Why We Love Japan

Geisha girls, a Shiatsu massage, karate, sushi, cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji are some reasons why we love Japan.

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Taal Volcano
Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano

Located on the island of Luzon (31 miles south of Manila), Taal Volcano is the 2nd most active volcano in the Philippines. The volcano -- part of what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire -- and Taal Lake is one of most picturesque views in the country. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Diniwid Beach

Diniwid Beach

Visit the upscale Diniwid Beach on Boracay Island, Philippines. Of the 13 beaches on Boracay, Diniwid Beach is perfect for travelers looking for an upscale stretch of sand that’s private, quiet and less populated with beachgoers. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills

Located in the Philippines’ Bohol Province, the Chocolate Hills are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 20 square miles. This geological site and popular tourist attraction -- normally covered in green grass -- turns chocolate brown during the dry season. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Boracay Island

Boracay Island

Boracay is a small island located almost 200 miles south of Manila. This island paradise is emerging among the top destinations for a relaxing vacation and exciting nightlife scene. In 2012, Travel + Leisure picked Boracay as the best island in the world. The island is also a great spot for travelers who enjoy water sports, including scuba diving, snorkeling, helmet diving and cliff diving. Visit during Amihan season (usually from September to June) to get the best trade winds for windsurfing, kiteboarding and kitesurfing. 960 1280

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Manila

Manila

Manila is the second largest city in the Philippines with a total population of more than 1.6 million people. Recommended sights to visit include Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, Star City, Manila Ocean Park, Café Juanita and the Marikina Shoe Museum, for those fascinated by the footwear of the Philippines’ controversial former First Lady, Imelda Marcos. 960 1280

Mark Holloway / iStock / Getty Images  

Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa

Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa

Arrive at Shangri-La’s secluded Boracay Resort & Spa on a speed boat. Guests can choose to stay in one of the resort’s 219 rooms, suites or villas -- all with a spacious balcony and some with a stunning oceanfront view. Don’t pass up being pampered at Chi, The Spa, or using the resort’s health club, tennis court, dive center or swimming pool, one of the largest free-form swimming pools in the country. 960 1280

Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa  

Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces

Commonly referred to by Filipinos as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Banaue Rice Terraces are 2,000-year-old terraces carved into the mountains in the Ifugao Province of the Philippines. Locals still plant rice and vegetables on the terraces despite the steady decrease in number of young farmers. 960 1280

Norbert Eisele-Hein, Getty Images  

Cebu

Cebu

Cebu is an island province in the Philippines, consisting of the island itself and 167 surrounding islands. It is one of the most developed provinces, with Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry. In 2007, Conde Nast Traveler named Cebu the 7th best island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region. Cebu is also a great spot for shopping. We recommend shopping at local markets like the Carbon Market or Tabo-an Market. 960 1280

Tom Cockrem / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Snorkeling in Cebu

Snorkeling in Cebu

Spend hours snorkeling and exploring the marine life along the coast of Cebu. Mactan Island and Moalboal Cebu are some of the best spots for an underwater adventure to explore the 4-armed chocolate, blue linckia starfish, black sea urchin, manta rays, barracuda, whalesharks and beautiful coral gardens. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Rizal Park

Rizal Park

Take a stroll through Rizal Park, a historical urban park located along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. This iconic park consists of open lawns, lush gardens, paved walks and wooded areas with monuments that recognize national Filipino heroes like Jose Rizal. On Sundays, locals and visitors can sit back and listen to live entertainment, for free, in the open-air auditorium as part of the Concert at the Park series. 960 1280

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Sensual Spa Treatment

Sensual Spa Treatment

There’s no better way to unwind and relax than to hit the spa for a therapeutic massage to help release the stress sitting in those tight muscles and joints. From a hot stone massage to foot reflex therapy, the Philippines have a several resorts that have their in-house spas and services that cater to its guests’ needs. 960 1280

FotoWare FotoStation, Luca Tettoni, roberthardin, Getty Images  

SM Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia

Go shopping at the SM Mall of Asia! Located in Bay City, Pasay, this mega-sized mall attracts about 200,000 people every day, and it is one of the largest malls in the world. If you still have satisfied your shopping fix after visiting the SM Mall of Asia (pictured); then you can’t miss out on shopping at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong, Philippines. It’s the 3rd largest shopping mall in the world. 960 1280

Roberto Verzo, flickr  

White Beach

White Beach

Welcome to one of the finest, stretches of white-sand beachfront in the world. Lined with coconut palms, White Beach -- located on Boracay Island -- is 3 miles long and has a strip of bars, restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops that cater to millions of tourists. The beach is divided into 3 sections from north to south: stations 1, 2 and 3. Station 1 has the widest stretch of sand with pricey hotels. Station 2 is the place to be for eating and shopping, and the Station 3 is the place to go if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Photos

