In the middle of winter, the small seaside town of Kawazu in Shizuoka prefecture comes alive with close to a million visitors that come to see the early blooming variety of cherry blossoms. The kawazu-zakura bloom between late February to early March, a full month before the more known somei yoshino sakura bloom in Tokyo and Osaka. The kawazu-zakura, clad in a darker shade of pink, are also in full bloom for a longer period than their fleeting relatives.
Among the top weekend getaways from Tokyo is to Hakone, some 100 kilometers southwest of the Japanese capital. Hakone may not be as historically packed as other day trip favorites like the former shogunate capital Kamakura or world heritage town Nikkō, but Hakone compensates by having gorgeous views of Japan’s tallest and most revered mountain, Mount Fuji. Add a picturesque lake and a touristy mix of transportation modes, and you get a fantastic destination that makes an excellent day trip (or two) from Tokyo.
2014 marks the 150th year of Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Yosemite Grant Act that set aside Yosemite Valley and neighboring Mariposa Grove for its preservation and subsequent enjoyment as public domain. It paved the way for the establishment of the national park system in the United States. Today, Yosemite National Park encompasses 3,026 square kilometers of vast wilderness and spectacular scenery in central California near its border with Nevada. It is known for its numerous waterfalls, towering granite cliffs, and giant sequoia trees.
Koishikawa Korakuen is a pocket of peace and lush greenery tucked in the middle of the sprawling Tokyo cityscape. The park is an enjoyable visit all year round, although a visit coinciding with the peak of autumn colors in Tokyo from late November to early December is guaranteed to be a visual treat as dozens of maple and ginkgo trees transform the garden into hues of vibrant yellow, orange and red.
Laguna comes on top of the getaway list of the Metro Manila populace particularly during the summer months when jeeploads of tourists flock to the province’s resorts. The ease of access either through the South Luzon Expressway or via Rizal province along the Manila East Road also makes it a popular Visita Iglesia route during the Holy Week. One can visit all the stops in this article with a very early start from the capital, but luckily for this road trip we got a headstart by starting from our house in Calamba.