Skip to main content

Posts

Traveling not far in Tokyo

Sometimes, proximity is good enough. On an early Sunday morning a short walk from home brings me to late Autumn clad Koishikawa-Korakuen garden. Long time not trailed. Whereas many angles offer the traditional sights of a Japanese garden, I find much solace in the green slopes and field like landscapes overexposed under a definetly Winter light. Early Winter may mean early Spring too. We will see this soon enough.And what is missing? A nice café nearby, of which there is none unless you teach me one I missed. No chain outlets please.On a Sunday in this quiet district, hail a taxi and skip to another quiet one, maybe the neighborhood of the Four Seasons hotel and the Tokyo Cathedral for a contrastive mood.
Recent posts

Age of Japan experts with a passion

Daily, you still read articles by Japan correspondants who can’t perform an interview in Japanese or check facts and follow the news in the local vernacular. It happens in Reykjavik, Lisbon or elsewhere too. It is not new. It has always been.Most Japan enamoured Western personalities built-up as marketing machines fall down in the same category of utterly incompetent persons at interacting with locals without the help of an interpreter. Love of Japan is a self-attributed diploma of expertise. It works the other way too. In a time when foreign language mastery has turned into a banal feat - everything but time and dedication is available to master those languages anciently touted as impossible to acquire - there is despite it still room to thrive for the pseudo-expert on a country the language of which she doesn’t know, meaning true direct human interaction she misses. “That’s Chinese to me” is passé though, except in journalism, kitchens and boardrooms.Parallel to this are the growin…

In Japan Tibet, with wasabi

Private escapes with people inside, and wasabi. Inquire at Nextaroma.

The citrus season in Japan is switched on

It's on and it can't be stopped. Citrus paradise Japan is in crop mode and the mood will go on till May with several waves of varieties. It has started with acidic yuzu and a family of lesser to unknown fruits, and also sweet mikan mandarines now. Some are available as short as a month or less.  Exceptional oranges and pomelos will ramp up in the coming months. There is now left but a short window of opportunity in November for exclusive tours in orchards, all human sized, specialty shops and other non-touristic juicy destinations with gastronomy attached, in deep rural Japan or closer to Tokyo, and even in Tokyo inner city.

The many oranges core season is around February-March with trails thinning away by May. Itineraries are private, not adequate for low budget, and made-to-order only, for amateurs as well as citrus professionals and passionnates.

Watch and inquire.

On the picture, a bunch of Kikuchi lemons from the tropical islands down there away south of Tokyo. For lack o…

Pasteis de Jimbocho

Portuguese pastry shops in Tokyo are a rarety. Two? Three? Less? I favor this year's open Doce Espiga hidden in a small street in the broader district of Jimbocho in Tokyo. Why be concerned? In Summer, young visitors from Paris were entertained with a four hours microlocal tour of Jimbocho. A microlocal tour is a tour that takes place in a pocket size territory and goes against the massively conventional view that tourism is about accumulating miles. We had a coffee and a chat at Savour (Saboru) retro café followed by soba noodles lunch. I was considering having them discover traditional sweets at a shop behind Kanda Matsuta, the beloved soba restaurant, but it was closed on a Thursday. I decided to lead them to Doce Espiga and it was a hit. The shop is recent, small and managed by a one woman soul totally dedicated to pastry. She learned during a one year stay in Braga. She had done Portuguese pastries in Tokyo for ten years, selling from a tricycle and at urban yuppy weekend mar…

SpaceX travel to nowhere versus Yuzu Tours

SpaceX future proposal for the ultrarich to zip zap zoom swoosh and whaam between major world capitals - a very limited number - in a matter of 30 minutes is indeed about shrinking the world. Except for different hues with a rosier Shanghai on arrival than a little darthvaderish city of New York on departure, the similitude of A and B is a telling. Welcome to Sameness. C'est partout pareil, fast or slow. Had a hot one at SB in Chicago, and now a latte at SB in Tokyo. The world is flat, the flight was bumpy.In the meantime, it takes between 10 and 20 years depending on claims to obtain a fruitful yuzu tree. Time and seasons are dumb. There is a faster shorter years way to crop though, but the tree will still bear fruits only once a year. I had a VC some times ago who vanished at a rocket speed dissapointed by nature stuborness. Nature too sucks. On top of that, Yuzu Tours, an exclusively private affair cheaper than a rocket flight, are on short supply, due to a limited window of o…

Are you ready for a taste of rural Japan?

You may be ready or not, but the more I visit, the more I know that rural Japan is not ready to meet you. And it is good news if authenticity matters to you. I am not refering here to the narcissic, manicured version of a dreamed rural Japan, but of the rural with the realities of rural Japan inside.Rural Japan is next door, next door of Tokyo that is. Western Tokyo is the closest territory to get a taste of it but further down along the coastal line of Kanagawa prefecture, you can still easily manage a day tour like no other. Rural means agriculture first. It also means a simpler, slower life, slower cars, small cars, and few choices of everything. It also means massively no agritourism. And when you think about it, rural without agritourism is more real than with.Today I headed by train some one hour and a half down to Ninomiya, then by taxi for some five kilometers up to the hills and the orchards of one among a few hundred small producers of mandarines. There are no big producers …

Anything new since Baedeker?

From the Baedeker Paris guide 1904 edition.

The chief object of the Handbook for Paris, which is
now issued for the fifteenth time, and corresponds with the
fifteenth French edition, is to render the traveller as nearly
as possible independent of the services of guides, commission-
naires, and innkeepers, and to enable him to employ his time
and his money to the best advantage.


Anything new besides mass tourism?

On the photo, the impressive Anahachimangu shrine near Waseda station in Tokyo.

Figure out the district from Waseda to Takadanobaba station on a map.
Walk along the Waseda-dori street and dive into the side alleys. You won't regret it.

In case you are afraid to swap independence for city enjoyment and backstreet expertise, get in touch for private guiding.

More information on Yuzu and citrus tours in Japan

Japan is a treasure trove of citrus. Just like touring vineyards in other countries, touring Japan for citrus is an alternative gateway to the provincial territories that will lead you to everything else, including culinary traditions, landscapes, gardens, ancient architecture - and some modern - the precious encounter with rural life and people of many generations you would otherwise never meet with standard tourism, including farmers, growers, entrepreneurs, artists and a few dreamers.

Yuzu, citrus and food tours are exclusively private, customized through direct communication with you, tested, tasted and never packaged.
I will never recommend mundane, unexciting and time filling destinations. Enjoyment and comfort are keys when designing personalized itineraries. I deliver from one to six travelers. These tours are not appropriate for low cost travelers.

Read much more on Nextaroma's dedicated page

Taste a slice of intimate Tokyo via Airbnb Experiences

Private itineraries are personal takes on a territory with the arch purpose to please visitors. I now offer an affordable opportunity for you to taste a slice of intimate Tokyo with a unique narrative.
Visit here over Airbnb Experiences and plan ahead.