How to do the right thing at shrines and temples in Japan

Shrines and temples aren’t just for snapping nice pix – there’s serious specialized goodness to be gotten from throwing a coin to the proper powers-that-be! Here’s how to take advantage of the local supernatural beings’ odd specialties, and do it right: First: Wash your hands It’s polite to ritually purify yourself at the spring nearContinue reading “How to do the right thing at shrines and temples in Japan”

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”

Kabuki: How to get tickets and see a performance

If you’re not convinced you need to see this only-in-Japan entertainment while you’re here, get thee over to Should I see a Kabuki performance? I think you’ll be back. There are three options for getting your kabuki fix: 1: Visit the Kabuki-za Gallery and see three minutes of the current live show, plus a 30-minute audioContinue reading “Kabuki: How to get tickets and see a performance”