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

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

‘Meguro’s Best’ – Cherry Blossom River Walk & (Much) More

Cherry blossom viewing is especially popular along the Meguro River. Most people don’t realize, however, that there are many interesting sightseeing spots to visit along, or near, the route – the Meguro Sky Garden, Sugekari Park, the Sato Sakura Museum, Rakanji Temple, Meguro Fudo-son, Meguro Gajoen, etc.  Here is a detailed, do-it-yourself tour of ‘Meguro’s … More ‘Meguro’s Best’ – Cherry Blossom River Walk & (Much) More

Best ‘Ascendable’ Tokyo Area Giant Buddhist Statues

There are two main types of giant Buddhist statues in Japan, Daibutsu (Giant Buddha) and Dai-Kannon (Giant Goddess of Mercy). Older statues are made of bronze or stone.  Newer ones tower over local landscapes, are made of reinforced concrete, and can be explored – internally. Five impressive ‘ascendable’ statues surround Tokyo and all are worth … More Best ‘Ascendable’ Tokyo Area Giant Buddhist Statues

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