Collected by Christopher Wallace , AFAR Contributor
9-chōme-2-10 Kita 7 Jōhigashi, Higashi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 065-0007, Japan
One of the popular dishes that originated in Hokkaido is the Jingisukan, which is lamb bbq or mutton bbq. Instead of the usual open grill on charcoal used in western barbeques, the Japanese use a non-smoke pan like the one in the photo, sometimes...
Japan, 〒107-6290 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka, ９丁目7−６ 東京ミッドタウン・ガーデン内
21_21 Design Sight is a museum designed by one of Japan's most famous contemporary architects, Tadao Ando. The naturally lit space, of which some 80 percent is underground, is home to Japan's first design museum. The simple lines of the building's...
1-chōme-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida City, Tōkyō-to 130-0015, Japan
I have found that one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a foreign culture is to attend a local sporting event. My husband & I happened to be in Tokyo during the annual sumo wrestling tournament. So we bought the cheapest tickets that...
1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō-to 100-8111, Japan
Even in the middle of winter, the Imperial Palace Gardens are well worth a stroll. There are plants from all the prefectures of Japan, and the bamboo is lush year-round. The palace is about a 10-minute walk from Tokyo Station, and it's a...
1 Chome-9 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
This shop on the Tokyo Ramen Street, a set of ramen shops in the basement of Tokyo Station, is one of the best in the stretch, and the short lines outside make it a great stop before you catch a train. Shichisai serves a clean delicious shoyu, or...
4 Chome-6 Shirokanedai, Minato City, Tokyo 108-0071, Japan
For the best yakitori I go to Toritama in Ebisu. They specialize in rarely served, unique parts of the chicken. There’s one dish in particular, a premature egg that’s still connected to ovaries, which they grill. —David Myers This appeared in the...
1 Chome-4-4 Rokkenmachi, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0041, Japan
Kawagoe is a small city in Saitama Prefecture located roughly half an hour from Ikebukuro by express train on the Tobu Tojo line. It is known for its well-preserved kura (storehouses) dating back to the Edo period. The Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan...
Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
“Nature” may not be a word generally associated with Tokyo, but the Kanto Plain on which the city sits abounds with forests, rivers, and mountains. In many cases, though, you may only find one or two out of the three available in any one location,...
Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
Tokyoites often appear to have just stepped off the pages of Vogue. Lolita Goth, My Little Pony, and Little Bo Peep are all trends that have passed through the streets of Tokyo. For the extreme teen kawaii (cute) fashion, choose from tutus and Bo...
294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan
68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 612-0882, Japan
Fushimi Inari Taisha on Inariyama mountain is dedicated to the Shinto gods of rice and sake, but Inari is also the god of merchants and that brings a lot of businesspeople to worship here. Everyone else stops by to see the thousands...
Japan, 〒600-8234 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, ホテルグランヴィア京都 烏丸通塩小路下ル東塩小路町901
Kitcho has 3 Michelin stars and they serve Kaiseki style meals in private dining rooms facing formal Japanese gardens. Our Kitcho adventure involved a tight time frame, a frantic run to the bullet train and the most luxurious meal I've ever had...
Japan, 〒602-8216 京都府Kyōto-shi, Kamigyō-ku, Tatemonzenchō, 京都市上京区 堀川通今出川南入竪門前町４１４
While Kyoto is rooted in tradition, there is so much innovation here too. The Nishijin Textile Center is located in the Nishijin District, which is best known for it's old architecture and weaving factories. It's also much more quiet than other...
Shimohonnojimaecho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8091, Japan
9 hours was one of the coolest capsule hotels I have seen. My Japanese friend recommended it to me while I was in Kyoto and it was awesome. Felt a little space-agey but I had so much room to move and didn't feel claustrophobic one bit. Saw a...
1121 Ninotaira, Hakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 250-0407, Japan
This is the view inside the Symphonic Sculpture by Gabriel Loire at the Hakone Open Air Museum (彫刻の森 in Japanese) in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The museum opened in 1969 as the first open-air art museum in Japan. The spectacular grounds,...
Japan, 〒100-0004 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Ōtemachi, 1 Chome−5−６ 大手町タワ
The first true city property for the minimalist luxury brand, this 84-room hotel sits within the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower. A mix of traditional materials like camphor wood, washi paper, and stone create a Zen experience, not least in...
26-１ Sakuragaokachō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-8512, Japan
Located in Shibuya City, aka the Silicon Valley of Tokyo, Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel is a laid-back lodging close to Meiji Jingu Shrine and Tokyo Tower. Western and Japanese aesthetics mix in simple, unfussy guest rooms with calming colors and...
375 Hanaseharachichō, Sakyō-ku, Kyoto, 601-1102, Japan
You’ll feel zen from the moment you drive in from nearby Kyoto, along a narrow road through Japanese cedars and past temples and shrines, to the moment you sink into a hot bath at this intimate ryokan. Refreshed and relaxed, you’ll...
Arashiyama Genrokuzancho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-0007, Japan
In western Kyoto, there is a very large forest of bamboo. As you can see in the photo, the shoots grow very tall, making those who stroll by look quite small. I'm sure there are times when this road is crowded, but when we were there, people were...
1 Chome-31-１ Asamaonsen, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano-ken 390-0303, Japan
At the new Kai Matsumoto inn, located in the historic town of Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps, the spa offers 13 different traditional Japanese bathing rituals in its eight baths. The alkaline water is drawn from nearby Asama Hot Springs, which...
Nakagyo-ku Kamogawa, Nijo-Ohashi Hotori, 鉾田町 中京区 京都市 京都府 604-0902, Japan
One of the most enchanting things about Kyoto is the way the seasons change. From a sea of cherry blossoms in the spring to a riot of color in the fall, the trees of Kyoto make for an especially magical, romantic setting. Stroll along the...
3-7-1-2, ３丁目-７ 西新宿 新宿区 東京都 163-1055, Japan
Immortalized on celluloid in the film Lost in Translation, the modernist Park Hyatt may have the sexiest cocktail bar in all of Tokyo. The rest of the property—set on the upper floors of the three connecting columns of the 770-foot Shinjuku...
29-3 Sarugakuchō, Shibuya City, Tōkyō-to 150-0033, Japan
My wife’s favorite coffee shop in Daikanyama has an open terrace that’s perfect for people-watching. The space was inspired by 18th-century Italian cafés. —Kashiwa Sato 29-3 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, 81/(0) 3-3770-9517. This appeared in the...
Japan, 〒107-0062 Tōkyō-to, Minato City, Minamiaoyama, 7-chōme−13−１２ 南青山森ビル 2F
Owner Nobiyuki Nakamura’s whiskey obsession is on display at his scotch bar. He has a full collection of traditional Irish whiskeys and Scottish single malts. The whole place is obsessive, right down to the hand-carved ice cubes that go into the...
Japan, 〒106-0031 Tōkyō-to, Minato City, Nishiazabu, 4-chōme−22−１０ プレステージ西麻布
The chefs put a French twist on classic Japanese-style iron griddle cooking, which makes Ahill a totally unique teppanyaki restaurant. I like that they always give you curry and rice at the end of your meal. —Kashiwa Sato 4-22-10 Nishi-Azabu,...
6-chōme-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan
Just down the street from fashionable Omotesando is the Nezu Museum, with an exquisite Japanese garden. Architect Kengo Kuma's touches include a warm welcome with a bamboo wall at the entrance and rooms with picturesque views of the garden. The...
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