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After Work: Off Base

Japan is a land of beautiful natural vistas that can be savored all year round and includes volcanoes, forests, marshes, beaches, coastlines and underwater marine habitats. Fields of alpine flora, serene lakes reflecting the fresh verdure, seas where tropical fish swim and coral reefs grow, island chains in the evening sun, ravines ablaze in crimson foliage, snow-covered lofty peaks, and more are yours to discover.

A total of 31 National parks, scattered across the country from the northern tip of Hokkaido to the southernmost islands of Okinawa, have been designated with the aim of preserving such superb examples of the finest natural spectacles in the country for the benefit and enjoyment of the next generation and beyond. Visitors to the parks can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, fishing, snorkeling, diving and hot springs. Some parks have also established eco-tourism activities such as whale and dolphin watching and guided nature hikes.

National Parks of Japan

National Parks of Japan

National Parks of Japan

Aquariums

As an island country, Japan has a history and culture that are inseparably tied to the sea. Not surprisingly, aquariums are both numerous and popular attractions found across the country. Many of these are modern facilities, with new aquariums still being built and older ones renovated, which typically feature a large main tank as well as some focus on local marine and aquatic habitats.

Aquariums in Yokosuka

The closest aquarium to Yokosuka is located just a short train ride from Kamakura at the foot of the land bridge to the island of Enoshima. The Enoshima Aquarium is located in a beautiful spot with Enoshima on one side and Mt. Fuji on the other. Attractions include a school of 8,000 spot-lined sardines, jellyfish, deep-sea fish, sea lion and dolphin shows, and more than 20,000 marine creatures. The beaches on either side of the island can become very crowded with sun bathers and swimmers during the summer holidays in July and August, while the long stretches of beach that continue to Chigasaki in the west and Kamakura in the east are popular surfing spots.

Aquariums in Sasebo

The Kujukushima Pearl City Resort is just a few minute drive from the base in Sasebo. Among other things, highlights of the aquarium include a Dolphin show, feeding tank, and Kujukushima Bay large aquarium.

Yokosuka

Three of the closest zoos to Yokosuka are Nogeyama and Yokohama City zoos, in Yokohama, and the Ueno zoo in northern Tokyo. There are a number of other zoos in the Kanto Plain (Greater Tokyo) area.

If you are spending some time in Japan and looking to get up close and personal with domestic and exotic animals, then why not add one of Japan's many zoos to your trip? Asahiyama Zoo is one of the top zoos in Japan and is located just outside of central Asahikawa City in the middle of Hokkaido. Its popularity lies in the enclosures which allow visitors to observe the animals from various angles, many of which are unique to Asahiyama Zoo. There are many zoos in close proximity to Yokosuka and are all worth a visit.

Sasebo

The closest and most interactive zoo near Sasebo is the Nagasaki Bio Park in Nagasaki. As you tour the park, you will meet with various kinds of animals. Also, throughout the park, there are places where you can pet and hand-feed animals including lemurs, squirrel monkeys and capybaras. Especially exciting is hand-feeding large animals such as rhinos and hippos. It's an experience you cannot expect in everyday life. Nagasaki Bio Park is a place you not only look animals but also touch and feel them.

Tokyo Disneyland (© Disney)

Tokyo Disneyland

© Disney

Tokyo Disneyland is a theme park based on the films produced by Walt Disney. It was opened in 1983 as the first Disney theme park outside of the United States. Modeled after Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland is made up of seven themed lands and features seasonal decorations and parades. You’ll find that many of the attractions are just like the popular attractions in the United States including Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain and Space Mountain.

Tokyo DisneySea (© Disney)

Tokyo DisneySea

© Disney

Tokyo DisneySea is a fantasy theme park in Tokyo Disney Resort that is unique to Japan. Inspired by the myths and legends of the sea, Tokyo DisneySea is made up of seven themed ports of call: Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery and American Waterfront. While suitable for all ages, Tokyo DisneySea was designed to specifically also appeal to a more grown up audience. The park addresses the Japanese visitors' strong interest in good food by providing a wider selection of table service restaurants than Tokyo Disneyland and by serving alcoholic beverages, which are not available at the neighboring Tokyo Disneyland park.

Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan, located in Osaka, is one of four Universal Studios theme parks, owned and operated by USJ Co., Ltd. with a license from NBCUniversal. The park is similar to the Universal Orlando Resort. It contains selected attractions from Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. Most visitors are Japanese tourists and tourists from other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. It is also very popular among Western tourists and expatriates.

Yokosuka

The Yokosuka-Chuo area is full of bars and restaurants. Many bars that cater to the foreigners are right outside the main gate of Fleet Activities Yokosuka. The area right outside the Yokosuka main gate is commonly known at the "Honch" to the U.S. military personnel either stationed or visiting the Yokosuka Naval Base. During the day many local Japanese either are visiting the area to buy military memorabilia or having lunch ordering the famous "Yokosuka Navy Burger" or the "Yokosuka Navy Curry". Come late afternoon the bars begin to open catering to the U.S. military personnel who want to have a drink to relax and play some pool or darts. Later in the night the bars that have dancing begin to open, but don’t limit yourself to the “Honch”. Yokosuka has a large number of establishments to enjoy food and drink throughout downtown and across the city.

Sasebo

Sasebo nightlife establishments are roughly divided into those catering to the base personnel, sometimes referred to as Sailor Town, and those catering to the general populace, sometimes referred to as Sake Town, with some establishments catering specifically to Japanese. However, the economic conditions have narrowed these distinctions. The bars for the general populace are very interesting places and the proprietors very friendly. Although they do not profess to speak English, all of them generally do enjoy English conversations.

The most famous food in Sasebo is American-style hamburgers, owing to the influence of the US Navy in the city. They typically include a fried egg and bacon or ham. Look for restaurants that are "certified" by the Sasebo Burger Association, that way you'll know you are getting the "real" deal. Most certified shops are located in the downtown Sasebo area. Another popular food originated in Sasebo is Lemon Steak. Unlike normal beef steak, Sasebo Steak often uses sliced beef, served on a hot plate with lemon-flavored soy sauce.

Tokyo

Tokyo at night blossoms into a profusion of giant neon lights and paper lanterns, and its streets fill with millions of overworked Japanese out to have a good time. Tokyo at night is one of the craziest cities in the world, a city that never seems to sleep. Entertainment districts are as crowded at 3am as they are at 10pm when some places open, and many places stay open until the subways start running after 5am. Whether it's rock, jazz, reggae, gay bars, dance clubs, mania, or madness you're searching for, Tokyo has them all.

Getting to Know the Scene -- Tokyo has no one center of nighttime activity. There are many nightspots spread throughout the city, each with its own atmosphere, price range, and clientele. Most famous are probably Ginza, Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku, and Roppongi. Before visiting any of the locales listed in this section, be sure to walk around the neighborhoods and absorb the atmosphere. The streets will be crowded, the neon lights will be overwhelming, and you never know what you might discover on your own.

To learn more, click below:

Nagasaki

Nagasaki's nightlife district centers on a small area south of Hamano-machi known as Shianbashi, which begins just off the streetcar stop of the same name and is easily recognizable by the neon arch that stretches over the entrance of a street called Shianbashi Dori. Shianbashi shimmers with the lights of various drinking establishments and yakitori-ya, which are often the cheapest places to go for a light dinner. Another good hunting ground for restaurants is China Town.

Read more: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/nagasaki/620497

Yokosuka

Yokosuka Arts Theater is part of the mixed-use Bay Square complex in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It opened in 1994. The horseshoe-shaped theatre seats 1,806 and there is a smaller hall, the Yokosuka Bayside Pocket, with a capacity of 600. The Bay Square complex is by Kenzo Tange, with acoustical design of the halls by Nagata Acoustics. A variety of entertainment from theater to concerts is available.

Tokyo

The New National Theater, Tokyo is Japan's first and foremost national center for the performing arts, including opera, ballet, contemporary dance and drama. It is located in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo. The center has been praised for its architecture and state-of-the-art modern theatre facilities, which are considered among the best in the world.

