Japan is truly timeless, the perfect place where old traditions met modern lifestyle in a very natural way. The infrastructure is just amazing, you can so many options for a fast transportation and the best part – it’s really hard to get lost. They are famous for one of the fastest trains in the world. The highways are built on 3 levels above the street level. The metro station, it’s up to 4 levels down and each floor represents a direction. It’s really amazing.
The most comfortable way of travel between Narita Airport and Tokyo Station is the JR Narita Express (NEX). The one-way journey takes roughly one hour, costs around 3000 yen (25 EUR) and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass, JR Tokyo Wide Area Pass and some other JR passes. There are departures every 30 to 60 minutes. Details: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2027.html
*HOTEL UNIZO Tokyo Ginza-Nanachome. The hotel is in the Ginza district.
The most impressive store in Akihabara is Mandarake. This building version of a Batmobile is the center of all things anime and weird. Think porn comic books, all the robots and little figurines of every potential cartoon or Japanese character available in any size, old Game Boys and Nintendo, in short, all sorts of collector’s stuff to fill your wildest hoarder dreams.
AKB48 and various cafes
AKB48 is the name and performing headquarters of Japans’ largest girl group. The group is made of over 140 girls today although it started with just 48 (hence the name). Go in and take a seat at the theatre/bar where you can enjoy some awful food and drinks while watching some of their performances on the large TV screen. It is slightly strange to the visitor but permanently full.
Tokyo has some unique features, of course, such as Tokyo Tower and the Skytree, but to me, the most identifiable landmark to the city will always be Shibuya Crossing. The sprawling scramble intersection just outside Shibuya Station is an embodiment of Tokyo itself: action in all directions. Three huge television screens installed on the buildings facing the intersection flash all day, while the rest of the area is covered with lights, advertisements, and more lights.
Hachikō Memorial Statue
Sensoji is the oldest temple in Tokyo, boasting over 1300 years of history. Located in the popular sightseeing area of Asakusa, this temple is especially famous for its large red lantern hanging at the entrance gate called Kaminarimon.
In the proximity of the main hall of the temple, a shrine was built to honor the two brothers and the head of the village from ancient times who made the establishment of the temple possible. This shrine is Asakusa Shrine and is famous for its annual three-day Sanja Festival that unfolds on the streets of Asakusa.
The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. The statue was cast in 1252 and originally located inside a large temple hall.
The Great Buddha is a 10-minute walk away from Hase Station.
Open: 8:00 to 17:30 (until 17:00 from October to March). Access fee: 200 yen (2 EUR)
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Fushimi Inari Taisha is Kyoto’s most important Shinto shrine and one of its most impressive attractions. Located in southern Kyoto, it is famous for its variety of shrines and vermilion torii shrine gates, with thousands of them winding their way up the sacred Mount Inari. WHATEVER YOU DO, DONT MISS IT! 🙂 The shrine sits at the base of Mount Inari and includes many smaller sub-shrines which span 4 kilometers up the 233 meters (764 ft) mountain. Each of the famous torii shrine gates has been donated by an individual or a Japanese business in the hope of receiving good luck and fortune. The name of the donor is inscribed in black ink on the back of each gate.
There is a fascinating story attached to the origin of the shrine. The legend goes, a rice cake was shot into the air, which turned into a swan and flew away, eventually landing on a peak of a mountain, where rice grew (an auspicious omen in Japan). This led to the deity Inari Okami (the god of rice) being enshrined on the plateau and the start of Fushimi Inari Taisha.
The return hike takes about 2-3 hours. There are a lot of small shrines along the way with mini torii gates donated mainly by tourists. It’s nice to take the time to admire the surroundings and catch your breath too.
A torii is a traditional Japanese gate. Usually is found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred.
Access fee: 600 yen (5 EUR) and it’s always open.
Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the constructions that represents the Higashiyama Culture of the Muromachi period.
Today, Ginkakuji consists of the Silver Pavilion, half a dozen other temple buildings, a beautiful moss garden, and a unique dry sand garden. It is enjoyed by walking along a circular route around its grounds, from which the gardens and buildings can be viewed.
Access: 8:30 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:30 from December to February) and the entrance fee is 500 yen (4 EUR).
Dotonbori is located in Osaka, and it is well known as an energetic arcade full of shops and eateries. It’s really bright at night because of all the neon lights, which makes it feel like the city never sleeps. There are so many stores and sights in Dotonbori Street that you won’t want to miss! Dotonbori can be pretty overwhelming, especially when it’s your first time visiting because there is so much to see.
Konamon Museum is the perfect place where you can enjoy good food and experience Takoyaki, Osaka’s soul food!
Dotonbori is a really fun place to walk around! It is really close to Namba and Shinsaibashi Station, too, so if you have time, those areas are also worth checking out.
The area where Osaka Castle is located has long been highly valued, and history has left its mark here time and again. This spot is particularly famous as the location of Ishiyama Honganji Temple. One theory holds that this location was chosen due to its good feng shui (the art of reading the energies of the earth), and even today, Osaka Castle is said to be a spot imbued with great energy.
An automated (car) parking system (APS)
We thought it would be smarter to rent the car in Japan and with this occasion, we enjoyed the benefit from automatic parking. You just leave your car at the entrance of the parking place. When you return, you present the badge you received at the beginning and in 3 minutes – your car is in front of you. 🙂