Lucy Dayman

Despite the Japanese government’s request for them to close, places like oral sex bars and S&M clubs remain open with sometimes little more than cursory hygiene measures in place. Dating apps, meanwhile, are more active than ever.

Pocket Change kiosks at airports and in other metropolitan areas exchange bills and coins of all denominations into e-cash including WeChat credit, YBCoin and iTunes, Uber and Domino’s vouchers.

Part of the Amami Islands archipelago just north of Okinawa, Yoron is easy to overlook but is perfect for those looking for an impromptu tropical escape full of white sand beaches and clear waters.

One of Japan’s oldest spa towns, Arima Onsen’s mineral-rich waters are said to be excellent for alleviating muscle and joint ailments. But unlike many hot springs hotspots, Arima is wonderful to visit all year round – especially in summer.


Incense listening dates back centuries and involves trying to identify incense by smell alone. The process is as involved as a Japanese tea ceremony and can still be enjoyed in Kyoto.

Lukasz Palka has spent over a decade in Tokyo working as a photography tour guide and shares his secrets on the city’s most picturesque spots – from stunning glass facades to chilled out bars to tranquil neighbourhoods.

Bargains will be at a premium after early bulk bookings and a restriction on Airbnb listings that benefits Japanese hotel owners – but good deals can still be found.

Social codes, ‘locals only’ door policies and the language barrier can make the city’s nightlife somewhat intimidating for many foreigners, but a new tour is trying to break down existing barriers over a beer … or two

With a bit of forward planning and insider tips, Tokyo can be almost a budget destination if you dine at chain restaurants, take the lunch set at pricier places, and stay in an Airbnb let or a guest house