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Toby’s first experience of Japan was when he started off his gap year by taking a job during the harvest on a remote rice farm in Kyushu. After three months he continued on through Honshu, taking in the highlights of Kansai and Kanto, before arriving in Hakuba for the winter ski-season.

The fabulous contradictions endemic in Japanese culture between city and countryside, old and new, fascinated him, constantly surprising him and drawing him deeper in. After a total of eight months in the country he carried on to south America, and has since travelled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and India.

However, that initial experience always stuck with him so he was delighted to be given the chance to return to Japan with Audley, and continue exploring.

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I'll never forget when…

One of my most memorable experiences in Japan has to be whilst I was living in Kyushu. After a few months in the country I found myself in Dazaifu, a small town just outside of Fukuoka. Here I found the beautifully peaceful moss gardens of Komyozen-ji, where I spent the day relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere.

Photos of Toby

Toby and an Audley colleague with their finished caligraphy work Toby and an Audley colleague with their finished caligraphy work
Toby and an Audley colleague practicing their caligraphy skills, Kyoto Toby and an Audley colleague practicing their caligraphy skills, Kyoto
Toby learning the art of the ninja (15th Century Japanese mercenary), Kyoto Toby learning the art of the ninja (15th Century Japanese mercenary), Kyoto

Photos taken by Toby

Geisha in Gion, Kyoto Geisha in Gion, Kyoto
Fushimi-inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto Fushimi-inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto
Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa
Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa
Streets of Tokyo, Tokyo Streets of Tokyo, Tokyo
Japanese lady in Kimono at Fushimi Inari Shrine Japanese lady in Kimono at Fushimi Inari Shrine
Shibuya Interchange, Tokyo Shibuya Interchange, Tokyo
Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo
Akihabara, Tokyo Akihabara, Tokyo
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo
Shibuya Interchange, Tokyo Shibuya Interchange, Tokyo
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, Hiroshima Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, Hiroshima