Latest Posts & Articles

The Real Japan YouTube Channel Launched!

The Real Japan YouTube Channel Launched!

Yep. You did read that correctly. We have just launched the official The Real Japan YouTube Channel! :-D I cannot tell you how excited I am about this news — but I’ll try to keep the exclamation marks under control — but it is difficult! (oops) To celebrate the launch we’ve made a trailer for the channel that includes footage I’ve shot from numerous places tucked away around the land of the rising sun. Just…

Read More
Meeting an Itako — Spiritual Medium

Meeting an Itako — Spiritual Medium

“Itako — also known as ichiko (市子) or ogamisama (男神様), are blind women who train to become spiritual mediums in Japan. Training involves severe ascetic practices, after which the woman is said to be able to communicate with Japanese Shinto spirits, kami (gods), and the spirits of the dead. Itako perform rituals tied to communication with the dead and divination. The practice has been on the decline, with only 20 living itako in Japan,…

Read More
LINE Friends Stores Are Awesome!

LINE Friends Stores Are Awesome!

I’m a big fan of mobile messenger app LINE. Partly because it has an excellent user interface and means I can make free international voice or video calls to other LINE users over the internet. And partly because its range of characters is just so damn kawaii (cute)! :-D I prefer LINE to Facebook Messenger as it is far less intrusive in the personal data it requires to function. If you’re not already familiar with…

Read More
Interview With Love Japan Magazine

Interview With Love Japan Magazine

Love Japan Magazine is a beautiful print publication, with accompanying website and blog, so I’m rather chuffed to have been interviewed by them discussing some of my many adventures in The Real Japan. You can read the full interview online HERE. Love Japan was created by fans, for fans of Japanese culture. Put together by a small creative team from London in the UK, all of whom have travelled around Japan, they offer a fusion…

Read More
Review: Cafe Keshipearl, Kobe

Review: Cafe Keshipearl, Kobe

Not far from the business district in the harbour city Kobe, and 5 minutes or so walk from Sannomiya JR station, unassumingly tucked away on a first floor you can find Cafe Keshipearl. We discovered it just as they were celebrating their 5th Anniversary of opening. The understated signage at street level was stylishly attractive. When I first walked in I loved the look of the place. The interior design was minimal but certainly designed,…

Read More
Reflections on The Mountains of Central Japan

Reflections on The Mountains of Central Japan

I’m typing this on a bus bound for an area in the heart of Shiga Prefecture, which is in the middle of the main island of Honshu. The views from the window are stunning, and impress upon me just how glorious the mountains of Japan are. Mountains Define Japan Japan is a long, thin strip of a country, comprising some 6,800 islands. The main one, Honshu, is where you’ll find most of the places you’ve…

Read More
Onsen Tips For Those With Tattoos

Onsen Tips For Those With Tattoos

I recently published an article entitled: A Luxury Spa Day At Arima Onsen (that won’t break the bank). Immediately after I was asked if I could provide some onsen tips for those with tattoos. One such response was via an email from Linda who lives in New Zealand. Linda is off to Japan for what sounds like a great trip next month and wanted some advice about using onsen for those with tattoos. Here’s what…

Read More
A Luxury Spa Day At Arima Onsen (That Won’t Break The Bank)

A Luxury Spa Day At Arima Onsen (That Won’t Break The Bank)

On the main island of Honshu lies the prefecture of Hyogo. Just to the west of Osaka and Kyoto you’ll find the harbour city of Kobe. Kobe nestles between the Inland Sea and Mt. Rokko. Behind Mt. Rokko lies the ancient onsen resort of Arima. It’s one of Japan’s most popular onsen, dating back to at least the 7th century, and has a reputation as being one of the more luxurious and expensive resort…

Read More