Top 5 Places to Visit it Shanghai

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The Bund
The Bund or Waitan is a famous waterfront area in central Shanghai. The area centres on a section of Zhongshan Road within the former Shanghai International Settlement, which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River, in the eastern part of Huangpu District. The Bund usually refers to the buildings and wharves on this section of the road, as well as some adjacent areas. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai.

Some of the most famous and attractive sight for tours around China at the west side of the Bund are the 26 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.

The main attractions on The Bund for China tours are the Group of sculptures: Light of Huangpu River, Sail, and Wind; the Chenyi Square with a stone statue of Chenyi, who was the first mayor of Shanghai; and the Sightseeing Tunnel which is the first underwater tunnel for foot passengers in China.

The Bund was once the financial center of the Far East. It is considered the city’s symbol since the 1920s. It is often referred to as “the museum of buildings”, as many different styles of European buildings can be found here including banks, hotels, exclusive clubs, press organizations and headquarters of international concerns. Now it is even more attractive as you can also see modern skyscrapers just opposite the Huangpu River. That gives you a strong contrast between modern life and the past.

Nanjing Road
Nanjing Road is the main shopping street of Shanghai, China, and is one of the world’s busiest shopping streets. It is also the world’s longest shopping district; around 5.5km long, and attracts over 1 million visitors daily.

Nanjing Road comprises two sections, Nanjing Road East and Nanjing Road West. East Nanjing Road is a dedicated commercial zone. In the east is the central section of the Bund and west of the Bund precinct was traditionally the hub of European-style restaurants and cafes, although in recent years these have become less of a feature as the demographics of visitors to Nanjing Road have shifted from affluent local residents to visitors from around the country. Close by is the Central Market, a century-old outdoor market today specialising in electronic components and digital media. Further west is the Nanjing Road pedestrian mall, the location of most of Shanghai’s oldest and largest department stores, as well as a variety of domestic retail outlets, and some traditional eateries with a long history that provides a unique China experience.

Today East Nanjing Road becomes the first choice for many fashion-seeking shoppers.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower
The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower is a TV tower in Shanghai, China. Its location at the tip of Lujiazui in the Pudong district, by the side of Huangpu River, opposite of the Bund makes it a distinct landmark in Shanghai and a place for educational tours to China.

The Tower was designed by the Shanghai Modern Architectural Design Co. Ltd. Construction began in 1990 and the tower was completed in 1994. At 468 m (1,535 feet) high, it is one of the tallest structures in China, the highest in Asia and the third highest in the world. It is classified as an AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration in 2007.

The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower is a multifunctional venue with sight-seeing, restaurants, shopping, entertainment, Shanghai History Museum, Cruise Dock and a theatre for cultural performances. It has already become one of the most symbolic venues and tourism resources in Shanghai and it is acclaimed as one of the ten best views in Shanghai for tours around China.

The tower includes 15 spheres of different sizes at different levels creating an artistic conception of “large and small pearls dropping onto a jade plate”. There is a revolving teahouse and a sightseeing platform in the TV tower, where the largest ball can accommodate 1600 people. Here visitors on guided tours to China can get a panoramic view of the Bund and Pudong New area. There are 6 elevators within the tower, five of which are installed in the three columns, including a double-decked one, and another one runs between the height of 250 meters and 341 meters. Two medium-sized elevators, accommodating 30 persons each and running at a speed of 7 meters per second, cover the distance from the bottom of the tower to the highest sphere in 40 seconds.

French Concession Region
The French Concession is the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today’s Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan’s Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is also home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for tourists on travel tours to China. Xuhui is also popular for tourists and is home to Shanghai Stadium.
After the Opium War of 1842, Shanghai had been opened up for foreign trade and it soon became home to several foreigners. The colonial French officers then created a district in 1849 for French people. The area expanded in 1900-1914, making it one of the most affluent and the best residential areas in the city. The early residents of the area were mostly French but the Chinese, Russia, American and British also lived in the area later. The area was ruled by French for around a century till 1943.

