Curious enthusiast based in Tokyo. I write about food, culture, recreation, art, business, and travel in Japan and beyond.
A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Convenience Stores (and What to Buy There)
Japanese convenience store culture
Japanese convenience stores may have been born in the United States (two of the three biggest chains in Japan, 7-11 and Lawson, are originally from the US), but they came into their own in Japan. While convenience stores in the US are known mostly for beef jerky, Red Bull, and not much else, konbini in Japan are actually convenient, offering a wide array of products and services for only a slight premium over what they might cost in bigger, less convenient s...
Tokyo Do’s and Don’ts: 10 Unwritten Rules That Every Tokyoite Knows
Though convenience stores, or conbini, might be the realm of overpriced candy and tired sandwiches back home—depending where you’re from, that is—conbini in Japan are actually convenient. You’ll find loads of fresh, cheap food, ATMs, copy machines, freshly ground coffee, package delivery service, and much more. 7-11, Lawson, Family Mart, Mini Stop: each chain has its devotees. With so many treats to discover, you’ll soon find your favorite.
Do wear good socks and slip-on shoes
When you're in ...
25 Most Beautiful Places in Japan
Don't forget to pack your camera.
Japan is renowned for its delicate cherry blossoms and mesmerizing bamboo forests, but that’s only the beginning of the country's charms. From the snowy wilderness of Hokkaido to the tropical forests of Okinawa, Japan has enough natural wonders to keep you in awe. Come explore some of the most stunning places across the country’s 47 prefectures.
What to Know About Skiing in Japan Now
Now that Japan is open to tourism after more than two years, visiting skiers and snowboarders will find updated ski resorts and brand-new properties. Japan local Selena gives you the scoop on what’s new and shares her picks for the best places to ski in Japan.
Living in Tokyo, I’m never too far from a snow-laden mountain. Options abound for powder hounds in the archipelago, ranging from day trips from the capital to more remote areas that have enough to explore over a long weekend or more.
CUBIST COCOON: Nine lofts designed to challenge your senses.
Walking into the Reversible Destiny Lofts in suburban Mitaka, Tokyo, is a disorienting experience. Next door to a McDonald’s and some uniform beige apartment buildings, the complex appears as a sudden burst of colors and shapes, improbably stacked three stories high. It looks like a pile of children’s blocks writ large. Inside each loft, where you must proceed sock-footed, the floor is pitched, bumpy and undulating. A sunken kitchen stands at the center of the circular space, a hammock hanging
SEASIDE STUDIOS: A potter’s portfolio on a quiet, rural peninsula.
The first home that Kazunori Hamana bought is perched on the hillside above the Pacific Ocean, on the Boso Peninsula of Japan. The water is just a few dozen meters below, close enough that you could scramble through the brush and jump in.
Hamana often does just that. “I quit being a professional fisherman, so I just cast my net and eat what I’ve caught on the spot, ” he says. He’s friendly and suntanned, with a frank manner and few airs. He’s also a ceramicist whose elegant, hand-built pots g...
Aomori Apples: How Aomori Became Japan’s Apple Capital and Where to Enjoy the Best
You’ll almost never see them today, but Japanese apples (waringo, 和林檎, わりんご, ワリンゴ) were cataloged in the Japanese dictionary Wamyō Ruijushō (和名類聚抄, わみょうるいじゅしょう) more than a thousand years ago.
Four to five centimeters in diameter and yellow or red skinned, they were grown, eaten, and used for altar offerings through the Edo period (mid 1800s) but went out of fashion with the introduction of their bigger, sweeter cousins, the Western apple, or seiyō ringo (西洋林檎, せいようりんご, セイヨウリンゴ), introduced t...
The Best Honeymoon Hotels in Japan With Spas
Soak up a private couples session in the onsen baths at The Ritz-Carlton Nikko.
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When planning a honeymoon in Japan, you can add an indulgent and sensual element to your romantic escape by booking a hotel with a top-notch spa. Whether you’re dissipating the high energy of an action-packed city break, unwinding after immersing y...
Inside Kengo Kuma’s Sky High Tokyo Studio
Kengo Kuma is in constant communication with his staff. “My daily schedule is small meeting to small meeting, basically five to 10 minutes each, and there are many, many small meetings,” says Kengo. In the morning, a line snakes to his tiny corner alcove for “Kuma check,” where he looks at the work of his associates and gives them comments and direction. “I have to get in close communication with my colleagues. And communication is very important for design.”
Kengo’s desk is in a tiny alcove ...
Tokyo Insider Guide: How to Eat Like a Local
With tens of thousands of restaurants, the food scene in Tokyo is hard to pin down. It’s constantly changing and ever-evolving, and has a plate for every palate — you could dine at a new place three times a day for the rest of your life and not get through them all.
That many options may feel daunting, but you can rest assured that the use of high-quality, fresh ingredients, as well as an eye for presentation, are near universal. Whether you like cheap and cheerful chow or fine dining, sippin...
This Epic Train Ride Pairs Sake Tastings With Beautiful Scenery in the Japanese Countryside
Some trains are simply a means to get from point A to B. On others, like the East Japan Railway Company's Shu*Kura, it's all about the journey.
This train operates along a few routes in northwestern Japan's Niigata Prefecture, a place known for its rice, water, and snow. Nicknamed "snow country" for the deep drifts that blanket the towns and cap the majestic mountains during winter, the prefecture is verdant come spring and summer, with bright green foothills and rice paddies carpeting the co...