Collected by Shellie King
Japan, 〒135-0064 Tokyo, 江東区青海１丁目１−１０
Everyone knows Japan is famous for certain things—sushi, geisha, Mt. Fuji, samurai and ninja, Godzilla, and of course giant robots. And in Tokyo, even the latter is real—at least, life-sized mockups of them are. A great place to see one is Odaiba,...
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...
Japan, 〒381-0401 長野県下高井郡山ノ内町平穏６８４５
I left tropical Southeast Asia for Japan in the dead of winter for one reason - to see snow monkeys. I'd always seen pictures like the one above, of zen macaques in steaming hot springs surrounded by snow, and had no idea how accessible they were...
Yakushima, Kumage District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Mossy landscapes and ancient, indigenous cedar trees make for fairytale hiking heaven here, and moisture is plentiful at this elevation – Yakushima is the highest mountain in southern Japan. The exquisite scenery of this island, its mountains and...
Japan, Tokyo, Chiyoda, Sotokanda, 1 Chome
Expect to be overwhelmed. In Tokyo's neon-bright Electronic Town, what began as a post World War II black market for radio parts has become a mecca for geeks. Fondly known as Akiba, the area features hundreds of thousands of retail space dedicated...
Japan, 〒299-5503 Chiba-ken, Kamogawa-shi, Amatsu, 1072
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...
Zoshicho, Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8211, Japan
Deer roam the park freely!! It totally took me by surprise, but the park is one of many beautiful examples of how humankind can co-exist peacefully and gently with nature. Central park in Nara across from the Todai-ji temple. There was also an...
Japan, 〒106-0045 Tokyo, 港区麻布十番１丁目４−６
In addition to the works of Takashi Murakami, this gallery exhibits a lot of manga-inspired art. I go here to see the up-and-coming artists of the Tokyo scene. —Alondra De La Parra This appeared in the March/April 2012 issue.
589-4 Miyajimachō, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0559, Japan
I'll be honest. I like watching okonimiyaki being assembled and grilled more than eating it. How the pile (or mix, depending on where you 're eating) sizzles on the hot griddle as you divide shares around the table using tiny metal spatulas. My...
Setouchi, Okayama Prefecture, Japan
Les Archives du Coeur is a collection of recorded heartbeats housed in a small building on Teshima island in Japan’s Inland Sea. I got there by a 10 minute walk, through woods, past crumbling old houses, faded shop signs, moored fishing boats, and...
300 Ogikubo, Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0042, Japan
Fast, efficient, and punctual are just some of the words used to describe Japan’s bullet train commuter rail line—in Japanese, the shinkansen. The train can reach speeds of more than 200 miles an hour and some have likened traveling on this feat...
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...
3 Chome Minami 5 Jonishi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0805, Japan
Sapporo is quite a fun city to spend time in. I would recommend the Susukino district for its many karaoke clubs, vibrant nightlife, incredibly diverse restaurant scene, and some amazing coffee shops. Excelsior coffee makes an incredible...
Yoshinoya, Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture 959-1106, Japan
Take a rickshaw with Danger Boy (who ran the entire trip hauling both of us!!) to see Cherry Blossoms. Danger Boy was not only in rocking' shape but, had lots of information about the pagodas and monuments in the park. His warning was "do not...