The National Theater of Japan is a complex consisting of three halls in two buildings in Hayabusa-chō, a neighborhood in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. The Japan Arts Council, an Independent Administrative Institution of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, operates the National Theatre. It primarily stages performances of traditional Japanese performing arts.

This only begins to scratch the surface of performing arts, goth eastern and western, available in Japan. Search the internet to see what Japan has to offer.

Sports

Sports in Japan are a significant part of Japanese culture. Both traditional sports such as sumo and martial arts, and Western imports like baseball, soccer and rugby, are popular with both participants and spectators.

Sumo wrestling is considered Japan's national sport. Baseball was introduced to the country by visiting Americans in the 19th century. The Nippon Professional Baseball league is Japan's largest professional sports competition in terms of television ratings and spectators. Martial arts such as judo, karate and modern kendō are also widely practiced and enjoyed by spectators in the country. Soccer has gained wide popularity since the founding of the Japan Professional Football League in 1992. Other popular sports include figure skating, golf and racing, especially auto and horse racing. Rugby has become popular with Japan’s recent best ever showing in the 2015 World Cup.

SUMO

Sumo is a traditional combative Japanese sport that is well known throughout the world. Most rikishi (Sumo wrestlers) are professional competitors weighing 100 to 200 kg.

Rules are simple compared to western-style wrestling: two competitors wearing mawashi (silk belts) fight in a ring 4.5m in diameter, placed on a square mound. When any part of a competitor’s body, except the sole of his feet, touches the ground or the wrestler goes out of the ring, he loses the bout.

The professional sumo tournaments take place six times a year for 15 days each in January, May and September at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, March in Osaka, July in Nagoya and December in Fukuoka (near Sasebo).

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KENDO

Kendo is Japanese-style fencing, which originated from kenjutsu, the most important martial art of the samurai. In the match, the competitor wears special protective gear and strikes at the opponent’s head, chest or hand with a bamboo sword.

JUDO

Judo is well known throughout the world as a Japanese combative sport. The basic principle of Judo is a self-defense technique that makes use of the opponent's force. The player wears a colored obi (belt), to show his or her level of ability, with white being for beginners and black for advanced.

KARATE

Karate is a combative sport that came from China through the Ryukyu Kingdom (present day Okinawa). Very little is known of the exact origins of karate before it appeared in Okinawa, but one popular theory states that it came from India over a thousand years ago, brought to China by a Buddhist monk. The competitors of the match do not wear any kind of protection and use only their hands and fists. Compared to other combative sports, karate is a more practical martial art.

AIKIDO

The basic principle of Aikido is “Do not fight force with force” – it is a self-defense technique designed to not harm one’s opponent. It is a sport that only practice forms for the sake of forms and is therefore not as rough as Judo or Karate. Aikido is excellent as mental training or as a fitness sport, and has become especially popular with women and senior citizens.

BASEBALL

Baseball is so popular in Japan that many fans are surprised to hear that Americans also consider it their "national sport."

Professional baseball is well developed, with twelve teams being sponsored by major corporations. In Tokyo, the most favored place to see a game is the Tokyo Dome Stadium located in the ground of Tokyo Dome City Amusement Park, although there are four professional teams in the Tokyo area.

High School baseball is extremely popular as well, with two National championship tournaments each year, eclipsing the popularity of collegiate baseball.

SOCCER

Soccer is a sport which now a focus of explosive popularity among children and young people in Japan. Japan recently co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea.

Sports Source:

Modern day manga can be defined as comics corresponding to a Japanese style which originated during the mid-1900s. The popularity of manga in Japan has since ballooned. Today, there is a huge domestic industry for manga, and increasingly so internationally. In Japan, people of both genders and all ages read manga. The range of manga genres is diverse, with content ranging from history to futuristic science fiction and from teenage romance to profound themes about life. The comics are broadly separated into four categories according to the target audience: boys, girls, youths and mature. They can be commonly found in bookstores, bookstands and convenience stores all over Japan.

