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Get to know Japan with OROKO

The wonderful thing about Japan is that days can be filled endlessly wandering through the beautifully distinctive neighbourhoods. It is an undeniably cool place, wonderfully welcoming the preservation of tradition and embracing modernity. We know that exploring new places can be overwhelming and it is difficult to know where to start. So, we have put together a selection of what our ideal days of leisure would look like in Japan’s big cities.


Start the day in the sophisticated Nakameguro district, a photogenic neighbourhood filled with art galleries and small eateries. Make a stop for breakfast before strolling to the creative hub that is Shibuya. An eclectic mix of high-end and artistic sub-cultures, it is exploding with interesting sights of interest. Make sure to visit the famous Meiji Shrine and iconic Shibuya Crossing. For cat lovers, make a quick stop in the Cat Cafe MOCHA in Harajuku, you will be in for a real treat! In the evening, take the express train to the trendy district of Shimokitazawa. A former farming village, this bohemian neighbourhood has become a thriving hub of chic independent boutiques, vintage stores, cafes and bars.


We suggest you visit the charming Nishiki Market, a long, narrow covered street filled with shops selling local specialities. Sometimes referred to as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, the streets are bursting with barrels of fresh and pickled vegetables. Many shops offer samples and it is a great way to collect dishes to make a wonderful picnic lunch. After lunch, stroll along The Philosopher’s Path, following a tree-lined canal between Ginkaku-Ji and Nanzeji Temple. End the day at Fushimi Inari Shrine, most famous for its tunnels of red torii gates that lead up to the hill behind the main shrine.


We suggest starting the day by visiting the well-preserved samurai district of Nagamachi. Many of the houses have been converted into museums and give insight into the district’s feudal past. Afterwards, continue to Higashi Chaya-Gai, one of Japan’s best-preserved Geisha districts. By midday, visit the covered arcade of the Omicho Ichiba Markets. Established in the mid-18th-century, it has been Kanazawa’s largest fresh food market since the Edo Period. See Kanazawa’s impressive food culture and make a stop for lunch. After lunch, continue towards Teramachi to see the amazing collection of temples. Pay a visit to the nearby pottery workshops and elegant gardens during the afternoon.


We recommend visiting Nara, home to the iconic temple of Todai-ji. After visiting the temple, stroll through Nara Park and admire the friendly local deer. The Kasuga shrine is within Nara Park and dates back to when Nara was once the capital of Japan. In the afternoon, admire the beauty of Isuien Garden which has been preserved since its creation in the Meiji era.


Start the day with a visit one of Japan's most historically significant sites, Osaka Castle. The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and during cherry blossom season, it is a beautiful spot for a picnic. We suggest spending the afternoon exploring the many museums in the city. Dotonbori comes alive at night, and streets are filled with restaurants, bars and street vendors, perfectly portraying the Osakan food culture. Tonight, eat like a true Osakan and sample famous street food dishes like takoyaki, fried croquettes of octopus, and yakitori, meat skewers grilled over a charcoal flame. Another classic is Okonmiyaki, an Osakan pancake usually made with prawns and topped with a sticky sauce.


We recommend you visit the small island of Miyajima, just one hour outside Hiroshima. It is most famous for the centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine and Torii Gate. They are unique for being built over the water and appear to float in the sea during high tide. There are wild deer on the island that have slowly become accustomed to people and enjoy wandering around the same sites as people do. In the evening, they sleep along the pathways.


Enjoy a self-guided day trip to Kamkikochi, a popular resort in the Japanese Alps that offers some of Japan’s most spectacular mountain scenery. Kamkikochi is roughly a 15 km long plateau in the Azusa River Valley, surrounded by mountains and the active volcano of Yakedake. The best way to enjoy Kamkikochi is to hike through the Azusa River trails from Taisho Pond to Myojin Bridge. It is mostly flat terrain and requires no previous hiking experience.


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