Episode 496 – Two tourists in Tokyo

This week on the podcast, something a little different: My first time traveling purely as a tourist in Japan, with a very special guest star.

Featured image: Isaac striking a pose at Himeji castle.


Unfortunately, my transcription software is bugging out this week. I’ve created a map with short descriptions of the places we talked about in this episode. Spots in green are great destinations for tourists. Spots in red are places we wouldn’t recommend as tourist destinations, although they may hold some interest to people who are curious about Japanese history and politics (and if you’re listening to this episode, I’m assuming you’re either interested in Japanese history or quite badly lost).

I’ll be adding our stops in Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara to this next week.


All photos were taken by us! We were trying to get shots of things Isaac couldn’t easily find on Wikimedia Commons and similar free photo sites.

Himeji castle surrounded by cherry blossoms. Seriously, if you’re doing cherry blossom season in Japan, try to swing by Himeji.

A historical reenactor at Himeji castle posing with tourists. He may be a feudal warrior, but he can still take modern covid precautions.

Himeji castle illuminated at night.

A samurai contemplates the cherry blossoms at Himeji castle.

Some interesting wording on a plaque at Meiji shrine.

A whole lot of wine barrels at Meiji shrine.

A lot of sake barrels and someone who’s about to drink a lot of sake at Meiji shrine.

The mascot of the Senkaku Islands, one of the three disputed territories covered in the National Museum of Territory and Sovereignty. If you want to go to relaxing tourist destinations, do not travel with Isaac.

All three mascots of the disputed territories.

Isaac having a modern art experience at teamLab Planets TOKYO.

Another room at teamLab.

Fox statues at Toyokawa Inari Betsuin.

Even ancient shrines have modern mascots. We found this one at Toyokawa Inari Betsuin.

Even more fox statues at Toyokawa Inari Betsuin. There are always more fox statues.

A guard tower opposite modern office buildings at the Imperial Palace East Gardens.

8 thoughts on “Episode 496 – Two tourists in Tokyo”

  1. Long time listener, first time caller.

    Living the pictures. Thanks for letting us enjoy this trip with you! Been to Japan twice and can’t wait to go back.

    Thank you so much for doing this series. I’m a Patreon and it’s worth it every episode.

    1. Noooo I’m almost up to date on history on Japan podcast lmao. I’m on this episode right now. ( listen while I work 8hrs lol ) took me only a month or two to get here from episode one. And I gotta say, I’ve been loving it. Granted I don’t remember everything, but it is so fun imo to learn about a nation’s culture and history. I’m looking to go to Japan for my first time in 2025 or 2026 ( depending on how much Japanese I have learned by then ) I’m a US English speaker learning Japanese. And wanted to get to know the history and culture of Japan. And honestly feel you’ve done well over the years. I’m going to binge listen to the criminal history podcast after. Thanks for doing these Issac and wife

  2. Very cool. 10/10 would recommend. In fact, I already have! Looking forward to the rest of the Travelodge. You two are a great team.

  3. I visited Japan back in August 2015 and loved it. I spent the first week in Tokyo with a side trip to Kamakura and also a night on Mt. Fuji, summiting it the next morning. Then it was down to Kyoto, a side trip to Himeji Castle, then on to Hiroshima where I caught the very tail end of a typhoon in addition to the peace park and my last full stop was Matsuyama where I strolled the grounds of their castle and relaxed in the Dogo Onsen.

    When I was at Himeji Castle they had a service where a guide affiliated with the castle gave me a personalized escort and tour through the building. He was very informative and liked to point out some of the ways in which the castle was connected to the larger world, such as the arquebuses and even the mannequin who was smoking a tobacco product.

    Did they have that option for you guys?

  4. This was so much fun to listen to, and it made me go and look at all my pics from my own trip a number of years ago. I need to head back there now, with these new recommendations!
    Thanks, DJ

Comments are closed.