Hibiya’s Hidden Stars

Tokyo's Hibiya district sits at the intersection of the Kasumigaseki government area, the Ginza shopping area and the business districts of Shimbashi and Marunouchi.  It stands to reason, then, that it would be popular as a cultural and entertainment center. Flanked by Hibiya Park and sitting atop the Hibiya subway station, the area is home … Continue reading Hibiya’s Hidden Stars

Jiyugaoka’s Kumano Shrine festival – celebrating the harvest

Jiyugaoka has a reputation for being a trendy area to shop, dine and relax with friends.  Its narrow brick or stone-paved laneways lined with shops and eateries are inviting to pedestrians.  One could spend hours meandering here. This week-end (September 1-2, 2018), however, suburban Jiyugaoka returns to its agrarian roots as its local shrine celebrates … Continue reading Jiyugaoka’s Kumano Shrine festival – celebrating the harvest

Lanterns and dancing: the Anamori Inari Lantern Festival

The moon is full, the night is balmy, and you just wanna kick up your heels and dance!  Maybe that sentiment explains the origins of the Anamori Inari Lantern Festival taking place this weekend at Anamori Inari Shrine near Haneda Airport. There is still time to join the Saturday night portion of the festival, or … Continue reading Lanterns and dancing: the Anamori Inari Lantern Festival

Towada-ko: Exploring a northern crater lake

A water-filled volcanic crater is a thing to behold.  One spectacular example in Japan is Lake Towada which sits on the border between Aomori and Akita Prefectures.  Here one finds a crater within a crater and a volcano that vulcanologists regard as still active even though it hasn't erupted in a millenium. Sitting 690 meters … Continue reading Towada-ko: Exploring a northern crater lake

Borderless Art

By special guest blogger: Oliver Trapnell Utilizing some of the latest technology, teamLab has created a truly unique experience in which one can interact and visualise art in new ways. The opening last month of ‘teamLab Borderless’ at the MORI Building Digital Art Museum (1-3 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tokyo-to) has been a rousing success attracting hundreds … Continue reading Borderless Art

Water, rocks and devils: the geological impact of an active volcano

Mt. Asama, on the border of Nagano and Gunma prefectures, is one of Japan's many active volcanoes and the most active one on Honshu island.  Yet it is usually relatively approachable and some interesting sights nearby testify to its geological impact.  Two of those are Shiraito Falls and Onioshidashi Park. Just a 25 minute bus … Continue reading Water, rocks and devils: the geological impact of an active volcano

Kamaishi Kannon: guardian goddess and witness to history

The small city of Kamaishi, on the Sanriku coast of Iwate Prefecture, for more than a century a thriving center of Japan's steel production is, these days, supported by fisheries, shellfish farms, and eco-tourism.  It was badly impacted by the 2011 Tohoku disaster, with the tsunami waters reaching 4.3 meters, easily breaching the Kamaishi Tsunami Protection … Continue reading Kamaishi Kannon: guardian goddess and witness to history

Where the bodies are buried: Kofun burial mounds along the Tama River

Japan's "Kofun Period", from the 2nd century to the 7th century, is named for the tumulus burial mounds that characterize it.  Of the 30,000 tumuli extant in Japan, some 750 are believed to contain the remains of emperors or members of the imperial family.  Most of the others were used for local chieftains or other … Continue reading Where the bodies are buried: Kofun burial mounds along the Tama River