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2 Chome-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 163-8001, Japan
View of Tokyo at dusk as seen from the 54th floor observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Nishi-shinjuku. Admission to the observatory is free and well worth it for a fantastic, sweeping view of the Tokyo skyline.
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1 Chome-9 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, 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...
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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...

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Lake Chūzenji, Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1661, Japan
The Chuzenji Temple in Oku-nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was originally founded in 784 by a Buddhist monk known as Shodo-shonin and is located on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, which is approximately 1,300 meters above sea level. In the middle of the...
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4 Chome-2-18 Sendagi, Bunkyō-ku, Tōkyō-to 113-0022, Japan
Ameyayokocho The open-air stalls underneath the train tracks were once a haven for criminal transactions. Today they’re a paradise for bargain-hunters looking for such essentials as green tea and dried fish. Don’t miss the labyrinthine underground...
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Japan, 東京都新宿区新宿3丁目
I had one free night in Tokyo—only one chance to connect with a Japanese acquaintance from a dive trip on Midway Atoll 10 years earlier. Our mutual friend, Shintaido master Haruyoshi Fugaku Ito, suggested we meet at the Shinjuku rail station and...
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1 Chome-3-18 Chūōchō, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 152-0001, Japan
I stay at the Claska in the Meguro neighborhood or the tokyo-park/index.jsp?null"Park Hyatt Tokyo. The Claska is a cool boutique hotel, which is rare in Toyko. I get a kick out of staying at the Park Hyatt for the views and because of Lost in...
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1 Chome-8-20 Ōmachi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0007, Japan
During a visit to Kamakura (about 50 km south of Tokyo, about an hour by rail), we spent an hour or so at the Miyamoto Kimono Shop (1-8-20 O-machi, Kamakura City). In one of the back rooms, this young man was being taught chado ("the way of tea")....
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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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3 Chome-2-9 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0023, Japan
In the outer market of Tsukiji, I bought a knife at this amazing shop and the experience stuck with me. Any cook knows a great knife makes all the difference, and here they have such a vast variety of knives, at various prices, that anyone can...
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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Becoming a maiko - young apprentice geisha - is one part elegance and three parts hard labor. Available in many studios sprinkled throughout Kyoto, this rich experience lets you live the life of a maiko, if only for one ethereal night. Your visit...
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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Lovely ladies in kimonos brave the rain in Kyoto. This was taken in front of Chion-in Temple near Gion earlier this week. Even in the pouring rain the Sakura, which are in full bloom, were lovely to behold and holding up nicely.
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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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3 Chome-3-21 Ikenohata, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0008, Japan
At the Suigetsu Hotel Ohgaisou—located on the site of Meiji-era novelist Mori Ogai’s home—details include Japanese-style rooms with tatami floors, cypress and marble tubs, and a gardenrestaurant. —Marie Doezema This appeared in the...
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Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-0881, Japan
On a small side street, near the Palace Side Hotel, a small traditional house hides a gastronomical gem - sukiyaki! Shuck your shoes, step up onto the tatami map, sit on a cushion around a low, circular table and point to the sukiyaki of your...
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Japan, 〒616-8384 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Ukyō-ku, 嵯峨天竜寺車道町 11番地1
Please, I beg of you! Try the Matcha Ice Cream (and the Chestnut Ice Cream)! Oishi!
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104-0061, Japan
The stark contrast of an ancient religion with the glitzy streets of Ginza.
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Japan, 〒106-0032 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi, 6 Chome−10−1 六本木ヒルズ ヒルサイド 2F
This two-Michelin-starred restaurant by Joel Robuchon is a replica of the L'Atelier in Paris and Las Vegas. Here they reinterpret French dishes with a bit of a Japanese influence. Counter seating makes any meal an event as you watch the chefs at...
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Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
During our visit to Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture, we stopped in at the Miyamoto Kimono Shop (1-8-20 O-machi). Before we were treated to chado ("the way of tea" or tea ceremony), we watched as Karen Iwade, the reigning Miss Kamakura, was...
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Japan, 〒922-0242 Ishikawa-ken, Kaga-shiYamashiroonsen, 55, 55 1 3 YAMASHIRO ONSEN
The public areas of this beautiful ryokan [inn] are modern, but many of the rooms are purely traditional, with nature right outside the window. It’s very peaceful. And the people who run it are so nice. They kept insisting we use their Wi-Fi. ...
