Being a huge foodie, I was very excited to visit Sapporo which is well known for its snow festival in winter but also has a thriving food scene. Sapporo is often overlooked as a destination but it has plenty of sights to offer and is a haven for sushi, ramen and crab and also offers a whole host of local foods that can only be found in Hokkaido. I’d recommend trying uni ikura donburi (sea urchin, salmon roe and rice) at the Nijo Market, the cheese tarts at Kinotoya Bake, and the local Sapporo beer.
After graduating from Lancaster University with a degree in economics I was unsure about my next move, so I spent two weeks volunteering in Africa with black rhino and elephant. This experience encouraged me to do something else that was bold and exciting. Having previously visited Japan on holiday, I was eager to return and decided to move to Tokyo and become an English teacher.
I spent two years in Tokyo, climbed Mount Fuji twice, visited Hiroshima for the 70th anniversary of the bombing, learned to snowboard, and spent three magical cherry blossom seasons in Tokyo. I used my spare time to travel extensively and grew to love the food as much as the landscapes and sights I encountered.
Now back in the UK, I maintain my love of all things Japanese by scouring London for authentic Japanese restaurants and working for Audley as a Japan specialist.
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The art islands of the Seto Inland Sea are a truly wonderful place. Naoshima is the main island with numerous museums and smaller art projects. Benesse House is unique in being both art museum and hotel. Rooms are spread across four buildings, each with a distinct character. The beach and park buildings offer the most picturesque view and luxurious rooms; the museum and oval building being located within the museum itself. But even for those not interested in modern art, Naoshima offers a lovely opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of mainland Japan, and something new.
I'll never forget when…
On my first trip to Japan I climbed Mount Fuji as a day trip from Tokyo, but I always wanted to climb it as the Japanese do and arrive at the summit for sunrise. In my second year I decided to do just that and I wasn’t disappointed. I climbed some of the way the night before and stayed overnight in a mountain hut near the summit. Stepping out of the hut at 3am was a moment I will never forget. The mountain was free from clouds and the views were simply breathtaking.