Now that Japan is back open for tourism it’s been wonderful to see everyone sharing updates from their long-delayed trips. If you’re planning your own Japan trip soon and want some help finding kawaii shops, cafes and places to visit, I’ve put together some of my favourite sites and channels by people who will inspire and help you to plan your ideal trip. All of the below are either run by people who are Japanese, currently live in Japan, or who have visited recently, so you know you’re getting up to date relevant information and not just rehashed content from 3 years ago. I’d still recommend you double check the details before you travel in case things have changed.
Japan Travel Youtube Channels
I’m sure you’re already following RainbowholicTV but just in case! Kaila really is the top all-round resource for kawaii fans visiting Japan, whether you want to drop all your cash in the cutest shops, try the latest food craze, visit the big parks or head out to explore another region. The focus is often on current trends, unique experiences and Instagrammable spots but there’s lots of helpful tips and smaller independent places too if you don’t like to follow trends or be in big crowds. The RainbowholicTV Youtube channel is the best place to start but Kaila also has a Rainbowholic Travels blog and constantly shares tips and trends on Instagram.
Cakes with Faces is a UK-based channel but Amy visits Japan regularly and is currently sharing vlogs from her recent 2023 trip. The Japlanning series of videos is a must-bookmark for first-time visitors as she really covers everything you might be anxious or confused about including flights, hotels, public transport, budgeting and so much more. The Cakes with Faces blog is also a helpful resource, especially the guides to Pop-up Theme Cafes in Japan 2023 and Restaurants in Tokyo with Vegetarian Options.
If you’re a theme park fan, TDRExplorer is one of the best English-language YouTube channels covering Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, Universal Studios Japan and more. Chris lives in Japan and visits the parks regularly to see what’s new for every holiday and season including rides, events, food and merch. There’s so much to do at the parks that it can be overwhelming but here there’s plenty of advice to help you figure out your priorities and plan your perfect day. Chris has also self-published a range of Ultimate Planning Park Guidebooks with everything you need to know, plus some free starter guides for all the main theme parks in Japan.
More Japan channels:
- The Crane Couple – recently visited in 2023, lots of arcades, food and shopping.
- Cathy Cat – daily life in Japan as a foreigner, plus fashion and shopping.
Japan Travel Websites & Blogs
Street Girls Snap is all in Japanese but it’s well worth making the effort to browse with auto-translate. A community-run website, it’s bang up to date with all the latest news, from pop-up shops and limited time cafes to character collabs and park events. You’re sure to find something cute to check out during your trip.
SoraNews24 is a general blog about Japan & Asia that constantly updates with the latest news and trends in shopping, food, pop culture and more. It’s especially one to keep an eye on in the weeks before your trip to find out about limited time cafes, product launches and events that might be happening while you’re there, but they also often try out new and unique snacks, cafes, restaurants and shops that you might want to add to your list.
Tokyo Cheapo is one of the best resources for travel on a budget and regularly shares guides on free things to do and ways to save money in Japan along with a weekly list of events in Tokyo including many free ones. They also have lots of Itineraries to get you started and tons of helpful guides to everything from accommodation and rail passes to luggage storage and pocket wifi.
More Japan blogs:
- Tokyo Weekender – English language online & print magazine with events, culture, history and more.
- emii-chan – Hawaiian living in Japan who often travels to interesting regional places and shares a lot of details.
Social Media & Newsletters
Tokyo Fashion have been covering the Harajuku fashion scene for over 20 years and still regularly post street snaps and videos on Instagram & Youtube. They’re also very active on Twitter and one of the best accounts to find out about up and coming fashion designers, new shops (and closures…) and meetups in Harajuku, along with the current trends and viral talking points in and about Japan.
Makiko Itoh is a beloved food writer who’s most well known for the Just Hungry & Just Bento blogs (and book). She now mostly writes about Japanese food and culture on Facebook & Patreon where she does an amazing job of explaining traditions and trends in an easy to understand format, like the recent Very Japanese Food series, plus an annual round up of all the incredible Christmas cakes. if you’re interested in trying new foods or learning more about Japanese culture, it’s well worth a read.
Make Believe Mailer is a newsletter run by Patrick St. Michel, a Tokyo-based music journalist. If you have any interest in Japanese music or seeing some live bands during your trip, you won’t find a better resource to expand your tastes. There’s weekly posts with new releases and little bits of news about bands, idols, celebrities and scandals, plus longer articles and a new paid tier with more personal posts about life in Japan.
More Japan newsletters to follow:
- Conbini Boys – what’s new at the convenience store (can be a little NSFW)
- TokyoScope – Japanese pop culture trends
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and the author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She lives by the seaside in Scotland in a flat full of kawaii, creating cute character goods as Asking For Trouble, working on endless craft projects and playing Nintendo.