There are so many places to visit in Japan that it can be a bit overwhelming when deciding what to put on your travel itinerary, especially when you only have a limited amount of time. I’ve talked a lot over the past couple of weeks about the big hitters…Kyoto, Hiroshima etc but I’d really encourage visitors to add at least one of the less popular destinations into the mix as they still offer fantastic cultural and natural sights but with smaller crowds of fellow tourists and a slightly more relaxed vibe.
If Hiroshima is on your itinerary I’d really suggest allowing an extra half a day to visit the nearby Miyajima, a beautiful island just off the coast of the mainland. Not only is the atmosphere of peace and calm a lovely change from the hustle and bustle of the city but the island also offers one of the most iconic photo spots in all Japan…the torii gate of the Itsukushima shrine. Continue reading
Having settled into our very comfortable room at Hiroshima Aioi, a lovely traditional ryokan right by the Hiroshima Peace Park, complete with a sobering but incredible view straight out onto the Atomic Bomb Dome, we took advantage of our location and headed straight out to the Hiroshima Peace Park and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Continue reading
We had a rather lazy start to our final day in Kyoto visiting a shrine which was just a short walk from our hotel – Sanjusangendo. Continue reading
I think it’s fair to say that most visitors to Japan spend at least a little time in the fascinating city of Kyoto which was Japan’s capital for over a millenium. Kyoto is known as Japan’s most beautiful city and it is easy to see why but as it is hugely spread out and hosts an overwhelming number of shrines and temples (some sites put it at 400, others at 2000!) it can be a little intimidating when you sit down to plan your trip…so hopefully my tips over the next two days on my favourite sights will help in your itinerary building. Continue reading
The ancient city of Nara is often overlooked in favour of its bigger, and better known, sister Kyoto. But it really is worth making some time to visit Nara – the best of its sights (which have UNESCO World Heritage status) can be visited in a day and what’s more you aren’t as hampered by the crowds .
Japan is famous for lots of different types of alcohol – whisky, sake, umeshu, beer but what is perhaps lesser known is the quality of the cocktails that you can find in the most unassuming of places. Making cocktails is taken seriously in Japan – it is considered an art and it really shows in the perfectly balanced finished products. One point to note is that location is not the key when it comes to finding the best cocktails bars – the bars where the bar-tenders focus on a smaller number of covers (thereby preserving the quality of their drinks) are often hidden on random floors at not particularly fancy addresses. From perfected classics to new and inventive drinks, there is a bar for you in Tokyo – in no particular order, my top five are…
There’s so much to see in Japan that choosing where to go if you only have a limited amount of time can be a bit overwhelming, but in my humble opinion it is definitely worth spending a bit of time (and stomach space) in Japan’s second city, Osaka.
On escape eat explore so far I’ve generally concentrated on the more gourmet end of the food available in Japan, and given that Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city that is easy to do. But to do so exclusively would miss out on a trick. Japan’s more casual food scene is also not to be missed…