The French Concession area is called as the Paris of East due to its several Tudor mansions, tree lined avenues, wrought iron fences and stair railings that’s very reminiscent of neighborhoods in France.

Some of the highlights of the area for tour packages to China include Xinle Road and Changle Road, the best places for finding designer stores; The Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling, one of the main attractions which was built in the Xujiahui District where today the area has a small museum which is home to several artifacts related to Chinese politics leading up to the founding of PRC; Fuxing Park, a European style park which was earlier called the French Park and is very popular with the locals, with open spaces, gardens and dotted with clubs and restaurants, the park sees singing groups, tai chi artists, mahjong and card players and dancers in the mornings and visitors can walk along the Fuxing Road to see classical old Chinese-European buildings and enjoy the historical neatness of the road; The Cemetery of Longhua Martyrs, is more of a memorial garden and museum than a graveyard, but the acreage is beautiful and large.

Yuyuan Garden
Yuyuan Garden is a famous classical garden located in Anren Jie, Shanghai. It was first established in Ming dynasty in 1577 by a mandarin named Pan yunduan who used to be the governor of Sichuan and later expanded greatly. The Yuyuan Garden was considered the best garden in southeast China. It enjoyed a history over 400 years since its first establishment by Pan yunduan who had intended to bring happiness and pleasure to his parents and relatives. Yuyuan Garden is a place of peace and comfort in the heart of bustling Shanghai.

It became the headquarters of the dagger association or small-sword group uprising (an uprising in 1853 led by the dagger association, a secret organization, against the foreign imperialists in Shanghai and Xiamen of Fujian province). Now a great number of weapons, home-made coins and announcements used by the dagger association are on display in the spring hall of the garden. A large-scale restoration of the Yuyuan garden was conducted after the establishment of prc and it was opened to the public formally in 1961. It is one of the places visited in all inclusive tours to China.

Upon entering the garden, you will encounter a rockery, which is called the Great Rockery. With a height of 14 meters (about 50 feet), it is the largest as well as the oldest rockery in the southern region of the Yangtze River. On the top of the rockery, visitors who travel to China can get a bird’s eye view of the garden. Cuixiu Hall sits at the foot of the rockery. It is a quiet and elegant place surrounded by old trees and beautiful flowers. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters all have unique characteristics. There are six main scenic areas here: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden.

These top 5 places to visit in Shanhai are just a few of the amazing
sites Shanghai has to offer.

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Strange Tourist Attractions in Japan
Charge of the fembots 1, Robot Restaurant, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Charge of the fembots 1, Robot Restaurant, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Photo credit: gruntzooki / Foter / CC BY-SA

Robot Restaurant
Robot Restaurant is located in a basement in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district. The restaurant sports bikini-clad women staging mock battles using enormous robots. It is more of a performance venue than an eatery; the show will assault your senses in a fun-filled hour of noise, light and kitsch and it is in the heart of the well-known Kabukicho entertainment district, a popular place for Japan tours.

The front entrance is manned by a brontosaurus, a robot, and various costumed attendants and The waiting area and passage down to the theater are littered with glittering mirrors, lights, colours and images. The show itself is a cavalcade of action and frenzy–with robot fights, dancing girls, machines and gadgets, music, special effects and an intermission break that gives the audience a chance to pose with the cast. There are normally 3 shows per night (Tuesdays through Saturdays) at 7, 8:30, and 10pm.

Jigokudani Monkey Park
Jigokudani Monkey Park is part of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park (locally known as Shigakogen), and is located in the valley of the Yokoyu-River. The name Jigokudani, meaning “Hell’s Valley”, is due to the steam and boiling water that bubbles out of small crevices in the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs and formidably cold and hostile forests.

