Walking through Light

This room filled with strings of lights and mirrored on the ceiling and floor is just one of the many different “fun with light” displays at the Mori Digital Museum.

Hakone Ropeway

Another beautiful view taken from the Ropeway that runs from Gora to Lake Ashi over the mountains in Hakone and past Owakudani Hot Springs.

Egg Seats?

Can you guess what this is? The second picture tells the tail – it’s hardboiled egg shaped seats near Owakudani. The hot springs are used to hardboil the eggs and turns them black in the process.

Karaoke!

While it’s now a worldwide phenomena, having a night out with friends to sing popular songs got it’s start on the streets of Tokyo. You can find Karaoke places with private rooms and English songs in Shinjuku.

Mitsukoshi Flagship

The flagship store of department store chain, Mitsukoshi, is a landmark in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. Did you know they started out as a kimono fabric vendor in 1673?

The Brush Shop

There are so many specialty stores in Japan. Little shops are in all areas of Tokyo that specialize in just one type of product. Here is a photo of a brush shop near Asakusa.

Standout Woman

Niki de Saint Phalle’s colorful piece stands out against the vibrant green hills of Hakone. See this, and more, at the Hakone Open Air Museum.

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.

Department Store Dining? Sure!!

When in doubt about where to eat; head to the nearest department store. They all have multiple restaurants, usually located on one or two floors at the top of the store. This guide to the dining options at the Takashimaya in Kyoto also lets you know which ones have an English menu. You’ll often find restaurant guides like this in popular places (stores,stations).

Holy Shrine

OK, not your typical Japanese shrine, but for the avid shopper, one of your first and last stops on a trip to Japan. Eight floors of magnificent goods, delicious food, quirky designs and elegant traditional products – what more could a shopper need.

Daimonji on the Hill

The large Dai symbol on the eastern hills of Kyoto, is lit on fire every summer during the Daimonji (Gozan no Okuribi), and can be seen from part of the Philosophers Path (near Ginkaku-ji).

The Center of the Universe

This map points to Kyoto as the center of the universe, and when we’re there, we feel like it is too! Of course, since it’s on the Takashimaya department store, it’s even more apropos.