Monday, March 28, 2016

10 Romantic Experiences in Seoul and Jeju Island!

Here is a list of 5 romantic things to do in Seoul - the capital city of South Korea; and 5 romantic things to do Jeju Island - a destination offering gorgeous beaches, picturesque scenery, inactive volcanoes and other fascinating natural wonders.

Top 5 Experiences in Seoul


1.    Royal Guard-Changing Experience

Since 1996, the Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony at Deoksugung Palace has taken place thrice a day except on Mondays. The Seoul Metropolitan Government now allows foreign tourists to go beyond simply watching the ceremony. Become a royal guard by wearing the Korean traditional costume and participating in the guard-changing ceremony – a truly cultural experience!

2.    Experience Royal Palace Life

Royal palaces like Gyeongbok Palace, Gyeonghui Palace and Changgyeong Palace are some of the many must-see tourist attractions in Seoul. As well as exploring the palace grounds, you and your beloved can enjoy several experiential programs that enable you to truly absorb the culture of these royal places.

3.    Bukchon Hanok Village

Take a leisurely walk with your loved one while admiring the beautiful traditional hanok houses in this unique village.

Some of these houses are opened as guesthouses and you could choose to stay there for a night to experience traditional Korean lifestyle. Do partake of the amazing array of local street food whilst you are there.

4.    Lovelock on N Seoul Tower

Located at the top of Namsan Mountain, the N Seoul Tower offers a bird’s eye-view of the city. Its main attractions include multi-coloured digital art projected onto the tower at night, a Digital Observatory, a Roof Terrace, the HanCook Restaurant, the n.Grill Restaurant, and the Haneul (Sky) Restroom.

The Roof Terrace, a spacious wooden viewing deck, is popular for its "Locks of Love". Celebrate your undying love by writing your names on a lovelock and adding it to the thousands of padlocks attached to the fence by romantic couples.

5.    Shopping & Nightlife

Seoul is one of the most lively and dynamic nightlife capitals of the world. Even after midnight, throngs of people wander the streets in major shopping districts and popular downtown areas.

The top attractions are Dongdaemun Market for late-night shopping and the Hongik University (Hongdae) neighborhood with its concentration of nightclubs. Enjoy local cuisine including Korean street food and fine dining at restaurants which are open long into the night.


Top 5 Experiences in Jeju Island


1.    Hike up holy Mt. Halla

Hike up Mt. Halla which rises 1950m above sea level. 

Designated as a bio-reserve area by UNESCO, it offers breath-taking views of the island. Don’t miss the wonderful crater and lake at the peak of Mt. Halla.

2.    Explore the theme parks

Enter the world of butterflies at Psyche World Theme Park, get lost in the labyrinth in Gimnyeong Maze Park; or take pictures with iconic buildings around the world in miniature sizes at Jeju Mini Land.

Visit Jeju Stone Park for its “Grandfather stones” which are quite similar to the moais of Easter island; or spend time walking into Loveland that offers cool and ‘erotic’ sculptures.

3.    Visit the museums

Visit the Teddy Bear Museum and be amazed by its awesome collection.

Trick Art Museum Jeju is another fun interactive place! You can visit the Sex & Health Museum and the World Eros Museum. The next coolest museum is the Haeneyo Museum dedicated to the traditional female divers!

4.    Relax at the beaches

Experience the golden sands and blue waters of Jungmun Beach during the summers. 

At Hamdeok Seowoobong Beach, enjoy a banana boat ride and other leisure activities. Visit Hado Beach located in Gujwa-eup for its views of traditional fishing boats at sea and its amazingly clean and serene beach.

5.    Partake of the Jeju Island Cuisine

The regional food of Jeju Island, which is located to the southwest of the Korean peninsula, is quite distinct compared to food from mainland Korea. Enjoy the traditional cuisine which is characterized by the spare use of seasonings to highlight the natural flavours of each dish’s ingredients.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Great Britain - Top 10 stories for 2016

2016's calendar is jam-packed with events, anniversaries and key dates that guarantee Britain will be on the top of holiday this year! Here are top 10 stories to look out for in 2016!

