Brian Johnston

Brian Johnston seemed destined to become a travel writer and author: he is an Irishman born in Nigeria and raised in Switzerland, who has lived in Britain and China.

Working gold leaf for enamel at the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts.

The ancient crafts of Kyoto

Kyoto is a historical centre for traditional crafts, but a dwindling band of experts worries about the survival of Japan's exquisite arts.

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The Abbey Library of St Gall in St Gallen.

Ten museums you'll only find in Switzerland

Switzerland has some of Europe's best art museums, but the curious traveller can also explore watchmaking, sports, transport and much more behind the walls of its top cultural institutions.

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Matsumoto Castle and its red bridge.

Top 10 Japanese samurai castles

For a look at the history and warrior culture of Japan and to find out how the samurai became part of the world's imagination, head to these top original and recreated castles.

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