Japan Vacation 2015 [19-29 April]

A 10-day adventure through Japan. Among other things, I finally got out of Tokyo to explore a few other cities and do a bit of hiking in the countryside, too.

  • Musings from the Old Nakasendo Post Road

    Nothing quite like spending a few hours in the peace and quiet of the Nakasendo Trail just north of Nagoya, Japan, to ponder the changes in information flow and communications we’ve seen in just a few hundred years. And to think a bit about what’s next.

  • Temples and Tranquility in Kamakura

    The small, beach-side town of Kamakura offers a peaceful retreat just an hour from Tokyo on the train. And a peek back in time thanks to its role as the nation’s capital centuries ago.

  • Slow Trains in Japan and the Great Buddha

    Kamakura has plenty of temples to keep tourists busy. Among them, the Great Buddha is especially famous (and crowded). Added bonus: Classic rail line to get there!

  • Cheering for the Yokohama Bay Stars

    Getting to experience live sports in a foreign country is always a good time. In this case it was baseball in Japan and the entire evening was incredible, even if the home team ended up on the losing end of the final score.

  • Seeking calm in Tokyo’s Asakusa neighborhood

    Tokyo’s Asakusa neighborhood is dominated by the Senso-ji temple but there is more to see than just the giant shrine. A fabulous mix of quiet and excitement nestled in the middle of the city.

  • The (not so) secret restaurant in Tokyo City Hall

    Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government Building is known for offering free views from its observation deck. But lunch time in the cafeteria is spectacular, too, maybe even better than the views!

  • Tsukiji Market: The Ultimate Tokyo Tourist Morning

    Sushi (and beer!) for breakfast and a walk through one of the largest wholesale fish markets in the world. Tsukiji Market is touristy, but there’s a reason everyone does it. Because it is awesome!

  • In search of the perfect kawa yakitori

    We took on the stalls of Tokyo’s Yakitori Alley in search of the perfect kawa (chicken skin). And, along the way, we may have indulged in a few other bits of grilled tasty goodness, too.

  • Miyazaki’s Legacy and the Ghibli Museum

    Studio Ghibli is dedicated to the animation work of Hayao Miyazaki and it offers up an interesting view of the craft, the way Miyazaki works and even a series of special short films which are only ever shown on site. Interesting, if not a bit challenging, to visit.

  • Dispatches from the Nakasendo Trail

    Japan’s Nakasendo Trail is a snapshot of history from centuries ago. The section between Magome and Tsumago is an easy day hike, getting out into nature from the hustle and bustle of city life.

  • Friday Flyday: Dallas to Houston

    Flying through the sunrise between Dallas and Houston a couple months ago…great ride, and we even got a quick snack service on board.

  • Checking In: Tsumago’s Fujito Inn, the perfect Ryokan experience

    Forget everything you think you know about all-inclusive bookings. That was the key for me to enjoy a spectacular stay at the Fujito Inn, a Ryokan in the great Japanese tradition of hospitality.

  • No ticket. No cash. Big problems.

    Even knowing that Japan is still mostly a cash-based society I was surprised to see the hand-written “Cash Only” note at the train station. Especially with very little cash in my pocket and a train scheduled to depart 20 minutes hence.

  • A (very) brief tour of Kyoto

    Kyoto is oft sold as a calmer, more “real” version of Tokyo for visitors. Alas, that’s not the impression I got at all. Maybe I need to go back and focus on it as a destination more, but I was generally unimpressed.