Kyoto Photos

From the Yasaka Shrine to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, check out the attractions and foods of this Japanese city.

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Geisha Girls
Geisha Girls

Geisha Girls

We love Japan's rich culture, including Kabuki Theater and Geisha girls --traditional, female Japanese entertainers whose skills including performing various Japanese arts such as classical music and dance. 960 1280

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Banryutei Rock Garden at Kongobu-ji Temple

Banryutei Rock Garden at Kongobu-ji Temple

Experience spiritual peace at the Kongobu-ji Temple’s Zen meditation garden, located on Mount Koya. The temple’s modern Banryutei rock garden in Japan’s largest, with 140 granite stones arranged to suggest a pair of dragons emerging from clouds to protect the temple. 960 1280

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Acura/Honda

Acura/Honda

We love American-made automobiles, but we also love Japanese manufactured cars, like Acura, the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. And this will get your motor revving; Honda has been the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959. 960 1280

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Yokohama Chinatown

Yokohama Chinatown

You can’t leave Japan without Yokohama Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in Asia and 1 of the largest in the world. There are roughly 250 Chinese-owned/themed shops and restaurants scattered throughout the district. You’ll be shocked to know that only a few Chinese people still live in Chinatown with a population of about 3,000 to 4,000 people. 960 1280

owenfinn16, Flickr   

Mori Art Museum

Mori Art Museum

Explore Japan’s top tourist attractions, including the Mori Art Museum (pictured), Tokyo Tower, Tokyo National Museum and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Osaka and Kyoto are also our favorite Japanese cities; so, make sure you add these exciting destinations to your travel itinerary if you’re planning a trip “The Land of the Rising Sun.” 960 1280

Mori Art Museum, Flickr  

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu Massage

We love a relaxing Shiatsu massage. Shiatsu is a type of alternative medicine consisting of finger and palm pressure, stretches and other massage techniques. Practitioners believe it’s a good way to help people cope with issues such as stress, muscle pain, nausea, anxiety and depression. 960 1280

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Tokyo's Akihabara District

Tokyo's Akihabara District

The Japanese have always been a leader in cutting-edge technology, and what better place to visit than Tokyo’s Akihabara District to check out or buy some of the hottest, high-tech gadgets in the world. Looking for designer fashions, visit Tokyo’s Shibuya District if you’re looking for designer fashions; or go shopping for traditional Japanese crafts at the Japan National Craft Center in Tokyo. 960 1280

St̩fan, Flickr  

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Nothing beats the pomp and circumstance of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony also called the Way of Tea. This cultural activity involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, powdered green tea. And we can’t turn down a good, soothing cup of green tea. 960 1280

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Sushi

Sushi

Sushi is a popular Japanese food, and we love it! Sashimi, neta, shan and wasabi are all the makings of a delicious and succulent sushi meal. 960 1280

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Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestling

Sumo wrestling is a competitive full-contact sport that originated in Japan, the only country where it is practiced professionally. We admire the brute strength of the wrestlers and their ability to force their hefty opponents out of the circular ring, or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. 960 1280

Marshall Astor, Flickr  

Mount Fiji and Cherry Blossoms

Mount Fiji and Cherry Blossoms

This photo captures 2 things we love about the Japanese. We enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms and the snow-capped peak of majestic Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan. 960 1280

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Katsura Imperial Villa

Katsura Imperial Villa

Take a stroll through a beautiful Japanese garden like the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto (pictured), Sankeien Garden in Tokyo, Rikugien Garden in Yokohama, Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu or Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. 960 1280

David Sanz, Flickr  

George takei

George takei

We appreciate the acting talents of Japanese actors, including George Takei (pictured), Takeshi Shimura and Ken Watanabe. 960 1280

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Karate

Karate

We love the discipline of Karate, a martial art that developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan, in the 19th century. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. 960 1280

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Cosplay at Nipponbashi Street Fiesta

Cosplay at Nipponbashi Street Fiesta

What’s not to love about dressing up in fun costumes? We marvel at the popularity of Cosplay. Participants dress up in costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Comic books, anime, graphic novels and video games are often sources of inspiration. 960 1280

mia.judkins, Flickr  

Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace

We enjoy learning about Japanese royalty and their history. Visit Tokyo and see the remarkable Imperial Palace, the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. Built on the site of the old Edo castle, include the main palace, private residences of the imperial family, an archive, museum and administrative offices. 960 1280