A manga series may become popular enough that it is made into an anime - Japanese styled animation. Examples of world famous anime include "Dragonball", "Sailor Moon", "Pokemon" and "One Piece". Of course, original scripts may also be written for anime. One popular anime production company with its own distinct style is Studio Ghibli, which has produced award winning works such as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away".

Singapore

Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia. Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, since independence it has become one of the world's most prosperous countries and boasts the world's busiest port.

Combining the skyscrapers and subways of a modern, affluent city with a medley of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences and a tropical climate, with tasty food, good shopping and a vibrant night-life scene, this ‘Garden City’ makes a great stopover or springboard into the region.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong (meaning Fragrant Harbor) is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. It's a place with multiple personalities as a result of being both Cantonese Chinese and having been under British colonization. Today, the former British colony is a major tourism destination for China's increasingly affluent mainland population. It's an important hub in East Asia with global connections to many of the world's cities. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia's World City.

South Korea

Split by a fearsome border, the Korean Peninsula offers the traveler a dazzling range of experiences, beautiful landscapes and 5000 years of culture and history. South Korea’s compact size and superb transport infrastructure mean that tranquility can be found in easy reach of the urban sprawl. Hike to the summits of craggy mountains enclosed by densely forested national parks. Some of those same mountains transform into ski slopes come winter. Get further off the beaten path than you thought possible by sailing to remote islands, where farming and fishing folk welcome you into their homes and simple seafood cafes. Chill out in serene villages surrounded by rice fields, sleeping in rustic hanok (traditional wooden house) guesthouses.

Korea might be known as the Land of the Morning Calm, but dive into its capital Seoul, the powerhouse of Asia’s third-largest economy, and serenity is the last thing you’ll feel. This round-the-clock city is constantly on the move, with its work-hard, play-hard population the epitome of the nation’s indefatigable, can-do spirit. You can hardly turn a corner without stumbling across a tourist information booth, a subway station or a taxi in this multifaceted metropolis where meticulously reconstructed palaces rub shoulders with teeming night markets and the latest technological marvel.

China

The roughly 4000-year old Chinese civilization has endured through millennia of tumultuous upheaval and revolutions, periods of golden ages and anarchy alike. Through the recent economic boom initiated by the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, China is once again one of the leading nations in the world, buoyed by its large, industrious population and abundant natural resources. The depth and complexity of the Chinese civilization, with its rich heritage, has fascinated Westerners such as Marco Polo and Gottfried Leibniz through the Great Silk Road and more ways of culture exchange in centuries past, and will continue to excite - and bewilder - the traveler today.

Australia

Australia is world famous for its natural wonders and wide open spaces, its beaches, deserts, "the bush", and "the Outback". It is one of the world's most highly urbanized countries; it is well known for the attractions of its large cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Most Australians live along the coast, and most of these folks live in cities – 89% of Australians, in fact. It follows that cities here are a lot of fun. Sydney is a glamorous collusion of beaches, boutiques and bars. Melbourne is all arts, alleyways and Aussie Rules football. Brisbane is a subtropical town on the way up; Adelaide has festive grace and pubby poise. Boomtown Perth breathes West Coast optimism; Canberra transcends political agendas. While the tropical northern frontier town of Darwin, and the chilly southern sandstone city of Hobart, couldn't be more different.

Malaysia

Malaysia is a mix of the modern world and a developing nation. With its investment in the high technology industries and moderate oil wealth, it has become one of the richer nations in Southeast Asia. Malaysia, for most visitors, presents a happy mix: there is high-tech infrastructure and things generally work well and more or less on schedule, but prices remain more reasonable than, say, Singapore.

West (peninsular) Malaysia shares a border with Thailand, is connected by a causeway and a bridge (the 'second link') to the island state of Singapore, and has coastlines on the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. East Malaysia (Borneo) shares borders with Brunei and Indonesia.

Indonesia

Meet the orangutans in Sumatra, visit the tobacco plantations of Tetebatu in Lombok, snorkel vibrant reefs and dig your feet into white sand, explore Hindu temples and Buddhist sanctuaries, learn where famous Sumatra coffee comes from, live with the locals in a traditional village.

