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Japan

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2-chōme-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 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...
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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 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-chōme-2-18 Sendagi, Bunkyo City, 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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3 Chome Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan
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-chōme-3-18 Chūōchō, Meguro City, 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-chōme-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-chōme-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
Geisha have an interesting perception in history. People think of them as earlier versions of courtesans, but the geisha profession began in the 1750-60′s as an occupation and were actually prohibited from sexual acts. Otherwise they would...
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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, Taito City, 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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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, 〒106-0032 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi, 6-chōme−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, 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, Kaga-shiYamashiroonsen, 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-chōme-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tōkyō-to 181-0013, Japan
Since its founding in 1985, Studio Ghibli has become one of the world's preeminent masters of film animation. The Ghibli Museum, opened in 2001, is nested within one of Tokyo's most beloved parks, Inokashira Park—just 20 minutes by train...
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409 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 247-0062, Japan
This is a stone statue of Buddha (jizou in Japanese) positioned in front of a withered tree on the grounds of Engakuji Temple in Kita-kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The large temple complex comprises 18 temples and was founded in 1282 by a...
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1458 Iwanouecho, Hirado, Nagasaki 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 Chome-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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452 Kinbukichō, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 604-0846, Japan
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 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...
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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, 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 City, 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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Japan, 〒105-0014 Tokyo, Minato, Shiba, 2丁目26−1 I・SMARTビル 1F・2F
A paragon of the Tokyo burger movement is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood near Shiba Park. Munch’s Burger Shack is now a far cry from its humble beginnings as a food truck that served burgers to office workers in the business districts...
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Nara, 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...