Antiques & Curios
In recent years, it has become a buyer-beware market in Japan, mostly due to fake antiques produced in China infiltrating the Japanese market. You shouldn't have any problems with the reputable dealers listed, but if you're buying an expensive piece, be sure to ask whether there are any papers of authenticity.
In addition to the listings, other places to look for antiques include the Oriental Bazaar and Tokyo's outdoor flea markets.
Arcades & Shopping Malls
Arcades In Hotels -- Shopping arcades are found in several of Tokyo's first-class hotels. Although they don't offer the excitement and challenge of rubbing elbows with the natives, they do offer convenience, English-speaking clerks, and consistently top-quality merchandise. The Imperial Hotel Arcade (station: Hibiya) is one of the best, with shops selling pearls, woodblock prints, porcelain, antiques, and expensive name-brand clothing like Hanae Mori. The Okura and New Otani hotels also have extensive shopping arcades. (continue reading...)
As a first foray into Korean culture, our group leader brought us to Korea House to help us better acclimate to what was in store for us in the coming two weeks.
The setting is priceless. A spectacular group of buildings house the complex, with an ample gift shop and courtyard for drum demonstrations. The garden is tranquil and calming, and wedding ceremonies can be housed there if you're ever interested.
The main building, which was at one time a private home (and a magnificent home it must have been), is used as a small reception area, dining facility, and the performance venue.
The Eternal Love Story Carved In Marble
Renowned the world over for its sheer beauty, magnificent architecture and picturesque location, the Taj Mahal is synonymous with love. The very sight of this wonderful structure transports one into the bygone era, reminding one of the world famous love story of Mumtaz Mahal and the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, built in 1631 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The pride of India, Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture. It is a mesmerizing blend of Persian, Turkish, Indian and Islamic architectural styles. Four minarets at the base of Taj Mahal are exquisitely carved and were studded with gems and precious stones at one point of time. These minarets were built with an aim to prevent any kind of damage to Taj Mahal in case of an earthquake. Within the beautiful dome of Taj Mahal lies the jewel-inlaid cenotaph of the queen.
Taj Mahal bagged the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1983 and was called as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world heritage”. The arresting monument has been an inspiration to many poets, painters, artists, sculptors and photographers. Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, in one of his famous quotes described Taj Mahal as "a tear drop that glistened spotlessly bright on the cheeks of time". Taj Mahal carved out of white and yellow marble is located on the banks of River Yamuna looks absolutely extraordinary. Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world and visitors from across the globe visit India to see this architectural wonder.
Taj Mahal, the epitome of beauty and elegance was built in 22 years with the help of around 20,000 workers who spent day and night in its construction. Even during that time the emperor spent 32 million rupees in the construction of Taj Mahal. Building material was brought to the site from all over India and central Asia, and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport them. It is surrounded by geometrically shaped lush green gardens, which look very charming. The charm of the Taj Mahal increases manifold on a moonlit night when it looks exceptionally romantic.
Taj Mahal, the saga of love is truly worth a visit!
Getting to Hawaii
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu is Hawaii's major airport, serving as the entry point for most of Hawaii's visitors. All major domestic carriers and many international carriers serve Oahu, so you can get here from just about anywhere.
There are also direct flights from the U.S. mainland to Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii's Big Island, but for the most part, you may need to connect through Oahu to get to the neighbor islands including Lanai and Molokai. There are daily ferry services from Lahaina Harbor in Maui to both Manele Bay in Lanai and Kaunakakai Harbor in Molokai.
Flight times from Honolulu International Airport (HNL), Oahu to:
Lihue Airport (LIH), Kauai: 30 minutes
Kahului Airport (OGG), Maui: 30 minutes
Kapalua-West Maui Airport (JHM), Maui: 30 minutes
Molokai Airport (MKK), Molokai: 20 minutes
Lanai Airport (LNY), Lanai: 25 minutes
Hilo International Airport (ITO), Hawaii’s Big Island: 40 minutes
Kona International Airport (KOA), Hawaii’s Big Island: 35 minutes (continue reading...)
For centuries, Taiwan was known as “Ilha Formosa” which means “The Beautiful Isle” in Portugese, and it certainly is that.
Located 36,000 square kilometers off the southeastern coast of mainland China, Taiwan is a densely populated island teeming with over 22 million people, but this does not detract from its natural beauty. The island is lined with soaring mountains that provide an impressive backdrop to its lush green foothills, terraced flatlands and magnificent coastal plains and basins. The Taiwan Attraction Taiwanese culture is rich and unique. Well-traveled tourists will marvel at Taiwan’s breath-taking landscape peppered with natural waterfalls, lakes and hot springs and its many hillsides that are clouded with mist. The ubiquitous pagodas and temples around the island hint at the locals’ deep spirituality while its modern skyscrapers, shopping malls and commercial facilities herald Taiwan’s growing economic presence in the modern world.
This interesting mix of a storied past and a progressive present make Taiwan a fascinating study of the old and the new. Great Taiwan Tourist Destinations Taipei, the country’s capital, is a modern metropolis comparable to the most advanced cities in Asia and the world. The other major cities are culture-rich Taichung and Kaoshiung, which is a hub of industry. Taipei is home to the Yangmingshan National Park, which has a vast mountain range that overlooks Taipei and is lined with hot springs. It is a favorite haven for locals and tourists who want to seek refuge from the hectic pace of life down below. Taipei also hosts several world-class museums, art galleries and historical sights, including Fort San Domingo, which was built by the Spanish in 1629 as well as the National Theater and the National Concert Hall, both fascinating testaments to Chinese architecture. (continue reading...)