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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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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
Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake created this experimental design museum, and star Japanese architect Tadao Ando constructed the building. The museum always has great installations by artists such as the industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. —...
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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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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 Chome-1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-0005, Japan
Eating at Mutsumiya is like taking a trip to Hokkaido, an island in northern Japan. The place serves the classic Hokkaido miso-based ramen, created with water brought over from Hokkaido. The shop is located on the Tokyo Ramen Street, a collection...
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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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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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1 Chome-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 130-0015, Japan
If Japan suddenly decided to launch a giant concrete space-faring craft into the deepest reaches of the cosmos—with the sole purpose of conveying a realistic mockup of traditional Edo Period and early 20th–century daily life in Tokyo to a bunch of...
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1 Chome-19-7 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0053, Japan
A lovely window-shoppers paradise, this is a great area to stroll and watch the world go by (or buy).
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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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2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
Touring Tokyo via Rickshaw is something I never thought I would do. For whatever reason it always seemed wrong to have a man standing where a horse would be in other cultures. But then again, every country is different and I soon learned that this...
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Shibuya Station outside of Tokyo makes Times Square in New York look small in comparison. Great Sushi, Sake and People Watching! Take the Narita Express from Narita Airport to Shibuya for a day of great food, drinks and shopping!
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Ueno, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0005, Japan
Ueno is a great spot for a walkabout in Tokyo. It has almost everything that someone looking for an urban getaway could want—good food from countless cafes, restaurants, and food kiosks; a park (Ueno Park) to walk around; and even a children's...
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Japan, 〒604-8054 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Higashiuoyachō, 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609番地
What's not to love in a covered arcade, jam-packed with stalls selling pickle, roast fish, toasty rice crackers, fresh fish, grilled meat, every fruit and vegetable, roasted chestnuts, freshly grilled mochi, sashimi on a stick, kushikatsu, green...
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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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Tetsugaku-no-michi, Jōdoji Ishibashichō, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 606-8406, Japan
When we arrived in Kyoto in mid-April, most of the cherry blossoms were no longer coloring the trees but sprinkled on the ground. We got lucky, though, spotting a few along the Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku no michi) still afluff with pink...
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Japan, 〒604-0982 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Matsumotochō (Gokomachidōri), 御幸町通夷川上る松本町577
The cozy Kaboku Tearoom at the Ippodo Tea Company's main store in Kyoto is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy Japanese green tea served with a confection. Friendly servers show guests how to cool boiling water to the proper temperature for...
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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, 〒600-8555 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Shimogyō-ku, Higashishiokōjichō, 京都市下京区烏丸通塩小路下ル東塩小路町
This hidden restaurant is located in Kyoto near the Gojo Ohashi Bridge. They serve Kyo-fu, which is made from wheat flour and has a tofu type of consistency. This was an important source of protein for Buddhist monks dating back to the 1350’s and...
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Japan, 〒604-0902 JP-26Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Hokodenchō, Nakagyo-ku Kamogawa Nijo-Ohashi Hotori Kyoto
Known for the beautiful temples and shrines concentrated in and around it, Kyoto is also a really great place to explore on foot at night. Especially the area close to the Takase River, which runs parallel for several blocks with Kiyamachi-dori...
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When traveling I try to look for a cafe to visit daily. Cafes are restorative places where I can collect my thoughts, glance through the gathered ephemera (museum tickets, train passes, maps, calling cards, photographs), write postcards (well,...
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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
These days, the Japanese only wear kimonos special occasions. But Kyoto is one of the few places where people regularly wear them. The local government encourages its residents (and tourists!) to wear kimonos by offering discounts and/or free...
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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
The Tourist Information Center at Kyoto Station provides a Kyoto Walks guide (or download it from my website), outlining specific walking routes. My favorite was the Higashiyama Area walk that cuts through the shops, restaurants, temples and...
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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...