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My 10 Most Favorite City Overlooks

For nearly 400 posts, this is only the first time that I’ve done a travel related top 10 ranking post.

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These are based on MY preferences out of MY travel experiences.

10. Stratosphere [Las Vegas, Nevada]

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You can view the pretty casino lights and themes of the Sin City from Stratosphere. However, I heard seeing it from the top of Mandalay Bay is so much better especially it being near the main sights.

 09. The Castle of Kavala [Kavala, Greece]

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One of the most underrated travel destinations has one of my best overlooking views I’ve ever seen.

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08. Chania [Crete, Greece]

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This is a very personal choice, mainly because that’s a view from my apartment when I was in Greece.🙂 You can see the similar view from Koukouvaya Cafe or Nymfes Cafe; or see the other side at Mega Place; all in Chania.

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07. Eiffel Tower [Paris, France]

Well, duh! I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m including the City of Light on the list.

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 06. Tokyo Tower, Skytree, World Trade Center [Tokyo, Japan]

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I was shocked how concrete Tokyo really is. Skyscrapers everywhere. But don’t be alarmed, there are still a lot of hidden nature gems scattered around this city. You just not have to keep a wider look.🙂 The top picture is from Skytree. The bottom picture shows Tokyo Tower as seen from World Trade Center.

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 05. Michelangelo Plaza [Florence, Italy]

I love Florence. I’m sure not everyone agrees, but I actually prefer it over Venice.😉

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 04. Griffith Park Observatory [Los Angeles, California]

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An outstanding vantage point to view the Hollywood Sign, the California sun, and LA’s skyline.

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03. Acropolis [Athens, Greece]

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Acropolis means the highest point of a city in Greece. Despite the bad reps of Athens from being messy, crowded, and congested, I actually love the city for its numerous attractions and historical presence. Get atop the Acropolis and see the concrete jungle that is Athens.

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02. Oia [Santorini, Greece]

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Santorini is popular for all the right reasons.

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It’s a tight competition between this and my #1.

01. Capri, Italy

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How I wish I could just fly and glide through this gorgeous overlooking view.

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Dang! I, myself, am day-dreaming of going to these places.

Well there you have it, folks. These are my most favorite city overlooking views. Care to share some of yours?

Others into considerations:

Palazzo Pubblico [San Marino, Italy]; Old Fortress [Corfu, Greece]; San Francisco, California; Rome, Italy; Urasoe [Okinawa, Japan]; Paleochora, Chania [Crete, Greece]; Cabrillo National Monument [San Diego]; Paul Getty Center [Los Angeles]; White Tower [Thessaloniki, Greece]; Serra Cross Park [Ventura, California]; Jerez, Spain; Naxos, Greece;  La Fortezza [Rethymno, Greece]; etc.

I hope to see you on my 400th post, coming up next!

Ueno, Japan

Need to get something or do something in Japan?

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Ueno has got everything.

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It has got everything Japanese.

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Temples and shrines …

Colors, signs, characters, and decorations…

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Shisa, lanterns, and taiko drums …

Pachinko places that will tear yours ears into pieces. These machines are deafening …

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Ueno Park reminds me so much of Balboa Park in San Diego where the zoo, museums, gardens and others are all in one general area.

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Statues …

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Oh my gracious goodness, everyone is on their cellphone!!!

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It turns out that the whole place is a Wifi area.

My favorite of the gazillion things to do and see in Ueno is the Cat Cafe…

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…. but that’s on the next post.🙂

* Most images are taken with a cellphone.

Last Calls …

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Tokyo at Night, as seen from World Trade Center

Tokyo can be so overwhelming.

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It really is a buzzing metropolis of tall buildings, blinding lights, whizzing cars and dense population.

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Having previously lived in Okinawa for 6 months, I was really taken by surprise on how different mainland Japan is.

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Tokyo is the largest city in terms of population.

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Things here can get congested, crazy, bizarre, chaotic and beautiful. Just get to one of the markets or train stations then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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And as much as I love going places where I find peace and quiet, truth is, I am a big city kind of guy because I grew up in one.

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I am an explorer and an observe so I love it when there’s so much to see and do in a city.

