Engaku-ji Temple complex in Kamakura is a quick day trip from Tokyo and one of the highlights after seeing the Big Buddha.

Drive Through Bamboo

Hidden in a secret spot in Kyoto is a beautiful bamboo forest that you can drive through to see. Takes a while to get there, but worth the wait if you want to avoid the crowds.

Senso-ji Light Up

If you are in Tokyo at night and want to see a traditional light-up, visit this temple in Asakusa for a stroll after dinner. Light ups run fairly late here.

Famous Photography

Since Fushimi Inari is one of the most photographed places in Kyoto (if not Japan), it only goes to follow that it’s also a place to photograph photographers. Getting just the right portrait, without too many bystanders, takes skill and some ingenuity. This young lady positions herself between the gates to get a good shot of a friend.

Fushima Map

Maps are EVERYWHERE in Japan, with the ever-useful “You are Here”. This one is of the hills around Fushimi Inari. Most people only ever visit the lower gates – but if you hike up the hill you’ll get past the crowds and enter the meditative entrance to the entire shring complex.

Fushima Prayer Papers

O-mikuji are fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. These were photographed at Kyoto’s famous Fushimi Inari. You can even find them festooned over nearby trees.

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.