Japan’s Wisteria Tunnels Are Some of the Most Magical Places on Earth

The Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Fukuoka, Japan
The Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Fukuoka, Japan
iStock.com/Biscut

Japan’s cherry blossoms tend to steal the spotlight, but its wisteria vines are no less enchanting. As Travel + Leisure points out, there are a number of magical places around the country to see these flowering plants in all their glory.

Contrary to popular belief, not all wisteria plants are purple. Different varieties display different colors, which may include pale blue, pink, white, and yellow petals. Some of these hues are on display at Japan’s Ashikaga Flower Park, which has a wisteria ceiling that visitors can walk beneath. It’s home to more than 350 wisteria trees, as well as the oldest known wisteria plant in Japan (it's more than 140 years old).

Located north of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture, the park is open year-round, but the wisteria begin to bloom from mid-April to mid-May, depending on the variety. In some cases, the fuji season (as it’s known in Japanese) may coincide with the blooming of the sakura (cherry blossoms). A wisteria festival runs from April 13 to May 19, but if you can’t make it to Japan, you can check out the website to see what the garden looks like.

Traveling south, the Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Kitakyushu—the northermost city of Kyushu Island—is another must-see wisteria destination. The garden’s two 330-foot wisteria tunnels boast 22 different varieties of the plant.

Other popular wisteria destinations throughout Japan include Tennogawa Park in Tsushima, Shirai Omachi Fuji Park in Asago, Tokyo’s Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Byodoin Temple in Kyoto Prefecture, and Koenji Temple in Ichikawa. The Kamitoba Sewage Treatment Plant in Kyoto is also an unexpectedly pleasant place to view the flowering trees.

Check out some of the stunning wisteria photos below for some travel inspiration.

A wisteria garden
The Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture
Raymond Ling, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A wisteria garden
Koenji temple in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture
t.kunikuni, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

A wisteria tunnel
The Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Fukuoka, Japan
inazakira, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

A park with wisteria in bloom
Senkoji Park in Hiroshima
iStock.com/Navapon_Plodprong

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Texas’s Magnolia Hotel—a Reputed Paranormal Hotspot—Will Be Opening Its Doors to Overnight Guests

iStock/THEPALMER
iStock/THEPALMER

Those who view The Shining’s Overlook Hotel as a desirable vacation spot now have the chance to make their spooky dreams come true. The Magnolia Hotel—supposedly haunted by a total of 13 ghosts—will soon open its doors to overnight visitors.

Located in Seguin, Texas, the hotel’s history can be traced back to 1840, when Texas Ranger James Campbell first constructed a log cabin on the property. The cabin later expanded into a hotel, which saw some success in the mid-1800s and early 1900s. Unfortunately, the hotel was then abandoned for many years, and was almost lost to extreme disrepair. In an effort to save it, members of Preserve Texas placed the building on the organization's Most Endangered Historic Places list along with several other sites. It eventually captured the attention of current owners Jim Ghedi and Erin Wallace Ghedi, who bought the Magnolia Hotel in March 2013.

It didn’t take long for the Ghendis to realize something strange was going on. According to Country Living, the couple began experiencing supernatural events as soon as repairs commenced. Photos showed strange figures climbing out of mirrors; doors would be heard slamming by unknown forces; and shadowy outlines could be glimpsed hovering in doorways.

It’s no surprise the Magnolia Hotel is haunted given its gruesome history. Not too long after he built the original log cabin, James Campbell was reportedly killed by Native Americans during a trip to San Antonio. Three decades later, notorious Texan serial killer Wilhelm "William" Faust traveled to the nearby town of New Braunfels in order to kill his wife. He instead mistakenly butchered Emma Voeckler—the 12-year-old girl who was unfortunately sharing a room with his wife at the time—and fled to the Magnolia Hotel before his arrest. Some claim one of the ghosts is poor Emma, eternally bound to the area where her killer hid directly after her death.

The hotel’s website states that overnight reservations will open on August 12 on a first-come, first-served basis. Accommodations include fully restored suites consisting of two bedrooms, a full bath with a walk-in shower, and a non-cooking kitchen. Guests and non-guests alike can also partake in the hotel’s guided ghost tours, which the site warns are “not for the faint of heart.”

This Adjustable Bag Mate Makes Traveling Anywhere Much More Convenient

NEX
NEX

Carrying a backpack for a long period of time can lead to aching in your neck, back, or shoulders. Plus, keeping essentials in your bag, like a passport or phone, can make them a hassle to retrieve when necessary. NEX, now raising money on Kickstarter, is a three-in-one bag mate that makes traveling with a backpack pain-free and convenient.

This new "bag mate" is designed with air cushions that evenly distribute the weight of your backpack across your shoulders. Since it makes your bag feel 30 percent lighter, it also helps improve your posture.

NEX features functional and hidden pockets to not only make it easier to grab your essentials when on the go, but also keep them secured—since they are much safer on your shoulders than in your bag where people can easily steal them. Each strap is designed with three inner pockets as well as a hidden pocket to store everyday valuables such as your keys or cash.

Cash and keys going in a pocket on a NEX bag mate
NEX

Sometimes a backpack isn't necessary for quick outings, so NEX can act as a cross-body bag as well. Easily clip it on and adjust the fit to your liking, and now NEX can be used when you're simply going out for a run or grabbing groceries. Plus, it's designed with recycled waterproof material, meaning you don't have to worry about your valuables getting damaged due to the weather.

guy walking with blue cross body bag
NEX

With over a week left in its campaign, NEX has already surpassed its goal of $1000, raising over $47,000 as of June 25. By pledging $19 or more, you can get your own bag mate on KickStarter. Shipping is scheduled for August.

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