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Blog Categories: Travel

Wowcher’s Bite of Tokyo


The most densely populated city in the world, Tokyo is a fascinating mix of modern fads and old-fashioned tradition. The crowded cityscape swarms with both ornate shrines and slick skyscrapers, while entertainment ranges from gentle geishas to kitsch karaoke. Tokyo can be an intimidatingly tricky city to navigate, but a great – and appetising – way to tackle it is to sample its vast dining options. Whether you’re sinking your teeth into sashimi or sipping a steaming bowl of miso soup, you’ll soon see why the metropolis is so unique.

Chopsticks Challenge
Many a gaijin (foreigner) visiting Tokyo may not be accustomed to eating with two sticks of bamboo, which can be a dangerous territory for the slippery fingered. Probably the most famous cuisine to arise from Japan, sushi is traditionally finger food (think of it as a breadless sandwich) but is commonly eaten with chopsticks. Tokyoites can enjoy sushi in a number of settings, from takeaway bento boxes to eat-in kaiten-zushi restaurants, where dishes are whizzed around a conveyer belt for as long as they can be resisted. Those after a more upmarket sushi dining experience can head to Kyubey , where fresh ingredients and impeccable service make the restaurant one of the most popular in the Ginza district. Whether you master chopsticks or not, remember it is regarded as highly impolite to leave a grain of rice on your plate.

Delicious Fish
Not for the squeamish, faint-hearted or vegetarian, the Tsukiji fish market is the world’s largest seafood market. Freshly-caught fish from the tiniest of sardines to the hugest of tunas are meticulously weighed, cut, packed and sold, with live auctions kicking off at 5:30am and lulling by 9am. If you’re an early riser (or find yourself at the market in a confused state of jetlag), head down to catch the spectacle before indulging in a sushi breakfast from the market shops. Fish doesn’t get fresher than this!


Eating Eggs
Legend has it that eating kuro-tamago, a black egg from Owakudani (the Great Boiling Valley, just under an hour from Tokyo) will prolong your life by seven years. The eggs are bubbled in the stifling valley’s hot springs until they reach boiling point and turn black. If you don’t sample this local specialty, you should at least take the aerial gondola up the mountainside to see the volcanic action up close. Sulphur may fill your nostrils and steam might burn your face as it’s breathed upwards from the bubbling pools, but the views across the valley are unforgettable.

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Tea Ceremonies
If you’ve tried a kuro-tamago in an attempt to delay death and would like to cleanse your palate of any lingering taste, then the best way to do so is to visit a traditional Japanese teahouse. Homely tea shops provide welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, but if you’re after more than just a cuppa, it’s worth taking a day trip to Kyoto on the bullet train. The ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto is a sublime paradise of gardens, secret temples and vivid shrines, where geishas are spotted shuffling under cherry blossom trees. Join a tea ceremony in a townhouse such as Nishijin Tondaya to experience the traditional ritual for yourself. You’ll be left feeling cleansed, revitalised and truly Zen.

To try Tokyo for yourself, check out our seven-night tour on Wow Go!

Please note – deals featured may not be live. 

Wowcher’s Top 5: Christmas Markets in Europe

FRANKFURTXMASOnce your parents have stopped giving you stockings and slipping surprise chocolate coins in your lunchbox, the once blindingly bright lights of Christmas can seem decidedly dim. That’s why this year we’re swapping stale figgy pudding and even staler cracker jokes for a little continental magic, courtesy of Europe’s best Christmas markets.  Read more

Wowcher’s Guide To Reykjavik

Get a raincoat ready and visit Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, where eager hikers can stand behind glacier ice plunging from a whopping 200 feet!

Iceland’s Reykjavík is a city that can bewitch even the most discerning travellers with its awe-inspiring natural wonders, unapologetic nightlife and bite for all things extraordinary. Let it seduce you this winter…

Blue Lagoon
Enveloped by lava fields off the Reykjanes peninsula, the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most revered spots in Iceland. Soak up on silken pools pitted against turquoise terrain, before falling head over heels with a nourishing massage enjoyed on-site. Feeling indulgent? Hire the Exclusive Lounge for full spa access complete with treatment and lunch at Blue Lagoon’s LAVA restaurant: prices from only 117 Euros.

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Viva Las Vegas – Wowcher’s Guide to Sin City


Before you can say ‘Vegas Baby’ in your most polished American accent, we bet you’ve conjured up images of the Bellagio fountains, Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Luxor’s giant pyramid that make up Vegas’ main Strip. You know, the other “city that never sleeps”, where the norm is to gamble all day and drink all night, where what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But not today because we’ve put together a weird and wonderful guide to Sin City. We dare you to go without it… Read more

Wowcher’s KathmanDOs and KathmanDON’Ts

Nestled between the snowy peaks of the Himalaya and the fertile forests of the Indian plains, Nepal is a land of monkeys and monks, Stupas and steeds, and plenty of dos and don’ts…

DO
Sit on the terraced platforms of Durbar Square. Despite being engulfed by various gift shops and part-time tour guides, Durbar Square is still the heart of the old town and one of Kathmandu’s most spectacular architectural sites. Made up of three squares, this World Heritage site is a great place to sit and soak up the atmosphere like the kings of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Take at least a few days away from the city smog to visit Pokhara, the ‘jewel of the Himalaya’. Set amongst the bewitching backdrop of snowy peaks, Pokhara Valley is blessed with stunning panoramic views, serene lakes and dense forests of bamboo, rhododendrons and oak. Take advantage of our trekking deals to make sure you don’t miss anything!

