Category Archives: Tokyo

No need to offer me a seat

And so here I was on the Chuo Line Rapid rumbling to Shinjuku, heading to the coin-operated laundry as directed by my Information Service friends back at Tokyo – back pack stuffed with dirty clothes. I know the last hour … Continue reading

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Surely the laundry is here somewhere

Tokyo is a big place and I assumed it would be pretty easy to find a coin-operated laundry, pop the dirty washing in, sit around for an hour, and be back out touristing before you know it. Here’s hour the … Continue reading

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Strolling the Mitake Gorge

No need to go further up the valley deeper into the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, strolling the Mitake Gorge riverside walking path caps off a great day that included the Mitake Tozan Ralway and the Musashi Shrine. Starting just below Mitake … Continue reading

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Musashi Shrine at Mt Mitake

When Tokyo gets discussed, the only image conjured up by most visitors is concrete and people. Yet as soon as you leave the flat land conurbation, extensive hills, mountains and forests beckon. Ome in western Tokyo is one of those … Continue reading

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Can the Mitake Tozan Railway get any steeper?

Mt Takeo is a very popular destination on the western edges of Tokyo. Maybe less popular but an immensely interesting place to visit is Mt Mitake in Ome City where your day can have three distinct elements – the Mitake … Continue reading

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JR Metropolitan Hotel Marunouchi, worth the splurge

Fair to say that 5 Stars is punching well above my usual accommodation level when getting around Japan. 3 Star business hotels are the norm. The JR Metropolitan Hotel Marunouchi (Tokyo) has such a good reputation and is close to … Continue reading

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Cafe Aun quiet beside the Tama River

From the riverside walking track only a small wooden gate sign lets you know that both a gallery and cafe lie on the other side. The short path leads you past kid’s bikes, a cubby house and a deflated football … Continue reading

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Yasu’s favourite izakaya is now mine. IZAKAYA たいと

I met Yasu at the Japan Council of Local Government Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) in Sydney a few years ago. With his posting over and a trip to Tokyo coming up for Veronica and I, some loose arrangements were … Continue reading

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Finding old Tokyo in Nippori

Ueno Park is a significant draw card for visitors, for its museums, galleries, zoo, temples and quiet contemplation. Just to the north of the Ueno Park precinct is Nippori, an old part of Tokyo that has history, culture and a … Continue reading

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The cold, the old and the bold

My return to Japan in March revolved around attending the United Nations third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR). Posts about that amazing event, the organisations and the people around the world putting their energies into mitigating the impacts … Continue reading

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Station visitor information offices have ……

It seems like every JR destination has a small visitor information kiosk or office within the station area, or just outside. The same can be said for the numerous private railway line operators as well. Promoting local cultural sites, places … Continue reading

Posted in Bike rides, Hiroshima, Nara, Small Towns and Villages, Tokyo, Trains, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wedding crashing a new visitor activity in Harujuku

Most visitor stories of Harujuku include the colourful young things assembling around the station, families taking in the relative sanctuary of Yoyogi Park, or of the bustling shopping precinct around Omotesando-dori and Meiji-dori. Photos a plenty of cosplay girls, old-time … Continue reading

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Finding that special Asakusa place again

Sometimes a dining experience sticks in your mind. The company. Getting dressed up to match. The long line of eager diners anticipating the fare, having been excited by the critic’s words. The artistically plated chef’s specialty. Just one Michelin Star, … Continue reading

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A guide to Asakusa

Volunteer Guides are readily available to assist visitors across Japan. Whether at the most popular temples and shrines in the tourist havens of Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara – to locally important and interesting spots almost everywhere. With three new visitors … Continue reading

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Yaesu-dori street eating

On the way to the Ginza for a bit of window shopping, the plan was to take in the Bridgestone Museum of Art, a fantastic public legacy of its founder Ishibashi Shojiro. But lunch was first. Taking the suggested Yaesu … Continue reading