Indonesia is a busy place, and not just because it’s one of the most densely-populated places on Earth. Blessed with rich jungles, imposing volcanoes, and mile upon mile of gorgeous beachfront, it’s not surprising that 135 million people live here full-time. With 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. About 240 million people live in this fourth most populous country in the world — after China, India and the USA — and by far the largest country in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia straddles the Equator between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. While it has land borders with Malaysia to the north as well as East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the east, it also neighbors Australia to the south, and Palau, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand to the north, India to the northwest.

Bali

Bali, the famed Island of the Gods, with its varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides all providing a picturesque backdrop to its colorful, deeply spiritual and unique culture, stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth. With world-class surfing and diving, a large number of cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations, this is one of the world's most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. Bali has something to offer a very broad market of visitors from young back-packers right through to the super-rich.

India

India is the largest country in the Indian Subcontinent and shares borders with Pakistan to the west, China and Nepal to the north, Bhutan to the north-east, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. Sri Lanka lies to the south, Maldives to the south-west and Indonesia to the south-east of India in the Indian Ocean. India is the seventh largest country in the world by area and, with over a billion people, is second only to China in population, although its much higher birthrate makes it likely to reach pole position in less than ten years.

It is an extremely diverse country, with vast differences in geography, climate, culture, language and ethnicity across its expanse, and prides itself on being the largest democracy on Earth.

India's culture and heritage are a rich amalgam of the past and the present. This vast country offers the visitor a view of fascinating religions and ethnography, a vast variety of languages with more than 438 living languages, and monuments that have been present for thousands of years. As it opens up to a globalized world, India still has a depth of history and intensity of culture that awes and fascinates the many who visit there.

India remains to be one of the world's fastest growing economies and one of the fastest developing countries. It is considered to be an emerging superpower. Therefore, your visit will indeed be an interesting one.

Thailand

Thailand is the country in Southeast Asia most visited by tourists, and for good reason. You can find almost anything here: thick jungle as green as can be, crystal blue waters that feel more like a warm bath than a swim in the ocean, and food that can curl your nose hairs while dancing across your taste buds. Exotic, yet safe; cheap, yet equipped with every modern amenity you need, there is something for every interest and every price bracket, from beach front backpacker bungalows to some of the best luxury hotels in the world. And despite the heavy flow of tourism, Thailand retains its quintessential Thai-ness, with a culture and history all its own and a carefree people famed for their smiles and their fun-seeking sanuk lifestyle. Many travelers come to Thailand and extend their stay well beyond their original plans and others never find a reason to leave. Whatever your cup of tea, they know how to make it in Thailand.

New Zealand

New Zealand is a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty: jagged mountains, rolling pasture land, steep fiords, pristine trout-filled lakes, raging rivers, scenic beaches, and active volcanic zones. These islands are one of Earth's most peculiar bioregions, inhabited by flightless birds seen nowhere else such as a nocturnal, burrowing parrot called the kakapo and kiwi. Kiwi is not only one of the national symbols – the others being the silver fern leaf and koru – but also the name New Zealanders usually call themselves.

These islands are sparsely populated, particularly away from the North Island, but easily accessible. There are sparklingly modern visitor facilities, and transport networks are well developed with Airports throughout the country and well maintained highways. New Zealand often adds an adventure twist to nature: it's the original home of jet-boating through shallow gorges, and bungee jumping off anything high enough to give a thrill.

Taiwan

Taiwan has some very impressive scenic sites and its capital, Taipei, is a vibrant culture and entertainment hub. Taiwanese cuisine is highly regarded with the Japanese in particular taking short trips to enjoy its relatively cheaper hospitality. Lately, with the relaxation of restrictions, there are increasing numbers of mainland Chinese visiting, and Taiwan is perhaps the most favorite destination for short holidays for Hong Kong residents.

Taiwan is an island nation located off the coast of southwest of Okinawa, Japan and north of the Philippines. Shaped roughly like a sweet potato, the island nation has more than 23 million people and is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Besides its crowded cities, Taiwan is also known for steep mountains and lush forests. Taiwan also has de facto control over the tiny Pescadores (Penghu), Quemoy (Kinmen/Jinmen), and Matsu.

