Great Gardens: Makino Botanical Garden

Japan is well-known for its traditional gardens but I've recently discovered that its botanical gardens can be equally impressive. On a recent trip to Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku in late March, I spent an afternoon exploring the vast grounds of the Makino Botanical Garden, which enjoys a superb location on Mt Godai just a short... 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 →

Celebrate: Children’s Day

We're coming to the meat of Golden Week right now, with Greenery Day (Midori-no-Hi) drawing to a close today. Tomorrow, May 5th, marks Children's Day, one of the more visually exciting holidays of this period. For many years, Children's Day exclusively honored the male offspring of a family. After all, girls already have their own... 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 →

Experience: Tosenkyo at Hangesho Fan Shop

On my trip to Kyoto earlier this month, I was faced with a rather rainy forecast. So, turning to the internet and my trusty research skills, I tracked down this article on a fan shop in the Miyagawa-cho neighborhood of Kyoto that taught visitors an age-old fan throwing game. So, with umbrella and good friend/frequent travel... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Cherry Blossom Season

Alright, right off the bat, I'll admit this entry is a bit of a cop-out. 🙂 If you follow me at all on Facebook (just search Uncover Japan), you'll know that I just returned from a somewhat impromptu but rather amazing trip to Shikoku. (I'm a bit tired. Hence, none of the usual themed entries... Continue Reading →

Friday Photo: March 2015

March was another fortunate month of travel and it was hard to pick a favorite shot. I was going to use a shot of the beautiful Hori Teien, a hidden garden located outside of Tsuwano in rural Shimane Prefecture. But then I went to Kyoto ... and of course, in the city that never ceases... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Tosenkyo

When I was planning my trip to Kyoto last week, I went through my list of gardens, temples and shrines (and restaurants, of course!) to see what would occupy my time for three glorious days of solo travel. I hadn't exactly planned on the pouring rain. But thankfully, the bad weather gave me a reason... 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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