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Licensed To Drive..Finally!! images

Licensed To Drive..Finally!!

This article was originally published on my blog site on January 2008. Please come and visit to see more about my experiences in living and working in Japan.About 6 years ago I attempted to get a Japanese drivers license, since I was still driving with an internati…(4721 words)

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Tokyo Train Trip Ticket Japan license driving car Police test
Uji-kintoki is best in summer! images

Uji-kintoki is best in summer!

Japanese shaved ice is called kakigori. There are a variety of flavors, and a traditional kind is Uji-kintoki which is flavored with green tea syrup and anko (sweet azuki beans). Kakigori is available in a wide range of quality: ranging from average quality found at the local grocery, to high q…(90 words)

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Tea Green tea Milk Summer
Minshuku, the Best Way to Experience Japan images

Minshuku, the Best Way to Experience Japan

There are many different kinds of ryokan/minshuku in Japan and you can see definitions of them at I like minshukus best as they small and more personable. The owners run the minshuku and cook the meals. They take great pride preparing meal…(141 words)

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Jeff Aasgaard

Minshuku Tokyo Kyoto Osaka Japanese inn Trip
New Year's like a true local images

New Year's like a true local

If you want to have a relaxing winter, I recommend staying at a ryokan with a “kotatsu.” Kotatsu are tables with a futon and a heater that keep your feet (and therefore your body) warm during the cold winter months. Families often stay under this and eat mikan (a type of tangerine sold during the w…(108 words)

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New year Music Japanese inn Rice cracker Futon Mandarin orange Winter
Japanese Traditional Bed and Breakfasts: Minshuku images

Japanese Traditional Bed and Breakfasts: Minshuku

A minshuku is a traditional Japanese bed and breakfast. Minshuku can be found all over Japan but are common especially in tourist spots. Unlike larger ryokan, which are more like traditional Japanese hotels with hot springs and other facilities, minshuku are usually run by the family and are small.…(197 words)

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Minshuku Building Japanese inn Lodging Trip
Recycling is good for our living enviornment images

Recycling is good for our living enviornment

The positive attitude towards recycling system will change our action completely. It will be really easy to seperate burnable and non-burnable once we get used to it. I was still seperating all the trash when I was visiting America since I can never mix everything again once I have done it all the …(144 words)

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Cozy Places to Stay for Foreigners in Japan images

Cozy Places to Stay for Foreigners in Japan

The very strict laws about hotel licenses in Japan require all serviced apartments to rent from only one month or longer. These are fully furnished, have cleaning service and best of all a 24 hour toll-free hotline in English so that if you need assistance during your stay, there is always someone …(169 words)


Stay Japan places to stay Tokyo Yokohama Hotel Nagoya Summer
Business Hotels images

Business Hotels

Business hotels are much cheaper than regular hotels. They tend to be located near stations, convention centers, and facilties where meetings and events are held. The rooms tend to be much smaller and less "plush" than regular hotels. For example, there may be a refrigerator in the room for your…(133 words)

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Andrea Miyata

Traditional Japanese lodging images

Traditional Japanese lodging

The two most common traditional Japanese lodging facilities are ryokan and minshuku. The biggest differences between the two is usually the price and type of services offered. A ryokan is a full service facility, usually accompanied by a fairly high price. Many ryokan are located in popular tour…(98 words)

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Japanese inn Onsen Lodging Minshuku
It is priced per person images

It is priced per person

Japanese ryokan fare is provided per person, not per room. I sounds unreasonable and sometimes too expensive, but the fare includes gastronomic dinner served in a guest room and breakfast as well. At the end, considering all the services and meals rendered they are not necessarily that expensive.(48 words)

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Japanese inn
Hydrangea images


Viewing the hydrangea is one of the ways to spend the early summer season. You can either see them on the streets, or visit some locations famous for hydrangea. Meigetsu-in and Hase-dera are two of the many famous temples in Kamakura. The best time to visit is from mid-June to early-July. However, …(61 words)

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Kamakura Hydrangea Summer
Delicious foods images

Delicious foods

A variety of delicious foods are harvested during Autumn in Japan. You can go out to rice paddy, fields and mountains to enjoy harvesting rice, mushrooms and potato. To cook and eat such foods with your friends is an awesome way to enjoy the season.(45 words)

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Hiking and Onsen ( Hot Spring) images

Hiking and Onsen ( Hot Spring)

Autumn is great season for hiking, what's so special about hiking in Japan is not only you enjoy autumn leaves, you get an opportunity to visit onsen (Hot spring). Of course, you have to choose place where onsen is available but it's so refreshing to have onsen especially after spending a day in hi…(54 words)

