Tokyo’s Best Restaurants

I’ve been to Japan about 3 times now, and I feel confident enough to say that Japan has some of the best foods in the world (in my humble opinion). Tokyo, Japan has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world. If that fact alone isn’t enough to convince you to visit for a culinary revelation, it should also be known that they are among some of the most diverse restaurants as well. If a trip to Tokyo, or anywhere in Japan for that matter, is in your future, make sure you write down the following restaurants to experience all that Tokyo has to offer.

Narisawa

Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa earned his culinary stripes in the countries of Italy, Switzerland, France, and of course, Japan. His unique skills are displayed in the experimental dishes served at his restaurant, with their biggest emphasis being environmental conservation. Through this, Chef Narisawa has created dishes like moss butter, soil soup, and water salad. This vastly unique dining experience is something that should be considered by anyone with an open mind, especially for those passionate about the environment.

Joël Robuchon

Aptly named after the world-renowned French chef, the cuisine is what you’d expect; exquisite modern French. Joël Robuchon offers a number of set menus featuring visually stunning dishes, as well as a la carte options to match. If you still crave some form of Japanese cuisine at the end of your meal, the restaurant also offers Kyoho graph mochi and almond ice cream for dessert.

Ginza Kojyu

One of Tokyo’s finest dining experiences with a quaint atmosphere, eating at Ginza Kojyu almost resembles a dinner party at a friend’s house. Offering kaiseki dining, servers prepare each dish right before your eyes, and even give detailed explanations before serving. The restaurant primarily focuses on traditional Japanese cuisine, and doesn’t require you to pay too hefty of a bill at the end of the meal.

For the entire blog and more, visit LeonardRaymundo.org!

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Top 5 Travel Spots for Swimmers Around the World

The world we live in is made up of 71 percent water, which means there are lots of opportunities for great swimming. If you love water like I do, I’ve rounded up a collection of the top five travel spots in the world for swimmers.

  1. Red Beach, Santorini, Greece

Santorini is a crescent-shaped island at the heart of the Aegean Sea. Archaeologists say it was once a massive volcano, but it blew its top away during the Bronze Age, leaving behind a fascinating area with whitewashed buildings clinging to the edge of towering sea cliffs. The beaches here come in many colors including white, red, brown, and even black. It is arguably one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in Santorini. Positioned only a short distance away from the ancient Akrotiri, this small beach is so remarkable that visitors often stand at the headland to admire its unique landscape of black and red volcanic rocks.

  1. Linapacan Island, Palawan, Philippines

Not many people think of the Philippines for travel destinations, but my ethnic homeland happens to have some of the most beautiful waters in the world. Linapacan Island is an area in the Palawan municipality of the Philippines which has some of the clearest waters in the globe. The island is located between the Bacuit archipelago and Busuanga. In October 2013, it was listed among the “35 Clearest Waters in the World to Swim Before You Die.” Although it’s not a very easy place to get to, its captivating beauty is worth the effort. The road trip from Puerto Princesa to Dipnay in El Nido takes about six hours. From here, you will take a 45-minutes boat ride to Takling Island, one of the islands in Linapacan.

And if you plan on going, let me know as I’d love to go again too!

  1. Santa Monica Beach, California

Having lived in California, I can safely say that while there are many more idyllic waters in the world, none compares to Santa Monica’s cool factor. The long, broad expanse of this beach is distinct from other Southern California shorelines by the slew of activities you can enjoy here. Both the ocean and the sand are beautiful and clean, making it ideal for swimming, surfing, and beachcombing. The area is teeming with energy and is home to seafood restaurants, roller coasters, and old men angling for a catch. But that is not all. If you want a cool place to relax after a long, sunny day, the Bungalows and Fairmont Miramar Hotel offer great entertainment. The beach stretches for three and a half miles and provides ample room for summer crowds. It features manned lifeguard stations, restrooms, paved walkways, and plenty of restaurants.

