Unganzenji: a legacy of swordsmanship and piety

On the outskirts of Kumamoto City sits an isolated Zen temple that guards over an historic cave and a hillside of rakan (arhat) statues. Rakan are devout Buddhists who have attained enlightenment and live in a state of Nirvana. In Japan, collections of statues of 500 rakan, the number of disciples of Buddha believed to … Continue reading Unganzenji: a legacy of swordsmanship and piety

Takachiho Farm: fun hands-on experience of life on a farm

The Kirishima volcano system in Kagoshima Prefecture is fascinating for the variety of landscapes visitors can experience.  The flanks of some of the volcanoes are covered with grassland conducive to raising cattle.  Takachiho Farm is a kind of "show farm" within sight of Mt. Kirishima where visitors can see a working dairy and experience several … Continue reading Takachiho Farm: fun hands-on experience of life on a farm

Remembering Japan’s wartime occupation of Singapore

On the afternoon of February 15, 1942, Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival and members of his senior staff made their way under the Union Jack and a flag of truce from his headquarters at Singapore's Fort Canning to the headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army at the Ford Factory on Bukit Timah hill.  There, following a brief … Continue reading Remembering Japan’s wartime occupation of Singapore

Yusuhara: the eco-friendly traditional mountain town

In these days of environmental concerns, it's not unusual to hear talk of green living and energy independence.  In the Shikoku mountain town of Yusuhara, it's more than just talk.  This town of less than 4,000 people has adopted various practices to generate its own power and reduce its carbon footprint while caring for the … Continue reading Yusuhara: the eco-friendly traditional mountain town

Ritsurin Koen: a classic garden and the teamLab touch

Ritsurin Koen, a classic "samurai strolling garden", is a treasure of Takamatsu, a Shikoku castle town facing the Seto Inland Sea.  With 400 years of history it is one of the most beautiful gardens of its type in Japan, with sculpted ponds and waterways, hills dotted with carefully tended pine trees, and landscapes that must … Continue reading Ritsurin Koen: a classic garden and the teamLab touch