The Outdoor Hot Spring Baths In Izu With An Access Point More Like A Bond Villain`s Lair!

Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture is a famed hot-spot for onsen (hot spring baths) and every time I`ve been to the area I`ve been asked by students if I had a hot spring bath. More times than not the answer is a flat no and I almost feel guilty for not meeting their expectations. However, on our trip to Izu in September I set out on a mission to see Continue reading

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Sitting Amongst The S-Pulse Faithful In Shimizu But Quietly Supporting The Opposition!

 

The J-League match day experience in the Covid_19 era just hasn`t been the same for me. Although fans were allowed back once football returned in July last year, there were a new set of measures and protocols such as temperature checks on the way in, readily available hand sanitizer, compulsory masks, socially distanced seating, no singing or chanting, no flags, no alcohol…and seemingly not too much fun!

Despite all that I can`t help but continue to look at upcoming games before usually coming to my senses and telling myself I have to be patient in my return to football stadia and wait for normal service to be resumed. This time though I had Continue reading

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Back To The Future Movie Costumes & Goods Galore At Tokyo`s Hottest Toy Shop

 

October 21st is an important date for Back To The Future fans as it was the date that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travelled to the past and set in motion a whole host of other events across various timelines. The biggest celebrations were six years ago which was when Doc Brown, Marty and Jennifer travelled to the future which then became the present in 2015. That`s now in the past and there have been some subsequent events to mark it. This year a toy shop in Shibuya-ku has become something of a shrine to the ever-popular time travelling sci-fi trilogy.

It seems like this year may also be the Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: A Spiritual Cave, A Picturesque Garden, A Tall Goddess Statue, Botanical Gardens & A Tumbling Doll Temple

Gunma is the prefecture I have enjoyed exploring the most in recent years. I still haven`t been to it`s most famous sight (Kusatsu Onsen) but have enjoyed looking around lesser attractions in the area. Back in late July I headed up to Takasaki for the second time this year.

The original plan on my arrival at 10:15 am was to take the train to Gumma Yawata to see a Daruma Temple before walking on to see a big white kannon statue. However, I Continue reading

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Foxed In The Head: Cycling To All Inari Shrines In Tokyo’s 23 Wards – #16 Suginami

#16. Suginami

Cycling may be something that I love to do but I’m not really one who goes for a ride without some kind of aim whether it be to a restaurant, a sight or just my workplace. With that in mind, and desperate to get out on my new bike, I decided to cycle round ALL the Inari Shrines in Tokyo taking each of the 23 wards one at a time.

Inspired by recent interest in tiny shrines, this idea seemed like a good way of Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: Going Underground To See Tokyo Metropolitan`s Giant Drain

One of the most interesting sights I saw in Turkey in 2011 was the underground Basilica Cistern (below) which featured in the second James Bond film `From Russia With Love` (1963). I often forget about this place as my trip to Istanbul was basically just an add-on to the main Jordan-part of the holiday.

 

On my return to Tokyo I heard there was a similar place located in Saitama somewhere. I knew bookings were necessary to see it but the years passed by and I Continue reading

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The Worst August Holiday Ever!

In terms of weather, the mid-August Obon holiday this year was the worst one I`ve ever experienced. In a way it wasn`t so bad that I only had six days off this time as it rained on five of those days. We`re not just talking drizzle or brief showers either but fairly constant heavy rain. Of course we remained optimistic ahead of our trip to Izu despite the forecast. The only sunny day too was the first day which was basically just about travelling from Tokyo to Shizuoka. Someone was very excited about the trip though and couldn`t wait to get into his bag!

 

The first day in Izu actually started out okay and we managed to go to Komuroyama Park early morning before Continue reading

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Another Mystery Drink Dispensing Vending Machine But This Time It Was Much Closer To Home!

About a month after my previous three hour return cycle ride to the Mr. X vending machine in Ota Ward I discovered that there was a much, much closer mystery drink dispensing machine.

  

This one is only a few minutes away from the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre in Itabashi-ku in an area that I have bypassed hundreds and hundreds of times. The top shelf of the machine reveals a Continue reading

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Free Pop-Up 007 Exhibition In Tokyo To Accompany The Release Of `No Time To Die`

After a few delays the 25th Eon-produced James Bond film finally hit cinemas in Japan on Friday 1st October which was something of a surprise as it was only a few days after the worldwide premiere in London. The Japanese release dates of all the other 007 movies starring Daniel Craig have come over a month later so I was delighted that I didn`t have to avoid spoilers for long at all this time. Furthermore, there was a free pop-up exhibition to help promote the release of the much anticipated movie.

 

Just over the road from the Godzilla Statue is Tokyo Hibiya Midtown (1-1-2 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku) which since September 29th has held a very small exhibition on the ground floor revolving around the style and taste of James Bond. The first thing to grab most peoples attention is Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: A Temple Dedicated To Japanese Tumbling Dolls

Japan has many symbols of luck and good fortunes such as the maneki neko cat figurines,  omamori (protective amulets) and omikuji (paper fortunes) but one of the more interesting ones is the tumbling doll known as daruma. These colourful wooden dolls originate from Gunma Prefecture and about 80% of the national production is accounted for in this region of Japan which is just a couple of hours north of Tokyo.

The city of Takasaki is the proclaimed birthplace of the Daruma doll, and there is a quirky temple which holds an annual Daruma Doll Festival attended by over Continue reading

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