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Onsen Hiking Spring Autumn
Manga Stores, the New Fun Hotels in Japan images

Manga Stores, the New Fun Hotels in Japan

Manga kissa or manga cafes can be found all over Japan. For about 300 yen an hour (the price depends on the place) you can use all facilities, which includes a private cubicle with a mattress, thousands of manga, DVDs, a personal TV, personal computer, internet, and games. Some places also have a s…(105 words)

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Manga Comic cafe Japan Tokyo Arcade Computer Billiard Internet Yen
HANAMI (a MUST-DO) images


THE thing to do in Japan during the spring is hanami. Even as a Japanese who has lived and grown up in Japan, I am still astounded by the beauty of the cherry blossoms. It can be difficult to estimate when the cherry blossoms will fully bloom, because the condition changes depending on the temperat…(212 words)

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Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) Park Drink Sake (Rice wine) Cherry blossom Beauty Cherry Grilled meat barbeque Apple Spring
Make Mochi! A Fun New Years Family Event in Japan images

Make Mochi! A Fun New Years Family Event in Japan

In my opinion, there is nothing better to do in Japan during winter than participate in "mochi-tsuki" and eat fresh and delicious mochi. Mochi-tsuki is a Japanese New Year's tradition and events will be held around the first of January. Usually "Mochi-tsuki" is hosted by the neighbourhood communit…(123 words)

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Mochi (Rice cake) Japan Event Jinjya (Shrine) Japanese New Year New year Winter Art
Easy as pie! images

Easy as pie!

The process of checking-in is similar to that of hotels in other countries. You should go to the front desk and tell them your name and other information to do with your reservation. From that point onwards, the employees will guide you on the use of the room ticket, meals, how to get around, when …(94 words)

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Stay in a Japanese Hotel Without the Extra Costs images

Stay in a Japanese Hotel Without the Extra Costs

If you are interested in saving some money on accommodation but you still want to stay at a minshuku (Japanese bed and breakfast), consider doing "sudomari". Typically, a stay at a minshuku will include at least one meal. Although this meal will probably be very delicious, made using the best local…(96 words)

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Hotel Minshuku activities breakfast Japanese inn
Business vs Economy images

Business vs Economy

Serviced apartments in Tokyo tend to be some of the nicest options you could possibly have for housing. Many foreign businessmen choose a serviced apartment over a long term hotel stay, for obvious reasons of comfort, and avoiding the logistics of moving into a new place, dealing with Japanese real…(143 words)

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Tokyo Hotel Transportation


Other than observing the leaves change color from green to brown, red and yellow, to me autumn means delicious food. My favorite thing to do in autumn is to wait for the yakiimo (cooked sweet potato) truck come around town, selling piping hot sweet potato. The smell of the sweet potato wafts to you…(102 words)

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Convenience store Autumn
Natsumatsuri and Suika Wari - like a local images

Natsumatsuri and Suika Wari - like a local

During the summer, other than going to the beach and pool, there are two things that I love to do:1) Go to natsumatsuri (summer festival). These are festivals held throughout the country to celebrate the summer season. Many Japanese women wear yukata (traditional Japanese summer clothing) (men …(208 words)

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Watermelon Game Okonomiyaki Yukata (Light kimono) Summer
Oakwood Residences-Great for senior executives staying in Japan for 1-6mons! images

Oakwood Residences-Great for senior executives staying in Japan for 1-6mons!

Oakwood are luxury serviced apartments for senior executives. great locations around the city. Amazing service. Lots of support staff. words)

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Tokyo City
Futon, Onsen, and Dinner in Japan images

Futon, Onsen, and Dinner in Japan

Futon, onsen, and dinner are the three reasons I choose to stay at ryokan over other lodging facilities. Usually at ryokan, you get to sleep in a tatami room in futon. Since I usually sleep on a bed at home, it is a great feeling to kind of return to my Japanese roots and sleep in a futon. Futon at…(238 words)

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Futon Onsen Japan Japanese inn Kimono Lodging Milk Sashimi (Raw fish) Yukata (Light kimono) Visit
Excellent quality for the price images

Excellent quality for the price

Japanese business hotels are intended for businesspeople on business trips. Most people in Japan when on business are riding the trains, so the hotels are generally located right outside the station.For about an average of 5,000 yen for one person per night, you can get a decent room, and often…(123 words)

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Hotel Ramen noodles
automatic check-in images

automatic check-in

some budget business hotels offer self-check in, there you will find a kiosk in the lobby, key in your reservation number, check the dates, insert cash (it also gives changes), collect the key card and you are good to go. No wonder some says you can get by in Tokyo for days without talking to a rea…(58 words)

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Warm up yourself in winter! images

Warm up yourself in winter!