Pokhara Valley is blessed with stunning panoramic views, serene lakes and dense forests of bamboo, rhododendrons and oak.

Pokhara Valley is blessed with stunning panoramic views, serene lakes and dense forests of bamboo, rhododendrons and oak.

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Wowcher’s Guide To: Cancun


Once a small fishing town, today Cancun is a worldwide phenomenon in its own right. Somewhere beyond mega-hotels and Spring Break lies palm-lined promenades, tranquil sunsets and an idyllic city with an inimitable sense of sophistication. If you’ve outgrown cavernous nightclubs and wet T-shirt contests, enjoy our guide to the hidden side of Cancun just waiting to be discovered…

Fine Dining
The best of 21st-century Mexico, Cancun offers everything one could want in a vacation – shopping, sports, spas, beaches and of course, world-class cuisine. Exquisite food isn’t an exception here, it’s to be expected. Seafood is a speciality, so try out some of the very best at Pescaditos, a relaxed restaurant serving up fish tacos and grilled shrimp aplenty. Located in the downtown bullring, La Guadalupana is the go-to for traditional Mexican food – linger over a leisurely lunch accompanied by icy cervezas and an assortment of unforgettable appetizers.

Home to the planet’s second largest barrier reef, Cancun is an ideal place to try your hand at scuba diving and snorkelling alike.

Home to the planet’s second largest barrier reef, Cancun is an ideal place to try your hand at scuba diving and snorkelling alike.

Under The Sea
Home to the planet’s second largest barrier reef, Cancun is an ideal place to try your hand at scuba diving and snorkelling alike. Arrecifes Chitales situated a stone’s throw from Punta Cancun is a shallow reef (35ft deep) that lies close to the shore. With a constant current running from the south-east almost year-round, it makes a perfect choice for both beginner and experienced divers. Just remember to pack an underwater camera – you won’t regret it! Read more

Great Scot!


On the 18th September, Scotland will cast their votes on whether they want to grab Alex Salmond’s jam-covered carrot or remain in the sweaty arms of David Cameron. Here at Wowcher we don’t judge, if you sell your vote on eBay, we don’t mind. We love Scotland and we just want her to be happy.

We’re not gonna lie, when Alan Hansen left Match of the Day, we lost something we never thought we had. The word ‘diabolical’ would never be so beautifully uttered by anyone else, certainly not by Shearer or Lawrenson. In the words of Joni Mitchell, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ so let’s celebrate Scotland in all its tartan wonder, whether or not they decide to go independent on September 18th.

Apart from feral goats in the highlands and news stories about men with their heads stuck in bins, Scotland is to be loved for many reasons. If you’re not sure why then thistle clear things up: Read more

Wowcher’s Hidden Venice (And Beyond)

Traditional Venice today can be a nightmare to navigate – especially during summer’s warm months, where tourists flock in their droves to take selfies in St Mark’s Square against the backdrop of gothic architecture that is the Basilica of San Marco and Doge’s Palace. However, there’s more to Venice than meets the eye, and here at Wowcher, we know exactly where you should head if you’re after a true (tourist-free) flavour of Venetian Italy…

Before you go exploring, first get your head around how Venice is divided. Think of it in the same way as you would think of New York, Paris and even London, which all have their structured street patterns – except Venice is a kind of archipelago, made up of lots of tiny islands that are divided by canals with hundreds of bridges (or dead ends). The one thing you won’t see in this city is a car! Read more

Wowcher’s Guide To: Cruises

We do a lot of cruise deals here at Wowcher, so to gain an insight into these so-called floating hotels, we asked our expert Hannah for her tips on what to really expect on-board…

If your idea of cruising equals a fear of being trapped on a boat with your Gran and all her mates, think again. While the older generations love to sail the seas, there are also plenty of young people who have cottoned on to this value-for-money, 24-hour food and drink culture too. And why wouldn’t you?

Today, everyone’s after a bargain. Primark’s always rammed, you can never find a table in Maccy D’s and don’t get me started on the bartering found at car boot sales (you want my Abercrombie hoody for 10p? I don’t think so). So when you come across a holiday deal that says it’s only a few hundred pounds for a week’s accommodation, all your meals, activities (if you choose to take part), nightlife and lots of picture-perfect places to see in one go, you’re thinking where’s the catch, right?

Forget the horror stories, it’s time to dispel a few myths about cruises… Read more

Off The Beaten Track In Barcelona

Here at Wowcher, we’re all about thinking outside the box and nothing changes when it comes to our summer holidays. We like to maximise our beach breaks and city vacations by getting a real flavour of the area and exploring hidden gems as well as the major tourist attractions. Bustling Barcelona is one of Spain’s most culturally-rich hot spots for beach bathing, nightlife and history – but again, we strive to bring you the freshest and most exciting excursions…  Read more