Japan is a country like no other. Tokyo is a fast paced city that’s ahead of the times, while the monuments of ancient Kyoto bring you back 100s of years. If you were to ask any traveller, I’m sure Japan would be on their must see list, yet many have yet to make the journey to the land of the rising sun.

It’s sad, many travellers are still avoiding Japan due to unfounded fears. The tsunami of 2011 and the resulting radiation leak was scary, but it really should have no affect on your travel plans. There’s no glowing fish, and you won’t become a walking battery. It’s time to realize your dreams and see Japan for all its glory.

Speak to any traveller who’s visited Japan and you’ll hear the real story. The people of Japan are incredibly friendly and even when there’s a language barrier, they’re still happy to help you in any way. I could keep writing about how great the country is, but I think it’s best to let the pictures speak for themselves so scroll down for my Japan travel blog through pictures.

The Japan basics

Accommodations – Unless you’re on a strict budget, I recommend using a mix of different accommodations. Using Airbnb will give you a good feel how the locals live, it doesn’t get more traditional than staying at ryokan with an onsen, while staying at Buddhist temple offers a surreal experience.

Transportation – Japan easily has the best public transportation in the world. Major cities of an extensive local rail network, while the shinkansen (bullet train) will get you to any other city in just a few hours. There’s English signs at every train station so you don’t need to worry about getting lost, but if you do need help, station staff speak passable English.

Eat and drinkFood in Japan can be cheap or expensive, it really depends what kind of dining experience you’re looking for. Trying Japanese food is a must, but since Japan has so many expats, it’s not hard to find really authentic international cuisine. Beer, coffee, and soft drinks can be purchased right from a vending machine which is pretty convenient.

Attractions – Temples and shrines are the obvious major attractions in Japan, but there’s so many that’s after a while they all look the same so don’t over do it. Japan also also has major international attractions including Tokyo Disney, Universal studios and aquariums. If you’re interested in watching sumo wrestling be sure to plan your trip around the tournament schedule.

If you’re looking for more information on how to prepare for your trip to Japan, check out my post: How much does it cost to go to Japan? Also readers of Money We Have get 50% off the KnowRoaming Global SIM Sticker + $5 credit

Here’s my Japan travel blog as told through pictures: Shot with a Sony a6000 / 16-50mm lens

The famous Shibuya crossing from a different angle

The famous Shibuya crossing from a different angle

 

The Yokozuna class of sumos saluting each other

The Yokozuna class of sumos saluting each other before they battle

 

Japan has the best public transportation in the world

Japan has the best public transportation in the world

 

"Piss alley" is located in Shinjuku and is a popular place to eat

Located in Shinjuku, “piss alley” is a popular place to eat

 

The robot restaurant in Tokyo is actually more like a theatre show

The robot restaurant in Tokyo is actually more like a theatre show

 

Yanaka Ginza is nice throwback to old Tokyo

Yanaka Ginza is a nice throwback to old Tokyo

 

Kagurazaka is known as the "French area" of Tokyo. It's an area worth checking out

Kagurazaka is known as the “French area” of Tokyo. It’s an area worth checking out

 

Sensō-ji is Tokyo's oldest temple

Sensō-ji is Tokyo’s oldest temple

 

Temples and shrines are everywhere. This one is zenkoku-ji

Temples and shrines are everywhere, this one is Zenkoku-ji

 

Maid cafes, cat cafes, and now there's owl cafes in Tokyo

Maid cafes, cat cafes, and now there’s even owl cafes in Tokyo

 

Renting kimonos while visiting Kyoto is very popular

Renting kimonos while visiting Kyoto is very popular

 

We helped some students with their English assignment and got this awesome picture

We helped some students with their English assignment and got this awesome picture

 

Some of the sites in Kyoto are huge so you can rent a rickshaw driver

Some of the sites in Kyoto are huge so you can rent a rickshaw driver

 

You never know where an alley will lead you

You never know where an alley will lead you

 

I stumbled across Yasaka Kōshin-dō by accident. This temple is dedicated to Kōshin-san

I stumbled across Yasaka Kōshin-dō by accident. This temple is dedicated to Kōshin-san

 

The path of the philosopher is beautiful all year round

The path of the philosopher is beautiful all year round

 

Dipping noodles are delicious! Dip the cold noodles into the hot broth before you slurp them down

Dipping noodles are delicious! Dip the cold noodles into the hot broth before you slurp them down

 

 Shinbashidori in Kyoto is said to be the most beautiful street in Asia

Shinbashidori in Kyoto is said to be the most beautiful street in Asia

 

Nara is a great day trip from Kyoto or Osaka

Nara is a great day trip from Kyoto or Osaka

 

Locals in Osaka enjoying the beer festival

Locals in Osaka enjoying the beer festival

 

The outdoor escalator of the Umeda sky building takes you to the observation deck

