Latest Posts

  • Contemporary art in Japan: a roundup of weird, wonderful exhibits and installations

    This year, teamLab – the world-famous Japanese art collective – is celebrating 20 years of bringing together art, science, technology and nature with its mesmerising, immersive installations. So, in the name of all things contemporary, arty, and sometimes ultra-futuristic, we've decided to mark the occasion by taking a look back at our favourite Japanese art encounters from over the years. There's a time and a place for ink paintings and ukiyo-e woodblock prints... but suffice to say, this isn't it! From teamLab's technological wonders to Yayoi Kusama's distinctive colourful creations, these are the exhibits that have really stuck in our memory. teamLab's Chrysanthemum Tiger "This was taken during my first visit to teamLab in Tokyo in 2019. I’d seen so much hype online – videos, p ...

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  • Regional Japan: slow travel in Setouchi

    We’re often asked the best way to get off the beaten track and experience the evocative Japan that everyone pictures in their head. The answer? Pick a region, and explore it in depth! Japan’s regions often have everything you could ever need, all wrapped up in their cities, culture, blissful rural areas and unique foodie scenes – and all unmarred by mass tourism.   In this series, we’ll introduce you to our favourites. If you’re hankering for slow travel and the ‘real’ Japan, this is for you! First up: Setouchi.  Introducing the Setouchi region Setouchi’s geography couldn’t be more diverse if it tried, comprising the island-dotted Inland Sea, mountainous central Shikoku, the rice fields of rural Hiroshima and the rocky plateaus of Yamaguchi’s Akiyoshidai area. If that’s not enough ...

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  • Ryokan round-up: the best of the best Japanese inns

    Japanese hospitality is legendary, but what makes it so special? We have one word for you: ryokan.  In its most basic sense, the ryokan is a traditional Japanese guesthouse — but that doesn’t even begin to sum it up.  A ryokan isn’t just a place to lay your head. Whereas a hotel is a base for activities and excursions, a ryokan is the destination. It’s a respite from the world, where you go to check in, throw on your yukata bathrobe, and sequester yourself from the daily grind. The quality of a ryokan isn’t measured in fancy furniture or plush trimmings — in fact, the very fanciest ryokan guest room might contain nothing but a futon mattress on a tatami-mat floor. Instead, quality is measured by the warmth of its welcome, the character of its hot-spring baths, and the flavour of its ...

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  • Tokyo for ‘returners’: the art of the day trip

    So you’ve been bitten by the Japan bug. We’ve been there. (Actually, we’re still there). You’ve come back from your first (or maybe second? Or maybe third?) trip, and all you can think is that you have to go back. Like, now. The good news is that Japan is even better the more you get beneath the surface. Now that you’ve ticked off your big-ticket, bucket-list sites, you’ve got time to really explore — to dig into the lesser-known stuff, and step away from the beaten path. When it comes to Tokyo, if you ask us, your next visit is all about embracing the day trip. Tokyo is surrounded by towns, villages, beaches, mountains and countryside — all beautiful, all fascinating, and all incredibly easy to access via Japan’s brilliant public transport network. There are literally countless spot ...

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  • 8 Japanese food and drink experiences you’ll never forget

    By now, everyone knows that Japanese food is about more than just raw fish. In fact, it’s about so much more that it can be difficult to know where to begin. There’s Michelin-starred, multi-course, haute cuisine — but there’s also out-of-this-world ramen to be had for a song on a street corner. There’s melt-in-the-mouth wagyu beef, but there’s also delicate, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. There’s time-honoured tea ceremony honed over centuries, but there’s also kawaii latte art served in maid cafés. And it’s not just about the food itself — it’s about the people who make it, the intricate customs and etiquette, and the deep-rooted traditions behind every dish. You could live in Japan your whole life and still be surprised and delighted by the sheer variety of food on offer — but if you ...

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