Japan Travel Diaries

By Ambrose McNeill & Montana Purchase


Where To Go
A longboarder’s tropical paradise, Miyazaki holds a wave around every corner. The long stretch of coastline becomes more mountainous and tropical the further south you travel. Local break Kaeda was a favourite of Ambrose’s and fun for all surf craft enthusiasts. We found ourselves at a fun little peeler beyond the pine trees of Odotsu, and frequented the friendly break out the front of where we were staying at Aoshima. Under the fairy floss clouds and a sun setting between parting mountains, we scored an elusive wave in the small bay below Cape Toi. Lines of swell visible from far out to sea, and though only breaking for a punchy and short trip, the magical evening is one we won’t forget.



Somewhere between city and rural, Kyoto offers the best of both worlds with the beauty and texture of old Japanese style. Hand forged knives and intricate basket weavers line sloping streets, a great place to appreciate true craftsmanship and pick up a keepsake. A trip up to Kine-Jinja Shrine in the bordering mountains was a welcomed escape from the humid summer heat. We kept cool with a matcha soft serve beside the freshwater stream and ancient mossy trees.

One of the worlds biggest cities, Tokyo was teaming with all walks of life. While the neon lights and overflowing bars of Shinjuku and Shibuya were a sight to behold we enjoyed an afternoon spent rummaging for vintage treasures in the streets of downtown Koenji. For seeking a little more space and quiet we spent the day at Daikonyama’s T Site. Named one of the worlds best book stores, Tsutaya is the perfect place to check out an obscure book and take a little down time. Surrounded by stylish design and clothing boutiques, this modern Japanese quarter was well worth the trip.






What To Eat
Japanese cuisine lived up to its reputation, with not a single meal to disappoint the entire trip. The coal fired yakitori grill was a highlight of our eating adventures. A fun way to try some less conventional foods in western culture, we dabbled in a few surprisingly tasty bbq’d organs but the absolute favourite was the pork belly paired with an ice cold Suntory high ball.


We feasted on noodles in all forms, from handmade udon in local surf town Miyazaki to the subtle delights of soba and rich and creamy ramens. Known in the south for summery fruits, a great local cuisine to try is the citrus soba soup on a hot day.

We made fond friends with the fried delights of Takoyaki, an Osaka special octopus ball topped with bonito flakes, and feasted on many variations of gyoza, our favourite were handmade and enjoyed in Minato City, Tokyo.

Must Do
A vending machine coffee and convenience store breakfast. Our go to was the Suntory Boss black coffee, and salmon onigiri at a stop by the local Lawson or 7 Eleven. Turns out fish sushi for breakfast is excellent pre-surf sustenance.
Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto laid the soundtrack to our surf trip, a classic Japanese pop song from the 60’s and our go-to at karaoke. A trip to Japan isn’t complete without a karaoke session, and you can find a hospitable bar on just about any street.

Although the track is well worn, a must is to visit to a temple or zen garden. The Japanese are well-known for horticulture, and the attraction is clear upon arrival of these thousand year old immaculate estates.

Must Know Japanese Phrases
Mecha oishidesu - Very yummy I Nami - Nice wave!
Saiko - Awesome
Kampai - Cheers
Arigato gozaimasu - Thank you very much

Surf photography by Maya Tanaka