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The Last Shogun of Japan and Paddington Bear: the story of Hakodate

It is said that we can link anyone in the world through no more than five connections. The link between the last Shogun of Japan and Paddington Bear however is considerably shorter than might be expected. These two unlikely characters are in their own way a part of the history of the city of Hakodate […]

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A photo tour of Japanese castles

Japanese castles don’t really conform to the the Europeans understanding of what a castle should be. Built at a time of relative stability, most of the castles were constructed as a show of wealth and power rather than as a fortification. The consequence of this is a series of buildings dotted around Japan that are […]

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Japan Rail Pass: a good purchase that could be a lot better

At first glance the Japan Rail Pass looked very expensive. £444 for 21 days of unlimited rail travel (up to £476 now thanks to the ever-strengthening yen). Would we really travel enough to make the investment in the rail pass pay off? We had crossed Europe from Lisbon to London earlier this year for roughly […]

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Kyoto Museum for World Peace: Japan’s past laid bare

Japan has more than its fair share of difficult museums to visit. The Hiroshima Peace Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum tell the story of the atomic bombings on their cities in their own distinct ways. Both are sensitively put together and provide political and historical context along with personal testimonies given by survivors […]

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Japan travel costs: a breakdown of our spending

Too often I read about other people’s travels and wonder about the costs involved in their trip. It’s one thing to inspire someone to visit a new country and experience its many attractions, but the information isn’t always available to tell me whether it’s something I have the money to do at a particular time. […]

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Things I won’t miss about Japan

Writing this at the end of a month long trip to Japan, it’s fair to say that this has been one of our favourite trips of all time. There is a lot to like about Japan (much of which I listed in the previous post). No trip is perfect however and it would be remiss […]

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Holiday in Japan – travelling the easy way

We’re coming towards the end of our month in Japan and it’s fair to say that this will be remembered as one of our best trips. As with any good trip it has had its ups and downs (my next post will list the things in Japan that I won’t miss once I’m back in […]

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Finding your feet in a Japanese toilet

“Just press the button and see what happens. You’re not going to blow anything up”. That’s the rather cavalier advice I typically offer to my wife when she asks me computer related questions. It is a philosophy that has served me well throughout my life. Until that is, I encountered the Japanese toilet. I had […]

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8 confusing things about Japan

We’re halfway through our travels through Japan and the weird and wonderful experiences keep coming thick and fast. While some of the habits and the etiquette are becoming familiar there are still things that don’t make sense.  Here are a handful of the questions that have us wondering if we just need a little more […]

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Tourism after tragedy: why Japan is suffering twice

Perhaps our news should come with a health warning. A few weeks ago I wrote about the global media’s massive sensationalism in relation to the London riots and I was reminded of this again during our travels through Japan. I was asked by the owner of a guest house we had been staying at about […]

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