Manhole Monday: Towada

This past summer, part of my sojourn through Tohoku took me to Lake Towada. This large lake sits at the southern edge of Aomori prefecture and is a popular summer and autumn destination. It was where we arrived after our three-hour amble down the Oirase stream trail. When we finally got to the shores of... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Kami

It's hard to believe that in a few months, my daughter will turn 5 years old. That's around the age when kids in Japan start to give up their Anpanman obsession, much like American kindergarten kidsĀ abandon Sesame Street and hide their Elmo dolls in the closet. We thankfully haven't quite gotten over Anpanman yet (I'm... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Kakunodate

One of the last stops on my trip to Tohoku this past summer was in the old samurai town of Kakunodate in central Akita prefecture. Both the friends I was traveling with and numerous travel sources had touted this town as having one of the most beautifully preserved Edo-era neighborhoods, and I must admit, I... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Imabari

Whew, this Tokyo heat is interminable. The calendar is inching its way into September and I am not the only one in my family willing it to go faster so we get to the cooler temperatures quicker! Yesterday, we braved the humidity and headed for the Shinagawa Aquarium with friends. While the aquarium itself was... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Ginzan Onsen/Obanazawa

One of the best things about summertime in Japan is the fruit. Big (and I mean BIG) juicy peaches, tart cherries, and the abundance of melons of all varieties. Watermelons are a big product in Ueki, a small town near my former home of Kumamoto, but the town of Obanazawa in Yamagata Prefecture is also... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Hita

It's been quite a few months since I drove through the streets of Hita in southern Fukuoka prefecture and popped out to catch this particular manhole cover, but I saved it for a very good reason. The event depicted on it only happens in the summer. Yes, I'm talking aboutĀ ukai, or cormorant fishing. It's an... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Hitoyoshi

Hitoyoshi is a small town in the southern end of Kumamoto Prefecture and, despite the distance from my home, I've actually been there twice. They have a fairly good Doll Festival (though not as impressive as Yanagawa, in my opinion) and some lovely onsen. Here's what I found beneath my feet in Hitoyoshi: The Kuma... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Kurashiki

Kurashiki is a lovely canal town in Okayama Prefecture that doesn't always get the press it deserves. It has a beautiful neighborhood (the Bikan district) of old rice storehouses that have now been converted to shops, museums, restaurants and comfortable ryokan (traditional inns). Boats drift lazily down the central canal while willows on the bank... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Hagi

For the first time in my over six years in Japan, I finally made it up to the San-in Coast. Don't laugh - it's harder than it sounds. Cities like Hagi and Matsue, up on the northern side of Honshu, are notoriously difficult for most people living in Japan to reach. From here in Kyushu,... Continue Reading →

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