Shiodome is a new business district of Tokyo with a very modern feeling. Skyscrapers of Shiodome host hotels, businesses and upscale restaurants. This is not an area of Tokyo especially catering to entertainment but can be nice to explore on your way to Hamarikyu Garden or before taking the Yurikamome train line on your way to Odaiba.
Odaiba is a large man-made island in Tokyo Bay. Since the 1990s, it is being developed as a major entertainment and shopping area with lardmarks such as the Fuji TV building, the Telecom Center Building, Tokyo Big Sight and a large Gundam replica. All of those give a rather futuristic look to Odaiba. From the island, one can also see very well the iconic Rainbow Bridge. The island can be reached by the Yurikamome Train Line which actually crosses the famous bridge.
Dotonbori street is the main attraction in Osaka. The street, which follows the Dotonbori canal is filled with shops and restaurant. The region around Dotonbori itself is filled with shopping opportunities. A unique feeling to Dtonbori are the many brightly lit displays and mechanized signs. Some of them include the giant crab (Kani Doraku restaurant), the hanging Fugu fish (Zubora-ya restaurant). Famous landmarks include Glico Man runner sign, Kuidaore Taro the drum playing clown. Looking for those landmark while walking on Dotonbori street is quite a lot of fun.
The district of Ginza is located south of Tokyo station (about 20 minute walk). It is known as an up-scale district with luxurious shopping opportunities in fashion (Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and more…) and electronics (Sony and Apple flagship stores). Tokyo is already one of the most expensive cities on Earth and Ginza is probably one of the most expensive of its districts!
Header photo by DILLEmma
The Shibuya crossing is the busiest intersection in the world. When the pedestrian signal turns green, literally hundreds of people start crossing the road in all directions. This a popular spot for time-lapse photographers which set their cameras on tripods to take photos on a regular interval and then combined them into an accelerated movie. When I got there, the weather was not so great and I struggled to find a good location to take the shots. This blog describes the best viewpoints of Shibuya crossing. I wish I had known before!
In 1995, the great Hanshin Earthquake devastated the coastal city of Kobe, killing 6400 people and causing hundreds of billions dollar in damage. After the Japanese government provided trillions of Japanese Yen for the recovery of Kobe, the reconstruction began. The Japanese have learned from their mistakes, today the port area of Kobe is built to resist the most violent earthquakes on earth. Only a small part of the damaged docks was left as a memorial to the earthquake. Because most of Kobe was reconstructed less than 15 years ago, the city looks overall very modern. Here’s some photos of the Kobe Harbor area taken during day and night.
During the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) season in Japan, many Japanese wander the street to enjoy the scenery, creating a very interesting atmosphere. For this photo session, I used one of my favourite technique, walking randomly in the streets until some scene catches my attention. Observing what the locals do, and joining them is an interesting cultural experience. Several shots were taken while sitting, fully relaxed, along the banks of the river.
Geishas are traditional female entertainers in Japan. Meeting with a Geisha is definitely expensive: one may expect to spend several thousand USD for an evening. For those who may not be able to afford, there are opportunities to catch a glimpse of Geisha’s elegance as they wander in the streets. One of the best place to see Geishas is in the Gion district of Kyoto. Many Geisha establishments, luxury restaurants, and tea houses are located in the area and therefore the chance of seeing Geishas is quite high. I highly advise to wander the streets of Gion at around 6:30 PM and later for the best chance to see them. For about one hour and a half spent in the district, I could see about 10 of them. Taking pictures is another story: Geishas walk surprisingly fast and look down most of the time so I advise to be very alert since you might have only a few seconds to get a good shot. If you want to know the name of the Geishas you have seen, posting your photos on Flickr might be useful. Many Geisha enthusiasts over there will enjoy identifying them for you!
Japanese people have a special love for Cherry Blossoms (Sakura in Japanese language) trees. When Sakura trees bloom in Japan, approximately around mid-April, Japanese head to parks for a picnic under the trees. This type of picnic is referred to as o-hanami in Japanese language. In Kyoto, one of the great places to do o-hanami is the Gion district, where the ambiance of older times is well preserved and where plenty of restaurants and isakaya can be found. One of the best way to enjoy this district, in my opinion, is to walk somewhat randomly on the small streets which often lead to great surprises. About the great sights I was able to observe, the photo gallery will speak for itself!
This short clip first shows some scenes of the trip from Tokyo to Niko on the Tobu Nikko line. It then explores the surroundings of the Nikko Tobu station and moves on to the most popular historical monuments of Nikko, the Nikko Tosho-gu temple, the Futarasan shrine and the Taiyu-in mausoleum. After a hot day, nothing is better than a Kakigori, those iced-shaving Japanese desserts!