Food/Harajuku

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As every other district in Tokyo, Harajuku and Omotesando are full of cafes, restaurants and coffee shops which are usually very crowded at weekends. Some places are particularly good but the lines to get in can be very long. Here are some of the best places to eat:

Maisen

This restaurant serves one of the best tonkatsu in Japan. Tonkatsu is breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet usually served with a tangy sweet/salty sauce, shredded cabbage and miso soup. The average price here is around ¥1680.  Besides deep fried pork, you can treat yourself with deep fried shrimps, chicken, nikuman (steamed meat buns), sushi and udon. However tonkatsu is the restaruant’s specialty. Especially popular is korobuta tonkatsu (“black pork”), which is known for its juicy taste and high content of fat. Maisen tonkatsu is the tonkatsu, which you can cut with chopsticks because this deep fried meat is so soft and melts in the mouth. The place has an English menu as well. And if you are lucky

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Tsukiji Fish Market

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It is well known around the world that one of the main components of the traditional Japanese diet is fish; therefore it is no surprise that the biggest Fish Market in the world is located in Tokyo. The Tsukiji Fish Market originated during Edo period of Japan. Around the 16th Century, the first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, invited fishermen from Tsukuda, Osaka to provide fish for the castle. The fishermen were given permission by the authorities to sell any unsold fish in one of the first wholesale markets of Japan, known as “uogashi”, located around the Nihonbashi bridge area. Later on around the year 1657, the Great Fire of Meireki forced the shogunate to fill the coastal area of Edo (old name of Tokyo), calling the reclaimed land as Tsuki-ji (築地). However, it wasn’t until 1923, after the Great Kanto Earthquake destroyed the old market, that it was relocated to Tsukiji. Since then, the Fish Market has been considered one of the most valued spots in the city, as it is one of the main pro

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Shopping/Akihabara

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Yodobashi Camera Akiba

Prepare yourself to see the latest in electronics and technology. Yodobashi Camera is a chain store based in Shinjuku, that open its huge Akihabara branch in 2005. It has 9  floors (not including the basement floors) selling all the electronics you’ll ever need, including cellphones, toys, appliances, computers and audio equipment. It even has restaurants and a batting center on its upper floors, so believe us when we say it is huge. If there is one store you have to see in Akihabara, it is Yodobashi Camera. Although not all of the staff speak English, they are more than willing to help you and fulfill all your shopping needs. However, remember before going on a spending spree to check the prices of the items back home, as some of them might be cheaper in your own country. Nevertheless, it is worth it, to go and check out the latest trends in cameras and electronics. Definitely, one stop that you won’t regret.

Unlike many other locations, Y

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Akihabara

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This area of Tokyo was originally known as being home to the Chinka-sha Shinto shrine in the late XIX century, that’s the reason why many of the residents also called it Akiba, as people at that time believed that the fire-controlling deity of the same name was enshrined there. However, it wasn’t until the 1950’s when Akihabara begun to be known as the “Electric Town,” due to the appearance of many shops that sold different electrical items to the students of the school that would later become the Tokyo Denki University. After this, with the boom of videogames and other technology, an abundance of electrical shops started to appear in Akihabara, and more recently, anime and manga shops have begun to fill the streets of the district.

As the number of anime fans, cosplay, manga, videogames, idols and other Japanese popular culture products increases in every corner of the globe, Akihabara has achieved worldwide fame for being known as the dream land for all the “Japan Fans.” If you ca

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Ueno

Fountain in front of Tokyo Nat Museum

For those, who wish to explore old downtown Tokyo, Ueno is the right place to start. Historically located in Shitamachi (downtown) Taito district. Ueno is easy to access and has a lot to offer a traveler interested in a traditional everyday Japanese life. If you travel by train, JR lines (Yamanote, Joban, Keihin-Tohoku, Takasaki, Tohoku/Utsunomiya lines) will take you to JR Ueno Station. Shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) also stops at Ueno station. Keisei Ueno station might be more convenient, if you come directly from Narita airport. If you prefer the metro, you need to get off at Ueno station using the Ginza or Hibiya lines.

