Articles

Review Candeo Hotels Osaka Namba The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Review: Candeo Hotels Osaka Namba

  Review: Candeo Hotels Osaka Namba – Rooftop Sky Spa In keeping with our taste for a bit of luxury (without having to pay ridiculous luxury prices!), we singled out the Candeo Hotels chain. They operate business hotels across Japan combining an element of luxury but with a somewhat more reasonable price point. That key ‘element’ in the Candeo Hotels Osaka Namba is they offer what they legimately call their SkySpa – large rooftop onsen-style…

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Visiting A Shinto Shrine, The Real Japan, Rob Dyer

Visiting A Shinto Shrine on New Year’s Eve

Visiting A Shinto Shrine on New Year’s Eve Hatsumōde (初詣) is the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year (starting on 1st January). Although most people visit on the first, second, or third day of the year (as most are off work on those days), typically, we visit our local shrine a couple of minutes after midnight – just as the new year is starting on the 1st of January. Prayers are made…

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Osaka Station City plazas The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Exploring Osaka Station City: Plazas

Exploring Osaka Station City: Plazas This is the first in a series of film-based articles about Osaka Station City. It focuses on the plazas within the complex. Osaka Station City is a vast shopping and transportation complex. It’s bookended by the towering North Gate and South Gate Buildings, and with Osaka Station at its heart. This sprawling development connects multiple rail and subway lines with a bus terminal and incorporates Umeda Station, and is justifiably…

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Kobe Luminarie light festival The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Kobe Luminarie Light Festival

Kobe Luminarie is an annual light festival held in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, every December since 1995. It commemorates the Great Hanshin earthquake of that year. This stunning, multicoloured display attracts millions of visitors to Kobe in December every year. It’s a must see in winter time in Japan. The festival runs for around two weeks every evening. It is viewed by about 3-5 million people each year. It has a personal connection for me as…

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5 Days in Kyushu Nakashima River district, Nagasaki The Real Japan Rob Dyer

5 Days In Kyushu – Itinerary

Thinking of spending 5 days in Kyushu? Here’s a whistlestop tour of a few highlights of Kyushu, including recommendations for each day, with photos. We have just returned to Ashiya (our base, near Kobe) after five days on the southern island of Kyushu – here’s our five day itinerary. 5 Days In Kyushu – Itinerary       Day1: Kobe > Fukuoka Fly: 08:00 Osaka Itami to Fukuoka (5am start) Lunch: Cafe Brasileiro – Fukuoka’s…

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Kyoto Journal ikebana The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Kyoto Journal: Celebrating Japanese Culture

Founded in 1986 by editor and designer John Einarsen, Kyoto Journal has been creating a record of and celebrating Japanese and Asian culture for the past 30 years. That in itself these days would be impressive enough. Yet, more remarkable of all its achievements, is that not only is it still putting out a diverse and inspiring range of content but it has done so by relying entirely upon volunteer staff. Describing its approach as…

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Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara)

Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara)

Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara) Naramachi is the former traditional merchant’s quarter in Nara – the old capital of Japan. Spending time, slowly walking around its narrow streets is evocative, like stepping back in time. Many of what were previously merchant stores and warehouses have been sympathetically rennovated; repurposed into a charming tapestry of boutiques, cafes, restuarants and craft shops – most of which are either family-run or solopreneur businesses. There’s no Starbucks or…

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The Unpredictability of Japanese Architecture

The Unpredictability of Japanese Architecture

The Unpredictability of (Modern) Japanese Architecture Designer and TV presenter Kevin McCloud once said that Japanese architecture and urban planning in Japan was just about the ugliest he’d ever seen. I know why he’d say that relating to much urban building, but I disagree. For me, what I find so consistently rewarding about urban architecture you find when travelling around Japan, is the complete unpredictability of what could pop up next. Chances are that within…

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Stardust Vegan Cafe & Boutique, Kyoto

Stardust Vegan Cafe & Boutique, Kyoto

Most people come to bustling Kyoto for the incredible wealth of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, and perhaps the hope of catching a Geisha or two walking elegantly in their geta to their next booking. Kyoto is also a good city for shopping. With the main shopping areas relatively compact and within a quick cab ride, short bus journey or a little longer but still pleasant stroll on foot from the main train station. As…

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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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