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1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tōkyō-to 181-0013, Japan
A great trip with the kids or adult fans of Miyazaki's films. We bought tickets at our local JTB office in NYC as it's necessary to reserve in advance. Only a 40 minute train ride from Shinjuku, the museum is located in Inokashira Park which is...
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1-1 Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan
A fairy-tale castle, Japanese-style. The grounds are massive, the tourist groups ever-present, the grounds inaccessible more often than not—but it's still worth the visit.
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Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
I love Japanese folklore, with its stories of Samurai, demons, and spirits. One of my favorite characters from Japanese lore is the Tengu, a mountain nymph of sorts, who likes to tempt Buddhist priests to break their vows, and to teach devoted...
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Tokyo, Japan
While visiting Tokyo, I was really happy to attend a traditional Kabuki performance at the Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre. I bought my tickets online before my arrival in Japan (at the box office, you must present the credit card that you purchased the...
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Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 601-1111, Japan
At Kurama, there are two "power spots". Stand on one of them and if your mind is clear enough, you can receive the power of the universe.
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1458 Iwanouecho, Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture 859-5121, Japan
Perched above Hirado Bay, the five-story Hirado Castle is surrounded on three sides by water. Once occupied by the Matsura Samurai clan, the castle’s exhibits showcase items from Japan’s feudal period including, documents, drawings, armor, and...
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9丁目-2-10 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, 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...
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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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Japan, 〒604-0846 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Kinpukichō, Karasuma Dori, 御池上ル (元龍池小学校
What is Manga? I asked myself that same question. I saw a flood of Japanese teenagers outside this museum dressed up as these crazy anime characters. They were outside the Kyoto International Manga Museum. It's three floors of lined wall to wall...
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Japan, 〒605-0074 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Gionmachi Minamigawa, 祇園町南側570‐2
It’s rare to spot a real geisha, even in Kyoto. Walk around the Gion district at dusk, and you may be lucky enough to see one walking briskly to her appointment for the night, but to stop her for a photo would be uncouth. We lucked out, arriving...
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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 property spreads across the upper floors of the three connecting granite, steel, and glass columns of Shinjuku Park Tower. The 770-foot building rises in a succession of...
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1 Chome-4-16 Chūō, Kurashiki-shi, Okayama-ken 710-0046, Japan
I love the novelty of Japanese tourist towns; how they take an idea such as Old Edo, a forgotten trade or a local dish and make it the theme in the entire village. The Town of Kurashiki is no different – these perfectly maintained buildings from...
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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
My favorite thing to do everytime I am in Kyoto is to get up at 4:00 am go on a walk/run. It's great. No one is out on the street except the street cleaners. You get to see the people you rarely ever see---the ones who spend their lives...
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2301 Sannai, Nikkō-shi, Tochigi-ken 321-1431, Japan
Nikko Tosho-gu is a large Shinto shrine in Tochigi Prefecture just north of Tokyo. It is dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Ieyasu Tokugawa, whose remains are entombed within. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it can be reached in...
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Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture, Japan
My friends and I roamed the streets of Osaka until we found just the right place to try one of the city's best-known food specialties, okonomiyaki. Delicious!
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1 Chome Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Japan has some of the fastest, most reliable trains in the world. One measure of how much locals appreciate them is the glee in kids' faces when a Shinkansen glides past their commuter train. Or they line up in front of the sloped nose of a parked...
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9 Chome-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0052, Japan
Here I captured reflections of surrounding buildings off of a plate-glass ceiling of the basement of the Tokyo Midtown shopping and office complex in Roppongi, Tokyo. At 6.1 million square feet, the complex was completed in March 2007. It includes...
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1 Chome-4-1 Mejiro, Toshima-ku, Tōkyō-to 171-0031, Japan
Tokyo has a ton of vending machines. After sushi we went to buy some snacks and drinks. Fun!
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Japan, 〒105-0014 Tokyo, Minato, Shiba, 2丁目26−1 I・SMARTビル 1F・2F
When the Japanese set their sights on something, they almost always end up producing superior copies of whatever the original in question was. The same is true of food—the world’s best Italian and French can be found in Tokyo, trumping almost...
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Nara, Nara Prefecture, Japan
When traveling in Japan I like to stay in ryokans, a type of traditional Japanese inn that originated in the Edo period. Breakfast and dinner are usually included in the ryokan price so even though it may seem expensive it actually is a deal. You...