Although small towns in the Japanese countryside have an almost unparalleled charm, I always end up feeling more at home in Tokyo. Returning from a relaxing weekend in a hot spring valley to the bright lights and noise of such a dizzyingly huge city is an amazing transition, and there is always something to do in the city that really does never sleep.
My passion for East Asia began while studying politics and international relations at the University of Kent. I then went to study Asian politics at Musashi University in Tokyo for a year. During this time, I toured the region as much as I could and was excited to discover the wonderful contrast between old and new that Japan and South Korea have to offer.
The differences between Japanese and Korean culture, and their complete contrast to everything I knew at home, completely enthralled me, and I fell in love with the region. After showing new foreign students around Tokyo and giving them recommendations on things to see, I decided that working in travel was the career for me and I joined Audley as a Japan and South Korea Specialist.
When not creating tailor-made journeys, I’m a master of the local pub quiz and like playing badminton.
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With boutique hotels still rare in Japan and South Korea, it’s always refreshing to see a newer hotel putting thought into their design and service. Hotel 28 Myeongdong in Seoul is a great example of a smaller, newer and more characterful property. It has a cinematic theme with lots of film memorabilia around the hotel, as well as sleek, contemporary design. On top of that, the location is vibrant with lots to do in the immediate area and good public transport. Altogether, it’s a winning combination that stands out from the big, impersonal tower-block hotels that are so common in both countries.
I'll never forget when…
Trekking for four hours in heavy rain through the magical forests of Yakushima is my favourite memory of travelling in Japan. After a two hour climb up a steep hill we finally made it to Jomon-Sugi, a famous cedar tree supposedly at least 5000 years old.
When we got to the top, the rain suddenly stopped, the sun came out and everything went quiet as we watched a few wild deer wander out of the trees in front of us. It was truly magical. I'd recommend the hike to anyone; it was absolutely breathtaking.