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Japan

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Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Shibuya is a center of Japanese fashion, culture, color, noise, and light. Harajuku girls? They're in Shibuya. Manga? Find it in Shibuya. Biggest scramble crossing in the world? Sit at the Starbucks in Shibuya and marvel at the madness below. You...
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2-chōme-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, 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-chōme-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, 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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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...
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2-chōme-10-1 Yūrakuchō, Chiyoda City, 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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452 Kinbukicho, Nakagyō-ku, Kyoto, 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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104-0061, Japan
This glitzy shopping district in the city center is home to department stores and shopping malls like Ginza Six and Tokyu Ginza Plaza. There are many Michelin-starred restaurants for sushi, tempura, and kaiseki, as well as classic bars such as...
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2 Chome-11 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
From Shinjuku’s bar scene to Roppongi’s polished cigar bars and Shibuya’s all night karaoke, Tokyo nightlife offers something for everyone. Dogenzaka’s Love Hotel Hill is sprinkled with small Love Hotels, Japan’s kitschy themed rent by the hour...
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2 Chome-11 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
If Manhattan’s famous music club CBGB were reimagined by a Japanese food fiend, the result would be Tatemichiya. The izakaya, or Japanese-style tapas bar, in Tokyo’s Daikanyama neighborhood, is the brainchild of punk-music fanatic Yoshiyuki Okada....
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Yanaka, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0001, Japan
On the east side of Tokyo, travelers can experience the city’s frenetic spirit. In the Ameyayokocho neighborhood, you’ll find seedy-looking love hotels, pachinko parlors, and chatty street vendors. When the chaos becomes too intense, escapeto...
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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...
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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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Japan, 〒104-0061 Tōkyō-to, Chuo City, Ginza, 3-chōme−5−8 銀座らん月BF1
I was with friends who wanted to learn about sake. Our biggest challenge was finding someplace open for lunch. Sake no Ana in Ginza was not only a great find, the variety and selection of sake was amazing. The sake sommelier here, Sakamoto-san (no...
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Japan, 〒101-0025 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Sakumachō, 1 Chome−1−6−5 アキバ・トリム 3F
Muji reigns supreme in clean Japanese design. Muji sells clothes, home goods, and furniture and has a deliberately simple approach to the way they design their products. The clean and pure design of Muji products has made it a beloved brand both...
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A short walk from Daikanyama Station is one of the metropolis's iconic bookstores, Tsutaya at T-Site. Designed by Klein Dytham Architecture, the Tsutaya bookstore is celebrated not only for the beauty of its three buildings but also for 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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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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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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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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2-chōme-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8588, Japan
Along with the Great Buddha (Kamakura Daibutsu), the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū Shinto shrine attracts hundreds of visitors each day in Kamakura (Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan). The rituals for seeking good fortune are many. These ema—wooden votive...
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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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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,...
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Japan, 〒401-0511 山梨県南都留郡忍野村忍草
About a 10-minute drive from the shores of Lake Yamanaka lies a cluster of eight deepwater pools designated as a National Treasure by the Japanese government and known as Oshino-hakkai. Filled with meltwater from the snow capping Mt. Fuji for most...
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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...
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Ohara, Isumi, Chiba 298-0004, Japan
Ohara is a small town known for its fishing port (in fact, roughly 60 percent of all of the ise-ebi, or Japanese spiny lobster, caught in Japan comes from Ohara Port). It is about a 1 1/2 hour train ride from Tokyo Station on the Wakashio express....
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1072 Amatsu, Kamogawa, Chiba 299-5503, Japan
The Torii Arch reaches skyward on a small islet off the Pacific coast of Amatsu-kominato in the Boso Peninsula of Chiba. I came across this after walking around the breakwater of the fishing port located in front of Tanjoji Temple, birthplace of...
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Nagatoro, Chichibu District, Saitama, Japan
During a whirlwind exploration of the prefectures surrounding Tokyo on Japan's Kanto plain, one extended moment of relaxation came in a boat ride down a stretch of the Arakawa River—running along the edge of Nagatoro town in the Chichibu district...
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Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan
About 30 minutes from Tokyo by train, Kawagoe Town, in Saitama Prefecture, is worth a day trip just for the peaceful stroll into another era; peaceful, unless you experience a sugar rush from all the sweet potato–based treats available along...
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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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2549-5 Yumoto, Nikko, Tochigi 321-1662, Japan
These little wooden structures house pumps that send piping-hot water from sulphur hot springs to the many inns and B&Bs dotting the area around Oku-nikko, a picturesque resort town located in the mountains of Nikko. It's a fantastic overnight...