1. 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death

Shakespeare's England will host a range of new exhibitions in Stratford-upon-Avon including a new immersive theatrical experience at the Royal Shakespeare Company; a reimagining of New Place following major restoration; and Shakespeare's school room, open for the first time at King Edward VI School.

2. 300th anniversary of Capability Brown

Lancelot ‘Capability' Brown landscaped more than 170 gardens in Britain and most of them can still be seen and enjoyed today as idyllic places to relax, contemplate nature and picnic.

Among his famed projects are Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire.

3. 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë

The Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, Yorkshire, north England, was the Brontës family home and is now the home of a lively contemporary arts programme.

The film The Brontës, tracing the story of the famous Brontë sisters, will be unveiled on April 21 2016.

4. 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl's birth

Born on 13 September 1916, Roald Dahl captured the imagination of children around the world with his tales including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits andThe BFG. The film, The BFG, directed by Steven Spielberg, is coming to the silver screen in 2016. 

Learn more about the author at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire, south-east England. In September 2016, Dahl's birthplace Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, will become the setting for City of Unexpected, a celebration of all that's weird, wonderful, subversive and surreal in his much-loved world.

5. The Queen's 90th birthday

To mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, a celebration will take place at Windsor Castle, showcasing her life, her love of horses, her dedication to the Commonwealth and her involvement with the Navy, Army and Air Force. Over 90 minutes, 500 horses and more than 1,000 participants from around Britain and the world will create an event for the Queen. Look out for a host of other celebrations across Britain.

6. Wales' Year of Adventure

Wales has named 2016 their Year of Adventure.

Dive into Coasteering in Anglesey, north Wales for some rock hopping and cliff jumping! Plus there's the new Surf Snowdonia, a public surfing lagoon in north Wale with onsite camping pods for overnight stays.

7. Scotland's Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

2016 has been designated the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design in Scotland and will celebrate the richness of Scotland's much-loved heritage, culture and environment, alongside the contemporary and cutting edge designs showcasing textiles to technology, architecture to fashion and design.

8. Northern Ireland's Year of Food and Drink

2016 will be a celebration of Northern Ireland's gastronomy, embracing the traditions and landscapes of the destinations.

There will a full year's programme of foodie experiences, starting with breakfast, in January, incorporating brewing and distilling, seas, rivers and loughs and culminating in Christmas and premium foods.

9. A thrilling year of new stage productions

London's West End will premiere Disney's Tony® Award-winning new musical Aladdin on 9 June at the Prince Edward Theatre. 

Motown, The Musical which uncovers the story of the legendary record label that changed music history and created the soundtrack of a generation, arrives at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London on 22 March. And for the first time ever, Agatha Christie's world-famous whodunit The Mouse Trap is touring across Britain. 

10. Rock ‘n' roll baby! The British Music Experience reopens in Liverpool, north-west England

The exhibition of popular music, which used to be at the O2 in London's Greenwich, will reopen at the iconic Cunard building in Liverpool. 

The museum features hundreds of rare artefacts and manuscripts, including David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust costumes and the original handwritten lyrics to Blue Monday by New Order.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Your Australian Holiday must include Kangaroo Island!

Imagine a place where the air is so fresh and the beaches are so clean and clear that your jaw may just drop. Kangaroo Island in South Australia is a destination that awakens the senses and makes you appreciate the earth, sea, vines and Australian wildlife in its natural habitat.

Kangaroo Island is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Imagine Seals basking on quiet beaches, Koalas munching unhurriedly on gum trees and Echidnas wandering around without a care. Kangaroos and wallabies hopping and skipping at every turn. Get closer to nature in the wild, or visit the award winning Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, home to over 150 species of Native Australian wildlife and over 600 animals.

You won't believe your eyes when you sight Remarkable Rocks. Over the centuries, the wind and elements have carved out the most awesome sculptures from these ancient, granite boulders.

Nearby is Admirals Arch, from where you descend to the blue waters to see New Zealand Fur Seals frolicking in the waves. Half an hour away is the pristine Seal Bay where you can listen to a large colony of Australian Sea Lions sing as they nurture their young.

