Origins & Destinations | Travel to Tokyo

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ORIGINS &

DESTINATIONS Tokyo

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capturing the essence of a culture (part I)

Fashion

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LETTER EDITOR

F R O M

Couple weeks shy of a year ago we were on the plane to a destination that has been on my personal bucket list almost my entire life. Let me introduce to you the Tokyo edition of our magazine, a project that has been in the works for quite some time. Tokyo holds a special place in my heart, not only for its bustling streets & towering skyscrapers, but also for its rich culture, fascinating history, & war m-hearted people. From the tranquil gardens of Senso-ji Temple to the vibrant energ y of Shibuya Crossing, every cor ner of this metropolis offers a unique & unforgettable experience. In this edition, we delve into the heart & soul of Tokyo, uncovering hidden gems, sharing insider tips, & celebrating the diverse tapestry of life in this remarkable city. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or dreaming of your first visit to Tokyo, join in on a jour ney of discovery and exploration! T hank you for allowing us to be a part of your Tokyo adventure. I hope this edition inspires you to explore, discover, & embrace all that this incredible city has to offer. Please, enjoy!

Olya Hill


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* P l e a s e n o t e t h a t t h e l i g h t d i s t o r t i o n s v i s i b l e i n s o m e o f t h e i m a g e s a r e t h e by p r o d u c t o f t h e software used to create this editorial, & that they do not appear in the original pictures or prints.


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V E R Y

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COVER IMAGE BY OLYA HILL @POINTDEVUE.ART

MASTHEAD & C O N T R I BU TO R S OLYA HILL

EDITOR IN CHIEF & PHOTOGRAPHER

BABAK AMIREBRAHIMI EDITOR & PHOTOGRAPHER

HELLO@ONDTRAVELGROUP.COM +1 (415) 653-9054


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H I S T O RY, C U LT U R E , & TRADITIONS

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I WISH I KNEW... CHECKLIST W H E R E T O S T AY P L AY L I S T

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O R I G I N S


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HISTORY Unraveling the Enigmatic Tapestry:

A Jour ney into the Origins of Japanese History In the heart of the Far East lies a land of mystique & wonder, where tradition intertwines with moder nity, & ancient customs shape the present. Japan, with its rich cultural heritage & fascinating history, has captivated the imaginations of people worldwide. But where did it all begin? Join us on a captivating jour ney through time as we unravel the enigmatic tapestry of Japanese history.


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The Land of the Rising Sun: A Mythical Beginning Legend has it that Japan’s origins can be traced back to divine beginnings. According to ancient Japanese mythology, the islands of Japan were created by the gods Izanagi and Izanami, who stirred the ocean with a jeweled spear, giving birth to the archipelago. The first gods to inhabit this mystical land were the kami, spiritual beings believed to dwell in natural phenomena and revered as protectors of Japan. The Jomon Period: Unveiling the Dawn of Civilization As we delve deeper into Japan’s past, we encounter the Jomon period, spanning from around 14,000 BCE to 300 BCE. Named after the distinctive cord-marked pottery found at archaeological sites, the Jomon period represents Japan’s earliest known culture. During this time, hunter-gatherer communities thrived, crafting exquisite pottery and developing a unique lifestyle deeply connected to nature. The Yayoi Revolution: A Cultural Renaissance The Yayoi period, which followed the Jomon era, ushered in a transformative age marked by the arrival of rice cultivation, metalworking, and the introduction of new technologies from the Asian mainland. Thought to have originated from the Korean Peninsula, the Yayoi people brought with them advanced agricultural techniques and bronze and iron tools, revolutionizing Japan’s society and economy. The Rise of the Yamato Clan: Seeds of Imperial Power The turning point in Japan’s history came with the emergence of the Yamato clan as a dominant political and cultural force during the Kofun period (250-538 CE). Centered in the fertile plains of present-day Nara Prefecture, the Yamato rulers established the foundations of centralized authority, laying the groundwork for the future imperial system.


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The Age of Imperial Court: Flourishing Culture & Intrigues The Asuka & Nara periods (538-794 CE) witnessed the consolidation of imperial power and the flourishing of Japanese culture. Influenced by Chinese civilization, Japan adopted Confucianism, Buddhism, & Chinese writing systems, shaping its social structure & artistic expression. The construction of grand Buddhist temples and the introduction of a centralized bureaucracy reflected Japan’s growing sophistication and international engagement. The Heian Era: A Golden Age of Literature & Aesthetics Enter the Heian period (794-1185 CE), a golden age of Japanese literature, art, & courtly refinement. The capital city of Heian-kyo (modern-day Kyoto) became the epicenter of cultural innovation, as aristocrats indulged in poetry, calligraphy, and elegant court rituals. The Tale of Genji, written by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, stands as a timeless masterpiece of Japanese literature from this period. The Samurai Code: War riors of Honor and Loyalty The rise of the samurai class in medieval Japan heralded a new era of warfare, honor, and feudalism. Emerging from provincial warrior bands, the samurai embraced bushido, the “way of the warrior,” which emphasized loyalty, self-discipline, and martial prowess. Led by powerful warlords known as daimyo, the samurai played a pivotal role in shaping Japan’s political landscape during the tumultuous Sengoku period (1467-1603 CE). The Edo Period: Peace and Isolation With the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate in the early 17th century, Japan entered a period of relative peace and stability known as the Edo period (1603-1868 CE). Under the Tokugawa regime, Japan implemented a policy of national seclusion, restricting foreign influence and fostering a unique cultural identity. This era saw the flourishing of arts such as kabuki theater, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and haiku poetry, reflecting the urban sophistication of Edo (modern-day Tokyo).


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The Meiji Restoration: Modernization & Transfor mation The winds of change swept across Japan in the late 19th century with the Meiji Restoration (1868), marking the end of the feudal era and the dawn of modernization. Inspired by Western industrialization, the Meiji leaders embarked on a rapid program of reform, abolishing the samurai class, modernizing the military, and embracing technological advancements. Japan emerged as a regional power, asserting its influence in Asia and beyond. The Journey Continues: A Dynamic Legacy From its mythical beginnings to its modern-day achievements, Japan’s story is one of resilience, creativity, and cultural richness. As the Land of the Rising Sun continues to evolve, it remains a source of inspiration and fascination for people around the globe, inviting us to delve deeper into its captivating bouquet of history and tradition.


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Tokyo:

Unraveling the Dynamic History of Japan’s Capital Tokyo, the bustling metropolis of moder nity & tradition, stands as a vivid portrayal of the resilience & adaptability of the Japanese people. From its humble beginnings as a fishing village to its current status as one of the world’s most vibrant cities, Tokyo’s history is a captivating jour ney through time. Join us as we delve into the intricate tapestry of Tokyo’s past, uncovering the tales of triumph, tragedy, & transfor mation that have shaped this dynamic urban landscape.


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The Early Years: Edo Emerges from the Marshes Tokyo’s story begins over four centuries ago when the Tokugawa shogunate established its seat of power in the small fishing village of Edo. Strategically located along the banks of the Sumida River and surrounded by marshes, Edo was initially chosen for its defensibility and proximity to the sea. Under the rule of the Tokugawa shoguns, Edo flourished as a political, economic, and cultural center, attracting merchants, artisans, and samurai from across Japan. The Edo Period: A Golden Age of Urban Development During the Edo period (1603-1868), Edo underwent a remarkable transformation, evolving from a provincial outpost to a bustling metropolis. The shogunate implemented strict social order and isolationist policies, which contributed to a period of relative peace and stability known as the Pax Tokugawa. This enabled Edo’s population to swell, reaching over a million inhabitants by the early 18th century, making it one of the largest cities in the world at the time. The Rise of Modern Tokyo: From Edo to Imperial Capital The Meiji Restoration of 1868 marked a turning point in Tokyo’s history, as Japan embarked on a rapid modernization & Westernization campaign. In 1869, Emperor Meiji relocated the imperial capital from Kyoto to Tokyo, symbolizing Japan’s shift towards a centralized government and embracing of Western ideals. The new Meiji government undertook ambitious urban planning projects, constructing Western-style buildings, railways, and infrastructure to modernize the city. The Great Kanto Earthquake: Destruction & Rebirth Tokyo faced its greatest challenge on September 1, 1923, when the Great Kanto Earthquake struck with devastating force. The earthquake, followed by a series of fires, razed large parts of the city to the ground, claiming over 100,000 lives and leaving millions homeless. However, from the ashes of destruction arose a spirit of resilience and renewal. Tokyo was rebuilt with modern building codes and infrastructure, laying the foundation for its emergence as a global economic powerhouse.


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World War II & the Postwar Reconstruction: Tokyo Rises from the Ashes The end of World War II brought both destruction and reconstruction to Tokyo. The city endured heavy bombing raids during the war, culminating in the devastating firebombing raids of March 1945, which reduced much of Tokyo to rubble. In the aftermath of the war, Tokyo underwent a rapid period of reconstruction and economic growth, fueled by industrialization and investment in infrastructure. The 1964 Tokyo Olympics served as a symbol of Japan’s postwar recovery and emergence as a major player on the world stage. Tokyo Today: A City of Contrasts and Innovation Today, Tokyo stands as a vibrant hub of culture, commerce, and innovation, blending ancient traditions with cutting-edge technology. With its towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and neon-lit districts, Tokyo mesmerizes visitors with its energy and dynamism. From the serene gardens of the Imperial Palace to the frenetic energy of Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo offers a kaleidoscope of experiences that reflect its rich history and multifaceted identity. From its humble beginnings as a fishing village to its current status as a global megacity, Tokyo’s history is a vivid portrayal of the indomitable spirit of its people and their ability to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing world. As Tokyo continues to evolve and innovate, it remains a beacon of hope and inspiration for future generations, embodying the enduring spirit of Japan’s capital.


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CULTURE Tokyo’s Culture:

Where Tradition Meets Trendsetting Cool Welcome to Tokyo, the vibrant, neon-lit playground where ancient tradition dances with cutting-edge innovation. As you step into this bustling metropolis, prepare to be dazzled by a culture that’s as diverse as it is dynamic. From quirky subcultures to timeless traditions, Tokyo is a melting pot of creativity, eccentricity, & endless surprises. Join us on a whirlwind tour of Tokyo’s cultural kaleidoscope, where every cor ner offers a new adventure.


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Harajuku: Fashion Wonderland Let’s start our journey in Harajuku, the epicenter of Tokyo’s fashion scene. Known for its eccentric street style and avant-garde fashion trends, Harajuku is a playground for fashionistas & trendsetters alike. From Lolita dresses to punk-inspired looks, you’ll find a kaleidoscope of styles that defy convention & celebrate individuality. Don’t forget to explore Takeshita Street, a bustling pedestrian thoroughfare lined with quirky shops, colorful cafes, and pop culture treasures. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or just looking for some Instagram-worthy moments, Harajuku is a must-visit destination for anyone craving a taste of Tokyo’s sartorial splendor. Akihabara: Electric Dreams Next up, let’s dive into the electric wonderland of Akihabara, Tokyo’s mecca for all things otaku (geek) culture. Step into a world where manga, anime, and video games reign supreme, and immerse yourself in the vibrant subcultures that define modern Tokyo. Explore multi-story electronics stores filled with the latest gadgets and gizmos, wander through maze-like arcades pulsating with the sounds of gaming, and discover hidden gems in the myriad of anime and manga shops lining the streets. Whether you’re a seasoned otaku or just curious to see what all the fuss is about, Akihabara promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Tokyo’s pop culture phenomenon.


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Shinjuku: Lights, Camera, Action! No visit to Tokyo would be complete without experiencing the neon-lit spectacle of Shinjuku, the city’s entertainment hub. From dazzling skyscrapers to bustling nightlife districts, Shinjuku is a feast for the senses that never sleeps. Lose yourself in the labyrinthine streets of Kabukicho, Tokyo’s red-light district, where karaoke bars, izakayas (Japanese pubs), & quirky themed cafes beckon to revelers and adventurers alike. For a taste of old-school glamour, head to Golden Gai, a network of narrow alleyways lined with tiny bars and eateries that evoke the spirit of Tokyo’s post-war era. And don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the iconic Godzilla statue towering over the district, a fitting symbol of Shinjuku’s larger-than-life allure. Asakusa: Timeless Tradition Finally, let’s take a step back in time & explore the historic district of Asakusa, where ancient tradition meets modern charm. Home to the iconic Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa is a sanctuary of serenity amidst the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Wander through the bustling Nakamise-dori shopping street, lined with traditional crafts, souvenirs, and street food stalls offering tantalizing treats like freshly grilled senbei (rice crackers) and sweet dorayaki (pancakes filled with sweet bean paste). Then, make your way to the tranquil grounds of Senso-ji, where you can experience the rituals of purification at the temple’s cleansing fountain and marvel at the beauty of the imposing main hall and five-story pagoda. Asakusa is a timeless reminder of Tokyo’s rich cultural heritage and a perfect escape from the urban hustle.


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From the avant-garde streets of Harajuku to the neon-lit alleys of Shinjuku, Tokyo’s culture is a vibrant mosaic of tradition, innovation, and sheer exuberance. Whether you’re exploring the latest fashion trends, diving into otaku culture, or soaking up the serenity of ancient temples, Tokyo offers a kaleidoscope of experiences that will leave you enchanted, inspired, and craving more. So come, immerse yourself in the rhythm of the city, & let Tokyo’s culture sweep you off your feet on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Japan’s capital.


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TRADITIONS Unveiling Tokyo’s Hidden Gems: Unique & Lesser-Known Traditions

While Tokyo is known for its bustling streets, iconic landmarks, & vibrant culture, the city also harbors a treasure trove of unique & lesser-known traditions that are cherished by locals & offer a glimpse into Tokyo’s hidden depths. From age-old rituals to quirky customs, these traditions may not always make it onto the tourist itinerary, but they are woven into the fabric of Tokyo’s identity, adding layers of richness & intrigue to the city’s tapestry. Join us as we uncover some of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets & explore the traditions that give the city its distinctive char m.


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Tokyo’s Underground Jazz Cafes: Hidden Havens of Music Nestled in the backstreets of Tokyo’s bustling neighborhoods are hidden gems known as jazz cafes, intimate venues where music aficionados gather to immerse themselves in the soulful sounds of jazz. These cozy spaces, often tucked away in basement levels or nondescript buildings, offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city above. Patrons can relax with a cup of coffee or cocktail while listening to live performances by local jazz musicians or spinning vinyl records from the golden age of jazz. Tokyo’s jazz cafes are havens of nostalgia and authenticity, preserving the legacy of jazz in a modern metropolis. Kagami Biraki: Breaking the Mir ror Cake Kagami biraki is a traditional Japanese ceremony that involves breaking open a ceremonial mochi (rice cake) with a wooden mallet. While kagami biraki is commonly associated with martial arts dojos and New Year’s celebrations, it is also observed in certain establishments in Tokyo, particularly izakayas and sake breweries. In these settings, kagami biraki symbolizes harmony, prosperity, and camaraderie, as friends and colleagues come together to share in the joy of breaking open the mochi and partaking in the pieces as a communal snack. It’s a unique tradition that fosters bonds and fosters a sense of togetherness among participants Kotatsu Culture: Cozy Comfort in Winter During the cold winter months, Tokyoites embrace the tradition of kotatsu, a low table with a built-in heater covered by a thick blanket. Families and friends gather around the kotatsu to stay warm & cozy, enjoying meals, playing games, or simply relaxing together. Kotatsu embodies the spirit of hospitality and togetherness, providing a sanctuary of warmth and comfort in the midst of Tokyo’s chilly winters. It’s a tradition that fosters intimacy & connection, reminding us of the simple joys of sharing moments with loved ones.


