Crash Course: Hanabi (Fireworks)

Summertime in Japan is synonymous with fireworks and barely a weekend goes by without some sort of hanabi display. I'm sad to be missing our local summer festival and fireworks this weekend but we're off to Sendai at the end of the week for a brief summer vacation and I have plans to catch some hanabi up there. Hanabi (literally... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Ryokan

When most travelers come to Japan, they don't necessarily envision themselves bedding down in the nearest Best Western. Yet ryokan (Japanese inns) may seem a bit mysterious and intimidating. So, what exactly goes on behind the curtain? Here's a quick look at what staying in a ryokan entails. Ryokan came to prominence in the Edo Period (1603-1868), when... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Yukata

The heat is on here in Japan. The rainy season has passed and temperatures are ramping up in the land of the rising sun. Typical summer activities are in full swing - the kids are all out catching cicadas, the fireworks displays are lighting up the night skies, and girls everywhere are shaking out their... Continue Reading →

Experience: Itako Iris Festival

For most of Japan, June is the rainy season. But with the seasonal showers come the indigo blooms of irises. My favorite color being purple, I'm rather partial to these delicate flowers. There are plenty of places around Japan where one can catch a glimpse of irises in bloom but one of the best I... Continue Reading →

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