pic: Redd via Unsplash
Konnichiwa! Whether you love Japan or are planning your first visit, you need to listen to this episode!
We have not one, but two expert guests, both of whom have lived in Japan. Amanda Kendle, travel writer, social media lecturer and podcaster at The Thoughtful
Travel Podcast was an English teacher in Japan, while Jane Lawson, cook book author, pwner of online shop Zenbu Home and travel writer who also lived there, now leads luxury food and cultural tours to the country.
In this fun, tip-filled episode we discover their favourite places to visit, eat and stay, how to navigate the sometimes confusing cultural mores of this fascinating country and less serious topics like the best Japanese Kit Kat flavour and why we love Japanese toilets!
And as an added bonus, scroll down for a comprehensive guide to some of tour leader Jane's top sights, sleeps and eats.
Thanks Jane and Amanda!
pic: Sora Sagano via Unsplash
Hitomi - Yakitori
Katsukura - Tonkatsu restaurant
Ajiro - Shojin Ryori
Tempura Matsu - contemporary kaiseki
Motoi - French Japanese
Bini - Italian Japanese
Hoshinoya Arashiyama -Kyoto
Iori Machiya stay
Omo5 (not omo7 that’s in asahikawa)
Places to Visit
Putting aside the obvious like Tokyo and Kyoto, and in no particular order are:
Kanazawa - they call it mini kyoto and it’s easily accessible by train from both Tokyo or Kyoto - beautiful garden Kenrokuen, old geisha and samurai quarters, excellent art museum/galleries including the National art museum and the David Suzuki museum
Nara - sacred deer park, temples, shrines, gorgeous old town - easy access from Kyoto or Osaka
Naoshima - art islands - incredible outdoor and indoor installations on a few islands dotted around the inland sea
Kamakura - easy access from Tokyo - lovely temple and garden area by the sea, famous giant buddha, great food, views of Mt Fuji from the water’s edge
Hakodate - charming port city at the southern tip of Hokkaido - incredible seafood, gorgeous coffee houses, stunning fortress and sightseeing spots, famous fish markets.
Kyushu - the southernmost of the main islands - more relaxed than other parts, famous ceramics towns, great seafood, ramen, food more punchy than other parts due to Korean influence - garlic, chilli, famous onsen area in Oita
Tamba Sasayama - gorgeous village between Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures - not far as the crow flies from either but takes a while to get there by train. Worth it for Edo style streetscapes, great food, artisanal ingredients and crafts, antiques, ceramics, castle.
Aomori - northern tip of Honshuu - lots of snow, amazing art facilities, festivals - wonderful handmade paper floats on display in the Nebuta museum, onsen, easy access to Hokkaido- great fish markets,
Yokohama -cosmopolitan port town ( cruises) , fantastic chinatown and cool izakaya enclave for food, lovely shopping areas. Old warehouses done up containing cafes/shops/restaurants/cup noodle museum. Pretty good place for kids.
Okinawa is completely different again… a mix of cultures - ancient Ryukyu, Japanese etc. Tropical, dives, natural beauty, tiny islands, white sands, medicinal cuisine