Japan: A visual tour

Here is a compilation of the photos of the day of Japan and some others of our best shots capturing the essence of Japan to inspire you (to receive our photos of the day and articles, follow us!). All of these photos are available in a high definition upon request. For the story behind a specific photo, browse through our articles or photos of the day. Keep travelling/

Japan’s saviours: women or robots?

JR train from Tokyo to Sapporo: the little cart approaches, loaded with coffee makers, soft drinks, bento‘s and sweets. The young Japanese female train attendant asks us what we would like in a perfect English with an American accent. We are puzzled! Keep reading

Japan: what to pack & check prior to departure

A trip to Japan can require quite a bit of preparation. A few more details will make your trip even more enjoyable and sustainable.  Continue reading

The frustrations of an English teacher in Japan

Why I learnt to speak 5 languages – and working on my 6th…

From an early age on, I have been very driven to explore the world around me. I recall ordering ‘une baguette s’il vous plaît’ (or at least, this is what I thought it sounded like!) Keep reading!

Never thought I would need a notice to go to the toilets, until… Japan!

I push on a button: a water splash starts. Wrong button… Another one: now it is a different kind of splash. Still the wrong button! Will I ever make it? I start panicking Keep reading

Hiking from Magome to Tsumago: timeless Japan

With the 4-day-Yari-dake hike we have just finished the day before, and still being used to waking up at sunrise, we decide to go for an 8-km stroll between the timeless villages of Keep reading

Temple hopping in Kyoto: top 10 & travel tips

I am biking like a mad woman on the sidewalks, with my knees almost hitting my chin at every turn of the pedals on my ridiculously small bicycle, ringing the bell to warn pedestrians in the busy streets, who weirdly enough do not seem surprised by that tall Dutch woman showing off her bicycle skills on that tiny Japanese bike. Overtaking herds of tourists, I am temple hopping in Kyoto! Keep reading

Road trip in the wild Northern island of Japan: Hokkaido

Erupting volcanoes, tranquil ponds, busy crossings, endless forests, crashing waves, relaxing onsens, humid and hot in the South, chilly in the North: Japan is a country of significant contrasts, and we clearly notice this as soon as we arrive on its Northernmost island, Hokkaido. Keep traveling!

Where to go skiing in Europe: the Austrian or French Alps?

My face hits the white cold substance when I fall down as my body gets out of control going down a small hill in the mountains of Austria. I have the hardest time getting up without falling again, as my feet are in the most uncomfortable shoes to which the rental skis are attached. I am surrounded by people who speak a language I cannot understand and during the lunch break I eat food I have never seen before: I was three when I started to learn how to ski… Keep reading

Biking patchwork & panorama roads in Biei, Hokkaido: the Provence of Japan!

The black cloud seems to move faster than me, while I puff and sigh trying to get uphill along the patchwork road in Biei on my rental bike. The sound of thunder is getting closer Keep traveling!

Japan food series – Sushi

As we have demonstrated it by now in our Japan food series, it is not all about sushi’s! But a trip to Japan without trying a sushiya would be incomplete! Keep reading

Japan food series – Kaiseki

A true dining experience (comparable with Michelin-star restaurants), haute cuisine and the crème de la crème of Japanese food, serving, atmosphere and presentation: kaiseki is a must for Keep reading

How to travel through Japan in a cost-effective and highly efficient way

Hurrying past the ticket gate with our bulky backpacks and waving our JR passes to the Japan Railway staff, we enter the platform at the futuristic Kyoto station to catch our first train of Keep reading

Japanese religions: Temple or Shrine?

Even if you have read our shrine for dummies article which give a basic understanding of these places of worship with their do’s and dont’s, you can still be a bit puzzled Keep reading

The Buddhist sacred flower: lotus

Lotuses literally rise from the filthy mud to become beautiful flowers. For Buddhists, this is a sacred symbol reminding them to reach for the highest Keep traveling!

Wild salmons of Hokkaido

The sea of Okhotsk… Just the sound of it makes me shiver. Only a curtain of fog separates the Russian Kuril Islands from Japan along the narrow straight. Getting out of the car Keep reading

Shrines: a brief manual for dummies

Visiting a shrine for the first time, one can feel a bit lost, sometimes even confusing a shrine for a temple. Respecting these places of worship and their believers means understanding a few of the following basics. In this post, the focus is on shrines. Keep reading

Bear encounter in Shiretoko, Hokkaido

It is early morning when the doors of the visitor centre in Shiretoko National Park open and we receive our bear certificates.
We are about to Keep traveling!

