So Civilized and Handy!

Many Japanese restaurants provide small boxes of some sort to hold women’s handbags, small packages or anything else you may be carrying around. Remember – most Japanese in the cities are not driving around with a car available to hold things!

Special Geisha

The Hyatt Regency Kyoto often will have a geisha or maiko in the late afternoon for the entertainment of hotel guests.

Many Many Money

Honestly, we’re too scared to ask for the translation of this, but the “many, many, money” was just too alliterative and fun to say.

Fish in Aspic

Well, we are not sure but we think this is a food offering. But it could be some kind of decoration. Looks like gold fish and the sample fish on display did nothing to clarify what to expect if you got the item.

Umbrella Store

This entire shop in the Asakusa area is dedicated to the sale of umbrellas. As you can see from the picture, most of them are of the practical (rain and sun shielding) kind, and not traditional washi umbrellas.

Wallets Galore

One of the most interesting things about shopping in Japan is the incredible range of products offered. This pictures shows just one of over 20(!) display shelf sections of wallets (not purses, just wallets) in a major Tokyo department store.

Shinkansen Race

These Shinkansen trains aren’t really racing each other, but it sure looks like that as you pass the trainyard located between Osaka and Okayama.

Lima Beans and Bacon?

It must be an acquired taste, but we found these “pastries” at a bakery at the Kanazawa train station. We’re pretty sure the beans are fresh and most likely some kind of soy bean and not lima bean. But we couldn’t read the sign in Japanese.


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.

Foot Massage

What better way to relax after a full day of touring. Shops along Kawarawamachi offer a short respite from your day.

Sword Umbrellas

Looking for a unique gifts – try an umbrella with a traditional Japanese katana handle. You won’t find these at home!

Blast from the Past

Elevator attendents have gone the way of the buggy whip and dial phone in the US, but in Japan, the major department stores still have a staff of lovely young ladies who bow to guests and push the floor buttons in their main bank of elevators. See one in action HERE.