Travel hacks + insider info

Basic Travel Hacks

How to use your phone in Japan without breaking the bank

Navigating around Tokyo: How to get where you’re going if you don’t speak Japanese

How and where to get cash in Japan

How to buy and use a transit card

How to get into Tokyo from Narita airport

How to take a taxi in Tokyo if you don’t speak Japanese

How to buy tickets for the bullet train if you don’t speak Japanese

How to choose a hotel in Tokyo

Special needs

What to bring with you, because you can’t buy it in Japan

How can I travel in Japan with food allergies?

Insider travel tips

Hacking leaf season: See beautiful fall leaves, but avoid the crowds & prices

Where to see the best cherry blossoms in Tokyo, with maps

The best secret cherry blossom spots in Tokyo

How to get yourself invited to a cherry blossom party

How to survive a cherry blossom party

The best holiday illuminations in Tokyo

Shrine or temple? The Quickie Guide

Should I…?

What shouldn’t I do in Tokyo? Ten overrated experiences and what to do instead

Should I see a kabuki performance?

Should I hire a guide in Japan?

How to get tickets & enjoy specific experiences

How to buy tickets and go to a kabuki performance

How to shrine & temple in Japan

How to beat the crowds and duck peak prices during autumn leaf season


…it’s raining

…you’re traveling with kids

…your wallet is feeling thin and you want to do something memorable for free


Where to find the best capsule toy (gachapon) vending machines in Tokyo

Shimojima: The best gift, paper & packaging emporium in Tokyo

Setagaya Boroichi: the most legendary flea market in Tokyo


Blooming things

Five flower seasons that will make you happy you missed the cherry blossoms

Where to take the best cherry blossom photos in Tokyo, with maps

Beyond cherry blossoms: Where to take flower extravaganza photos, all year around

Where to take boggling photos of the secret flower seasons of Japan

Where to take the best autumn leaf photos in Tokyo

Things lit up at night

How to walk across the Rainbow Bridge (and get shots of Odaiba and the Tokyo skyline)

The Sumida River bridges, boats & landmarks at night

Tokyo Tower lit up at night

Senso-ji temple lit up at night

The giant Gundam robot: It moves and lights up!

FEB Plum blossoms lit up at night

MAR-APR Cherry blossoms lit up at night

APR Urban landscape cherry blossom-themed illuminations

OCT Art festival that lights up the Yokohama waterfront every fall

OCT-DEC The best places to see autumn leaves lit up at night

MAY All-night art festival in Roppongi

NOV-DEC The best holiday illuminations all over Tokyo



Let’s go to Fox Village

Let’s go to Bunny Island

Let’s go to the lemur petting zoo


Kamakura Matsuri: Thousands of glowing igloos, all over town (FEB)


At the Ise Shrine, everything old is new

The Werewolf Shrine

Rainbow Icicle Wonderland

Shirakawago (old-fashioned farmhouse village) in the snow

Where to see the most beautiful autumn leaves in Japan

Flower Extravaganzas

Endless fields of Baby Blue Eyes

Hillsides painted with shibazakura

The forest carpeted with millions of red amaryllis

The enchanted hydrangea forest

Why, Japan, why?

Why are tattoos still taboo in Japan?

Why are there no public trash cans in Tokyo?

Why is it hard for foreigners to get into a host (or hostess) club?

Why are cherry blossoms loved so much more than other flowers?

Why do only men get chocolate on Valentine’s Day?

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

 For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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