Fancy a five star stay? Located at Hanson Bay on the Island’s South West Coast, Southern Ocean Lodge offers 21 luxurious guest suites, each with stylish sunken lounges, glass walled bathrooms and outdoor terraces. Dine at its in-house restaurant and bar where Chef Jack Ingram creates sophisticated fare with the Island’s freshest, local produce. Quality three and four star hotels are also available on the Island.

To arrive at Kangaroo Island, you first fly into Adelaide’s International Airport and take either a short 25 minute flight, or travel for 1.5 hours by road and ferry.

Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is also the country's capital of food, wine and festivals! Voted Australia's most liveable city, Adelaide is well connected with direct international and domestic flights, in addition to interstate coaches and train services.

Adelaide is a well-planned city, easy to explore by foot, embraced by the sea on one side and rolling hills on the other. Base yourself here to explore Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley wine region and of course, Kangaroo Island.

Cricket fans love the charming Adelaide Oval ground, which also houses the Sir Donald Bradman Museum, with the legendary batsman's personal collection of memorabilia.

A new footbridge connects you from Adelaide Oval to the southern side of the picturesque River Torrens to explore the transforming CBD of Adelaide City. Try your luck at the new casino tables of Sky City Adelaide, or meander through the laneways of Leigh and Peel Street to experience the best new cafes and bars.

Shop till you drop in Adelaide's recently upgraded Rundle Mall, with more than 600 shops in its many arcades. The outdoor Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Mall, located just five minutes from Adelaide’s International Airport, is a one-stop destination for designer brands and homewares that are always on SALE.

Adelaide is a Foodie’s Heaven. Over 700 restaurants offer multicultural cuisine with a focus on local produce and value for money dining. Well known for authentic Chinese, Italian, Thai, Australian and Indian cuisines, Adelaide restaurants offer great choices for vegetarians too. Say cheers with delicious South Australian wines.

A twenty minute drive takes you up to Adelaide Hills. Visit quaint towns, full of heritage homes. Explore the historic Hahndorf German village, pick your own fresh strawberries under the sun at Beerenberg Strawberry Farm. At Cleland Wildlife Park, you can cuddle a koala and hand feed kangaroos.

An hour North of Adelaide, you’ll discover the passionately tendered vines of the Barossa Valley. It's the world's most famous Shiraz wine producing region. Over 70 wineries invite you in for wine tasting. Learn about wine-making at the visitor centres of Jacob’s Creek and Wolf Blass. Else, blend your own wine at Penfolds winery and take it home to say cheers with friends on your return.

A holiday to Australia is incomplete without Adelaide and Kangaroo Island…places that are sure to make your family go WOW!

Straight from the land of Tintin!

Chocolates, comics, beer and diamonds, Flanders, the Northern region of Belgium, strikes the cord with each member of a family, ensuring a holiday that leaves its memories for years altogether.

He was always curious with a penchant for adventure; and his biggest adventure was at home, in Brussels. That's the city where the Belgian reporter Tintin made his home, and has engulfed the imagination of people across age-groups worldwide. Hence, it doesn't come as a surprise when parents flock together with their kids at the Comic Strip Museum in Brussels to get a glimpse of this adventurer along with several other comics that are indigenous to Belgium.

Brussels, the Gateway to Europe, is located in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium. The city is indeed an opening to the world of Flanders where gourmet Flemish cuisine, artisan chocolates and hand-crafted beer display the cutting-edge craftsmanship of the region.

The theme of medieval baroque style architecture that defines Flanders is well displayed in its city square Grand Place. A few blocks away is the Manneken Pis, the bizarre little statue of a peeing boy, famously touted as a glorious example of Belgian humour and capacity for self-mockery - it is a true cultural icon and a must see. Keeping the kids entertained in this city is easy with Mini Europe, where you can visit miniature versions of some of the most attractive and popular monuments from across Europe, including the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Time for a perfect family photograph? Bruges, also known as 'City of Romance', is so picture postcard perfect that it is almost impossible to take a bad photograph. A hidden gem for avid Indian travellers, the heart of the city surrounded by an almost continuous ring of canals, is the best preserved example of medieval Flanders and is a UN World Heritage site.