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Fugu Cuisine: Delicacy with a Deadly Twist Fugu, or blowfish, is a delicacy that holds a special place in Tokyo’s culinary tradition. Despite its potentially deadly toxins, fugu has been consumed in Japan for centuries, prepared by skilled chefs who undergo rigorous training and certification. In Tokyo, adventurous diners can experience the thrill of dining on fugu at specialized restaurants known as fugu-ya. From thinly sliced sashimi to hot pot dishes, fugu cuisine offers a unique culinary experience that combines exquisite flavors with a hint of danger, making it a cherished tradition for those with a taste for adventure. Noren: The Art of Curtain Hospitality Noren are traditional Japanese curtains that hang in the doorways of shops, restaurants, and homes, serving as a symbol of hospitality and welcome. In Tokyo, noren are not just decorative items; they are a reflection of the establishment’s identity & values. From family-run eateries to artisan workshops, each noren is meticulously designed with motifs and colors that convey the owner’s personality and ethos. Visitors may not realize it, but passing through a noren is like stepping into a portal of tradition and hospitality, where every detail is imbued with meaning and intention. These unique and not very well-known traditions offer a glimpse into the soul of Tokyo, revealing layers of culture, history, and communities that are often overlooked by visitors. The next time you find yourself wandering the streets of Tokyo, keep an eye out for these hidden traditions – you never know what treasures you may uncover.


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WHEN

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Essential Tips for a Memorable Experience Embarking on a jour ney to Tokyo is like stepping into a vibrant whirlwind of culture, tradition, & innovation. From the bustling streets of Shibuya to the serene temples of Asakusa, Tokyo offers a kaleidoscope of experiences that will leave you spellbound. But before you dive headfirst into this dynamic metropolis, here are some essential tips to ensure your trip is nothing short of extraordinary.


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Navigating the Metro Maze Tokyo’s subway system may seem daunting at first, but fear not – it’s one of the most efficient and reliable in the world. Invest in a Pasmo or Suica card for seamless travel on trains and buses, and familiarize yourself with the color-coded lines and station names. Pro tip: Avoid rush hours (7-9 AM and 5-8 PM) to experience a more comfortable commute. Cash is King While Tokyo is a modern city, cash is still widely used, especially in smaller establishments like izakayas and street vendors. Make sure to carry enough yen with you, as not all places accept credit cards, especially in more traditional neighborhoods. Temples & Traditions Tokyo’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in its numerous temples, shrines, and traditional ceremonies. Be sure to visit iconic sites like Senso-ji in Asakusa and Meiji Shrine in Harajuku, and take part in rituals such as washing your hands before entering a temple or throwing a coin into a donation box for good luck. Respect the Customs Japanese culture places a strong emphasis on respect and etiquette, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some basic customs before visiting. For example, bowing is a very common form of greeting, and it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or certain establishments like ryokans (traditional inns).


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Get Lost in Translation While English signage is prevalent in tourist areas, don’t be surprised if you encounter language barriers, especially in more local neighborhoods. Learning a few basic phrases in Japanese, such as “arigato” (thank you) and “sumimasen” (excuse me), can go a long way in bridging the communication gap and showing respect to locals. Dining Delights Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure like no other. From world-renowned sushi to sizzling street food, Tokyo offers a plethora of dining options to satisfy every palate. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and explore local eateries – you’ll be rewarded with authentic flavors & unforgettable experiences. Seasonal Sensations Tokyo experiences distinct seasons, each offering its own unique charm. Spring brings cherry blossoms and festivals, while summer is known for fireworks and matsuri (festivals). Autumn paints the city in hues of red & gold, while winter brings magical illuminations & hot springs retreats. Plan your visit accordingly to make the most of Tokyo’s seasonal delights. Shop ‘til You Drop Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise, boasting everything from high-end department stores to quirky vintage boutiques. Whether you’re hunting for the latest fashion trends in Shibuya or searching for one-of-a-kind souvenirs in Nakamise-dori, be prepared to shop ‘til you drop – just remember to leave some space in your suitcase for all your treasures!


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Safety First Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world, but it’s always wise to exercise caution, especially in crowded areas. Keep your belongings secure, be mindful of your surroundings, & don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed – the locals are known for their kindness & willingness to assist visitors. Embrace the Unexpected Finally, the most valuable tip of all – embrace the unexpected and allow yourself to get lost in Tokyo’s endless wonders. Whether you stumble upon a hidden gem in a quiet alleyway or find yourself caught in a spontaneous festival procession, the magic of Tokyo lies in its ability to surprise and delight at every turn. With these essential tips in hand, you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Japan’s capital. From navigating the bustling streets to savoring culinary delights and immersing yourself in centuries-old traditions, Tokyo promises a once-ina-lifetime experience that will stay with you long after you’ve said sayonara. Pack your bags, open your heart, and get ready to fall in love with Tokyo – the adventure of a lifetime awaits!


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CHECKLISTS Planning a trip to Japan is an exciting adventure filled with endless possibilities to explore the rich culture, stunning landscapes, & vibrant cities of this captivating country. Whether you’re embarking on a solo jour ney, a family vacation, or a romantic getaway, proper packing is key to ensuring a smooth & enjoyable experience. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive packing checklist to help you prepare for your trip to Japan, covering everything from essential travel documents to practical items & cultural necessities. So, grab your suitcase & let’s get packing for an unforgettable adventure in the Land of the Rising Sun! You can download the checklists here.


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A CHECKLIST FOR A TRIP TO TOKYO IN COLDER WEATHER War m Clothing

Heavy jacket or coat Sweaters or fleece-lined tops Thermal underwear Scarves, gloves, and hats Thick socks and insulated footwear

Rain Gear

Waterproof jacket or coat Umbrella or compact poncho Waterproof boots or shoes

Outdoor Gear

Accessories

Hand warmers Portable heat packs Lip balm & moisturizer for dry skin Sunglasses (for sunny days)

Electronics

Portable charger or power bank Waterproof phone case Camera with extra batteries Adapters & converters for electronic devices

Portable hand warmer Health & Wellness Pocket-sized flashlight or headlamp Cold & flu medication Map & compass Vitamin C supplements Thermal blanket or emergency blanket Hand sanitizer & disinfectant wipes Travel-sized tissues

Layering Essentials

Long-sleeve shirts and turtlenecks Insulating layers (fleece or down vest) Convertible pants or jeans Leggings or thermal tights for layering under pants

Cultural Essentials

Respectful attire for visiting temples and shrines Shoes that are easy to slip on & off (for entering traditional establishments) Japanese phrasebook or language translation app

Entertainment & Comfort

Books or e-reader for long waits or train rides Travel pillow and blanket for comfort during transit Portable snacks and beverages to stay energized on the go

Emergency Supplies

Emergency contact information (including embassy or consulate) Travel insurance documents Identification (passport, driver’s license)


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A CHECKLIST FOR A TRIP TO TOKYO IN WARMER WEATHER Light Clothing

T-shirts & tank tops Lightweight shorts or skirts Breathable fabrics (cotton, linen)

Cooling Accessories

Handheld fan or misting spray Cooling gel patches for relief from heat Lightweight scarf or shawl for shade

Footwear

Comfortable walking shoes or sandals Flip-flops or waterproof shoes for beach visits or hot days

Hydration

Refillable water bottle Electrolyte packets or sports drinks for rehydration Fresh fruits with high water content (melon, cucumber)

Swimwear

Swimsuit or swim trunks Beach towel or sarong Waterproof bag for storing wet items

Bug Protection

Sun Protection

Wide-brimmed hat or cap Sunglasses with UV protection Sunscreen with high SPF Portable handheld fan or cooling towel

Insect repellent with DEET or natural alternatives Antihistamines for insect bites or allergies

Technology

Portable fan or mini air conditioner Waterproof case for electronics (phones, cameras) Lightweight power bank for recharging devices on the go

Technology

Modest clothing for visiting temples and shrines Respectful behavior in public spaces (no loud talking or disruptive behavior)

Entertainment & Relaxation

Lightweight reading material or e-reader Portable speaker for music or podcasts Lightweight hammock or travel chair for relaxation in parks or outdoor spaces


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WHERE

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A Quick Guide to Our Favorite Accommodations in Tokyo Discovering the perfect place to stay in Tokyo is an adventure in itself, as the city boasts a kaleidoscope of accommodations ranging from luxurious havens to budget-friendly gems, traditional ryokans to hip & trendy hideaways. Whether you’re seeking opulent luxury, immersive cultural experiences, or vibrant urban vibes, Tokyo offers something to suit every traveler’s taste & budget.


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Luxur y: The Peninsula Tokyo Located in the prestigious Marunouchi district, The Peninsula Tokyo offers unparalleled luxury and sophistication. Why: Enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline and Imperial Palace gardens from elegantly appointed rooms and suites. Indulge in world-class dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, relax in the opulent Peninsula Spa, and experience impeccable service and attention to detail that define luxury hospitality. Budget: Khaosan World Asakusa Ryokan & Hostel Situated in the historic Asakusa district, Khaosan World offers affordable accommodation with a traditional Japanese twist. Why: Stay in cozy dormitory-style rooms or private tatami rooms with futon bedding, providing a budget-friendly option without sacrificing comfort. Enjoy the communal atmosphere of the hostel, meet fellow travelers in the common areas, & take advantage of convenient amenities such as a shared kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Traditional: Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu Experience the charm of traditional Japanese hospitality at Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu, nestled in the heart of Asakusa near Senso-ji Temple. Why: Immerse yourself in Japanese culture with a stay in a ryokan, featuring tatami mat floors, sliding paper doors, and futon bedding. Enjoy kaiseki cuisine served in your room, relax in the communal baths overlooking a tranquil garden, and savor the serenity & authenticity of traditional Japanese accommodations.


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Cool & Hip: Trunk Hotel Located in the trendy Shibuya neighborhood, Trunk Hotel offers a stylish and eco-conscious retreat for modern travelers. Why: Experience Tokyo’s vibrant urban culture with a stay at Trunk Hotel, where sustainability meets design innovation. Enjoy sleek & contemporary rooms with eco-friendly amenities, dine at the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant, and unwind in the hip rooftop bar with panoramic city views. Explore Shibuya’s eclectic shops, cafes, and nightlife just steps away from the hotel. Unique: Book & Bed Tokyo For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, check into Book and Bed Tokyo, a bookstore-themed hostel located in Ikebukuro. Why: Sleep among the shelves of books in cozy capsule-style beds, surrounded by thousands of literary treasures. Immerse yourself in the world of literature with a vast selection of books in multiple languages, relax in the cozy lounge areas, and enjoy the quirky ambiance of this book-lover’s paradise. Plus, the central location offers easy access to Ikebukuro’s shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Tokyo offers a diverse range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s preferences. From opulent hotels with world-class amenities to cozy hostels with unique themes, there’s something for everyone in Japan’s dynamic capital city.


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PLAY LIST


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TEMP &

PAGO


PLES

ODAS

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Unveiling the Rich Tapestry of Japanese Religions & History Japan’s landscape is dotted with temples & pagodas, each a symbol of the country’s rich religious heritage & storied past. From the serene gardens of Kyoto to the bustling streets of Tokyo, these sacred sites offer a glimpse into Japan’s spiritual traditions & cultural legacy. Join us as we embark on a jour ney through time, exploring the fascinating history of Japanese religion & the architectural wonders that embody its essence.


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Origins of Japanese Religion: Shintoism & Buddhism The history of Japanese religion is as diverse and multifaceted as the country itself. At its core are two major belief systems: Shintoism & Buddhism. Shintoism, Japan’s indigenous religion, is rooted in reverence for nature, spirits, and ancestors. Its mythology is filled with gods and goddesses known as kami, who are believed to inhabit natural elements such as mountains, rivers, and trees. Buddhism, which originated in India and was introduced to Japan in the 6th century, brought with it a rich tapestry of teachings, rituals, & artistic expression. Over the centuries, these two belief systems intertwined, giving rise to a unique syncretic tradition that continues to shape Japanese culture today.


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Temples: Sanctuaries of Serenity & Spiritual Reflection Temples are sacred places of worship and spiritual contemplation, where devotees come to pay homage to the divine and seek solace in the midst of life’s challenges. In Japan, temples are characterized by their elegant architecture, serene gardens, and intricate artwork. Each temple is home to a main hall, or hondo, where religious ceremonies are conducted & sacred artifacts are enshrined. Surrounding the hondo are meticulously landscaped gardens, adorned with cherry blossoms, maple trees, and moss-covered stones, creating a tranquil oasis of beauty and harmony. Visitors to Japanese temples can participate in rituals such as prayer, meditation, and incense offering, immersing themselves in the timeless rhythms of spiritual practice.


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Pagodas: Towers of Transcendence & Symbolic Significance Pagodas, towering structures with multiple tiers, hold a special place in Japanese religious architecture. These iconic landmarks serve as symbols of enlightenment, transcendence, and the cosmic order. Pagodas are often built as part of temple complexes, with each tier representing a different aspect of Buddhist cosmology. The lower tiers symbolize the earthly realm, while the upper tiers represent higher states of consciousness & spiritual realization. Pagodas are adorned with intricate carvings, paintings, and sculptures that depict scenes from Buddhist scriptures and mythology, serving as visual representations of the path to enlightenment. Some of Japan’s most famous pagodas include the five-story pagoda at Horyu-ji Temple in Nara and the five-story pagoda at Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo, both of which are designated national treasures and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


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Manji The Manji is a traditional Japanese symbol that resembles a swastika (imagine our surprise the first time we saw it), but it has a different orientation and cultural meaning. In Japan, the Manji is a symbol of good fortune and well-being. It is often used in Buddhist art and architecture. Unlike the swastika, which is commonly associated with Nazism and is usually depicted at a 45-degree angle, the Manji is typically depicted at a 90-degree angle, with the arms pointing clockwise. It was adopted as a standard character in Chinese and then entered various other East Asian languages. In Japanese the symbol is called manji.


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Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto


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Unique Temples & Pagodas Across Japan While Kyoto and Nara are known for their concentration of historic temples and pagodas, Japan is home to countless sacred sites that showcase the country’s religious diversity and architectural ingenuity. From the rugged mountains of Nikko to the remote islands of Shikoku, each region of Japan boasts its own unique temples and pagodas, each with its own fascinating history and cultural significance. For example, the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima is famous for its iconic torii gate that appears to float on the water at high tide, while the Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto offers panoramic views of the city from its wooden veranda. Whether you’re exploring ancient pilgrimage routes or stumbling upon hidden gems off the beaten path, Japan’s temples and pagodas promise an unforgettable journey of discovery and spiritual renewal.


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Preserving Japan’s Religious Heritage for Future Generations As guardians of Japan’s religious heritage, temples and pagodas play a vital role in preserving the country’s cultural legacy for future generations. Many temples & pagodas have been designated as national treasures or UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ensuring their protection and conservation for years to come. In addition to serving as places of worship, these sacred sites also serve as centers of cultural education and community outreach, offering programs and events that engage visitors in the traditions and practices of Japanese religion. Through initiatives such as restoration projects, educational programs, and cultural exchange programs, Japan is committed to safeguarding its religious heritage and sharing it with the world.


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Temples and pagodas are living symbols of Japan’s spiritual and cultural identity. As repositories of wisdom, beauty, and reverence, these sacred sites continue to inspire awe and wonder in all who visit them, inviting us to embark on a journey of selfdiscovery & enlightenment. The next time you find yourself in Japan, take a moment to pause & reflect amidst the tranquil gardens and towering pagodas – you may just uncover a deeper understanding of Japan’s rich religious heritage & timeless traditions.


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Exploring Tokyo’s Most Iconic Temple & Pagoda: Unveiling the Spiritual Heart of the Senso-ji

Tokyo is home to one of Japan’s most iconic temples & pagodas: Senso-ji. Join us as we embark on a jour ney through this religious & spiritual landmark.


