More posts by Ryan Bender

Kurobe Alpine Route Part 1

Kurobe Alpine Route

The Kurobe Dam

When people think of Alps, they think Switzerland and The Sound of Music. But Japan has them, too (remember the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano?), and they make it easy to visit them. The Kurobe Alpine Route is a combination of buses, a trolley buses, cable cars and ropeways that connects Shimano-Omachi train station on one side on Mt.… Continue Reading →

Travel Tip #34

japanese alps

Pack An All-Purpose Jacket

When you are traveling, you don’t have your whole wardrobe at your disposal. What’s more, because you packed light┬áso you can carry your luggage on, you only have the bare essentials with you. Like a mission into space, everything you bring must serve an important purpose, and if possible, more than one purpose.… Continue Reading →

Tamanoyu Ryokan

tamanoyu ryokan

Traditional Japanese Inn in Matsumoto

If you go to Japan and stay in only Western-style hotel rooms, you will have a wonderful time. If you go to Japan and manage to stay even one night in a ryokan, then you will have an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.… Continue Reading →

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

A National Treasure of Japan

Matsumoto is a city of 250,000 located in the Nagano prefecture and it serves as a gateway to the Japanese Alps. Getting here from Tokyo is pretty easy. From Shinjuku station, take the Azusa Limited Express train. If that sounds complicated, it isn’t. At the station, find the JR ticket office and present your rail pass to the agent.… Continue Reading →

Travel Tip #33

Put Your Liquids Into 100 ml Bottles To Avoid Checking Your Bag

Always Carry On. This mantra makes for a high speed, low drag trip through airports. With airlines charging fees to check your bag, it’s in your best financial interest to carry your own luggage onto the plane. However, airport security seems to make it harder and harder to carry your luggage on.… Continue Reading →

Wisconsin Road Trip

L&A received this question:

My mom is turning 50 and she is taking her first week long vacation in three years to celebrate. We are trying to find off-the-wall, not-super-touristy things (or really touristy like The World’s Largest Whatever or Birth Place of Thisorthat) in Wisconsin. We’ve been to Madison and all over the Appleton/Green Bay area more times than I can count.Continue Reading →