David's Advice List

David image David Germany 10 years in Japan

I love to explore places and try local foods

Agemanju - Sweet Deep-fried Cakes in Asakusa images

Agemanju - Sweet Deep-fried Cakes in Asakusa

There are many good reasons for a visit to Asakusa: Senso-ji temple’s gates and pagoda, tiny Hanayashiki amusement park, Japanese kabuki theaters, old restaurants, and shops selling kimonos and festival clothing. And then there is the area around the temple’s Nakamise street where you can buy souve…(253 words)

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David

Manjuu Sweets Senso-ji Temple Cake Asakusa Visit Food Tera (Temple)
Popular Yatai Foods: Yakisoba images

Popular Yatai Foods: Yakisoba

Yatai food stalls at festivals always include a yakisoba vendor. Yakisoba noodles are Japanese fried noodles, but they have nothing to do with soba. The noodles used here are more like the ones for ramen. The noodles are quickly cooked on a hotplate with vegetables, meat, or seafood and seasone…(215 words)

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David

Yaki soba noodles yatai Izakaya Japanese festivals Ramen noodles
Popular Yatai Foods: Takoyaki images

Popular Yatai Foods: Takoyaki

Takoyaki is among the most popular savoury foods from yatai food stalls. When there is a festival at a temple or shrine you will always find yatai there. Vendors sometimes also set up near train stations. Watch the food being prepared. The pieces are turned quickly to give them their round shap…(200 words)

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David

Takoyaki (Octopus ball) yatai Japanese festivals Summer
Japanese Breads: Sweet Superheroes From Anpanman images

Japanese Breads: Sweet Superheroes From Anpanman

Anpanman is a character that every Japanese child knows. And at every bakery and convenience store you will find anpan, a soft bread filled with sweet red bean paste. When you come to Japan, you will see Anpanman toys, clothes, notebooks, bento boxes, books, bicycles, and pretty much any kind of br…(398 words)

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David

Bread Sweets Anpanman Melon roll Anime
Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto and Local Inari Shrines images

Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto and Local Inari Shrines

The famous Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto really is a fantastic place to visit. There are the colorful main buildings to see and even more impressive is the walk through the shrine's land. In the case of Fushimi Inari, this means taking a long walk up and around the hill that belongs to the s…(316 words)

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David

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Kyoto Jinjya (Shrine) Asakusa Walk
Japanese Breads: Yakisobapan and Karepan are Superheroes images

Japanese Breads: Yakisobapan and Karepan are Superheroes

Japanese people obviously love bread. It seems that next to every train station there is a bakery and every convenience store has a bread corner. Many of these breads look like something you might find in Europe, but the Japanese breads are often a little different, they have evolved into their own…(335 words)

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David

Bread Curry Yaki soba noodles Anpan (Japanese sweet roll) Anpanman Anime
Fierce Protectors of Temples - Nio Statues 仁王 images

Fierce Protectors of Temples - Nio Statues 仁王

When I come to a temple in Japan, I always stop to take a look at the Nio statues standing guard at the gates. Nio 仁王 means Benevolent Kings. These are fierce-looking protectors, looking like demons or warrior-gods. Sometimes they are life-size and sometimes they are impossibly tall and stron…(193 words)

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David

Tera (Temple) Senso-ji Temple Art Asakusa Statue
Surprise Views of Mount Fuji images

Surprise Views of Mount Fuji

Japan's highest peak, the iconic Mount Fuji was designated UNESCO World Heritage in June 2013. You can experience Mount Fuji during the short climbing season in the summer months, but you might spot it on any day of the year."Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration: The beauty …(287 words)

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David

Mount Fuji World Heritage Site view Art
Kyoto Love: Kiyomizu-dera & Jishu Shrine images

Kyoto Love: Kiyomizu-dera & Jishu Shrine

Kiyomizu-dera 清水寺 is a beautiful temple in Kyoto up on the hills, with a view over the city. The temple grounds are a nice place to walk around and look at the many halls, gates, and pagodas from different angles. This is a very famous place and it might get a little crowded, but it is really wo…(331 words)

