Japon Head

Everything moves fast, this was out first impression when we arrived in Japan, everything is super organized, people are very polite, respectful and kind, always willing to help the lost tourist.
What we like most about Japan were the bullet trains (Shinkansen), comfortable, super fast and efficient. It’s the best way to travel around Japan. Like everything in Japan they are expensive but you can buy special tourist tickets, for one, two or three weeks, which allows you to take as many trains as you want. These tickets can only be purchased outside Japan (see travel info)
We were amazed at the punctuality, for example there were trains leaving at 9:02, 9:07, 9:12 ... This punctuality is due to Japanese efficiency, the platforms specified exactly which car number you had to jump in to.
There are staff pushing people to fit into the wagon.  Although the metro is packed, it is completely silent, most people are looking at their mobile phones  which is because, as we found out, they are sending emails, and of course, they have them in silence mode.


Tokyo is a very large city, (over 35 million inhabitants !!!) with many neighborhoods with not too high buildings, separated by just half a meter between them to cope with frequent earthquakes. The interior spaces are very small, minimal. We just saw skyscrapers in the business and commercial centers, among them there were temples and gardens to relax, meticulously maintained.
We were very pleasantly surprised to see that many people used the bicycle on a daily basis, even in the rain. There is parking for bikes on various floors. There are not many cars in the outlying areas since to own a car in Japan you must first have the space to park it. The car shape seems tailored to fit the parking spaces.
The best way to get around in Tokyo is by metro, easy to use when you understand that there are different companies and therefore different tickets. Itis an unique experience to travel in rush hour, stuck together like peas in a pod

What did we do?

  • Metropolitan Government Building Tokyo
    View from Metopolitan BuildingSpectacular view of Tokyo. It is free!!!

  • Hama-Rikyu Garden
    Hama-RikyuA Edo period Japanese garden. Belonged to the Tokugawa Shogun family. There is a pond connected to the sea. Entry ¥ 300, includes audio visual guide.l.

  • Asakusa
    AsakusaWe stayed in this neighborhood, a good base camp to explore Tokyo and it is well connected  to the airport and to travel by underground to visit other quarters. The biggest attraction is Asakusa temple with a giant red paper lantern.

  • Shinjuku
    ShinjukuThe most important commercial and administrative center of Tokyo. Its famous train station is the most widely used in the world (an average of 3 million people use the station daily).

  • Shibuya
    ShibuyaLeaving the Shibuya station, you discover the Tokyo you have imagined. The Shibuya cross, a spectacle of neon lights, huge TV screens, noisy arcades, boutiques, crowded streets with mainly young people. Like Time Square in New York or Piccadilly Circus in London.
    Here you will also find Love Hotel Hill, full of love hotels, many of them thematic.

  • Ueno
    UenoThis is a posh neighbourhood with several outdoor markets, many bars and restaurants serving delicious Yakatoris (Japanese little skewers). We didn’t  visit the famous park because it was raining.

  • Tsukiji Central Mercado de Pescado
    Mercado PescadoThe largest fish market in the world. We got up at 5:00AM  to see the tuna auction. We were a little bit disappointed because all the tuna we saw was frozen and we couldn’t  see the filleting of fresh tuna. We were told that only 10% of the tuna that arrives is fresh and the area where they fillet the tuna is not open to the public. However, we believe that the visit was worth it, since we saw a lot of seafood that we didn’t know. The most enjoyable part was breakfast , we had Shasimi (super fresh) in one of the many restaurants. We also bought tuna to prepare Shasimi for dinner.

  • Ropongi Hills
    RopongiIs like a "micro futuristic city" in the neighbourhood of Ropongi. The complex includes over 800 apartments, offices of major companies, a cinema, a hotel, bars and expensive restaurants, museums, shopping center and a TV studio.

  • Tokio Tower
    Tokio TowerA communications tower inspired by the Effiel tower, 8.6 higher and painted in orange and white. The views are supposed to be spectacular, we didn’t go up because it was cloudy and probably we had to pay. On the first floor there is an aquarium and the third a wax museum.

  • Zojo Temple
    Zojo TempleBehind the Tokyo Tower. It was a funeral temple during the Tokugawa regime. It was rebuilt and relocated several times due to war, fires and other disasters. It is one of the most important temples in Tokyo.

  • Yoyogi Park
    Yoyogi ParkIt has become one of the major attractions in Tokyo, it’s a park where you can meet urban gangs such as, rockers, gothics, lolitas ... Although most people now are tourists hunting to  take pictures with the most freaky characters.

  • Akijabara
    AkijabaraIs a shopping area, most shops here are dedicated to selling electronic products, computers, accessories and gadgets, plus audio-visual entertainment such as  manga and video games

Where did we stay?

Asakusa Smile .Located in the Asakusa neighbourhood and is very well connected by underground. Tinny rooms with a bunk bed. It looked clean but we had  small nocturnal visitors in Marisol ‘s bed. We changed our room  the following night which was a little bit bigger and without visitors.
Double room shared bathroom and free welcome cocktail. ¥ 2200 per person
JGH (Nishi-Kawaguchi). If the rooms in Asakusa were small, they were even smaller here. They were private and communal at the same time, separated by very thin timber which did not reach from bottom to top, making it possible to share the same light with  neighbors.
The owner was a pain in the ass and very rude.  The best thing was the breakfast that was included. The girl on reception was very nice and mortified by her boss.
Double room shared bathroom included breakfast. ¥ 2200 per person


We went to Okayama to visit our friend Alexis who we met in Beijing. We stayed at her house two days.
Okayama is a good base camp since there are interesting sites around and it’s not far from Hiroshima by train.

