One of my favourite places in Japan is Kamakura, a historic coastal town surrounded by nature, just one hour from Tokyo. The best way to explore is by foot - a stroll is a great way to soak up the relaxed atmosphere, and there are street vendors offering traditional snacks by the wayside.
You ca… Read More
Hakone Sekisho checkpoint, Hakone Shrine, and the Hakone Open-Air Museum
As the tenth post town on the old Tōkaidō highway from Tokyo, Hakone was strategically important to the samurai government of Japan's Edo era (1603-1867). Its Hakone Sekisho building served as a checkp… Read More
Enjoy the finer things in a hot spring town on Hakuba’s doorstep
Just 40 minutes from Hakuba, Omachi is local to the ski resorts of Kashimayari Sports Village and Jiigatake. Its hot spring area of Omachi Onsenkyō is set in deep forest, and skiers and snowboarders overnight here from … Read More
Welcoming hot spring town with retro charm
Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen carved itself a place on Japan's hot spring destination map just over 120 years ago in 1893. Times were tough, and to revive the local economy, the head of the town implemented a plan to dig for hot springs.
Since the waters began… Read More
-> Convenient winter holiday base 79 minutes from Tokyo
-> Close to the Hakuba Valley, Nozawa Onsen and the snow monkeys
-> Local attractions include Zenkō-ji temple, a National Treasure of Japan
Nagano City is more than a famous gateway for pilgrims to Zenkō-ji, its icon… Read More
The neighbouring town to the snow monkey park, full of charm and tradition
Shibu Onsen is a quaint hot spring town in Nagano Prefecture that opens up behind a curtain of steam, revealing traditions and architecture of years passed, still standing tall and proud.
The town's original spring-h… Read More
Capital of an outdoor paradise with deep Buddhist roots
Zenkō-ji, a 1,400 year-old Buddhist temple, is the traditional soul of Nagano. A highland capital in the Japan Alps, the city grew up around this sacred storehouse of the Ikkō Sanzon Amida Nyorai, a Buddhist image believed to be the first… Read More
The bullet train journey from Tokyo through the Japan Alps to Ishikawa Prefecture is like being fast-forwarded through a Japanese winter hall of fame; a snow resort from the Nagano Winter Olympics here, a hot spring retreat that inspired a Nobel Prize-winning novel there. The pot of gold at the end… Read More
Essential highlights of Japan now and then
The towering skyscrapers and ornate temple pagodas that symbolise Tokyo and Kyoto today are also an expression of the rich culture and history of Japan. Each city is a fascinating journey between modernity and tradition, and must be experienced on any tri… Read More
Maiko are the apprentice geisha of Kyoto, which remains a bastion of this antique entertainment culture in Japan today. Although they may come from any part of Japan to study the geisha arts, once they become maiko, all speak in the Kyoto dialect. Maiko live, study and work in the Gion… Read More
Osaka’s mecca of street food Kuromon Ichib
Known as one of Osaka’s largest food markets, Kuromon Ichiba is a must-visit spot for a tasty feed. Locals come to this 114 year-old market for their daily shop, some socialising, and of course delicious street food.
The market spreads out in all f… Read More
Mount Fuji, or Fujisan as it’s called in Japanese, has long been an influential presence in Japanese art. The work of countless Japanese artists captures this majestic icon, and an all-time classic is Katsushika Hokusai's ‘Koshu Misaka Suimen' ( Surface of the Water, Misaka, Kai Province). This pie… Read More
History flows through the hot springs of Yudanaka Onsen
From the moment you step off the train at Yudanaka station, you are already fully immersed in this onsen (hot spring) town. The station has its own hot spring facilities for day-trippers, and outside there’s a foot bath you can enjoy to kic… Read More