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

Reasonable Dining – Central Kyoto

Searching for a restaurant in Kyoto can be intimidating and/or overwhelming. Here are a few places that I have wandered into by myself, without prior reservations. They are also appropriate for couples and small groups. These restaurants are not famous, but they are authentic and very reasonable – especially considering the quality and quantity of … More Reasonable Dining – Central Kyoto

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

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

Updated April 2021. Kamiyacho is a small business district in central Tokyo’s Minato Ward. It is filled with government institutions 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 … More Walk for Locals: Kamiyacho Station to the Tokyo American Club