Editorial prologue to jStyle magazine



When you think about Japan, what comes to mind? The bustle of metropolitan Tokyo? The gardens and temples of Kyoto? Or perhaps the famous ski resorts?
As we all know, what tourists see of a country can often be very different from the local perspective, and that some of the best gems can be found away from the tourist trail. This issue of jStyle aims to look beyond the surface of Japan, into the details and hidden corners know and loved by the locals. For that added local perspective, we have also included a number of highly practical guides for those planning longer term stays.
Start your journey in the ancient capitol, Kyoto, where we explore the history and culture behind the elaborate Japanese traditional confectionary known as wagashi. Intrinsically tied to the Japanese sense of seasons, nature, and aesthetics find the most authentic ways to experience this delicious heritage for yourself.
Then uncover the surprising relationship between Kyoto and surfing, before going on a whirlwind journey to a distinctly Mediterranean part of Okayama, and an island that doubles as an outdoor art gallery. For the artistically-minded, we explore the nooks and crannies of Tokyo to reveal its various art galleries, with some gems hidden underground or in unassuming spaces. With Japan’s long cultural history, there is art for everyone, whether you prefer the traditional Japanese arts, or the cutting edge, grass- roots work of contemporary artists.
While in Tokyo, dive into the intricacies of Japan’s street fashion with an exploration of the hottest brands and trends. Investigate the thriving subcultures and designs behind the vibrant Harajuku Girls, and have a peek at the boutiques and stores where the hip fashionistas do their shopping – and where you too can pick up a unique design piece, and perhaps a bargain.
For those hoping to experience more traditional Japanese culture during their travels, don’t look past our handy article on how you can join the locals in the matsuri festivities, and how you can prepare yourself to get the most out of your matsuri experience.
If you are planning to work or study in Japan, we are sure you will learn some cool new tricks for picking up and improving your Japanese language skills in this issue. Our on-the-ground guide will also be invaluable for anyone looking for short-, mid- and long-term accommodation options. And whether you are a short term visitor or an aspiring local, our guide to travelling in Japan will have you smoothly navigating Japan’s ultra-efficient public transport system in no time – and save money while doing so.
Speaking of saving money, our 10-point checklist of tried-and-true local tricks to living on a budget in Tokyo will help you extend your stay, and avoid draining your bank account too quickly.
And finally, for the gourmands amongst us, we have useful tips for extracting maximum enjoyment from various Japanese foods, and from that key essential, sake.
The jStyle Editorial Team would like to thank everyone involved in putting this issue of jStyle magazine together, from our writers and translators, to our corporate sponsors, and the Japanese National Tourism Organization (JNTO).