Hie Jinja, Tōkyō

For a shrine which was once so important, Hie Jinja is remarkably… unremarkable. It receives few foreign visitors, and seems relatively new. The first clue to its magnitude is the vast quantity of names and nicknames it has; it’s not uncommon for a shrine so big as Sensōji to have a couple of alternative names,…

Tickets as souvenirs

Most people like to collect a few souvenirs on holiday, and in Japan there’s an almost bewildering selection of things to buy everywhere you go. But don’t overlook the souvenir you’ll be given every place you go: the humble admission ticket. Japan doesn’t seem to do the humble variety of admission ticket, though. Not to…

Yushima Tenmangū, Tōkyō

Yushima Tenmangū, also known as Yushima Tenjin, is a small shrine in the Bunkyō Ward of Tōkyō which is dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, a Heian Period scholar and poet. Deified after his death as the kami Tenman-Tenjin (often shortened to Tenjin), there are many shrines across the country dedicated to him, and the Yushima…

Sumida River Cruise, Tōkyō

There’s a fantastic way to see Tōkyō, and hardly anyone outside of Japan seems to know about it. Well, it’s time that changed, because the Suijo Bus “Tokyo River Cruise” is fantastic, and if you have the time and like to slow down once in a while, you should really give it a try. I’d…

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…

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…