Tokyo is a megalopolis. If you get to a vantage point like the top of the Mori Tower, in Roppongi, the city stretches out as far as the eye can see in every direction. Only Mt. Fuji in the distance suggests that there is an end to the urban undulations.
A carefully planned urban revolution has poshed the place up over the last couple of years. New high rises, open plazas, restaurants and cafes now spread out around the station. There are almost as many places to eat as shop.
Resorts aren't all bad, but you also don't have to travel that way. Kids are more like backpackers than most adults, because they are present, and without plans. So, while you may not be strapping your backpack on your back anymore, you can, and you should, strap your kids on your back.
Long before climbing Mt. Fuji was fashionable, the holy mountain represented an arduous spiritual pilgrimage for the Japanese, climbed in straw sandals and white, wrapped robes. These days scaling the peak during the summer season is not quite the same soul-enriching zen experience.
If you have a taste for history, then stray away from museums that are flooded with tourists and navigate your way to the depths of the ocean to visit these spectacular underwater treasures.
Summer is the season Japanese go all out to celebrate their culture. Festivals are bigger, brighter and louder. Ghosts and demons come out to play too, dancing to the beat of drum and flute. The sights, sounds and colors are worth the heat.
Despite Japan's high-tech reputation, there is very little free wifi in this country. People here are obsessed with their cell phones, not computers, and access the internet accordingly.
ANA had a tough time this year with the grounding of their shiny new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Recently they've been given the go ahead for test flights and should soon be cleared for passengers again.
If you're a nerd at heart with a yen for Japanese pop culture, then you should spend time in Nakano, Tokyo.
Only in Tokyo can you have your cake and wear it, too! Popular Japanese jewelery maker Q-Pot has branched out into the patisserie business, cooking up the hottest -- and cutest -- new cake shop in the city.
Here in Japan, the rickshaw is back -- part of a nostalgic rush as Japanese rediscover the romance of their own culture.
I don't remember the Eiffel Tower. I have photos that tell me I went. I know I wore a black jacket, which I later lost. My photos also tell me I have seen Ghana's slave castles, San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge and Spain's Gaudí museum, but I don't remember much of those either.
There were wonderful things to see (and eat) there and elsewhere on our trip, but somehow Inuyama made a particular impression as a perfect, and diverse, place to spend a couple of days.
Odaiba on the other side of Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge is an island of food and fun with the added perk of great views of the city, including Tokyo Tower and Sky Tree. But for Japan Fan Boys and Fan Girls, there's way more to it than that.
You'd think a bus with a giant black and white panda head on the front and wearing a pink bow would be pretty hard to ignore. But, somehow, the Panda Buses are one of Tokyo's best-kept tourist secrets.