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
Beppu is the perfect destination in Japan for bathing. This city on Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost island, is famous for its geothermal activity and range of hot spring bathing options. Clouds of steam rise from dozens of vents in the earth, creating a very unusual cityscape. There are large public bathing houses built of wood, private … More Beppu: an illustrated guide to Japan’s spa city
Itsukushima (aka Miyajima, which translates to ‘the shrine island’), is a small, romantic island in Hiroshima Bay. It is known for its magnificent torii gate, an 800-year old monument standing in the middle of the bay, appearing to float on the waves. Miyajima has a lovely small town which is perfect for exploring, a World … More Miyajima – A Day Trip Exploring One Of Japan’s Most Scenic Islands
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?
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, Akihabara and Harajuku, are fun microcosms to explore the culture of modern Japan. Akihabara for electronics, anime and video game toilets; 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.
The Ueno area is known or its large, beautiful park. It has some of the most beautiful green areas and temples in Tokyo city (better, I thought, than the Imperial Palace). But outside of cherry blossom, and in the cold days of winter, what is there to do? Toshogu shrine and Kiyomuzi Kannon are years … More Ueno Park in the winter
One of Tokyo’s most iconic sights is the famous Shibuya crossing. This spectacular neon-lit intersection transforms when the pedestrian lights turn green, and up to 3000 people swarm across the road at the same time! But, as one of Tokyo’s most celebrated (and crowded) nightlife spots, there’s plenty more to see nearby! Let’s have a … More The Shibuya scramble: an illustrated guide to Tokyo’s heart of entertainment
Shinjuku is Tokyo big city life all rolled up into one lively ward. Shopping, eating, drinking, flashing neon signs, giant crowds in suits; it’s all here, right next to the world’s busiest train station. Shinjuku is a big economic hub in Tokyo, and a wonderful jumping off point into the neon-lit megacity madness that many … More What to see in Shinjuku for first-time visitors