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

‘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