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Takefue Ryokan – Kyūshū

There are no words to fully describe the beauty and magic of the Takefue Ryokan.   It is by far the most amazing place we have slept.  It is located up an isolated mountain, in Kyushu, just outside the amazing town of Kurokawa Onsen, deep in a bamboo forest.

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The hospitality is beyond anything expected – even in Japan.  A member of the staff is allocated as your sole contact throughout your stay.  They gently guide you, from choosing a yukata and coat, to designing and scheduling menus, to assisting your reservation of baths.  Without out going into overt detail; it is  beyond anything we’ve experienced -anywhere in the world.  The combination of service and planning creates the feeling that you are the only guest at the hotel.

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Ahau Hotel – Tulum

A successful blend between hippy, eco-chic, and family friendly, Ahau Tulum is a comfortable hotel  with the friendliest staff.  Nothing is a problem here, the atmosphere is is like you have always been a part of the family.

The beach day beds are comfortable and spaced well apart.  Simple, ample food and tasty juices are on call from the open air restaurant.  For the area, Ahau’s menu has a good range between comfort and healthy food, and is moderately priced.  Above the restaurant there is a large mezzanine, bathed in beautiful filtered natural light, where the yoga classes are held.

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Robot Restaurant – Tokyo

If you are fan of over-the top Japan; then The Robot restaurant is a MUST!

“Restaurant” is a bit of a misnomer; more like “Sensory Overload Sensation that also serves beer and popcorn and sushi”

Going to let the visuals do the talking here, because no words can really do justice to this palace of pop.

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Reiyukai Shakaden Temple – Tokyo

One can count the space age the black star temple of Reiyukai Shakaden Temple among the many places in Tokyo that seem straight out of a Science Fiction movie!

Completed in 1975, this red and black granite complex sheathed in electrochemically coloured black-steel shingles, is home to the Buddhist sect Reiyūkai (霊友会 Spiritual-Friendship).   Reiyūkai emerged as an offshoot of Buddhism in 1925 by Kakutarō Kubo and Kimi Kotani, focusing on ancestral worship without a priesthood.

The temple is open to explore and consists of: the Main Hall, the Plaza, the Kotani Hall, various conference rooms, a cafeteria, a child care room, and a nurse’s office.

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Kyomizu Dera – Kyoto

Located up mount Otowain above Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, Kyomizu Dera is one of the most impressive structures of ancient Japan (and holds one of the best views in Kyoto!).  The walk up to the temple itself is a mesmerizing trek.  One eases up into the temple passing the massive structure beneath. By the time you get to the temple itself, you are already filled with awe.

The main hall was built in 778 and reconstructed in 1633.  The innermost sanctuary holds the image of eleven-headed Thousand-armed Kannon Bodhisattva. The deity of great mercy and compassion “Kiyomizu Kannon-san.”

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