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David

Kyoto Kiyomizudera Temple Tera (Temple) Light-up Cherry blossom Autumn Color Garden love
How To Make the Strongest Wish: Shimanrokusennichi and Hozuki Flower Market at Senso-ji images

How To Make the Strongest Wish: Shimanrokusennichi and Hozuki Flower Market at Senso-ji

Shimanrokusennichi at Senso-ji temple in Tokyo Asakusa is your chance to make the strongest wish possible.It might be Friday the 13th and a full moon as I am writing this, but an extremely auspicious day is coming up in a few weeks. July 10 is Shimanrokusennichi 四万六千日 at Senso-ji temple in…(236 words)

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David

Asakusa Senso-ji Temple Japanese festivals Flower Market Tera (Temple) good luck July
Kissaten: Lovely Retro Coffee Shops images

Kissaten: Lovely Retro Coffee Shops

Kissaten 喫茶店 is one of the words that appear in the early chapters of Japanese text books. Kissaten are coffee shops, but not of the chain variety. Most of these coffee shops are delightfully retro, unique, and atmospheric. A kissaten is the perfect place for taking a break from everyday busy ti…(298 words)

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David

Coffee Coffee shop Sweets Tea Cake Asakusa Cafe
Fresh Handmade Udon and Soba Noodles images

Fresh Handmade Udon and Soba Noodles

The best udon and best soba is from restaurants that make their noodles fresh. This is a sign of a tasty shop, so the noodles will often be prepared near the entrance where you can see them. Watch the dough being rolled out and cut, it is fun.To find the restaurants serving the tastiest food, a…(243 words)

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David

Soba noodles Udon noodles Restaurant Tempura Food Shop Asakusa
Tsukemen - ramen noodles dipped in rich sauce images

Tsukemen - ramen noodles dipped in rich sauce

Shops making tasty ramen noodles are everywhere in Japan. Get off the train at just about any station and chances are that you will find a ramen shop nearby. Many ramen shops offer ramen (noodles served in a bowl of soup) and tsukemen (noodles and soup served separately) and some shops actually spe…(262 words)

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David

Tsukemen Ramen noodles Asakusa
Taiyaki - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa images

Taiyaki - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa

Taiyaki たい焼き are small Japanese cakes that you can watch being baked. The cakes are shaped like a fish and have a sweet filling. The most common taiyaki have sweet bean paste or cream inside. Try them fresh and still warm. They are very tasty and a simple pleasure like having fresh pancakes or …(281 words)

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David

Asakusa Taiyaki (Fish-shaped cake) Wagashi Sweets Hanayashiki Amusement Park Shop chocolate Cake Panda yatai
Omikuji - Take Only Good Luck With You images

Omikuji - Take Only Good Luck With You

Omikuji - おみくじ - are fortune papers from temples and shrines that offer advice for your health, career, and good luck in general. There are positive ones - marked kichi 吉 - and negative ones - marked kyou 凶. The most positive one is the daikichi 大吉, the big fortune.You can find omikuji …(310 words)

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David

good luck Jinjya (Shrine) Tera (Temple) Omikuji Senso-ji Temple Kameido Asakusa
Kintsuba - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa images

Kintsuba - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa

Kintsuba きんつば is one of the Japanese sweets that I like because you can watch them being made. This photo is from a small shop in Asakusa located in the Nakamise-dori shopping street at Senso-ji temple. You can try the Kintsuba fresh, still warm. Kintsuba are made from sweet bean paste. The…(255 words)

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David

Kintsuba Asakusa Wagashi Sweets Senso-ji Temple Nakamise-dori Japanese style shopping arcade Souvenir Kappabashi
Yatai Foods: Savory Treats on a Stick images

