It’s no wonder that after the unbelievable amount of work you do throughout the year, you feel maxed-out after a while. You’re a human being, after all, bound to reach a breaking point every now and then.

It is in these moments, when you’re feeling down and out, that you should consider going on vacation so you can relieve all the pent-up stress. No need to overthink it. Just act spontaneously, pack your bags, and head over to one of the most beautiful places on the planet: Japan. I’m here to help you make the most out of your trip, by narrowing down the following must-see locations.

Kyoto’s Arashiyama Grove

Sometimes, the best way to feel alive is by going to your roots and connecting with your inner-self. A silent stroll through a quiet, calm natural scenery can conduct such magic. Arashiyama’s spiritually enlightening bamboo forest is the perfect spot for letting go of your tensions and meditating. Its trails are about 500 meters long, and are lined on both sides by towering bamboos, which then lead to a famous shrine and a temple. You can reach the Saga-Arashiyama Station by train, then cycle your way up the trails. This grove has served as creative inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki in his world-famous Japanese animated films, which you can stream right on your high-definition Xfinity TV, if you want to see the lush greenness before experiencing it.

Kyushu’s Gokase River

In the prefecture on the southern side of Kyushu Island lies a quaint little town with a wonderfully vast river, mystic waterfalls, and weeping cherry blossom trees. During the summer, you can go on an exhilarating kayaking adventure on the crystal clear Gokase River, and get the rowing experience of your life. Or you can trek through the place and dive into the refreshing waterfalls, which hide away in nooks you’ll want to explore. If it is winter, snowboarding and skiing will get your energy right back up.

Hida Takayama’s Street

If you’re looking for an escape from your gritty reality, plunge into the fantastic culture of Hida Takayama. A walk through Sanmachi Street presents a preserved chunk of Japan’s splendid Edo period when it was at its highest. Dark-wood houses of magnificent architecture line the broad street. There are coffee and sake stalls, plus shops selling antique trinkets. All you need to do is cross the bridge and lose yourself in a magnificent past picture of Japanese culture.

Kinosaki’s Onsen

Water is a healing element. It has a curious way of untying many of the knots which build up in your body over time. Just let it wash over you, and take all your frustration away. And what’s better than visiting a Japanese town built on the very concept of onsen (hot spring revitalization)? Once there, you can get a full body massage, relax in the hot springs, walk around in a yukata (light kimono) and geta (wooden clog sandals), eat the traditional food at the ryokan, and calm yourself by taking in the natural scenery.

Hokkaido’s Furano Fields

There’s something about flowers which make them so attractive. Either it’s the color, the texture, the scent, or perhaps it’s all of these factors. Together, they appeal to our senses more than anything, setting our imagination on fire. Hokkaido’s Furano Fields leave precisely this impression on one’s soul. Wherever you look, there are endless fields of flowers, especially the soothing lavender. Take a walk through them, or a bus ride, and you’ll definitely not regret it.

So if you’re stressed out, stop waiting around and get your adventure on! Visit these Japanese natural sanctuaries, and give new strength to your depressed spirit.

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Norway is a country which lies on top of the arctic circle, and even claims ownership of an island located between Argentina and Antarctica. There are many things Norway is known for, from it’s beautiful Fjords, to the equally beautiful Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

  1. Monty Python’s famous movie; Life of Brian was banned in Norway due to reasons of Blasphemy. That made the neighbouring country Sweden market their movie as being “So funny it was outlawed in Norway.” [Source]
  2. To become a police officer in this country, you are required to have foregone a 3 year education at a higher level university college especially meant for police cadets. The reward is that not only are you allowed to police once graduating, but you also get your very own bachelor’s degree in “Police Studies” as a benefit, this is similar to what happens in Denmark[Source]
  3. While the Japanese are famously fond of Sushi, it wasn’t until a combined Norwegian marketing effort that Salmon sushi, called Sashimi in Japanese became a thing. Before the campaign the Japanese people believed this particular raw trout species as being dangerous because of their experiences with the Pacific salmon. However the Atlantic salmon that the Norwegians had plenty of in their waters was perfectly safe to eat in it’s raw form and slowly they managed to get the message through. [Source] 
  4. The English king Henry the Third once was gifted a live polar bear from the Norwegian King Haakon of Norway. This was way back in the middle of the 13th century, back when the Tower of London was very much maintained at it’s fullest, so it served as a great deterrent for would be escapees, and was even put on a leash so it could hunt for fish in the river Thames. [Source]
  5. The Norwegian vikings sure knew how to live life. Harald Hadrada was one such a man. He fled from Norway due east towards the Russian Empire, where he gained temporary exile. However he quickly moved once more, to the Eastern Roman Empire and went on to become a member of a special unity of Nordic guards protecting the King and fighting as mercenaries at other times. His travels took him as far as modern Iraq in the middle-east, before he returned to marry a Russian princess. With this new support he returned to his home country and took to the throne, before finally invading England to round things out. [Source]
  6. If you are granted access to the country, you are allowed to study in any of Norway’s public universities without having to pay any tuition. This is all part of the government’s scheme to establish Norway as a center of learning in the world. [Source]
  7. And once more back to the heroic and this time romantic viking Kings. King Harald of Norway was not allowed to marry his chosen love by the court and advisors around him, so in protest he publicly declared he would remain without a wife forever, and therefore put uncertainty as to the succession and safety of the crown, if he was not allowed to marry his childhood sweetheart.  She was eventually crowned as Queen of Norway alongside her Husband, King Harald. [Source]