Living in Japan: Places to visit before international tourists return

If you are currently living in Japan, consider visiting these popular sightseeing spots before inbound tourists are allowed back into the country. Due to overtourism, the atmosphere of many of these locations has changed dramatically in recent years. They are currently more relaxed, but when the country opens up, they will, again, be inundated with … More Living in Japan: Places to visit before international tourists return

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

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