Further afield – Two weeks in Japan

My most requested travel itinerary, shared with many a friend before they head to an increasingly popular tourist destination. This summarises a few different posts I’ve made recently, linked to within the post, to give an idea of what could be done in reasonably busy days, with highlights noted, and some tips on getting around.…

Further afield culture – books on Japan

Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and Underground Easily the best known Japanese author overseas if not necessarily that representative of Japanese literature. Expect accessible and emotive surrealism, featuring cats, teenage love, jazz and elements of science fiction. Norwegian Wood was the book that deservedly made him famous, a beautiful coming of…

Further afield – day trips from Kyoto

Kyoto makes a great base from which to explore the southern part of Honshu (the largest island), with frequent and fast train connections from it’s vast and futuristic main station. Most of the places below are on the main train line running from Kyoto to Kyushu island. Nara Home to an absolute must see, Todai-ji,…

Further afield – Kyoto

The former Imperial Capital is more historic and better preserved than Tokyo, thanks to not being heavily bombed in WW2, and makes a great base to explore the region. Kyoto Station The huge, modern railway station in the heart of the city is a sight in itself, almost like a self contained city with hotels, museums,…

Further afield – day trips from Tokyo

Fewer options than Kyoto but there are still some great day trips from Tokyo. Nikko If you like temples, then this is the place for you. Interestingly while temples in Japan often look ancient they rarely physically are, instead they are demolished and rebuilt every twenty years. Apparently a unique concept allowing them to effectively…

Further afield – Tokyo

One of the largest and most fascinating cities on the planet, Tokyo is very ‘modern’ but very different from Western cities. Not sure I’d agree with Monocle magazine that it is the best city in the world to live (I have a slight bias for Auckland…) but it is a great place to visit. Japanese…