Obama – Asia’s Original Gateway to Japan and Kyoto

Located on the Sea of Japan, the city of Obama is the closest sea port to Kyoto. In addition to a variety of marine products, goods from Asia (and the cultures that created them) were carried through the mountains along a system of roads now called the Saba Kaido or ‘Mackerel Highway’. A deep connection … More Obama – Asia’s Original Gateway to Japan and Kyoto

City Explorations: A Day in Morioka

The Morioka-Hachimantai region, Iwate Prefecture, is filled with interesting sightseeing spots, fantastic ski resorts, beautiful hiking trails, unique historic sites, and more. Many tourists transit through Morioka Station, but the city itself is definitely worth a visit – especially if you have an interest in architecture. There are two reasonable and easy ways to get … More City Explorations: A Day in Morioka

Experience Morioka-Hachimantai Iwate Prefecture

A number of small cities and towns make up a sightseeing region in Iwate Prefecture called Morioka-Hachimantai. In addition to historic sites, hot springs, pristine wilderness, etc. – there are many local experiences that can be enjoyed by visitors. Rinzai-ji is a lovely 360-year-old temple in the town of Shizukuishi. The head priest, his wife, … More Experience Morioka-Hachimantai Iwate Prefecture

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

‘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

Four ‘Easy’ Winter Overnight Trips from Tokyo

With Japan’s compact size and amazing transportation system, there are thousands of possible overnight trips from Tokyo. However, there are dramatic differences in cost, ease of access, and foreigner-friendliness. Here is a list of the most foreigner-friendly locations close to Tokyo that seem a world away, but are actually easy to reach & explore. #1 … More Four ‘Easy’ Winter Overnight Trips from Tokyo

3 Day Self-Drive Vacation in Kyushu’s Kumamoto

Only two hours from Tokyo by plane, Kumamoto Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu, is a fantastic choice for a two night / three day get-away.  Although the sightseeing choices are endless, here is an itinerary that I personally enjoyed and would recommend to those who really enjoy driving.  As Kumamoto does not get much … More 3 Day Self-Drive Vacation in Kyushu’s Kumamoto