From the back alleys of Golden Gai, Shinjuku Tokyo to the pristine, breath-taking nature in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan’s thoughtful and contradictory culture extends from its food to its urban design. Powerful tradition combined with rebellious modernization create micro-worlds within Japan.
Fortunate enough to spend 10 days in Japan, I was able to explore both Tokyo and Kyoto, leaving enough of each unvisited to justify another trip back soon (as if one ever has to justify a trip to Japan?).
Here are some highlights, by city.
There are so many pockets of Tokyo to explore! Places I visited: Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Akihabara, Roppongi, and Ginza.
At the edge of Meji Jingu lies Harajuku. After walking through the beautiful garden and visiting the shrine, wander into the busy crowded streets of Harajuku shopping and eating. The cosplay is jaw-dropping and crepe shops are delicious.
Omotesando Hills, Jingumae, Shibuya
A shopping district filled with beautiful architecture, high-end stores, and delicious stops, Shibuya contains gems like the Aoyama Flower Market Tea House (a must go), amongst many other stops, such as the Shibuya Crossing and incredible shopping. In Shibuya is also Ichiran Ramen in Shibuya for delicious noodles and seating in small booths!
A well-known, bustling “electronic” district, Akihabara is a flurry of bright lights, loud music, and gamers. The tech hub of Japan has a mind-blowingly large stores that have every gadget imaginable, on top of excessive varieties of pens, face masks, and other knick-knacks. Otaku holds mini-stores of anime-lovers’ dreams, with floor after floor of collectibles.
As fascinating as Tokyo was, Kyoto was by far my favorite part of Japan. The stunning architecture, beautifully preserved history, and slower pace stole my heart. Places to visit: Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Temple), Arashiyama (bamboo forests and tea houses), Gion (Geisha district), Kiyomizu-dera (shrine), Yasaka (shrine), Nishiki market.
Mochi & green tea in tea-house on a mountain
Streets near Karasuma in Kyoto
Breathtaking bamboo forests of Arashiyama
In Arashiyama bamboo forests
Streets near Higashi-ji on the way to Kodai-ji
More photos can be found on my Instagram here.