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Nagoya Port

Nagoya Port

Nagoya Port, located in Isle bay, is the largest and busiest trading port in Japan. This port is notably the largest exporter of cars in Japan. So we admire the Japanese for their industrial ingenuity. 960 1280

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Photos

Himeji-jo

Himeji-jo

Himeji-jo
Called "White Egret Castle" for its supposed resemblance to a white bird taking flight, Himeji-jo is a perfect archetypal example of Japanese architecture dating back to 1333. The castle is actually a complex of 83 buildings that make up one of the most advanced defensive structures of 14th-century Japan.
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Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons  

Futarasan Shrine

Futarasan Shrine

Shrines and Temples of Nikko: Futarasan Shrine
Built in 767, the Shinto shrine Futarasan has a collection of over 130 swords that are considered national treasures. Mount Nikko, where the shrine stands, is believed to be the home of Shinto and Buddhist deities and has been where many monks received their religious training.
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Wally Gobetz, flickr  

Yakushima

Yakushima

Yakushima
The island of Yakushima was designated a World Heritage Site because it is home to a remnant of ancient forest. It also happens to be the largest nesting ground in the North Pacific for loggerhead sea turtles, an endangered species.
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Chris Harber, flickr  

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and Its Cultural Landscape
On Honshu Island, a collection of mountains and deep river valleys make up the archaeological remains of the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine. This mine produced silver between the 16th and 20th centuries, and in the 17th century produced a third of the world's silver.
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Yama 1009, Wikimedia Commons  

Kimpu Shrine

Kimpu Shrine

Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
Due to the role they played in the fusion of Shinto and Buddhist beliefs, the sacred sites of Yoshino and Omine, Kumano Sanzan and Koyasan were named one of Japan’s World Heritage sites. Located along the pilgrimage routes in the forests of the Kii Mountains, the sacred sites are visited by up to 15 million hikers each year.
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663highland, Wikimedia Commons  

Ogasawara Islands

Ogasawara Islands

Ogasawara Islands
More than 30 islands make up the Ogasawara Islands, which are the home to 195 endangered bird species and 441 native plants. With its subtropical forests, the islands have been nicknamed the "Galapagos of the Orient."
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OgasawaraEnglishClub, Wikitravel Creative Commons  

Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto: Kinkaku-ji
Kinkaku-ji, or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is just one of 17 locations that make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. The original temple was built in 1397 as a villa, and then converted into a temple. Unfortunately, it burned down in 1950; the temple standing today was built as a replica in 1955.
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Keith Pomakis, Wikimedia Commons  

Shirakami-Sanchi

Shirakami-Sanchi

Shirakami-Sanchi
The ancient beech forest of Shirakami-Sanchi is one of the last of its kind in East Asia, and is undisturbed with no trails or manmade structures. Rare birds such as the black woodpecker and golden eagle live among the forest's numerous waterfalls and steep valleys.
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Hidetsugu Tonomura, flickr  

The Horyu-ji Temple

The Horyu-ji Temple

Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area
The Horyu-ji Temple, one of the Buddhist monuments in the Horyu-ji area, was the first historic place listed as a Japanese World Heritage Site. Considered the world's oldest wooden structure, its full name is Learning Temple of the Flourishing Law. The temple houses 38 national treasures along with a vast collection of Japanese art.
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663highland, Wikimedia Commons  

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
Isolated from the rest of the world, the historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama cultivated mulberry trees and raised silkworms to survive. The architecture of the homes is the only example of its kind in Japan, with its steep thatched roofs allowing the houses to withstand the area's heavy snowfalls.
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Bergmann, Wikimedia Commons  

Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko National Park
The name of the Shiretoko National Park is derived from a word meaning "end of the Earth." The description is fitting since the park is accessible only by foot or boat, making it one of the most remote regions in Japan.
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Naha Shuri Castle

Naha Shuri Castle

Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu
Shuri Castle in the city of Naha was the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom. In the 1945 Battle of Okinawa it was destroyed, then rebuilt in 1992 on the original site thanks to historical records and photographs.
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663highland, Wikimedia Commons  

Genbaku Dome

Genbaku Dome

Hiroshima Peace Memorial: Genbaku Dome
The only building left standing in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb exploded in 1945, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial honors the more than 70,000 people who were killed -- and the additional 70,000 who were injured -- by the blast. The ruin serves as a reminder of the importance of peaceful negotiation.
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SElefant, Wikimedia Commons  

Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi
The historic gardens and temples of Hiraizumi are devoted to the ideals of Pure Land Buddhism -- the area represents the pure land of Buddha where believers hope to visit after death.
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ReijiYamashina, Wikimedia Commons  

Kasuga Grand Shrine

Kasuga Grand Shrine

Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara: Kasuga Shrine
Kasuga Grand Shrine, located in the city of Nara, is known for its many bronze lanterns that fill the interior, as well as the more than 1,000 stone lanterns that line the path to the temple.
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663highland, Wikimedia Commons   

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
The Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, built on a pier in the water, looks as if it is floating. It was built this way so visitors to the shrine could pass through the gate and be cleansed before setting foot on the sacred island of Itsukushima.
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Spiegel, flickr  

16 Photos
Sunday in Harajuku

Sunday in Harajuku

Harajuku, which translates as 'meadow lodging,' is actually the name for the area around Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line of the commuter rail in Tokyo. 960 1280

John Mueller, flickr  

Harajuku girls

Harajuku girls

The Harajuku region is known for its shopping and fashions. It has also become famous for the teenage girls who come dressed in cosplay outfits or fashions they invent. 960 1280

Matt Watts, flickr  

Harajuku girls in Tokyo

Harajuku girls in Tokyo

The focal point of Harajuku's teenage culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined with many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands and fast-food outlets geared toward the fashion-and-trends conscious teens. 960 1280

Istolethetv, flickr  

Harajuku girls

Harajuku girls

To experience the Harajuku culture, visit the area on a Sunday. This is when most of the young people gather in their unique fashions. 960 1280

ThisParticularGreg, flickr  

Gothic girl in Harajuku area of Tokyo

Gothic girl in Harajuku area of Tokyo

You'll see many different styles including, gothic, cosplay, visual kei, rockabilly, hip hop and punk. 960 1280

Mehmet Aktugan, flickr  

Colorful Harajuku girls

Colorful Harajuku girls

US singer Gwen Stefani was so impressed with the Harajuku culture that she recorded her hit single "Harajuku Girls." She felt the culture gives youth a way to express themselves. 960 1280

Mehmet Aktugan, flickr  

Harajuku school girl

Harajuku school girl

Gwen Stefani went on to create a Harajuku Lovers clothing line featuring Kawaii-style characters she designed -- Love, Angel, Music and Baby. She now has a children's line of the clothing. 960 1280

John Mueller, flickr  

Harajuku girls

Harajuku girls

Here are some tips for dressing in the Harajuku style: Wear what you think looks good. Don't worry about what others think. If you like it, then go for it! 960 1280

Mehmet Aktugan, flickr  

Wild hair and makeup on a girl in Harajuku

Wild hair and makeup on a girl in Harajuku

Go wild with your hair and makeup. 960 1280

Leishangthem, flickr  

Girls dressed in pink and white outfits

Girls dressed in pink and white outfits

Don't forget to layer. This is one of the hallmarks of this style of dress. 960 1280

Carter McKendry, flickr  

Harajuku girls with lots of accessories

Harajuku girls with lots of accessories

Accessorize -- add jewelry, purses, hairbands and any other items that you think will complete the look. 960 1280

Ethan Hein, flickr  

Baby Doll Harajuku Girls

Baby Doll Harajuku Girls

In addition to the unique teen culture, the Harajuku area is known for its attractions and shopping. Meiji Jingu, one of Tokyo's major shrines, is not far from the station and is located near Yoyogi Park. 960 1280

Elvin, flickr  

Dark Lolita (kodona style)

Dark Lolita (kodona style)

Not too far from Yoyogi Park is Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Built for the 1964 Olympics by famous architect Kenzo Tange, it is now used for ice skating and volleyball competitions, concerts and other events. 960 1280

Carlos Castillo, flickr  

Harajuku Lolita

Harajuku Lolita

Visitors should also check out the Ota Memorial Museum of Art and the Nezu Museum. Both have impressive Asian art collections. 960 1280

Nicholas Wang, flickr  

Harajuku girls dressed like anime characters

Harajuku girls dressed like anime characters

Omotesando, an avenue sometimes referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees, is where you can find cafes, restaurants and famous brand name shops. 960 1280