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Gifts and memories

Bringing back momentos and presents from Japan is something I make some effort to do. Its not just about the item itself, its craft, or its price, it is just as much about the story of its purchase. Relevance and … Continue reading

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On your bike

You can get a good sense of the real Japan by gently rolling through lanes and streets on a bike. A leisurely pace, often with a tide of fellow riders. Apart from looking a little bit different, who is to … Continue reading

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A (small) room for all occasions

I glumly posted some time ago about giving up on Youth Hostel accommodation. I felt more and more uncomfortable as a single 50+ traveler, appearing as if my T-shirt slogan was “Uncle Tony the chaperone”. Small rooms, too many hip … Continue reading

Posted in Accommodation, Big Cities, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Shizuoka, Small Towns and Villages, Tokyo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Namboku Line sardine can to Saitama Stadium

Well, another World Cup football game against Japan Blue Samurai is over. The centre of the trip. The excuse for drawing 4 others into our traveling party this time. Joining with the Green and Gold Army. Cheering for the Socceroos. … Continue reading

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Warming up

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Well the game is over, with Australia getting a well deserved draw after an exciting 0 – 0 draw against Japan on Tuesday 11th June. The warm up for the game started at the Hobgoblin pub in Roppongi, chosen I … Continue reading

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Free visitor advice service

Tokyo is one of the great cities of the world with 1,001 things to see or do. Making a decisions about what how to spend your little time there will define your visit. So, here is my free visitor advice … Continue reading

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Saitama, here we come!

With only 2 weeks to the crucial World Cup Qualifer against Japan, over 1,000 Australian football fans like me are packing their bags to support our team in Saitama. Getting to the ground is easy via the Namboku Subway Line. … Continue reading

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

First day in Japan. Found accommodation. Found beer. Found food. Sumida River, Asakusa. See more photos and comments on this theme at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/photo-challenge-lunchtime/    

Posted in Big Cities, Eating and drinking, Tokyo | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The middle aged man challenge: how would you spend 3 days in Tokyo?

The balding and grey haired group for the June has grown to 5, with 3 guys on their first trip. Not yet at the dizzying 2009 heights of 11. Blame the GFC. These poor souls are vesting the enjoyment of … Continue reading

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Evolving travel experience

I have just completed 10 weeks of  Japanese language lessons. Even though the course was at ‘starter’ level (simpler than Introductory!) I have to say I struggled to retain too much. And the final assessment conversation? Well, lets just say … Continue reading

Posted in Big Cities, Football, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara, Shizuoka, Tokyo, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Shitaya Matsuri in Ueno, Tokyo

53 versions of a travel itinerary just couldn’t work in this year’s Asakusa Sanja Matsuri in mid-May. While Ueno’s Shitaya Matsuri may not have the million or spectators like Asakusa, it is exuberant, colourful and highly recommended.  On previous trips … Continue reading

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The fraternity of fire fighters: Asakusa Fire Station

Saturday 12th May, 2012 I should not have been surprised that my volunteer translator was waiting in the foyer of the Toyoko Inn, Kuramae some 20 minutes before the arranged meeting time. Resplendant in a dark suit, and busily reading … Continue reading

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Bluesman of Inokashira Koen, Tokyo

Around an hour west of Tokyo is the must-see Ghibli Museum that displays the life and anime works of the great Hayao Miyazaki. Think Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. Think colour and movement. Think tiny and gigantic. The Ghibli … Continue reading

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So, were you really there?

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Remember how the first Apollo moon landing was faked by NASA, filmed in a big studio in the Californian desert? As a single traveler, how do I get real proof that I actually saw and did what I said happened? … Continue reading

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Tokyo cycling fun

Read many of the popular guide books and websites about Tokyo and cycling gets a bad rap. Don’t believe everything you read. Cycling in the metropolis of Tokyo is easy and very safe – if you have your wits about … Continue reading

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