Three stadium cities you must see on your gap
Many consider South America and Europe to be continents with a real passion for The Beautiful Game, but as the Asian Cup is well underway, it got us thinking about stadiums in that region.
Japan and South Korea, for instance, are playing in the tournament and both countries have great cities with superb football stadiums. So should you happen to be a sports fan and travelling through, be sure to visit these amazing arenas on your Gap Year. Here are just a few.
International Stadium Yokohama, Japan
What was once a small fishing village is now home to the biggest stadium in Japan. With a capacity of 70,000 seats, the Kantō region-based venue played an instrumental role in the 2002 World Cup, hosting the Brazil - Germany final.
The city itself is only second in size behind Tokyo and is home to 3.7 million people. Its highlights include the second tallest building in Japan, Yokohama Landmark Tower, which is a very impressive feat of architecture and boasts a Sky Garden with an amazing all-round view. Its Ferris wheel, Cosmo Clock 21, also used to be the biggest in the world and now has another job as it is the alleged largest clock in the world.
Naka Ward's Japanese garden, Sankei-en, is also a must-see. Within its 175,000 square metre space you will find water features, pathways, ornaments, flower gardens and memorials. It's a great place to get away from the city’s heavy bustle.
The Yokohama skyline with Mt. Fuji in the background
Seoul Olympic Stadium, South Korea
Resting on the Han River is South Korea's premier stadium. Used principally for the 1988 Olympic Games, it is now employed for important sporting events, as well as the current home ground for Korea's national side.
The city itself, Seoul, is a technologically advanced and an aesthetically pleasing city, with numerous recreational spaces in which to relax. With the strongest internet in the world, many public areas have free WiFi on offer, which is great for those who constantly get lost and need to check a route.
it also has a large array of museums, with the National Museum of Korea being the most well-known and extensive. For those looking for something large-scale in the way of retail, Dongdaemun Market is a vast shopping area, and so big that it has been divided into districts of its own. From tradition Korean clothing stalls and huge shopping malls to food kiosks, you could easily spend a day or two perusing what's on offer.
View of the skyline from Bongeunsa Temple
National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo
The Japanese national team's home games are played at this historic stadium - the setting for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. Sadly, the stadium is to be redeveloped in preparation for the 2020 games, so if you want to see it in its current form you will have to move fast.
Fortunately, Shinjuku, the Tokyo district where it is based has loads to do should you want to hang around after your whistle stop tour. One of which is the remnants of the Edo Castle, a structure that has been around since 1457 and can be found to the west of the ward. It is also the location of the busiest train station in the city, which is great for people watching.
If you're feeling a little dazed by the rush of people, a large park, Shinjuku Gyoen, is a great way of spending a few hours. Consisting of an array of amazing flowers, it's a great contrast to the roar of a stadium.
Tokyo from above