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1-1 Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan
A fairy-tale castle, Japanese-style. The grounds are massive, the tourist groups ever-present, the grounds inaccessible more often than not—but it's still worth the visit.
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1-1 Chiyoda, 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 Chome-1-10 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0064, Japan
Even if you only have a few days in Tokyo, I recommend taking the boat to Odaiba. The boat itself looks like a futuristic James Bond space vessel. Catch the boat from Asakusa (the area famous for Senso-ji, Tokyo's large Buddhist temple) and take...
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4 Chome-2-8 Shibakōen, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 105-0011, Japan
The orange and white Eiffel Tower replica stands nine meters taller than its Parisian counterpart and has been the central focus of Tokyo's skyline since 1958. A visit to the tower is a bit underwhelming, but my favorite ways to take in the tower...
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1 Chome Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
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...
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Yanaka, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0001, Japan
On the east side of Tokyo, travelers can experience the city’s frenetic spirit. In the Ameyayokocho neighborhood, you’ll find seedy-looking love hotels, pachinko parlors, and chatty street vendors. When the chaos becomes too intense, escapeto...
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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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2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032, Japan
Both Tokyo's largest and oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji is one of the city's must see sights. The streets leading to Senso-ji are filled with souvenir shops where you can find tapestries, kimonos, kitschy key chains, and finger foods....
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Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture, Japan
My friends and I roamed the streets of Osaka until we found just the right place to try one of the city's best-known food specialties, okonomiyaki. Delicious!
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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...
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406-1 Zōshichō, Nara-shi, Nara-ken 630-8211, Japan
The Todai-ji Temple in Nara wrapped up a day-long excursion from Yokohama that also included a visit to the temples of Kyoto. The Todai-ji Temple is grand in size and its craftsmanship most impressive, created and carved of all wood it is one of...
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3 Chome Minami 5 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, 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...
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9丁目-2-10 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 065-0007, Japan
One of the popular dishes that originated in Hokkaido is the Jingisukan, which is lamb bbq or mutton bbq. Instead of the usual open grill on charcoal used in western barbeques, the Japanese use a non-smoke pan like the one in the photo, sometimes...
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Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0016, Japan
We traveled to Hase to see the Great Buddha, but I enjoyed Hasedera temple even more than the Great Buddha. It is a much bigger area with several different temple buildings. There are two large goldleaf buddhas that are impressive. The cave is an...
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Japan, 〒236-0015 Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Kanazawa-ku, 金沢町212−1
The most peaceful place I've found while living in Yokohama is Shomyoji Temple near the Kanazawa-Bunko station on the Keikyu rail line. The structures and iconic red bridges have been rebuilt in the past century, but the site has been used as a...
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1 Chome-8-7 Teramae, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 236-0014, Japan
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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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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Japan, 〒160-0013 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kasumigaokamachi, 10, 霞ヶ丘町10−2
Sumo wrestling is a major sport in Japan where the wrestlers are considered pop stars. They have a very strict regimen that involves a lot of eating, drinking beer and sleeping to assist gain the weight required to push the opponent out of the...
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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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Japan, 〒630-8301 Nara-ken, Nara-shi, Takabatakechō, 1130 菊水楼(KIKUSUIRO
During Golden Week, we spent one morning at Nara to see the Great Buddha Hall, Dear park; and an afternoon at Ninja Village to meet and greet the family of Ninjas! This was our trip report -...
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Renge-116 Uji, Uji-shi, Kyōto-fu 611-0021, Japan
Byodo-in at dawn is a little gem of perfection that everyone should see. The temple itself ( in the city of Uji, near Kyoto) is an extremely open, yet delicate and airy structure that seems to float on and above the water.In the early part of the...
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4 Chome-6 Shirokanedai, Minato, Tokyo 108-0071, Japan
For the best yakitori I go to Toritama in Ebisu. They specialize in rarely served, unique parts of the chicken. There’s one dish in particular, a premature egg that’s still connected to ovaries, which they grill. —David Myers This appeared in the...
