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 Tommy Lee Jones was advertising it. I loved the Japanese vending machine experience, and here are 6 reasons why!Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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 for eating.Read more
Kyoto’s eye-catching bamboo forest is called Arashiyama, and you’ve probably seen photos of it before. The forest is so dense and tall, that one feels completely enveloped in the beauty of these hollow giants. The effect is a striking natural pattern of straight lines, and a beautiful medley of different shades of green, from rich forest greens, pale and almost yellow.Read more
Japan was one of most wonderful destinations we had ever been to. I always imagined two sides of Japan – the historical and traditional Japan of temples and geishas, against the hyper-modern cities, cartoons and robots.
In-between it all, there are so many tiny quirks and conveniences that are the cherry on top of an already alluring destination.Read more