding deer in Nara, Japan

The next day, we headed to Nara, Japan, another UNESCO World Heritage Site (Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara), and another former capital of Japan. Train tickets are free seating so it didn’t matter what time we boarded but we made sure to get a train as early as we could so we could see more attractions. The ride took us a little over 30 minutes.

In Nara, we made sure to pass by the tourism desk to ask all the information we needed. We also got a bus day pass at Y500 which was convenient as in the other cities. Our first stop was Kofuku-ji Temple where we saw a very peculiar attraction of the city, wild deer which roam around Nara freely.

In fact, tourists can feed the deer by purchasing wafers from vendors. It’s fun feeding the deer and they can get aggressive too, nudging you with their head so to grab your attention so that you’d feed them more wafers.

When in Nara, make sure you visit the Todai-ji Temple. Its Great Buddha Hall or Daibutsuden is the largest wooden structure in the world and houses the largest statue of the Buddha Vairocana in the world. Entrance fee is Y500.

I was awestruck walking into this massive temple complex. Inside the Daibutsuden are more massive statues. I really took time absorbing the grandeur and size of the building and its contents. And these were all made hundreds of years ago.

We visited one last attraction in Nara, the Kasuga Taisha Shrine which is known for the many stone lanterns that lead up to the main shrine. My companions had temple and shrine fatigue so we did not enter anymore. So we missed the bronze lanterns inside the main Shinto shrine as well as the Kasugayama Primeval Forest, also part of the UNESCO World Heritage inscription.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Japan: Kyoto, Japan and its historic monuments

Autumn in Kyoto, Japan attracts throngs of tourists every year to its temples and other historic monuments. And we're lucky that our conference coincided with the vivid colors of Japan's autumnal foliage. We arrived in the evening so we did not get to see those autumn colors and Mount Fuji while on the Shinkansen.

Tired from going around Tokyo the whole day, our group decided to go straight to the Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel where we had booked our stay for the next three nights. It's about an hour from the train station but only one bus ride on Bus No. 26. So we got to rest on the bus. But once we got there, we knew we made the right choice since for a youth hostel, this one was grand! A bed is Y3300 a night. You can also opt to have breakfast there for Y600.

The next day, we purchased one-day bus passes at the hostel counter for Y500 which is a must if you want to maximize your stay in Kyoto. Make sure you get a copy of the bus map the night before you go around so that you can plan which buses to take and where to go next.

There were so many temples to visit, many of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But each had its own entrance fee. So people on a tight budget have to plan their trip around Kyoto wisely.

Our first stop was Ninna-ji since it was the closest to our youth hostel. It once served as the old imperial palace of Omuro, a residence for the former emperor. The temple is most noted as the center of the Omuro school of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. To visit the grounds, we had to pay Y500. We actually chanced upon a period movie being shot on the grounds. I had wanted to take photos of the actors in costume but the crew was very strict and did not allow photos to be taken.

We again hopped on the bus to get to our next stop, a must visit when in Kyoto, Kinkaku-ji. Kinkaku-ji is the popular name of Rokuon-ji Temple, home of the golden pavilion, an iconic attraction of Kyoto. It was exciting seeing the gold colored structure by the man-made lake for which I had only seen before in pictures. To get in, you have to pay Y400.

Nijo Castle was our stop before a very late lunch. Since we wanted to visit as much as we could while the sun was out (it looked like it was going to rain), we decided to delay our lunch break until we got to Gion.

Built in 1603 as the official Kyoto residence of the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu, the castle was completed in 1626 by third Tokugawa shogun Iemitsu. It is one of the finest examples of Momoyama architecture in Japan, making use of early Edo building designs. Entrance ticket is Y600.

Gion is very popular with tourists so that’s where we decided to have lunch. Gion is a district of Kyoto that originally developed in the Middle Ages to accommodate needs of travelers and visitors to the Yasaka Shrine. It became one of the most exclusive and well-known Geisha districts in all of Japan. So visiting this place is a must for people who want to see old architecture and the traditional way of the geisha.