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The stream of commuters passing you by left and right at a train station, the outrageous signs and decorations of shops and restaurants, the array of colors and characters, the cheerful noises of greeting and invitations, intimidating skyscrapers, the maze of traffic and the congregation of pedestrians, the procession of delicacies, the unexpected quirks and surprises you encounter along the way, Japan really can be so much, but with so much to offer.

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It is overwhelming, but that sense of being in the midst of movements and sights is an incredible and wonderful feeling, and it gives great perspectives.

Last Call …

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Yokohama’s Chinatown

Before going to Yokohama’s Fireworks Festival…

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Explosions in the Sky

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I first took a detour to Chinatown in Yokohama.

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I only had a little bit of time to spare so I tried to cover as much ground as I could.

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Little did I know that this Chinatown is huge! It is THE largest in ASIA. Not just in Japan …. in Asia.

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Such a lengthy stretch of vibrancy.

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The restaurants all looked and smelled so good, and so inviting!

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a robot that greets and takes your order

So I flirted with my time schedule and gave in to temptations.

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The main attraction is the Kwan Tai Temple.

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Next time I come here, I will plan it at night or during Chinese New Year, with more time to explore, eh?😉

*Images are taken with Samsung S6 except the first two.

Last Call …

Found these two at the train station.🙂

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Tell me, have you been to any of the Chinatowns of the world?

Japan, etc.

Here are some of the “side trips” or “mini-stops” during my six months of traveling in mainland Japan.

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Yet another “side trip” driving back home from Takato Cherry Blossom Festival and Matsumoto Castle was Narai in Nagano. It is a time-warped old town where buildings where kept as they were in Edo period. It features quick stop hotels of working and walking travelers back in the old times when transportation was limited.

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It’s just so neat to know that there are places on Earth where Superman’s changing room still exist.

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Ha!😀

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I saw this on my way to Horikiri Iris Garden in Tokyo, Japan …

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…. and these “manimals”.😀

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Before witnessing Kawagoe’s Lantern Festival, we stopped by Kita-in Temple…

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… where there are also statues of 500 rakans or disciples of Buddha.

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It is said that each of the statues have different facial expressions, and that anybody could find their own resemblance to one of the statues.

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I saw my own face when I took a selfie. Ha!😀

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If you ever visit Shibuya Scramble Crossing, do not forget to pay a visit to the statue of a faithful dog named Hachiko.

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For those of who are unacquainted, Hachiko is considered a hero to the Japanese. Hachiko would go see his owner off to work in the morning at Shibuya Train Station, and went to go see him again at the same spot after work. One day, his owner never came back because he died while at work. Hachiko continued to come back to the train station in the morning and afternoon even when he already had a new owner. He became a celebrity as the story spread all over Japan. People would come by to see the dog wait and leave the train station. It continued for ten years until he died at a street near Shibuya Train Station.
There have been several movies about Hachiko, including one from the US. So if you haven’t seen the movie, then you made a huge mistake reading the paragraph. Ha!😀 Ooops, my bad.🙂

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Last one …

There is a beautiful park across the street of the Squirrel Garden in Machida called Yakushi-ike Park. So better not miss it.

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There are different flowers blooming here for every season.

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I was here in July, and there’s an abundance of lotuses. I have no cheap joke to end this one. Ha!😀

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If you’re ever here in Japan visiting major places, perhaps one of these “side trips” maybe a good idea if you have time to kill.😉

Last Calls…

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Unique Japan

From an exclusive island where you need a reason to visit it; a gigantic Buddha who/that likes to be outside,; a temple with rows and rows and rows of Jizo statues; …

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to Takato, home in July for fluffs and fluffs and fluffs of cherry blossoms; here are some more of the most unusual, unique, weird, odd, out-of-this-world, one-of-a-kind, outlandish, interesting and fun places, things, and events in Japan…

I’ll start with a viewers’ favorite post…

Gotokuji Temple is not just a regular Japanese temple. To its side is a small area filled with waving cats.

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Maneki neko or beckoning cats, are believed to bring good luck.

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This might as well be the luckiest place on Earth!😀

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In Kawasaki, they held a festival with the ….uhm …. ah …. it’s the …. uhm … it’s ahhh….uhm….something that…uhm…that ahh …. the thing where …. uhm …. the penis😀 as its central theme.

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What’s even yummy … ehem … funny about it is that you can see women and men … uhm …. okay, I’m just gonna say …. sucking on penis lollipops😀😀😀 everywhere during the event.

