How to Plan Vacation to Tokyo

Placing the words ‘Tokyo’ and ‘cheap’ together seem to be a perfect example of an antithesis. Let us, however, tell you that doing Tokyo on the cheap is possible. Here are some tips to plan an affordable vacation to the Japanese capital.

One of the most dynamic cities in the world, with over 12 million inhabitants, Tokyo is a sheer delight to see. Not that it is among the world’s most beautiful cities, but it definitely strikes a chord with its subtle balance between the past and the present. Take a stroll in any direction, and you are sure to stumble upon something most unusual and weird―something that you never knew existed. And yet, you will find the Japanese people being passionate about it, speaking of it with an intense sense of belonging.

In fact, the Japanese are passionate about everything, from their traditions and culture to all things new. And this is precisely the reason why the Japanese capital comes across as a complete package―a classic example of ‘old meets new’. Plus, the warm and ever-helping nature of the Japanese people will urge you to extend your stay, and make you regret if you don’t.

Tokyo on a Budget
It is a well-known fact that Tokyo is expensive. In fact, according to the recent Business Insider survey (2014), Tokyo has been ranked as the 19th most expensive city in the world after Melbourne, Australia. Owing to this, it is but obvious that a vacation to the Japanese capital will make you shed a lot of bucks; however, those traveling on a tight budget, need not be disappointed. Buzzle brings to you some useful tips to help you plan a vacation to the capital of the shōgun without having to burn a hole in your wallet. Here’s how.

When to Go

Tokyo’s high season and low season depend largely on its weather.

However, this is also the season when most accommodations around the city are full, and very expensive as well.

Winter (December to February) and summer (June to August) comprise the city’s off-seasons.

In winter, temperatures often drop below the freezing point, and summer is very hot and humid. Moreover, the city experiences torrential rains around late-June, and August is still worse.

Most tourists opt to travel to the city either during spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). During these two seasons, the weather is very favorable―pleasant, warm days and of course, beautiful cherry blossoms and dramatic foliage all around.

While these seasons witness a much less tourist influx, these are great times to be in the city for budget travelers (if you are ready to face the adversities of the weather, that is).

You will not only be able to escape the crowds, but also get the best possible bargains on accommodations, and maybe even crack an affordable last-minute deal.

Where to Stay

As a form of budget accommodation, the concept of capsule hotels is very famous in Tokyo (and in the other Japanese cities). These are low-budget lodgings, made of modular plastic and/or fiberglass blocks in the form of small capsules, placed one above the other. Each of these capsules can accommodate only one person at a time, and are equipped with basic amenities like a sleeping mattress and a small television set.

It, however, needs to be noted that capsule hotels lack basic safety standards, and are mostly men-only, but few also accommodate females. On the contrary, hostels often prove to be cheaper and more comfortable places to stay, even if they mean compromising a bit on one’s privacy.

While hostels located in and near the city center and popular spots can be a bit pricey, look for those located on the outskirts instead. These will offer you the same kind of facilities at lower prices.

For those planning to spend a majority of their time within the city center, opt to stay near it, in order to save money and time on transportation, which is also on the expensive side in Tokyo.

Budget travelers, looking for a homely atmosphere may also opt for a hospitality exchange. You get to stay with a local family for free, and there are also ample opportunities to meet and interact with the other locals. Hospitality exchange is particularly popular with youngsters, traveling on frugal means.

Where to Eat/Drink

Eateries and restaurants located in downtown Tokyo and in the city’s popular parts tilt towards the expensive side. For a wholesome budget meal, head to one of the blue-collar areas of the city such as Ueno or Ikebukuro.

Areas with large populations of youngsters and students, like Yoyogi and Harajuku, are also good places to find food on the cheap. You will find numerous fast-food joints in these areas, alongside several cheap restaurants, offering full, good quality meals.

The conveyor belt sushi restaurants are located in several parts of the city, wherein you can choose your own sushi from the conveyor belt. These are often busy, owing to their inexpensiveness and fast service, but you will get some really tasty meals in there.

While in Tokyo, you cannot ignore the numerous vending machines, found in large numbers, everywhere around the city. These coin-operated machines sell hot beverages, juices, sodas, cans of beer, apart from typical Japanese meals (curry and rice) and ready-to-eat soups.

A good number of Japanese curry houses, fast-food, and ramen shops are spread across the city, even in the city center, from where you can buy small, but filling budget meals.

Tokyo is famous for its street food, which offers delicious local flavors at affordable prices. Budget travelers can also buy packaged meals from grocery stores, which cost much less than restaurants.
What to See/Do

In the clockwise direction, starting from top-left―Rainbow Bridge, Minato, Tokyo; Tokyo Imperial Palace, Chiyoda, Tokyo; Tokyo cityscape with illuminated Tokyo Tower; Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, Tokyo.