Vietnam

Vietnam officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a long, thin country in Southeast Asia. Its neighboring countries are China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west.

Due to its long history as a tributary state of China, as well as several periods of Chinese occupations, Vietnamese culture is heavily influenced by that of Southern China, with Confucianism forming the basis of Vietnamese society. The Vietnamese language also contains many loan words from Chinese, though the two languages are unrelated. Buddhism remains the single largest religion in Vietnam, though like in China but unlike in the rest of northern South east Asia, the dominant school of Buddhism in Vietnam is the Mahayana School.

Nevertheless, Vietnamese culture remains distinct from Chinese culture as it has also absorbed cultural elements from neighboring Hindu civilizations such as the Champa and the Khmer empires. The French colonization has also left a lasting impact on Vietnamese society, with baguettes and coffee remaining popular among locals.

Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago in South-East Asia of more than seven thousand islands located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea at the very eastern edge of Asia.

Many wonderful beaches are just part of one of the world's longest coastlines and it takes about 20 years to spend a day on every island. Since Spanish colonial times, the country has been Asia's largest Catholic country. Over a hundred ethnic groups, a mixture of foreign influences and a fusion of culture and arts have enhanced the uniqueness of the Filipino identity and the wonder that is the Philippines.

Nepal

Wedged between the high Himalaya and the steamy Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras. Nepal is a landlocked country in Southern Asia, between the Tibet autonomous region of China and India. It contains 8 of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world’s tallest - on the border with Tibet, and Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

There are few countries in the world that are as well set up for independent travel as Nepal. Wandering the trekking shops, bakeries and pizzerias of Thamel and Pokhara, it’s easy to feel that you have somehow landed in a kind of backpacker Disneyland. Out in the countryside lies a quite different Nepal, where traditional mountain life continues at a slower pace and a million potential adventures glimmer on the mountain horizons.

Many people have spent a lifetime exploring the mountain trails of the Himalaya and the atmospheric temple towns of the Middle Hills, and they still keep coming back for more. The biggest problem you might face in Nepal is just how to fit everything in.

Tokyo

Tokyo is Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. It is also one of Japan's 47 prefectures, consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center. The Izu and Ogasawara Islands are also part of Tokyo.

Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. A small castle town in the 16th century, Edo became Japan's political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world's most populous cities. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor and capital moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo ("Eastern Capital"). Large parts of Tokyo were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and in the air raids of 1945.

Today, Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining to its visitors. The city's history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa, and in many excellent museums, historic temples and gardens. Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city center and within relatively short train rides at its outskirts.

Kyoto

Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is a refined city on the island of Honsh with thousands of classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining, consisting of multiple courses of precise dishes, and geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district.

Nagasaki

Nagasaki Prefecture is located in the southwest of Japan. Embraced by mountains on one side, and bordered by the sea on the other, the prefecture is surrounded on all sides by natural beauty. The prefecture is also full of historical, traditional, and cultural riches. Historically, Nagasaki played an important role in Japan’s international relations. A vast amount of culture and knowledge from Asia and Europe flowed to and from Japan via Nagasaki and contributed greatly to the modernization of Japan.

The Port of Nagasaki gained particular prominence during Japan’s period of national isolation, Sakoku. During this time it was the only place in all of Japan which was open for communication with visitors from Europe and the wider world. Even today, many international cruise ships call at this port every year. This colorful history, in which traditional Japanese culture has coexisted and harmonized with overseas cultures, is evident in the region’s architecture, food, and annual events.

The prefecture has survived many tragic events, such as the persecution of the Christians and later the atomic bombing of Nagasaki City in World War 2. Nagasaki’s mission today is to send a message of peace and harmony to the world. Nagasaki Prefecture is also home to distinguished resorts where you can make the most of the rich natural scenery and subtropical beaches. Besides enjoying the full spectrum of the Japanese seasons, you can also partake in the gourmet food and exciting sports opportunities offered by this prefecture of sea and mountains.

