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My favorite travel YouTubers

I started watching YouTube videos as soon as it became available in the Italian version, since 2007 - amazing how much time has passed!

At the time there was no Instagram, if anything Facebook, where the very few published photographs were taken with small compact cameras and were not edited with Photoshop. Mobile phones made photographs that today we would consider chilling and the short videos that could be made were grainy, with poor audio quality. Yet even then some curious fans of Asia (especially Japan and South Korea) had begun to show themselves and tell about these faraway places, still not reached by mass tourism and for this, in a certain sense, immaculate - if you know what i mean.

Let's face it: no one really knew what he was doing. Yet spontaneity was what kept me glued to the PC screen, which made me go back to those channels to see if there were any new videos (there was no warning "bell", much less notifications).

The precursors of this new way of communicating discovered local life step by step and told it in their own way to those who observed it from the other side of the world. They had a very didactic, calm style, they told in a more or less precise way what they discovered, without knowing it.

They were slow and short videos, everything was explained with amazement and curiosity. In short, an extremely different reality than the one we are used to today, where the videos are studied in detail.

These YouTubers have made a career over the years, some have become tour leaders, others video makers. But they never stopped telling us about the places they live in and those they visit. Today they are called Travel Bloggers, once they were just "the weird ones who filmed themselves while they ate".

Moved by melancholy and the desire to tell you who I liked and still like to follow today, I decided to make a list of my favorite travel YouTubers.

Marco Togni

If you have never heard of Marco Togni it is only because Japan does not interest you that much, no excuses. Today he is a controversial and controversial character, but he has the merit of being the first Italian ever to have told and shown Japan on YouTube.

Originally from Rovereto (Trento), photographer, video maker and later tour guide, he arrived in Tokyo in 2004 and since 2006 has been publishing videos from Japan on YouTube.

The very first video by Marco Togni, recorded for friends in 2006
One of the first videos of Marco Togni eating food in Japan, a donburi in Osaka

Marco Togni was the first YouTuber I started following as soon as he opened his channel. I remember exactly every single video, as well as the thrill of following him during his long walks, the curiosity to see him eat the same dishes I saw in manga and anime, listen to his digressions... and smile about the unexpected during the live broadcast!

The sounds of the train in Tokyo
Shibuya and the dog Hachiko
Love hotel in Shibuya
Akihabara: afternoon walk
Harukiya ramen
Marco Togni falls during the video

Over the years his style has changed a lot, but he is still the first great amateur online storyteller of the Rising Sun: for this he was named by his fans "The legend of Tokyo".

Eat your kimchi

Eat your kimchi, conceived and edited by Canadian expatriates Simon Stawski and Martina Sazunic, stands out among the very first channels that I started following since the beginnings of YouTube.

Theirs is an interesting and engaging story: after meeting at the University of Toronto and then getting married, in 2008 they moved to Bucheon to teach English. At that time there were major threats from North Korea against South Korea and the two, to reassure their family, uploaded their first video of eating sundubu-jjigae at Icheon airport. Just like for Marco Togni, their first videos were made only for family friends and, only later, they started making content for a much wider audience.

Over time, the success of the channel has increased, in 2011 they both quit their job as teachers to devote themselves entirely to personal projects and in 2013 they moved to Seoul. In 2016 they moved to Tokyo, renaming their video series to Eat your sushi, and the Simon and Martina brand. In 2020 they announced that they returned to live in Canada, in 2021 they got divorced, but they want to continue publishing videos.

Korean supermarket tour
Toilet paper in Korean bathrooms
Korean street food

Tommaso Rossi

Tommaso Rossi, otherwise known as Tommaso in Giappone, has become popular on the web since 2008, when he opened his website which, over the years, has become a real point of reference for Italians passionate about Japan and for those who he wants to discover this country - in fact, Tommaso is a tour leader.

Today he lives in Tokyo and for years he has entertained his fans with videos in which he describes the Rising Sun in a very precise and careful way (without neglecting the negative aspects - and for this I respect him particularly) but also with humor, alongside his wife Yuri and daughter Miwa.

The story of him therefore also ranges in the daily life of the family, showing his home, the dinners prepared in the small kitchen or the anniversaries with Yuri's family. In short, a slice of normal life, without forgetting his great passion for the otaku world.

Tommaso Rossi's first video: his house in Tokyo
Japanese supermarket
Gyoza - Japanese dumplings. How to prepare them at home
Ryokan in Japan

Wild At Heart

Mery Sinatra is a digital nomad who has lived in Japan for a long time, recounting her stay and her travels with a style that is very reminiscent of Sofia Coppola's - which is why I love her particularly!

She is a very determined person, she travels very often completely alone, thus discovering a lot of interesting things. If you would like to go with her, know that she organizes many trips.

Mery and I met many years ago, when we were still studying and none of us imagined that life would take us this far, to tell you about us and our passions. For this reason I can guarantee on her professionalism and seriousness, since I have witnessed all the fantastic journey of her in time.

Tokyo apartment tour
Ryokan in the snow, no electricity
Hanami and Park Hyatt
Autumn in Tokyo

Nicolò Balini

Nicolò Balini in recent years has become the most followed YouTube travel blogger in Italy. He has traveled literally all over the world, witnessing his exploits in videos enjoyed by thousands of fans on both of his channels.

Originally from Bergamo, famous for his "backpacking" style, over time he fell in love with Japan - also thanks to the participation and realization of organized tours.

I "met" him thanks to the videos of him recorded in supermarkets around the world, very interesting and funny!

Japanese supermarket

In recent years he has opened a tour operator, so it is possible to travel with him - but be quick to book yourself, as his tours are soon sold out.

First time in Japan
Street food in Japan
Night walk in Myeong-dong, Seoul

Stefano Tiozzo

Stefano Tiozzo is a documentary photographer (specialized in journeys to discover nature) originally from Turin. Today he lives in Russia with his wife and carries out his projects online, collaborating with newspapers, television and radio programs, companies in the tourism sector and multinational companies.

What I appreciate about his videos is definitely the very professional and unintelligent touch. In fact, his productions often seem like documentaries - such as the long and tiring journey on the Trans-Siberian, from Turin to Moscow and from Moscow to Beijing by train, simply not to be missed!

Travel to Giappone
Autumn in Japan
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