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Japan Trip

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Japan, 〒550-0011 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Nishi-ku, Awaza, 1 Chome−4, 阿波座1丁目4−11
Following a complete overhaul of a deteriorating multi-tenanted building two miles west of Osaka Castle, Rock Star Hotel opened in December 2013. Its stark white entrance belies vibrant interiors that showcase rock ‘n’ roll art,...
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Japan, 〒542-0086 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Nishishinsaibashi, 2 Chome−9−5 日宝三津寺ビル1F
There aren't enough unbelievable things I can say about Tres Bon. Taking its name from the French for "very good," it's also honest. Operated day-to-day by an 84 year old Japanese man named Jefe (Spanish for boss) who's always drinking and can...
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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...
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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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2-chōme-10-1 Yūrakuchō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-0006, Japan
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...
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Japan, 〒160-0004 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, 新宿区Yotsuya, 1-chōme−1−11 陽臨堂ビル 1F
When I took my beautiful wife to Tokyo to celebrate her birthday in March, because we only had three days in town we had to very carefully curate our dining choices. While we did visit an old favourite, most of the restaurants we visited were new...
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Japan, 〒100-0004 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Ōtemachi, 1 Chome−5−6 大手町タワ
The first true city property for the minimalist luxury brand, this 84-room hotel sits within the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower. A mix of traditional materials like camphor wood, washi paper, and stone create a Zen experience, not least in...
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Japan, 〒100-8283 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−8−3 丸の内トラストタワー本館
Like most of Tokyo’s luxury lodgings, the Hong Kong–based hotel company’s only property in Japan occupies the top 11 floors of a prominent skyscraper, this time the Marunouchi Trust Tower Main Building. It offers direct access to...
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1 Chome-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-0005, Japan
If Tokyo is just the first stop on your Japanese cultural immersion tour, you could do no better than a stay at this stately hotel. Opened in 1914 and restored after bombings during World War II in 1951, the European-style property’s 58...
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3 Chome-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-8246, Japan
Much maligned in the Western press as being the place that right-wing Japanese politicians visit to pay their respects to dead war criminals, Yasukuni Shrine’s main objective is actually to enshrine anyone, military or civilian, killed in the...
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1 Chome-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 130-0015, Japan
An impressive dichotomy of massive modern architecture on the outside and a subdued, scholarly-yet-approachable atmosphere on the inside, this tribute to the history of Tokyo houses a large number of life-sized dioramas and recreations of what...
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2-chōme-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-8588, Japan
Along with the Great Buddha (Kamakura Daibutsu), the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū Shinto shrine attracts hundreds of visitors each day in Kamakura (Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan). The rituals for seeking good fortune are many. These ema—wooden votive...
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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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Take the train to Shibuya Station and exit at Hachiko. Look up to find that old familiar Starbuck's sign. Grab another cup of green tea and head to the second floor to observe the organized chaos of pedestrians crossing from all directions from...
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1-chōme-1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-0005, Japan
Eating at Mutsumiya is like taking a trip to Hokkaido, an island in northern Japan. The place serves the classic Hokkaido miso-based ramen, created with water brought over from Hokkaido. The shop is located on the Tokyo Ramen Street, a collection...
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Japan, 〒100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−9−1 東京駅一番街地下1階東京ラーメンストリート
The soup at Ikaruga is so thick and creamy that you might believe it contains milk or butter. In reality, the wonderful texture of the tonkotsu broth is the result of pork bones simmered for hours upon hours. Among the restaurants on the Tokyo...
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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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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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1 Chome-1-8 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0004, Japan
You can find this place by looking for a giant line outside a Kichijoji butcher shop that usually snakes across the street, around the bend, and requires multiple employees to manage. The line is for deep-fried beef balls: breaded lard bombs...
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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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2-chōme-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 163-8001, Japan
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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1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-8111, Japan

The residence of Japan’s imperial family is located inside a lovely park in the heart of Tokyo. The palace was originally built in 1888, after the capital moved from Kyoto to Tokyo, and then restored following damage incurred during...

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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 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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Shimohonnojimaecho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8091, 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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452 Kinbukichō, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 604-0846, Japan
What is Manga? I asked myself that same question. I saw a flood of Japanese teenagers outside this museum dressed up as these crazy anime characters. They were outside the Kyoto International Manga Museum. It's three floors of lined wall to wall...