All About Japan

Michael Kanert

Michael Kanert

All About Michael Kanert
In Japan since 2001, I'm a former ALT trainer who's lived in Shizuoka, Saitama and Tokyo, and visited 34 of Japan's 47 prefectures (13 to go!). When I can get out from behind the editorial desk, I take photos, do bits of theater and practice German longsword.
What I like about Japan
I'm a fan of anything old: castles, temples, art and traditions, you name it! Kyoto wins for density (spring and fall are unforgettable), but I also love everything outside the big cities—particularly Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, the Izu Peninsula and the dynamic southern reaches of Kyushu. You'll find the real heart of Japan in the countryside.
Kaya no Sato: Life in Thatch

Kaya no Sato: Life in Thatch

This association on the edge of Mount Fuji is working to preserve the thatching techniques needed to preserve many of Japan's historic structures, including the 'praying hands' houses of Shirakawa-go.

Huge Mural & Ancient Ceramics in Hakone

Huge Mural & Ancient Ceramics in Hakone

Marked by swanky design in the midst of Hakone's mountains, the Okada Museum of Art features an impressive collection of East Asian ceramics and varied Japanese art.

Minori: Local Food on the Edge of Fuji

Minori: Local Food on the Edge of Fuji

Get local fare right from the edge of Mount Fuji—including dishes cooked on a hotplate made from real Fuji lava!

Mishima: A Stroll down the Genbe River

Mishima: A Stroll down the Genbe River

Filled with fireflies in May, the Genbe River flows 1.5 kilometers through the heart of Mishima, from its source in a volcanic park to a reservoir with a lovely view of Mount Fuji. It's a lovely spot for a stroll filled with reminiscences of childhood.

Mishima Skywalk

Mishima Skywalk

Mishima Skywalk boast three Japan No. 1s: Japan's tallest mountain, Japan's deepest bay, and Japan's longest pedestrian suspension bridge.

Numazu Imperial Villa Memorial Park

Numazu Imperial Villa Memorial Park

Walk through a former imperial villa on the Numazu coast, featuring turn-of-the century furniture and woodwork.

Sanyo-so: Service Sufficient for an Emperor

Sanyo-so: Service Sufficient for an Emperor

Sanyo-so is a sprawling 'ryokan' inn in Shizuoka Prefecture. With huge rooms, warren-like halls and a stunning garden, the service is so impeccable it's even received emperors—twice!

The Ferris Wheel with a Fuji View

The Ferris Wheel with a Fuji View

The Fujikawa Service Area isn't just a rest stop—it features a 60-meter Ferris wheel with a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji. And if you want to test your nerves, you can do the loop in a glass-bottomed gondola!

The Traditional 'Front Door' to Mount Fuji

The Traditional 'Front Door' to Mount Fuji

Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha is the head of all Fuji-worshipping shrines, and the traditional 'front door' to the ascent up Mount Fuji.

Jinba Falls: Crystal Clear Fuji Water

Jinba Falls: Crystal Clear Fuji Water

The area around Mount Fuji is known for the crystal clear groundwater that wells up throughout the region. On the mountain's western foot, you can see the water cascade clear and cold over Jinba Falls.

Get a Fuji Omelet in Yamanashi

Get a Fuji Omelet in Yamanashi

Sylvans restaurant features a terrace, a conservatory, a garden that's open to dogs, and a gift shop where you can buy Fujizakura Heights Beer, a German-style microbrew made right on the premises.

Mount Fuji's Northern Gateway

Mount Fuji's Northern Gateway

Said to date all the way back to the year 110, Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine marks the entrance to the Yoshidaguchi climbing trail on the north side of Mount Fuji.

Hoshinoya Fuji: The Glamorous Outdoors

Hoshinoya Fuji: The Glamorous Outdoors

Don't be fooled by Hoshinoya Fuji's claim to be a 'glamping' resort. This is nothing less than the height of luxury in the woods!

Zuzuya: Ink Talismans at a Fuji Pilgrim's Inn

Zuzuya: Ink Talismans at a Fuji Pilgrim's Inn

With a history of some 400 years, Zuzuya is one of only two pilgrim's lodgings in Kamiyoshida still offering rooms to Fuji worshippers preparing to climb their sacred mountain. It's also a great spot to make an ink talisman from an Edo Period wood block!

Togawa Oshi House: Lodging for Fuji Pilgrims

Togawa Oshi House: Lodging for Fuji Pilgrims

'Oshi' houses traditionally provided lodging for worshippers preparing to ascend Mount Fuji. Reaching their peak in the 19th century, a number of these houses can still be seen in Kamiyoshida in Yamanashi Prefecture.

Enter the 'Womb' of Mount Fuji

Enter the 'Womb' of Mount Fuji

This system of caves beneath the surface of Mount Fuji are believed to represent the womb of Konohana Sakuya-hime, the goddess of the mountain. And you can climb right inside!

Tokiwa Hotel: Top-Tier Garden in Yamanashi

Tokiwa Hotel: Top-Tier Garden in Yamanashi

The garden at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi was ranked the third-best traditional garden in Japan in 2012 and 2013. And even if you can't afford a stay in this top-class hotel, you can still visit the garden for free!

Fujisan World Heritage Center

Fujisan World Heritage Center

Opened inJune 2016, the Fujisan World Heritage Center aims to outline the geological and cultural significance of Japan's most iconic mountain.

Ryokan Kikori: Seasonal Cuisine to Die For

Ryokan Kikori: Seasonal Cuisine to Die For

Found in Fuefuki City, Yamanashi, this traditional Japanese inn offers seasonal cuisine that's to die for, as well as offering a great base for activities around the Mount Fuji area.

Suntory Hakushu Distillery

Suntory Hakushu Distillery

Nestled in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture, the Suntory Hakushu Distillery will walk you through every step of the whisky-making process—with ample tastings to follow!

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