Yatai Foods: Savory Treats on a Stick

Japan has many different festivals - matsuri - throughout the year and no festival is complete without food from yatai food stalls (屋台). Yatai sell sweet and savory foods and a lot of that is food on a stick.Ayu - あゆ: This small fish is very popular in Japan and is served both grilled on a …(232 words)

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David

yatai Japanese festivals Fish sausage Tera (Temple) Jinjya (Shrine) Mochi (Rice cake) squid
Yatai Sweets: Baby Castella Mini Cakes images

Yatai Sweets: Baby Castella Mini Cakes

Castella is Japanese sponge cake. It is one of the foods popular as omiyage souvenirs and gifts. Baby Castella don't make fancy gifts, but they are fun. Fresh, hot, and baked in front of you, I think they are one of the best sweet foods from yatai food stalls.Castella is made with simple ingred…(215 words)

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David

yatai Sweets Japanese sponge cake Cake Japanese festivals Doraemon Japanese Animation Tokyo Skytree
Yatai - Festival Food Stalls images

Yatai - Festival Food Stalls

There are a lot of matsuri - festivals - all over Japan especially in the summer. At the matsuri you can always find many kinds of yatai - food stalls. Even small local events have yatai, because the food is part of the festival. Yatai offer all sorts of fun yummy foods, both sweet and savoury. Ple…(126 words)

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David

yatai Japanese festivals Sweets Food Summer Tera (Temple) Jinjya (Shrine) chocolate banana
Azalea: Tsutsuji - Spring Flowers in Japan images

Azalea: Tsutsuji - Spring Flowers in Japan

Sakura is famous in the spring, but after the cherry blossom time in Japan another flower takes over. In April azaleas colour Tokyo with their bright flowers.When I read Chiara's post "Local Secret: YaNeSen" here I realised that she was describing places that I had just visited. "The stroll fro…(195 words)

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David

Spring Flower Park Garden Jinjya (Shrine) April Tokyo Nezu Walk May
Wisteria: Fuji - Spring Flowers in Japan images

Wisteria: Fuji - Spring Flowers in Japan

Tokyo changes all the time, but there are a few places left that feel unchanged. Kameido Tenjin Shrine is a place like this. I was there today for the wisteria flower festival and it was like walking through the old print from "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo" by Utagawa Hiroshige. Wisteria flo…(154 words)

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David

Spring Flower Kameido Jinjya (Shrine) Japanese festivals Ukiyoe April
Enoden Train from Kamakura to Enoshima Island images

Enoden Train from Kamakura to Enoshima Island

Enoden is short for Enoshima Electric Railway. It is an old line that runs between Kamakura and Fujisawa along the coast passing Enoshima Island. Locals and visitors just love it. The line even has a fan shop with everything in the Enoden train theme from cookies to socks.Riding this small trai…(243 words)

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David

Enoshima Island Kamakura Enoden Train Mount Fuji Plarail Day trip from Tokyo
April 8 Flower Festival Celebrating Buddha's Birthday images

April 8 Flower Festival Celebrating Buddha's Birthday

April 8 is not a national holiday in Japan, but there are festivals at temples everywhere in the country. This day is the celebration of Buddha's birthday, often called Flower Festival (花まつり) or Kanbutsu-e (潅仏会). In Japan the date for Buddha's Birthday is April 8, but some temples start …(243 words)

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David

Japanese festivals Asakusa Senso-ji Temple April Buddha Tera (Temple) Flower
Senso-ji Temple's Secret Japanese Garden in Asakusa images

Senso-ji Temple's Secret Japanese Garden in Asakusa

Senso-ji in Asakusa Tokyo is famous for its tall pagoda, red gates, and huge lanterns, but the temple also has a fantastic Japanese garden. It lies hidden, closed to the public together with Dembou-in, the residency of the temple's head priest. In the spring, the garden is open to visitors. M…(291 words)

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David

Japanese garden Asakusa Senso-ji Temple Garden Cherry blossom Spring Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing)
Yozakura - cherry blossoms at night images