We don’t have snow all over Japan. Those who live in areas with a little snow cannot be too excited when it snows. They will dare to go freezing outside to enjoy Yuki-gassen (snowballs) or make a snowman. Before they know it, they can be sweating while playing in the snow.(52 words)

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Playing Snow Winter
Enjoy Japanese confectionary in Autumn! images

Enjoy Japanese confectionary in Autumn!

We have the four seasons in Japan. Autumn is the season where you can enjoy a variety of Japanese confectionary created based on unique foods and sceneries in Autumn. Japanese people enjoy such special sweets by putting them on their favorite dishes or taking pictures as one of precious ways to app…(64 words)

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Go out in Yukata! images

Go out in Yukata!

I would recommend to enjoy Hanabi (fireworks), popular summer event in Japan. Since you wish to enjoy Japanese summer style, find a nice “yukata” for yourself to truly enjoy Japanese summer! Don’t forget to enjoy some “Kakigori” (shaved ice), “Ramune” juice(lemon pop juice) and “Watagashi”(cotton c…(73 words)

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Event Souvenir Yukata (Light kimono) Juice Summer
Perfet place for taking nap images

Perfet place for taking nap

Comic cafes (or Manga Cafe) are perfect place for taking nap. You fill out a registration form at a counter for the first time then you will be assigned a chair or flat mat. Those spaces are separately by walls and are usually equipped with a desktop PC with a headset.You might want just browse…(105 words)

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Tokyo Manga Comic cafe
Best check with the ward office. images

Best check with the ward office.

Hello from Mido :) Yes... the recycling system is very very confusing here in Japan. On every ward or city, there are garbage recycling rules, and the best way is to check your ward/city office website. Depending on the ward you live, there are even areas where you don't have to recycle muc…(137 words)

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Tokyo City Hotel
A decent hotel substitute images

A decent hotel substitute

In Tokyo I have used internet cafes that don't even ask for identification. In Okayama many of them require you to have a members card which makes some sort of identification necessary. They charge by time intervals but it depends on the establishment. 10-15 minutes, 30 minutes or hourly rates are …(69 words)

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Tokyo Hotel Comic cafe Okayama
Be flexible and plan ahead! images

Be flexible and plan ahead!

Rule number one: plan ahead. It's possible to do Tokyo affordably, but cheap accommodation gets booked up fast. If you want a super-cheap place, be prepared for tiny spaces and locations that are less than ideal.If you're REALLY strapped for cash, you'll either need to stay overnight in a manga…(325 words)

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Tokyo Hotel Kyoto Manga Cherry blossom Japanese inn Camping Capsule hotel Winter
Conbini Trashcans images

Conbini Trashcans

If you are a resident of Japan, throwing away your household garbage at a convenience store is somewhat scorned. You may ask, "why use a convenience store?". Many wards and cities in Tokyo require that you purchase special garbage bags for your household trash, with a large bag running about 100 ye…(187 words)

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Tokyo Convenience store
New Years images

New Years

New Years is a family event so there are not many tours or much excitement surrounding the new year like there is in the US. My family makes mochi and then we head to Kiyoshikojin Temple ( for hatsumode (first temple visit of the year) early in the morning. Som…(103 words)

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Jeff Aasgaard

New year Event Tera (Temple) Mochi (Rice cake) Hatsumode
Air bnb taking Tokyo by storm images

Air bnb taking Tokyo by storm

Did you know you can find thousands of places to stay in Tokyo that are NOT hotels, guest houses, or commercial properties. Hosts all over the city are now posting up rooms, studios, and apartments to reserve for your visit to Japan. Check out You can search by neighborhood and many hosts will also…(143 words)

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Tokyo City Visit Apartment for rent places to stay
Tips for Staying in a Japanese Hotel images

Tips for Staying in a Japanese Hotel

To properly enjoy Kusatsu Onsen, you really should make it an overnight trip. Staying for two or three days allows you the chance to fully explore the town and enjoy the benefits of the hot springs. Believe me, you’ll leave feeling like a new person.When booking your accommodations, there are t…(337 words)

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Hotel Japanese Japanese inn Trip Art Onsen Traditional Stay Shoes activities
We call this paradise images

We call this paradise

There are parts of Japan that are still a relic. Indications of the Bubble "Jidai" are easily accessible places on the map, by their very nature, many rail roads go to them.Some of these places are being rejuvenated by the new people that populate them.Places like Minakami. Places like Tenj…(66 words)

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Japan Nature new find