Welcome to the program that's all about making your visit to Japan smooth and enjoyable!
We'll take you to many sightseeing destinations around Japan and along the way you'll learn some basic Japanese phrases, letters, and numbers that are useful for traveling in Japan.
The trio has met up at Haneda Airport, one of Japan's biggest air travel hubs. It has four runways, the most of any Japanese airport, and it handles the most flights, too. In 2010, a new terminal opened here, greatly increasing the number of international flights. Now more and more travelers from abroad are using Haneda.
Niigata enjoys good fishing all year long, and that means fresh, delicious seafood is always on the menu here. The prefecture has also long been known for growing delicious rice, among the most coveted in Japan. The rice is mainly grown on rice terraces cut into the steep and scenic terrain. This is one of Japan's most iconic landscapes. And since rice is the main ingredient in sake, Niigata is also a premiere sake-making region. During the summer, Niigata hosts one of Japan's largest fireworks displays: the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival.
Tsubame has a population of around 84,000, and is famous for silverware-making. Metalworking factories are scattered among residential districts all through town... 2,800 or so mold-makers, polishers and other silverware-related businesses in all. The city's industry accounts for more than 90% of domestic silverware production in Japan. It is known worldwide as a center of advanced metalworking technologies.
Murakami City is full of historic charm, evoking the streetscapes of the Edo and Meiji Periods dating back a more than a hundred years.
With a population of around 800,000, Niigata City is a thriving metropolis along the Japan Sea coast. Modern architecture and leisure facilities, shopping and sightseeing are some of its attractions. Niigata City is also known for launching new food trends, and is home to many unusual rice-based foods. These pasta noodles are made from rice flour and have a unique, chewy texture. In Niigata you can also feast on sushi made with locally-caught seafood and locally-grown rice.
Sado Island is known for its pristine wilderness, and home to the crested ibis, a bird threatened with extinction. Sado's gold mines were once the most productive in Japan. The mines were worked for 388 years. Now they preserve artifacts and mining heritage that can be seen nowhere else in Japan.
Joetsu is a historic city that thrived as a castle town during the 16th century period of civil strife. In spring, the castle is lit up to provide a spectacular view of cherry blossoms at night. Recently, its intricate wooden furniture has become world famous. Each piece is assembled without using a single nail.
Nagano is surrounded by soaring mountains. It has a rich natural environment that provides spectacular views regardless of the season. It’s a popular summer resort. Many people come here to escape the suffocating heat of the cities. In winter, it attracts countless numbers of skiers. It was the site of the 18th Winter Olympic Games. The mountain climate is ideal for producing all kinds of fruit and vegetables, which are shipped throughout Japan. The buckwheat noodles are also delicious. Nagano has many historic shrines, temples and castles that have been recognized as national treasures. No wonder then that it’s a popular tourist destination.
Our threesome have arrived in Azumino, a picturesque city about an hour by train from Nagano City. With its many mountains and rivers, Azumino is full of scenic beauty.
So far, our journey through Japan has spanned nine episodes, having fun learning Japanese all along the way. This is... Meet & Speak. Today, on part 10, we'll look back over our trip, and review the Japanese we've learned. This time, we'll look back on our journey so far, and also bring you a special report on onsen hot spring resorts in Niigata Prefecture.
Kami-kochi is a natural paradise. They're heading for Kami-kochi which lies the west of Matsumoto City and is only open between April and November. It's so rich in nature that it's revered as sacred ground as well as listed as a national cultural treasure.
Ueno has lots of art museums, historical museums, and theaters. You can find all sorts of contemporary and modern art exhibitions. There’s always something new. And Ueno Park is full of trees. In the spring, cherry trees blossom and fill the park with their distinctive color. Ueno nurtures both nature and art, and it has long been known as a place where the public can relax and enjoy.
Atami is about 100km south-west of Tokyo. It's famous as an easy-to-reach tourist destination. This place is known for it's hot-springs, with a natural water rises up from the ground all over town. It has many traditional Japanese trees such as cherry and plum. Atami's plum fields are said to be the first in Japan to bloom every year.
Hatsushima, the closest inhabited island to Tokyo, has a population of 150. It’s only 4 kilometers in circumference but receives over 280,000 visitors each year. The island is rich with places where visitors can relax such as this campsite that has hot springs and cottages overlooking the ocean. This island is also famous as a diving destination where divers can observe many types of fish swimming in the clear blue water.
Today we are going to tour Atami City and enjoy some fireworks at night. After enjoying the island paradise of Hatsushima, the three friends take the ferry back to Atami. On the shopping street in front of the station there are many souvenir shops as well as restaurants and clothing stores.
Ito is in the middle of the east coast of Shizuoka's Izu Peninsula. It has many historical buildings and beautiful scenery. The bright blue sea makes the region look almost tropical. It has some of the biggest hot springs in Japan. Mandarin oranges are grown in the valleys and fresh seafood comes from the bay. Little wonder that this hot-spring resort is a great gourmet destination.
Today our trio continue their adventure and explore the many sites of Ito City. Ito City is in the middle of the east coast of Shizuoka's Izu Peninsula. It has many historical buildings and beautiful scenery. The bright blue sea makes the region look almost tropical. Ito has some of the biggest hot springs in Japan. Mandarin oranges are grown in the valleys and fresh seafood comes from the bay. Little wonder that this hot-spring resort is a great gourmet destination.
This time, our trio will be experiencing the history of Shimoda, which lies in the southernmost part of the Izu Peninsula. Shimoda, where the trio have come, is full of beautiful white sandy beaches. Many foreigners living in Japan come here to sightsee and stay at the many beach resorts. As the first port of Japan open to the west, Shimoda is homed to many historic streets.
This time, our trio will enjoy Shimoda’s seafood specialty, red snapper. Shimoda is a flourishing port town and lots of fish are landed here. The coastal landscapes are another highlight.
This is the 20th episode. Today, let’s look back on the adventures the trio have had in Japan so far. We will also go over the Japanese they have learned during their travels. It’s the show that teaches you Japanese while traveling… Meet and Speak! Today we’ll look back at past travels and check in to a traditional hot springs resort in Izu.