By Ann Abel
Is it strange that the most magical place I visited in Japan was a cemetery?
Probably. But if there’s a one-word shorthand for traveling to Japan now, “strange” seems as good as any. We think of its Blade Runner city squares, its Lost in Translation dislocation, its vending machines selling everything from hot cappuccinos to miniature plastic toys to bread in a can, its cat cafés and its obsession with kawaii (cuteness).
But as with any stereotype, that does the country and its residents a big disservice. There’s far more to Japan than manga and anime and hostesses in schoolgirl uniforms—and more than cherry blossoms, kimonos, and calligraphy.
Walk Japan was born to show Western guests what they’ve been missing. Everyone’s talking about authenticity (ad nauseum) these days, but until someone comes up with a better word for realness, immersion, and truth, it has to do. And Walk Japan specializes in it.