Experience: Lavender in Hokkaido

Not too long after my university years, I lived in France for awhile. While I loved my home in the Dijon region in central-eastern France, I always harbored a not-so-secret desire to head south to Provence to see the famous lavender. I never did make it but - lucky me - I moved to Japan... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Poroto Kotan (Hokkaido)

Hokkaido is Japan's final frontier, a vast (VAST) island of mountains, lakes and stretches of emptiness that seem otherworldly in a country so densely populated as this one. It is also the home island of much of Japan's only remaining indigenous culture, the Ainu. Pushed to the far northern reaches by the race that became known... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Furano

I can only imagine how different Furano must look right now compared to my visit in mid-July. Certainly, with the amount of snow they receive every winter up there in central Hokkaido, I probably wouldn't have been able to take this picture: In truth, I had expected to find something lavender-related on the manhole covers... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Noboribetsu

I've spent a lot of the past week or so driving around Kumamoto prefecture to see the changing leaves. Yes, I am totally be a foliage fanatic - my gluttony for fiery maples and golden ginkgo leaves knows no boundaries this year, it seems. 🙂 All of that driving has taken me through a lot... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Biei

Central Hokkaido in the summertime is often likened to the Italian countryside, in particular Tuscany. Having just been in Tuscany earlier this year, I can safely say that those comparisons fall a little short on the Japanese side. Biei Town, however, still thinks its landscape is something to immortalize, on manhole covers at least: The... Continue Reading →

Family Fun: Asahiyama Zoo

If you're headed north to the island of Hokkaido with kids and are swinging through the Asahikawa area, you might want to put the Asahiyama Zoo on your list. Asahiyama Zoo is considered Japan's top zoo (at least, from what I discovered, it attracts more annual visitors than Tokyo's Ueno Zoo). It's well-known for its... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Oni (Demons)

If you saw the Uncover Japan facebook page the other week, you might have caught the picture of a rather angry-looking, red-faced man staring out at you. I found him in Noboribetsu Onsen in Hokkaido, where I was vacationing last month. He and his ilk were all over the place - in fact, Noboribetsu Onsen... Continue Reading →

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