Is a JR Pass worth it?

the information section of a Japan Rail Pass

JR Value? Lots of people ask me this question. On the surface, a JR Pass, or Japan Rail Pass can seem expensive. At this time a 7 day pass is $345, a 14 day is $550 and a 21 day $703AUD. If you are intending to explore Japan beyond Tokyo, the pass is exceptional value … Continue reading Is a JR Pass worth it?

In Conversation with Erin Lindwall

Premium Matcha Importer and fellow Japanophile Erin Lindwall is an Australian who, like me, has a deep affinity with Japan. She is also a self-confessed Matcha addict. Matcha is finely ground green tea, grown in the shade which makes it vibrant green in colour. It was historically served in Japanese Tea Ceremony (Cha No Yu in … Continue reading In Conversation with Erin Lindwall

Tokyo Book and Bed

Have you ever wished you could stow away in a bookshop over night? I have always been a bookworm. Intrinsically able to navigate my way to and from the train station without taking my eyes away from the words. I could read for hours at a time, in the bath, under the blanket with a … Continue reading Tokyo Book and Bed

Shio kōji Chicken 塩麹チキン

A close up photo of shio koji chicken thighs on a tray. The chicken is slightly blackened on the edges and skin looks crispy.

Kōji is indistinguishable from magicRené Redzepi ~owner of Noma, voted best restaurant in the world five times, including 2021 Shio kōji chicken is a favourite dish in our house. The kids love it because it is really delicious. We love it because it is so simple and easy. It is one of the quickest Japanese … Continue reading Shio kōji Chicken 塩麹チキン

Uniquely Japanese- Ōsōji お掃除

Ōsōji 大掃除 is “New Year’s Cleaning”. More literally it means big cleaning. It is a custom observed by most people in Japan, sometime in December. Often in the last few days of the year. Usually around three days cleaning, not dissimilar to a "spring clean". This allows the space to be purified in order to … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Ōsōji お掃除

Why do they eat KFC for Christmas in Japan?

Exterior of KFC store at Christmas in Japan

Have you ever wondered why KFC is the traditional Christmas meal in Japan? I spent Christmas of 2015 in Japan. I am not sure why, but I was surprised by the fact that Christmas is not really celebrated in Japan. Of course, Japan is not a Christian country. In fact only around 1% of the … Continue reading Why do they eat KFC for Christmas in Japan?

Tokyo Chic Konbini, Melbourne

Manekineko cat neon light at Hibiki Future

Hibiki, in Camberwell, is a little slice of Tokyo cool in the suburbs of Melbourne. It is one of our favourite go-to places when we want to eat something really scrumptious. Their breakfast is particularly delicious. However, any time of day is a good time to eat at Hibiki. The menu and atmosphere change at … Continue reading Tokyo Chic Konbini, Melbourne

The Master…of Meshi

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

Midnight Diner Meshi 飯 means food in Japanese. More literally, rice. However the words rice and food are almost interchangeable in meaning in Japan. Meshiya 飯屋 means food shop, or diner. Midnight Diner, is a Japanese tv show available on Netflix in Australia. The title in Japanese is Shinya Shokudo 深夜食堂. The show is about … Continue reading The Master…of Meshi

Hokusai, The Movie

All photos are from the movie and attributed to the makers and the movie poster to Imdb. Katsushika Hokusai's ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) are probably one of the most recognisable series of artworks in the world. The Great Wave off Kanagawa is the quintessential visual of Japan. It has been replicated and reproduced in pop-culture and … Continue reading Hokusai, The Movie

In Conversation with Maki Ueta, owner of a Kyoto Guesthouse

Maki and I met in April 2015 when my kids and I stayed in her exceptional guesthouse in Higashiyama in Kyoto. I had a feeling while I was booking Guesthouse Soi and reading reviews that something very special was going to eventuate. I was right. We stayed four nights in Kyoto and I made a … Continue reading In Conversation with Maki Ueta, owner of a Kyoto Guesthouse