Mehmet Aktugan, flickr  

Girl dressed as Stitch from the Disney movie

Girl dressed as Stitch from the Disney movie

Also located on this street is Kiddy Land. This 6-floor toy store is one of the most famous and popular in Tokyo. 960 1280

Cory Doctorow, flickr  

17 Photos
Edamame

Edamame

This salty snack of pods of baby soybeans goes well with beer. You can often find it at Japanese ballparks. 960 1280

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Yakitori

Yakitori

Yakitori are small pieces of skewered chicken and vegetables cooked on a grill. Each part of the chicken is typically grilled: the meat, liver, gizzard, skin, tail, cartilage, wing and small intestines. 960 1280

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Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki

This hot pot dish consists of thinly sliced beef, onions and tofu cooked in a sweet soup. It is eaten with rice and raw egg. It is also a popular wintertime treat. 960 1280

Yumi Kimura, flickr  

Tempura

Tempura

Tempura is any food (usually meat, veggies or seafood) that is fried in a special batter. It is usually served with a dipping sauce called tentsuyu. 960 1280

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Sakuramochi

Sakuramochi

Eaten during the Cherry Blossom Festival as well as Hinamatsuri (Girls' Day) in Japan, this pastry comes in 2 varieties: the Kanto (Tokyo) style where azuki bean paste-filled pancake/crepe is wrapped with a pickled sakura leaf, and the Kansai style, which is made with Domyoji-ko, a kind of glutinous rice flour that is steamed and filled with azuki. 960 1280

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Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad

Japanese seaweed salad can consist of 1 or more types of seaweed: wakame, arame, dulse, hijiki, ao-nori and agar strips. It is often made with sesame seeds and oil. Seaweed is a super food and is loaded with anti-oxidants and minerals. 960 1280

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Soba

Soba

Soba is another popular soup-based dish. When served hot, the thin buckwheat noodles are topped with items such as tempura, duck, mochi (rice cakes) or mountain vegetables. It can also be served cold with wasabi. 960 1280

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Sake

Sake

This alcoholic beverage is made from fermented rice called shinpaku-mai. The higher the starch content of the rice, the better the sake. There are 4 types of sake, and each uses a different type of rice: junmai-shu, honjozo-shu, ginjo-shu and daiginjo-shu. 960 1280

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Ramen Noodles

Ramen Noodles

Ramen are Japanese noodles with an oily soup that has a meat or fish broth flavored with soy sauce, salt or miso. Ramen noodles can be topped with thin sliced pork, egg, nori (type of seaweed) and green onion. 960 1280

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Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Miso soup is made with a simple stock called dashi (seaweed and fish shavings). A small amount of miso paste is added to the broth, which ends up floating in the mixture. Seaweed, onion and tofu are all toppings that can be used in the soup. 960 1280

cyclonebill, flickr  

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki

Often translated as Japanese pancake, these patties are made from a batter of flour, eggs and shredded cabbage. Veggies, meat, seafood and cheese can all be mixed in. They are often topped with fish or seaweed flakes, mayonnaise and pickled ginger. 960 1280

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Shabu-shabu

Shabu-shabu

Similar to fondue, these thin slices of pork or beef are cooked by submerging them in boiling broth using long chopsticks. They can be eaten along with veggies, seafood or tofu. 960 1280

Christian Kadluba, flickr  

Sushi

Sushi

There are 2 varieties of sushi. Maki is when fish, veggies or a combo are rolled into rice and wrapped in seaweed. Nigiri means 'hand made,' and includes rice shaped into a rectangle with a piece of fish on top. 960 1280

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Tsukemono

Tsukemono

These Japanese pickles come in many varieties such as beni shoga (ginger pickle), bettarazuke (Japanese radish pickle), gari (young sweet ginger pickle) and nasu karashizuke (pickled eggplant). They are used as toppings or a side dish. 960 1280

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Udon

Udon

Udon are thick Japanese wheat noodles. They can be eaten cold with a dipping sauce and wasabi, or hot in a broth with toppings such as tofu, tempura or toasted mochi. 960 1280

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Taiyaki

Taiyaki

Taiyaki are fish-shaped Japanese sweets filled with red bean paste or custard and served hot. They are a popular food at Japanese festivals. 960 1280

yomi955, Wikimedia Commons  

Ikura

Ikura

The salmon eggs can be served on rice as sushi or in onigiri (rice ball). 960 1280

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