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  • Being vegetarian in Japan: A survival guide

    It may be one of the most advanced countries in the world, but being a vegetarian in Japan is far from simple. As we become increasingly concerned about our health and the environment, more and more of us are ditching meat and fish in favour of vegetarianism and veganism. Restaurants in the Western world are used to catering to every allergy, preference, intolerance, religious requirement and dietary whim – from no red meat to gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb, low fat, low sodium, kosher, halal, pescetarian and more. Not so in Japan. Whilst it is relatively easy to avoid dairy and meat, it is decidedly more difficult to be a full vegetarian or vegan due to the ubiquity of fish in the Japanese diet. In fact, it is so rare in Japan that you will find many restaurants that do not off ...

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  • Visit Tokyo’s all-new Ganguro Café

    If you've had an eye on the Japanese news recently, you may have heard of the newest odd attraction to hit Tokyo - the Ganguro Café. Not ones to miss out on anything new in Japan, we sent two of our tour leaders, David and Tyler, to find out more! Read on to see what they discovered... 'The Ganguro Café will give you a peek into the sometimes bizarre but always interesting world of youth culture in Japan. Although the so-called "ganguro" movement is something that many Japanese assume to be a thing of the nineties, it is still a tangible subculture that can be found in the hip backstreets of Shibuya. 'The term "ganguro" is derived from Japanese meaning to turn dark, and it's no misnomer. The girls at Ganguro Café are tanned to the extreme and costumed out in brightly coloured fas ...

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  • Earths Enchanted Islands: An Insiders guide

    In this blog post, we take a behind-the-scenes look at the recent BBC2 documentary series entitled 'Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands'. Here at InsideJapan Tours, we have an amazingly talented and knowledgeable team of individuals. One ex-staff member in particular, Ester De Roij, is someone who has gone on to use her knowledge and passion for Japan elsewhere, by combining it with her other passion for wildlife photography. Ester left us to join a small TV company called the BBC, maybe you’ve heard of it? Her new job as a researcher took her back to Japan, but this time it was to film the BBC2 series, "Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands" - something a bit different to the usual 'wacky Japan' programmes you may have seen in the past. Now that the series has ended, Ester has come back ...

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  • Top 7 Things Not to Miss in Okinawa

    Okinawa, the southern island chain of Japan, is a terrific destination for both the experienced traveler looking to expand their understanding of the country, or anyone looking to experience a Japanese-style island venue. Often called the “Hawaii of Japan,” Okinawa has a distinct history and culture from the mainland, offering an assortment of new and interesting sights and experiences. After living and working in Okinawa for a year and a half, I have compiled the following seven key sites that everyone should experience as part of their journey to understand this incredible region of Japan. Here's our Top 7 Things Not to Miss in Okinawa: 7. Okinawa Prefectural Museum/ Shuri Castle The island chain now known as the prefecture Okinawa is intimately connected with Japan i ...

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  • Top 9 things to do (and one thing not to do) in Naha

    This week it was my intention to spend a couple of days on Zamami - a reputedly paradisic island to the west of Okinawa-Honto. Arriving in Naha after work on Thursday it quickly became apparent that my plans were going to be scuppered, and that all flights and ferries out of Okinawa had been cancelled due to a typhoon. Thanks a bunch typhoon. So instead of snorkeling and sunbathing to my heart's content, I spent a wet and windy couple of days sheltering indoors in Naha. The upside of all this is that I managed to explore a couple of areas of the city that I probably wouldn't have visited otherwise, and to gather some recommendations from some of the locals! Here's my list of top things to do if you ever find yourself in Naha, well, top 9 things to do (and one thing not to do) in Naha ...

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