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. Advertisements
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
Is it better to see Nara as a day trip, or stay overnight? I’ve done both, and I’ve got some good reasons why staying is better. Walking through the city centre takes less than an hour, and that leaves plenty of time to see Tōdai-ji temple, and feed the deer. It’s definitely doable in a … More Why Nara deserves more than just a day trip
Near the top of the mountain, we walked into a perfect view of Fushimi Inari’s torii gates. We turned a corner, and there it was waiting for us, with no tourists or anything. A long tunnel of vermillion was being illuminated by a perfectly angled sun, turning every gate a different shade of bright orange, … More Experiencing Fushimi Inari: an illustrated walkthrough
With Kyoto’s 1600 Buddhist temples, and 400 Shinto shrines to choose from, the choice of where to visit seemed overwhelming. After some research, we narrowed our visit down to just a few standouts.
Kyoto’s eye-catching bamboo forest is called Arashiyama, and you’ve probably seen photos of it before. The forest is dense and tall, and wandering through it is a lovely, elemental experience, feeling completely enveloped by these hollow giants.