The heavy snowfalls (snow covers the ground for 4 months a year), an elevation of 850 metres, and being only accessible via a narrow two kilometre footpath through the forest, keep Jigokudani uncrowded despite it being relatively well-known as part of travel packages to Japan. The park is famous for its large population of wild Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata), more commonly referred to as Snow Monkeys, that go to the valley during the winter, foraging elsewhere in the national park during the warmer months.

The monkeys descend from the steep cliffs and forest to sit in the warm waters of the hotsprings, and return to the security of the forests in the evenings. Since the establishment of Jigokudani Yaen-koen in 1964, it has been a worldwide popular place for Japan tours for watching the bathing monkeys and for ecological observation of researchers or photographers.

Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is a museum dedicated to instant noodles and Cup Noodles, as well as its creator and founder, Momofuku Ando.

The museum has an instant ramen workshop allowing visitors on Japan tour packages to make their own “fresh” instant noodles (fresh as in just made). Reservations must be made in advance to enjoy this feature at the museum. There is also a noodle factory where visitors can assemble their own personal Cup Noodles from pre-made ingredients for a small fee of 300 yen.
Just after World War II, before there ever was an instant noodle, the Japanese people were hungry. Recovering from a lost war left the nation with food shortages. Momofuku Ando, later to become founder of Nissin, was struck by something he saw at that time: long lines stretching out in front of ramen shops. It gave him the idea of making ramen available to people, in his words, “anytime, anywhere.”

Just inside the doors of the museum is a glass case filled with medals and letters of recognition, not only from Japanese universities, but from culinary institutions as far away as Los Angeles and Brazil, all commending Ando for having invented the instant noodle. Inside you can see the kind of tools he worked with, the ingredients he used, and even a replica of the sink where he diligently washed his hands.

Walking through the rest of the museum you will find hands-on exhibits of the kind often seen in science museums. There are cranks to turn, doors to slide, draws to be pulled out, automated demonstrations and quizzes.
Then there are the modern additions of computer terminals and electronic games. In an interactive format, they tell the story of the challenges faced and overcome in making instant noodles what they are today.

Yoro Park: The Site of Reversible Destiny
Yoro Park, The Site of Reversible Destiny was opened in October 1995 and is an “experience park” conceived on the theme of encountering the unexpected. By guiding visitors on tours to Japan through various unexpected experiences as they walk through its component areas, the site offers them opportunities to rethink their physical and spiritual orientation to the world. The site consists of a main pavilion, the Critical Resemblance House, the Elliptical Field and the Reversible Destiny Office.

The Reversible Destiny Office was added in April 1997 and houses information about the site, drawings and other works, and screens a documentary about the site’s construction. The site presents itself to the visitor as a carefully considered construction of undulating planes, shifting colors, and disorienting spaces, thus providing a place of purposeful experimentation.

Yoro Park has grown around Yoro Falls, placed among the top 100 waterfalls in Japan and claimed by Emperor Gensyou to not only give silky smooth skin after only one wash, but to cure all diseases as well.

Cat Island
Tashirojima is a small island in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan that lies in the Pacific Ocean off the Oshika Peninsula. It is an inhabited by about 100 people, down from around 1000 people in the 1950s and has become known as “Cat Island” due to the large stray cat population that thrives as a result of the local belief that feeding cats will bring wealth and good fortune. The cat population is now larger than the human population on the island.

The island is divided into two villages: Oodomari and Nitoda. There is a small cat shrine, known as Neko-jinja, in the middle of the island, roughly situated between the two villages. In the past, the islanders raised silkworms for silk, and cats were kept in order to keep the mouse population down (because mice are a natural predator of silkworms).

Fixed-net fishing was popular on the island after the Edo Period and fishermen from other areas would come and stay on the island overnight. The cats would go to the inns where the fishermen were staying and beg for scraps. Over time, the fishermen developed a fondness for the cats and would observe the cats closely, interpreting their actions as predictions of the weather and fish patterns. One day, when the fishermen were collecting rocks to use with the fixed-nets, a stray rock fell and killed one of the cats. The fishermen, feeling sorry for the loss of the cat, buried it and enshrined it at this location on the island.