While most attractions in Tokyo charge an admission fee, the good news is that there are several cheap and free things to see and do in and around the city. As mentioned before, a free stroll can give you an insight into some of the most fascinating aspects of the city and its culture. But, there is more!

Most shrines, temples, and palaces of Tokyo do not have an entry fee. This also includes, apart from the other attractions, the Tokyo Imperial Palace, which may be accessed free if you plan to take a self-guided stroll, rather than a guided tour.

Moreover, the Sensō-ji temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan, can also be accessed without any charge by all the visitors. There is a 200-meter-long shopping street in front of the temple gate, which has several O-mikuji (fortunes written on strips of paper) stalls, visited by a good number of tourists. You can also try out your luck here!

Furthermore, the fourth-largest urban park in Tokyo, the Yoyogi Park, is also a free attraction. It is a great place for a quick morning jog and to listen to live performances by street musicians.

Another great place to be, especially if you are a fish lover, is the Tsukiji fish market. It is located very close to the Tsukiji train station, and so is an easy walk up there. Every morning, at about 5 a.m., there is a tuna auction held here, which is quite an interesting experience. Though you can visit the auction for free, remember that they let a limited number of tourists in each day, and so, you have to reach the spot really early. However, if you miss out on the auction, you can still roam around the market, and gorge on some delicious sushi and sashimi for breakfast.

Harajuku boasts of a very lively shopping and entertainment scene. There are a lot of specialty stores around the area from where you can buy items such as books, electronics, and souvenirs for cheap. Apart from these, Tokyo also has a good number of open-air antique and flea markets operating on the weekends near major shrines.

Styles of Slacklining

Evolved from the rich climbing culture in the Yosemite Valley of California, slacklining refers to the act of walking and playing tricks on webbed lines tensioned between two anchor points. The tension of the line can be adjusted according to the activities or tricks to be performed on the line, as well as the length and altitude of the line.

Slacklining may be performed as a hobby, as a means to stay fit by slackline yoga, or as a competitive sport through tricklining, longlining, and highlining. The different styles of slacklining have been described below, followed by a list of few records set by adventurous young slackers.

Urbanlining

This refers to any of the slacklining activities that are practiced in urban areas, like city parks, schools, community centers, streets, etc.

The slackers use urban anchors, like lamp poles, telephone poles, or even bridges to rig the slackline. Trees with a diameter of more than 12 inches serve as ideal anchor points.

However, certain cities disallow slacklining on streets and other urban areas, to avoid mishaps, whereas some have limitations with respect to the timings, length of the lines, the type and size of trees that can be used to rig the lines while slacklining in parks, etc.

Tricklining

Being the most common and trending style, tricklining refers to setting up low, short, and tight lines for performing several tricks, spins, jumps, and gymnastics. A two-inch webbing and tight line are preferred for tricklining in order to provide the strength required for tricks and ensure a smooth landing.

The tricks performed are categorized into static and dynamic tricks.

Static Tricklining

Static tricks involve slow-moving tricks and still poses, wherein the slackliner is constantly in contact with the line. These include walking, walking backwards, moonwalk, sitting, handstands, splits, etc.

Dynamic Tricklining

Dynamic tricks involve bounces as well as movements such that the slackliner loses contact with the line and lands on it again without losing the balance. It includes chest bounces, butt bounces, as well as several types of jumps, flips, jump rotations, and surfing. Adept trickliners can even jump from one line and land on another without falling off.

Slackline Yoga

Also called Slackasana, this calm style of slacklining refers to practicing yoga poses on the slackline. Generally, a one-inch webbing is used for slackline yoga, and the line is looser than that for tricklining and walking.

It was the duo of Sam Salwei and Jason Magness, who first attempted to perform yoga poses on rigged lines. Yoga poses, like the Warrior pose, Buddha pose, Tree pose, and other standing, kneeling, and sitting postures can be practiced. Considered to be the most enduring style, it focuses on breathing while maintaining the balance, and requires a deep level of concentration. Ten minutes of slackline yoga is considered to be equivalent to one and a half hours of regular yoga.

Waterlining

This style simply refers to slacklining that is performed over water, i.e., pools, lakes, or even rivers.

It increases the fun and adventure quotient as well as safety while performing the various jumps and tricks. However, one has to ensure that the water region chosen for waterlining must be free from rocks and boulders. Waterlining on a pool provides the perfect setting for learning new tricks. The line may even be set slightly below the water surface, increasing the challenge to maintain balance on the line.

Longlining

Longlining refers to setting up of lines that are generally longer than 100 feet, and require much more tension than the regular tree-to-tree urbanlines and tricklines.