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The annual event is totally contradictory to Japan’s nature. Today, Kawasaki Fertility Festival is used to raise money for HIV research.

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You wouldn’t participate in a Jenga game that is, say, a 100 feet tall, would you? Or like a horseshoe that weighs 50 pounds? Well, Okinawa’s cranked the game of tug of war to the highest level. Every year, a giant rope of over 650 feet is laid on a street of Naha and get pulled by hundred thousands of people.

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It was exhausting, but so much fun! I love how ridiculously excessive Okinawa is with so many things.🙂

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Still don’t like crowds, what about an amusing one? Shibuya Crossing …

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It is said that about 2,500 people cross this junction at one time, and 250,000 to 500,000 everyday. Most people cross it just to cross it. Not exactly because they need to, but just to be part of it or simply to experience the craze.

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Scramble crossing in Shibuya is a kind of a bucket list to check when you travel to Tokyo. Shibuya Crossing is one people-infested area that I think is enjoyable to watch; especially with people waving their cellphone around as they cross the street.

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There is a national park in Fukushima, Japan that has lakes with five colors.

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Although, it’s only two-and-a-half for me ….

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… because I am colorblind. Ha!😀

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The snow monkeys in Nagano, Japan are so amusing to watch!

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They walk around the area like it’s nobody’s monkey business.

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They are like celebrity monkeys over there. They know they are the superstars, and they do not mind posing for the camera.

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I’ma leave this post with another place for adorable and entertaining animals.

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In Machida, there is a “garden” filled with  …. squirrels!!! Visitors can wear gloves and feed the squirrels with nuts.

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As one of my commentators said, cuteness overload!

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Japan is unique in every sense. I decided to do this post early to make room for more unique places in Japan I go to in the future.😉

Last Call …

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If you’re intrigued by one of these unique stuff, either click on the links or try the Search tab.

I also have Unique California and Unique Greece on this blog.

And finally, Arigato Gozaimas for all the linkage, re-blogs, and Facebook shares!

secalP

Last Call…

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Africa

It’s been a dream on mine to go Africa. I wanna see the beautiful people of Africa, and of course, the animals.

10. Place where you’d like to go

Paris, France

We didn’t exactly have a lot of time when we were in Paris. I’m grateful for my visit there, but a day and a half in Paris just doesn’t cut it. I would want to explore Paris more.

09. Place you’d like to go back to

Crete, Greece

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My girl in Crete was a good one. She took good care of me. I will never forget her.

08. Place where you lived a romantic moment

Italy

07. Place where you lived a memorable moment

Vigan, Philippines

[E]mpanada in Vigan

I would trade any other food I got in exchange of Vigan empanada. I’ve been many places and have tasted many culture food, but Vigan empanada is THE best of them all. We tried a supposedly Vigan empanada in Manila, but it’s just not the same as if you’re to get it exactly in Vigan. I’m craving for Vigan empanda. What I wouldn’t give for my lips to have a meeting with Vigan empanada again.🙂

I wonder when we’d get to invent something that would record taste into memory. Ahihihi😀

06. Place where you had a tasty memories

Seville, Spain

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There’s just so much to see and do in Seville, and it’s just so pretty. I had a memorable fun night there too.

05. Place which surprised you

Mykonos, Greece

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My fault for having such a high expectation from our trip to Mykonos. I just don’t see how this place is popular.

04. Place which disappoints you

Iwo Jima, Japan

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We walked and hiked from the air terminal all the way up to Mt. Suribachi for 4 hours, to and back. I was beat. I couldn’t imagine the soldiers braving to go to war and fight, and then imagine them with the physical exhaustion they had to go through.  Mad respect to the servicemen who fought the Battle of Iwo Jima.

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03. Place which touched you

Italy

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I hated my work when I was in Italy. But it was such an awesome country, and I had THE BEST circle of friends.

02. Place where you had fun

Philippines

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I’ve been all kinds of places, but Philippines is the nearest and dearest to my heart.

01. Place you always bring with you

I decided to, for the first time, follow a rule of sticking to just one answer.😉

I was tagged by Living Out The Box and About Her Small World. They both have outstanding responses to this tagged post. I say head over to their posts instead of staying here on mine.

I’ve been wanting to do a post where things are backwards. I finally found one that I can apply that to. I apologize if this makes you dizzy and confused.😀

 

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