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  • Japan for cheapskates: Eat on the cheap

    Just like anywhere else in the world, you can spend an awful lot on food in Japan if you want to. But if you're travelling on limited means, it's actually very easy to eat on the cheap. Unlike most other countries, the Japanese hold their eating establishments to very high standards - so whether you're paying top dollar for a Michelin-starred meal or a couple of quid for a bowl of ramen, you can expect it to be delicious. Ramen bars Ramen noodle bars are one of the cheapest and best places to find cheap food in Japan. You will find these everywhere you go, from the biggest cities to the tiniest towns (we've heard there are over 20,000 in Tokyo alone!), and a big, hearty bowl of ramen will very rarely set you back more than 1,000 yen (£5.40 / $8.40) - in fact, usually more like 500 yen (£ ...

  • Japan in summer: 8 ways to beat the heat

    Japan isn’t traditionally thought of as a “hot” country, but let me tell you – Japanese summers are flipping roasting. Unbelievably warm, in fact – and with an atmosphere so humid that you can almost swim in it. Now don’t get me wrong - summer is a great time to visit Japan. Not only are there fewer crowds, but it has a whole plethora of its own unique attractions – from delicious summer foods and crazy ice cream flavours to beautiful beaches, fantastic scuba diving, amazing hiking opportunities, and some really awesome summer festivals. (If you need any more convincing, you can read our 10 reasons to visit Japan in the summer here.) But there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s bloody boiling – and this can take some visitors by surprise, even if they have had a peep at the we ...

  • Japanese etiquette 101: Our top 10 tips

    Japan has a reputation for being a land full of obscure customs and unwritten rules, completely incomprehensible to the unwary foreigner. It’s something many would-be travellers worry about, and we’ve written about it numerous times in the past. As usual – there’s no smoke without fire, and it is true that Japanese culture is a bit of a maze for the uninitiated. It is also true that the Japanese will very rarely tell you when you’re doing something wrong (out of politeness and respect for your feelings, mind you), and that it is a place where things are done doggedly and relentlessly by the book. BUT – do not let this put you off. No Japanese person will ever expect you to know all the ins and outs of their culture, just as you would not expect someone from a foreign country to under ...

  • 5 Underrated Destinations In Rural Japan

    Japan has so much to offer that it is easy to just hit the highlights and come away with an amazing experience. And the tourist hotspots have so much to offer that you certainly wouldn't leave feeling disappointed. Japan's so-called "Golden Route" has everything from traditional temples to neon nightspots, scenic rural walking paths and 24 hour karaoke, quiet tea ceremonies and raucous pachinko parlors, lovely bike routes and speeding bullet trains. But there's something unique to be gained from getting to a place that few others make the effort to get to. From the surprised greetings of local shopkeepers to the inquisitive gaze of schoolchildren, going to a lesser visited destination will ensure that you have an experience that you can truly call your own. When I sat down to write ...

  • Red Stamping for Temple Tramping

    If you’re hoping to find a unique souvenir to buy in Japan, look no further! A temple stamp book is a great way to remember your trip. It’s pretty much impossible to have a holiday in Japan without stumbling into a Buddhist temple at some point during your trip. In fact, it’s a fair bet that you’ll visit quite a few, particularly if you spend some time in Kyoto, which has over 1,500 temples. With so many souvenirs on offer at temples, choosing what to buy as a memento can be tricky, so I would like to recommend something which you can buy to remember all of the temples you visit on your trip, all contained within a single easily packable item! Pictured above are goshuincho. The name literally means ‘Honourable Red Stamp Book’. Temple stamp books have a long history in Japan ...


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