Japan

Ancient Tokyo: Sensō-Ji Temple

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Sensō-ji is Tokyo’s oldest ancient temple, dating back to 645 AD. It’s stunning, dramatic and a major attraction for international and Japanese tourists alike. The pedestrian-only lanes leading up to the temple are as packed as a sold out concert with hundreds of pop-up shops with the best gift/souvenir shopping in all of Tokyo. Inside the temple courtyard, you can get your “Omikuji” for a donation of 100¥ (equivalent of $1 USD), which literally translates to a “fortune-telling paper.” Sensō-ji is iconic and one of our favorite spots in Tokyo — well worth the cover photo of the Lonely Planet Tokyo Pocket book guide!

Taste of Tokyo: Sushi, Ramen and More

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Tokyo is full of food: some delightful, some intimidating, but all delicious. We enjoyed futuristic sushi, traditional Soba noodles, and also developed full-blown ramen addictions. There are so many enticing must-try restaurants in Tokyo, you’ll probably find yourself enjoying more than three meals a day.

Shibuya, Night and Day

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Shibuya! Home to the world’s busiest crosswalk (in the world’s most populated city!): a five-way free for all surrounded by skyscrapers and mega-screens that’s said to have up to 1,000 crossers at a time during rush hour. When you imagine Tokyo, this is it. We stuck around after sunset to see Shibuya at it’s best, neon lights and all.

Shinjuku In The Rain

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Shinjuku embodies the urban side of Tokyo: government building skyscrapers, upscale department stores, crowded streets teeming with bars and cafes, and the world’s busiest railway station. Since the weather is brimming on the beginning of typhoon season here, our first day out in Shinjuku is through the drizzle.

Japan’s Countryside, Ichinomiya

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Ichinomiya, Chiba is a quiet, rural country town along the coast of Japan with plenty of rice paddies, a scarce amount of restaurants and nearly zero English translations. Our Airbnb was in walkable distance of a convenience store, a supermarket, and the train station but not much beyond that. Luckily, we were able to borrow bikes and explore further along to experience Ichinomiya’s cafes, coastline and surf shops.