  1. Blue Lagoon, Fiji

By now everyone should know Fiji, a cluster of 330 islands located in the South Pacific, is the ultimate paradise. This place is close to mystical. The water feels warm, and the extensive coral reefs are a bounty for snorkelers from all over the world. Although any spot in the Fiji is perfect for swimming, the most beautiful place is the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is part of the Yasawa Islands. It is an area where the water has a dark blue color, and the beaches are whiter, with an abundance of seahorses and starfish.

  1. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro

A magnificent confluence of sea and land, the long, scalloped Copacabana beach extends for four kilometers, with a bustle of activity along its expanse: beach vendors advertising their wares, favela kids showing off their skill in soccer, and tourists and Cariocas (residents of Rio) queuing for caipirinhas at kiosks. From the beach, you can see the granite slabs surrounding the bay entrance. A short walk will take you to the restaurants and nightclubs, fashion and jewelry shops, and one of the greatest shopping centers in Rio. At both ends of Copacabana beach are historic forts. At the north end is Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, and at the south end near Posto Seis is Fort Copacabana which was built in 1914. The Copacabana Beach is often referred to as the world’s most renowned beach. During the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations, Copacabana Beach hosts millions of revelers, and in most years, it has been the official locale of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. If you are looking for a great vacation, the Copacabana website is an excellent resource that lists accommodation ratings and rates, and dining options organized by cuisine and cost.
If you’re an avid swimmer looking for the best spots around the world, take a dive into these five places, and you won’t be disappointed.

The Best Destinations when Traveling Alone

There’s simply nothing like traveling by yourself. Whether you’re embarking on a new journey to discover yourself, or simply getting away to break up a monotonous day-to-day schedule, traveling on your own can open your eyes in a lot of ways. The theory of the “lonely traveler” is a common misconception. Any feelings of loneliness one may experience when traveling solo are typically due to lethargy. Getting out there to embrace everything your country of choice has to offer will be incredibly fulfilling, and a sure-fire way to meet new people. The following are just a few of my favorite places to visit for those exploring the world without a travel buddy.

Thailand

Many people don’t think of Thailand first, but it is one of the most visually stunning countries in the world. Thailand is a popular spot for solo travelers searching for a more peaceful experience given the country’s Buddhist traditions. Because of its popularity, meeting fellow travelers is almost impossible to avoid. Combine that with Thailand’s notorious hospitality, and this destination becomes an instant bullet on anyone’s bucket list.

Khao Yai National Park is an absolute must-see attraction for people visiting Thailand. This enormous reservation of rainforests, grasslands, and mountain tops is home to migratory birds, elephants, bears, gibbons, and more, all of which can be seen on guided tours.

France

It may seem cliche, but seeing the Eiffel Tower is something all travelers should do at least once in their lifetime. With an abundance of museums, and cafes showcasing the delicious cuisine of France, solo travelers would be all too occupied in Paris to feel anything remotely similar to loneliness. If a city environment isn’t quite what you had in mind, the French countryside is great for avid hikers and backpackers.

Australia

Melbourne and Australia as a whole is known as one of the safest travel destinations in the world, and as an English-speaking country, you won’t come across many language barriers here. Another country with bustling cities, Australia also has a beautiful countryside where a huge variety of wildlife lives. However, a word of caution: many animals in this country tend to be poisonous or venomous.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is truly the capital of adventure among Central American countries. From surfing, to hiking, to ziplining through rainforests, a trip here would be met with warmth from locals, as it is one of the most peaceful countries in its region.

Netherlands

Perhaps my favorite location in the world, the Netherlands is a dream travel spot known for its bike riders, gorgeous architecture, gourmet cafes, and liberal social policies. The Netherlands is simply a solo traveler’s ideal destination. Possibly the most laid back country in Europe, the Dutch truly know how to let your worries go and enjoy the moment. Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Maastricht are among the most popular cities for tourists, and for good reason. 755 restaurants and 1,400 cafes and bars fill the country with culture, and make for great spots to meet locals, or others traveling abroad.

For more, visit LeonardRaymundo.org!