Atami – Hot Spring Resort by the Sea

For almost 1000 years, Atami has been known for its hot springs. During the 1980’s, the city was booming and many giant resort hotels and condominiums were built. In the 1990’s, Japan’s economic bubble burst and Atami began a long slide into disrepair. However, with a gorgeous location, ever-flowing hot springs, and easy access from … More Atami – Hot Spring Resort by the Sea

February 2020 Events ‘In and Around’ Tokyo

Don’t let winter keep you from getting out and enjoying some of the festivals & events planned for February – there are many (see below)! Please be sure to double-check dates and times as my source information online is sometimes incorrect/out of date. 1/11-3/8 Atami Baien Ume Matsuri, or Japanese Plum Festival at Atami Baien (Japanese plum garden), Atami, … More February 2020 Events ‘In and Around’ Tokyo

Tokyo Day Trips: My ‘Top 10’ Lesser-known Favorites

Train lines and highways head out of Tokyo in all directions – giving residents and visitors access to hundreds of interesting day-trip destinations. This is a list of my favorite lesser-known spots, in alphabetical order. I’ve noted whether or not it is possible to travel there by mass transportation or if a car is necessary. … More Tokyo Day Trips: My ‘Top 10’ Lesser-known Favorites

Izu’s Kawazu-zakura Festival – Early Blooming Cherry Blossoms

Kawazu-zakura are unique hybrid cherry trees that bloom earlier, and for much longer, than the famous Somei Yoshino species. For an entire month, usually from around February 10 to March 10, a festival showcases 8,000 trees that line the Kawazu River in Southern Izu. Although it takes about 2 – 2 1/2 hours to reach … More Izu’s Kawazu-zakura Festival – Early Blooming Cherry Blossoms

‘Little Kyoto’ – Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture

Many of Japan’s best tourist destinations have been preserved due to their locations well off the beaten path. The town of Tsuwano sits in a valley in western Shimane Prefecture near the border with Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is known as the Little Kyoto of the San-in Region and is highly recommended for travelers willing to … More ‘Little Kyoto’ – Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture

One Night in Matsumoto

Matsumoto, a lovely small-sized city in Nagano Prefecture, is home to one of Japan’s most beautiful castles and is well worth a visit.Matsumoto-jo has the oldest donjon remaining in Japan – construction began in 1592. It is one of five castles designated a ‘National Treasure of Japan’. It has also earned the name, Karasu-jo, or … More One Night in Matsumoto

Walk for Locals: Kamiyacho Station to the Tokyo American Club

Kamiyacho is a small business district in central Tokyo’s Minato Ward. It is filled with governmental institutes and foreign companies. For anyone living or working in the area, here is a list of where to eat, and what to see, on a walk toward the Tokyo American Club (TAC). Within a minute’s walk of Kamiyacho … More Walk for Locals: Kamiyacho Station to the Tokyo American Club

The Hakone Circuit

If you have only one day to visit Hakone and are traveling by mass transportation, the ‘Hakone Circuit’ is the best way to see many of the area’s top sights. Starting and ending in Hakone Yumoto, travel is in a circle, with no backtracking, and is easy to follow even if you don’t speak or … More The Hakone Circuit