Have you ever wondered what it would be like to do a bunch of psychedelic drugs in the year 2200? Well, wonder no more because the Robot Restaurant here in Tokyo is here to show you! The "restaurant" isn't really a restaurant at all. What it is, is a futuristic, energetic, vibrant, exciting, surprising and overall insane display modern, Japanese cabaret.
Inside the bamboo forest, you'll come across Tenryuji temple. The temple grounds are known as being one of the most beautiful in Japan and their famous garden, and its zen-like atmosphere was just the thing we were looking for as an to escape from the throngs of people who were started to filter into the bamboo grove.
Near the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, you'll come across the entrance to the Ōkōchi Sansō Villa Gardens. After traipsing through the groves and narrowly escaping peak tourist hour, we were in need of a break from the selfie sticks and loud tour groups. Before entering we poked ours heads in the front gate. From there, it looked like there wasn't a soul inside. Immediately as we passed through the gate and started to walk up the hill, the noise from the tourists below disappeared. We could hear our footsteps on the stones below and the sound of the wind in the trees. It wasn't until the very end of the tour that we ran into another person. It was the perfect escape from the crowds below and more beautiful that we could have imagined.
One of the most iconic images of Japan has to be the bright, vermillion coloured torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto. Many people come to Fushimi Inari Taisha not knowing the scope of it. They see the images online and think it's just a few small alleyways - this is far from the whole picture. The main shrine sits at the base of the Inari mountains, but a path of thousands of torii gates behind the building leads visitors up 233 meters above sea level to visit 4 kilometres of sub-shrines finally ending at the magnificent mountain top shrine.
In my ‘11 Things to Know Before Travelling to Japan’, I tackled how the country has an amazing public transport system, that gourmet-level meals are available at convenience stores, and that their toilets are indeed as amazing as you think. What I didn’t tell you about Japan is how important the cherry blossoms are to the nation’s culture.
Many people underestimate how much there is to do while visiting Arashiyama. We were lucky enough to book off an entire day here to explore, but I think if we could have done it all over again, we would have booked a hotel to extend our time there ever more. One of the attractions that often gets overlooked is the Iwatayama Monkey Park. Many people are dissuaded when they see it's a 30-minute + hike, uphill, to where you'll see the monkeys. They either can't spare the time or can't spare the energy. But let me tell you right now - it's worth it...well worth it.
Arashiyama Village is more than the Bamboo Grove and monkey forest which surround it. Taking a walk down the busy streets and quiet laneways of the small town is an excellent way to experience Japanese culinary treats, see traditional Japanese architecture and explore some lovely shops selling souvenirs and hand made crafts.
The Philosopher's Path (or Tetsugaku-no-Michi as it is known in Japan) is one of the greatest exploratory walks you can experience in Kyoto. The Path is located in the northern area of Higashiyama at the base of Kyoto's East Mountain. It is a place to wander, to find yourself, to embrace peace and quiet and to see what makes Kyoto so unique as a city. The path follows the Lake Biwa Canal for around 29 kilometres at the base of the mountain. The trail is lined with cherry trees on either side. During the cherry blossom season, this is one of the most popular spots to come and view the spectacle.
If you're looking for a peaceful day trip from Tokyo, Enoshima is the ticket. This tiny little island off the coast is one of the most serene and beautiful places I had the chance to visit on my last trip to Japan. It was so perfect and quaint it felt like a cartoon seaside village from a Miyazaki film. Hiking up and down the island you'll be able to see stunning shrines, perfectly manicured parks, a secret garden, and if you're VERY VERY lucky, a wonderful view of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is known as the shy mountain so don't expect to see anything but feel lucky if you do. The island itself is inaccessible to vehicles, making it an incredibly quiet location, and walking up the hills, sometimes the only sounds which can be heard the birds and wind through the trees.
If you’re looking for the busiest, liveliest, brightest, craziest area to stay while visiting Tokyo, there is no other option for you other than Shinjuku. Shinjuku is home to the world’s biggest railways station, where more than two million passengers flow through their hallways each day. Just a taste of the immensity of this mini-city.
Visiting Tokyo in the wintertime is one of Japan's best-kept secrets. So many people avoid travelling in the winter due to the cold but if you layer on those coats and scarves, you'll be treated to a Japan which is sometimes only seen by locals and those few tourists who make the effort to brave the elements. Winters in Tokyo are meant for soaking in hot springs, visiting Mount Fuji on a clear day and best of all, eating delicious winter food! Dining in Tokyo can be had for as little as under $20 or as much as over $100. I've been sure to include various price points in this list so whether you're looking for a cheap lunch or a luxurious dinner there is something for everyone!
Osaka is one of the most vibrant cities in Japan, and while it's also one of the largest, exploring key parts of this historic town can easily be accomplished in one single day. While spending more time here is always recommended to get to know the inner workings and subtleties of the city, if you're just stopping over you can easily fill your day with exciting things to do and amazing places to eat.
Tokyo Disney is one of the most amazing amusement parks in the world but what they really excel at is creating incredible merchandise to commemorate your time in the park or wear throughout the park to show off your passions! Japanese fans love their merchandise! You'll see girls wearing backpacks COVERED in little Duffy keychains, so many the backpack simply disappears. Everyone who is anyone in the park will be wearing some sort of Disney gear and trust me, upon seeing everything that's on offer here you'll find it impossible not to buy it all. But here is my list of the BEST items to both buy while you're in the park and bring home for your fellow Disney loving friends and family.
Tokyo DisneySea is, without a doubt, the very best of all the Disney Parks around the world. But not only does it excel in rides and entertainment, what it might do best, is the FOOD! People from all over the whole who love Disney, have come to Tokyo DisneySea just to try the food! There is way too much good food to try everything in just one day but with this guide you can decide what you want to give a go and how to plan out your time in Disney to make sure you try all this incredible park has to offer! While a lot of the food might seem odd or even intimidating to some foreigners, I implore you to step outside your comfort zone and try at least one new thing!
Tokyo DisneySea is, without a doubt, the very best of all the Disney Parks around the world. Sorry, Paris, California and Shanghai, this place just got ya beat! Maybe it's the imaginative themeing, the "stepping into another world" charm, the kindness of the employees or the respectfulness of the crowds. Whatever it is, this place truly is magic.
The Hakone Open Air Museum is located in the heart of the Japanese countryside. Nestled in between the green hills and valleys of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Almost most people who travel to the Hakone region come for the views and the onsens, not the art, I highly recommend making a stop here, trust me, you won't regret it!
Hakone is one of the most beautiful day trips you can take from Tokyo. It’s only a short 2-hour train ride away and transports you from the out of the metal metropolis of the city, into the lush green landscape of the Japanese countryside. Hakone is famous for their hot spring onsens, stunning view of Mount Fuji across Lake Ashinoko and unparalleled natural scenery.
There is so much to see and do in Tokyo, and unless you're armed with a month or two to explore it, chances are you might have to be more careful with how you spend your time to ensure you see and do everything on your bucket list! While Tokyo is devoid of "scams" which plague some other cities in Asia, there are some overrated attractions which aren't worth your time or money. Hopefully, this list will help you make the most of this magical city!
If you're looking for something to eat, somewhere to explore and someplace to experience unique Kyoto specialties, then you must come to Nishiki Market!
Japan is often thought of as an expensive city to visit. Tokyo is one of the world largest metropolis and while finding a cheap place to stay might not always be a walk in the park, you can easily save money on eating out while still eating like a king!