Category: Japan

Kagoshima (bums and drums) (and Sayonara Japan – we hope to visit again)

Festivals are huge in Japan and we were lucky to catch another one in Kagoshima. The Matsuri parade varies around the country but always seem to involve the carrying of shrines around the city. In Kagoshima the hotter climate influences the dress code (beware of partial nudity!). We watched the parades but the highlight for us was the drumming! Japanese drummers perform around the world and seeing them here I now fully understand the appeal. Read more

Amami Oshima is green and blue (for beach lovers only)

After the typhoon the sun came back and so did the beautiful colours. Exploring the island we saw how unspoilt it really is with a rugged green interior and beautiful sea all around. We experienced what will hopefully be the last typhoon of the season and then summer really started. Our hotel filled with Japanese families on their summer vacations – everybody there to relax and enjoy the beach. Read more

Amami Oshima – a recipe for a great island

Add lots of sunshine, palm trees, white sandy beaches, coral reefs, a tropical jungle and a few typhoons in a 700 sq km area in the South China sea, mix well whilst adding a few snakes and some rare black rabbits for flavour. Bake in a humid oven at about 30-35 degrees for a few million years and you will have fantastic Amami Oshima. Serves quite a few – but hardly any western tourists can be seen enjoying this little Japanese delight. Read more

R&R in and around Hiroshima

We finally found our ‘normal’ city in Hiroshima – and what a lovely city it was. We had booked for 4 days but stayed 12 thanks to a relaxed modern atmosphere and a comfortable AirBnB apartment. Everyone knows Hiroshima for the A bomb during WWII but we weren’t on a pilgrimage to visit the site although we did of course visit the drop area and the museum dedicated to that moment. We both needed some R&R and a break from being tourists… Read more

Kurashiki – what a surprise!

We got a bit fed up of visiting places which are put up there as must-see. Although have no regrets having seen them I wanted something that depicted normal life so we stuck the tail on the donkey so to speak and came up with this little town on the south coast. When we arrived and looked out of our hotel 10th floor room window it ticked all expectations. A shopping mall, arcade, a bus depot, car park etc, perfect.

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Kinosaki Onsen (spa) town

After Kyoto we really wanted to go somewhere relaxing with nothing much to do. Enter Kinosaki, a small town where you don’t even have to get properly dressed… You can walk around town and even eat dinner in restaurants wearing your yukata (cotton kimono), wooden slippers and nothing else. Read more


The two main attractions in Kyoto are the beautiful temples and gardens and the narrow laneways in Gion. I visited Kyoto for the first time in 2007 and was absolutely enthralled by the atmosphere. This week the magic escaped us – maybe because it rained a lot but also because we’ve already seen many beautiful places that were less commercial. However we’ve still got a few photos we would like to share… Read more

Japanese gardens (optional)

“Optional” because I know gardens are not everyone’s cup of tea but we are in Japan which is famous for its gardens, plus we’ve seen so many amazing and beautiful gardens which would be wrong not to have a section attributed to them. Even the non-hortilovers may find them beautiful too! Read more


In Kanazawa we spent a few days walking in the footsteps of Samurai and Geisha, even if their actual wooden slippers went through these streets a long time ago… Read more

The Japanese Alps

After nearly 4 weeks in Tokyo, it’s time to venture into the countryside. We expect the rest of Japan will be a totally different experience compared to Tokyo and we hope just as exiting. First stop Takayama, a really quaint riverside town with well preserved wooden merchants’ houses dating back to the 1700s, lots of temples and the most delicious food. Read more