Our last stop before the sun went down was Kiyomizudera, another iconic attraction of the city. From the temple, you get a panoramic view of Kyoto. You can get perfect sunset shots from there. Ticket price is Y300. Shortly after sunset, they let all the visitors out of the grounds. And you can wait to re-enter again, this time for the evening views of Kyoto. It’s a different entrance fee for this but since we wanted to go back to the hostel and rest, we decided to make our way down the hill, passing by the many colorful souvenir and snack shops along the way.

Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel
29 Nakayama-cho Uzumasa
Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu 6
Kyoto 616-8191 Japan
+81 75 462-2288

Monday, November 17, 2008

Japan: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, Japan

The Shinkansen, more popularly known as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines of Japan. It was quite exciting that we were taking the Shinkansen to Kyoto. We could have opted for the much cheaper and longer bus ride. But the group was after convenience and the experience. Sadly though, we didn't get to see Mt. Fuji and much of the scenery since it was dark by the time we passed by.

One can purchase Shinkansen tickets from most stations. In fact, we bought ours at the airport station. The ticket for a reserved seat from Tokyo to Kyoto was ¥13320. We had to rush to the Tokyo Station to catch our train since we didn't give much time for allowance. Don't do that in Japan since everything is on time all the time.

Navigating through the station was a bit complicated because of the massive network of trains which passes through it. And you sure can get lost! Just ask around for the Shinkansen and people can point you towards the right way. If you have communication problems, just show your ticket when asking for help.

We finally found the Shinkansen area, the right platform, and the boarding area for the particular cabin we had the board. Unless you are holding a non-reserved ticket (meaning you can board just any time), make sure to check the time of your train because you might board the wrong one. Trains are so efficient, they arrive at the station a minute or two before the scheduled departure and leave on the dot. Anyway, seats are very comfortable and we were in Kyoto in no time.

If you are taking more than one trip on the shinkansen, it might already be cheaper to get the 7-day pass even if you're not staying for seven days. The ordinary 7-day pass is ¥28,300. There is also a 14-day pass (¥45,100) and 21-day pass (¥57,700).

The multiple-day passes are actually cool since you just hop-on and hop-off the Shinkansen which depart from most stations so frequently, you need not worry if there are enough seats. And because of the speed of the trains (up to 300 kph), you get to various parts of Japan in no time. That would have been really fun if we had a longer stay.

Japan: Sensō-ji Temple in the Asakusa District (Taitō, Tokyo)

Asakusa, for most part of the 20th century, was the major entertainment district of Tokyo. Today however, other colorful districts such as Shinjuku have taken over. We trooped to Asakusa to visit the famous Sensoji Temple, said to be the oldest in Tokyo. We went straight there after we checked out from the youth hostel which was just a station or two away.

Sensoji Temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon, more popularly known Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The entrance to the temple is called the Kaminarimon or "Thunder Gate." On the gate is a massive paper lantern painted in vivid red-and-black tones suggesting thunderclouds and lightning. It's a very popular and important temple obviously gauging from the crowds we saw there.

After the gate is a long row of souvenir shops. The street is called the Nakamise-dori where one can find a great selection of souvenir items and food. I enjoyed the many snack items on sale and bought some for tasting. These shops themselves are part of the heritage of the area having sold to pilgrims who walked to Senso-ji since the 18th century. The street is about 250 meters and has close to 90 shops.

After walking around the temple grounds, we had a late lunch at one of those vendo restaurants. You selected and paid for your food through a vendo machine and gave the printed out ticket to the staff who serve as both cooks and waiters. It's efficient really and it keeps costs down since minimal manpower is needed to run the place.

Anyway, after lunch, we proceeded back to the youth hostel to get our luggage. Several of us were going back to Manila. While others were taking the 4 p.m. Shinkansen to Kyoto.

Part 1: Konichiwa from Tokyo, Japan!
Part 2: Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan
Part 3: Tokyo is a candidate city for the 2016 Olympics

Japan: Tokyo is a candidate city for the 2016 Olympics

Who could imagine that I'd get to visit three of the four candidate cities of the 2016 Summer Olympics this year? I was in Madrid, Spain in April and May. In June, I got to visit Chicago, USA. Now I'm in Tokyo, Japan. If Tokyo wins, it will be the second time the city will host the Summer Olympics.