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Senso-ji Temple: Tokyo’s Oldest & Most Revered Temple Senso-ji Temple is a revered Buddhist sanctuary nestled in the heart of Tokyo’s historic Asakusa district. Founded in the 7th century, Senso-ji is Tokyo’s oldest temple and a symbol of resilience and renewal, having been rebuilt multiple times over the centuries after destruction by fire and war. The temple’s iconic Kaminarimon Gate, adorned with a massive paper lantern and fierce guardian statues, welcomes visitors to the bustling Naka mise-dori shopping street, where vendors sell traditional snacks and souvenirs. Unique Fact: Legend has it that Senso-ji Temple was founded after two fishermen discovered a golden statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, in the nearby Sumida River. Today, visitors can pay their respects to the revered statue and offer prayers for health, prosperity, and good fortune.


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Five-Stor y Pagoda of Senso-ji Temple: A Towering Symbol of Enlightenment Turning our attention to Tokyo’s iconic pagodas, we can’t miss the towering five-story pagoda of Senso-ji Temple, a majestic structure that stands as a symbol of enlightenment and spiritual transcendence. Built in the Edo period, the pagoda’s elegant design and intricate architectural details are a testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship. Visitors can climb to the top of the pagoda for panoramic views of Senso-ji Temple and the surrounding Asakusa neighborhood, offering a unique perspective on Tokyo’s bustling urban landscape. Unique Fact: The five-story pagoda of Senso-ji Temple is believed to house sacred relics of Buddha, including fragments of bone and scripture, making it a revered pilgrimage site for Buddhists seeking spiritual enlightenment and blessings.


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Omikuji Like many Japanese temples, at Senso-ji Temple, you can experience a traditional form of fortune-telling called omikuji. It often provides specific advice or predictions related to various aspects of your life, such as health, relationships, & travel. It’s a fun & culturally enriching experience that many visitors enjoy while at Senso-ji Temple. Near the main hall of the temple, you’ll find a stand where you can purchase an omikuji for a small offering. After making your offering, you shake a small box containing numbered sticks until one stick falls out. The number on the stick corresponds to a drawer in a nearby cabinet. You take the stick to the corresponding drawer and retrieve your omikuji, which is a rolled-up piece of paper. The fortune will typically be written in Japanese and may range from very good to very bad, with varying levels in between and comes with a key to decipher it. If you receive a good fortune, you might want to keep it as a charm. If you receive a bad fortune, you can tie it to a nearby rack to leave the bad luck behind.


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Jokoro Jokoro is a term used in Japanese architecture to refer to a hearth or a brazier used for burning incense or offering light during many Buddhist ceremonies. It is a common feature in Buddhist temples and is located in the main hall (hondo) or in front of a Buddhist altar. The jokoro is symbolic of the fire that burns away impurities and represents the illumination of wisdom. The smoke from the burning incense is believed to have purifying and healing properties. The jokoro at Senso-ji Temple is a significant feature of the temple’s spiritual practices and adds to the sacred atmosphere of the temple grounds. Incense burners were brought to Japan from China at the end of the Sengoku Era (feudal period) about 400 years ago.


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The Grounds The grounds of Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo, are expansive and filled with various structures (Kaminarimon Gate, Hondo or the Main Hall, Pagoda, Nakamise Shopping Street and Hozomon Gate), and gardens offering a rich cultural and spiritual experience. The temple grounds are adorned with statues and dotted with gardens, koi ponds, and landscaped areas that provide a peaceful and serene atmosphere. These gardens are filled with seasonal flowers and plants, adding to the beauty of the surroundings. The grounds of Senso-ji Temple offer a blend of history, spirituality, & cultural richness that make it a must-visit destination in Tokyo.


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“Thing to Wear” In addition to the locals who wear a Kimono for a number of special occasions, many visitors wear a Kimono while visiting the temple to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and enhance their experience at the temple. There are several kimono rental shops near Senso-ji Temple where you can rent a kimono for the day. Along with your kimono, you can also rent accessories such as obi (sash), geta (wooden sandals), and a small handbag or purse to complete the outfit. Some kimono rental shops also offer hair styling and makeup services to complete the look. The temple provides the perfect backdrop to capture your picturesque Japanese memories. However, it is very important that while doing so, you are always mindful of temple’s etiquette, avoid excessive noise, and be respectful of others who are visiting the temple for worship.


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Tokyo’s iconic temples and pagodas are symbols of Japan’s rich spiritual heritage, cultural identity, & artistic ingenuity. From the ancient splendor of Senso-ji Temple to the modern elegance of the Tokyo Skytree, these iconic landmarks offer a captivating glimpse into Tokyo’s past, present, and future, inviting visitors to embark on a journey of discovery, reflection, and awe.


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V E R Y

TOKYO..


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Tokyo is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with over 37 million people living in the Greater Tokyo Area, making it a megalopolis.


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Despite its massive population, Tokyo covers a relatively small area of about 2,194 square kilometers (847 square miles), therefore, Tokyo is home to a large number of skyscrapers to house 16,480 people/square mile (6,363/km2).


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Shibuya Crossing is probably the best place in Tokyo to witness the density of its population. Shibuya Crossing is often touted as the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. During peak times, as many as 3,000 people may cross from all directions every 45 seconds when the traffic lights turn red.


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In addition to Shibuya Scramble Square’s observation deck with panoramic views of the crossing and the surrounding area of Shibuya, there is also a Starbucks and L’Occitane Cafe, where people stay in long lines to get a glimpse of the crossing from a great point of view (and enjoy a cup of coffee and snack!).


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Hachiko was an Akita dog born in 1923 in Odate, Japan. He became famous for his loyalty to his owner, Professor Hidesaburo Ueno, who was a professor at the University of Tokyo. Hachiko would wait for Professor Ueno at Shibuya Station every day to greet him on his return from work. Even after Professor Ueno passed away in 1925, Hachiko continued to wait at the station every day for nearly 10 years until his own death in 1935. A bronze statue was erected by sculptor Teru Ando, outside Shibuya Station in 1934 to honor his loyalty and faithfulness has since become a popular meeting spot in Tokyo. It is visited by thousands of people every year, many of whom leave offerings of flowers and toys in his memory. While the original statue of Hachiko stands outside Shibuya Station, a replica of the statue can be found at the University of Tokyo, where Professor Ueno taught.


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One of the best places to see Tokyo from above is Tokyo Skytree Tower. Standing at 634 meters (2,080 ft), it’s the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world.


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The Skytree Tower offers panoramic views from its two 360 degree observation decks: Tembo Deck at 350 meters (1,148 ft) and 450 meters (1,476 ft) above ground Tembo Galleria. The elevators at the Skytree can are among the fastest elevators in the world with the speed of up to 600 meters/minute (37.2 mi/hr) and can take 40 visitors from the ground to the Tembo Deck in less than 50 seconds.


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Another spot perfect to enjoy Tokyo’s panoramic views, particularly at night, is the Tokyo Tower. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower was built in 1958 as a symbol of Japan’s post-war rebirth and economic recovery. Standing at a height of 333 meters (1,092 ft), it’s one of the tallest towers in the world. Similar to Skytree Tower, Tokyo Tower has two observation decks. The main deck is located at 492 feet (150 meters), and the top deck, called the Special Observatory, is located at 820 feet (250 meters).


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Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world, with a large percentage of its citizens over the age of 65. It also has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, with the average life span being around 84 years.


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Given its aging population and one of the lowest birthrates in the world, Japan is very focused on its next generation, resulting in so much focus on its kids, their education, happiness and wellbeing. In Japan kids are everyone’s responsibility when they are in public, so they feel protected and build confidence & independence. You will see elementary school kids on the metro getting around and as soon as one walks on to the train, people turn around to make sure they can keep an eye on them. It is truly a remarkable social behavior to witness and be a part of !


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School uniforms in Japan have a long history & can be traced back to the late 19th century. They were initially introduced to promote a sense of equality among students and reduce socioeconomic distinctions. The uniforms are known for their distinct & recognizable designs. They typically consist of a blouse and a skirt for girls, and a jacket and trousers for boys and are often accessorized with items such as neckties, ribbons, and socks, which can vary in color and design depending on the school’s regulations. School uniforms are an important cultural symbol in Japan and are featured in manga, anime, and other forms of Japanese popular culture. They are also worn by students outside of school as a fashion statement.


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Japanese youth are known for their unique and bold fashion sense. Harajuku, a district in Tokyo, is especially famous for its street fashion, where young people often experiment with different styles and trends.They have had a significant influence on global pop culture, particularly through anime, manga, & video games. These forms of media are not only popular in Japan but also have a dedicated fan base around the world.They are also very technology savvy and are often early adopters of new technology.


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Japan has traditionally had a high smoking rate compared to many other developed countries. To address concerns about secondhand smoking risks and to promote a healthier environment, many public places in Tokyo have designated smoking areas and smoking is prohibited on the streets in most areas of Tokyo, and there are designated smoking times in some public parks. There is definitely a growing awareness of the health risks associated with smoking, and attitudes toward smoking are changing, particularly among younger people.


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Japanese people are known for their strong work ethic. Japan is known for its culture of long work hours, with many employees working well beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. This dedication to work is often seen as a way to show commitment to one’s job and loyalty to the company. Overtime work, known as “zangyo,” is common in Japan. Employees are expected to work late into the evening, they do not leave before their boss, and it is not uncommon for them to work on weekends as well.


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Tokyo has a large number of expatriates from various countries. About 600 thousand expatriates call Tokyo home, with the majority being from the Philippines, India, Brazil, Australia, Canada and Russia. This diversity adds to the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere & contributes to its vibrant international community. Many expatriates move to Tokyo for work opportunities, especially in sectors like finance, IT, education, and tourism. Tokyo is home to many multinational companies and foreign embassies, which attract these expatriate workers.


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While in smaller cities in Japan you still see people dressed in traditional garments like Kimonos, majority of the ones you run into in Tokyo are tourists dressed up for perfect picture opportunities with this beautiful city in the background. You most definitely run into people dressed in Kimonos and at times as Geishas in tourist areas close to temples and historic areas of Tokyo. It definitely brings a sense of tradition to this fast-paced modern city!


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Speaking of traditions, Tokyo’s Royal Palace is a must see. The official name of the palace in Japanese is Kōkyo, which means “Imperial Residence”, as it has been the residence of the Emperor of Japan since the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when Emperor Meiji moved the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. The palace is surrounded by a large park and moats, and it is known for its traditional Japanese architecture, including the main palace building, known as the Kyūden, which is used for official ceremonies and events.


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The area surrounding The Imperial Palace is covered by a lot of open and also green space, which is a commodity in Tokyo covered by buildings and skyscrapers (only 7.5% of the city is covered in green space), including the Kokyo Gaien National Garden. This area provides a great panoramic view of the city and a chance to enjoy nature and unwind!


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Tokyo’s current urban landscape is mostly modern and contemporary architecture, & older buildings are scarce. Tokyo once was a city with low buildings and packed with single family homes, today the city has a larger focus on high rise residential homes and urbanization. There are 53 buildings and structures that stand taller than 614 ft (187 meters), with the Tokyo Skytree, being the tallest at 2,080 ft (634 meters). The size and different decades of these buildings not only create a worldfamous skyline, but is a photography heaven when it comes to architectural photography and playing with compositions.


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Although Tokyo is renowned for its cutting-edge architecture, blending modernity with traditional elements, the juxtaposition of finding an old traditional building or even a temple with the background of the modern skyline or the Skytree Tower, adds a sentimental beauty to this city and its architectural identity.


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Getting around Tokyo is relatively easy thanks to its extensive & efficient public transportation system from the metro to buses, taxis and rental bikes. They are also famous for their bullet train, The Shinkansen, and rickshaws!


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Tokyo has an extensive subway network operated by two main companies, Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway. The subway is fast and convenient, with trains running frequently to various parts of the city. Additionally, Japan Railways (JR) operates several train lines in Tokyo, including the Yamanote Line, which loops around central Tokyo and stops at major stations like Shibuya, Shinjuku, & Tokyo Station. The JR lines are a convenient way to travel between different parts of the city.


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Japanese metro systems are known for their cleanliness. You’ll rarely find litter on the trains or in the stations, thanks to the culture of cleanliness and the efforts of dedicated cleaning staff. Trains in Japan, including the metro, are known for their punctuality. They adhere to strict schedules & are rarely delayed. In the rare event of a delay, the railway companies often issue delay certificates to passengers for use as an excuse at school or work. Talking on the phone isn’t allowed on Japanese trains. During peak hours, many passengers do not even take their phones out to respect other passengers and their space.


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Many locals in Tokyo ride bikes as a means of transportation. Biking is a popular and practical way to get around the city, especially for short trips or for accessing areas not easily reachable by public transportation. Many Tokyoites use bikes to commute to work or school, run errands, or simply enjoy a leisurely ride around the city. Tokyo has relatively flat terrain, making it suitable for biking, and the city has made efforts to improve its cycling infrastructure, such as adding more bike lanes and parking spaces, to encourage cycling as a mode of transportation. It is also a fun and convenient way to explore the city and experience its unique sights and sounds as a tourist.


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Rickshaws were introduced to Japan in the late 19th century from China and quickly became a popular mode of transportation, especially in crowded urban areas like Tokyo. Traditional rickshaws are human-powered, with a rickshaw runner pulling the cart. Today, many rickshaw operators in Tokyo are dressed in traditional Japanese attire, adding to the experience. Riding in a rickshaw in Tokyo is a fun and unique way to experience Japanese culture and history. Rickshaw pullers are knowledgeable about the areas they operate in and provide interesting insights into the local culture and customs.


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Tokyo’s climate is characterized by four distinct seasons, with hot & humid summers, mild and relatively dry winters, and noticeable transitions between each season. Compared to other parts of Japan, Tokyo’s winters are relatively mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. Snowfall is rare but can occur occasionally. Tokyo’s rainy season, known as “tsuyu” or “baiu,” typically occurs in June and July. The rainy season is followed by a period of hot and humid weather in July and August, known as the “doyo” period, before the weather starts to cool down in September. During this time, the city experiences frequent rainfall and increased humidity. However, Tokyo receives a moderate amount of rainfall throughout the year.


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Tokyo is also prone to typhoons, especially during the late summer & early autumn months. Typhoons can bring strong winds and heavy rain, leading to temporary disruptions in the city.


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Clear umbrellas are a common sight in Tokyo, especially during the rainy season and typhoon season. They are considered fashionable in Japan and are often seen as a trendy accessory, particularly among young people. Additionally, they provide better visibility compared to opaque umbrellas, allowing people to see where they’re going and avoid bumping into others, especially in crowded areas like Tokyo. They are often made of durable materials like vinyl, which are more resistant to wind and rain compared to traditional umbrellas.


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Tokyo residents eagerly anticipate the cherry blossom forecast, which predicts the dates when the cherry blossoms (sakura) will start to bloom. The blooming of cherry blossoms is a significant event in Tokyo and marks the arrival of spring. Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is a popular activity in Tokyo during the spring. People gather in parks to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms and celebrate the season with picnics and parties.


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Koi fish are highly symbolic in Japanese culture. They are often associated with perseverance, strength, and success, as they are known for their ability to swim upstream against strong currents. Koi fish are known for their long lifespans, with some living for several decades. They are often passed down through generations as family heirlooms. In Japan, it is common to find koi ponds in gardens and temples. These ponds are beautifully landscaped & provide a tranquil setting for meditation and reflection.


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TATUE

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Buddha

In Japanese Buddhism, there are many Buddhas and bodhisattvas (enlightened beings who postpone their own enlightenment to help others). Each has a specific role and symbolism. The Nisonbutsu (literally translates to “two Buddhas” or “twin Buddhas.”), located at Senso-ji Temple, represents the belief in the simultaneous worship of both Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha, and Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life. Shakyamuni Buddha is revered as the teacher who revealed the path to enlightenment, while Amida Buddha is seen as the embodiment of compassion and the savior who leads beings to the Pure Land. Followers of the Nisonbutsu may engage in practices such as chanting the names of both Buddhas, reciting sutras (scriptures), and expressing gratitude for the compassion and teachings of both Buddhas.


