After a few hours strolling around Lucca taking in the sights, nothing beats some proper gelati.
The best place is Caffe di Simo in Via Filungo, undoubtedly the best gelati I've ever had, in wonderful fin-de-siècle ambience and with excellent coffee too.
Pistachio was my favourite flavour.
Via Fillungo 58, Lucca
Telephone: 0583 496234
A huge covered food market, open Monday-Saturday 7am-2pm, also Saturday 4pm-8pm.
More fabulous Italian food than you can poke a stick at - and infinitely better priced than those “Tuscan specialty” shops pitched at tourists. If you plan to drag home your own body weight in formaggi, porcini, salsicce, lenticche and vino then this is the place for you. Also a few sit-down places for a super-cheap lunch - mind the pigeons though.
Kyoto is famous for its temples and especially the gardens within them, typified by austere expanses of raked white gravel and ancient maple trees.
However, busloads of tourists know this too. Visiting some of the popular temples (for example, Kinkaku-ji and Kyomizu-dera) can be like going to a football match. If you want to get away from the crowds for some more zen-like calm, pick up one of the many small books of Kyoto's courtyard and zen gardens (in bookshops for around 1200 yen). These are a fabulous guide (usually with maps and directions) to the less-frequented temple gardens often not in the guidebooks - and cheaper to visit than the big temples too. Favourites include Ryogen-in, Tofuki-ji and Chishaku-in.
If Japan to you means Akihabara electronics and Shibuya neon at night, then this probably won't do it for you. Otherwise, highly recommended.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com