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”

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

Towada-ko: Exploring a northern crater lake

A water-filled volcanic crater is a thing to behold.  One spectacular example in Japan is Lake Towada which sits on the border between Aomori and Akita Prefectures.  Here one finds a crater within a crater and a volcano that vulcanologists regard as still active even though it hasn't erupted in a millenium. Sitting 690 meters … Continue reading Towada-ko: Exploring a northern crater lake

Borderless Art

By special guest blogger: Oliver Trapnell Utilizing some of the latest technology, teamLab has created a truly unique experience in which one can interact and visualise art in new ways. The opening last month of ‘teamLab Borderless’ at the MORI Building Digital Art Museum (1-3 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tokyo-to) has been a rousing success attracting hundreds … Continue reading Borderless Art

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