This is the third part of a new travel column - 'Around the World with Ale and Dee'. Ale Nardini and wife Dorothea from Largs are on their global travels, and in this week, the intrepid duo travel to one of the most technologically advanced nations on Earth, and yet once which embraces tradition like no other...

With only 10 days holiday, my wife Dorothea and I had to make the most of our time here and in the absence of any viable time travelling apparatus we settled for the next best thing - the Shinkansen (bullet train!). As a gaikokujin (literally foreign country person) we qualified for a JR pass, the golden ticket that allowed us to criss-cross the nation of speeds of up to 320km per hour.

Our first stop was to be Kobe famous for being the epicentre of one of Japan's biggest natural disasters, the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 with the loss of 6,400 lives. In the aftermath, the resilience of the people was quite astounding; volunteers came from all over the country, disaster prevention plans were initiated, and within 15 months manufacturing returned to pre-quake levels. Today few signs of the terrible event remain.

Kobe was also home to Kobe Beef, renowned for its tenderness and flavour! A marbled slice of heaven, this mythical meat is said to come from cows which are fed sake and gently massaged. What a life (discounting the part where it ends up on our tables). Meat has never tasted the same since.

But why were so many Japanese wearing surgical masks? Momentarily fearing some sort of outbreak we were soon appeased to discover that it was a means of avoiding colds or passing them on. That was one potential freak out averted until we encountered our first space age toilet. Definitely the worst time to discover you need a PhD in electronics to operate it.

The ancient capital, Kyoto, is overflowing with historic temples, shrines, wooden Machiya houses and spectacular gardens. On the move once more, this time headed for perhaps Japan’s most recognisable landmark - Mount Fuji stands tall at 3776m and overlooks the stunning Lake Kawaguchi (one of five in the area) where the crimson red autumnal colours of the maple trees.

The capital would be our final stop; the end of our journey would lead us to one of the world’s greatest cities; Tokyo - a heaving metropolis of dizzying dimensions where fashion and gadgets move at the speed of light but where an ancient culture and heritage is still an integral part of daily life.

An old friend Hiroko met us off the train and she would become our skilful guide, (and thankfully translator – she’s an English teacher!) and proceeded to introduce another side of Tokyo.

We started our day walking through the historic Yanesen district where the tranquillity of its narrow back streets replaced the bustling pedestrian crossings and flashing billboards of the centre. We continued on to the Nezu no Taiyaki bakery which sells one thing, the beloved fish-shaped Taiyaki pastries (deliciously filled with a red bean filling), sold on the same sight for over 50 years.

As lunch time approached we headed for the Takajo restaurant to try the delicious Soba (buckwheat) noodles. When entering some restaurants, you may be expected to take your shoes off (make sure there are no holes in your socks!). And remember, Japan takes chopsticks seriously – there are reputed to be more than 20 rules. Bear in mind though that the people are extraordinarily polite; willing to help at any opportunity and very encouraging, especially true when ordering food!

Our postprandial walk took us through the lively stalls of Nakamise Dori leading to the colossal Kamimarimon (Thunder Gate) guarding the Sensoji temple, standing serenely as it had done since 628AD.

Our trip was coming to an end and there seemed no better way to conclude than with a visit to the Tokyo Sky Tree, (recently the world’s highest building). Dusk swept across the city below, the twinkle of street lights began to pierce the darkness gradually covering the city in a swathe of flickering neon. Somewhere underneath was the Tsukiji fish market, the electronic hub of Akihabara and the shopping and entertainment areas of Shibuya and Shinjuko, true Tokyo landmarks that defied belief but somehow seemed insignificant in the vastness.

What caught my eye though was on the horizon, the snow topped peak of Fuji shimmered in the fading light managing to stand proud over the city like it had done for centuries.

Japan is a dignified, intoxicating and beautiful country blessed with magnificent landscapes and noble traditions. Its peoples have faced many challenges over the years and somehow their sheer resilience, vigour and ingenuity have shone through. This is the Land of the Rising Sun after all where anything seems possible and this being Japan it probably is.