Author: Bjorn

Nara

The small former merchant district of Naramachi does its best to preserve its Edo-period atmosphere and charm to this day. When I first walked along the main streets in Nara, it seemed that not much remained of its past—apart from its temples—as most residential buildings had been torn down to make room for today’s modern concrete multi-story buildings. That was until I accidentally stumbled into Naramachi.

Ningyo-yaki, Asakusa Sweets

Asakusa, one of the most popular tourist areas in Tokyo, boasts many kinds of small shops and stands that offer small snacks and sweets throughout the area. Visiting sights there will surely be better if combined with sampling local food, but with so many options, how to chose? Here are the 4 must-eats in Asakusa for satiating your sweet tooth.

Plum Blossoms at Ikegami, Tokyo

Plum blossom season is here, so what better time to share one of our favorite spots to see some pink-petaled beauties. And that spot is Ikegami Plum Garden in Tokyo’s Ota Ward—home to over 370 plum trees, made up of 30 unique varieties. The garden measures about 8,000 square meters, and was originally an artist’s studio before it became someone’s home and later was granted to the ward to be opened as a public space.

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Rising above Mt. Torafusu lies the architectural beauty Wakayama Castle. Travel southeast and cherry blossoms engulf Kimiidera, a temple overlooking the sea on one side and the town on the other. All of this one hour away from Osaka, making Wakayama the perfect spring day trip.

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Buddhist temples in Japan always tend to leave quite an impression. They house some of the finest traditional art and architecture in the world and are maintained with the greatest care. Yet there is a catch for us cheapos: they tend to always ask for an admission fee. But what if I told you you can visit Japan’s most important Buddhist temples for free?

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Of the numerous cute Japanese souvenirs for cat enthusiasts, there would be nothing more memorable than a self-made maneki-neko, or lucky cat. Café Nekoemon in one of northern Tokyo’s traditional districts, Yanaka, offers the opportunity to make your very own maneki-neko accompanied by a cute paw-shaped biscuit and a drink of your choice.