Nagoya is the capital of Aichi prefecture, and the largest city in the central Chubu region of Japan. Chubu, and the Aichi area in particular, is famous for its soybean farming and production of miso, a traditional Japanese ingredient of fermented soybean paste. Thanks to its location between Tokyo and Osaka, Nagoya has been influenced by the dining scenes of both cities, but it is also known for a number of local foods, including tebasaki chicken wings and hatcho miso (a type of red miso) which is used in various regional dishes.
Japanese fireworks, or hanabi (meaning “flowers of fire”), are a tradition that goes back several centuries. Arriving to Japan during the Edo period, the art of making fireworks has become a major artistic endeavor with master artisans crafting stunning spectacles to be displayed at the fireworks festivals known as hanabi taikai. While in other countries firework displays are typically held as part of holiday celebrations, in Japan, fireworks festivals have become an important summer tradition and usually take place alongside large rivers to help people keep cool in the heat. Read on for four of the most renowned Tokyo fireworks festivals of summer, along with recommendations for great places to indulge in great food and drinks before or after the show.
Kanazawa, the capital city of Ishikawa prefecture, is located in the Hokuriku region on the central coast of Japan’s main island facing the Sea of Japan. Historically, the city’s prime location, equidistant from Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and Kyoto, offered Kanazawa easy access to both cultures. Many areas throughout Kanazawa still retain a traditional look, so much so that it is often referred to as “Little Kyoto”.
Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish of a pork cutlet that has been coated in flaky panko breadcrumbs then deep-fried. Similar to a German schnitzel, tonkatsu was first served in Japan around the turn of the 20th century when Japanese restaurants began to offer more western-style food, known as “yoshoku”. Over time, tonkatsu has become one of Japan’s most commonly eaten dishes.
The Shinjuku district is one of the liveliest areas of Tokyo. A major commercial center, Shinjuku offers towering skyscrapers, massive department stores and electronic shops, and is also home to Tokyo’s metropolitan city government. Shinjuku Station is the most traversed train station in the world, and at night the district comes alive with neon lights and a bustling nightlife.
Tsukiji, located in Tokyo’s Chuo ward, was made world famous by the wholesale fish market located in the area. The district is also home to plenty of other attractions that make it a great day out in Tokyo for both residents and visitors. The elegant Hamarikyu Gardens nearby were originally a feudal lord’s residence and duck hunting grounds. The Tsukiji Hongan-Ji temple adjacent to Tsukiji Station is a Buddhist temple that dazzles visitors with its ancient Indian Buddhist architectural style. A stroll along the Sumida River is the perfect activity for a fine day, with view of several famous Tokyo bridges.
Curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan that has been enjoyed since the early Meiji period. During that time, Japanese people started to eat British-style curry and other Western foods as a way to emulate modern Western culture. Over time the flavor of British curry, which is based on Indian curry, became sweeter with a more mild flavor to suit the Japanese palate, and the dish came to be known as a Japanese dish called “kare raisu” (curry rice).
The Asakusa district is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Although it’s located in the middle of Japan’s largest city, Asakusa, which was historically the town’s entertainment quarter, maintains the traditional “shitamachi” downtown vibe of old Edo, and it’s one of the few places in Tokyo where one can still take a ride on a rickshaw. The local landmark Kaminarimon is a massive gate that leads to Sensoji Temple, which is flanked by the Nakamise shopping street, a traditional market that has sold souvenirs and local snacks to visitors for centuries.
Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s top destinations for visitors and locals alike. A beacon of youth culture and entertainment, the area offers everything from shopping and karaoke to cool bars and lively nightclubs.
Just outside of Shibuya Station is the Hachiko statue dedicated to Japan’s most loyal canine, which has become a popular rendezvous spot for groups of friends meeting up. And the intersection in front of the station, often referred to as “Scramble Crossing” is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, with as many as 2,500 people passing through it each time the traffic light changes. But Shibuya isn’t only a place to go for fun shopping and entertainment, it’s home to trendy cafés and numerous restaurants that provide a wide range of cuisines. If you’re wondering where to eat near Shibuya station, here’s a handy guide.
Cherry blossom season in Japan begins each year in early spring, lasting until around Golden Week in May. During that time, swaths of pink and white sakura blossoms burst into full bloom starting from the Kyushu area in the southwest and moving in a northerly direction. During this season hanami, or cherry blossom viewing parties, are common in Japan. Sakura viewing first began during the Heian period, the historical peak of the Japanese nobility and a period in which culture and the arts flourished in Japan. The Heian emperor would host extravagant feasts beneath the cherry blossoms at the imperial palace in Kyoto, which set the tradition for hanami picnics. Today, hanami parties can take place either during the daytime or at night among family, friends, and coworkers.