Journey in Japan Part 51: On the Other Side of the Mountain

Today I have decided to take a break from city life. I have booked a night at a Japanese inn, known as a ryokan. It is situated in the middle of some mountains in...

Journey in Japan Part 46: Bridges and Balloons

Today I rent a bright red bicycle, and cycle over the Sumida River, toward Ryogoku. There is a row of parked bicycles, each with a bright purple sticker featuring today’s date. I want to park...

Journey in Japan Part 30: Dog Day, Afternoon

Back in Tokyo, and today in Nihonbashi there is an annual festival taking place, the Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri. It is one of the three great Shinto festivals in Tokyo and is probably the largest. Every three...

Journey in Japan Part 7: Florets Get Ready to Grumble

As my bus crawls into Fukuoka, I wonder what is going on. Traffic is at a standstill everywhere. Traffic lights linger on red a lot longer than usual. We pull into my penultimate stop. It is...

WWOOF Japan – Your Free Cultural and Organic Experience

I always see a lot of people asking about volunteering opportunities in Japan. In fact, WWOOF Japan provides many of those chances, especially in the agricultural industry. WWOOF is an acronym meaning World Wide...

Journey in Japan Part 33: Dance, Dance, Dance

It is humid today, a cool 31°C with patches of rain, the perfect weather for dancing in the street. I head over to Tawaramachi Station for a train to Shibuya. From Shibuya Station, I head...

T-Points and T-Point Cards – Maximising the Benefits

Welcome to Japan, do you have a T ... If you’ve been in Japan longer than 24 hours, chances are you’ve already been asked by one cashier or another if you have a T-point card....

Secret Rice and Sacred Fish

Someone told me yesterday that beneath the banks and office buildings between Mitsukoshimae Station and Otemachi Station, hidden deep underground, the Japanese government grows secret rice. Somewhere along the Ginza Line my train just powers down. All the lights...

Seasonal Japanese Food in Autumn

So it's September and that means its time to start thinking about the seasonal Japanese food in Autumn. As temperatures start to taper off, we see 秋 (あき or Aki) 'Fall' or 'Autumn in...

Journey in Japan Part 54: Fuji in the Sky with Diamonds

It is 16:20 and I am in Ikebukuro, standing in the observation deck on the sixtieth floor of a building called, “Sunshine City.” Considering the spectacle I am about to witness this afternoon, I...