Some Japanese Old Travel Advise

It's been years since I've set foot on the land of the red sun.  Believe me that I would like to go back one of these days with my camera & to get lost in the streets of Kyoto or Tokyo, capturing images that I now know how to shoot. There's so much rich culture there as there is in all other parts of the country. It's very beautiful.  You can't judge a book by a cover, you must go & embrace it to experience it to its full potential.

Nara and Osaka are close by to Kyoto, part of the region where the first capitals of Japan were many centuries ago. The Kansai Region is rich in history.  There's a cheap way to get to the cities via the Hankyu Line:  It's like 500 yen or $5.  I would definitely experience the local cuisine in each region.  Osaka is famous for takoyaki, basically octopus dumplings that are superb. Tokyo has heaps to do.  I would take advantage to see Kamakura Daibutsu (The Great Buddha of Kamakura) or to go to Nikko to see the famous temples. There's a lot to see and would take advantage of a ride on the Shinkansen (the bullet train). Check out JR Rail to see if you get a deal for being a foreigner cos I know that when your a resident you can't advantage of the deals. Osaka, is a great city to explore for food. I found a great Thai place there. The menu is in both Japanese & English, which is also a huge help when your Japanese is very limited. I just found this business card & don't know if the restaurant is actually in existence, but it's always worth your wander to check it out while your in America-mura district of Osaka.

Well, you could certainly go to Tokyo Disney and Disney Sea Parks.  They are very easy to get to.  I think it cost something like $30 USD at night, which is a savings if you can't make it to Walt Disney World or Disneyland.  For a glimpse into the "real" Japan with culture. I would go to Shibuya and walk around. One of the most well known stories in the area is about Hachiko who was a dog that waited for its master in front of Shibuya station in the 20s & 30s who became a national icon & a popular meeting spot. Shibuya is famous for it's scrambling crossing, there are big screen TV's and a Starbucks in a bookstore, which is one of the busiest in the world. The Sony Building is also a good place to explore with all the new technology. On the basement of the building is the famous Sony store which has an international market for foreign residents living in Japan.   My favorite spot in Tokyo is the Tsukiji Fish Market, which is famous for it's live tuna auction at 4:30 AM.  It's awesome at that time, but I quite enjoy walking around the streets to get a flavor of the place. It's also a very good place to get some traditional Japanese food like sushi and udon for breakfast, which is yum! Akihabara is the Electronic District.  It's a good place to do a wee bit of duty free shopping and to get the most up to date electronics.  Jimbocho for the bookstore district.  It's a cool place to check out all kinds of used books and rare Japanese arts. Check out Senso-ji one of the most famous temples.  They also have a good bazaar outside of it.

Check out the Haku yen shops, basically translates to 100 yen shops are a great place to find souvenirs. There should be a Hello Kitty store to have some fun shopping with too. Purikura Machines are everywhere and they are dirt cheap compared to  the prices in J-Town in San Francisco. They are a big hit with Japanese school kids who have heaps of books of photos from it.  It's a must thing to do!

For day trips try the following: Nikko is famous for many temples.  However, plan a good day or so out side of Tokyo to explore it.  You can easily get there by a local train, I'm sorry that I don't recall where you can get it.  Also, Kamakura Daibutsu is beautiful to go explore for the day outside of Tokyo.  Also, check out neighboring Yokohama.

Don't be afraid to wander lust off the beaten path to catch a glimpse into life beyond the main streets. Check out the local papers to find events. Metropolis Magazine: of the Japan Times: Or check out Lonely Planet:

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