Brian’s Travel Spot: Japan

This is a slight departure from my normal Travel Spot series, less recording what I’ve done, more advanced warning of what’s coming. Whether I expand it to recap my travels remains to be seen, but for now it can stand as a reminder of an increasingly busy year!

You see, I’m off to Japan. I’ve known about it for a while now. I booked the flights in early February, but only really started planning the trip at the weekend. For reference, today’s Wednesday and I’m leaving for the airport at noon!

This is very unlike me. Normally I’m a thorough planner and preparer, even if I then use my plans as a basis for improvisation rather than rigorously follow them. I suspect that I’m a bit of nightmare to travel with, so it’s just as well that I travel alone most of the time.

I’m back with British Airways after dabbling with various airlines over the last year. It’s the one part of the trip I have planned: my exit-row aisle seats are booked and I’m looking forward (honestly, I am) to 12 hours on a 787. It might give me a chance to do some preparation for this trip!

You can see what I’ll be up to after the gallery, only there is no gallery, so let’s crack on!

If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll know that for the last 12 months I’ve been travelling on business, including a round-the-world trip last year that took in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Chicago and a couple of trips to Phoenix, the second of which turned into a rather Grand Adventure. Astute readers will notice that I haven’t actually finished any of those Travel Spots (cue mild embarrassment on my behalf), a clue as to how ridiculously busy I’ve been. I have at least been publishing various Coffee Spots from those trips, but my failure to actually finish writing about any of those trips explains my limited ambition with this post.

My current trip is another combined work/Coffee Spot jaunt. I arrive on Thursday, and have given myself three clear days to get over my jetlag and acclimatise, much as I did when I flew out to Shanghai via Hong Kong last year. This time will be spent in Tokyo, exploring the city’s vibrant coffee scene and possibly doing some tourist things along the way! Then, on Monday, I embark on a week-long meeting, after which I’ve given myself a weekend to recover before allowing myself a week to explore Japan itself. I’ve gotten as far as booking a rail pass, but that’s about it. I’ve no idea where I’m going or even where I’m staying. It’s going to be, shall we say, interesting!

And that’s about it. Rather than speculate about what I may, or may not do, here are some handy links to articles by fellow bloggers which I will be drawing on in the next few days as I plan what I’m going to do/see.

Firstly, there’s the Commodities Connoisseur with several excellent guides to the coffee scenes in various Japanese city:

Next is Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato:

I will also be drawing on the following sources:

Finally, I’m indebted to Christina Wong for her advice by e-mail and to Edy Piro for his coffee shop map of Tokyo.

If you want to follow my adventures, I’ve published five Coffee Spots from Tokyo and three more from Kyoto, including my favourite of the trip, with a bunch more to come. What’s more, there’s a whole Travel Spot on my thoughts and observations about Tokyo.

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17 thoughts on “Brian’s Travel Spot: Japan

  1. Hi Brian,

    Have a wonderful trip — I look forward to reading about where you end up going (and where you end up drinking coffee, of course — Tokyo’s coffee scene seems to have changed a lot since I was there). The most important Japanese sentence you will need is, “kōhī o kudasai” (can I have coffee, please)!


  2. Enjoy your trip, Brian! I have done heaps of research into the coffee scene for my trip to Japan next month and these are the places that are top of my list to check out in Tokyo: Switch Coffee Roasters, About Life (Shibuya), Little Nap, Blue Bottle, Cafe Kitsune, Bearpond Espresso, The Roastery by Nozy, Frankie Melbourne Espresso, Fuglen and Deus & Machina. I am going to attempt to visit all of these in four days! I look forward to finding out which places you visit are your favs! 🙂 — from a fellow Guildford coffee snob!

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