The outdoor escalator of the Umeda sky building takes you to the observation deck

 

Look up if you're not sure what to eat in Osaka

Look up if you’re not sure what to eat in Osaka

 

Shop to you drop in Osaka

Shop to you drop

 

Stay overnight at a Buddhist temple when visiting Mt. Kōya

Stay overnight at a Buddhist temple when visiting Mt. Kōya

 

Okunoin cemetery is largest graveyard in Japan

Okunoin cemetery is the largest graveyard in Japan

 

You can take a night tour at Okunoin cemetery

You can take a night tour at Okunoin cemetery

 

Japan travel blog miyajima

Low tide just setting in at the Torii gate, Miyajima

 

A trip to Miyajima is a must if you're near Hiroshima

A trip to Miyajima is a must if you’re near Hiroshima

 

Daishō-in alone is reason enough to make a trip to Miyajima

Daishō-in alone is reason enough to make the trip

 

These statues with bibs represent children who died young

These statues with bibs represent children who died young

 

Himeji castle has recently been fully restored

Himeji castle has recently been fully restored

 

Don't worry Japan, I'll be back one day

Don’t worry Japan, I’ll be back one day

17 Comments

  1. Tawcan on July 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Great pictures Barry. I see that Sony camera is very capable, even in low lights. Very cool that you got to check out Sumo wrestling, did you buy the tickets before hand?

    • Barry Choi on July 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

      Tawcan,

      Yes the Sony was very impressive in low light settings. A little bit of HDR + Lightroom helped enhanced the photos too. I did book sumo in advance, we got lucky since there was a tournament at the same time we were there. Sumo is a bit slow, but fun for an hour.

  2. anumyoon on July 16, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Barry these pictures are amazing! Wow I just want to travel to Japan right now. I’ll definitely be visiting sometime next year so it’s nice to get a good preview through your pictures beforehand.

    • Barry Choi on July 16, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Anumyoon,

      Japan was so much fun, you totally need to head over there. If you have any questions just ask!

  3. Marvin@yourbudgetpal.com on July 16, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    My bf and I were just there too. We loved Tokyo. The food, the sights, and the people. I made a blog out of it too. Nice pictures by the way.

    • Barry Choi on July 16, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Marvin,

      Yes my wife and I absolutely loved Tokyo too, but Kyoto was also amazing. I haven’t been able to eat Japanese food since I got back since I know it just won’t taste the same.

  4. Aaron on July 18, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Great photos, thanks for posting! Looking forward to the stories. 😉

  5. Sil on October 28, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Your photos are amaziiiiiiing!! <3

    • Barry Choi on October 28, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Sil,

      Thanks for the feedback!

  6. Lotte on February 2, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Ah this is really great! I am going to Japan for a month in April/May and your posts are very helpful:-) Thanks a lot!!!

    • Barry Choi on February 2, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      Lotte,

      I had such a great time in Japan. It’s one of the few places I’ve been where I dream about going back all the time.

  7. Katya on April 27, 2016 at 3:47 am

    When you were in Japan, did you go to any of the themed cafes like these http://bit.ly/tokyothemed ?? If you did, are they worth it? I heard the food at some of the places are overpriced, but they look so cool! Thanks, and love the photos by the way, they’re awesome! -Katya

    • Barry Choi on April 27, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Katya,

      Yes I did do some of the themed cafes in Tokyo and highlighted them here.

      https://www.moneywehave.com/cafes-in-tokyo/

      Most people don’t go to the places to eat, it’s really just an experience and you happen to want water or tea, it’s available. The owl cafe was much more fun than I expected. I also recommend the robot restaurant. It’s not actually a restaurant, more of a show; it’s better to eat before or after on your own.

  8. About accommodation in Tokyo on May 24, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Thks for sharing with us all of this! About accommodation in Tokyo, you can also add gueshouses for the long term as student or working holiday visa ^^
    I am a student and the cost of living in Tokyo is not that expensive 😉

  9. Christopher on June 21, 2017 at 9:28 am

    These are some great tips! A lot of people find Tokyo so daunting that they never even venture outside the city limits, but I’m glad you did! One of the best things I’ve ever done in Japan was a little outside of Tokyo. It was through a tour company called Japango–they basically set you up with a Japanese local ‘friend-guide’ to show you some of the things most tourists would miss on their own. The tour that I did was one where we got to harvest our own tea leaves, and it was by far the most memorable experience of my stay. Everyone knows Japan is famous for tea, but to go out into the plantations and actually see where some of the world’s highest quality tea comes from? Simply amazing. I recommend it to all my friends, so check it out if you’re interested. (their English site is japango-em2.com)

  10. KanjiGuy on November 27, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Nice pictures!! I have been to Japan 6 times but I really really want to come back 🙂

  11. Mudassar on December 27, 2018 at 2:04 am

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