One of the most popular travel destinations in Japan for both domestic and foreign tourists alike, Kyoto is an ancient city with over a thousand years of history. Kyoto Station, the city’s main transportation hub, was revamped to commemorate Kyoto’s 1,200 year anniversary in 1997. For such a historical city, one might expect the station to be a hallmark of traditional architecture; however, the building’s sleek design of curved glass and exposed steel beams—the second-largest station building in Japan, containing a hotel, movie theater, two shopping malls, several museums, and a department store—reinterprets the city’s traditional aesthetic in a modern way.
Tokyo Station is often described as the figurative center of Japan, the heart that connects the capital metropolis of Tokyo to the rest of the country via its many arteries of bullet train lines. Over 3,000 trains run through the station each day, and it is the fifth busiest in the world by number of passengers. Tokyo Station’s iconic Marunouchi facade is a traditional red brick building often likened to the Amsterdam Central Station as well as Victorian period London architecture, and it gives way to the Imperial Palace just a short distance away.
Fugu, Japanese pufferfish, is notorious for the highly toxic poison—tetrodotoxin—contained in its organs. Despite its deadly potential, fugu has been eaten in Japan for hundreds of years. As it was initially unknown how to properly prepare the fish, there were many fatalities from fugu consumption. For this reason, the eating of fugu was banned from around 1570 to 1870. These days fugu is commonly available in restaurants and supermarkets throughout Japan, but must be prepared by a licensed chef, and is prohibited to be prepared in the home—-even today, the Japanese royal family is forbidden from eating it.
Osaka, located in the western region of Kansai, is a city famous for its food culture, and prides itself on being the gourmet capital of Japan. From the Dotonbori canal district lined with various dining establishments to the Shinsekai area serving up famous local dishes, Osaka is a true foodie mecca. There’s even an old Japanese saying that people from Osaka will eat and drink themselves out of house and home. If you’re visiting Osaka and want to uncover the different types of Osaka restaurants, here’s a guide to the diverse array of food experiences that await.