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1 Chome-1-4 Rokkenmachi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama-ken 350-1113, Japan
Kawagoe is a small city in Saitama Prefecture located roughly half an hour from Ikebukuro by express train on the Tobu Tojo line. It is known for its well-preserved kura (storehouses) dating back to the Edo period. The Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan...
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Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
“Nature” may not be a word generally associated with Tokyo, but the Kanto Plain on which the city sits abounds with forests, rivers, and mountains. In many cases, though, you may only find one or two out of the three available in any one location,...
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Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
Tokyoites often appear to have just stepped off the pages of Vogue. Lolita Goth, My Little Pony, and Little Bo Peep are all trends that have passed through the streets of Tokyo. For the extreme teen kawaii (cute) fashion, choose from tutus and Bo...
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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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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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Japan, 〒600-8234 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, ホテルグランヴィア京都 烏丸通塩小路下ル東塩小路町901
Kitcho has 3 Michelin stars and they serve Kaiseki style meals in private dining rooms facing formal Japanese gardens. Our Kitcho adventure involved a tight time frame, a frantic run to the bullet train and the most luxurious meal I've ever had...
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Japan, 〒602-8216 京都府Kyōto-shi, Kamigyō-ku, Tatemonzenchō, 京都市上京区 堀川通今出川南入竪門前町414
In the heart of the Nishijin textile district, the colorful textile center is worth taking a peek before continuing your stroll around beautiful Kyoto. Located in a modern building in Imadegawa, they offer tons of displays of completed fabrics and...
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Shimomaruyacho (Kawaramachidori), Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8006, Japan
9 hours was one of the coolest capsule hotels I have seen. My Japanese friend recommended it to me while I was in Kyoto and it was awesome. Felt a little space-agey but I had so much room to move and didn't feel claustrophobic one bit. Saw a...
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Japan, 〒250-0407 Kanagawa-ken, Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi, Ninotaira, 二ノ平1121
This is the view inside the Symphonic Sculpture by Gabriel Loire at the Hakone Open Air Museum (彫刻の森 in Japanese) in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The museum opened in 1969 as the first open-air art museum in Japan. The spectacular grounds,...
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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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Japan, 〒100-0004 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Ōtemachi, 1 Chome−5−6 大手町タワー
The first true city property for the minimalist luxury hotel brand, this 84-room hotel occupies the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower, in the Otemachi financial district. The design uses traditional Japanese materials like camphor wood, washi...
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The suites at the new Aman Tokyo—slated to open this fall at the top of the Otemachi Tower—are as stylish as they are spacious, a rare find in this space-poor city. The Aman is just a 10-minute walk from Nihonbashi, so stay here or drop by to...
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26-1 Sakuragaokachō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-8512, Japan
This property in Shibuya City, the Silicon Valley of Tokyo, opened in 2001 in the area’s tallest skyscraper. Interiors mix Western and Japanese aesthetics. Simple, unfussy guest rooms are located on floors 19 through 37 of the 184-meter,...
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375 Hanaseharachichō, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 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 then sit...
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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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294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan
This is one of my favorite places in Japan, and in the world. It is one of the most beautiful temples. It's very nice to come here when it's not crowded. I often try to come here during the rain, as odd as that sounds (that's when it is least...
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4 Chome-11-15 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 460-0011, Japan
The best Vespa repair shop/bar in Nagoya! Huge burgers that run around 850, cold beer, and lots of vintage scooters.
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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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Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Hakone is about an hour train ride from central Tokyo, but it feels a world away. This scenic mountainous region is a lovely place to spend a weekend away from the city. There's plenty to see and do to keep the entire family satisfied. The Hakone...
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Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
The small town of Hakone, Japan, sits on the picturesque shores of Lake Ashi. From the shore, the bright red torii gate of Hakone Shrine clearly stands out across the water. I visited the gate on an early September morning when the sun was just...
