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 about¬†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 →

Manhole Monday: Yobuko

Last month, I mentioned that I was treated to a few days in Saga Prefecture, courtesy of both the Japan Times and the Saga Prefectural Tourism Organization to write an advertorial to promote the prefecture. On my final day, following a¬†massive breakfast in Karatsu, I was driven up the northern coast to the port town... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Takeo Onsen

Last week, I was lucky enough to be hosted by the Saga Prefectural Government for a three-day tour of the prefecture just northwest of Kumamoto. Charged to write an advertorial for them for The Japan Times, I was chauffered around to at least two dozen locations in Saga. And let me just say - I... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Nagasaki

I'll close out the run of posts on Nagasaki with the city's manhole cover. Nagasaki is known for a number of things - its trade ties, its mix of culinary styles, its sad history as a target of the second atomic bomb. And yet here is what the drain cover looks like: That's right. Hydrangea.... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Miyazaki

I was in Miyazaki City back in July and I have to say, from the brief time I spent in the city, there doesn't seem to be much there. Now before anybody gets up in arms and leaves me nasty comments, I'll be the first to admit that - aside from our pretty awesome castle... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Nichinan

There's a lot going on in this manhole cover but I guess that's fitting, since there's a lot going on in Nichinan. You wouldn't think it, from a quick glance at the map. This sprawling city lies on the coast at the southern end of Miyazaki Prefecture. There's not much of note around it and... Continue Reading →

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