It helps increase the consistency in maintaining balance, and prepares the individual to focus for long periods of time. Long waterlines serve as the best way to prepare for highlining. Many longlines have been set up by individuals in a spree to make new longline records. The first longline record was set at 328 feet by a photographer and extreme climber named Heinz Zak, in 2005.

Highlining

This is the most advanced style of slacklining, and it refers to setting up lines high above the ground or water.

It involves slacklining at high altitudes in the mountains, or across valleys, canyons, etc. An additional backup line may be attached below the main line. The use of a climbing harness and safety leash is recommended along with a safety ring that links the leash to the line and slides along the line. Some adventurous daredevils prefer to go highlining without the use of safety leashes, in which case, it is termed as free solo highlining.

Places for Paragliding and Hang Gliding

Thrilling? Check. Exhilarating? You bet. Paragliding is one badass adventure sport which lets you soar in the sky, without breaking a sweat. Buzzle, therefore, brings you a list of 10 spectacular places where you’ll best enjoy doing it.

And I thought, paragliding was an experience which no one can sum up in words. But yes, these lines have managed to paint a fine picture.

Humans have tried out insane things in order to be able to fly; some of them worked, but many others literally sunk into oblivion. Until we devised paragliding. After that, it’s been a have-mountain-will-glide attitude with anyone pursuing this recreational sport.

What we’ve done, here, is lined up a fabulous list of 5 of the best paragliding destinations in the world, along with 5 from the U.S. Take a look.
Chamonix, France

The Alps are a hotshot destination among skiers, but it holds true for paragliding and hang gliding enthusiasts as well. France, particularly, has paragliding fans in large numbers, which explains the high number of gliding sites in the country. The reason we picked Chamonix from among them is simple―the proximity to Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. Gliders, often the experienced ones, come to the summit to launch their flight, and take a leisurely glide over the gorgeous Chamonix valley. The region has a lift system which lets you access the several take-off points. As gliding here requires prior experience, there are options to fly tandem (along with a guide) as well.
Cape Town, South Africa

Viewing the spectacular Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand Beach is one thing; but believe me, you haven’t seen the real deal until you’ve glided over it. Cape Town is one city that offers some amazing views from up above, and paragliding is the best way to experience it. Experienced gliders can visit the Table Mountain National Park to launch from the Table Mountain itself. Tandem flights usually take off from Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, and wind directions permitting, may even fly up to the Table mountain.
Oludeniz, Turkey

You may have known Ölüdeniz as one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean shore, but it also happens to be one of the top destinations for paragliding. A terrifying drive up the 2000-meters Mount Babadag, and you reach the launch spot. After that, it is all about the breathtaking scenery below you―the bay of Ölüdeniz, the mountains, and the national park. There are several operators which offer tandem gliding on the Ölüdeniz beach, and tend to charge you in the range of USD 80-100 for a ride that lasts almost 30 to 40 minutes.
Pokhara Valley, Nepal

All the fancy adjectives in the dictionary simply aren’t a patch on what awaits you in Nepal, the land of the Himalayas, home to some of the tallest mountains in the world. The main area for paragliding is the Pokhara valley, offering staggering views of the Annapurna, the Himalayas, and the Phewa Lake. The launch spot is Sarangkot, a hilly village in the vicinity, and your flight provides a bird’s-eye view of Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Machapuchare (6,993 m), and the Annapurna II (7,937 m).
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There are hills, and there is a constant breeze―which does not leave you with any excuse not to paraglide in Rio. The views of this amazing city are unparalleled from the top. The favored launch spot in Rio is Pedra Bonita, a mountain located in the São Conrado area, about 30 minutes from Copacabana. Tandem flights usually fly over the Tijuca Forest around Pedra Bonita, Pedra da Gávea, as well as the São Conrado neighborhood, and Pepino beach.
Hawaii, USA

There is no questioning Hawaii’s dreamlike landscape―the azure waters of the Pacific, the lush green mountaintops, with some spewing red hot lava. And what better way to view it than taking the aerial route? Hawaii’s mountains provide the perfect launch spot for hang gliding, but if you are planning to fly tandem, there are several operators in Maui, Honolulu, and Oahu with a good fleet of gliders and experienced personnel. Waipoli Flight Park on the slopes of Mt. Haleakala is a great launch spot that gets you some awesome views over Maui.
California, USA

With California’s topography, paragliding spots are not hard to find; in fact, there are more than 160 launch sites all throughout the state. We’ve picked San Diego among the lot for the fact that it offers easy access to tandem flights, and is a seriously gorgeous city to view from up above. San Diego’s scenic La Jolla neighborhood is a perfect launch site.
Idaho, USA