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Bodhisattva Quan Yin

Often depicted as a female figure, Bodhisattva Quan Yin, also known as Guanyin in Chinese or Kannon in Japanese, is a revered figure in Buddhism, particularly in East Asian Buddhism. She embodies the ideal of compassion and is believed to hear the cries of the world and respond with mercy and assistance. While Quan Yin is often depicted as female, the bodhisattva is considered beyond gender and can manifest in various forms to aid beings in their spiritual journey. Quan Yin is often depicted holding a vase of pure water or a willow branch, symbols of compassion and healing. She is also associated with the lotus flower, which symbolizes purity and enlightenment.


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Jizo

Jizo is a bodhisattva in Japanese Buddhism who is believed to protect travelers, children, and the souls of the deceased. Jizo is particularly revered for his compassion and willingness to help those in need, especially the souls of children who have died prematurely or unborn babies. He is depicted as a monk-like figure wearing robes and a soft hat, carrying a staff with six rings that jingle to alert insects and small animals of his presence, so they are not harmed accidentally. Jizo statues are placed in various locations, including roadsides, temples, and cemeteries, to provide protection and comfort. They are also associated with the idea of easing the suffering of souls in the afterlife, particularly those of children. Jizo statues symbolize the Buddhist ideal of compassion and the belief that all beings deserve protection and care, regardless of their status or circumstances.


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Komainu

Also known as “lion-dogs” or “lion guardians,” Komainu are mythical lion-like creatures often found in pairs at the entrance of Japanese Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples. The origins of komainu can be traced back to ancient Chinese guardian lions, known as “shishi” or “foo dogs,” which were believed to have protective powers. The concept was later adopted in Japan and evolved into the komainu we see today. Komainu are believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the sacred space of the shrine or temple. One komainu typically has an open mouth, representing the sound “ah,” while the other has a closed mouth, representing the sound “um,” together forming the sacred sound “Aum” or “Om” in Sanskrit. While often referred to as lions, komainu, actually combine features of various animals, including lions, dogs, and sometimes dragons. They are typically depicted with a stout body, curly mane, and fierce expression.


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Sakara

Sculpted by Takamura Kōun, 1906, Sakara (The King of Water) is one of the statues that protect Senso-ji temple. Legend says that in the year 628, the brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari, two fishermen, found a statue dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon, also known as Guan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy, out of the Sumida River. Even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Their master, Hajino Nakamoto, recognizing the sanctity of the statue, enshrined it in his house, and then in 645 the holy man Shokai built the first temple on this location. The statue is located at the purification fountain used for “Temizu”, the act of washing one’s hands and mouth with the water from the basin as a form of ritual purification before approaching the sacred area.


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Ryūjin

Dragons hold a significant place in Japanese culture, often symbolizing wisdom, strength, and good fortune. You can find dragon statues in various places throughout Japan, including temples, shrines, and other historical sites. Ryūjin is a powerful dragon deity in Japanese mythology, often referred to as the Dragon God or Dragon King. It is associated with the sea and is believed to be the ruler of all the dragons in Japanese mythology. He is also considered a deity of water, tides, and weather. Ryūjin plays a significant role in Japanese folklore and is invoked for protection and blessings related to the sea, fishing, and maritime activities. Ryūjin is also associated with the Dragon Boat Festival, a traditional event held in early summer in Japan. The festival features dragon boat races and is believed to honor Ryūjin and seek his blessings for a good harvest and protection from disasters.


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LANTERNS

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In Japanese culture, lanterns are often seen as symbols of light and hope and are used to decorate streets and temples. They are used in religious ceremonies and festivals (such as Obon and Tanabata) to guide spirits and bring good fortune. These lanterns are often made of paper or silk and are lit with candles or electric lights. Chochin lanterns are considered the traditional Japanese lanterns made of paper, bamboo, and metal. They are often seen outside restaurants, bars, and shops in Tokyo, where they are used to attract customers and create a welcoming atmosphere.


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TeamLab is an art collective and interdisciplinary group of ultratechnologists based in Tokyo, Japan. They are known for their innovative artworks that blend art, technology, & nature to create immersive and interactive experiences. It is a leading force in the world of digital art, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and creating immersive and unforgettable experiences for audiences around the world.


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TeamLab is known for its use of digital technology to create art installations that respond to the presence and behavior of the viewer. Their artworks often feature moving images, light displays, and soundscapes that create a dynamic and ever-changing environment.


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Many of TeamLab’s artworks are inspired by nature, incorporating elements such as flowers, animals, and landscapes into their digital creations. They aim to create a sense of harmony between the natural and digital worlds.


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our

S T O R Y


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Art Travel doing our part ,

&

A

rt & travel are inseparable companions in our journey as fine art photographers. Traveling to distant lands, exploring untouched landscapes, and capturing the essence of diverse cultures shapes our artistry. With each photograph, we don’t just freeze a moment in time, but translate the unseen emotions & unspoken stories that resonate with humanity. As artists, we believe in doing our part to preserve and respect the cultures and environments we photograph & travel to. Using art as a platform, we strive to highlight the beauty of our world, while also advocating for its protection and nurturing. Our cameras are not just tools, but an extension of ourselves in a unique way, a bridge that connects us and you, the viewer - to the world through the universal language of art. We wanted everyone to experience the world through our lenses. So, we have created a few things to make exactly that happen.


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point , dvue fine art

I

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photography

nitially, we started our photography project as a way to connect everyone during the 2020 pandemic, when the freedom we used to have has been modified & the new “normal” was unfamiliar and different. We wanted to create something that would bring some smiles, brighten the new (and then gruesome) reality, and unite the people across the globe. Today, it’s evolved into Point D’Vue Fine Art Photography Gallery & Art Store, a place where we collect our favorite moments from our point of view. Each and every piece has a story behind it. Some of our most loved captures are presented in Fine Art as well as Limited Edition collections. All are created with a thought of using the power of art to make you think, feel and/or transport you to a place of your dreams. You can take a look and make any of the art pieces yours here. You can also order any of the images from the catalogue at the end of this publication (page 740-752) by simply filling out this form.


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Origins . .

Destinations Travel Group

I

’ve traveled the globe for the last 20+ years. My life & career have taken me all over the world. Rise of technology added a new dimension to travel, initially making it easier to find & book places, discover new travel deals and join adventures at world’s top destinations. There are world-famous top places that everyone knows about. The more I traveled, the more I wished I could single out the hidden gems of destinations and share with people places that were more fun than one can imagine, places that touched me to the deepest corners of my heart. I have also learned that the quality of the adventure and the right type of experience is everything. Whether you love the trip or hate the destination is vastly defined by how it went. Origins & Destinations Packages & Experiences are created to be the one that will live in your heart forever. It will be something that you will never forget. Wherever you travel to will become your second home. We have experienced that firsthand. You can even experience what it’s like to be a NatGeo photographer with Origins & Destinations Photo Journey Packages led by our professionals, who will help you hone down your skills while photographing an ever-changing tableau of wildlife, landscapes, streets or anywhere your imagination takes you. You will end the trip with your favorite shot printed on a museum archival canvas, a memory that will take an honorary place in your favorite room. It can’t be beat.


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Tanzania, October 2022


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. Lion The

Foundation A

charitable cause which focuses on preserving the ecosystem balance between nature and people in Tanzania.

We created this foundation in 2020, after learning about the challenges of the ecosystem, a common side effect of industrialization and urbanization, in an effort to help preserve the delicate balance. You can read more about the foundation here. A portion of all sales from our fine art prints and travel packages supports this very important foundation. And last but definitely not least, our specials. We have joined with our favorite partners to create special offers exclusively for our subscribers.These offers are not available anywhere else. Please, enjoy and, as always, we are happy to hear from you whether you have a question, suggestion or a request. You can reach us here.


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PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS:

CAPTURING

THE

ESSENCE CULTURE

OF A


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As photographers, we have the incredible opportunity to capture not just images, but the very essence of cultures from around the world. Whether we’re documenting the vibrant streets of Tokyo or the serene landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, our photographs have the power to transport viewers to far-off lands & immerse them in the richness of different cultures. In this article, we’ll explore some tips & techniques for capturing the essence of a culture through your lens & creating images that are both captivating & meaningful.


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Research & Preparation Start by immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of your destination’s culture. Learn about the customs, traditions, and symbols that define the city’s identity. In the case of Japan, exploring cherry blossoms, Shinto shrines, and traditional tea ceremonies are a great place to start. Understanding the significance of cultural elements will provide valuable context for your photography and help you tell a more nuanced story of the destination’s heritage.


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Explore Traditional & Modern Spaces Tokyo‘s diverse landscape offers a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new, where ancient temples stand alongside towering skyscrapers. Explore both traditional and modern spaces to capture the full spectrum of Tokyo‘s cultural identity. Visit historic neighborhoods like Asakusa and Yanaka to photograph traditional wooden buildings and centuries-old temples, then venture into the futuristic districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku to capture the dynamic energy of modern Tokyo. Example: Photograph the contrast between the tranquil gardens of Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa and the bustling streets of Shibuya Crossing, capturing the intersection of tradition and innovation in Tokyo‘s urban landscape.


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Document Daily Life and Street Scenes To truly capture the essence of Tokyo, immerse yourself in the rhythm of daily life and document the vibrant street scenes that unfold throughout the city. Wander through bustling markets, busy shopping streets, and cozy alleyways to capture candid moments of Tokyoites going about their daily routines. Pay attention to small details & unique quirks that reflect the character of Tokyo‘s neighborhoods. Example: Spend an afternoon exploring the narrow alleys of Yanaka Ginza, photographing the charming shops, local vendors, and traditional architecture that evoke a sense of old-world charm in the heart of Tokyo. Capture Cultural Events & Festivals Tokyo hosts a myriad of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, offering photographers ample opportunities to capture the city‘s cultural vibrancy. From traditional matsuri (festivals) to modern pop culture events, Tokyo‘s calendar is filled with exciting photo opportunities. Research upcoming events and festivals, and plan your visit accordingly to capture the energy and spirit of these celebrations. Example: Photograph the colorful costumes and lively atmosphere of the Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa, one of Tokyo‘s largest and most iconic Shinto festivals, which takes place annually in May.


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Experiment with Composition & Lighting Experimentation is key to creating visually compelling images of Tokyo. Play with composition techniques such as leading lines, framing, and symmetry to add depth and interest to your photos. Take advantage of different lighting conditions, from the soft glow of sunrise to the vibrant hues of sunset, to enhance the mood and atmosphere of your images. Example: Use the iconic architecture of Tokyo Skytree as a focal point in your composition, experimenting with different angles and perspectives to capture its towering presence against the backdrop of the city skyline. Capturing the essence of Tokyo through photography is a thrilling and rewarding experience that allows you to delve deep into the heart of Japanese culture. By combining thorough research, exploration of diverse spaces, documentation of daily life, participation in cultural events, and experimentation with composition and lighting, you can create images that truly encapsulate the spirit of this dynamic city.


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Connect with Locals One of the best ways to capture the essence of a culture is by connecting with the people who live it every day. Take the time to interact with locals, learn about their lives, and gain their trust. By building rapport with your subjects, you’ll be able to capture more authentic & intimate moments that truly reflect the spirit of the culture.


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Explore Local Neighborhoods Tokyo is a city of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. To connect with the locals, venture beyond the tourist hotspots and explore the lesser-known neighborhoods where residents live and work. Wander through the narrow streets of Yanaka or Kagurazaka, where traditional artisans & local businesses thrive, and strike up conversations with shop owners and residents to learn about their lives and experiences. Example: Visit the historic neighborhood of Yanaka, known for its preserved Edo-era architecture and laid-back atmosphere. Take a stroll along Yanaka Ginza shopping street, chat with the friendly vendors, and immerse yourself in the local community. Attend Cultural Events & Festivals Tokyo‘s calendar is filled with a variety of cultural events & festivals that offer opportunities to connect with the locals and experience Japanese traditions firsthand. Whether it‘s the lively atmosphere of a summer matsuri (festival) or the serene beauty of a traditional tea ceremony, attending these events allows you to interact with locals in their element and capture authentic moments of cultural expression. Example: Attend the Hanami festival during cherry blossom season, where locals gather in parks and gardens to enjoy picnics under the blooming sakura trees. Strike up conversations with fellow hanami-goers and capture candid moments of shared laughter and camaraderie.


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Visit Local Markets & Izakayas Tokyo‘s markets and izakayas (Japanese pubs) are bustling hubs of local activity, where residents gather to socialize, shop, and dine. Spend an afternoon exploring the stalls of Tsukiji Outer Market or the nostalgic atmosphere of Ameyoko Market, and engage with vendors and patrons to learn about their favorite foods, traditions, and daily rituals. Example: Grab a seat at a traditional izakaya in the backstreets of Shinjuku or Shibuya and strike up conversations with the locals over a plate of yakitori (grilled skewers) and a cold glass of beer. Share stories and laughter as you capture candid moments of camaraderie and connection. Participate in Workshops & Cultural Experiences Tokyo offers a wide range of workshops & cultural experiences that allow you to immerse yourself in Japanese traditions and connect with locals on a deeper level. From calligraphy classes to tea ceremonies, these hands-on experiences provide opportunities to learn from local experts and gain insights into the cultural practices that shape daily life in Tokyo. Example: Join a traditional Japanese cooking class led by a local chef and learn how to prepare iconic dishes like sushi, tempura, and miso soup. Engage in conversation with your instructor and fellow participants as you bond over a shared love of food and culture.


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Connecting with the people of Tokyo is not just about taking photographs – it‘s about forming meaningful relationships and sharing in the rich tapestry of human experience. By exploring local neighborhoods, attending cultural events, visiting markets and izakayas, and participating in workshops and cultural experiences, you‘ll have the opportunity to capture authentic moments that truly reflect the spirit of Tokyo and its people.


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Seek Out Authentic Experiences Avoid tourist traps and clichés when photographing a culture. Instead, seek out authentic experiences that offer genuine insights into the daily life of the people. Whether it’s attending a traditional festival, visiting a local market, or participating in a cultural ceremony, look for opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture and capture moments that feel real and unscripted.


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Explore Hidden Gems To truly capture the essence of Tokyo, venture beyond the welltrodden paths and explore the city‘s hidden gems. Seek out lesser-known neighborhoods like Kagurazaka or Yanaka, where traditional charm and local flavor abound. Wander through narrow alleyways lined with quaint shops and cafes, and engage with residents to discover their stories and daily rituals. Example: Spend an afternoon exploring Kagurazaka, a historic district known for its traditional cobblestone streets & Edo-era architecture. Chat with local artisans, visit hidden temples, and capture candid moments of daily life unfolding amidst the timeless charm of this enchanting neighborhood. Attend Community Events Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Tokyo‘s community events, where locals gather to celebrate their culture and traditions. From neighborhood festivals to seasonal celebrations, these events offer a window into the heart of Japanese life. Attend a local matsuri (festival) in a residential area, join in the festivities, and capture the joy and camaraderie of the community coming together. Example: Participate in the Setagaya Matsuri, a lively festival held in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo, known for its traditional dance performances, street food stalls, and colorful processions. Capture the energy & spirit of the festival as locals revel in the sights and sounds of this beloved community event.


