One dollar doesn’t get you very far in the United States, In Japan, well, that’s a different story. There’s of course the popular dollar stores, but we recommend heading down to Tsukiji Market to look for a tiny tamagoyaki stand named Marutake Tamagoyaki. They’ve been making one dish, tamagoyaki, for over 80 years. It’s the perfect light breakfast or snack. And the best part, it’s just 100 yen, equivalent to roughly one US dollar.
Most people know Okinawa as being a part of Japan. However, it wasn’t until 1879 that Okinawa became Japan’s southernmost prefecture. Prior to that, Okinawa was known as the Ryukyu Islands and was ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom, which consisted of three individual principalities: Hokuzan, Chuzan, and Nanzan. Nakijin Castle, built in the early 14th century and home to the Hokuzan Kingdom, is now one of five castles of the Ryukyu Kingdom that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
A little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to visit the The National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The memorial occupies eight acres at One World Trade Center. Every name of every person who died on that day is inscribed on the bronze that surrounds the twin memorial pools. It’s a somber place. I recall it being very quiet. Many visitors, if not all, were in quiet reflection.
Tucked away in one of Beppu’s many tiny streets is a small camp-themed restaurant that serves comfort camping food. Chef and owner, Showta Hirose, came up with the concept for the restaurant because of his passion for the outdoors.
There seems to be a castle wherever you go in Japan, but Osaka Castle should be on your short list of must visit Japanese castles. Originally built in 1583, Osaka Castle is the main symbol of Osaka. If you happen to visit between late March and Early April, then you’ll be lucky to see the castle surrounded by cherry blossom trees. Now THAT would be pretty (and cost you a pretty penny).
After checking out Itsukushima Shrine, we decided to walk around the streets of Miyajima Island. The plan was to take the lift to the top of Mount Misen.
As you travel through Japan, you will undoubtedly notice the many torii, or religious shrines. However, there is no torii more dramatic than Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island. At low tide, visitors can walk up to the torii. At high tide, visitors enjoy the torii from a distance. When we visited, it was raining heavily. It was dark, gray, gloomy, and seemingly magical. Another UNESCO World Heritage site checked off of my list.
I was first introduced to Okonomiyaki when fellow hiking buddy and psychology colleague, Ahnate, decided to cook up a batch at Hyde Manor. He was inspired to try and make the dish after visiting Sapporo a few months prior. So of course, when I visited Hiroshima, I had to try the dish that they are most known for – Okonomiyaki.