Tokyo Daytripper: A Morning In Odawara City

There are many castles dotted around Japan and I seem to have been to my fair share of them but one omission has been the one that is actually the closest to Tokyo. Odawara lies in Kanagawa prefecture about 80km away from Tokyo and so with my parents-in-law driving back to their holiday home in Izu the other Sunday I decided to catch a lift with them and get dropped off in Odawara. We all left the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre at 7:45am so was already at the castle by 10am and they accompanied me to the exterior grounds where there was a photo opportunity with some armour clad guys.

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We had seen Mount Fuji in all its splendid glory on the drive but I have no decent photo of that so you’ll just have to take my word for it! I know that sounds a bit crazy but in a world where just about everything is recorded it is not often the case! My in-laws departed once we’d had a quick look at Continue reading

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The Lowdown On Tokyo’s Most Restrictive Tunnel

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Cycling around Japan is a great way of truly experiencing the sights but there is one thing which is never nice and that’s tunnels. Thanks to ‘A Ride In The Neon Sun: A Gaijin In Japan‘ by Josie Dew (1999), I was aware of them before I came to Japan. Whilst journeying across Japan she often waxed lyrical about her least favourite occupational hazard and said that entering a tunnel was like being sucked into a giant black rectum of toxic effluvium.

Whilst she was referring mostly to countryside tunnels the one featured in this article is very much a city one as it’s not too far from Continue reading

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The Wolverine Filming Locations

Of the many, many X-Men characters it seems that the Wolverine has done the best with a few stand-alone movies dedicated to the mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, and powerful regenerative ability known as a healing factor. First there was the ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ (2009) prequel, then there was ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013) and now we have ‘Logan‘ (2017) which will be the last time the wonderful Hugh Jackman plays the character.

To mark the release Tokyo Fox has brought together all the filming locations from the 2013 movie and compiled them into one special picture special post. The time codes given are from the dvd so may be slightly different to the blu-ray or downloaded versions.

17 minutes – Yasukuni Dori Bridge, Shinjuku-ku (Tokyo). More details here

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29 minutes  – Zojoji Temple, Minato-ku (Tokyo). More details here  Continue reading

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Dining Out: Vingt Et Un Restaurant Ship In Tokyo Bay

Rarely does any year go by in Tokyo without me finding myself on a boat in Tokyo Bay but it’s usually for a night time all-you-can-drink cruise party rather than this recent experience which was a lunchtime affair. For six months we had had some free tickets lying around the house entitling us to go on a restaurant ship and finally we used them on the very day they expired.

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As ever in Japan there was a souvenir shop on board to pass through en-route to our seats where we were served up seven French courses though I always think it’s a bit of a joke to Continue reading

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Live Ice Hockey In Tokyo!

For a short time in the early 1990’s I was actually quite into ice hockey which was mainly due to often playing ‘Blades Of Steel‘ on my mates Nintendo 64 and that in turn led to me paying far greater attention (than usual) to the sport at the Winter Olympics of 1992. The fast paced action and regular bouts of fisticuffs made it quite an appealing spectacle. I was aware of an ice hockey league in Japan many years ago but was instantly put off on hearing that the nearest team were up in Nikko in Tochigi prefecture.

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That all changed a couple of weekends ago though when a couple of games were played in Tokyo at the ridiculously named DyDo Drinco Ice Arena near Higashi-Fushimi station along the Seibu Shinjuku line. When Jack, the man behind the Rambling Northerner website, mentioned it to me a few weeks back I was immediately keen to Continue reading

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On The Fox Trail……At Toyokawa Inari (Aichi)

After the slight disappointment of the Inari shrine centres in Osaka I was a little bit more apprehensive about visiting Toyokawa Inari whilst in Nagoya on a whistle-stop tour of the area. Discovering the night before that it was actually 90 minutes away from the city didn’t fill me with too much confidence either but as I woke up really early I thought I’d make the effort and I was ultimately glad I that I did.

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A quick google search of the place before I checked out of my capsule hotel proved that an interesting experience would be in store. I took the 6:30 am Tokaido Line train to Toyokawa via a quick change at Toyohashi and was consequently at the temple shortly after 8am.

The formal name of the temple is Myōgon-ji and it was a ten minute walk down the road  from the station. This is the head branch for the other one is known as Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin and that can be found in Akasaka. Neither of them are shrines at all but are actually Continue reading

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Nagoya Filming Locations – The Hunted (1995)

It seems that Nagoya was a prime spot for international filmmakers in the early-mid 1990’s with a few movies using Japan’s fourth biggest city as the base to tell their stories. There was ‘Mr Baseball‘ in 1992, ‘3 Ninja’s Kick Back‘ in 1994 and then this one came along in 1995.

The limited DVD extras reveal that filming started in Nagoya as it was felt that they needed to be immersed in Japanese culture from the offset rather than delaying it until the end of production. The filmmakers spent two weeks shooting at various locations including the shots which appear in the initial scenes of the movie as the opening credits roll. I’m still very sceptical as to whether or not it is Nagoya-jo Castle (below) which appears 2 minutes in.

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Across the road from Nagoya-jo Castle is the City Hall (below) which is Continue reading

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