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Nozawaonsen, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Nozawa Onsen is a traditional Japanese village in the Nagano prefecture. As its name suggests, the town is set on natural mineral springs and that is why there are so many onsen there. These are available for visitors to use and certainly ease...
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4 Chome-13 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
When I stumbled upon a pristine vintage Airstream trailer in a tiny lot in one of Tokyo's most expensive neighborhoods, I had no idea what would be inside. I was amazed to find a gem of a café, ironically called Uchu (Space) Café. With no more...
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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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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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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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Emukai, Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture 758-0041, Japan
Artisans of Leisure’s privately guided, 17-day ceramics tour visits potters in 11 towns, including Imbe (known for its rustic Bizen-yaki ceramics) and Hagi (famous for its glazed tea accesories). Hands-on, clay-to-fire sessions can be arranged on...
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2 Chome-11 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, 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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Japan, 〒163-8001 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku, 2 Chome−8−1
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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11 Naitōmachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0014, Japan
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After reading a series of recent posts on Afar that say things like "travel has taught me X,Y,and Z," I got to thinking: what has travel really "taught" me? Has it taught me to be nicer to people? More tolerant? More..."worldly" or educated? I...
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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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Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
From the quiet of a monastery in Koyasan and the serene beauty of Mount Fuji to a winter's evening in Tokyo, there is quite the paradigm shift! Tokyo amazes, it takes your breath away, but it doesn't stop for you, it just sweeps you along for the...
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Japan, 〒100-0005 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, 千代田区Marunouchi, 1 Chome−9−1 JR東日本東京駅 B1
When you set off on a Shinkansen journey, your seat is assigned, your destination awaits and Japan's beautiful countryside flies by out the window for you to enjoy. That leaves two big decisions for you to make beforehand: your bento and your...
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Tokyo's morning rush hour can leave you feeling like a drone. I stepped out of the river of people leaving Shinagawa Station and into The City Bakery to pause for a peaceful breakfast and iced latte. Delicious all around, especially the shaved...
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Japan, Tokyo, Chiyoda, Marunouchi, 1 Chome
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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4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0016, Japan
It wasn't raining in Tokyo, but as we made our way to Kamakura the weather took a turn for the worse. The skies became cloudy, the temperature dropped and rain started falling. Our escape to the beach wasn’t going as planned. Once we got to Hase...
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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 Chome-8-7 Teramae, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 236-0014, Japan
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Four waist-high cauldrons of pork stock are going at once behind the counter of this popular ramen shop near the Kanazawa-Bunko station in Yokohama's Kanagawa ward. One soup master ladles the thick gravy into bowls while keeping a close watch over...
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6 Chome-20-24 Suizenji, Chūō-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto-ken 862-0950, Japan
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Every region of Japan has its own take on ramen, and Kyushu is the master of rich tonkotsu broth made from pork bones. The noodles tend to be straight, thin, and firmer than other styles. Ajisen Ramen is a chain based in Kumamoto that has spread...
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3 Chome-15 Kasuga, Nishi Ward, Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture 860-0047, Japan
Kumamoto Station's eki stamp is located just outside the turnstiles of the east exit. If you're exiting those turnstiles, it will be on your left tucked away in a little alcove. If you don't see it, ask the information desk directly in front of...
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Japan, 〒860-0007 Kumamoto-ken, Kumamoto-shi, Chūō-ku, Furukyōmachi, 3−1
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Kumamoto Castle gets all the attention in this town, but an equally impressive piece of history is a short walk away and shouldn't be missed. Kyu-Hosokawa Gyobutei is the manor of a 17th century samurai clan. The city of Kumamoto relocated it to...
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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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2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
The colorful Asakusa district is a laid-back, fun, colorful neighborhood where you can buy crappy kitsch and kitschy crap (there are a lot of kitchenware shops, for some reason). Asakusa is also home to Tokyo's most well-known temples and 45...