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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...
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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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Most people, including myself, hear the word Gion and immediately think of Memoirs of a Geisha. While Gion is definitely known for the elusive Geiko's and Maiko's that roam the streets after dark, there is a lot more to this neighborhood that...
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5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0045, Japan
The Toyosu Market (formerly the inner market at Tsukiji) is the world's largest wholesale seafood market, with more than 2,000 tons of seafood moving through it daily. At its new (and far more modern) location, there's also a separate building for...
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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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1-chōme-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 130-0015, Japan
I have found that one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a foreign culture is to attend a local sporting event. My husband & I happened to be in Tokyo during the annual sumo wrestling tournament. So we bought the cheapest tickets that...
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3-chōme-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-0005, Japan
The Tokyo International Forum is a stunning architectural masterpiece of glass and steel truss designed as a multipurpose convention and event space by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. It was completed in 1996 on the site of the former Tokyo...
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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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The Japanese have a proverb: "He who climbs Mount Fuji once is a wise man, he who climbs it twice is a fool." And after doing so I understand why; and it's something you must do in your life. Standing on the top of Mt. Fuji makes you realize how...
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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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375 Hanaseharachichō, Sakyō-ku, Kyoto, 601-1102, Japan
You’ll feel zen from the moment you drive in from nearby Kyoto, along a narrow road through Japanese cedars and past temples and shrines, to the moment you sink into a hot bath at this intimate ryokan. Refreshed and relaxed, you’ll...
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Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
Less than an hour south of Tokyo, Kamakura is a popular coastal town and home to the Great Buddha. This bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple, has a height of 13.35 meters. It is the second tallest bronze...
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2-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0052, Japan
To celebrate and honor the sakura,the Japanese hold hanami parties by picnicking under the blooming trees from morning through evening. If you have the opportunity to visit Japan during this period, you’ll witness thousands of people gather...
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Yurakucho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0006, Japan
Under the tracks of the Yamanote line train, running from Tokyo to Shinbashi stations, you'll find hidden, unique dining experiences. Down here locals serve everything from specialty Japanese cuisines to unique international tastes—Thai, French,...
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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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1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 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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1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588, Japan
“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world” Saduko Sasaki (young girl who developed leukemia from Hiroshima bombing) The floating torii is the "gate" to Itsukushima Shrine on Miajima island off the coast of Hiroshima....
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Mount Nokogiri, Motona, Kyonan, Awa District, Chiba 299-1901, Japan
Trademark notch at the top of Nokogiriyama ("Saw Mountain") near Futtsu in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The mountain features a distinctive sawtoothed profile of a Japanese saw, due in part to the mountain's history as a stone quarry during the Edo...
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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...
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4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0016, Japan
Most of our guests rank Kamakura's Great Buddha (Daibatsu) statue as one of their top ten highlights, if not their favorite. I can't blame them. Even on crowded days, one can't resist the feeling of serenity that envelops the grounds. From...
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Mie Prefecture, Japan
Meoto Iwa, also known as the wedded rocks, are located in Ise Bay near Japan's Grand Ise Shrine. Ise is a great day trip. Home to one of Japan's three great shrines, the streets of Ise are packed with old wooden houses, Japanese sweet shops, and...
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1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0936, Japan
Kenroku-en has ranked among the top three gardens to visit in Japan, quite an achievement in a country that is justifiably proud of its gardens. I took the early morning train to Kanazawa from Kyoto, to spend an entire day in Kenroku-en and see...
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550 Koyasan, Kōya, Ito District, Wakayama Prefecture 648-0294, Japan
Okunoin, Mount Koya's most sacred site, contains a cemetery that is home to the remains of warlords, celebrities, samurai, shoguns, high priests, businessmen and artists. I cross the Ichinohashi Bridge and am transported to a weird, wonderful...