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is with 3776 meters Japan's highest mountain. It is not surprising that the nearly perfectly shaped volcano has been worshiped as a sacred mountain and experienced big popularity among artists and common people throughout the centuries.

Mount Fuji is an active volcano, which most recently erupted in 1708. It stands on the border between Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures and can be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama on clear days.

Temples & Shrines

Japan contains a plethora of religious architectural structures—Kyoto alone is believed to have more than 2,000 shrines and temples. But it is not only in the big cities where you can find majestic Buddhist temples and shrines; nearly every Japanese village has its own shrine or temple. Famous temples usually charge admission fees and close by 16:00. Most Japanese shrines and temples are set in beautiful gardens and are often connected to local festivals.

Temples came along with the import of Buddhism from China around the 6th century. At first, temples resembled those in China closely in features, such as having wide courtyards and symmetrical layouts. Some of the oldest surviving temple buildings exhibiting these features can be found in Nara, in particular at Horyuji (the world's oldest wooden structure), Todaiji (the world's largest wooden structure), Yakushiji and Kofukuji. Asukadera, located about 25 kilometers south of Nara City, is considered the oldest Buddhist institution in Japan.

As time passed, temples were increasingly designed to suit local tastes. Newly introduced sects from the mainland contributed to new temple architecture styles. Temples began to exhibit less symmetrical features, and many started to incorporate gardens in their compounds. Temples were also founded in more remote places and in the mountains, which had more varied layouts owing to complex topographies. Like shrines, temples buildings were also lost over time and the ones that exist across the country today are mostly a few centuries old.

Travel Agency (IACE)

Established 1970, IACE TRAVEL has been planning vacations and arranging all kinds of discounted airline tickets for families and individuals including students, businessmen/women, and military service members both in Japan and USA.

IACE has 42 branches in Japan and 350 employees. Services provided include: Airline tickets (unrestricted, coach/business/first-class discounted tickets, military discount, group discount, domestic), package tour, hotel rent-a-car, optional tours, visa processing, and travel insurance.

MWR Tickets and Tours (ITT)

Our ITT department will give you the experience of your life; traveling throughout Japan and for an unbeatable price. Tours to famous zoos and parks, shopping at the latest trendy malls, Tokyo sightseeing, Mt. Fuji sightseeing, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, hot springs and spas, children’s parks, World Heritages such as: Nikko Toshogu, Kyoto, Himeji Castle, Hiroshima Peace Park & Dome, Hiroshima Miyajima, etc., and much, much more.

Japan government lodging information source:

New Sanno

The New Sanno Hotel, situated in the heart of the exciting Tokyo, offers 149 luxurious rooms, a variety of accommodations and restaurants in a helpful, English-speaking environment. It offers a swimming pool, recreational facilities, a Navy Exchange, and other services designed specifically for military travelers.

The New Sanno Hotel is available to active duty and retired U.S. military personnel eligible to use other Armed Forces Recreation Centers, as well as DoD civilian employees duty stationing in Japan, contractors on DoD orders to execute contracts for the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Japan, US Embassy Tokyo personnel and individuals administratively attached to U.S. Embassy Tokyo.

The New Sanno Hotel delivers a tremendous value for travelers especially when compared to comparable hotels in the Tokyo area.

Hardy Barracks (Tokyo Recreational Lodging)

The U.S. Army Garrison Honshu, Tokyo Administration Facility, a.k.a. Hardy Barracks is available to all services and ranks. Open 24 hours (but check in on the 4th floor before 9pm), Hardy Barracks offers twin rooms, shared bathrooms, AC, TV, radio, and refrigerator at low costs. There are 24 rooms and reservations may be made up to 14 days in advance. Personnel on TDY status have priority, and there is an additional charge for children.

