Experience Some of the Best Hidden Gems of Japan


Be Wowed by Ice Sculptures in Sapporo


If you are visiting Japan in the winter time, you have made a wonderful decision. As well as being able to see snowy mountain peaks and have a go at winter sports, you will get to experience all the fun of the Sapporo Snow Festival. This festival takes place in February each year, and the highlight has to be the international ice and snow sculpture contest that it hosts. Each year, 2 million people flock to Sapporo to check out the world class sculptures – will you be one of them?


Indulge a Sweet Tooth in Candy Store Alley


Do you have something of a sweet tooth? If so, you might want to skip another temple viewing session, and find your way to Candy Store Alley in Tokyo instead. This is officially known as Ameyoko, and as you might expect, you can find all kinds of delicious sweet treats here.


Watch a Dragon Boat Race in Okinawa


The dragon boat race is something that dates way back to the 14th century, and it was brought to the Okinawa region of Japan by the Chinese. The tradition still remains, and you can catch a boat race at the beginning of May each year. Teams of 32 rowers row together in fibreglass boats decorated as mythical dragons, and compete to be the fastest. The race typically lasts just five minutes, but throughout the day you’ll find singing and dancing on the streets, and fireworks at night.


Learn About Flower Sake in Yonaguni


If you really want to get away from it all, you can’t do much better than the tiny speck of an island that is Yonaguni, which only has a population of 2000 people. As well as being a haven of tranquillity, this island is known for its hanazake, which translates as flower sake. You can visit the three breweries on the island, learn about the flower sake making process, and, of course, drink a few glasses. You should keep in mind, however, that flower sake is not nearly as delicate as it sounds!


Find Something Special at the Antique


Jamboree If you are the kind of person who loves to hunt out special objects, the annual Antique Jamboree in Tokyo will be right up your alley. Hosted every August, this is the largest antiques fair in the whole country, and many would say the best. More than 500 antiques vendors are invited to showcase their special items, and you can get your hands on objects such as vintage kimonos, manga art, precious metal items, beautiful Japanese pottery, and much more besides. Beats a tacky souvenir shop any day!


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