What did we do?

  • Koraku-En

    They say that it's one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan, but we liked  the Hama-Rikyu garden in Tokyo more and  this is not among the top three. This is more extensive but in our opinion it has too much grass. What does give it special charm are the views to the Okayama Castle. Entrance cost ¥ 350.

  • Okayama-Jö
    Beautiful Japanese Castle, completely rebuilt after World War II. From here there are nice views to Koraku garden . Entrance costs ¥ 800. We preferred to see it from outside..

Where did we stay?

Alexis' House. The cheapest and the best place we've been in Japan. He was a great host and made us feel at home


KotohiraMany people come here on pilgrimage, there is a mountain with endless steps and a small temple at the top. Kotohira is also famous for Udon Noodles (thick noodles). We did not go on a pilgrimage but we did climb to the temple, we went specially to learn how to make the noodles. We did a course which was really good fun, to our surprise the dough is kneaded by feet and we danced on it, then we cooked them. They were the best noodles we ate in Japan. Soon we will post the recipe in the gastronomy section so you can make them at home.
The day we went to Kotohira we were lucky because there was a party on. The people were carrying a stand with a big drum on their shoulders, It was similar to a religious Spanish Easter  passage but instead of a saint there was a child playing a drum, relentlessly. The competing troupes raising and waving them over and some judges were giving scores. It was fun..


A-Dome BombeUnfortunately known for what happened on August 6, 1945.
We visited the Peace Park where there are several monuments to the victims:

  • El Cenotaph which contains the names of all known victims.
  • The Flame of Peace which will turn off when there is  not a nuclear weapon in the worldo.
  • The monument to Sadako Sasaki in honour of children, inspired by  a 10 year old girl victim of leukemia who decided to make a paper chain of 1000 links. According to an ancient Japanese tradition when you finish the paper chain your wish will come true. She died before its completion, her classmates completed it and now people deposit paper chains at this monument.
  • Bombe A-Dome. This is the symbol of destruction, a building that has been left in ruins located near the Peace Park, the bomb exploded almost on top of it. It had formerly been the industrial promotion center.
  • Peace Museum. Recounts the events before and after the explosion. The visit is overwhelming

Where did we stay?

Aster Plaza.  A good hotel with attractive price located near the Peace Park. The hotel has a very good restaurant, not too expensive.
Double room with bath ¥ 3600 per person.


MiyajimaIt is an island near Hiroshima, famous for floating red Tori (gate).It is a top tourist site. Besides the Tori there are several temples and  walking around was very nice, it's also fun to see the deer to roam around the village. We went by train from Hiroshima by JR and then by ferry, both tickets are included with the tourist train tickets.


We discovered the most traditional Japan, beautiful temples and gardens, geishas appearing and disappearing into alleys and houses that seemed from another era.

  • Kyoto Tower
    Kyoto TowerYou find it without looking for it, opposite the train station is a good reference point to get around Kyoto. Offers beautiful 360 degree views of Kyoto.

  • Gion Corner
    Esquina GionOne minute walk from Keihan Shijo Station, it’s a neighborhood in which you can see geishas going in and out of restaurants and tea houses. With many historic buildings and charming corners. The Dori Shinmozen street is considered the most beautiful street in Kyoto and they say that one of the most beautiful in Asia.

  • Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine (Million gates)
    Fushimi It is a 5 temples complex joined by paths 4 km long. The paths are covered by red Toris (doors). One of the most visited temples in Japan. 

  • Nonomiya –Jinja Shrine
    NonomiyaTemple with garden and small lake and beautiful bamboo forest.

  • Nishiki food market
    Nishiki food market Very interesting visit to one of the best food market in Kyoto where we could see and taste many of the ingredients used in Japanese cuisine.

¿Dónde dormimos?

Sakura house. We struggled to find this hostel. Rooms futon type, means sleeping on the floor. We had visitors again during the night so the next day we moved to a different room without visitors situated on the roof of the building. The multitask staff were very kind and efficient.
Double room with shared bath ¥ 1800 per person


NaraOne hour from Kyoto by train, was the first capital of Japan and now it is Unesco heritage town, home of many beautiful Buddhist temples with great historical interest, located in the Spring Park. It is worth spending two days here, walking through the huge Spring Park and visiting the many temples. 


NikkoNorth of Tokyo, a sacred place where there is a complex of ancient temples in a beautiful natural environment. It is also anUNESCO Heritage Site. . You can visit in one day leaving early from Tokyo but we recommend spending the night there, to visit all the temples and the natural park with lakes, mountains and waterfalls, we did not have the time to do it, and we were not prepared to go to National Park because we were wearing summer clothes and we were told that in the park was pretty cold.
Entrance to the complex temples¥1000


    1€ ≈ ¥150
    1 bottle of water (we drunk tap water)
    1 beer ≈¥ 300
    Bowl of ramen ≈ ¥ 400
    1 subway ticket pass=¥ 700


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