Yozakura - cherry blossoms at night

Sakura (桜) is Japanese for cherry blossom. Yozakura (夜桜) is written with the characters for night and sakura and means viewing cherry blossoms at night. Sakura looks beautiful in the evening with the right lighting. Try both, a cherry blossom picnic during the day and an evening visit to fully e…(335 words)

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David

Cherry blossom Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) Tokyo Imperial Palace Asakusa Nakameguro Sumida river Spring Evening Tokyo Tower
Japanese Vending Machines: Food Tickets images

Japanese Vending Machines: Food Tickets

Many shops and restaurants have ticket vending machines at the entrance or outside. Ramen, soba, or udon noodle stores often have them. Some gyudon restaurants like Matsuya also use the ticket machines.To pay and order put in money and then select what you want to eat or drink. If you want to o…(156 words)

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David

Vending Machines Ticket machine Restaurant Ramen noodles Soba noodles Udon noodles Gyudon (Beef bowl) Ticket
Walk & Play at Sumida Park in Asakusa images

Walk & Play at Sumida Park in Asakusa

When you visit Asakusa, don't only go to Senso-ji temple. Also go to Sumida River and take a walk in Sumida Park. The park has great views of Tokyo Skytree and a big playground for children. There are also two small cafes here overlooking the river. To reach Sumida Park go towards the river from As…(143 words)

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David

Asakusa Playground Tokyo Skytree Park Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) Sumida river Tokyo Cherry blossom Children
Japanese Vending Machines: Next Generation images

Japanese Vending Machines: Next Generation

Have you seen the new generation of vending machines in Japan? The new touchscreen ones are smart and connected. They watch people and target them by showing commercials, news, recommendations, and special offers.You can identify these new machines easily, they have a huge touchscreen and a cam…(156 words)

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David

Vending Machines Drink Train Train station Camera touchscreen Earthquake advertisement
Let a Lion Bite Your Head (for Good Luck) images

Let a Lion Bite Your Head (for Good Luck)

If you could use a little more good luck, let a lion help you. Lions protect many shrines and temples in Japan. The dance of the lion dispels evil and calls in good luck. For an extra dose of good luck put your head in the lion's mouth and let it bite you.This is the lion dance, shishi-mai, at Kame…(250 words)

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David

good luck Lion Jinjya (Shrine) Japanese festivals yushima dance Kameido Tokyo
Cherry blossoms: Sakura Time & Timing in Japan images

Cherry blossoms: Sakura Time & Timing in Japan

Sakura 桜 are all things cherry, everything cherry blossoms and cherry trees. Think of sakura as a season in Japan, the height of spring. When will the cherry blossom start to open and how long will they last? This question is essential for hanami planning and discussed in detail in the media e…(345 words)

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David

Spring Cherry blossom Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) Flower Asakusa Japanese Culture Japan Travel
Not Quiet Temples and Shrines images

Not Quiet Temples and Shrines

Some Japanese temples are beautifully quiet places with peaceful gardens. Before I came to Japan I mistakenly imagined all temples and shrines would be like that. I was thinking of ponds with koi carp and turtles, perfectly maintained leaf-free stone gardens, and areas sculpted with moss and plants…(255 words)

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David

Tera (Temple) Jinjya (Shrine) Japanese style shopping arcade Enoshima Island Kanagawa Trip Asakusa Senso-ji Temple Nakamise-dori
Onsen and Mount Fuji - Enoshima Island images

Onsen and Mount Fuji - Enoshima Island

Enoshima island is one of my favourite places for a day trip from Tokyo. I love the ocean air, the view of Kamakura and Mt Fuji, and the shrines and small shops around the island. This Sunday I took a day off from the busy city to visit the onsen at Enoshima Island Spa. It turned out to be even bet…(193 words)

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David

Onsen Enoshima Island Day trip from Tokyo Mount Fuji Kanagawa Kamakura Bath
Ramen with Chashu Topping images

