Japanese ferry : a trip to Sado island

Taking the ferry in Japan is a peculiar experience. Ferries are typically divided in different classes. All classes share the common characteristic that most Japanese try to sleep during the trip, even if it takes only a few hours during daytime. Upper level classes consist in large rooms filled with individual and fully horizontal mattresses on which customers can sleep. Few first class rooms akin to hotel rooms are sometimes available on the upper deck.

I was in the lower class, which is more rudimentary. It consists in carpeted floor area where one can lie down. Customers seemed to consider the carpets dirty since the best majority sleep on old journal paper. While older folks take a nap or watch baseball while lying down, kids feed the marine birds with potato crackers. I personally choose to eat a warm bowl of ramen noodles and to document in photos this interesting experience of Japanese culture.

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Kamiya Bar

Kamiya bar is located in Tokyo’s famous historical district of Asakusa. It is famously knows in Tokyo for the unique drink it serves: “Denki Bran”. Denki Bran is a mix of brandy-like alcohol but the exact receipy, however, is a well guarded secret. The best way to enjoy Denki Bran is to drink it in between two glasses of beer I was told. Of course, one liter beer glasses are available. Kamiya bar also serves food that do a good job at accompanying the drinks.

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Togakushi shrine : Middle shrine (Chu-Sha)

The Togakushi middle shrine (Chu-Sha) enshrines the God of wisdom. Among the Togakushi shrines, it is located in the midway between the lower and upper shrines. All of the Togakushi shrines, which are about two kilometers apart, are connected via hiking trails and roads.

The middle shrine is located above a pleasant town where the culinary speciality of Nagano prefecture, buckwheat noodles (soba), may be enjoyed at the local restaurant. It is especially recommended as a light and refreshing meal after a long and hot summer day!

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Togakushi shrine : Lower shrine (Hōkō-sha)

The Togakushi shrines are a group of three shrine areas located in the mountainous region north of Nagano. They got their name from being situated at the base of Mount Togakushi.

The one called the lower shrine (Hōkō-sha) is located at a lower altitude compared to the other two. It enshrines a female God protecting maternity, academic life and sewing!

Interestingly, a long time ago, the Togakushi shrines were also Buddhist temples as it was common in ancient Japan.

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Rice fields of Nagano prefecture

Rice is at the base of the Japanese diet and is commonly eaten at every meal of the day. Not surprisingly, rice is a major crop in Japan. It is grown in Continue reading Rice fields of Nagano prefecture

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Korakuen

The Korakuen is a little gem in the heart of Tokyo. One would not suspect that such a peaceful place exists right next to the famous Tokyo Dome where baseball matches are played in Tokyo. It was quite gloomy when we visited the garden but we really enjoyed the experience nonetheless. I imagine it may be even better when the sun shines.

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Shibuya and the new Hikarie building

The Shibuya crossing is one of the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. The area surrounding the Shibuya crossing is known as a popular entertainment hub. For those interested in taking pictures or time-lapse videos of the intersection, a new building, the Hikarie tower, offers a fantastic view of the Shibuya crossing. Many interesting dining venues are located on site. Be sure to check the Hikarie building next time you spend some time in Shibuya!

While at Shibuya station, don’t forget to pay a visit to the famous statue of Hachiko, the dog who waited patiently for his owner dsy after day. Nowadays, the statue has become a popular meeting spot in Shibuya.

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A view of Tokyo Bay from Odaiba

Several places in Tokyo offer nice panoramic views of the city like Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills, etc. But there’s no need to line up into those buildings to enjoy a nice scenery of Tokyo. The north-western coast of Odaiba island offers a fantastic viewpoint on the bay of Tokyo as well as the iconic rainbow bridge.

Some of those photos were taken simply from the park along the coast, most of the night panorama of the bay and rainbow bridge was taken from the terrace at one of the many restaurants in the Aqua City shopping mall. Some of those are affordable and the view of the sun setting over Tokyo is priceless!

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Tsukiji outer market

The Tsukiji market is a major commercial hub where fresh seafood is auctioned every day before being sold and eaten in the many restaurant tables of Tokyo.

The market itself is where business is done. Although accessible to the tourist Continue reading Tsukiji outer market

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Kabukiza, traditional Japanese Kabuki theater

The Kabukiza is a famous Kabuki theater in Ginza district at the heart of Tokyo. Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theater where tales of feudal lords, samurai warriors and divinities are told. The Kabukiza was fully renovated recently Continue reading Kabukiza, traditional Japanese Kabuki theater

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"Inspiration and tips for your next trip to Japan"