Life, By Okinawa

aragusuku-okinawa

Sponsored by Okinawa Prefecture, Japan Oh to live forever (or at least for a very long time). The longer I live, the more I realise that I want to live. I know that sounds a little gloomy but the truth is, when I was younger, I had no idea how to live. I drank too much. […]

The best days

This is the haircut

One of the best days of my life was spent in Koyasan, a mountain town in Japan. I was travelling by myself, staying in a traditional ryokan and had a spare day to wander around. Koyasan is the birthplace of Shinto Buddhism so there are plenty of temples and shrines to explore, and because of its […]

When is the best time to visit Japan?

Cherry blossom

This is a tough question to answer because each month and season boasts something wonderful in Japan. Let’s consider each of Japan’s four main islands and the ideal times to visit each region according to your itinerary. Best time to visit Honshu Many of the most famous Japanese cities and attractions are found on the […]

Best things ever

Manta rays

When you think back over your life, what are the absolute best things you’ve ever done? Here are mine: Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef on the Year 10 excursion Getting my puppy Dash, the toy poodle Snorkelling with manta rays on Big Island, Hawaii Hippo-watching as the sun set in the Okavango Delta, Botswana Holding a baby […]

Koyasan is not near Kyoto

Temple pillars

Five trains, a cable car and a bus: that’s what it took to get from Kyoto to Koyasan in the Wakayama prefecture of Japan. With every leap in altitude, my confidence decreased. Where was I going? I had impulse booked a ryokan online that claimed to be near Kyoto. When I realised how not nearby it was, I […]

Couchsurfing

Sakura Matsuri in Gion

Wouldn’t it be great if you could travel the world for free? Well, you kinda can. Couchsurfing.org is a website that hooks you up with hosts who are willing to share their homes with you, and gives you the chance to give back to the travel community in the form of your spare bed. My […]

Tokyo for beginners

Harajuku Girls

Tokyo is a bit daunting on the first go. The place names have a lot of syllables and there are many railway lines going everywhere. Do not trust Google Maps to help you either. There’s usually more than one place with the same name i.e. Tsurumaki. I Googled it, trusted the map and ended up in […]

Foreign correspondent: Nathan, Kyoto

Nathan Hirsch

1. How long have you lived in Japan? I’ve lived in Japan for 5 and a 1/2 years in total since 2005. I First came to Japan on the JET Program  (a program from the Japanese Ministry of Education) and lived in Kochi Prefecture for 3 years. Later, from 2010-12 I worked for a Japanese Steel […]

Takao Kanko Hotel, Kyoto

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I booked my entire Japan itinerary in a panicky, online way because I quickly realised that the entire freaking world knows about this cherry blossom thing. Hence, most hotels have been booked out for quite some time. Like, since 1982. It is nothing short of remarkable that I managed to find Takao Kanko Hotel. I […]

Japanese love affair

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You know when you first fall in love with someone and all you see is similarities between you and your beloved? It’s like that with me and Japan. Every day I discover new things we have in common. Oh you’re a coffee addict too? You like weird craft? You’re not really into gluten and lactose […]