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Engage with Artisans Discover the artistry & craftsmanship that defines Tokyo‘s cultural heritage by engaging with local artisans and craftsmen. Visit traditional workshops and studios where skilled artisans practice age-old crafts such as pottery, papermaking, and woodblock printing. Observe their techniques, ask questions, and capture the passion and dedication that infuse their work. Example: Visit a traditional washi (Japanese paper) studio in the historic neighborhood of Asakusa, where artisans meticulously handcraft paper using time-honored techniques. Document the process of papermaking, from pulp to finished product, and gain insights into the artistry and tradition behind this ancient craft. Immerse Yourself in Daily Life To capture authentic moments in Tokyo, immerse yourself in the rhythm of daily life and embrace the ordinary moments that define the city. Take a stroll through bustling shopping streets, visit local markets, and observe the rituals and routines of Tokyoites going about their day. Look for opportunities to capture candid moments of connection, reflection, and humanity. Example: Spend a morning exploring the lively Ameya-Yokocho market in Ueno, where vendors sell everything from fresh produce to vintage goods. Wander through the bustling alleyways, interact with vendors and shoppers, and capture the vibrant energy and diversity of Tokyo‘s street life.


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Seeking out authentic experiences in Tokyo is about forging connections and immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Japanese culture. By exploring hidden gems, attending community events, engaging with artisans, and embracing the rhythm of daily life, you will have the opportunity to capture moments that resonate with sincerity and depth.


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Pay Attention to Details Incorporate small details into your photographs that convey the unique characteristics of the culture you’re photographing. This could be anything from the intricate patterns of traditional clothing to the vibrant colors of street art. By paying attention to these details, you’ll add depth and richness to your images, allowing viewers to experience the culture on a more visceral level.


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Traditional Textiles & Patterns Tokyo is steeped in tradition, and one of the most visually striking aspects of Japanese culture is its traditional textiles and patterns. Whether it‘s the elegant folds of a kimono, the intricate designs of a yukata, or the geometric patterns of a tatami mat, these small details speak volumes about Japan‘s rich cultural heritage. Seek out opportunities to capture these details in your photographs, whether it‘s a close-up shot of a beautifully embroidered obi or the delicate cherry blossom motif adorning a traditional teacup. Example: Visit a kimono rental shop in Asakusa or Ginza and capture the intricate patterns and vibrant colors of these traditional garments as they are meticulously prepared for customers. Focus on the subtle details, such as the hand-painted motifs or the texture of the fabric, to convey the craftsmanship & artistry of Japanese textiles.


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Street Art & Graf fiti While Tokyo is known for its sleek skyscrapers and futuristic architecture, the city also boasts a vibrant street art scene that adds a pop of color and creativity to its urban landscape. From colorful murals adorning alleyways to whimsical graffiti tags hidden in plain sight, these small details offer a glimpse into Tokyo‘s contemporary culture and artistic expression. Look for opportunities to incorporate these elements into your photographs, whether it‘s capturing the bold strokes of a graffiti artist or the playful characters of a street mural. Example: Explore the streets of Shibuya and Harajuku, where vibrant street art & graffiti can be found around every corner. Seek out hidden alleyways and backstreets to discover hidden gems of artistic expression, and use these details to add visual interest and depth to your photographs of Tokyo‘s urban landscape.


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Architectural Details Tokyo‘s architectural landscape is a fascinating blend of old and new, with traditional wooden buildings coexisting alongside modern skyscrapers and glass facades. Pay attention to the small architectural details that characterize Tokyo‘s built environment, whether it‘s the ornate carvings of a historic temple gate or the sleek lines of a contemporary highrise. These details not only add visual interest to your photographs but also convey the city‘s rich history and dynamic evolution. Example: Visit the historic district of Yanaka and explore its labyrinthine streets lined with traditional wooden houses & historic temples. Focus on capturing the intricate details of the architecture, such as the ornamental roof tiles, wooden lattice windows, and decorative carvings, to evoke a sense of nostalgia and reverence for Tokyo‘s past. Incorporating small details into your photographs is a powerful way to convey the unique characteristics of Tokyo‘s culture and heritage. Whether it is traditional textiles & patterns, vibrant street art and graffiti, or architectural details that tell the story of the city‘s past and present, paying attention to these nuances adds depth and richness to your images.


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Use Composition to Tell a Story Composition plays a crucial role in conveying the essence of a culture through photography. Experiment with different framing techniques, angles, and perspectives to create images that tell a compelling story. Whether it is capturing the chaos of a crowded street or the serenity of a remote village, use composition to evoke emotions & transport viewers to the heart of the culture. You can read the full article on Composition Photography Tips from our London Edition here.


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Embrace the Chaos Tokyo‘s bustling streets and crowded markets are a visual feast of energy and excitement, offering endless opportunities for photographers to capture the pulse of the city. Embrace the chaos by experimenting with dynamic compositions that convey the hustle and bustle of urban life. Use leading lines to draw viewers into the frame, frame your subject against a backdrop of colorful signs and billboards, and play with angles and perspectives to create a sense of depth and movement. Example: Visit the iconic Shibuya Crossing during rush hour and capture the chaos of pedestrians crossing the street from an elevated vantage point. Frame the scene with the intersecting lines of crosswalks and capture the movement of people against the backdrop of towering skyscrapers and neon lights.


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Seek Serenity in Tradition Amidst Tokyo‘s modern skyline, traditional elements of Japanese culture can still be found, offering moments of tranquility and reflection amidst the urban chaos. Use composition to highlight the serenity of Tokyo‘s historic temples, tranquil gardens, and quaint alleyways. Experiment with framing techniques such as the rule of thirds and negative space to create images that evoke a sense of calm and reverence. Example: Visit the serene Meiji Shrine in the heart of Tokyo‘s bustling Shibuya district and explore its tranquil forested grounds. Use leading lines to guide viewers through the torii gates, frame the shrine against a backdrop of lush greenery, and capture intimate moments of prayer and reflection.


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Capture Contrasts & Contradictions Tokyo is a city of contrasts, where modernity and tradition, chaos and calm, coexist in a dynamic & ever-changing landscape. Use composition to capture these contrasts and contradictions, juxtaposing elements of old and new, light and shadow, to create images that intrigue and provoke thought. Experiment with framing techniques such as juxtaposition and symmetry to highlight the juxtaposition of Tokyo‘s diverse cultural elements. Example: Explore the eclectic neighborhood of Harajuku, where futuristic fashion boutiques stand alongside traditional tea houses and historic shrines. Capture the contrast between the sleek lines of modern architecture and the ornate details of traditional buildings, and use composition to convey the eclectic energy of this vibrant district. Composition is a powerful tool for photographers to convey the essence of the destination‘s culture & heritage, whether it‘s capturing the chaos of urban life, the serenity of tradition, or the contrasts of modernity. By experimenting with framing techniques, angles, and perspectives, photographers can craft compelling stories that transport viewers to the heart of Tokyo‘s dynamic and diverse landscape.


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Embrace Natural Light When photographing cultural scenes, natural light can be your best friend. Pay attention to the quality and direction of light, as it can dramatically affect the mood and atmosphere of your images. Whether you’re shooting during the golden hour or under the soft glow of street lamps, use natural light to enhance the beauty and authenticity of your photos.


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Golden Hour Glor y The golden hour, that magical time shortly after sunrise and before sunset, bathes Tokyo in a warm, ethereal glow, casting long shadows and infusing the city with a sense of enchantment. Embrace this soft, diffused light to capture the iconic landmarks and hidden gems of Tokyo in all their splendor. Whether it‘s the silhouette of Senso-ji Temple against the backdrop of a fiery sky or the shimmering waters of the Sumida River reflecting the hues of dusk, the golden hour offers endless possibilities for stunning photography. Example: Experiment with different angles and perspectives to highlight the intricate lattice structure and people, and let the warm, golden light accentuate your images. From its temples to incredible architectural masterpieces and everyday life on the streets, Tokyo is truly a photography heaven.


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Street Lamp Illumination As night falls and the city lights begin to twinkle, Tokyo transforms into a mesmerizing nocturnal wonderland, illuminated by the soft glow of street lamps and neon signs. Embrace this ambient light to capture the dynamic energy and vibrant nightlife of Tokyo‘s bustling streets and lively neighborhoods. Whether it‘s the neon-lit alleyways of Shinjuku or the lantern-lined paths of Yanaka Cemetery, let the soft, diffused light of street lamps create a magical atmosphere in your photographs. Example: Explore the vibrant streets of Shibuya at night and capture the bustling energy of the world-famous Shibuya Crossing under the soft glow of street lamps. Use a slow shutter speed to capture the movement of pedestrians as they traverse the intersection, and let the ambient light create a sense of drama and excitement in your images.


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Serenity in Shadows In the midst of Tokyo‘s urban hustle and bustle, there are moments of quiet serenity waiting to be discovered in the play of light and shadow. Embrace the interplay of light and darkness to capture the tranquil beauty of Tokyo‘s parks, gardens, and temples. Whether it is the dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy of trees in Yoyogi Park or the soft, diffused light illuminating the torii gates of Meiji Shrine, use shadows to add depth and dimension to your photographs. Example: Visit the peaceful oasis of Hamarikyu Gardens during the day and explore its winding paths and serene ponds. Look for opportunities to capture the intricate patterns of light and shadow cast by the garden‘s lush foliage, and let the natural beauty of Tokyo‘s green spaces shine through in your images. Embracing natural light is key to capturing the essence of Tokyo‘s culture and heritage in photography. Harnessing the power of natural light allows us to create images that evoke the beauty, authenticity, and spirit of this dynamic metropolis.


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Capturing the essence of culture through photography is a rewarding and enriching experience that allows us to celebrate the diversity and beauty of the world around us. By following these tips and techniques, we can create images that not only showcase the unique characteristics of different cultures but also inspire others to appreciate and embrace the richness of our global community. So grab your camera, explore the world, and let your photography be a window into the soul of humanity.


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Tokyo Trends:

Unveiling the Unique Fashion Styles of Japan’s Capital In the bustling streets of Tokyo, fashion is more than just clothing – it’s a for m of self-expression, a cultural statement, & a way of life. From avant-garde streetwear to traditional gar ments with a moder n twist, Tokyo’s fashion scene is a vibrant tapestry of creativity, diversity, & innovation that never fails to captivate & inspire. Join us as we explore some of the most unique fashion trends that define Tokyo’s distinctive style & set it apart as a global fashion powerhouse.


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Genderless Fashion: Breaking the Boundaries of Gender Nor ms One of the most striking and revolutionary fashion trends to emerge from Tokyo is the concept of genderless fashion, which challenges traditional notions of gender identity and embraces a fluid and inclusive approach to dressing. In Tokyo‘s fashion-forward neighborhoods like Harajuku and Shibuya, you‘ll find a growing number of young people who reject binary gender labels & express themselves freely through clothing that transcends traditional gender norms. From androgynous silhouettes to bold makeup and accessories, genderless fashion celebrates individuality, diversity, and the freedom to be whoever you want to be. Unique Twist: In Tokyo‘s fashion scene, genderless fashion isn‘t just about wearing clothes traditionally associated with the opposite gender – it‘s about breaking down barriers & redefining what it means to express oneself authentically through fashion, regardless of gender identity. Decora: Embracing Color, Kitsch, & Quirkiness Step into the whimsical world of Decora fashion, a playful and colorful style that celebrates excess, kitsch, and unapologetic self-expression. Originating from the streets of Harajuku, Decora fashion is characterized by its bold mix of bright colors, oversized accessories, and playful motifs that come together to create a look that‘s equal parts cute and eccentric. Think rainbow-colored hair, layers of colorful clothing, and an abundance of kawaii accessories like bows, plush toys, and stickers – all worn with a sense of childlike joy and whimsy. Unique Twist: In Tokyo‘s Decora fashion scene, more is always more – whether it‘s layering on multiple hair clips, stacking up bracelets and necklaces, or piling on colorful accessories, Decora fashionistas believe that there‘s no such thing as too much when it comes to expressing their unique sense of style.


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Wafuku Revival: Modern Takes on Traditional Japanese Clothing While Tokyo‘s fashion scene is often associated with avant-garde streetwear and cutting-edge trends, there‘s also a growing interest in reviving traditional Japanese clothing, known as wafuku, and giving it a modern twist. From elegant kimono-inspired dresses to sleek hakama trousers, designers and fashion enthusiasts in Tokyo are reinterpreting traditional garments in contemporary ways, blending traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics to create looks that are both timeless and relevant. Unique Twist: In Tokyo‘s wafuku revival movement, designers and artisans are experimenting with innovative fabrics, prints, & techniques to breathe new life into traditional Japanese clothing, making it more accessible and appealing to a younger generation of fashion-conscious consumers. Yuru-kyara Fashion: Embracing Quirky Mascot Characters In Tokyo‘s fashion scene, it‘s not just about what you wear – it‘s also about the characters you represent. Enter the world of yuru-kyara fashion, where fashion enthusiasts express their love for Japan‘s quirky mascot characters through clothing, accessories, and even makeup. From cute and cuddly animals to larger-than-life food items, yuru-kyara mascots are beloved symbols of Japanese pop culture and are celebrated by fans of all ages through whimsical and playful fashion choices. Unique Twist: In Tokyo‘s yuru-kyara fashion scene, creativity knows no bounds – whether it‘s designing custom-made clothing featuring your favorite mascot character, accessorizing with plush toys and keychains, or even incorporating mascot-themed makeup and nail art into your look, yuru-kyara fashionistas take their love for Japanese mascots to new heights of whimsy and imagination.


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T he Ultimate Shopper’s Guide:

Exploring the Best Places to Shop in Tokyo Tokyo, a bustling metropolis renowned for its vibrant fashion scene & eclectic shopping districts, is a paradise for avid shoppers & fashion enthusiasts alike. From luxury boutiques & department stores to quirky vintage shops & bustling street markets, the city offers a diverse array of s hopping destinations to suit every style & budget. Whether you’re searching for the latest trends, unique souvenirs, or one-of-a-kind treasures, Tokyo has something for everyone. Let’s go on a shopping adventure through the city’s best shopping districts & uncover hidden gems along the way.


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Ginza: Luxur y & Glamour Our shopping journey begins in Ginza, Tokyo‘s most upscale and prestigious shopping district, where luxury boutiques, high-end department stores, and designer flagship stores line the streets. From iconic brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci to Japanese fashion labels such as Comme des Garçons and Issey Miyake, Ginza is a haven for fashionistas and luxury shoppers seeking the finest in haute couture and designer fashion. Insider Tip: Don‘t miss the iconic Ginza Six shopping complex, which houses over 240 luxury and designer brands, as well as gourmet restaurants, art galleries, and a rooftop garden offering panoramic views of the city. Shibuya: Trendy & Fashionable Next, we head to Shibuya, Tokyo‘s vibrant and eclectic shopping district known for its trendy boutiques, streetwear shops, and youth culture. Here, you‘ll find iconic fashion landmarks such as Shibuya 109, a multi-story fashion mecca catering to young women with its trendy clothing, accessories, & cosmetics. Explore the narrow alleys of Center Gai and Spain-zaka to discover indie fashion boutiques, vintage shops, & quirky souvenir stores offering unique and eclectic finds. Insider Tip: For a taste of Tokyo‘s street fashion scene, visit the famous Takeshita Street in nearby Harajuku, where you‘ll find a colorful array of quirky shops selling everything from kawaii accessories to gothic Lolita fashion.