Dig into some sinful flavours at one of the many chocolate shops that are spread across the lanes of Bruges. Since Belgium produces over 172,000 tonnes of chocolate per year across over 2200 chocolate shops, you will always be surprised with a new flavour to try. If health is on your mind and you're thinking twice before taking that delectable bite, then go on to The Chocolate Line near the historic city centre of Bruges to sniff some chocolate. It's legal and the children would enjoy it as well. You can also get your hands dirty with some chocolate-making workshops.

Antwerp, Belgium's second largest city has always been a hotbed of creativity with high-end fashion and diamonds topping the shopping lists. To learn more about the history of diamonds and maybe buy one, visit DiamondLand on Appelmansstraat. The city is also home to some of the most vibrant nightclubs.

Ghent is a city that comes alive at night. Not just with its award-winning lighting system that creates a mystical aura around the medieval buildings, but also with the pubs that are buzzing with vigor, not to let the night end. And the meandering canals just add to the drama. This university town is also called the Veggie-Capital of Europe. Ghent is a rare city that is able to preserve both its proud medieval treasures and keep up with modern times. One place this is evident is at the Graffiti Street where you can display your art as well. No wonder the city is called Europe’s best kept secret.

Each city of Flanders is brimming with quaint medieval squares, tree-lined canals, gorgeous architectural facades, world class museums and friendly outdoor cafes. With over 1500 different kinds of beer and the highest density of Michelin-star restaurants, the culinary scene in Flanders is always brimming with energy. Adding to this vibrant atmosphere are over 280 electrifying music festivals like Tomorrowland and the Ghent Festival that take place in Flanders every year. Between the cobblestone streets, comics, beers, chocolates, canals and the music festivals, a lot is covered for the next action packed holiday to Flanders.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

5 Must Do Australian Aquatic Experiences

With more than 50,000 kilometres (31,000 miles) of coastline, Australia has countless beach and seaside destinations to explore. But Australians love of the water extends beyond the coast and inland where rivers, lakes and waterfalls reveal more about why Australia is not just a place you see, but a place you feel.

If you're not sure where to start, follow this guide of six must-do aquatic experiences in Australia.

Drive the coastline on a beautiful road trip

Australia offers incredible road trips that thrill at every turn with secluded beaches, mountaintop views, towering forests and unique wildlife viewing. If you only have a few days available, try the Great Ocean Road. The famous cliff-hugging curves, endless sea views, pretty coastal towns and dramatic rock formations combine to make Victoria’s Great Ocean Road one of the world’s best.

At the other end of the spectrum is Western Australia's Coral Coast, where a 7- 10 day drive is just the start of the adventure particularly well-known for its wildlife experiences. 

Drop into Jurien Bay Marine Park, a unique eco system and breeding ground for Australian sea lions and spend time at Ningaloo Reef, where you don’t even need a boat to see whale sharks close to shore.

Conquer the southern hemisphere's highest sea cliffs

The southern hemisphere's highest sea cliffs, made of sheer rock walls, worn and weathered over millions of years by waves and wind may sound daunting, but these cliffs are easily accessible due to the Three Capes Track in Tasmania. The 46 kilometre (29 mile) track makes it easy to experience this unique and rugged natural landscape regardless of how experienced you might be when it comes to hiking or walking. 

Along the way you may see spotted-tailed quolls, Tasmanian devils, wombats and eagles and be greeted by seals, dolphins and turtles in the ocean below. If you visit from May to November, passing pilot, humpback and southern right whales might also feature amongst the stark landscape.

Discover secluded Wategos Beach

Wategos Beach, on the northern New South Wales coast, is uniquely placed next to the popular holiday town of Byron Bay. Take the seaside walk to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, early morning being the perfect time for this as you could be the first person in Australia to greet the sun. Stay close enough to the beach that you can hear the waves crashing as you float away to sleep at the end of the day.

Travel the length of the Murray River

The Murray River is Australia's largest and it starts as a tiny stream in the Australian Alps before winding more than 2500 kilometres (1500 miles) through five distinct landscapes in three different states to empty into the Southern Ocean off South Australia. The sheer size of this river means that there are countless experiences along its length.

If you're a fan of fishing, point yourself towards the prime fishing spots of Mungabareena and Heywood’s Bridge in Albury-Wodonga, Yarrawonga, Kings Billabong near Mildura, and Paringa and Katarapko in South Australia. If you're looking for an active way to travel the river, hop into a kayak or canoe. Horse-riding is another classic Murray River experience.

