I ended up in Japan courtesy of an advert in Goodge Street tube station, London. I’d been working late, and the advert was for language classes at SOAS, nearby; wanting to try something that wasn’t working far too late at night on a magazine, I signed up to learn Japanese. That was 2007.
By 2009 I was intrigued enough to visit – but could only make it to Tokyo and Hakone. And since then, I’ve tried to go back annually, largely to practice my not-so-great Japanese (まだまだ!). In Tokyo it’s too easy to fall back on English, so I headed out towards the rest of the country – and discovered a huge, beautiful world that I wanted to see more of. Since then I’ve traveled around Tohoku, Kansai, Kyushu and Hokkaido.
Traveling to Japan for a few days each year is a luxury, so I have to do it relatively cheaply – on top of a £500 flight, I’m usually working on £50-100 per day including accommodation, so I’ve found a routine that involves traveling around relatively large routes using cheap train tickets and a large backpack. Sometimes this is easy; other times it means walking rather further than is comfortable and eating a lot of 100 yen onigiri.
Everything on this website is based on personal experience: anywhere I recommend, I’ve been myself. I took every photo, and wrote every word – please don’t copy them without permission.
My non-Japan-related stuff is at tomroyal.com.