Collected by Ann Hayashi
Japan, 〒606-8435 Kyoto Prefecture, 京都市左京区南禅寺福地町
A Japanese friend recommended the tofu restaurant at the Nanzenji temple in Kyoto. It took us an hour to find the place, which is tucked away in a quiet corner of the beautiful complex. We enjoyed an exceptionally delicious yodofu meal!
Japan, 〒049-5731 Hokkaido, Usu District, Sobetsu, Toyakoonsen, ７番地１
One is met with a very refreshing view of Lake Toya and Ezo Fuji (Mt Yotei) at the far end, when you wake up in the morning as you look out the large picture window of your tatami room. This is a nice place to stay overnight when you're exploring...
Nakijin, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
Once used to house and protect the King and his family, Nakijin Castle still stands firm against typhoon alley and is a frequently visited UNESCO World Heritage site. In the spring, many people flock to see its magnificent cherry blossom trees.
Japan, 〒299-1861 Chiba Prefecture, Futtsu, Kanaya
The Fish is an enormous complex on the Chiba side of Tokyo Bay. While the restaurant attracts tour buses, they are dropping off Japanese diners and shoppers, not Westerners. The restaurant serves impeccably fresh seafood, and the marketplace...
Nakayama, Hokuto, Hokkaido 041-1243, Japan
Upon reading up about Hokkaido, one of the popular "must tries" listed by fellow travelers was the age-imo, deep fried potato. Wondering what the fuss was all about, I had to try this. Living in Asia, we are quite familiar with deep fried sweet...
Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
I've often heard about Hokkaido milk being really popular and special. In fact, everything Hokkaido-related like its chocolates, butter, cakes, ice creams, and even bread are extra special. Well, they all use the same raw ingredient: Hokkaido...
Japan, 〒602-0881 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Kamigyō-ku, Kyōtogyoen, 3
Central Park, Kyoto-style. Take a leisurely stroll down one of the broad avenues, wander up to the Imperial Palace, relax on one of the benches (which are otherwise hard to find in Kyoto) and watch the world go by.
Japan, 〒274-0072 Chiba-ken, Funabashi-shi, Miyama, 2 Chome−2−1
The night before we went to our Ninja Class in Tokyo, I asked my kids what they most wanted to do. They shouted, "Throw ninja stars!" I laughed and tried to prep them, saying, "I'm sure that they would never let tourists do something that could...
Nagawa, Chiisagata District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
In a rural rice farm, these guys showed us a good time with this slip-n-slide for noodles. With fresh, cold water from a local stream, we grabbed at the slippery noodles floating on the bamboo slide and dunked them in cups of delicious soy and...
Japan, 〒064-0805 Hokkaidō, Sapporo-shi, Chūō-ku, Minami 5 Jōnishi, 3 Chome, 南５条西３丁目
Enter Ramen Alley near Susukino station and shoulder up to the counter at Aji No Karyu. This small shop seats about 20 and serves up Sapporo-style miso ramen, distinct for the addition of a large slice of butter combined with the thin slices of ...
Japan, 〒111-0031 Tōkyō-to, Taitō-ku, Senzoku, 3 Chome−20−２ 吉原神社
My wife and I were in Japan for her first visit, and we had resolved to stay in Japanese-style ryokans instead of Western-style hotels to save money as well as for the new experiences. Needless to say, before GPS, this resolution made it...
浅草 新仲見世商店街 Asakusa Shin-Nakamise, 1 Chome-26 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032, Japan
Stray from the path to some more modern and atmospheric shopping. Here bolts of silk are displayed for sale at one of the many kimono shops lining the Shin-nakamise covered shopping pavilion in front of the iconic Senjoji Temple. If you're...
Japan, 〒630-8211 Nara Prefecture, Nara, Zoshicho
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, 〒730-0811 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Nakajimacho, 1
Originally started with the 1,000 paper cranes folded by a young girl who believed that folding the cranes would cure her of the bomb's radiation - this memorial and peace plaza for Hiroshima's children is just off the central park and ground zero...
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...
Ureshino, Saga Prefecture, Japan
I love tea but never visited a place where it grew until my Japanese friend told me about Ureshino. I expected to see factories and machines and outlet stores. But hey, this is Japan, not America. Ureshino is a quiet town known not only for its...
Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
What do you do with a nine-hour layover in Japan? Take the train one stop to downtown Narita, and eat your way around town. I was surprised by how lovely this city was, especially for being so close to the airport. The little cobblestone streets...
375 Hanaseharachichō, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 601-1102, Japan
Owner Hisato Nakahigashi combs the forests surrounding his ryokan each morning for the fresh herbs found in his tsumigusa (foraged) cuisine. Watch him prepare carp sashimi and salt-baked bamboo on a rectangular chestnut counter that surrounds...
Japan, 〒100-0006 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Yūrakuchō, 2 Chome−10−1
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...
1-2 Nakajimachō, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0811, Japan
A super talented barista in Caffe Ponte near Hiroshima Peace Park inscribed a message of peace and love on my morning latte. For the last 67 years the city of Hiroshima has devoted itself to the causes of peace and nuclear non-proliferation.
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...
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...
29-3 Sarugakuchō, 渋谷区 Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0033, Japan
My wife’s favorite coffee shop in Daikanyama has an open terrace that’s perfect for people-watching. The space was inspired by 18th-century Italian cafés. —Kashiwa Sato 29-3 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, 81/(0) 3-3770-9517. This appeared in the...
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