Takashimaya Directions

The Takashimaya department store is such a landmark that it merits it’s own mention on the direction signs in a subway train station several blocks away.

Nishiki Shrine

Right in the heart of Nishiki Market, with all its crowds and food vendors, you can find a moment respite in the local shrine.

Gion Lamp

The bright, vivid red of a lamp in the Gion beckons the patrons into this establishment in Kyoto’s geisha district.

Classic Souvenirs

What’s more classic as a souvenir than Japanese chopsticks. These are on display in Asakusa where you can find tourist-type items. For the serious shopper, sets of chopsticks (smaller for the ladies, larger for the men) can run to hundreds of dollars.

Bamboo Forest Path

One of the views of Kyoto’s famed Bamboo Forest in the Arashiyama district. Be sure to be there before 7am to avoid all the tourists; this place has recently become jammed with thousands of tourists all day long.

Summer Treats?

We’re not sure if your kids would go for these, but the Japanese must. These lemon cooled cucumbers on a stick were on sale on the street in Arashiyama (western Kyoto) in the summer.

Traditional Fans

This shop in Tokyo’s Asakusa shopping area offers not only Japan’s famous folding fans, but also the flat fans that come in a variety of shapes and colors. These traditional ones have water-colored scenes on them.

Hakone’s Enormous Torii Gate

There are probably millions of torii gates around Japan, some of them more famous than others. This one in the center of Hakone is a brilliant vermilion color and enormous. Those are full size tour buses underneath.

The Real Story at Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari and its 10,000 bright vermilion torii gates are one of the most famous tourist places in Japan. Despite the beautiful pictures you see of it when there is no one there, this video is more representative of the crowds. And this was during the slowest tourist season!

Kimono Forest

This unusual display of Japanese textiles can be found in the Arashiyama station in western Kyoto. Originally a temporary display, it is now permanent and includes hundreds of different patterns displayed in clear, plexiglass housing. Designed to reflect the nearby bamboo forest, these fabrics are lit from within in the evening to create a beautiful path of color.

Gion at Dusk

The lights for tea houses and restaurants softly illuminate the classic wooden buildings on a Gion, geisha district, side street.

City Mascots

The Japanese are specialists in cute mascots for just about everything, including tourist attractions. This cute little guy from Hakone, near Owakudani geothermal springs and the onsen baths of the area is wearing a yukata (as you would wear in a ryokan) and his hat is shaped like the local hills.

Fushimi Entrance

The most popular pictures of Fushimi Inari shrine feature the bright sea of red torii gates that undulate up into the hills of Kyoto. But the Shrine complex also has plenty of great photo opportunities, such as this entrance gate on a clear day.