Japan

5 Reasons to Visit Hokkaido, Northern Japan

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Picture a road that goes up and down until you lose sight of it. Both sides are covered with sunflowers and as the sun sets, the sky goes from clear blue to burnt orange and bright yellow. The wind feels nice, and as you bike your way to the little farm at the end of the road, a fluffy fox looks at you from afar and then runs off before you can snap a pictur[...]

A Bow and a Pen: How to master Language Barriers in Japan

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For me part of the fun of traveling is the friendly and happy mañana, mañana of Central America or the relaxed pole, pole of East Africa, which is so different from the strict organisation of Western Europe. I associated Japan with politeness and reservedness, so the country wasn’t particularly high on my bucket list. But when my sister found herself a 6-mon[...]

10 Things I Love about My Life in Japan

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Many people talk about the things travelers should know before going to Japan - what's polite to do or not, table manners, how to behave on the streets etc. What I'd like to share though, is what happens when you live there; the little things that make Japan Japan, that say: 'You are living in Japan, and this place feels like home to you.' For example, th[...]

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[...]

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