Features // Rebecca Hallett

Tokyo or Kyoto: where to visit first
Tokyo or Kyoto: where to visit first

Where first, Tokyo or Kyoto – it should be an easy choice, right? They’re polar opposites, after all: Tokyo is a land of neon and skyscrapers, the archetypal metropolis; Kyoto is full of kimono-clad geisha, temples and tea ceremonies. So just decide whether you want your first glimpse of Japan to be cutting-edge modernity or high-brow…

Sapporo: Japan’s unsung city
Sapporo: Japan’s unsung city

Japan is a country that lives up to your expectations. Tokyo is as frenetic and exciting as you’d hope; Kyoto is full of historic shrines and temples; Ōsaka is brash, bright and foodie. But the problem with visiting world-famous cities whose reputations precede them is that… well, their reputations have preceded them. If you really want…

Everything you need to know about Japan’s bullet trains
Everything you need to know about Japan’s bullet trains

Surely one of Japan’s most iconic images is an impossibly fast bullet train (or “shinkansen”) speeding past snow-capped Mount Fuji – you know the photo. Clichéd as it is, it captures that most Japanese of phenomena, the seamless blending of the ancient and the modern. Beautiful views aside, the bullet train really is one of those must-do…

Avoid the crowds: 6 ways to get off the tourist trail in northern Japan
Avoid the crowds: 6 ways to get off the tourist trail in northern Japan

Japan is a country full of incredible sights: the ancient temples of Kyoto and Nara; Tokyo’s glittering streets; the floating shrine gate at Miyajima; Beppu’s red, steaming hot springs. The only problem with this list of alluring sights? It completely ignores half the country. So it’s time to look a little further up on the…

A Rough Guide to seeing sharks in the wild
A Rough Guide to seeing sharks in the wild

Every year since 1988, the Discovery Channel has devoted a whole week to jaws-dropping (sorry) programmes about sharks. They’re fascinating, intelligent and graceful creatures and seeing them in their natural habitat can be mesmerising. But how can you do it sustainably? We asked marine biologist and Shark Trust patron Monty Halls – who will be leading The…

The best weekend getaways in the USA
The best weekend getaways in the USA

The USA is a big place, but no matter where you’re based, it’s easy to hit the road for a couple of hours or hop on a plane or train for a total change of scenery. Here are just a few of the USA’s best weekend getaways. Best for peace and quiet: Bear Mountain State…

A British institution: the best afternoon tea in London
A British institution: the best afternoon tea in London

It’s no secret that, for Brits, tea is not just tea – it’s a national institution. All too often, though, treating yourself to an afternoon tea can translate to spending a couple of hours eating tiny sandwiches and slightly dry slices of cake, then paying £50 for the privilege. Luckily, we’ve done all the arduous…

Aarhus: a weekend in Denmark’s happiest city
Aarhus: a weekend in Denmark’s happiest city

Copenhagen’s cool credentials are known around the world, but Denmark’s second city has so far kept just under the radar. This won’t last for long, though – people are starting to cotton on that Århus (or Aarhus) is a compact, accessible city (not to mention a young, happy and well-fed one) with more than enough…

Holiday with a conscience: 7 ways to travel better
Holiday with a conscience: 7 ways to travel better

Holidays are a great opportunity for some you-time – but what if it comes at the cost of other people’s livelihoods, the wellbeing of animals or the state of the environment? Luckily, it doesn’t have to. There are plenty of ways to take a trip without doing damage; here are seven simple ways to have…

Meet Ed Stafford, the ultimate British explorer
Meet Ed Stafford, the ultimate British explorer

World-Record holder, explorer, ex-Army Captain, occasional naked island-dweller… is there anything Ed Stafford can’t do? Ahead of his new Discovery Channel show – Ed Stafford: Into the Unknown, in which he heads to harsh environments, including West Papua and Ethiopia, on just a few hours’ notice to explore unsolved mysteries showing up in satellite images…

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