Japan

The temples of Nara

Ancient Japan at its finest: bronze Buddhas, towering pagodas, sacred (and tame) deer.

In its history as a unified nation, Japan has had three major capitals. Tokyo (the modern capital) and Kyoto (the longest-serving capital) garner most of the international visitors. Tokyo draws those who want to see ...

At the World’s End: Lake Tōya, Japan

Lake Tōya in Hokkaidō, Japan, is a small tourist resort nestled among mountains and active volcanoes. Known for its serene landscape and relaxing onsen spas, it also has a darker side; in 2000, the majestic ...

At the World’s End: Hiroshima and Miyajima

The tragic events of 1945 can barely be appreciated without seeing the peaceful, dignified city of Hiroshima, Japan. Within minutes of stepping off the bullet train, a local resident offered us a free tour of ...

Kimonos and Bonsai in Ōmiya, Japan

Located in the Saitama Prefecture of Japan, Ōmiya is just a 30-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo, yet the town feels much farther away from its hustle and bustle. Eye-catching features of Ōmiya include bonsai ...

Sendai, Japan: The Day the Earth Shook

March 11 was a cold, slow-moving Friday afternoon at our home in Sendai. As a freelance writer and translator, I was making a transition, familiar on such idle afternoons. Having finished a bit of urgent ...

Wrecked People

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. — Dr. Seuss My jaw hung down in disbelief. New images of the cataclysm were pouring in faster ...

Japan: Word to the Wise

I’ve been sitting at my desk for three days, trying to effectively capture the feeling of what it‘s like to stand in the middle of the Tokyo train station after 12 hours of ass cramps ...

Kamakura, Japan: Surf and Zen

Just a short train ride from Tokyo, Kamakura is a small seaside town with a big green Buddha. Besides seeing the famous Buddha, there are plenty of temples and shrines dotting the hills and valleys ...

Kobe, Japan

While Kobe is most commonly known for its tender, succulent cuts of beef, it’s also famous for its remarkable recovery after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995. This massive earthquake, which reduced the city to ...

Japan's Bustling Tokyo

Literally translating to “Eastern Capital,” Tokyo, Japan, is one of the three world finance ”command centers” alongside New York and London. But unlike the others, Tokyo has a serene feeling of safety along with pristine ...

Shimoda, Japan

Located near the tip of the Izu peninsula, this sleepy waterfront town is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of Japan’s big city life. Shimoda was of central importance during the 1850s, ...

Osaka-jō, Osaka, Japan

Osaka Castle (or Osaka-jō) has a long, interesting history, and what remains of it is a feudal reminder sitting proudly in the middle of a modern Japanese city. The charming park surrounding the main tower ...

Chinatown, Yokohama, Japan

In Japan, there are three major urban Chinatowns: in Kobe, Nagasaki and Yokohama. For travelers staying in Tokyo, the Yokohama Chinatown (Yokohama Chukagai) is the most accessible. You can check out the festively lit Chinatown ...

Yamazaki Distillery, Yamazaki, Japan

Nothing beats a fine dram after a hard day. The Japanese are aware of this too, and have more than a few of their own oak-soaked nectars worth mentioning. Japanese beverage giant Suntory has been ...

Tiger Country: Koshien, Japan

Baseball games in Japan are more than fun, they're a cultural experience – and the Hanshin Tigers are the pinnacle. Based in Koshien, the Tigers’ stadium opened in 1924 and is one of the oldest ...

Loud in Japan

This collaboration was born at the UFO Club in Tokyo,” says Bruce McKenzie, one half of the local experimental duo Buzz or Howl. “We met famed Japanese psych-noise artist Astro through a mutual friend.… The ...

My Perfect Sunday

With few Christians in Japan, Sunday is not a day of worship. It is, however, the only day most people have with their family. Until a couple of years ago, students had school on Saturdays ...