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Japan

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1 Chome-12-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 130-0015, Japan
A stone lantern and stepping stones on the grounds of Kyu-yasuda Teien (former Yasuda Gardens) in Ryogoku, Tokyo. This is a small Japanese garden located behind the Kokugikan (sumo hall) in Ryogoku that was once owned by Zenjiro Yasuda, founder of...
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Japan, 〒247-0062 神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内189
A circular doorway leading into Meigetsu-in temple in Kita-kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, is part of a temple founded in 1383 and belonging to the Rinzai sect of Buddhism. On the grounds there is a gorgeous Japanese rock garden with lines and...
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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...
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Japan, 〒381-0401 長野県下高井郡山ノ内町平穏6845
I left tropical Southeast Asia for Japan in the dead of winter for one reason - to see snow monkeys. I'd always seen pictures like the one above, of zen macaques in steaming hot springs surrounded by snow, and had no idea how accessible they were...
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5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0045, Japan
The Tsukiji Market is the world's largest seafood market, with more than 2,000 tons of seafood moving through it daily. There are two parts to the operation: the inner market, or jonai, accessible after 10 a.m., and the outer market, or jogai,...
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2 Chome-10-1 Yūrakuchō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-0006, Japan
Koji, a volunteer for Tokyo Free Guide, knew only that I wanted to experience something in the city related to food. Instead of taking me to the Tsukiji fish market, he led me to a shopping mall in the Ginza neighborhood. We descended into the...
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1-1 Chiyoda, Tokyo 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...
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The Japanese have a proverb: "He who climbs Mount Fuji once is a wise man, he who climbs it twice is a fool." And after doing so I understand why; and it's something you must do in your life. Standing on the top of Mt. Fuji makes you realize how...
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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...
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6 Chome-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 106-6108, Japan
Watching the sunset from Roppongi Hills was my favorite Tokyo experience. We bought tickets to the Mori Art Museum, which included entrance to the observation deck on the 52nd floor of Mori Tower. We payed 1500 yen ($17) for the museum and...
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1 Kinkakujichō, Kita-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 603-8361, Japan
Built in the 14th century as a villa for a powerful shogun, Kinkaku-ji temple, commonly referred to as the Golden Pavilion, is an easy bus ride from the main bus terminal in Kyoto. The temple is one of the most popular buildings in...
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Japan, 〒150-0042 Tokyo, 東京都 渋谷区宇田川町4−3
Noticeable by a bright yellow sign with a pig eating Ramen, Hakata Tenjin offers the best affordable Ramen in Shibuya. Perfect for the day after a late night out in one of the many bars in Shibuya. Address: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 1-5-4
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1 Chome-1-10 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0064, Japan
Even if you only have a few days in Tokyo, I recommend taking the boat to Odaiba. The boat itself looks like a futuristic James Bond space vessel. Catch the boat from Asakusa (the area famous for Senso-ji, Tokyo's large Buddhist temple) and take...
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2-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0052, Japan
Last November my wife and I had an 11-hour layover at Narita Airport, and so we took the Narita Express and then the Yamanote line into Shibuya. After Shibuya, we walked to Yoyogi Park. It was a Sunday morning, and the dry cold air made us feel...
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294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera on Mount Otowa is one of the most famous temples in Japan, a place that appears in every sequence of Japanese travel photos. The landscape is all cherry trees and forest; it is among Kyoto's loveliest spots. The current structure...

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7 Chome-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 106-8558, Japan
The glass waves on the exterior of The National Art Center of Tokyo are a hint of the towering, clean glass and concrete interior architecture. The museum has a welcoming interior filled with natural light, lounge chairs, and cafes. The building...
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1074番地 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 601-1111, Japan
This was a great day trip that allowed us to temporarily leave behind the amazing urban part of Kyoto. We took the train to Kibune (the second to last stop on the Eiden Eizan main line). Then there's about a 20-30m walk uphill, with no shortage of...
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Yakushima, Kumage District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Mossy landscapes and ancient, indigenous cedar trees make for fairytale hiking heaven here, and moisture is plentiful at this elevation – Yakushima is the highest mountain in southern Japan. The exquisite scenery of this island, its mountains and...
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Renge-116 Uji, Uji-shi, Kyōto-fu 611-0021, Japan
Byodo-in at dawn is a little gem of perfection that everyone should see. The temple itself ( in the city of Uji, near Kyoto) is an extremely open, yet delicate and airy structure that seems to float on and above the water.In the early part of the...
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Japan, 〒602-8381 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Kamigyo Ward, Imadegawa Dori, 七本松西入真盛町726-40
Takoyaki is a traditional Japanese street food particularly popular in Osaka and Kyoto. These little dough balls are filled with octopus and pan fried, then topped with a special sauce, bonito flakes, and seaweed. They’re the perfect snack with a...
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Japan, 〒618-0071 Kyōto-fu, Otokuni-gun, Ōyamazaki-chō, Ōyamazaki, Ryūkō, 字大山崎小字竜光53−2
Mo-an is one of the great cafe experiences of the world--located up a hill, behind a temple, with views that look out over the surrounding area. It is perfect and serene.
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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,...
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Mie Prefecture, Japan
Meoto Iwa, also known as the wedded rocks, are located in Ise Bay near Japan's Grand Ise Shrine. Ise is a great day trip. Home to one of Japan's three great shrines, the streets of Ise are packed with old wooden houses, Japanese sweet shops, and...
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68 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8385, Japan
Roof tops of Tenryu-ji
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Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
The small town of Hakone, Japan, sits on the picturesque shores of Lake Ashi. From the shore, the bright red torii gate of Hakone Shrine clearly stands out across the water. I visited the gate on an early September morning when the sun was just...
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6 Chome-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 106-0032, Japan
Kapital is a really cool clothing chain known for its denim. They have two shops in Roppongi Hills—Kapital Duffle and Kapital Legs. I always pick up tabi, these handmade split-toe socks. They are split between the big toe and other toes and are...
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29-3 Sarugakuchō, 渋谷区 Shibuya-ku, 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...
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80-1 Motohakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken 250-0522, Japan
Just a stone’s throw from Lake Ashi at the foot of Mt. Fuji lies Hakone Jinja, a wonderfully old Shinto shrine nestled among the forests that dot the surrounding hinterlands. The tree-lined approach by foot through the red torii gate lends a...