The selling point of Tokyo is that it will be "the most compact and efficient Olympic Games ever." And I wouldn't be surprised, if given the chance, that they'll pull it off! So the countdown to October 2009 begins when the IOC will announce the winning bid!

Part 1: Konichiwa from Tokyo, Japan!
Part 2: Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan
Part 4: Sensō-ji Temple in the Asakusa District (Taitō, Tokyo)

Japan: Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan

Talk about waking up early to see a fish market! The Tsukuji Fish Market is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. So don't be surprised if this fish market has become a big tourist attraction. We had wanted to see the world-famous Tsukiji fish auctions but we learned they stopped allowing tourists at the auctions early this year due to health concerns and to avoid any disruptions in operations and other trading activities.

Besides, we could not leave the youth hostel we were staying at before 6 a.m. since they had a curfew. Doors were locked from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. After the conference, we vacated our five star hotel (sigh!) and transferred to the Sumidagawa Youth Hostel on the opposite side of town. A bed here was ¥3600 a night. But members of Hostelling International get a ¥600 discount.

Anyway, we were out of the hostel a little past 6 a.m. If you're going around Tokyo for a day, it would be convenient to get the one day subway ticket which is ¥710. If you want to include the JR Line in your day pass, you'll have to shell out a little bit more. From the Asakusabashi Station, we were at the Tsukiji Station in no time.

The main market of Tsukiji is about a kilometer from the subway station. On the way to the inner market, you'll pass by Tsukiji's outer market filled with wholesale and retail shops that sell seafood and other food items, kitchen tools, and restaurant supplies, and restaurants that sell sushi and other Japanese delights. You'll have to come early since shops in the outer market are closed by the afternoon, and those in the inner market even earlier!

At Tsukiji, the first thing that greeted us was the constant traffic of forklifts and small vehicles moving about. The scene looked like it was pulled out of a Star Wars movie! We walked about enjoying the different seafood on sale. The fish market is said to handle more than 400 different types of seafood from tiny sardines to 300-kilogram tuna, from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar!

After exploring a good part of Tsukiji, we heard our stomachs rumble and it was time for breakfast. On the menu was sushi of course! We got ourselves some breakfast sushi boats which range from ¥1000 to ¥2000 each. After that sumptuous seafood feast, we made our way back to the youth hostel to catch up on sleep before our 10 a.m. checkout.

Part 1: Konichiwa from Tokyo, Japan!
Part 3: Tokyo is a candidate city for the 2016 Olympics
Part 4: Sensō-ji Temple in the Asakusa District (Taitō, Tokyo)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Japan: Konichiwa from Tokyo, Japan!

I found myself out of the country again. This time I was back in Tokyo, Japan to attend the Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit 2008 at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-So. According to the Asia Society, "The Summit brings together some 200 of the most dynamic next generation leaders from the Asia-Pacific and the US to explore imaginative ways to address the most critical issues facing the Asia-Pacific community today, develop common approaches to addressing these shared challenges, and cultivate the long-term relationships necessary for developing responses." Every year, ten young Filipino leaders from various sectors get to participate in the program.

Our schedule was really hectic. In fact, we only had an hour or two to rest the day we arrived before the Welcome Dinner in the evening. Of course, we had a sake toast to open the summit! Before calling it a day, I joined the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

The next day was the summit proper. So we were in the hotel most of the time. Even breakfast and lunch were working meals! The highlight of the day was a dinner reception at the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower hosted by Mrs. Yoshiko Mori. The 52nd floor is home to the Tokyo City View and the Mori Art Museum. We were afforded great views of Tokyo at night!

After the reception, we were treated to karaoke and drinks at L Garden. We didn't stay up too late since we still had an other summit day.

Here are photos from the trip:
2008-11-14/15 Tokyo, Japan
2008-11-16/17 Tokyo, Japan
2008-11-18 Kyoto, Japan
2008-11-19 Nara, Japan
2008-11-20 Nagoya, Japan

Part 2: Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan
Part 3: Tokyo is a candidate city for the 2016 Olympics
Part 4: Sensō-ji Temple in the Asakusa District (Taitō, Tokyo)
Related Posts with Thumbnails