Japan

7 Reasons To Add Kyoto To Your Bucket List

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Home to tranquil temples, lush gardens, striking shrines and mysterious geishas, a visit to Japan would not be complete without venturing to its cultural and historic centre, Kyoto. Providing a striking contrast to the chaotic, neon-lit and modernistic mega city of Tokyo, Kyoto is a completely different world. The city exudes warmth, classic character and a [...]

48 hours on the Japanese Art Islands

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Originally dotted by small fishing and farming communities the Japanese Art Islands are now also home to galleries, coffee shops and art installations.  The main islands, Naoshima and Teshima are about 3 hours from Kyoto by train and ferry. Visiting this area does require a bit of planning, mostly to coordinate transport, but it’s so worth it. Let me tell yo[...]

The colours of Japan

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I was about to visit Asia for the first time, and of course I had certain things in mind, when I thought about Japanese culture and its people. Still, I didn't really know what to expect. I am not a big planner and think that it doesn't matter how much research and planning you do in advance - the experience itself is the thing that counts and without too mu[...]

The Hot Springs of Beppu, Japan

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Billowing white clouds rise up towards the sky, and the drizzling rain only adds to the eerie feeling I get. I'm in Beppu, on the Japanese island of Kyushu. The steam, too light to be seen as smoke, looks completely different to anything I have ever seen before. The Kanazawa Jigokus are volcanic hot springs where you can gaze at the bubbling, frothing volcan[...]

The Travelettes Itinerary for Japan

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Ah, travel planning. Usually it goes something like this: 1. Picking a destination. Buying the tickets. 2. Hitting a local bookstore (or lazily adding-to-basket on Amazon) to buy a guidebook. 3. Flicking through the 300+ pages. Slowly realising that doing all the must-dos in a limited timeframe is physically impossible. Feeling a bit lightheaded. Pu[...]

Drainspotting - Japan's different kind of street art

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It's no surprise to me the streets of Japan are paved with cute... And here's the categorical proof. The past few years have seen Japanese photographer S. Morita collecting a rather unusual set of arty images - manhole covers. Yes, strange as it may seem, I have fallen in love with the manhole covers of Japan. Now before you roll your eyes and check to see i[...]

10 awesome things to do in Tokyo

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Tokyo, Japan: the largest city in the world. I was expecting blinding neon lights, agoraphobia-inducing crowds, an exhausting pace. I feared the jam-packed subway at rush hour, the feeling of disappearing in a human tide, the oppression of the tall buildings obscuring the sky. I was prepared to be brutally swallowed by a monster metropolis — with the hope th[...]

Rice and Oysters: Eating in Japan

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The girl who had stayed with them before me didn’t like soy sauce. She had been in Kariwa-mura, Japan, as I was, for a one-month homestay program as a part of my town’s annual sister city exchange program. But my predecessor didn’t try the sushi, the cold soba noodles, or even the ramen. She ate one thing and one thing only: rice. And contrary to popular Ame[...]

A guide to Harajuku fashion

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Harajuku! Smack bang near the top of my ‘places I need to go’ list, the mere name of this district of Tokyo never fails to conjure up a glittering montage of tempting images. Delicious sushi, crazy theme bars, neon lights… but the major draw? The fashion. Harajuku style put Japan on the fashion map. Heads were turned when photographer Shoichi Aoki began t[...]