New Year’s Eve in Japan is known as Oshogatsu, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Osaka during Japanese New Year, you’ll find Dotonbori to be the craziest, liveliest place to celebrate the new year! I spent NYE in the high-rise cacophony of neon billboards, crushing crowds and outrageously decorated restaurants, and discovered giant … More New year’s eve in Dotonbori, Osaka
Koyasan, a secluded temple town in the mountains, has a quiet, charming sense of mystery. The centre of Shingon Buddhism, Kobo Daishi’s tomb, the surrounding cemetary, and the temple complexes are a lovely trip away from modern Japan.
Nara might be the perfect day trip. Easily accessible from Kyoto and Osaka, friendly and quaint, with plenty to see on foot in a just a few hours. But what are day trippers missing out on? Dinner menus unique to Nara, for one, and excursions out of the city. So is it worth extending a … More Visiting Nara – is it best as a day trip or overnight stay?
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 Fushimi Inari, the unmissable torii gate walkways
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.
Kyoto is not really a busting supercity like Tokyo or Osaka. While there still are high rises and department stores, Kyoto is best known for its cultural treasures. Think of it as a place of culture; traditional houses, geishas in elegant kimonos, and amazing food. Alll these things are celebrated in a city that has … More Kyoto for first-timers
We were the last ones in the bus, sitting in the back seat with our backpacks still on. We craned our necks to find any kind of sign as to where we were, but night had already fallen, and there were no streetlamps on this zig-zagging mountain road. It reminded me very much of the … More Hiking the Magome – Tsumago trail in winter
It was time to use the most valuable weapon in our Japanese travel arsenal – our JR Japan Rail Passes! We ordered them online in Australia (they cannot be bought in Japan), and picked them up at Shinjuku station with all the required stamps and stickers. We found them to be great value – i’ve … More The Japan JR rail pass – what you should know
The Tokyo subway system is the busiest underground network in the world. 3.1 billion people rode around the city in 2013. But it’s not all about massive numbers of people – this amazing network is full of charming quirks. Whether it’s special employees that push commuters into a packed train, incredible punctuality, or the cute … More Fun facts about Tokyo’s subway