Pirates! These days the word evokes various images from Captain Hook and Long John Silver to Johnny Depp and Captain Phillips. Asia, too, has its pirates, both ancient and modern. Since September 19 is "International Talk Like A Pirate Day", this seems a good time to talk about pirates in Japan. Oh yes! Japan has … Continue reading Avast! There be pirates in these waters!
It's easy to see where this rock formation near the southernmost tip of the Kii Peninsula gets its name: the Bridge Pier Rocks. The straight line of craggy points of rock heading offshore toward Kii Oshima island looks like the remnant piers of a long-lost bridge to the island. So much so that it's hardly … Continue reading Hashigui-iwa: rocks that are the stuff of legend
Dorokyo Gorge is a deep valley carved by the waters of the Kitayama River. The gorge sits in the Yoshino-Kumano National Park at the point where Wakayama, Nara and Mie prefectures meet on the Kii Peninsula. The vertical cliffs at the deepest part of the gorge make it difficult to access...unless you go in by … Continue reading Amazing Scenery in Dorokyo Gorge
It is a few seconds past midnight. The temple bell rings once, its low sonorous tone echoing across the heads of the people in the crowd gathered at the foot of the belfry. The priest who had rung the bell steps out of the belfry, bows to the crowd and says "akemashite omedeto gozaimasu" (happy … Continue reading Magic at midnight: Seeing in the new year Japanese style