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Harajuku: Quirky & Creative Speaking of Harajuku, no shopping guide to Tokyo would be complete without a visit to this iconic neighborhood, renowned for its avant-garde street style and quirky fashion boutiques. Explore the bustling streets of Takeshita Street and Omotesando Avenue to discover an eclectic mix of indie designers, vintage shops, and trendy concept stores offering unique and cutting-edge fashion finds. From quirky accessories and statement pieces to one-of-a-kind souvenirs, Harajuku is a treasure trove of creativity and self-expression. Insider Tip: Be sure to visit Laforet Harajuku, a multi-story shopping complex that showcases emerging Japanese designers and cutting-edge fashion brands, as well as hosting regular pop-up events and fashion exhibitions. Akihabara: Geeky & Otaku For the tech-savvy and pop culture enthusiasts, Akihabara is a must-visit destination, known as the epicenter of otaku culture and electronics shopping in Tokyo. Explore the maze-like streets of Akihabara Electric Town, where you‘ll find an abundance of electronics stores, anime shops, manga cafes, and video game arcades catering to fans of all ages. From the latest gadgets and gizmos to rare collectibles and limited-edition merchandise, Akihabara is a geek‘s paradise filled with endless treasures waiting to be discovered. Insider Tip: Be sure to visit Mandarake Complex, a multi-story treasure trove of manga, anime, and collectibles, where you‘ll find rare & vintage items from Japan‘s pop culture history.


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Asakusa: Traditional & Timeless For a taste of Tokyo‘s traditional side, head to Asakusa, home to the historic Senso-ji Temple and Nakamise-dori shopping street, where you‘ll find an array of traditional crafts, souvenirs, & local delicacies. Browse through stalls selling traditional Japanese goods such as yukata (cotton summer kimono), kids traditional wear and folding fans, perfect for souvenirs or gifts to take home. Insider Tip: Don‘t miss the nearby Kappabashi-dori, also known as “Kitchen Town,“ where you‘ll find a plethora of shops selling kitchenware, utensils, and restaurant supplies, as well as quirky souvenirs like plastic food replicas. Tokyo offers a shopping experience like no other, with a diverse array of shopping districts catering to every style, taste, and budget. Whether you‘re in search of luxury fashion, trendy streetwear, traditional crafts, or geeky gadgets, Tokyo has something for everyone. Grab your shopping bags and get ready to explore the city‘s best shopping destinations!


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STREET

FOOD


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n a city where culinary standards are sky-high and innovation reigns supreme, it’s no surprise that Tokyo boasts an impressive array of Michelin-starred restaurants, ranging from intimate sushi counters to avant-garde French bistros. These esteemed establishments have set the bar for culinary excellence, drawing food enthusiasts from around the globe to savor their meticulously crafted dishes and impeccable service. However, what truly sets Tokyo’s dining scene apart is the ripple effect of Michelin stars that extends far beyond the realm of high-end dining establishments. Even on the bustling streets of Tokyo, where food vendors hawk everything from savory skewers to sweet treats, the influence of Michelin stars is palpable. Take, for example, the humble yakitori stall tucked away in a narrow alley. Here, skilled chefs meticulously grill skewers of chicken over charcoal, infusing each bite with smoky flavor and tender juiciness. While this may seem like a far cry from the elegant dining rooms of Michelin-starred restaurants, the commitment to quality and attention to detail remain the same. It’s not uncommon to find street food vendors who have honed their craft under the tutelage of Michelin-starred chefs or who draw inspiration from haute cuisine techniques to elevate their offerings. The quest for culinary excellence permeates every aspect of Tokyo’s street food culture, from the artful presentation of dishes to the use of premium ingredients sourced from local markets and artisan producers. Even seemingly simple snacks like takoyaki (octopus balls) or taiyaki (fish-shaped pastries) are prepared with a level of care and precision that speaks to Tokyo’s culinary ethos. Street food vendors vie for the attention of discerning foodies by offering unique flavor combinations, innovative twists on traditional favorites, and a commitment to quality that rivals that of their Michelin-starred counterparts.


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Moreover, the influence of Tokyo‘s Michelin-starred restaurants extends beyond just the culinary realm. It has elevated the city‘s street food culture to a global stage, attracting attention and accolades from food critics, bloggers, and travelers alike. Street food vendors are celebrated not just for their affordability and accessibility but also for their culinary prowess and commitment to excellence. In a city where dining options abound at every turn, Tokyo‘s street food scene stands out as a symbol of the city‘s unwavering dedication to gastronomic innovation and unparalleled culinary experiences. Tokyo‘s status as the world‘s capital of Michelin-starred restaurants has had a profound impact on its street food culture, elevating roadside snacks to gourmet delights worthy of international acclaim. From the bustling markets of Tsukiji to the vibrant alleys of Shinjuku, the influence of Michelin stars is evident in every sizzle of the grill, every swirl of sauce, and every bite of street food bliss. Be sure to indulge in the city‘s rich tapestry of street food offerings – you never know when you might stumble upon a culinary gem that rivals even the most esteemed Michelin-starred restaurant.


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A Foodie’s Guide to Must-Try Street Foods in Tokyo:

Unveiling the Culinary Delights of the Capital Tokyo is a paradise for street food enthusiasts. From savory skewers to sweet treats, the city’s bustling streets are lined with an array of mouthwatering delights waiting to be discovered. In this guide, we’ll take you on a culinary jour ney through Tokyo’s most iconic street foods, sharing must-try dishes, unique tips, & insider suggestions to help you navigate the city’s diverse culinary landscape like a seasoned foodie.


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Takoyaki: Crispy Octopus Balls Our first stop on this culinary adventure is takoyaki, savory octopus-filled balls that are a beloved street food staple in Tokyo. Head to popular neighborhoods like Shibuya or Asakusa to find bustling takoyaki stalls, where skilled vendors expertly pour batter into special round molds, add pieces of tender octopus, and cook the balls until golden brown and crispy. Top them off with a drizzle of tangy takoyaki sauce, creamy mayonnaise, and a sprinkle of bonito flakes for an authentic taste of Tokyo‘s street food scene. Unique Tip: Look for vendors who offer creative variations of takoyaki, such as cheese-filled or kimchi-flavored balls, for a unique twist on this classic dish. Yakitori: Grilled Chicken Skewers Next up, we have yakitori, succulent grilled chicken skewers that are a must-try for any visitor to Tokyo. Wander through the narrow alleys of Yakitori Alley in Shinjuku or the bustling streets of Omoide Yokocho in Shibuya to find cozy izakayas and stalls specializing in this quintessential street food. Choose from an assortment of skewers featuring different cuts of chicken, from juicy thighs to tender hearts, all grilled to perfection over charcoal and seasoned with a savory glaze of tare sauce. Insider Suggestion: For an authentic yakitori experience, pair your skewers with a cold glass of Japanese beer or sake, and don‘t be afraid to try less common cuts like chicken liver or cartilage for a truly immersive culinary adventure.


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Taiyaki: Fish-Shaped Sweet Treats For those with a sweet tooth, taiyaki is a must-try street food delight that captures the essence of Japanese confectionery. These adorable fish-shaped pastries are filled with a variety of sweet fillings, such as red bean paste, custard, or chocolate, and are a popular snack enjoyed by locals & visitors alike. Look for taiyaki stands in popular areas like Harajuku or Ueno, where vendors churn out freshly baked batches of these warm and fluffy treats throughout the day. Unique Tip: Keep an eye out for seasonal variations of taiyaki, such as sakura (cherry blossom) or matcha (green tea) flavored fillings, which offer a taste of Japan‘s culinary creativity and seasonal ingredients. Okonomiyaki: Savor y Pancakes with a Twist No culinary journey through Tokyo‘s street food scene would be complete without a taste of okonomiyaki, savory Japanese pancakes that are as delicious as they are satisfying. Head to bustling districts like Tsukishima or Asakusa to find okonomiyaki stalls and restaurants, where chefs expertly whip up these hearty pancakes on hot griddles. Customize your okonomiyaki with an assortment of ingredients such as pork, shrimp, cabbage, and noodles, then top it off with a generous drizzle of okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes for a burst of flavor. Insider Suggestion: For an interactive dining experience, try your hand at cooking your own okonomiyaki at a DIY-style restaurant, where you can grill your pancake to perfection right at your table.


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Melon Pan: Crunchy Sweet Buns Last but not least, we have melon pan, crunchy sweet buns with a distinctive cookie crust that are a favorite snack among locals in Tokyo. Despite their name, melon pan are not actually flavored with melon; rather, they get their name from their melon-like appearance. These pillowy buns are often enjoyed on the go as a quick snack or dessert, and can be found at bakeries and convenience stores throughout the city. Unique Tip: For an extra indulgent treat, look for vendors who offer melon pan filled with sweet custard or chocolate, adding an extra layer of decadence to this beloved street food classic. Ramen: Noodles Galore Ramen may be more commonly associated with sit-down restaurants, but Tokyo also boasts numerous street food stalls and shops where you can grab a quick bowl of this iconic Japanese noodle soup. Look for ramen carts in bustling areas like Shinjuku or Shibuya, where vendors dish out piping hot bowls of ramen topped with savory broth, tender noodles, and an array of toppings such as chashu pork, soft-boiled eggs, and green onions. Insider Suggestion: Opt for a specialty ramen shop that offers unique regional variations of the dish, such as Hokkaido-style miso ramen or Kyushu-style tonkotsu ramen, for a truly unforgettable culinary experience. Gyoza: Crispy Dumplings Gyoza, Japanese-style dumplings filled with a savory mixture of meat and vegetables, are a popular street food snack in Tokyo. Head to areas like Ikebukuro or Ueno to find gyoza stalls & shops serving up crispy pan-fried or steamed dumplings that are bursting with flavor. Dip your gyoza in a tangy soy-vinegar dipping sauce or spicy chili oil for an extra kick of flavor. Unique Tip: Look for vendors who offer creative twists on traditional gyoza fillings, such as cheese and mentaiko (spicy cod roe) or shrimp and shiso (Japanese basil), for a unique and delicious snack.


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Onigiri: Portable Rice Balls Onigiri, Japanese rice balls filled with savory fillings and wrapped in seaweed, are a convenient and satisfying snack that‘s perfect for enjoying on the go. Look for onigiri shops or convenience stores throughout Tokyo, where you can find a wide variety of fillings such as grilled salmon, pickled plum, and tuna mayo. Onigiri are a popular choice for a quick and inexpensive meal or snack while exploring the city. Unique Tip: Look for specialty shops that offer unique onigiri fillings and flavors, such as mentaiko (spicy cod roe), yukari (shiso leaf), or kombu (dried seaweed), for a taste of Tokyo‘s culinary creativity. Kakigori: Shaved Ice Delights Cool off on a hot day with kakigori, Japanese shaved ice topped with sweet syrups and colorful toppings. Found at street food stalls and dessert shops throughout Tokyo, kakigori comes in a variety of flavors, from classic favorites like strawberry and matcha to more adventurous combinations like mango and condensed milk. Enjoy this refreshing treat while exploring popular neighborhoods like Asakusa or Akihabara. Insider Suggestion: For an extra indulgent treat, look for kakigori topped with sweetened condensed milk, azuki beans, and a scoop of creamy ice cream for a dessert that‘s as decadent as it is refreshing.


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Wagyu Beef: A Luxurious Indulgence No culinary journey through Tokyo would be complete without savoring the unparalleled richness of Wagyu beef, renowned worldwide for its melt-in-your-mouth texture and exquisite marbling. While Tokyo boasts a plethora of dining establishments offering this prized delicacy, head to upscale neighborhoods like Ginza or Roppongi to indulge in a luxurious Wagyu dining experience, or Tsukiji market for some local delights. Sink your teeth into perfectly seared slices of marbled perfection, each bite bursting with flavor and succulence. Whether you opt for the buttery tenderness of a Wagyu steak grilled to perfection or the savory richness of Wagyu sushi, prepared with the utmost precision by skilled chefs, prepare to embark on a gastronomic journey like no other. Insider suggestion: For the ultimate Wagyu experience, consider visiting a yakiniku restaurant, where you can grill premium cuts of Wagyu beef to your liking at your table. Pair your meal with a glass of fine Japanese whisky or red wine to elevate your dining experience to new heights of indulgence.


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Dorayaki: Sweet Pancake Sandwiches Finish off your street food adventure with dorayaki, sweet pancake sandwiches filled with sweet red bean paste. These fluffy, golden-brown pancakes are a beloved snack in Tokyo and can be found at bakeries, street food stalls, and convenience stores throughout the city. Enjoy them as a sweet treat to end your culinary journey on a satisfying note. Insider Suggestion: For an extra indulgent treat, look for specialty dorayaki shops that offer unique fillings such as custard cream, matcha cream, or even chocolate ganache for a decadent twist on this classic Japanese snack. Tokyo offers a tantalizing array of flavors & textures waiting to be discovered around every corner. So grab your chopsticks and embark on a gastronomic journey through the bustling streets of Japan’s capital city – you won’t be disappointed!


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Tsukiji Outer Market: A Street Food Paradise

T he Tsukiji Outer Market in Tokyo is a vibrant & bustling food market known for its fresh seafood, produce, & various culinary delights. Visiting the Tsukiji Outer Market is not just about the food— it’s also a cultural experience. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with local vendors, lear n about Japanese culinary traditions, & immerse yourself in a truly authentic Japanese experience.


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The Tsukiji Outer Market in Tokyo is known for its wide array of food stalls and restaurants offering a variety of Japanese culinary delights, especially delicious seafood options from Sushi and Sashimi to Grilled Seafood, Seafood Rice Bowls, and Tempura.


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You can purchase fresh prodcue, Tea & Spices, pickled products known as tsukemono, and kitchenware and souvenirs at Tsukiji Market.


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And the world-famous $30 strawberries!!!


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In Japan, dried fish, known as katsuobushi, is a staple ingredient used in various dishes to add a rich umami flavor. Drying fish is a traditional method of preserving seafood in Japan. It allows the fish to be stored for long periods without refrigeration while intensifying its flavor. Tsukiji Outer Market is also a great place to find a wide variety of dried fish products, including dried seafood snacks, dried fish flakes (katsuobushi), and dried fish for cooking.


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KIDS

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What Ever y Kid Should Know About

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Tokyo

To k yo i s t h e c a p i t a l c i t y o f Ja p a n , an island country located in East Asia, b o r d e r e d by t h e S e a o f Ja p a n t o t h e w e s t a n d t h e Pa c i f i c O c e a n t o t h e e a s t . Ja p a n c o n s i s t s o f f o u r m a i n i s l a n d s : H o n s h u , H o k k a i d o , Ky u s h u , a n d S h i k o k u , as well as thousands of smaller islands. Honshu (as seen on the map) is the largest and most populous island, & h o m e t o m a n y f a m o u s c i t i e s l i k e To k yo , Yo k o h m a , O s a k a , a n d Kyo t o ( w h i c h w i l l b e o u r n e x t i s s u e, s o m a k e s u r e t o c h e c k b a c k i n ) . To k yo i s t h e m o s t p o p u l o u s c i t y i n t h e w o r l d f o l l o w e d by D e l h i , S h a n g h a i , S ã o Pa u l o , M e x i c o C i t y, a n d C a i r o . To k yo i s o n e o f t h e s a f e s t c i t i e s i n t h e w o r l d , a m a j o r h u b f o r t e c h n o l o g y & i n n ov a t i o n , known for its cutting-edge fashion scene and has one of the most efficient and extensive public transportation systems in the world, including the iconic Shinkansen (bullet trains). To k yo i s a l s o t h e b i r t h p l a c e o f a n i m e & m a n g a a n d i s f a m o u s f o r i t s c o s p l a y c u l t u r e, w i t h m a n y p e o p l e d r e s s i n g u p a s t h e i r f av o r i t e c h a r a c t e r s f r o m a n i m e, m a n g a , & v i d e o g a m e s . M a k e s u r e t o f i n d t h e l o c a t i o n o f To k yo a n d o t h e r m a j o r Ja p a n e s e c i t i e s o n t h e m a p !


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FUN FACTS L e t ’s s p e n d m o re t i m e t o g e t h e r ex p l o r i n g th e amazing city of Tokyo & the Japanese histor y, culture, and people through pictures and fun facts!


