Why We Love the Japanese

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

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Diniwid Beach
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

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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

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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. We also recommend take a fun road trip to the Batad Rice Terraces. 960 1280

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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  

30 St. Mary Axe

30 St. Mary Axe

30 St. Mary Axe in London's Financial District is also known as the Gherkin, for, well, obvious reasons. Its 41 floors opened in May 2004, and it became Britain’s most expensive office building when it sold in 2007 for 630 million British Pounds. 960 1280

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The Chang Building

The Chang Building

The Chang Building in Bangkok, Thailand, is hard to miss, and because of its resemblance to a pachyderm, it has become more commonly known as the Elephant Building. Completed in 1997, the Chang Building is made up of 32 floors and 7 different sections, including a recreation area with a swimming pool and a shopping plaza. 960 1280

Chayuth, flickr  

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

The world's 4th tallest hotel, the Burj Al Arab sits on its own manmade island and is only accessible by its private bridge. Designed to mimic the shape of a sail, this hotel is the epitome of luxury with its Royal Suite going for well over $18,000 a night. 960 1280

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Žižkov Television Tower

Žižkov Television Tower

It doesn't get much stranger than the Žižkov Television Tower in Prague. Standing at 709 feet tall, the building features 6 observation pods with the highest offering a panoramic view of Prague at 328 feet. Crawling baby sculptures by Czech artist David Černý were added to the sides of the tower in 2000 as a temporary installation, but were kept permanently after the public expressed their admiration of the art. 960 1280

Guillaume Cattiaux, flickr  

Lippo Centre

Lippo Centre

The Lippo Centre in Hong Kong is made up of 2 towers, with the tallest standing at about 610 feet. Frequently referred to as the Koala Tree, it’s said to resemble koalas clinging to a tree -- if you squint a little, you might see it. 960 1280

Felix Krohn, flickr  

Kingdom Centre

Kingdom Centre

Kingdom Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was completed in 2002 and houses a Four Seasons hotel, apartments and a shopping mall. The bridge across the top is open to the public with an observation deck offering stunning views, and the space below the bridge glows at night, with differently-hued lights filling the space. 960 1280

Ameen Mohammad, Wikimedia Commons   

Longaberger Home Office

Longaberger Home Office

While maybe not technically a skyscraper, the Longaberger Company's headquarters in Newark, Ohio, deserves a spot on this list since it doesn’t get much wackier than designing your office after your best-selling product. The founder of the company wanted all of his subsequent offices to be shaped like baskets, but his daughters vetoed the idea. 960 1280

Derek Jensen, Wikimedia Commons   

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

A communications tower in Tokyo, Japan, the Tokyo Tower was intended for television broadcasting; however, Japan’s recent transition to digital television necessitated a taller tower, leading to the construction of the Tokyo Skytree in February 2012. 960 1280

Taro Tokyo, Wikimedia Commons   

Torre Velasca

Torre Velasca

In Milan, Italy, the Torre Velasca was built in the 1950s, making it part of the first generation of modern architecture in the city. So it wouldn't be too much of a sore thumb on the skyline on Milan, the architecture is influenced by medieval fortresses and towers -- a modern interpretation of the Italian castles of yore. 960 1280

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Taipei 101

Taipei 101

At 101 stories and 1,667 feet, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan was the world's tallest structure until being beat out by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Despite this defeat, the skyscraper was awarded the LEED Platinum certification, making it the tallest green building in the world. 960 1280

Peellden, Wikimedia Commons   

CCTV Headquarters

CCTV Headquarters

The headquarters for China Central Television is actually comprised of 6 connected sections encompassing 1,552,000 feet of space, and due to its irregular shape, has been nicknamed "big boxer shorts." 960 1280

Ningbo Ningbo, flickr  

Suite Vollard

Suite Vollard

The Suite Vollard is a residential building in Brazil named after the Picasso collection of etchings called the Vollard Suite. It may not look that wacky, but it happens to be the world’s first spinning building, with each floor rotating 360 degrees each hour, giving residents an ever-changing view. 960 1280

Raames Manosso, flickr   

Ryugyong Hotel

Ryugyong Hotel

The Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea has been under construction since 1987. But despite still being incomplete, the building is undoubtedly North Korea's largest structure, and with 105 floors, has the 5th-highest number of stories in the world. 960 1280

