Saiki City is a former castle town of some 70,000 people in the southeastern corner of Oita Prefecture. Cradled between the mountains and the sea, over the first Saturday and Sunday in April, this sleepy city livens up with the Saiki Spring Festival (さいき春祭り・Saiki Haru Matsuri).
The 2017 festival was captured in loving detail by filmmaker Dean Nuely Rondario. His camera dances over the festival's 20,000 haunting bamboo lanterns, indulges in classic festival food like chocolate-covered bananas and takoyaki, lingers on stage performances ranging from kagura to modern dance, and details the grand and diverse parade running from Dainichi-ji Temple (大日寺) to the gate of Saiki Castle (佐伯城門・Saiki-jo-mon).
Beautiful and breathtaking, it's amazing just how diverse and dynamic a single Japanese festival can be! ... See MoreSee Less
CNN Travel asked five Tokyo insiders to offer local perspectives on how best to spend time and navigate this sprawling megalopolis. They've offered a slew of helpful tips and a shortlist of favorite neighborhoods, cafes, restaurants and shops to help first-timers make the most of their Tokyo experience. Check it out! ... See MoreSee Less
Kevin FolinoI adore Japan, and especially Tokyo! <3 But, leaning on long time residents for beginner advise seems off. Sometimes after spending a long time in a city, even a foreigner can lose sight of what it's like your first time or two. Yes, there are some solid tips here, but after spending almost a month between Kyoto/Osaka, and two trips to Tokyo, here's my personal thoughts. (may be a little wordy)
~ You just don't walk into a place, meet locals, and strike a conversation. English is still not widely used, although it's slowly getting better. That said, even with a language barrier, the locals will bend over backwards to try to help you, especially in the service industry! Some bars and small restaurants even have signs stating "No Foreigners"....quite often because of the next point.
~ The locals may be more likely to try their broken English on you, a Westerner, than they would try to practice with each other. NOT being fluent in English is embarrassing to each other, and they fear being made fun of by others who aren't fluent (yeah, I know...). I stayed at a guest house in Kyoto geared towards foreigners that has a "Language Shower" often (locals come in and mix with the guests). We all went to an affiliated bar afterwards and one local and I chatted our ears off for over an hour (even discussing the differences between our languages). He is currently a FB friend 3+ years afterwards!
~ I agree with taking time and roaming and seeing the smaller stuff. Pass on the fancy restaurants and such....eat like the locals eat! You find amazing food in the littlest hole-in-the-walls, and it's stupid cheap too! Can you say 1-coin (¥500) ramen shops? I also found a place in Shibuya that made great Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki by googling and found it down a small set of steps on a secondary street (I never would have noticed it otherwise).
~ My big advice....learn the basic words and phrases. Knowing your yes/no, how to properly greet (there are differences), compliment, apologize and excuse yourself (a definite must!) goes a LONG way there! The Japanese are almost impossibly polite and helpful, and especially so if you don't act like a rude Westerner
~ My other big advise.....don't go with an rigid itinerary! I spent the previous months reading the travel blogs and watching NHK WORLD, noting down whenever I saw something interesting, and taking the unsorted list with me. Every morning, I would look at it and say....."I feel like doing *that* today!". Don't go thinking you HAVE to do everything.....you can't and will be disappointed. Go with the flow and whatever you don't see, save for next time. Oh Yes, there will almost definitely be a next time with Japan! <3
I've been to Akihabara many times .... in my dreams. In those dreams Akihabara is a sort of cyberpunk, multilevel, dark city. It is a kind of living being, where men and machines are interwoven in man...
Are you dreaming about your trip to Japan but you aren't quite sure where to go yet? Check out our two week itinerary! 🙂 This itinerary is of course for everyone but it's also really kid friendly with a bunch of activities travelers of all ages will enjoy. ... See MoreSee Less
Michael Booth is an award-winning food and travel writer focusing on Japan, France and the Nordic region. His book, "Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know About Cooking" became a bestseller in Japan following its translation in two volumes in 2013 and 2014. The travelogue focuses on Booth’s journeys through Japan with his wife and two young sons. It struck a chord among Japanese readers and was later turned into both a manga series and an anime, which has been featured on NHK’s domestic and international services as well as on Netflix Japan. ... See MoreSee Less
The British writer Michael Booth is known for his love of Japan and Japanese cuisine, which he chronicles in books beginning with his 2010 Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know About Cooking. We sa...
Heather CampbellI remember katsudon and gomoku soba along with unagi were my favorite home style dishes. I grew up in high school in Hayama. Difficult to find a Japanese restaurant here that serves Japanese food...not what American's call Japanese food (Benihahaha and Jotohohoho).
I’ve got people asking for recommendations about where to go in Tokyo from time to time, and thought that it’d be fun and helpful to compile and share a list of places I visited and loved. Here it is— feel free to let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Also currently planning another trip to Tokyo in August :)!!!!!!! ... See MoreSee Less
Anyone who knows me, probably knows that Japan holds a special place in my heart, especially for their design, culture and hospitality. Little details they put in crafting your experiences in using pr...