Close encounters with Australian marine life

Australia’s wide range of marine environments play host to some of the world’s most fascinating creatures. On the NSW South Coast, swim, snorkel and dive with the playful fur seals living around Montague Island with Island Charters Narooma.

Watch the parade of little penguins returning home at sunset on Phillip Island, a 90-minute drive south-east of Melbourne.

Adrenalin junkies can look a crocodile right in the eye at Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove. Hop into the Cage of Death to meet a saltwater crocodile measuring more than five metres (16 feet) long.

And, of course, the Great Barrier Reef is a must-do with its 1625 fish species, 450-plus types of coral and other marine animals. At Green Island near Cairns, Seawalker helmet-diving involves walking along the sea floor close to a coral reef.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

10 reasons to visit New Zealand in 2016

From winter to summer, spring to autumn, there’s always plenty going on in New Zealand. Whether you want to pedal or peruse, cheer or clap, there’s sure to be an activity, event or location in New Zealand for you.

1. Get a kick out of watching rugby

Witness the winners of the Rugby World Cup – the New Zealand national men's rugby team, popularly known as the All Blacks, up against Wales in Auckland in June, and against South Africa in Christchurch and The Pumas (Argentina) in Hamilton in September. 

Not forgetting, the Bledisloe Cup in Wellington in September.

2. Have a taste of Christchurch’s burgeoning hospitality scene

Christchurch has a host of new restaurants, led by the likes of the fine diner Roots in Lyttelton, craft brewer Dux Central in the CBD, cafes such as C1-Espresso in a 1930s bank building, and Supreme Supreme in an artfully reworked former Chinese restaurant. 

3. Stay at a remarkable new luxury lodge

Helena Bay, one of the most beautiful bays along a coastline full of breath-taking, sheltered sandy coves, will see the opening of three exclusive villas right on the water. 

 The new luxury lodge complex includes a Turkish hammam, a gym and a swimming pool that blends seamlessly with the scenic surrounds. 

4.  Get close to local wildlife at Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo has undergone a $6 million expansion and the new “Meet the Locals” celebrates New Zealand’s diverse flora and fauna.

Designed around four areas, Penguin Point is a mini wild-west south coast where endangered korora (little blue penguins) can be seen while Pohutukawa Farm is home to cute kunekune pigs, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. A third section features native bush and precious ecosystems while the fourth section is Conservation Connection. 

5. Run a marathon in a natural wonderland

The inaugural Hawke’s Bay International Marathon on 14 May 2016 will include a full marathon, half marathon, 10km run and a kids’ course. Follow roads and bike trails before making your way through private vineyards and olive groves with the finish line for all events at the gorgeous Sileni Estates Winery.

6. Taste some of New Zealand’s craft beers

Breweries are opening the length of the country, many of them with cellar doors and taprooms. In Wellington, check out cult brewer Garage Project’s new bar across the road from the brewery, GP 91 Aro; in Christchurch, drop by Three Boys Brewery. The legendary Emerson’s, meanwhile, opens its new brewery in Dunedin this year.

7. Visit Peter Jackson’s Great Trench Experience

Lord of the Rings director Sir Peter Jackson has created a world class World War One experience at Wellington’s Dominion Museum. Journey through the conflict, year by year, meeting the challenges faced by the soldiers. The museum exhibition opened in 2015 but the Great Trench Experience, due to open this year, promises an even more chilling multi-sensory experience. 

8. Challenge yourself at Lake Taupo

Take on the 40th anniversary Lake Taupo Challenge in November (with 8000 other cyclists) or just take on a small section of the 160km circumference, to experience some of New Zealand’s most beautiful cycling.

This year-round cycle heaven has facilities for cycle hire and sherpa services.

9. Wine and dine on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island has steep hills and craggy cliffs running down to white sand beaches, all of which produces some superb wine and fabulous food.

The wineries are currently pouring 2013 syrahs, a vintage considered among the island’s best. Head to Casita Miro for a rustic, Spanish-inspired lunch followed by a swim at Onetangi, and Cable Bay for an upscale dinner – the view back to Auckland is mesmerising. 