Socialism Expo, flickr  

19 Photos
Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

A Chicago summer staple, the Pitchfork Music Festival brought its music to Paris in 2011. The 2-day festival took place in La Grande Halle de la Villette with more than 20 bands and DJs providing the entertainment. 960 1280

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Jam in the Dam

Jam in the Dam

Every March, Jam in the Dam rocks the Melkweg, a venue right off the Leidseplein, a vibrant city square in Amsterdam. With a liberal door policy, the venue allows music-goers to wander the cafes and galleries of the Leidseplein before or during the concerts. 960 1280

Sam Friedman  

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has grown exponentially since its launch in 2000. The festival brings over 40 international and local artists together, making it "Africa's Grandest Gathering." 960 1280

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Festival Internacional de Benicassim

Festival Internacional de Benicassim

The Festival Internacional de Benicassim, better known as FIB, is a 4-day long festival in Benicassim, a small Spanish beach town located between Valencia and Barcelona. Ranging from electro, pop, indie and rock, the music starts at night and goes on through the morning. 960 1280

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Jam Cruise

Jam Cruise

By taking the music to the seas, Jam Cruise makes the music festival a full-blown vacation. When you set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, enjoy all the amenities of a cruise and see your favorite jam bands while making stops in locales like Mexico and the Bahamas. 960 1280

Dave Vann  

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

The 4-day festival features a wide variety of acts and occurs each year in Manchester, TN. Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z have all performed in the past.
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Jeff Gentner/Getty Images  

Big Day Out Festival

Big Day Out Festival

An overall look at the Big Day Out Festival at the Sydney Showground in Australia. The festival travels to several cities in Australia and New Zealand each year.
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Amos Chapple  

Summer Sonic

Summer Sonic

Fans cheer at the 2009 Summer Sonic music festival held each year in Chiba and Osaka Japan. Beyonce, Green Day and Taylor Swift have all performed in recent years. 960 1280

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (Japan Entertainment Society)  

Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits

70,000 people attend the 3-day festival in Texas each year, which features over 130 different acts from all over the world. 960 1280

Gary Miller  

Coachella Valley Music & Art festival

Coachella Valley Music & Art festival

The 3-day festival known as the Coachella Valley Music & Art festival is held each April in Indio, CA. Past performances have featured Madonna, Paul McCartney, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phoenix and Arcade Fire, to name a few.
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Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival

Fans watch performers on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in England. 2015 marks the 45th anniversary of what has become the largest music festival in Europe. Coldplay, the Who, Neil Young, Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder have all performed here. 960 1280

Matt Cardy/Getty Images  

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Head to Chicago's historic Grant Park for a 3-day, ultimate jam session featuring artists from a variety of genres, including alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip-hop.
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New Orleans Jazz & Hertiage Festival

New Orleans Jazz & Hertiage Festival

Jazz Fest is held in New Orleans in the end of April/beginning of May each year. In addition to local performers, past performers have included James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Tony Bennett and Dave Matthews Band. 960 1280

Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images  

Roskilde Festival

Roskilde Festival

Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley performs during the 2008 Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark. Jack Johnson, Kanye West and Bob Dylan are all recent performers. 960 1280

Reuters/Jens Norgaard Larsen/Scanpix Denmark  

Sasquatch! Music Festival

Sasquatch! Music Festival

Fans gather at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA, to see the Sasquatch! Music Festival. Vampire Weekend, Miike Snow, MGMT, Mumford and Sons and Kid Cudi all played at the 2010 festival. 960 1280

ozmafan through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Splendour in the Grass

Splendour in the Grass

Festivalgoers watch The Vaccines perform at the Splendour in the Grass music festival in Woodford, Australia. 960 1280

Chris Hyde/Getty Images  

Summerfest

Summerfest

A view of fans attending the 2010 Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. In 1999, the Guinness Book of World Records certified the festival as the world's largest. The 11-day festival features 700 bands and starts the last Thursday in June. 960 1280

Sean Hackbarth through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

South by Southwest

South by Southwest

Held each March, the festival attracts over 2,000 performers who play in more than 90 venues in downtown Austin over 4 days. 960 1280

Gary Miller  

Primavera Sound Festival

Primavera Sound Festival

Fans at the 2008 Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain. The White Stripes, Lou Reed, the Smashing Pumpkins and the Pixies have all performed here in the past. 960 1280

maccosta through the Flickr Creative Commons License  


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