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

The business and entertainment district of Shinjuku is constantly flooded with people – over 2 million a day. 960 1280

Tinou Bao, flickr  

Sign in Tokyo Airport

Sign in Tokyo Airport

This sign in the Tokyo airport reminds you to keep a close watch on your luggage, or a ninja might swipe it. 960 1280

Alex Castro, flickr  

Akihabara

Akihabara

The district of Akihabara is known for its shopping, particularly if you're looking for anime souvenirs. 960 1280

OiMax, flickr   

Tokyo Signs

Tokyo Signs

No matter what street you wander down in Tokyo, watch out for sensory overload. 960 1280

Metro Centric, flickr  

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing

The fashionable area of Shibuya Crossing is known for its nightlife and is often compared to Times Square with its towering electronic billboards. 960 1280

Mark Pegrum, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

With a culture known for its animation, it's no surprise that even the traffic signs in Tokyo are expertly drawn. 960 1280

Metro Centric, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

In Tokyo, there's a sign for everything -- even one asking you to please apply your makeup at home. 960 1280

Leon Brocard, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

Everyone needs a massage once in a while, especially if you're feeling pain like this. 960 1280

Metro Centric, flickr  

Japanese Paper Lantern

Japanese Paper Lantern

Paper lanterns like this one can be found all over the city. 960 1280

shuets udono, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

Sometimes, in a busy city like Tokyo, residents have to be reminded to slow down. 960 1280

Metro Centric, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

You have to admire the aesthetic qualities of Japanese signage, even if the spelling isn't always correct. 960 1280

shimown, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

Safety is important on construction sites. Now if only we knew what we were being warned about. 960 1280

mrbriandesign, flickr  

Shinjuku Lights

Shinjuku Lights

Even the backstreets of Shinjuku glow with an endless array of neon lights. 960 1280

Christopher Kemp, flickr  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

Lost your hat? Go fishing for a new one! 960 1280

Photocapy, flickr  

Ueno Zoo Sign

Ueno Zoo Sign

At Ueno Zoo, do not feed the monkeys or their stomachs will grow to unnatural proportions. 960 1280

  

Tokyo Sign

Tokyo Sign

You don't have to always know what's going on to appreciate a good sign. 960 1280

Photocapy, flickr  

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, co-founders of Kiss, spent their teenage years in Queens, New York (shown here: the Town Hall in Flushing, Queens) and formed a band named Wicked Lester. Their career quickly took off when they recruited drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley in 1973. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Kiss achieved its breakthrough hit with the release of their live album Alive! in 1975. Now sporting their iconic costumes and makeup, Kiss began a hugely successful world tour. (L to R: Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss). 960 1280

Getty Images  

Kiss pose on Westminster Bridge in London at the start of their first-ever European tour in 1976. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Kiss released 3 platinum albums between 1976 and '77 -- Rock and Roll Over, Love Gun and Alive II -- and were named the most popular band in America in a Gallup poll. In Japan, Kiss performed 5 sold-out shows at Tokyo's Budokan Hall (shown here), breaking the previous record held by The Beatles. 960 1280

By ibamoto takehiko [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  

Despite declining record sales in the 1980s and '90s and a brief stint without the makeup, Kiss remained a hugely popular touring band. Here they are shown performing at the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami, FL, on January 31, 1999. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Gene Simmons plays with fire at the party following the premiere of the film Detroit Rock City on August 9, 1999, in Los Angeles. The film, set in 1978, follows 4 teenagers who set out on an adventure to attend a Kiss concert. 960 1280

Reuters  

Kiss was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 11, 1999. Pictured (L to R) Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Paul Stanley. 960 1280

Getty Images  

(L to R) Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss of Kiss at the sixth annual National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) Heroes Award 2001 Gala at the Hotel Roosevelt in New York City. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Kiss start their set with pyrotechnics at the Rockin' the Corps concert at Camp Pendleton in California on April 1, 2005. More than 40,000 Marines and their families attended the concert, which was held to thank US Marines who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 960 1280

Reuters  

Customers drink in front of the Kiss Coffeehouse, which opened in 2006 in Myrtle Beach, SC. Besides drinks and food (such as Demon Dark Roast, Rockuccino and deep-fried Twinkies) the coffeehouse features displays of instruments, costumes, set lists and makeup used by the band on several of their tours. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Burlingame Pez Museum