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Histor y Tokyo was originally known as Edo, which means “estuary” (which is the mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream) in Japanese. It was renamed Tokyo, meaning “Eastern Capital,” when Emperor Meiji moved the capital from the city of Kyoto to Edo in 1868. Edo was a hub of samurai culture, with many samurai warriors living in the city and serving the shogun (an army commander) and known for their loyalty and bravery. It was a time of peace & stability, and Edo grew into one of the largest cities in the world.


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A Giant City

Today, tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world in terms of population. It has over 39 million people living in the Greater Tokyo Area, which is more than the entire population of Canada! To give you an idea of how big Tokyo is, it’s about 5 times the size of New York City in terms of population, but it’s only about half the size of Rhode Island, which is the smallest state in the United States! Tokyo is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. This means that there are a lot of people living in a relatively small area. That is why it has a stunning skyline, with many tall buildings & skyscrapers. One of the best way to see this remarkble skyline is from the observation decks of buildings like the Tokyo Tower or the Tokyo Skytree.


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To k yo

Skytree Towe r

The Tokyo Skytree Tower is the tallest structure in Japan, standing at an impressive height of 634 meters (2,080 feet). It has two observation decks: the Tembo Deck, which is located at 350 meters (1,150 feet) above ground, and the Tembo Galleria, which is located at 450 meters (1,480 feet) above ground. Both decks offer stunning views of Tokyo and the surrounding area. The Tembo Galleria features a section of glass flooring called the “Skywalk,” which allows you to look straight down to the ground below. It is a really thrilling experience! Another amazing fact about the Tokyo Skytree is that its elevators are among the fastest in the world, traveling at speeds of up to 600 meters per minute (37.7 miles per hour). They can take visitors from the base to the Tembo Deck in just 50 seconds!


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Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest intersection in the world, with more than three thousand people crossing every 45 seconds when the light turns green. It is a “scramble crossing,” where pedestrians can cross from all directions, including diagonally, when the signal turns green. The buildings surrounding Shibuya Crossing are adorned with giant screens and neon lights, creating a colorful and lively atmosphere, especially at night. Shibuya Crossing is a great place for people-watching, as you can see people from all walks of life crossing the intersection. It’s a very fun way to observe Tokyo’s diverse population.


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Pa g o d a s

Pagodas, originated first in India, are traditionally used as Buddhist or Taoist places of worship and meditation. Pagodas are often associated with legends & stories. Some pagodas are said to house relics of the Buddha, while others are believed to be guarded by mythical creatures or spirits. Pagodas in Japan are often built with multiple tiers or stories, and their roofs curve upwards at the edges. The shape is said to be resembling a giant bell or a flame, symbolizing the flames of enlightenment. They often have an odd number of tiers, typically three, five, or seven. In Japanese culture, odd numbers are considered lucky. Many temples and pagodas in Japan are made of wood. Traditional Japanese carpentry techniques, such as using interlocking beams without nails, are used to construct these buildings.


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Kongorikishi Kongorikishi, also known as Nio, are two muscular guardians of Buddha found at the entrance of Buddhist temples in Japan. They are depicted as fierce-looking warriors, one with an open mouth (Agyo) and one with a closed mouth (Ungyo). Agyo is said to be uttering the first letter of Sanskrit alphabet “a,” while Ungyo is uttering the last letter “um,” symbolizing the beginning and end of all things. Kongorikishi symbolize the forces of good and evil and are believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the temple and its teachings. They are known for their fierce facial expressions, which are meant to intimidate evil spirits and protect the temple.


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Cher r y

Blossom

Cherry blossoms are a symbol of spring in Japan and are celebrated for their beauty and transient nature. Cherry blossoms have a short blooming period, typically lasting only one to two weeks. There are over 200 different varieties of cherry trees in Japan, each with its own unique characteristics and bloom times. Hanami is the Japanese tradition of flower viewing, particularly cherry blossoms. Families and friends have picnics under the cherry trees during the blooming season. Also, many cities & towns in Japan hold cherry blossom festivals (hanami matsuri) to celebrate the arrival of spring. These festivals feature food stalls, performances, and illuminations of the trees at night.


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Kimonos

Kimonos are traditional Japanese garments that are worn for special occasions and festivals. They are usually worn with a sash called an obi, which is tied around the waist. The way the obi is tied can vary depending on the occasion and the wearer’s age and status. Kimonos are made of silk or other fine fabrics and come in many beautiful colors & designs. They feature designs that are inspired by nature and the seasons. For example, cherry blossoms are a popular motif for spring, while maple leaves are used for autumn. Kimonos are often worn with accessories such as geta (wooden sandals) and kanzashi (ornamental hairpins). These accessories add to the beauty and elegance of the outfit. Learning to wear a kimono properly is a skill that takes time and practice. There are special schools in Japan where people can learn how to put on a kimono correctly.


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Ja p a n e s e K i d s In Japanese culture, children hold a special place and are highly valued. May 5th is Children’s Day in Japan, known as “Kodomo no Hi.” It’s a national holiday to celebrate children’s happiness and to promote their well-being. Children in Japan are taught from a young age to respect their elders. They often bow to greet and show respect to adults, including teachers and family members. School is taken very seriously in Japan. Kids in Tokyo have long school days & often participate in after-school activities and clubs, such as sports, music, and arts. Most schools in Japan, including those in Tokyo, require students to wear uniforms. These uniforms are often seen as a symbol of pride and discipline.


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Cats Cats are a beloved animal in Japanese pop culture, appearing in anime, manga, & traditional folklore as they are considered to bring good luck. They are called ‘maneki-neko’ (welcoming cats). You probably know or have heard about Hello Kitty. Also, Cat cafés are popular in Tokyo, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the company of friendly cats, which speaks to the love of Japanese for cats and the good luck they bring! This popularity has contributed to the widespread appeal of many cat-themed items like masks in Tokyo. Cat face masks are very popular among both kids & adults and definitely add a playful touch to everyday outfits.


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Ko i F i s h In Japanese culture, koi fish are seen as symbols of prosperity, luck, and good fortune. They are often associated with perseverance and overcoming obstacles, as they are known for their ability to swim upstream and against the current. Koi fish can live for a long time, with some living up to 50 years or more. Koi are are frequently featured in Japanese art and literature. They are a popular subject for paintings, prints, and sculptures. There are festivals dedicated to koi fish, such as Koi Nobori (or “carp streamer”) festival, which is held on Children’s Day. During this festival, colorful koi-shaped streamers are flown to celebrate the health and happiness of the children.


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Amao Ringo Japanese candied strawberries, known as “amao ringo” or “ichigo ame”, are a popular sweet treat in Japan. They are made by coating fresh strawberries in a sugar syrup that has been boiled down to a thick, sticky consistency. The sugar syrup hardens around the strawberry, creating a sweet and crunchy shell. There are many variations of candied strawberries in Japan, with some being dipped in other toppings like sprinkles or chocolate for added flavor and texture. You can even buy candy kits that allow you to make your own delicious candied strawberries at home.


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Young Travelers, Welcome to your first challenge! Look carefully at the letters grid below filled with seemingly random letters. Search for 15 hidden words related to Tokyo and the facts we just learned together. The words can be vertical or horizontal, and they’re often overlapping. Good luck!

A L O T P Z C C P A L N S F T S R B I F A S H I B U Y A Z G H A K A UH L N R K U O U L K I F G NW L E Y F G R E Y R L P T S V E C A P I T A L R HW S Q U R U J L O I C C F E AD T K I C H E R R Y B L O S S OM NW RM L R D E J E A Y X A A I A P O J A C H AWQ U U N A N I M E S L F R D S T P N I N T E B W B U E O E E S I Y F E S T I V A L K N R H B I WZ T Q P R B K F B Q R N J A P A NMA I A T P D T O K Y O S U I S L A ND O N R HO F R G I E C P H R G Y B I N G A U L E M P E R O R S D K T QM

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Welcome to your next challenge, young adventurers! It is time to further test your knowledge about Tokyo and the Japanese culture and traditions! Solve the clues below and fill in the crossword on the next page with the correct words.

ACROSS 1. The name of the muscular guardians of Buddha 2. Famous Japanese fish 3. Japanese wooden sandals worn with traditional garments 4. This recognizable Japanese white cat has a bow on her left ear 5. People dressing up as their favorite

DOWN 1. The name of the tallest structure in Japan 2. Traditional tiered buildings for Buddhist worship & meditation 3. Shares Tokyo’s letters & is the focus of Origins & Destination’s next issue 4. Traditional colorful Japanese garments 5. Second most populated city in the the world after Tokyo

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5 2 4

1 1

2 3

3

4 5


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#1

#2

I am a towering landmark, with lights that never sleep, Where neon signs & billboards in abundance leap. I stand tall in a bustling city, a sight to behold, In Tokyo’s heart, my story is told.

I am a temple, ancient & serene, Where prayers are whispered & wishes are seen. With a towering gate & lanterns aglow, In Asakusa, my splendor does show.

#5

#6

I am a district where fashion reigns supreme, With boutiques & trends that often gleam. In Tokyo’s streets, I am where style meets flair, A hub of creativity where the bold declare.

I am a tower that touches the sky, A modern marvel that reaches high. With panoramic views & technology’s might In Roppongi, I stand tall & bright.

W


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#3

#4

I am a river that winds through city’s heart, A lifeline that binds Tokyo from the start. With bridges that span & boats that glide, In Tokyo’s embrace, I peacefully reside.

I am a palace, steeped in regal grace, Where emperors once ruled with dignity & grace. With gardens serene & halls adorned, In Tokyo’s history, my legacy is born.

#7

#8

I am a crossing where crowds swirl & flow, A maze of bustling streets where people come & go. With every change of the light, a wave of motion starts, In Tokyo’s heart, I am where paths part.

I am a district where nightlife comes alive, With bars & clubs where spirits thrive. In the neon glow, I am where the party roars, A playground for the adventurous & the nocturnal explores.

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BEDTIME

STORIES


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TOKYO

TALES ADVENTURES o f EMMA & LIAM


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Chapter I

A Night

: Tokyo A Culinar y in

Adventure


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As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting Tokyo into a kaleidoscope of neon lights and bustling activity, two adventurous kids named Emma and Liam found themselves immersed in the vibrant tapestry of the city’s after-work culinary scene. With their backpacks filled with snacks and a map in hand, they set out to explore the hidden gems and tantalizing flavors that awaited them. As they wandered through the lively neighborhoods, the tantalizing aroma of grilled meats and savory dishes filled the air, drawing them towards a bustling alleyway adorned with colorful lanterns and bustling izakayas. “Wow, look at all these places!” exclaimed Emma, her eyes widening with excitement. “I know, right? It’s like a food lover’s paradise!” replied Liam, eagerly scanning the array of options before them. With their stomachs rumbling in anticipation, Emma and Liam made their way into one of the izakayas, where the sound of lively conversation and clinking glasses filled the air. They found themselves seated at a cozy table near the bustling kitchen, surrounded by locals unwinding after a long day of work. As they perused the menu, their mouths watering at the sight of mouthwatering dishes like yakitori skewers, gyoza dumplings, and sizzling okonomiyaki pancakes, they struck up a conversation with the friendly couple seated at the table next to them. “Hi there! Are you locals?” asked Emma, flashing a friendly smile.


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The couple, named Hiroshi and Ayumi, nodded warmly, their faces lighting up with smiles. “Yes, we are! Welcome to Tokyo,” replied Ayumi, gesturing to the array of delicious dishes spread out before them. “You’re in for a treat tonight.” “Thank you! We’re excited to try everything,” exclaimed Liam, his eyes gleaming with excitement. With Hiroshi and Ayumi’s guidance, Emma and Liam embarked on a culinary adventure, sampling a wide variety of dishes and flavors, from crispy tempura to savory izakaya-style tapas. With each bite, they savored the unique flavors and textures of Tokyo’s vibrant food scene, their taste buds tingling with delight. As the night wore on, they shared stories and laughter with their new friends, exchanging tales of their adventures and experiences in Tokyo. They learned about the rich culinary heritage of Japan, from the art of sushi-making to the intricacies of sake brewing, and gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of food in Japanese culture. With their bellies full and hearts warmed by the warmth and hospitality of the locals, Emma and Liam bid farewell to Hiroshi & Ayumi, their minds buzzing with excitement for the adventures that lay ahead. Little did they know, their culinary journey was just beginning, and the city had many more delicious surprises in store for them.


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Chapter II

Shibuya .

Crossing . Sur prises


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As the sun rose over Tokyo, casting its warm glow upon the bustling city streets, Emma and Liam eagerly set out to explore more of Tokyo’s wonders. Their next destination? The famous Shibuya Crossing – a place they had only heard about in stories, but now stood before them, ready to be conquered. As they approached Shibuya Crossing, Emma’s heart fluttered with excitement while Liam’s eyes sparkled with anticipation. The sheer magnitude of the crossing was overwhelming – a sea of people, cars, and flashing neon signs stretched out before them, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of organized chaos. “Wow, this is incredible!” exclaimed Emma, her voice barely audible over the cacophony of sounds. “I’ve never seen anything like it!” agreed Liam, his eyes darting around in every direction to take in the bustling scene. With a deep breath and a shared look of determination, Emma and Liam bravely stepped into the chaos of Shibuya Crossing. Dodging and weaving through the crowd with agility and determination, they navigated their way through the bustling intersection, their hearts pounding with adrenaline. But then, something unexpected happened – the heavens opened up, and rain began to pour down upon the city. Despite the sudden downpour, the people of Shibuya remained undeterred, their spirits unshaken as they continued to cross the intersection with grace and poise.


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Emma and Liam watched in awe as the crowd moved seamlessly through the rain, each person respecting the space of those around them and avoiding collisions with remarkable precision. Even in the midst of the chaos, there was an underlying sense of order & respect that permeated the air, a testament to the unwavering courtesy and civility of the people of Tokyo. “Look at everyone! Even in the rain, they’re so respectful,” remarked Emma, her admiration evident in her voice. “It’s like they’ve mastered the art of crossing,” added Liam, nodding in agreement. With a newfound appreciation for the people of Tokyo and their remarkable sense of etiquette, Emma and Liam continued their journey through the vibrant streets of Shibuya, eager to explore more of the city’s wonders. As they wandered through the bustling streets, they stumbled upon a quirky maid cafe, where waitresses dressed in frilly maid costumes served adorable desserts and performed cheerful songs and dances. Intrigued by the whimsical atmosphere, Emma and Liam decided to step inside and experience the unique charm of the maid cafe for themselves. “Welcome, master & princess! Please, come in and enjoy our special treats,” greeted a bubbly waitress, her eyes sparkling with excitement.


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With a giggle and a nod, Emma and Liam followed the waitress to their table, where they were presented with a menu filled with whimsical delights like rainbow-colored parfaits, heart-shaped pancakes, and cute animal-shaped cookies. They couldn’t help but giggle with delight as they sampled the adorable treats, savoring the sweet flavors and playful presentation. As they chatted & laughed with the friendly waitresses, Emma and Liam felt a sense of joy and camaraderie fill their hearts. They realized that in Tokyo, every corner held the promise of adventure and discovery, and they couldn’t wait to see what other surprises awaited them in this vibrant city. With their bellies full of sweet treats and their spirits lifted by the cheerful atmosphere of the maid cafe, Emma and Liam bid farewell to their new friends & continued their journey through Shibuya, eager to see what other wonders awaited them in this bustling neighborhood.


