5 Faves: Ema (Prayer Plaques) – Part 3

It's time for another look at the various shrine prayer plaques around Japan. I've found some interesting ones in recent months, and the more you know about the story you tell, the more fascinating that random shrine can become. 1. Hachiman Shrine (Shirakawa-go) -¬†The Hachiman shrine in the UNESCO World Heritage Village of Shirakawa-go has... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Yanagawa

Along with fantastic displays for Hina Matsuri (the Doll Festival), the city of Yanagawa in southern Fukuoka prefecture is known for its canals. Though I'd been to Yanagawa before, I'd never managed to catch this particular manhole cover before: The waterways crisscross the city and were once used as irrigation channels for the area's crops.... Continue Reading →

Experience: Yanagawa Doll Festival

Hina Matsuri (Girls' Day) may officially be over, but the displays in some locations will be up until the end of the month. One city in Japan that decorates for the Doll Festival in a big way is Yanagawa, a canal city at the very southern edge of Fukuoka Prefecture. Beginning around mid-February, many shops,... Continue Reading →

5 Faves: Towns Off the Beaten Track

Everybody's got a story about Tokyo. And many travelers follow a well-beaten path to the temples and shrines of Kyoto. Even smaller towns like¬†Takayama and Hakone attract more than their fair share of attention. But if you want a travel story that's a little bit different, check out these not-so-celebrated locales. They're definitely worth giving... Continue Reading →

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