Burlingame Pez Museum

Among the collection of vintage Pez dispensers, the world's largest Pez-dispensing machine resides at the Burlingame Pez Museum. The San Francisco Bay area museum also has an online store offering Pez dispensers of all kinds for candy enthusiasts to begin their own collection at home. 960 1280

Joey Rozier, flickr  

Southern Food & Beverage Museum

Southern Food & Beverage Museum

Dedicated to documenting the culinary history of the American South, the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans showcases exhibits on Louisiana’s multilayered cuisine, the importance of sugarcane in the South's growth and the art of barbecue, among others. 960 1280

Werner Krug  

The International UFO Museum and Research Center

The International UFO Museum and Research Center

The International UFO Museum and Research Center is located in -- where else? -- Roswell, NM. With an extensive research library open to anyone looking to learn all they can about UFOs, the museum’s mission is to educate the public on UFOs. 960 1280

Robb Sheridan, flickr  

Museum of Sex

Museum of Sex

The Museum of Sex, or MoSex, is definitely Fifth Avenue’s most … innovative establishment. Opened in New York City in 2002, the museum has drawn visitors from all over the world seeking an open discourse on sexuality -- and the museum's collection of sex-related art, photography, costumes, inventions and historical artifacts does not disappoint. 960 1280

Scott Beale, flickr  

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in Japan is sure to inspire nostalgia for your good ole college days. With exhibits on ramen history and a replica of a section of Toyko in 1958 -- the year instant noodles were invented -- the museum makes it difficult to leave without craving the noodle dish. Thank goodness there's a ramen food court at the museum, too. 960 1280

Lucius Kwok, flickr   

Museum of Bad Art

Museum of Bad Art

The Museum of Bad Art, or MOBA, prides itself on collecting and preserving art that’s "too bad to be ignored." Art is subjective, you say? A visit to one of the museum's 3 Boston-area galleries should change your mind. 960 1280

Chris Devers, flickr  

Giant Shoe Museum

Giant Shoe Museum

Seattle's Giant Shoe Museum started out as a place to display one man's collection of novelty shoes. But when the museum acquired the world's tallest man's shoe, it became what it is today -- a photo op for tourists wondering just how tall the world's tallest man was. 960 1280

Joey deVilla, flickr  

Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

Dedicated to educating the public on the history of toilets and helping toilet manufacturers improve their skills by showing them the mistakes of the past, the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is on a sanitation crusade. Don’t worry if you can't make it to New Delhi to visit this unique repository of toilets -- the entire museum is online. 960 1280

Nathan Cooke, flickr   

The Collection of Questionable Medical Devices

The Collection of Questionable Medical Devices

The Science Museum of Minnesota's collection of Questionable Medical Devices includes a Psychograph. Invented by a Wisconsin man named Henry Lavery in the 1930s, the Psychograph was designed to read the bumps on a patient's head, measuring the strength of their personality traits. The Psychograph would generate a report, ranking the patient's talents and personality characteristics, based on the size and shape of their skull. 960 1280

Science Museum of Minnesota  

The Fan Museum

The Fan Museum

Dedicated not only to fans, but also to fan-making, the Fan Museum in London is one-of-a-kind place located within the World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich. The museum features a collection of more than 3,500 fans dating back to the 11th century, as well as an orangery, or an 18th-century greenhouse, where afternoon tea is served each Tuesday and Sunday. 960 1280

Visit Greenwich, flickr  

National Mustard Museum

National Mustard Museum

Middleton, WI, is the proud home of the National Mustard Museum, free to the public and filled with more than 5,400 kinds of everyone's second favorite condiment: mustard. Every Aug. 4, also known as National Mustard Day, the streets of downtown Middleton come alive with free hot dogs, mustard custard and condiment mascots. 960 1280

Courtesy of National Mustard Museum  

Kansas Barbed Wire Museum

Kansas Barbed Wire Museum

An entire museum is devoted to the "devil's rope" in the barbed wire capital of the world: La Crosse, KS. The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum celebrates the invention that tamed the West, according to the museum’s founders. Displays demonstrate barbed wire's significance during warfare and in keeping cattle and bison from roaming freely. 960 1280

Kansas Barbed Wire Museum  

Chicken Art Museum

Chicken Art Museum

Chickens are an important symbol in Korean culture -- they're thought to act as messengers between heaven and earth, exorcise evil spirits and bring prosperity. So it comes as no surprise that there’s a museum in Seoul, South Korea, devoted to chicken-inspired art. The Chicken Art Museum features chicken sculptures and paintings from cultures worldwide. 960 1280

Jerry Michalski, flickr  

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