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japan billboard advertisingTeam Lab Borderless (preferred to Team Lab Planets). As hard as they try (very hard), they still can’t beat the real thing. Also a caution about AI as art - whatever happened to authors?; and is interaction the future of visits to art galleries? Otherwise a show stealer.

Billboard Jazz – very cool (icey – meet the Tokyo set and see a show).

Imperial Palace Gardens – not many great parks in Tokyo – this is one.

Miho Gallery – also cool.

Suntory Gallery – very smart, and requires slow engagement of the great Japanese art of ceramics. Go slowly

Anything in Ueno Park.

The library on 6th Floor at Ginza Six – beyond cool.

Sushi Ryujiro – omakase (don’t tell anyone).


The Moss Temple – serene.

The monkeys (in the wild), bamboo forest, and Okochi Sanso garden at Arashiyama.

Philosophers’ Walk – very philosophical and gorgeous (watch the price of coffee on the way).

Miyaki Odoro traditional dancing in the spring – old fashioned, but so it should be.

Jiki Miyazawa – omakase (again please don't tell anyone).

Hotel Mume – ok to tell people (see elsewhere in Travel).


Toriyasu yakitori (definitely do not tell anyone)

Kasuga Taishi temple – the most beautiful of all the temples

Mt Yoshino – start at the top and walk down. Absolutely do not start from the bottom unless you are working on your daily flights.


Yayoi Kusama spotted pumpkinsTeshima has the star attraction, the Art Museum – worth the day. You’ll never see rivulets of water like it again.

Naoshima – everything Benesse, in particular the magnificent Monet Water Lillies (enter with no shoes in numbers very closely limited) – in pure reverence - and Walter de Maria installation at the Chichu museum.

And watch out for the Yayoi Kusama spotted pumpkins – cameras at the ready.

New Olympia restaurant – fish, possibly caught in nearby waters (yum). Very good for stays in the main port area, Miyanoura. Also Umikko and Nakaoku.

And please use the nearby bath house – easily Japan’s looniest.

Generally bath houses are a winner. Give up all clothing and all inhibitions – you won’t look back and you’ll feel great once you have managed the heat of the water – doesn’t take long and it is meant to be good for you. Plus everyone gets super clean before entering the water. Worth it just to see how very serious Japanese bathers are about getting clean.


Morning prayers and the fire ceremony at the Ekoin temple – pray for peace.

The cemetery tour at night and paying respects to the clan leader Kobo Daishi who died in 835 AD and who is said to be still alive inside his mausoleum and is brought food in a Buddhist ceremony conducted every day – very Japanese.


Stand at the T-bridge in the middle of town and think (very) deeply about the moment that the A bomb was dropped in August 1945 and exploded 600 metres directly overhead. You would have been vaporised, which would have been lucky compared with the burns, poisoning and cancers suffered by people further away.

Be amazed at the smart city which has recovered so quickly after its complete destruction. How come the stricken people stayed in the city? How did they do it? What can’t they do?

Guttsuri-ann restaurant for fish (you can tell people about this one, but still very good).

Hilton Hotel – great cocktail hour (learn about highballs) and fantastic swimming pool. Terrific place to stay.

Sanjai (nearby to Hiroshima) – the sakes, especially try the gold leaf sake at Kamotsuru.


Takayama procession and lantern dispayKenrokuen garden.

The Noh Theatre museum, and do get dressed up.

Tile restaurant – an experience in small town cool – rice bowls like you have never had before (I promise).


The Spring and Autumn Festivals – if you can make it. The pride of this small and passionate city on display with grand processions and the fabulous lantern displays on the grand Yitai floats. One of Japan’s true Festival spectacles.

Mercure Hotel – great outdoor public bath.

And do keep a watch out for Mt Fuji on the left side of the train back to Tokyo through Nagoya – it creeps up on you just outside Shizuoka on the left side of the train. You will never forget it.

And generally learn to bow many times over and be gracious, humble and thankful (origato ziemas). And there is so much more to see and enjoy. You will need to come again.

Of course, it was not always thus, as family memories in Australia will recall, but thankfully those times are long gone.

Oh, and watch out for the beguiling cherry blossoms in early spring. They will steal your heart away and then lose their petals once they have taken you in – a dangerous romance, but worth the sacrifice.

See Gallery for photos.