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