Hotel for Day 1

Island Hopping in Japan’s South (Part 1)

To be completely honest, for the longest time I really didn’t have much interest in going to Japan’s southernmost prefecture. From what I’d seen in pictures, Okinawa looked pretty similar to Australia’s east coast – white, sandy beaches and clear, blue water – and I thought what would be the point of travelling to the other side…

Tokyo Plaza

WPC – Mirror

Omotesando and Harajuku is an area that’s known to push the boundaries. In terms of fashion, basically anything and everything goes. People want to be noticed. Girls get scouted by modelling agencies. What’s seen on the streets here often turns into the next trend. Not only fashion, but the sleekest pieces of modern architecture are found…

Tama River

Summer Fun on the Tama River

The water was fast flowing and icy cold, the round stones on the river bed clearly visible. Tiny fish swam freely below the surface while ducks paddled by above them. On either side of the river, lush greenery overflowed the banks and the dense forest created the illusion that the rest of the world was very far…

Tamareien

Visiting Graves for Obon

It’s currently Obon in Japan, a few days dedicated to honouring your ancestors. People often go back to their hometowns to visit cemeteries and pray for relatives who have passed away. They bring flowers, wash the grave stones and burn incense. For many salarymen in Japan, Obon and New Years is the only time of…

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WPC -Narrow

One of my favourite things about Japan are the narrow, atmospheric ‘yokochos’ filled with bars and restaurants. People wander these dimly-lit backstreets in search of a quiet (or loud) corner to drink and often stay til the wee hours of the morning. Some bars are so tiny that they can only seat 5 or 6…

Mt Fuji

WPC – Cherry On Top

It’s been a while since I joined in on the Weekly Photo Challenge, but I’ve been enjoying everyone else’s photos over the months. When I saw this week’s topic Cherry On Top, I thought of one thing: Mount Fuji. Besides the fact that it’s the symbol of Japan and a World Heritage Site, there’s something just so powerful…

Tsuruga Castle

Off the Beaten Path in Fukushima

Living in Tokyo, the public transportation system is so extensive and reliable that there really is no need to own a car. So these days when I travel around the country, I actually try my best to plan trips to places where you need a car! That’s how much I miss driving. Besides, who doesn’t love…

Bondi Cafe

A Taste of Oz in Tokyo

Living the expat life is fun and exciting. But living so far away from home is not without its challenges. I think it’s only natural to occasionally miss things you grew up knowing. Since moving to Japan in 2011, I’ve been home 4 times. Each time was like a trip down memory lane, and I was…

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku’s French Garden

After years of walking past bare, brown hedges not even worth a second glance, I finally managed to visit Shinjuku Gyoen when the roses were actually in bloom. Hooray! The French Formal Garden is one of the three main areas within Shinjuku Gyoen – the others being a wide open English lawn, and a Japanese garden and pond. This section of…

Jiyugaoka

It’s Always Sunny in Jiyugaoka

A dash of luxury on a Sunday afternoon? Why not! Jiyugaoka is known for its chill but cool vibe – every day of the week – and is often referred to as one of Tokyo’s most desirable neighbourhoods to live. As I explored the streets around the train station, I couldn’t help but kick myself for not visiting this area sooner. It had taken…