My bowl of udon tempura was so small, it fit into the palm of my hand. I couldn’t eat it either, because the chopsticks were the size of toothpicks. It was, however, extremely fun to make. In Mayuka’s Bonchi studio of miniature plastic food, we sliced tiny clay noodles, painted little shallots, and poured epoxy … More Kyoto in sketches: Japan’s cultural heart
I was getting excited at the thought of coffee, standing in front of a Tokyo vending machine. I turned some 100 Yen coins in my palm, considering my options. The brown one, or the white one? Maybe the rainbow can? All the descriptions were in Japanese, but I was intrigued by one particular can because … More Here’s why Japanese vending machines are the coolest
The dish that arrived on our table was met with confused feelings of fascination and disgust. It was still alive. It was an abalone, and we watched aghast at its preparation. A humungous sea snail in a half-shell the size of my entire hand was placed on a small grill, whilst a fiery hot barbeque bead … More Staying in a Traditional Japanese Ryokan in Izu
As we stepped out of the ticket gates at Beppu station, a family was waving enthusiastically at us. We had never met our hosts, but they seemed to recognise us straight away. Japanese hospitality was already impressing us – they instantly welcomed us as part of the family.
Under the shade of rustling Japanese pines, a walking path traced the low rock seawall towards the Itsukushima torii gate. The smell of dried pine needles swirled in to meet the salty ocean air. Looking out to the sparkling waters separating Miyajima Island from Hiroshima Bay mainland, we saw one of Japan’s ancient icons.
Okonomiyaki is one of my favourite things to eat in Japan, a kind of fried pancake-omelette, based on cabbage and egg, with different combinations of vegetables and meats. It is fried on a teppan, a large hotplate, until both sides are brown and crispy, then served to the plate sliced up with a small spatula … More Which Is The Best Okonomiyaki? Tokyo Monjayaki vs. Hiroshimayaki
Hiroshima is completely lovely and charming. Many people think of the atomic bomb and stop there. But for journeying to the south of Japan, the city is an essential stop. Here’s why.
Osaka Castle The samurai screamed a short, sharp battle cry, and drew his sword to expose the blade halfway from the hilt. The noise caught my attention, and I turned to see the commotion. The tourist walked away, and a new one walked up, also dressed in samurai costume, to join the staff member in … More Visiting the Highlights (and tourist traps) of Osaka
With a splash, the first crazy reveller jumped into the icy canal from the arching bridge. A laughing cheer rose from the huge crowd in Dotonbori, the centre of Osaka’s entertainment district, a high-rise cacophony of neon billboards, crushing crowds and outrageously decorated restaurants.
There was a quiet excitement and sense of mystery as we travelled towards the secluded temple town of Koyasan, taking smaller and smaller trains through rural areas and up into the mountains. It began wending up a high mountain line, past tiny train platforms bulging with tree roots and overgrown with rich green creepers, some … More Koyasan: an illustrated guide to visiting Japan’s most sacred mountain