Recommended sightseeing places

Almost all sightseeing spots in Ueno are located in or around Ueno park (Ueno Koen, Koen exit of JR Ueno station). Due to its beautiful nature and sheer size, this park is a place of gathering for Japanese of all ages throughout the seasons. Viewing sakura blossoms (hanami) is especially popular in early sp

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Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)

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Intro: The most popular time for tourism in Kyoto is early April, the peak of the cherry blossom season. However, this peak time usually only lasts about one week. Sometimes it seems like half of Kyoto’s parks, rivers and temples are made for this short period of time. What is all the fuss about, you may ask. Well, the beauty, excitement, and pure fun of the cherry blossom season is something that needs to be experienced to be believed. On a weekend in which the cherry blossoms are blooming and the weather is sunny, it seems that the only people who are not happy are bus drivers and those who have to go to work! On such days, people are merry, worries are set aside, and most people simply enjoy sitting under cherry trees with their friends and family eating good food, drinking and being merry.

Best Places: Though Maruyama Park and Hirano Shrine are the best places if you want to be part of a bustling cherry-blossom party, there are countless other p

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Riding and Walking Areas

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Intro: There are so many sightseeing spots in Kyoto that there is something for everyone. For those who have the time and would like to enjoy walking and riding leisure times in Kyoto, we recommend three places with beautiful surroundings.

Places: 1:The Philosophy Path(The Philosopher’s Walk), named Tetsugaku-no-michi in Japanese, is the most famous walking path in town not only because of its profound name but also because of the many cherry blossom trees and other flowering plants grown on both sides of the canal that forms it. When the spring comes and cherry blossoms are in full bloom, you feel like you are walking in a wonderland of cherry blossoms. This is certainly a most unforgettable spot to experience in Kyoto. While it is most famous during this time of year (generally early April) it is worth visiting any other time of year, as it offers some great views of the city, and a relaxing break from other sightseeing. It is also worth checking

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Going Deep into Arashiyama with Zen: Daihikaku Temple.

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Intro:

Deep in the forest covered mountains, perched up above the river valley offering possibly the best view in Kyoto, lies the Daihikaku Zen temple. Fresh from renovations last year, the temple is ready to welcome both foreign and Japanese tourist alike, but is still an unknown tourist attraction to most. As it offers information about the concept of Zen in a number of languages and is quiet enough to allow for peaceful meditation, it is also one of the best places to learn a little about Zen while visiting Kyoto.

Arashiyama:

Arashiyama represents some of the best and worst of tourism in Kyoto. Situated in a beautiful natural setting at the entrance of the Katsura river as it flows from the mountains to the city, and featuring vast areas of forest and bamboo groves, the area is stunningly beautiful. It also boasts the World Heritage listed Tenryuji temple, one of main Rinzai Zen temples of Japan, which contains one of the most well renowned

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Kenninji and Kyoto’s Zen Temples

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Intro:

Kyoto has an amazing amount of Buddhist temples. Some of them small enough to sit in front of a house (like those to Jizo found throughout the city), some of them like a town in themselves (like the Daitoku ji temple complex). In Kyoto you can find the headquarters of most Japanese Buddhist sects, including many of the most significant Zen temples. Along with Nanzenji in Kyoto’s east and Tenryuji in the west, Kenninji temple is one of the head temples of the Rinzai school of Zen, which came to Japan from China in the 12th century.

Though these other temples are also very impressive and well worth a visit, Kenninji offers the visitor a chance to relax, enjoy a number of different gardens and other amazing artworks, all at the edge of the Gion geisha district. It is also considered to be the oldest Zen temple in Japan, and the home of Japanese tea. In addition, the head monks of Kenninji make an effort to support contemporary art by holding regular exhibitio

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Kyoto’s Sake

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Intro: Sake is an alcohol made from rice, rice koji and water through unique brewing techniques, which have been continually developed in Japan for thousands of years. Sake can be drunk in different temperatures depending on the type of sake. It is enjoyable to drink a cup of Sake at room temperature in spring and fall. Cool Sake helps to ease the heat of summer, while drinking it warm not only warms the body but also relaxes the mind on winter nights. Therefore we recommend drinking sake throughout all the seasons of the year.

Because of the different types of climate, water quality, meters and brewing technology, different districts have developed their own Sake. The Japanese called it “chisake”. Fushimi, located in the south of Kyoto city, is one of Japan’s famous sake-producing areas. It has benefited from good water quality from the Uji River, famous for its delicious water across Fushimi areas. Therefore sake breweries, large and small, set up in this area hundreds of years ag

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