Dazzling Shinjuku

In some ways, Shinjuku is the heart of Tokyo. It encapsulates so many aspects of Japanese culture. Shinjuku was once renowned for being a red-light district populated with hostess bars. Nowadays it is much more. Kabukicho, the red-light/entertainment district, is still there but the area has diversified. I first walked around Golden Gai in Shinjuku. … Continue reading / view photos Dazzling Shinjuku

teamLab Planets Tokyo

When I was in Kakunodate, a German woman I met was raving about teamLab. She had been to many around the world. I had vaguely heard of it but her description fascinated me. When I knew my arrival date in Tokyo, I went online to book it. I expected it to be fully booked but … Continue reading / view photos teamLab Planets Tokyo

Return to Tokyo

My time in East Asia was ending. From Sendai, I returned to where I started three months ago: Tokyo. I had again booked into a ryokan, but this was about 30 minutes from the centre of Tokyo. It was run by a lovely man, who’s English was good. The reviews about the ryokan especially praised … Continue reading / view photos Return to Tokyo

Sendai — the City of Trees

I was whizzing through the Tohuko region on my way south to Tokyo, spending just a day in a city or town before moving on. This was partly because of my seven-day JR Pass rail pass, which allows unlimited travel for the period of the pass. Therefore, you get most value the more you use … Continue reading / view photos Sendai — the City of Trees


After spending the morning in Kakunodate, I took the Shinkansen train to Akita, where I’d wanted to stay but there was no available accommodation. Most of my time in Akita was in Sensui Park. At one point when I was crossing a road in the park, a car came out of nowhere towards me. When … Continue reading / view photos Akita

Kakunodate — samurai town

Kakunodate is one of the smallest towns I’ve visited in Japan. The tourist heart of the town was a short walk from my guesthouse. Kakunodate is most well-known for its samurai houses. Some of them went on to be owned by (wealthy) families and are now wholly or partly (in the case of the family … Continue reading / view photos Kakunodate — samurai town

Joyful trains

I love the fact that Japan has a special category of trains called joyful trains. I took the Resort Shirakami train from Aomori to Akita, which I’d reserved in Sapporo. I was lucky to get a seat since there are only about 130 places. It’s one of the few trains for which you must reserve … Continue reading / view photos Joyful trains

Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse

The annual Aomori Nebuta Festival is famous in Japan. The Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse lets you experience some aspects of the festival if you missed it. The centrepiece of the museum are the four full-sized floats from the most recent summer festival. They are replaced every year. The modern nebuta lantern floats are transported around … Continue reading / view photos Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse


My ryokan owner had offered to drive me to the train station the previous day. I’d declined but then eventually accepted the offer. I’m glad I did: it was raining. It was time to leave Hakodate on Hokkaido and return to the main island, Honshu. The two islands are linked by the Seikan railway tunnel … Continue reading / view photos Aomori

Mount Hakodate

Yesterday, I had bought a three-museum ticket when I visited the Museum of Northern Peoples. Today, I went to the other two: the former British consulate and the old Public Hall. The British Consulate was established in Hakodate after an Anglo-Japanese Treaty was signed in 1858. Free trade between Britain and Japan then began. A … Continue reading / view photos Mount Hakodate