Japan

We’ve lived and traveled all around Japan for years. We’ve got all the info on travel in Japan.

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan? Comparing All 4 Seasons in Japan

Japan. Exotic, futuristic, traditional. It’s on everyone’s bucket list, because it has so much to offer. The main question is, when is the best time to go to Japan? It’s a good question. Which season has the best weather? What festivals are the most interesting? What kinds of food are eaten each season? These are all great queries. And the answers? Anytime is the best time. All four seasons in Japan have their pros and cons. Summer is hot and muggy, but the festivals and fireworks are amazing. Winter is cold and snowy, but the skiing and bathing in hot tubs makes it all worthwhile! To help you plan your trip to Japan, we’ve asked travel bloggers to add to …

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How to Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan)

Cherry Blossoms Japan

A Step by Step Guide to Doing it Right! Hanami season is one of the biggest attractions in Japan. Hanami refers to “cherry blossom viewing” and takes over the country for about six weeks. EVERYTHING is cherry blossom related: candies, ice cream, souvenirs, even commercials. It is many people’s favorite season!

Visiting the Fushimi Inari Shrine – Kyoto

The Fushimi Inari Shrine - The Number 1 Thing To Do In Kyoto

The old capital of Japan, Kyoto is a fascinating city of old imperial sites and even older temples and shrines. You can easily spend a week exploring all of the important sites, tracking Geishas, and soaking in hot spring water. The shrines and temples range from the spectacular and flamboyant Golden Pavillion to the whimsical and bizarre Otagi Nenbutsu. Arguably, the Fushimi Inari Shrine is probably the most iconic shrine in Kyoto. The bright orange gates winding through a crisp green forest act like a tourist magnet. Travelers and locals alike clamber for a break in the sea of people to try and capture their visit, but don’t let this stop you. It is well worth spending at least half a day wandering the …

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Christmas Dinner in Japan….KFC?!

Christmas Dinner Japan KFC

What?!  No KFC Fried Chicken for You This Holiday? Come on!  No fuss, no mess, just down home traditional foods that you pick up and share.  What’s wrong with that?!  If you’ve lived in Japan, you’ll know that the ovens can be very small and roasting a turkey might be difficult, if you can even find one! No worries, the answer is right on the corner. It’s Christmas in Japan at KFC!

The Top Tourist Sights and Places to See in Tokyo

Read: Tokyo's Top 6 Things to Do!

There is plenty to do in Tokyo! It is a fascinating city with plenty of sights, culture, and great food!  Here is our list of tourist sights and places to see in Tokyo. Hopefully, it won’t take up all of your allotted time in this amazing country of Japan , because even though Tokyo is a one-of-a-kind city…there’s more out there. Tokyo Top Attractions You Must See! Meiji Jingu Shrine One of the most iconic and must-see spots to kick off a tour of Tokyo is the Meiji Jingu Shrine.  Located in a large forested park, the shrine sits back and serenely puts you in the frame of mind of relaxing and relieving your stresses. Many people come to the shrine to …

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Top Ten Things to do in Japan

Read: Top 10 Things to do in Japan

It’s Time to Go to Japan! Japan is a country where everyone is polite and the streets are clean; it’s has so much to offer the tourist.  If you haven’t done much travel in Asia, Japan is a great place to start because it has all the exoticism of Asia, but at the same time is meticulously clean and relatively easy to navigate. The biggest problem that it presents is the expense.  It’s not cheap, and there really aren’t too many true budget options. Even hostels will run you at least $50 per night and if you want to have a more traditional stay for a night or two at a Japanese Inn, called a ryokan, you’re looking at spending …

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World Heritage Nikko – Day Trip from Tokyo

While visiting Japan, one of the easiest world heritage sites to visit is Nikko.  A national park, shrines, and much more await you. Taking a day trip to Nikko will make your Japan trip that much more memorable. Getting to Nikko was half the fun, especially on a snowy January day.  The train takes well over an hour from Tokyo and then it’s a bus ride or a walk to the temple.  It was a cold, wet snow so every step made me colder than the one before it.  Of course photographing in this weather brings a whole new set of challenges.  Trying not to get the camera wet, yet finding a good exposure…all very tough.  I loved Nikko.  If …

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Watching a Sumo Tournament! – Tokyo

Sumo Tokyo Japan

Sumo – The National Sport of Japan Every year, in January, the Grand Sumo Tournament is held in Tokyo. When we lived in Japan before, we spent all our winters skiing on the fantastic slopes of northern Honshu and spent all our summers traveling. We just never seemed to make the time to do the sumo tournament. On a return trip to Japan, one of the first things we booked was the tickets for tournament. We were not disappointed.   Instead, we flew in for just a few days, during the worst time of the year, just to make up for some lost time. The tournament doors open pretty early in the morning, with the youngest sumo wrestlers going first. The …

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The Buddha Statue of Aomori

Showa Buddha

When I first moved to Japan, this is one of the first sights I visited. The Showa Daibutsu, or Big Buddha, is an impressive 20 meter statue of the Buddha. Perched on a rounded hill, and clearly visible for miles around, the green patina shines over the city of Aomori. The Japanese people view religion as a social norm, but do not necessariy subscribe to only one religion as most westerners do. Many claim to be both Shinto (a naturalistic reverence of kami or gods). There are plenty Buddhist temples and plenty Shinto shrines, sometimes standing right next to one another. At the Seiryu Temple complex, where the Buddha statue sits observing the wide green and manicured gardens, the orderliness and …

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Mochi, Mochi, Mochi

Mochi Japan

Not Just a Japanese New Year Tradition Food is such an integral and fascinating part of any travel, but especially in Japan. One thing we always do is walk through a grocery store to see the types of things people are eating.  In fact, if we are going to bring home anything from a trip, it’s most likely going to be some candy or food.  When Jim and I traveled to Iceland, we brought home all the condiments and fixing for hot dogs! So what are those creamy white and forest green balls of goo on sticks?  It’s called mochi!  My youngest daughter loved it the first time we traveled to Japan when she was eight, and she’s been trying …

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Spend Valentine’s in a Love Hotel!

Japan is full of surprises…  …especially if you stay at a love hotel! Recently we went on an adventure to “old Japan.” We spent time in Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. Being prepared, we decided to make our hotel reservations prior to the trip. In Osaka we reserved two “rooms” in a capsule hotel (but we’ll talk about that another time) and in Kyoto we used a well-known hotel reservation site to find and book a hotel that was affordable. The hotel we decided on was called “Hotel Cinderella” it looked beautiful and was actually in our price range (turns out Kyoto is expensive!). We also liked that the hotel was a “no children” hotel, this isn’t uncommon in Japan, but …

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