Tama Hills

Tama Hills Recreation Area comprises about one-half of the 500-acre Tama Services Division Annex, the other half being the very popular Tama Hills Golf Course. It’s an easy 60-minute drive time from Yokota AB. The quiet atmosphere boasts a fine selection of lodges, cabins, and campsites nestled amidst serene mountains. Activities include hiking, horseback riding, paintball, bicycling, archery, and miniature golf through the Tama Outdoor Recreation Office. Softball fields, picnic shelters, and a children’s play park are also available. Special activities include a Friendship Festival, tournaments, outdoor concerts, block parties and the Tour de Tama mountain bike race. Tama is also a popular gathering place for group parties, weddings, and reunions.

Kanto Lodge

Yokota Air Base's lodging operation, the Kanto Lodge, is one of Pacific Air Force's largest hotel operations. Each year, over 130,000 people are housed in the Kanto Lodge's six on-base facilities.

As Yokota is the main aerial port of Western Pacific, it consistently operates at 96 to 100 percent occupancy. Most Permanent Change of Station, or PCS, personnel and their families coming in and leaving Yokota stay at the Kanto Lodge's Temporary Lodging Facilities, or TLF.

Navy Lodge Yokosuka

Navy Lodge Yokosuka is conveniently located to family resources such as Navy Exchange, Commissary, Family Housing Center, PSD, Fitness Center/Gym, Marina, Tennis Courts, Bowling Alley, Child Care Center, MWR Recreational Center, Movie Theater, Hospital, Restaurants located on Base, includes: Sbarros, Starbucks, McDonald's, Manchu Wok to name a few, and Navy Federal Credit Union.

The nearest airport to our location is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 1 hour to/from Navy Lodge Yokosuka. Alternate Airports include Tokyo Narita Airport in which PSD provides free round trip transportation service via a bus for persons on orders and on a Space Available basis. The NEX also has a taxi service which will provide transportation to/from the airport when arranged. The service costs $150 US, for one way. Public Train service is also available to/from Yokosuka to Narita International Airport.

From Navy Lodge Yokosuka you are able to visit numerous historic and fun attractions via MWR / ITT tours and / or via the extensive train system from Yokosuka. Yokohama City (30 minutes from Yokosuka) offers Landmark Tower, Cosmo World, retail stores, and many national museums to name a few. Tokyo (1.5 hours) offers the big city life of Japan and is short train rides to areas such as Harajuku, Shibuya and Shinjuku all areas known for shopping, restaurants, museums, and parks. Tokyo Disney Land & Sea is another major fun thing to do if your time allows.

Navy Gateway Inn & Suites – Yokosuka

Navy Gateway Inns & Suites Yokosuka is located at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka. It is located about 30 miles southwest of Japan's capital city, Tokyo, on the east coast of the main island, Honshu.

Navy Lodge Sasebo

Navy Lodge Sasebo is conveniently located to family resources such as: Navy Exchange, Commissary, Family Housing Center, PSD, Fitness Center/Gym, Marina, Tennis Courts, Bowling Alley, Child Care Center, MWR Recreational Center, Movie Theater, and Navy Federal Credit Union.

Navy Lodge Sasebo is located on Kyushu Island, (bordering /near Sasebo Harbor), about 45 miles (1.5 hour drive) from the prefecture's capital of Nagasaki and 78 miles (2 hour drive) from Fukuoka, (largest city on the island). Sasebo is about 600 miles by air from Tokyo. Navy Lodge Sasebo can also be reached by the Bullet Train from Tokyo. The city and nearby area are generally rural in comparison to other fleet concentration areas and features stunning natural beauty, including nearby 99 Islands National Park.

MWR offers special fares, travel and tours from Fleet Activities Sasebo, subject to availability. Theme parks nearby are Kijima Kogen Amusement Park, Harmonyland (Hello Kitty Land) Amusement Park, and Space World Amusement Park.

Other entertainment sites of interest are: Nagasaki City Day Tour, Thriller Fantasy Musem Husin Ten Bosch, and Saikai Pearl Sea Aquarium.

Historical sites to visit are: Nagasaki City Peace Park, Hirado City Day Tour, Arita China Museum, and Cherry Blossom viewing in the spring time.

Local popular restaurants are Harbor View Club, Chop's Steak House and Chili's Restaurant to name a few.

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