Many cat lovers come to the island on packaged tours to Japan.

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Old Shanghai vs New Shanghai

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Shanghai, the largest city by population in the world, has been growing at a rate of about 10 percent a year over the past 20 years, and now is home to 23.5 million people — nearly double what it was back in 1987. The colonial Chinese city is feted for its historical architecture, but the Shanghai of today is emblematic of a very modern China. In Shanghai, new development is pushing out the traditional neighborhoods.

Less than 25 years ago, the very skyline that enveloped James Bond in Skyfall was simply a glint in Deng Xiaoping’s eye. In 1978, the Chinese leader chose southerly Guangdong Province as his laboratory for economic reform, and while newly-christened Special Economic Zones like Shenzhen raced ahead, Shanghai languished in something of a malaise. Only when new Chinese president Jiang Zemin — himself a former Shanghai party boss — assumed office did the city’s economic fortunes begin to turn.

Despite the glitz, Pudong isn’t all that exciting of a place to hang out. Most of Shanghai’s culture, history, and nightlife happens on the other side of the Huangpu River, and many of Shanghai’s residents — both local and foreign — regard Pudong as a soulless ghost town. But the very fact that it exists is a perfect symbol of the vast scale of China’s development. It was Shanghai’s composure during the Tiananmen movement that finally won it the go-ahead to develop Pudong — and ultimately shift all of China to its model of economic openness.

The Tiananmen crackdown initially appeared to slow down Shanghai’s reopening. Following the massacre, a development loan for the construction of Shanghai’s new subway system got held up for six months. But seven months after the crisis, during his Chinese New Year visit, Deng told Shanghai’s authorities to fast-track the development of Pudong. Two months later, the State Council approved the Pudong New Area as a Special Economic Zone. And Deng himself christened the city the “Head of the Dragon,” re-anointing Shanghai as China’s economic hub. The following year, Mayor Zhu convinced the visiting Deng to support his ambitious plan to turn Pudong into far more than just another manufacturing SEZ. Zhu envisioned the new Shanghai as the trade and finance capital of Asia, the Wall Street of the East.

The speed and efficiency with which the Communist authorities would move Shanghai from mothballed relic of the past to stunning vision of the future would rattle the world. In just 20 years, the city’s people went from commuting to run-down factories by bicycle to riding to the city’s new international airport on the fastest train on earth. Makeshift huts were replaced by a high-rise cityscape boasting more skyscrapers than Manhattan. And the Shanghainese would go from agonizing over each year’s rice harvest to enjoying a life expectancy higher than America’s.

 


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Old Shanghai was just warehouses and shacks and rice paddies, with people living there. They were moved. In Pudong, 300,000 residents were pushed out of their homes and relocated to high-rise apartments. The repetitive rehousing slabs — just stacks of simple rooms rising 25 stories in the air — may have been a physical improvement over the shacks of the old Pudong, but many inhabitants were loath to move, fearing the destruction of their village-like neighbourhoods’ sense of community. Those who failed to appreciate their government’s largesse were forcibly evicted by armed police and hired goons. Oftentimes, the authorities would cut off water and electricity to neighbourhoods they were clearing to convince the hesitant. Overall, one million families were moved in the effort to remake Shanghai.

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Mt Fuji Facts
Mount Fuji Tokyo Japan

The beautiful Mt Fuji seen from above, Japan.

 

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Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 m is an active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707–08. Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometres south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji’s exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers and tourists on educational tours to Japan.

Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. It is also a ‘Special Place of Scenic Beauty’ and one of Japan’s Historic Sites. It was added to the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site on June 22, 2013. As per UNESCO, Mount Fuji has “inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries”. The summit has been thought of as sacred since ancient times and was forbidden to women until the Meiji Era.

Mount Fuji is the 35th most prominent mountain in the world with a circumference of 78 miles and a diameter of 30 miles. Its crater is 820 feet deep and has a surface diameter of 1,600 feet.

