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
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.
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
Tokyo has a suburb with long lazy canals, rows of cherry blossoms, quiet streets and old buildings? Could this be a mini Amsterdam in Tokyo? Hmm…not exactly. This was still the mighty concrete jungle of Tokyo, so what Nakameguro canals actually looks like are high-walled, concrete stormwater channels stained green from algae. In the summer, … More The Nakameguro winter illuminations
Two of Tokyo’s hubs of pop culture are must-sees, to explore the culture of modern Japan. Akihabara for electronics, anime and video game toilets; and Harajuku for fashion, sweet treats and cat costumes!
The sky was a pale blue, with airplane contrails criss-crossing the frozen winter air high above, and a bright, shining sun. It was a great day to visit one of Tokyo’s most peaceful places, the huge gardens of the imperial palace, and residence of Emperor Akihito of Japan.
On one of the boulevards of pretty Ueno park, we were stopped by a Japanese student. He was practicing caricatures, and wanted to draw us. It sounded pretty cool, so we sat on the edge of the walking track.
One of Tokyo’s most iconic sights is the famous Shibuya crossing, a pedestrian scramble through a huge neon-lit intersection, where an estimated 3000 people have been known to cross the road at the same time. But as one of Tokyo’s most crowded areas, there’s plenty more to see nearby! Let’s have a closer look…
The coins rattled and clinked as they fell down, and with a thunk, our Cherry Coke fell out of the bottom of the vending machine. Now, we had the energy to explore mighty Shinjuku!