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1-1 Hamarikyūteien, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0046, Japan
Hamarikyu Gardens is a 250,165-square-meter landscaped garden built on the site of a 17th-century game reserve owned by the Tokugawa family and located adjacent to Tokyo Bay. The garden features a variety of native flora and fauna, including...
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Japan, 〒401-0511 山梨県南都留郡忍野村忍草
About a 10-minute drive from the shores of Lake Yamanaka lies a cluster of eight deepwater pools designated as a National Treasure by the Japanese government and known as Oshino-hakkai. Filled with meltwater from the snow capping Mt. Fuji for most...
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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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Lake Chūzenji, Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1661, Japan
The Chuzenji Temple in Oku-nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was originally founded in 784 by a Buddhist monk known as Shodo-shonin and is located on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, which is approximately 1,300 meters above sea level. In the middle of the...
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Japan, 〒105-0022 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Kaigan, 2 Chome−7, 東京都港区海岸2丁目7−104
Want to spend a night out in the future? No problem, the Jicoo Floating Bar is your time machine ticket there. Open for business every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from 8 to 11pm, Jicoo (which is a cute Romanization of the Japanese word “...
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Glorious, solitary, active volcano Fujisan (known the world over as Mount Fuji) is the highest peak in Japan, and can be seen from Tokyo on a clear day. Symbol to many as birth and rebirth, Fujisan has been a pilgrimage place for artists and poets...
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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...
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Japan, 〒100-0005 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−1−9−1 東京駅一番街 東京ラーメンストリート内 B1
Rokurinsha’s original shop was in the suburbs of Tokyo, a considerable hike from the nearest train station, and still patrons waited for over three hours for a bowl of soup. Neighbors complained, and when the store was given a chance to open up on...
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Japan, 〒110-0007 Tokyo, Taitō, Uenokoen, 池之端三丁目
Peaceful. Just steps away from Ueno Station you'll find a glorious reprieve from the frenetic merchant buzz of Ueno. This shot was taken on a people-watching walk one summer afternoon and it began to rain-- (June is rainy season in Japan). A woman...
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7 Chome-14-8 Yanaka, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0001, Japan
Tenouji temple is a lovely little temple located next to Yanaka Cemetery near Nippori. About a 15-minute walk from Ueno Park, it is located in a residential neighborhood dotted with traditional Japanese-style houses and architecture as well as...
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3 Chome-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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2 Chome-1-1 Shibadaimon, 港区 Tokyo 105-0012, Japan
Craving a bowl of killer ramen but put off by the prospect of waiting in line for hours to do so? Well, look no further than Fukki, a brilliant noodle shop in between Shiba Park and Hamamatsucho Station specializing in Hakata-style tonkotsu (pig...
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Nagatoro, Chichibu District, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
During a whirlwind exploration of the prefectures surrounding Tokyo on Japan's Kanto plain, one extended moment of relaxation came in a boat ride down a stretch of the Arakawa River—running along the edge of Nagatoro town in the Chichibu district...
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11 Naitōmachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0014, Japan
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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4 Chome-4-13 Shibakōen, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 105-0011, Japan
Tokyo Tower may not be exactly the Eiffel Tower, but at night it is pretty damn close! Sitting near the base of this enormous TV tower is an amazing restaurant that offers fine tofu cuisine in a traditional Japanese garden setting and dojo-style...
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Japan, 〒106-0032 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi, 6 Chome−10−1 六本木ヒルズ ヒルサイド 2F
This two-Michelin-starred restaurant by Joel Robuchon is a replica of the L'Atelier in Paris and Las Vegas. Here they reinterpret French dishes with a bit of a Japanese influence. Counter seating makes any meal an event as you watch the chefs at...
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9 Chome-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0052, Japan
Hashi Choh showcases traditional artisanal Japanese goods. The shop’s dark wood interior and red accents give it a regal ambience, with a central focus on the wall of hashi (chopsticks). The chopsticks range from moderately priced wares perfect...