Breathtaking views on the Kumano Kodo trek, Japan

Postcards From Japan: Visiting Wakayama – A Travel Guide

Plan your trip to this beautiful part of Japan with this Wakayama travel guide.

Heading south from Osaka is Wakayama and the Kii Peninsula. It’s a mountainous area of natural beauty, where low-lying clouds create magical views.

After visiting Tokyo, followed by the Izu and Noto Peninsulas, this was my final stop on my exciting tri-peninsula trip through Japan.

A few friends had spent time in Wakayama City (Emily has a great Wakayama City guide) and they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They checked out places like Wakayama Castle, some great ramen joints (the area is famed for its delicious pork broth) and Kuroshio Market.

For me though, it was time to leave the city behind and head for the beautiful scenery. With a typhoon rolling in it was going to be a brief trip, but hopefully an enriching one.

Wakayama mountain views
Wakayama mountain views

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Exploring Himeji Castle, Japan

These Are The Best Day Trips From Kobe, Japan

From visiting some of Japan’s most impressive castles, to enjoying a traditional onsen experience, enjoying the buzz of one of Japan’s most vibrant cities, to taking in one of the most breath-taking views of the region, these are the best day trips from Kobe.

So Kobe was a blast! As you’ll have seen from my recent blog 18 Amazing Things To Do In Kobe, I packed absolutely loads into my trip. I explored Chinatown, took a sunset cruise, learned all about Kobe port, sampled sake and feasted on Kobe beef. It’s a really interesting city, with plenty of great things to do, and I really enjoyed having time to explore it.

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View of Kobe, Japan

18 Things To Do In Kobe, Japan – The Ultimate Kobe Travel Guide

From taking in the views from Kobe’s Port Tower and the ferris wheel, to exploring the old district of Kitano or getting lost in colourful streets of Chinatown, these are the top things to do in Kobe, Japan.

After my first trip to Japan last year, I was SO excited to be invited back to explore some more of the country. This time I was off to Kobe, a city around twenty minutes west of the metropolis of Osaka.

So why go to Kobe, Japan? What is Kobe famous for? First up, the food. Kobe beef is reckoned to be some of the best beef in the world (more on that coming up).

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Boiling pool at Umi Jigoku in Beppu

Everything You Need To Know About Visiting An Onsen In Japan

From a step-by-step guide about how to take an onsen, to information about what to wear and a few taboos too, it’s time to find out everything you need to know about visiting an onsen in Japan.

There are plenty of things in Japanese culture that you might not know about until you’ve been.

I had plenty of questions before, during and after my trip! As soon as I returned I wrote a mammoth Q&A post, addressing all the little quirks you might not know about before you go.

I covered everything from how to get around the country, to the highly-functional toilets, and what things cost.

I decided the Japanese onsen experience was worth its very own post. 

When you visit an onsen in Japan there are lots of rules and traditions to be aware of.

While I’m sure you won’t get laughed at or deeply offend someone if you get things a little wrong to start with, it’s nice to start with a bit of insight! I hope this guide helps you avoid embarrassment and enjoy the onsen experience – for me they were a huge highlight of Japanese culture.  

Useful things to know before visiting an onsen

An onsen is a Japanese traditional bath, usually found in regions with natural hot springs.

Some towns like Shuzenji in the Izu Peninsula are particularly famous for their hot springs, and people visit specifically to enjoy the relaxation that the experience brings.

While I’d liken it to spending time in a Jacuzzi, it’s a little different in Japan.

Natural hot spring bath (onsen), Hakone, Japan
Natural hot spring bath (onsen), Hakone, Japan

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Exploring Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Myth Busting: Travelling In Japan (And How To Avoid Awkward Situations)

From what to eat and how to get around to THOSE toilets, it’s time to answer your questions about travelling in Japan!

There’s a huge amount of curiosity associated with Japan. I didn’t know that many people who had visited, and as I was preparing for my trip, I had quite a few questions.

I wondered what it’d be like travelling in Japan – would it be hard with only a couple of words of Japanese to help us?

Would people be helpful and friendly?

From eating at restaurants in London, I think I LOVE Japanese food – but what’s it really like to eat in Japan? Would I even know what I was ordering?

Traditional Izu Peninsula meal - soba noodles and wasabi
Traditional Izu Peninsula meal – soba noodles and wasabi

Oh and when it comes to etiquette, Japan brings up lots of images of special routines and rituals, all of which I’d have no idea about.

More than anything, I wondered if I’d end up embarrassing myself, or seriously offending someone – things I REALLY didn’t want to do!

Funnily enough, my queries were mirrored by a lot of you guys who sent in a bunch of questions via Instagram. Now I’m back, I wanted to address them. Hopefully this post will be handy for anyone travelling in Japan soon!

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