This article explores some fascinating and surprising aspects of a stroll in the Akatsuka neighborhood of Tokyo's Itabashi-ku. (Archived article – Originally published by Japan Today)
I recently had the chance to learn about Nishinouchi Washi, which is a particularly durable form of handmade washi paper. I also learned about some of its particular uses, included turning into cloth for garments and making chochin paper lanterns. Read about it in this article in All About Japan.
Waterfalls are well known to release negative ions that boost the spirits of mere mortals who visit them. Japan is blessed with many waterfalls and so lots of negative ion opportunities. One unusually shaped waterfall worth seeking out is Fukiware Falls in northern Gunma Prefecture (almost halfway between Minakami and Nikko). The falls is in … Continue reading Fukiware Falls: unusual water bears the gift of negative ions
Tokyo's well maintained public parks/gardens are enjoyable year-round, yet spring and early summer finds them at their most colorful. It is currently the height of the rose season. A few years ago I wrote about a number of great places in Tokyo to enjoy early summer roses, but have recently learned of a new one … Continue reading Rambling for Roses: an early summer celebration
Looking at a map of Japan, there is a spot due east of Tokyo that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. This is the mouth of the Tone River, which, at this point, forms the boundary between Ibaraki and Chiba Prefecture's. It is, in a sense, the end of the earth. Yet it is a … Continue reading Finding Mercy at the End of the Earth: Enpukuji’s Iinuma Kannon
You don't have to go very far in Okinawa before you encounter shisa, in pairs or alone. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes serious, they are found on roof tops and gatehouses of houses, on shelves inside shops and restaurants, pretty much everywhere you go. These little creatures are tasked with warding off evil and bringing luck. Although … Continue reading Shisa: Lucky Lion-dogs of Loo-choo