Ramen with Chashu Topping

Ramen are very popular in Japan. There are magazines and books about ramen and TV shows where people do nothing but walk around from shop to shop eating. Ramen come in several flavours, depending on the broth cooked by the shop master. The broth is mixed to make shoyu or miso taste. Whatever ta…(138 words)

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David

Ramen noodles Chashu Kanagawa Fujisawa
Asakusa's Secret Kabuki Gallery - Shotengai Streets images

Asakusa's Secret Kabuki Gallery - Shotengai Streets

Asakusa has many small shopping streets with old-fashioned cafes and restaurants. Okuyama Omairimachi Shotengai is one of these streets, but it is special. The shutters of the shops here are painted with famous scenes from Kabuki plays. This gallery only reveals itself when shops are closed.Asa…(168 words)

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David

Asakusa Kabuki Japanese style shopping arcade Art Visit Senso-ji Temple painting Shop
Kameido Tenjin's birds for good fortune images

Kameido Tenjin's birds for good fortune

Kameido Tenjin Shrine (亀戸天神社) is known as a shrine for people who wish for success in their studies, like passing exams. On January 24 and 25, the shrine has a special event, the usokae-shinji (鷽替神事). Similar festivals are held at a few shrines in Japan, in Tokyo also at Yushima Tenjin, Ja…(241 words)

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David

Kameido Jinjya (Shrine) good luck Event Japanese festivals January Omamori Tokyo
Asakusa's Senso-ji Temple and Nakamise Street in the Evening images

Asakusa's Senso-ji Temple and Nakamise Street in the Evening

Many tourists visit Asakusa and the Senso-ji temple during the day and it gets quiet in the evening. As one of the major tourist attractions in Tokyo, it is usually quite crowded here, but by the time the shops close in Nakamise-dori between 18:00 and 19:00 most visitors leave. At night, the temple…(194 words)

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David

Asakusa Senso-ji Temple Japanese style shopping arcade Tera (Temple) Evening Art painting illumination
Kaminari-okoshi: Asakusa Thunder Crackers images

Kaminari-okoshi: Asakusa Thunder Crackers

Kaminari-okoshi (雷おこし) are traditional Japanese sweets. Crispy rice is mixed with sugar and syrup, pressed down into a flat shape and cut into squares. Often there are some peanuts mixed into it, but there are also many other flavors such as macha green tea and sesame. The added ingredients giv…(286 words)

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David

Asakusa Senso-ji Temple Wagashi Sweets Souvenir Tera (Temple) Nakamise-dori Tokyo
Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes images

Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes

Ningyo-yaki (人形焼) is very popular in Tokyo Asakusa where you can watch them being baked. This is one of my favorite Japanese sweets and a very good omiyage gift. Ningyo is the Japanese word for doll, so the name of this sweet reads "baked dolls". Ningo-yaki are small cakes baked in small m…(192 words)

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David

Asakusa Ningyo-yaki Wagashi Sweets Nakamise-dori Souvenir Tera (Temple) Cake Senso-ji Temple Tokyo
Asakusa viewpoint & information images

Asakusa viewpoint & information

The Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center is located in front of Kaminari-mon at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Take the elevator to the top for some of the best views in Asakusa. On the 8th floor the Center has a small cafe and a terrace. You can have a coffee, a beer, or some Japanese sw…(159 words)

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David

Asakusa Senso-ji Temple view Tokyo Skytree Nakamise-dori rickshaw Sumida river Taito
First Visit for the New Year - Hatsumode images

First Visit for the New Year - Hatsumode

Many Japanese people visit shrines and temples during the first days of the year. It is a way to start into the new year. The new year starts at midnight, so people line up already in the evening of December 31. At the big popular places like Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa or Meijijingu in Harajuku it …(161 words)

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David

New year Hatsumode Tokyo Asakusa Tera (Temple) Senso-ji Temple Jinjya (Shrine) festival