Nighttime view of a traditional Japanese street with a five-tiered pagoda towering in the background and illuminated houses lining the street.

Discover the
in Japan

Japan isn’t new to Karl Shakur, but the intrepid photographer and traveler knows there is more to explore. Thankfully, he has empty.japan to help him create an itinerary of iconic and off-the-beaten-path destinations ripe for exploration.

A person wearing a traditional conical hat stands at the center of a serene bamboo forest in Japan, with a narrow path leading through tall green bamboo stalks on either side.
Collage featuring content creators Karl Shakur and empty.japan, matcha tea, a Japanese street with a man in a conical hat, bamboo shoots and flowers.

Connecting ANA Ambassadors

Karl has a deeply-rooted ability to appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary. He brings this to his photography and travel content and is determined to use this same focus on a return trip to Japan. “The purpose of this trip is to do two things. Experience Japan through the eyes of someone local and experience something that a tourist wouldn’t necessarily have done otherwise,” says Karl.

Luckily for Karl, empty.japan specializes in seeking out Japan’s hidden gems. “It’s our specialty — finding places that aren’t really on social media and that have some mystery, or legend, behind them.”

Karl will return to one of his favorite cities, Kyoto, but is seeking out at least one new experience. He has booked a reservation at Saiho-ji, the Moss Temple. As a Unesco World Heritage Site, the temple and its namesake moss garden make it an excellent subject for Karl’s lens.

An Extraordinary Tour of Japan

A map of Japan featuring Ine, Mount Atago, Tokyo, and Kyoto.


One of the more unexpected destinations on Karl’s itinerary is Ine, a fishing village. This destination affords Karl a scenic drive from Mount Asado and an opportunity to take in Japan’s coastline. “I’m excited to see the idyllic Ine-no-Funaya, with its iconic boat houses. As the sun sets, I’ll have ample opportunities for breathtaking coastal views,” says Karl.

ANA Ambassadors have one job — to map out the perfect, personalized trip that’s full of insider tips. Follow along to see how this trip pans out and what destinations the other ANA Ambassadors discover.

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