10. Go stargazing in the world’s clearest skies

Behold star-studded skies at the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, a 4300 sq km area around Tekapo in the Canterbury district of the South Island. Visit Mt John Observatory for an unforgettable night sky tour.

If you are lucky, you may witness the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) without light pollution. Be sure to dress warmly as it can get very nippy, especially in winter.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cherry blossom viewing: Discover the charm of Japan’s spring

There is nothing more spectacular than the spellbindingly beautiful sight of cherry blossoms in full bloom. Visit Japan this spring to admire the cherry blossoms and enjoy a traditional ‘hanami’ picnic party under the blooming trees.

Spring is when Japan's famous cherry blossom (sakura) trees burst forth into blossom. Depending on the weather, the starting date and length of the blossoms varies year to year. On Japan's southern, subtropical islands of Okinawa, cherry blossoms open as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, they bloom as late as May.

In 2016, the sakura are expected to start blooming on 26 March in Tokyo and on 29 March in Kyoto and Hiroshima. In the north of Japan, in Hokkaido, they are expected to bloom from around 2 May. The traditional custom of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is to visit mountains and parks with cherry blossoms and hold sake-drinking parties beneath the cherry trees in full blossom.

Japan’s love affair with cherry blossom is so strong, that if visiting in spring you will find the likes of cherry blossom ice-cream, cherry blossom sake, cherry blossom tea and cherry blossom KitKats - it all goes a little cherry blossom crazy!

Here are some great places for cherry blossom viewing.

Ueno Park & Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Tokyo

Ueno Park is one of Japan's most crowded, noisy and popular cherry blossom spots, featuring more than 1,000 trees along the street leading towards the National Museum and around Shinobazu Pond. Trees are lit up in the evenings. The rows of cherry trees, Somei-yoshino and mountain cherry trees, bloom magnificently in spring, making the park very popular for holding parties under a canopy of beautiful flowers.

Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is the location of the samurai residence of the Naito family. It has been famous for its cherry trees since the Meiji Era (1868-1912), and today is one of the most popular spots in Tokyo to enjoy the spring blooms.

Lake Kawaguchi near Mt. Fuji

The surrounding area of Lake Kawaguchi, which is one of the five lakes at the foot of Mt. Fuji, is recommended to enjoy both Mt. Fuji and cherry blossoms.

Two of the best spots are the lakeside promenade around the Kawaguchiko Music Forest and the small Ubuyagasaki peninsula next to the Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge. When the lake surface is quiet, you will be able to see “Sakasa Fuji” the inverted image of Mt. Fuji reflected on the lake surface.

Maruyama Park & the Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

Maruyama Park is the oldest park in Kyoto and is renowned for its huge illuminated weeping cherry trees, best viewed at night. Cherry blossom season continues through April, as trees on the mountainside start to blossom while the park's trees fade to green.

You can also explore the Philosopher's Path which is a walking track from Ginkaku-ji Temple to Wakaoji-jinja Shrine, to see a vista of cherry blossoms on both sides of the river path from Lake Biwa-ko. The cherry blossom petals floating on the water add to what is already a beautiful and atmospheric walk between the historic monuments such as Ginkaku-ji Temple, Honen-in Shrine, and Eikan-do Temple.

Goryokaku Fort Park, Hakode City, Hokkaido

Hokkaido is where plum and cherry trees blossom at the same time.

Goryokaku was a western-style fort built by the Tokugawa shogunate (1857-66) in the harbour city of Hakodate. The star-shaped ruins of the fort are now a park full of cherry blossom trees.

Nara Park, Nara

Nara Park is a historical park surrounding Todai-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji Temple and Shoso-in Repository. Constructed in the Tempyo Period (710-784), it spreads over a vast area of a lush and green landscape. Herds of deer are renowned there as the holy messengers of Kasuga-taisha Shrine.

The park has about 1,700 cherry trees of various kinds and offers a number of scenic spots, such as Sagi Pond, the foot of Mt. Wakakusa, the remains of To-do Tower, the Kofuku-ji Temple area, Ara Pond, Kasugano-enchi, and the Todai-ji Temple area.