Best of 2012

Discovering more of London's hidden gems, jetting off to Parma to partake in the local dining scene, winding my way through the weird and wonderful world of Japan's largest fish market: 2012 was an awesome year to be a OneTravel blogger. As the year draws to a close, I thought now would be a good time to highlight five posts which, for me, sum up the thrill of travel writing. I hope everyone's had a fantastic 2012 and that the months head promise more fun and adventure for us all.

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Visit Kyoto's Amazing Food Market: Nishiki

Known as Kyoto's kitchen, people have been buying and selling food and food related items in Kyoto's Nishiki Market since the 1300s. A stroll through this mile long, covered food market is a must for gourmets, history buffs or anybody who loves a good bargain. Just make sure that when you visit that you go hungry! From home made fish cakes, conger eel tempora, freshly roasted chestnuts and all sorts of pickled everything, Nishiki is one of the most delicious shopping experiences you can imagine and a brilliant spot for edible and otherwise souvenir shopping too.

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Visit the Mountain Resort of Hakone, Japan

Hakone is a mountain resort town roughly 60 miles south of Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, incredible scenery and stunning (if often obscured) views of Mount Fuji, Hakone and the surrounding area are part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Whether as a destination to be thoroughly explored over a few weeks or one to consider for a relaxing weekender or quickie day trip from Toyko, Hakone represents an accessible opportunity to see another side of Japanese culture beyond the urban bustle and to experience some of the best of nation's gorgeous countryside.

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Visit Kappabashi, Tokyo's Kitchen Town

You know those incredibly realistic plastic samples of menu items that you see in the windows of Japanese restaurants and other types of east Asian eateries? Well, there’s a street in Tokyo where the shops specialise in selling those plastic samples, along with pretty much everything else imaginable you’d need to run a restaurant. For Tokyo souvenir shopping that straddles the quirky and the practical a stroll through Kappabashi is mandatory.

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Visit Tokyo's Oldest Buddhist Temple: Senso-ji

Senso-ji is an ancient Buddhist temple. Located in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, it is the oldest and arguably most important temple in the city. With more than 30 millions visitors a year, Senso-ji is also one of Japan’s top attractions. A definite must-see item on any Tokyo agenda, here are few tips on making the most of your visit to this serene (if extremely popular and ever bustling) place of contemplation.

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