The best places to see fluttering fish flags in Tokyo

🎏 Unexpectedly stumbling across a whole bunch of koi nobori fluttering in the wind is one of Japan’s great delights, but if you’d rather not be saying “Hey, wait, why didn’t I know about those?” here’s where to see the best ones in Tokyo! Children’s Day is on May 5th, but the month before isContinue reading “The best places to see fluttering fish flags in Tokyo”

What NOT to do in Tokyo: The top ten overrated experiences (and what to do instead)

I like to keep things positive around here, but I just scanned the umpteenth itinerary forwarded to me by a coming-to-Japan friend, and I can’t believe that trip planners keep sending people to do this stuff! If yours tries to sell you a plan with these destinations on it,* send them back to the drawingContinue reading “What NOT to do in Tokyo: The top ten overrated experiences (and what to do instead)”

Shrine or temple? The Quickie Guide

You’re craning your neck to see some gorgeous gold-leafed carving, and suddenly you’re overcome with traveler joy. “Isn’t this the most gorgeous…?” Uh oh. Shrine or temple? Because you know that temples are Buddhist and shrines are Shinto (and you don’t want to be that tourist) but which is which? Shrines and temples can both beContinue reading “Shrine or temple? The Quickie Guide”

Take a Japanese cooking class in Tokyo

One of the best things anyone can bring back from Tokyo is a love of Japanese food. I don’t know about you, but the thing that surprised me most about my first trip to Japan was that I said yes to every tempting morsel (and 10-course meal) that came my way, but when I gotContinue reading “Take a Japanese cooking class in Tokyo”

Hacking Leaf Season: Beat the crowds & duck those peak prices

Thinking about taking an autumn trip to Japan? Dreaming of strolling through divine gardens bursting with red maples, and serene temples robed in fall leaves? I’m with you: it’s totally my favorite time to be here – not beastly hot nor shiveringly cold, with plenty of upworthy photo ops everywhere  – but you may be dismayedContinue reading “Hacking Leaf Season: Beat the crowds & duck those peak prices”

Curated Walking Tour: Yanaka, the best traditional neighborhood in Tokyo

Yanaka is one of the quirkiest, undiscovered, Old Tokyo neighborhoods in town. Here, new generations of artisans from families that have plied their trades for centuries are finding fun and inventive ways to make everything old new again. Sometimes, with cats. Let’s walk around! Here’s our route: And here’s the link to the Google mapContinue reading “Curated Walking Tour: Yanaka, the best traditional neighborhood in Tokyo”

Should I see a Kabuki performance?

I know. You think you’re not interested in this fusty old super-Japanese form of entertainment. But you’d be wrong. Here’s why. #1 The actors who play the women’s roles do it so well, you forget they’re men Seriously. If you aren’t looking for evidence that they’re not actually female, nothing in their walk, body language,Continue reading “Should I see a Kabuki performance?”

How big is Tokyo?

It’s hard to plan a trip to somewhere before you know how big it is and how hard it will be to get around. Compare Tokyo’s size and population to a city you know, then scroll down to see Tokyo’s main subway line superimposed on your city’s map! So…how big IS Tokyo? Now scroll downContinue reading “How big is Tokyo?”