Pampered in Hokkaido: ryokan & Japanese hospitality

Black bird singing in the dead of night… I hear the lyrics in my head merging with the sounds of the guitar I am strumming in the warm and homey lounge of the Nutapukaushipe lodge. I am surrounded by wood carved furniture and musical instruments. After travelling through Japan for five weeks and not playing a single chord, I just couldn’t resist the temptation of grabbing one of them, kindly invited by the owner of the place. Keep traveling!

Japan food series – Soba noodles

While noodles are often associated with cheap ramens for students, we have discovered a wide variety of them in Japan. They come in three kinds: ramen of course, but also Keep reading

The Daisetzusan Grand Traverse and the forces of nature

A huge crack wakes me up in the middle of the night. I jump from the bed and open my eyes widely to see a bright light illuminating the Japanese-style room. About 5 seconds later Keep reading

An exhilarating hike in the Japanese Alps

“Okay, don’t panic! There is a stone about 20 cm below your left foot, and a cavity for your left hand behind that rock. Yes, slightly lower. That’s it! You can put your weight on it.”

I don’t see anything but the mountain ridge on the horizon above that rock I need to descend from and a lethal ravine below my feet, while hanging on my arms trying to divide my weight at best. My legs start shaking when I feel the stone underneath my right hand moving! My 12+kg backpack drags me down and bruises my hips and shoulders, limiting my degrees of freedom. I really wish I had a parachute or a zip line… For a few seconds, I don’t see how I can help myself down safely and I fear for my life. Keep traveling!

Earthquake in Tokyo!

We are on the 4th floor of a building in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo, just a few minutes after arriving in town. Seated at a table, suddenly, the ground under our feet starts shaking. We are hearing screams, the pieces of furniture are moving around Keep reading

Japan food series – Okonomiyaki

Even if okonomiyaki can be found all over the country, it is one of Hiroshima’s specialties. So once there, around lunch time, we walk to Okonomi-mura. There, Keep reading

Hiking up a sacred summit of Shikoku: Ishizuchi san

Arriving on Shikoku we drive inland, as one of our main reasons to visit the island is to hike up the sacred Mount Ishizuchi. We pitch our tent on a completely lost campsite next to a beautiful river in the scenic Ogomei gorge, a perfect spot to start the ascent early the next day. Keep reading

Road trip on the island of Shikoku, Japan

5:26AM, we are disembarking from the ferry in Yawatahama, Shikoku from Beppu, Kyushu.

The road to Matsuyama is squeezed between the turquoise waters of the Seto Inland Sea Keep traveling!

The magic of Kokedera, the temple of moss

The monk is wearing a dark kimono and tabi, the split toe socks. He opens his arms to invite us on a small path surrounded by more than fifty shades of green. Keep traveling

One thousand paper cranes: commemorating the 70th-year anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan

One thousand paper cranes,
folded by Sadako with all her hope. Keep traveling

Cormorant-fishing (ukai) in Ozu, Shikoku: witnessing a rare tradition

The setting sun colours the islands of the Inland Sea as we drive along the northern Shikoku coastline towards the ferry terminal. It is our last day on Shikoku after a week of adventures. On our way to the ferry, we drive via Ozu to try to get a glimpse of cormorant fishing on the Hijikawa river. This traditional way of fishing, Keep traveling!

A road trip in and around Kyushu, Japan

Planning any trip through Japan requires quite a bit of preparation. A six-week trip to see the most of this fascinating country from Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu to Sapporo on the northern island Hokkaido is even more of a challenge. Keep traveling!

The emerald waters of Takachiho, Kyushu, Japan

Mount Aso’s huge volcanic eruptions have thrown out what is deep inside the Earth. Red hot lava flowing along the slopes and into the valley leaving its traces. Dark ashes Keep traveling!

Onsen hopping in Kurokawa, Kyushu, Japan

Day 8 in Japan. After flying, driving, walking and running for quite a few kilometres, we decided to indulge ourselves with a full day of relaxing: today is onsen-hopping day! Keep traveling!

Spectacular festivals of Japan: The Hakata Gion Yamakasa, Fukuoka

Festivals are very important in Japan, keeping ancient traditions alive and passing them on to younger generations. They occur all through the year, and more specifically in the summer. Some are extremely popular making it hard to travel and stay in the hosting cities during these days. As such, the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival is said to be one of the most impressive ones of Japan. Keep traveling!