Art Deco’s Exoticism On Display

One could argue that Art Deco, which takes its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, is a European--particularly French--style.  But one of the distinctive features of Art Deco is the way in which it drew on influences from around the world, particularly Africa and the … Continue reading Art Deco’s Exoticism On Display

Tokyo Parks and Gardens Free on “Citizen’s Day”

October 1 is celebrated as "Citizen's Day" in the Tokyo Metropolitan District.  This year (2018), in honor of the day, there will be various special events dotted around the city, but more importantly for tourists and those who can spare the time, a number of Tokyo parks, gardens, and museums ordinarily closed on Mondays will … Continue reading Tokyo Parks and Gardens Free on “Citizen’s Day”

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

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

Hiking the Hills of Kamakura: a spring day’s walk from Kita-Kamakura to Hase

Kamakura, less than an hour by train from Tokyo, is a popular day tripper destination because of its abundance of things to see and do.  A city built in finger valleys radiating from a small bay, one of its many fascinating features is the hiking trails that connect the different valleys. Recently a few friends … Continue reading Hiking the Hills of Kamakura: a spring day’s walk from Kita-Kamakura to Hase