Sensōji, Tōkyō, Japan

Also known as the Asakusa Kannon Temple, Sensōji is the oldest temple in Tokyo, after a statue of the Bodhisattva Kannon was fished from the Sumida by two brothers on the 18th of March, 628. Hinokuma Takenari and Hamanari recovered the statue from the waters while fishing from their boat, and the head of the…

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Otaku Shopping: Ikebukuro, Tōkyō, Japan

Ikebukuro is sometimes labelled “Akiba for girls”, but that’s only half-right. While the area is riddled with some of the best and largest doujinshi shops in Tōkyō, it’s also home to Animate’s flagship store and head office. Yep, eight floors of the best Anime and Manga merchandise available in Tōkyō. Ikebukuro’s also excellent for second-hand…

Otaku Shopping: Akihabara, Tōkyō, Japan

Akihabara is often the first port of call for the Western otaku in search of genuine Japanese geek goodies. Everything from Gundam kits to limited edition figurines are available – all you need is the cash to buy them, and unlimited patience to help you find what you want. I won’t lie. Akiba (Akihabara) is…

Otaku Shopping: Nakano, Tōkyō, Japan

Where Akihabara fails, Nakano Broadway succeeds. This shopping centre in Nakano, Tōkyō, has just about everything the geek shopper requires, and a heck of a lot of things you don’t know you need until you see them. It seems so innocent at first: a little shopping arcade with snack shops, a kimono store or two,…

Meiji Jingū, Tōkyō, Japan

One of Japan’s most famous Shinto shrines, Meiji Jingū was built after the deaths of Emperor Meiji and his wife, the Empress Shoken, and they were enshrined here on the 1st November 1920. The shrine was a colossal effort on the part of the Japanese people, to commemorate an Emperor who brought Japan into the…

Sengakuji, Tōkyō, Japan

The story of the 47 Ronin is to Japan what Arthurian or Robin Hood legends are to England, with one vital difference: we have concrete evidence of the 47 Ronin. Over 300 years after their deaths, their graves are still attended, incense lit for them by strangers every day of the year. If you don’t…

Matsu no Ōrōka Corridor, Tōkyō, Japan

What remains of the location where Asano Naganori lost his temper and tried to kill Kira Yoshinaka is these days little more than a plaque and some trees in the Imperial Palace East Gardens, but if you have the time or the gardens were already on your itinerary, it’s worth a few extra minutes of…

Ninja Museum of Igaryu, Iga City, Japan

Ninjas, as we all know, are far superior to pirates. Iga City in Mie Prefecture was home to one of the most successful schools of Ninjutsu, the Iga-ryū, and is now the go-to destination for anyone interested in the history behind these skilled agents of espionage. Ninjutsu, contrary to what countless films might try to…

Iga Ueno, Japan

Iga City was formed in 2004 from a handful of towns (and one city) in Mie Prefecture, but is still commonly referred to as Iga Ueno: Ueno was the city, and to distinguish it from the identically-named district of Tokyo it was usually called Iga Ueno, as Iga was the next largest town. Famous as…

How to use Kyoto’s Transportation

Getting around Kyoto is easy: an excellent bus network, two subway lines, and plenty of taxis all meld together into one of the best public transport systems in the world. Let’s take a look. Kyoto City Bus First, get a copy of the Kyoto Bus Map. Hardcopies are available from major train and subway stations…