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Chapter III

The

Enchanted

Adventure Asakusa in


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As Emma & Liam continued their journey through Tokyo, they found themselves drawn to the historic neighborhood of Asakusa, where ancient traditions and modern wonders collided in a symphony of culture and heritage. Excitement bubbled within them as they approached the iconic Senso-ji Temple, its majestic pagoda and vibrant lanterns beckoning them forward with promises of adventure. Just as they were about to step through the temple gates, a sudden gust of wind swept through the air, swirling around them in a whirlwind of leaves and petals. Emma and Liam stumbled backward, their eyes wide with astonishment, as the wind coalesced into the form of a majestic dragon, its scales shimmering with iridescent colors. “Greetings, young travelers,” boomed the dragon’s voice, resonating with power & wisdom. “I am Ryujin, guardian of the Senso-ji Temple. Welcome to this sacred place.” Emma and Liam exchanged astonished glances, their hearts pounding with excitement at the sight before them. Ryujin gestured for them to follow, his majestic wings unfurling as he led them deeper into the heart of the temple. As they walked, Emma couldn’t contain her curiosity any longer. “Ryujin, how did you come to be the guardian of this temple?” The dragon chuckled softly, his eyes twinkling with ancient wisdom. “Long ago, when this temple was first built, the gods chose me to watch over it and protect it from harm. It has been my honor and duty ever since.” Liam’s eyes widened in awe. “That’s amazing! So, you’ve been here for centuries?”


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Ryujin nodded. “Indeed, young Liam. But enough about me. Let me show you the wonders of this temple and teach you the traditions that have been passed down through generations.” With a sense of wonder and excitement, Emma and Liam followed Ryujin through the bustling temple grounds, where worshippers prayed and pilgrims made offerings to the gods. They stopped at a fortune-telling booth, where a wise old monk awaited them, his eyes twinkling with hidden knowledge. “Welcome, young travelers,” greeted the monk, his voice warm and inviting. “I am Master Kaito. Here, you will learn the art of fortune reading.” Emma and Liam exchanged eager glances, their curiosity piqued. “We’d love to learn!” exclaimed Emma, her eyes shining with excitement. Master Kaito smiled and nodded, beckoning them closer. “Very well. Let us begin.” As the monk shuffled a deck of ancient cards, he explained the significance of each card and its role in divining the future. Emma and Liam listened intently, hanging on his every word as he revealed the secrets of the cards and interpreted their meanings. But their adventure was far from over. Ryujin led them to a sacred incense burner, where worshippers gathered to cleanse their spirits and seek blessings from the gods. With Ryujin’s guidance, Emma and Liam learned the proper way to perform the ritual, lighting a bundle of incense and allowing the fragrant smoke to envelop them in its purifying embrace.


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As they breathed in the sweet scent of the incense, Emma and Liam felt a sense of peace and serenity wash over them. They closed their eyes and offered their prayers to the gods, feeling a deep connection to the ancient traditions of Japan and the spiritual power of the temple. As they bid farewell to Ryujin, Master Kaito, and the Senso-ji Temple, Emma and Liam felt a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunity to experience its magic and teachings. They knew that their journey had only just begun, but they carried with them the wisdom & blessings of Asakusa, guiding them on their adventures yet to come. “Thank you, Ryujin, for showing us the wonders of this temple,” Emma said, her voice filled with sincerity. “It was my pleasure, young ones,” replied Ryujin, his eyes shimmering with pride. “Remember, the lessons you have learned here will guide you on your journey.” Liam nodded, his mind still reeling from the incredible experience. “We won’t forget,” he promised. Turning to Master Kaito, Emma extended her hand in gratitude. “And thank you, Master Kaito, for teaching us the art of fortune reading. It was truly enlightening.” Master Kaito smiled warmly, clasping Emma’s hand in his own. “You are most welcome, young one. May the wisdom of the cards always guide you on your path.”


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As they said their farewells and made their way back through the temple grounds, Emma and Liam felt a sense of peace and contentment wash over them. They knew that they had experienced something truly special, something that would stay with them for the rest of their lives. As they stepped out into the bustling streets of Asakusa once more, Emma glanced at Liam with a smile. “Our journey is just beginning, Liam. Who knows what other adventures await us?” Liam grinned back, his eyes shining with excitement. “I can’t wait to find out, Emma. But one thing’s for sure – we’ll always carry the wisdom and blessings of Asakusa with us, wherever we go.”


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Chapter IV

Kimono Quest The


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Eager to dive deeper into Japanese culture, Emma and Liam eagerly embarked on their next adventure: trying on traditional kimonos. With excitement bubbling within them, they set off to find a local kimono rental shop, ready to embrace the elegance and tradition of Japan. Upon arriving at the quaint shop nestled in a side street of Asakusa, Emma and Liam were greeted by friendly staff who welcomed them with warm smiles. “Welcome, young travelers! Are you here to try on some kimono?” asked the shopkeeper, her eyes twinkling with excitement. “Absolutely!” exclaimed Emma, her face lighting up with enthusiasm. “We’ve been looking forward to this all day!” The shopkeeper led them to a room filled with rows of colorful kimono, each one more beautiful than the last. With the help of expert stylists, Emma and Liam sifted through the racks, marveling at the intricate patterns and vibrant hues. “I think I’ll go for this one,” said Emma, holding up a stunning silk kimono adorned with delicate cherry blossoms. “It suits you perfectly,” agreed Liam, admiring the elegant design. After much deliberation, Emma and Liam were finally ready to be transformed into elegant geisha and noble samurai. With the help of the skilled stylists, they donned their kimono with care, ensuring every fold and sash was just right.


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As they stepped out of the dressing room, Emma and Liam couldn’t help but gasp in awe at their reflections in the mirror. Emma was a vision in her graceful kimono, her hair styled into an elaborate updo adorned with delicate flowers. Liam looked equally impressive in his traditional samurai attire, his sword gleaming at his side. “Wow, we look amazing!” exclaimed Emma, twirling around in delight.

“We sure do!” agreed Liam, unable to wipe the grin off his face. With their transformation complete, Emma and Liam ventured out into the streets of Asakusa, their hearts swelling with pride at their newfound elegance. As they walked arm in arm, they attracted curious stares and admiring glances from passersby, feeling like royalty for a day. “Look at us, Emma! We’re turning heads everywhere we go,” said Liam, unable to contain his excitement. “I know, right? It’s like we’ve stepped into a different era,” replied Emma, her eyes shining with joy. Their kimono adventure took them to the bustling Nakamise-dori shopping street, where they sampled traditional snacks & posed for photos with tourists eager to capture the essence of Japanese culture. They even stumbled upon a group of street performers putting on a traditional dance performance, joining in the fun and laughter with gusto. As the sun began to dip below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the bustling streets of Asakusa, Emma and Liam reluctantly made their way back to the kimono rental shop, their hearts full of memories and their minds buzzing with excitement. They walked hand in hand, reminiscing about the day’s adventures and laughing at the funny moments they had shared.


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“Can you believe how amazing today was?” exclaimed Emma, her eyes sparkling with joy. “I know, right? Trying on a kimono and walking around like royalty – it was like a dream come true!” replied Liam, his grin stretching from ear to ear. As they reached the entrance of the shop, the friendly shopkeeper greeted them with a warm smile. “Welcome back, young ones! Did you enjoy your kimono adventure?” Emma and Liam nodded enthusiastically, eager to share their tales of the day’s escapades. “It was incredible! We felt like we were part of a fairy tale,” exclaimed Emma, her voice filled with excitement. The shopkeeper chuckled softly, her eyes twinkling with amusement. “I’m glad to hear that. You both looked absolutely stunning in your kimono.” With a sense of reluctance, Emma and Liam handed back their rented kimono, their hearts heavy with the realization that their kimono adventure was coming to an end. But as they bid farewell to the shopkeeper and stepped out into the twilight, they knew that their journey through Japan was far from over. “So, what’s next on our adventure list?” asked Liam, turning to Emma with a mischievous grin. Emma paused for a moment, her mind racing with possibilities. “Well, how about we explore some more of Tokyo tomorrow? Maybe visit a traditional tea house or check out a sumo wrestling match?” Liam’s eyes lit up with excitement at the suggestion. “That sounds amazing! I can’t wait to see what other surprises Japan has in store for us.”


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Chapter V

Last

Day in

Tokyo


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As the first rays of sunlight danced across the sky, casting Tokyo in a warm golden hue, Emma and Liam were already brimming with excitement for the day ahead. Their hearts fluttered with anticipation as they embarked on their culinary adventure, eager to immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of flavors and aromas that awaited them at the city’s renowned food market. With every step, their anticipation grew, fueled by the promise of new discoveries and delicious treats awaiting them. Their journey began with a visit to a quaint café nestled within the bustling marketplace, where the rich aroma of hot chocolate enveloped them like a comforting embrace. As they stepped inside, their senses were overwhelmed by the cozy ambiance and the tantalizing scent of chocolate drifting through the air. It wasn’t just any café – it was rumored to be a favorite haunt of the legendary John Lennon, adding an extra layer of intrigue to their experience. “Can you believe we’re in the same café as John Lennon?” Emma exclaimed, her eyes wide with wonder as she gazed around the charming interior. Liam nodded in awe, a smile playing on his lips. “It’s incredible. Imagine the stories this place could tell.” Their thoughts were interrupted by the friendly barista behind the counter, who greeted them with a warm smile. “Welcome! What can I get for you today?” Emma glanced at the menu, her eyes lighting up with excitement. “I’ll have a rich and creamy hot chocolate, please, with extra marshmallows.”


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“Sounds delicious,” the barista replied with a grin. “And for you?” she asked, turning to Liam. “I’ll have the same, please,” Liam said, mirroring Emma’s order with a grin. As they waited for their drinks, Emma and Liam couldn’t help but soak in the atmosphere of the café, imagining the famous patrons who had once graced its tables. Their drinks arrived, steaming and indulgent, and they settled into a cozy booth by the window, eager to sip and savor every moment. “This hot chocolate is heavenly,” Emma sighed, her eyes closing in bliss as she took a sip. Liam nodded in agreement, a contented smile on his face. “It’s the perfect way to start our day.” Their hot chocolates finished, Emma and Liam set off to explore the bustling marketplace, their senses buzzing with anticipation. As they weaved through the maze of stalls, the aroma of sizzling meats and fragrant spices enveloped them, enticing them with promises of culinary delights. “Wow, look at all the food!” Emma exclaimed, her eyes wide with excitement as she scanned the colorful displays. “I know, right? I don’t even know where to start!” Liam replied, his stomach rumbling in agreement.


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Their first stop was a stall selling savory yakitori skewers, each one grilled to perfection over an open flame. As they approached, the friendly vendor greeted them with a warm smile. “Would you like to try some yakitori?” he asked, skewering a juicy piece of chicken and handing it to Emma. Emma eagerly accepted the skewer, taking a bite and savoring the smoky flavor. “Mmm, this is delicious!” she exclaimed, her taste buds tingling with delight. Liam nodded in agreement, his mouth full of tender chicken. “Yeah, it’s so flavorful!” Their next stop was a stall selling fluffy takoyaki balls, each one filled with succulent octopus and drizzled with savory sauce. As they watched the skilled chef expertly flip the takoyaki in a sizzling pan, Emma and Liam’s mouths watered in anticipation. “I’ve always wanted to try takoyaki!” Emma said, her eyes sparkling with excitement as she reached for a piping hot ball. Liam grinned, eagerly following suit. “Me too! Let’s see what all the fuss is about.” As they bit into the crispy exterior, the creamy interior burst with flavor, and they couldn’t help but close their eyes in bliss. “This is amazing!” Emma exclaimed, her cheeks flushed with excitement. “I couldn’t agree more,” Liam replied, his face lighting up with a smile. “I could eat these all day!”


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Their culinary adventure reached its peak when they stumbled upon a stall selling Japanese omelet on a stick – a unique and delicious treat they had never encountered before. As they approached, the vendor greeted them with a friendly smile. “Would you like to try some Japanese omelet?” Emma and Liam exchanged excited glances before eagerly accepting the skewers. As they bit into the fluffy omelet, their taste buds danced with delight, and they couldn’t help but let out satisfied sighs. “This is incredible!” Emma exclaimed, her eyes shining with excitement. “I totally agree,” Liam replied, his mouth full of omelet. “I’ve never tasted anything like it!” With their bellies full and their hearts happy, Emma and Liam continued to explore the market, eager to discover even more culinary treasures. As they sampled their way through the stalls, their bond grew stronger, and their love for adventure deepened. Emma and Liam knew that their culinary adventure was just the beginning of their journey through Tokyo’s vibrant and enchanting food scene.


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As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the bustling streets of Tokyo, Emma and Liam found themselves enchanted by the magic of the city. With hearts full of memories and minds buzzing with excitement, they reluctantly bid farewell to the vibrant metropolis that had captured their hearts. Friends made their way to the train station, the anticipation of their next adventure filled them with excitement. With each step, they reflected on the unforgettable experiences they had shared in Tokyo – from exploring hidden alleyways to savoring exotic flavors at the bustling food market. They boarded the train bound for Kyoto, Emma &


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Liam couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and wonder for the journey that lay ahead. With their hearts full of gratitude for the memories they had made, they eagerly looked forward to the adventures that awaited them in the ancient city of Kyoto. “I am excited” - giggled Emma. “Me too” - whispered Liam, smiling. And as the train pulled away from the station, they knew that their journey was far from over – for the spirit of adventure would guide them wherever they went, filling their hearts with joy and their minds with dreams of new horizons.


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Keys Word Puzzle

5

D E P 4 1 S A K L 1 K O N G O R I K I S H I Y I O M T O D R A N E 2 K O I E 3 G E T A 3 K O Y W 4 H E L L O K I T T Y R T 5 C O S P L A Y 2

Crossword


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Riddles

# 1 To k yo To w e r # 2 S e n s o - j i Te m p l e #3 Sumida River # 4 T h e I m p e r i a l Pa l a c e #5 Harajuku # 6 To k yo S k y t r e e To w e r #7 Shibuya Crossing #8 Shinjuku


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N E X T

April 20 2024


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THE

S TO RYb e h i n d the

PHOTOGRAPHERS O LYA H I L L brings her passion & professional

background in production into all she does, both creatively & professionally. She brings years of research into the psychology of customer behavior and is widely known for her work as the Creative Director for LivingNotes®. Her work in photography has been sought after by many global brands. She maintains a leading edge on creating visual presentations that have wowed readers and clients alike. Olya is a well-respected & sought-after thought leader and innovator in the fields of advertising and human psychology. She has developed unique methods of using color undertones and hues to shape viewers’ emotional responses. While undetectable, these methods have been proven effective to promote specific reactions from readers when viewing images and videos. Her work has been featured in various digital and print publications such as Goop, Parents, Pregnancy and Newborn, Real Simple, and Thrive Global to name a few. Her unique creative advertising ideas have been placed on the Times Square Billboards.

B O B B Y A M I R E B R A H I M I , a Los Angeles

based photographer, grew up among his dad’s rolls of film and camera lenses with many hours spent at shoots and in the darkroom having endless conversations on techniques, composition, & what it takes to create compelling images. Bobby’s singular perspective, creativity, and storytelling abilities combined with his technical perfection are apparent in every single one of his shots. He mainly draws inspiration from nature and people as he gravitates to create real and meaningful memories of moments when light, shadows, emotions, & imagination come together in perfect harmony. His experience, expertise, and ability to create are very diverse. Bobby is able to create imagery that one would expect to be found in National Geographic just as easily as capturing street style in a film-like matter. He is also fully accomplished in producing commercial imagery. His unique take on seemingly ordinary objects & the ability to combine that with clients’ vision is one of Bobby’s biggest strengths.


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CATALOGUE

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ere is a catalogue of the pictures used in this editorial that are available to be ordered. All you need to do is to fill out this form and you will forever own a piece of our memories from Tokyo. If you are a Fine Art collector, please take a look at our Fine Art catalogues: Collectible Unique Pieces Collectible Limited Series As a reminder, a portion of the proceeds from all sales goes to The Lion Foundation to support Maasai people and also protecting lion prides and the precious and very important ecosystem of Serengeti National Park and beyond.


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