Trips to Japan
At first glance, Japan seems very fashionable, but traveling around the countryside provides many ways to combine with the country's tradition. Stay in a yokan (traditional Japanese inn), rest on futon and tartami matting and paddle through well-trodden wood floorboards to the bath house (or take a further walk and stay in an old farmhouse).
Japan has the strength to inspire even the most tired traveler, from the splendor of a Kyoto Gisha dancing to the beauties of a Zen cliffs. No matter where you are in Japan, it seems you are never more than 500 meters away from a good dinner. Often specialising in just one food - perhaps they have passed down from generation to generation to perfect - a restaurant takes care of every phase, from the procurement of the fresest indigenous produce to the attractive composition of the cuisine.
And you don't have to go far to find out that Japanese cooking is very diverse. For example, the savoury mountain hotspots are radically different from the tender Sushi for which the coastline is known. The Japanese are a long and slim, high volcano island. It' s over two third of the mountain, with gushing warm water on every corner.
During the warm seasons there are great walks, through cedars and wild flower beds, up to ascending summits and old chests (the latter established by migratory ascetics). This is all shrouded in snows in winter and the ski is great. And if you've never combined walking or downhill with soaking at Onen, you don't know what you've missed.
Neo-illuminated streets in Japanese towns and villages look like science fiction films, although many of them are decade-old. Meanwhile, towns like Tokyo and Osaka have added new architectonic marvels that are redefining what a building - and city - should look like. With their pulsating streets, 24-hour food and drink shopping, and resourceful centers that create fashions and popular cultural tendencies around the globe, these city centers are inexhaustible.