Kyoto Travel Guide

Kyoto remained the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years. It carries the repute of being one of the most beautiful cities of this world. The initial perception of Kyoto anyone would perceive is of a city that has its roots in its own traditions but is simultaneously merging with the modernization of this world.

Kyoto is served by two Osaka airports namely Kansai International Airport and Itami Airport since it does not have one of its own. But, the track between these two cities is worth more than one glance for sure. Other modes of conveyance like buses and railways can also be used. Inter-city transport comprises majorly of buses, taxis, railways and for people who want to enjoy the picturesque allure of Kyoto, the option to travel slowly on foot or bicycle has also been given. If you love getting first class importance and treatment while traveling, then you can access this city in five star rooms of first class trains or on a business class ticket in a leading airplane service to reach this city of an entirely beguiling landscape.

If you have the opportunity of visiting this aesthetically attractive city, make use of it and experience the beautiful blossoming cherries and plums. Kyoto is a world famous area that offers its visitors with an opportunity of panorama of cherries and plums especially in the season of blossom. There is a plethora of places where you can view this, for example Eastern Kyoto, Central Kyoto and Northern Kyoto.

Festivals and Events
On every 3rd and 4th February, the event of bonfire takes place on the shrine of Yoshida. The perfect season to view the bloom of cherries is April 1 – April 15. Visitors throng in huge numbers to take one glance at this. Gion Masturi is another one of the most famous events of Kyoto. Daimonji Gozan Okuribi is another event of its kind whereby reverence to one’s ancestors is paid.

There are a number of options for lovers of food in Kyoto. There are numerous Japanese and Italian cafes that can cater to your needs. Kyoto is renowned internationally for its matcha and yatsuhashi. Matcha is mainly green tea but there is also some matcha ice-cream available for you. Yatsuhashi can either be raw or baked depending upon your own preference. Initially, it was made with cinnamon but now it’s always available in matcha and strawberry flavorings. Other unique specialties are inclusive of hamo, tofu, suppon and kaseki-ryori.

If you visit Kyoto in the season of bloom of cherries or in the period of Golden week, the price of accommodation would be astronomical. Most of the accommodations that cater to the needs of foreign tourists are in the central city. But a number of temples and shrines run their own lodging areas for visitors who do not have too much money to spare for 5 star accommodations. However, the staff that runs these lodging areas hardly speaks English so this is a major turn-off. Hostels are also a very reasonable and practical solution for tourists who want to live with some reduced costs but not reduced facilities.

Hangzhou Travel – Solitary Hill

Of all the travel spots commonly listed in Hangzhou, the Solitary Hill is the only one actually on the lake itself. Unlike the other travel spots, you do not need to buy a ticket to see Solitary Hill, there are no opening times and you can include it in your walk around West Lake.

The Facts

The hill stands alone on the lake surrounded by water so it was called Solitary Hill. It is also a place of solitude for ancient poets and scholars.

The peak of the hill is 38 meters above sea level and easily scaled making Solitary Hill more of an island with a bump than a real hill. It is the only natural island in West Lake.

Points of Interest

There is (to me) no one particular point of interest there that stands out as a must see. There are a number of points that are worth visiting as you make your way round the island.

Ancient Palaces – This part of Hangzhou was the home of three ancient imperial palaces. Emperor Lizhong of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) had their palaces on Solitary Hill. You can see the foundations of these palaces as you walk around the island and some of the older foundations have been enclosed in protective display cases.

Tomb of Qiu Jin – Qiu Jin was a famous female revolutionary at the end of the Qing Dynasty. Qiu Jin was a member of a revolutionary society dedicated to the overthrow of the corrupt Manchu government. She was caught and beheaded in 1907, only 5 years before the formation of the Republic of China in 1912.

Lin Bu’s Tomb – Lin Bu is one of the well known poets of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1227) who chose to live at Solitary Hill in isolation. Ironically he was a poet of the reclusive school/field of poetry.

Crane Pavilion – Also called the Tending Crane Pavilion. Lin Heqing, a famous poet from the Song Dynasty lived in seclusion at Solitary Hill where he tended plum trees and a crane. The Crane Pavilion was built in his memory.

Getting There

Solitary Hill is located at the northern end of West Lake and can be accessed from the eastern side by Bai Cause Way and from the western side by a bridge near the Temple of General Yue Fei and near the beginning of the Su Causeway.

You can ride onto the island and access most parts by bike and there are bike stations at the causeway entrance. You can also catch the K7, 81 and 850 public buses and the Y9 tourist bus.

Working Holiday Visas For New Zealand – Seasonal Work And Travel Insurance

A working holiday visa to New Zealand allows you to work in a variety of jobs, with one of the main attractions for many young travellers being seasonal work such as fruit picking and vegetable harvesting. This type of work requires no previous experience, provides training on the job, and is available almost all year round. This article explains the working holiday visa, what seasonal work is available, where and when, and what working holiday travel insurance you will require for your trip.

Working Holiday Visa

With winter settling in over the southern hemisphere, now is the time to start planning your summer trip to New Zealand. If you are eligible, the New Zealand working holiday visa is a perfect opportunity for you to enter New Zealand (NZ) and work legally. NZ currently has agreements with 34 countries and the visa allows you to work here for 12 months, and up to 3 months for any one employer.

You can apply online for your visa on the Immigration NZ website. Here they provide a list of Countries that are part of the working holiday agreement, age and other criteria, and they outline they process you have to follow to successfully apply for your visa. Applying for your visa isn’t hard, and the application usually doesn’t take very long.

Seasonal Work

If you time it right, then you can arrive just in time for fruit picking season. During this season you can pick up work harvesting or packing fruit, vegetables and grapes, pruning trees, and help maintain crops.

The beginning of the season is usually about October, this is when strawberries come into season. The regions strawberries are grown include the Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Horowhenua. You could stay picking strawberries right through to March, otherwise the summerfruit harvest starts in November in the Hawke’s Bay and December in Central Otago. Summerfruit includes cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums. The season for summerfruit goes through to early March. In mid-February to mid-May you will get the apple harvest in regions mentioned above and in Nelson.

All growers will provide on the job training, so all they require is for you to be fit, and have good vision! Fruit harvesting is the perfect way to see the Country, and meet locals and other travellers while earning money.

Working Holiday Travel Insurance

Whenever you travel it is important to have appropriate travel insurance. If you are travelling to NZ on a work visa, then you are also required to have adequate medical insurance. There is a wide range of travel insurance policies available through a number of different insurers.

Working holiday travel insurance should protect you for a range of activities, including horticultural work, and cover areas such as medical expenses, repatriation, lost baggage, theft etc.

Although NZ is regarded as a safe country to travel there is still theft, especially in many tourist hot spots. Accidents can happen anywhere, and you have to pay for your medical care in NZ, that is why medical insurance is important. Lost baggage, missed flights, cancellations etc, are unforeseeable events that can happen when you travel. Having a suitable travel insurance policy will give you peace of mind when these things happen.

In conclusion, we encourage you to take advantage of the working holiday visa scheme that NZ offers. You should also investigate seasonal work as an option and the many informative websites about this type of work. But most importantly, make sure you take out appropriate working holiday travel insurance to both meet your visa requirements and to give you the peace of mind you need to travel abroad.