From time to time the question arises in online discussion forums: what’s the best way to see a new city? Some travelers plump for hitting the highlights by whatever means necessary, jumping from site to site by train, plane, or automobile. That’s a very effective means of checking off a list of “top ten temples,” or whatever, and can be fun in its own way (ask me about my four-day, whirlwind tour of southwest Iceland last March). It’s efficient, which is why most guidebooks are organized around such a style of travel. There is, however, another way of travel, one which may add little or nothing to your bucket list, and for which there are few guidebooks, but may give you a better understanding of the place you’re visiting – and just maybe the place you came from. That’s to get off the train… and walk. Immerse yourself in one area. Walk its sidestreets and alleys. Linger at neighbourhood spots which will never make a traditional guidebook but say something authentic about the lives of the people who live there – even if this means not checking all the “Must Sees” on a list. As John Ruskin puts it,
The author at artphototravel.net has included five sites in Japan under the “Best Places” category: the snow monkeys of Nagano, cormorant fishing in Gifu, samurai on horseback at the Nikko Grand Spring Festival, sumo (broken link), and the Onbashiri (in the works).
Some great photographs on the site, and useful, photographer-friendly travel advice to some amazing locations in Japan and the world. Check it out: