Tokyo’s Best Hotspots

Sky-View-1Tokyo is vast. Like, really really vast. There are such a plethora of things to do and places to see that it can be hard to fit everything in when planning for a visit. There are districts in this glittering neon metropolis that cater for everybody from bustling shopping areas to beautiful parks, wild nightlife spots to serene religious sites. This guide should fill you in on some of the more interesting parts of Tokyo and help inform you of the must see local sights and activities. Continue reading

Things to do in Glorious Gunma

daikokuGunma is a prefecture some two hours train journey to the northwest of Tokyo. Gunma is far more relaxed and much quieter than the capital but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of amazing sights and things to do. If you have a craving for rugged areas of great natural beauty or want to hunt for Daruma related gifts, then Gunma is the place for you. Train stations are far less frequent when compared to Tokyo and these sights are widely spaced, so a hire car likely will be required if you wish to take in all of the landmarks listed below. Continue reading

The Outskirts of Tokyo and Beyond

Rainbow-Bridge-and-Booze-Cruise-BoatsSure, central Tokyo is great, but Japan isn’t all about seizure-inducing neon signs, karaoke in the early hours and drunken salarymen slumbering upside down on train station stairways. The outskirts of Tokyo and beyond offer a varied range of things to see and do from tourist-friendly temple complexes to cat-infested islands specialising in amazing seafood dishes. If you have your heart set on a stay in Japan, one thing I’d definitely recommend is getting off the beaten track and taking in a few of the more distant spots the capital and its surrounding prefectures have to offer. Six worth checking out are listed below. Continue reading

Top Tips to Best Enjoy Japan

shibuyaJapan is a great place to visit. It has a lot to offer and there’s enough to do in Tokyo alone to fill ten holidays. Some travellers might be taken in by the bright lights and futuristic appearance of the big cities and forget to look beyond the boundaries of these bustling metropolises. Some people might be turned off a visit entirely owing to the fallacy of unavoidably high costs within the country. Some folk might be overwhelmed by the innumerable choice of activities available to them and struggle for a place to start. I have put together this list of ‘top tips’ (picked up when I lived in the country) to assist any potential visitors to Japan. I hope they come in handy and go some way to helping you plan and enjoy an unforgettable holiday in one of the best countries on earth! Continue reading

Inappropriate Japan

NobJapan is famous for its poorly translated and often mystifying signposts, food branding and advertisements. Janglish or Japlish can be seen frequently around Tokyo and it’s usually either very funny or extremely inappropriate – I’ve seen some errors you certainly wouldn’t get away with in many other countries! During my time in Japan I managed to snap many examples of these botched translations or unfortunately named products and thought I’d share them with you in this gallery. I hope, like me, you’re immature enough to enjoy the daft ones and hardy enough not to be offended by the more shocking examples! Continue reading

Learning the Lingo – Japanese

Sunflower-and-Crab-Ice-CreamGoing to Japan can be intimidating – I speak from prior experience! You arrive in a country with an alien culture and an even more alien language system and you can find yourself floundering as a result. When I moved to Japan in 2007 I went with no language proficiency whatsoever and, for the first few weeks, I struggled, relying on my housemates at the time to explain things to me and bail me out of difficult situations. If you’re planning on going to Japan, even for a short period, it is definitely worth familiarising yourself with two of their alphabets – Katakana and Hiragana – as they will make your time there a little easier. At the very least it might stop you accidentally ordering crab flavoured ice cream! Continue reading