The resort town of Sun Valley in Blaine County, central Idaho has always enjoyed its reputation of being a world-class skiing destination. It is only recently that it has been gaining standing as a paragliding venue. Sun Valley played host to the Paragliding World Cup in 2012, and has only been building its name ever since. Experienced pilots from all over the world come to Sun Valley to take in the wonderful scenery of the region, including the Bald Mountain. But it doesn’t matter if you’ve never indulged in paragliding before; tandem flights are offered here as well.
Colorado, USA

Colorado’s diverse topography comprises alpine mountains, arid plains and deserts with huge sand dunes, and deep canyons. So, it isn’t a wonder to see paragliding enthusiasts flocking to launch their flights from several vantage points across the state. The Rockies, for instance, have some fabulous launch spots, and provide the perfect backdrop as well. Many experienced pilots also visit the Colorado National Monument and Dinosaur National Park for some excellent vantage spots.
Washington, USA

Washington state’s expansive hilly regions are made for paragliding. Tiger Mountain, Issaquah is a beautiful place to fly. It’s a 30-minute drive from Seattle, and with the extended daylight hours in the summer, a lot of people come here to enjoy paragliding during the sunset hours. A soaring flight here provides spectacular views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Si, Mt Baker, Lake Sammamish, with Seattle’s skyline to the west. Certainly a gorgeous sight that’s not to be missed.
Paragliding is one recreational sport that is thrilling beyond words. And unlike the others, there isn’t a lot of effort involved if one has to experience it. Head to any of the destinations mentioned above and launch your flight of fancy, ASAP.

Importance of Sports

Sports is undoubtedly an activity that is fun to do, but it has many other positive effects on a person’s life as well. Here we talk about some of the benefits of being involved in sports.

The importance of sports in education can be gaged by the way it helps in inculcating values such as dedication, discipline and responsibility in children and adults alike, at the same time teaching them many relevant lessons. The following are some of sports’ life changing attributes.
Benefits of Sports in Daily Life

Fitness
Unless one is only an avid fan of a game like curling (no disrespect of course!!), sports and exercise go hand-in-hand. Many sports require the person playing them to have a good amount of athleticism. Hence, people indulging in sports gradually become fitter. While this can be achieved by dieting and hitting the gym too, sports makes this process fun, as the person involved in a sport is so busy enjoying himself or herself that he or she loses track of time.

Stress Buster
A healthy mind in a healthy body might be a clichéd adage, but it is so because it is true. It is no surprise that since most sports usually involve exercise, it facilitates soothing of the mind as the feel-good-hormones of the body, called endorphins, are released. They are nature’s stress busters and induce a relaxing feeling.

Learning a Skill
Getting better at a sport is a skill that may not have a monetary relation to your life, but it can definitely have an impact on the quality of your life. People respect those who show excellence in any field, and sports is no exception. If this is turned into an expertise, then it can even lead to avenues for developing a career.

Teamwork
Many popular sports like American football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc., are played in teams. This inculcates values and skills like leadership, communication, and sacrifice. Not only does this benefit the person in developing a better game, but it actually helps in all walks of life, as these values and traits are indispensable if one is to lead a good life.

Socializing
Unless you’re talking about playing chess against a computer, almost every sport out there involves interaction with other people, whether they be on our side or our opponents. Hence, sports serve as an avenue for meeting new people and making friends, as people of similar likes and dislikes come together to achieve a common goal. This can enhance the social life of a person.

Character Building
All sports have an outcome. One entity wins, and the other loses. Winning and losing is a part of life. Sports inculcates this lesson in people. Some people glide along as long as there are no hardships in life, but the moment the odds are against them, they find their emotional strength dwindling. This is not to say sports is a one-stop solution for this, but it definitely teaches a person how to take losses with grace and move on to achieve greater things in the face of difficulties.

Constructive Use of Time
Children and adolescents ooze with physical energy. When they are involved in sports, their physical energies are used up in a constructive way. Teenage is such an impressionable age, if adolescents are given free time they might get involved in wrong activities, may fall in bad company, or may also display anti-social behavior. Thus, the importance of sports in society is that it keeps adolescents from becoming anti-social, and not disturbing the delicate fabric of society.

Health
Regularly indulging in sports helps in keeping the immune system strong, and hence, helps in preventing any kind of disease from occurring. It also increases the appetite of the person. Thus, sports promote good health.

Decision-making
In sports, a person has to make quick decisions depending upon the situation that he is in. Thus, a person who is involved in sports is able to make wise and quick decisions in other areas of life as well.

Self-confidence
When something is improving your health, making you physically fitter, earning you respect among people and generally making you feel better about yourself, it is safe to say that such a thing does a whole world of good to your self-confidence. And sports definitely fulfills this criterion.
So if you haven’t ventured into the world of sports, do not while away your time in doubt. Sports is one of the few things out there that does not have any drawbacks. With sports, it is never too late.