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Exploring Kyoto’s 15 Storey Train Station

Exploring Kyoto’s 15 Storey Train Station

  Kyoto, the former Imperial capital of Japan with its amazing wealth of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, is on many people’s ‘to do’ list when travelling in Japan. Most arrive here via train at Kyoto Station. And, although it probably wasn’t on their list of ‘must see’ sights when in Kyoto – it really ought to be. It’s incredible! One of Japan’s most iconic pieces of public architecture, designed by Hiroshi Hara and opened…

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Osaka Monorail Arriving at Osaka International Airport

Osaka Monorail Arriving at Osaka International Airport

  I’m a sucker for travelling on monorails. When I was small, the comics, science fiction magazines and books I used to read frequently included monorails. To me they looked like the future. There wouldn’t be any old-fashioned buses in the future, we’d all be travelling on monorails. Sadly, it didn’t quite turn out like that. At least, not yet! Thankfully, Japan still harbours a fondness for monorails. This one runs into Osaka International Airport…

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A Secret Tour of Tokyo National Museum

A Secret Tour of Tokyo National Museum

Noh Mask, Edo period, 18th Century The very first time I went to Japan it was mainly for leisure, but also partly for business. I was working in intellectual property (copyright) licensing at the time and, although my employer was a UK-only not-for-profit agency, it is a member of a global federation of intellectual property rights organisations. Meaning they had a counterpart in Japan. And the one in Japan was some years behind in its…

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A Spring Day Exploring Sendai City

A Spring Day Exploring Sendai City

Let’s explore Sendai City… We start, as many do, in front of Sendai (train) Station. We then hop onto the Sendai City Loop Bus (Loople Sendai) and ride the bus out of the heart of city, up to the location of Aoba Castle. Where there are terrific views over the city skyline below. We head back into the city centre to see some folks taking photos with a group of samurai warrior cosplayers. Finally, we…

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Period Charms of Aburaya Ryokan, Takahashi

Period Charms of Aburaya Ryokan, Takahashi

Aburaya ryokan can be found in Takahashi – a small city in Okayama Prefecture, towards the southern end of the main island Honshu. Nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains, Takahashi is often used as a base for those visiting the nearby Bitchū Matsuyama Castle. We were here mid-winter, in early January, as an overnight stop before heading up Mount Gagyu early the following morning to explore Bitchū Matsuyama Castle – Japan’s highest castle.  …

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Review: Diary of A Tokyo Teen

Review: Diary of A Tokyo Teen

Helpfully and explicitly subtitled “A Japanese-American girl travels to the land of Trendy Fashion, High-Tech Toilets and Maid Cafes“, Diary of A Tokyo Teen by Christine Mari Inzer is a vivid personal record and a charming introduction not just to Tokyo but to Japan as a country and Japanese culture generally.       Christine Mari Inzer was born in Tokyo in 1997 to a Japanese mother and an American father. She spent her first years…

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Owari Tsushima Wisteria Festival

Owari Tsushima Wisteria Festival

Around Golden Week (a holiday in Japan from the end of April to early May) the Owari Tsushima Wisteria Festival is held in Tennogawa Park. Families, young couples, senior and school parties gather every year to celebrate Japanese wisteria – the official flower of Tsushima. Tsushima is a city located in Aichi Prefecture in the Chūbu region of Japan – on the main island of Honshu.   Official Aichi Prefecture Tourism website (Owari Tsushima Wisteria…

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Kumano Hongu Heritage Center, Tanabe (360° View)

Kumano Hongu Heritage Center, Tanabe (360° View)

All of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes lead to Hongu, the traditional “crossroads” of the Kii Peninsula, in Wakayama Prefecture. In this short clip you get a full 360° view of the area and surrounding mountains as seen from the rear of the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center. In the distance you can see Oyunohara Otorii – the largest torii shrine gate in the world at 34 metres tall and 43 metres wide. The modern Kumano…

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