It is thought that the first person to climb Mount Juji was an anonymous monk. The first ascent by a foreigner was by Sir Rutherford Alcock in September 1868, from the foot of the mountain to the top in eight hours and three hours for the descent. Lady Fanny Parkes, the wife of British ambassador Sir Harry Parkes, was the first non-Japanese woman to ascend Mount Fuji in 1869. Photographer Felix Beato climbed Mount Fuji that same year.

On March 5, 1966, BOAC Flight 911, broke up in flight and crashed near the Mount Fuji Gotemba New fifth station, shortly after departure from Tokyo International Airport. All 113 passengers and 11 crew members died in that disaster, which was attributed to extreme clear air turbulence caused by lee waves downwind of the mountain. There is a memorial for the crash a short distance down from the Gotemba New fifth station.

Today, Mount Fuji is an international destination for tourism and mountain climbing. A well-known Japanese saying suggests that a wise person will climb Mt. Fuji once in their lifetime, but only a fool would climb it twice.

One of the most interesting Mount Fuji facts is that this volcanic mountain is actually three separate volcanoes, one on top of the other. The bottom layer is the Komitake volcano, then the Kofuji volcano, then Fuji, which is the youngest of the three.

The climbing season for Mount Fuji is very short. It begins on the first day in July, and it ends in the last week of August on the 27th. This means climbing season lasts less than two months.

The last eruption of this volcano started in December of 1707 and continued until the first day of the New Year in 1708. The eruption produced a large 8.4 magnitude earthquake devastating Honshu island, followed by several smaller earthquakes felt near Mt Fuji. On the first day of the eruption, 72 houses and 3 Buddhist temples were destroyed in Subassiri town 10 km from the volcano. Violent explosions were recorded until 25-27 December, before the eruption calmed down and ended on 1st January 1708. Between 2000 and 2001, seismic activity under the volcano was at slightly elevated levels, rising concern about a possible reawakening of the volcano.

Japan tours that include climbing Mt. Fuji can involve any one of the seven available paths to the top. Climbers will come across many different earth types along the way no matter which path they follow.

In July the daytime summit temperature without a wind chill factor is only 41 degrees Fahrenheit on average, and in August this jumps up 3 degrees for an average of 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mount Fuji is the most climbed mountain in the world with over 100,000 people trekking to the summit every year. Unlike many sacred mountains, people make pilgrimages to climb the peak. About 30% of climbers are foreigners on tours to Japan, with the rest being Japanese.

Mount Fuji, one of the world’s most beautiful mountains, is Japan’s most popular attraction. It’s loved for its beauty and symmetry, and has been painted and photographed by generations of artists. Springtime is perhaps the most beautiful time of the year to see Fuji. The snow-covered mountain is framed by pink cherry blossoms, giving Fuji the name Konohana-Sakuahime, which means “causing the blossom to brightly bloom.”

Shanghai Street Art

 

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One of the paintings by Shi Zheng appearing on a demolished wall in Shanghai, China

 

Shanghai Street art in China is a rare phenomenon and one that is causing waves in the Jing’an district of Shanghai. This small, traditional neighbourhood  is slowly disappearing, with old buildings being demolished to make way for new developments. On the crumbling remains are poignant works of art, the work of french graffiti artist Julien Malland and Chinese artist Shi Zheng.

The images are nostalgic reminders of old Shanghai and represent the unwillingness of residents to let go of the old neighbourhoods to make way for the relentless economic development sweeping most major cities in China.

The images send a powerful message as they stand amongst the rubble and have been popular with locals and foreigners alike. But with this attention has come action from the authorities, who have authorised the removal of the graffiti.

Jing’an is just one example of local residents coming together to offer a silent and unified demonstration against China’s relentless construction boom. They stand amongst the few remaining shikumen – the narrow townhouses that are an eclectic mix of Western and Chinese architecture – as they are demolished into non-existence.

 

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