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Things to check out while in Japan

Okinawa

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Okinawa was originally an independent kingdom called Ryukyu. A very small island state, it bloomed because of its ideal location for trading, and its patronage of, and support from, Imperial China. It was absorbed into Japan by the late 19th century, even though its populace is culturally distinct from that of the rest of the […]

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Todoroki Ninety-nine Waterfalls, Tokushima, Shikoku

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Todoroki Waterfall 轟本滝 Todoroki Falls (轟の滝) is one of three falls in Tokushima that are included in Japan’s ‘Top 100 Waterfalls’. The kanji Chinese character for todoroki means ‘roar,  thunder or boom resound. If you’re adventurous enough to venture through the chasm into the cavern where the cascade is, the boom resound will become apparent. […]

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The Renowned Sakura

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Photo: Benjamine Scalvenzi.  So much more than just a flower, so much more than just the iconic cherry blossoms of Japan, and a phenomenon you HAVE to see if you’re planning a hike through the Japanese countryside. Once a year, Japan has an almost tangible festive atmosphere, spanning from the first day of Cherry Blossom […]

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New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Tokyo

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New Year is known as oshogatsu and is the most important holiday in Japan. Although in recent years Xmas is celebrated, once Dec 25th has passed all Xmas decorations are taken down overnight, to be replaced by traditional ones made of bamboo and pine branches. All duties are supposed to be finished before the end […]

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Loyalty and the 47 Ronin

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The true story of the 47 Ronin (masterless samurai) is one of the most famous in Japan. It is a tale adapted into countless kabuki plays, bunraku puppet shows, woodblock prints, and later films and television shows. Fictionalized versions of the story are known as Chushingura, and continue to be very popular to this day. […]

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KAFU Tea Ceremony Workshop in Kyoto

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While visiting Kyoto, you wouldn’t want to miss out on at least one of those cultural experiences now widely available here – activities such as taking first steps in any of Tea-ceremony, flower-arrangement, calligraphy, classical dance and Japanese cookery. Each traditional Japanese art has come down to us imbued with the pre-modern philosophy and values […]

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Cherry Blossom Viewing

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Late March/early April is the time that the famed cherry blossoms open in Tokyo. As Japan is such a long thin archipelago, equivalent to the distance from Morocco to Norway, the cherries begin to bloom in February in Okinawa, have reached Tokyo in late March, and finally bloom in Hokkaido in early May. There are […]

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Zao Onsen Ski Resort

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5-6 hours drive from Tokyo is the largest ski resort in Tohoku Region and is well-known for excellent powder conditions. One of the oldest and most respected resorts in Japan because of its history and traditional onsens (hot springs) it is a great place to take the whole family. Featuring 4 gondolas, 41 lifts and […]

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Climbing Mount Fuji

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O snail Climb Mount Fuji, But slowly, slowly! (Haiku by Kobayashi Issa). There’s a well-known Japanese proverb that says, “A wise man will climb Mt Fuji once; a fool will climb Mt Fuji twice.” I have just returned from climbing Mount Fuji for the second time. Why did I do it again? Mainly to get […]

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English-Speaking Doctors in Japan: How Do I Find Them?

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Falling sick is never a welcoming experience and can get unnecessarily complicated when you are traveling, especially if you do not speak the language of the country or know the right vocabulary to communicate your needs. Finding English-speaking doctors and health and wellness specialists in Japan used to be pretty tricky, but the new website HealthyTokyo.com is […]

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