Manhole Monday: Osorezan

Back in the height of summer, right after our move to Tokyo, a took a road trip to Tohoku with my family and good friends from Nara Prefecture. While we hit all of the festival highlights (Neputa Matsuri, Kanto Matsuri) that Japan is famous for, we also detoured a bit up to the tip of... Continue Reading →

Festival Focus: Daruma Kuyo (Tokyo)

Happy Setsubun, readers! Today is the unofficial start of spring here in Japan, a day that is heralded with demon asks and copious bean throwing. I have written about Setsubun before, and indeed spent part of my afternoon attending the bean throwing festivities at Asakusa's Senso-ji Temple. But before that, I also made a trip out... Continue Reading →

Top 5 Hidden Tokyo Foliage Spots

Tokyo may not be as popular a destination as Kyoto for its autumn colors, but the city's trees do deck themselves out in some pretty striking colors from mid-November to mid-December. Ask any Tokyoite where to go however, and the answers remain mostly the same: the ginkgo avenue near Jingu Gaien, the traditional garden of... Continue Reading →

Experience: Temple Stay on Koyasan (Mt Koya)

One of the attractions of visiting the religious complex of Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture is the chance to stay in a shukubo, a temple lodging. Guests are treated to Buddhist vegetarian cuisine and can participate in morning prayer services. But not all shukubo are created equal. Here is my personal experience from January 2015. Winter was... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Ao no Domon (Oita)

Some people atone for past deeds by finding religion. Others change their lives to help others. One monk in Japan decided to dig a two-hundred meter tunnel. By hand. Hey - to each his own. Before the arrival of Zenkai the monk, the people of Yabakei town in northern Oita prefecture had a problem. One... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Daruma

I realize that in my post on Kurashiki's Bikan District, I casually threw out the word daruma without a second thought for an explanation. I apologize and will remedy that here and now - keep your eyes open for these little red dolls as they make classic souvenirs from Japan! Daruma are hollow, round traditional... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Ginkaku-ji (Kyoto)

I'm just back from a lovely weekend in Kyoto where I thankfully managed to miss the worst of the masses of cherry blossom viewers. The blooms weren't out yet, except for a few lovely trees in Gion and at the Imperial Palace, but the city still looked as attractive as ever. I haven' t touched... Continue Reading →

Good Eats: Okutan (Kyoto)

Japan is a seafood nation and rightly so. Being made up of over 4000 islands, we kinda have a lot of water here. But Kyoto is a landlocked city and for centuries, the transport of truly fresh fish from Japan’s coasts through the country’s mountainous interior was impossible. As a result, Kyoto was forced to... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Meigetsu-in Temple (Kamakura)

Fifty minutes south of central Tokyo lies one of my favorite places in Japan. In truth, there's a host of things that could bring you to the town of Kamakura - the Daibustsu (Big Buddha), the second largest Buddha statue in Japan; the beautiful pageantry of archers on horseback at the Hachiman Shrine's autumn festival; the hiking... Continue Reading →

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