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.
A Stay in Yokohama Landmark Tower

A Stay in Yokohama Landmark Tower

Standing at 296.3 meters, Yokohama Landmark Tower was the tallest building in Japan when it opened in 1993. While its lower half is full of shops, restaurants and offices, the 49th to 70th floors are occupied by a five-star luxury hotel!

Il Miraggio: Buffet Lunch in Hakone

Il Miraggio: Buffet Lunch in Hakone

If you're looking for a bite while exploring the south side of Lake Ashi in Hakone, why not head to Il Miraggio on the bottom floor of the Hakone Hotel? You can get a lovely view of the lake—and, more importantly, build your own brownie sundae!

Hakone Shrine: Home of the Nine-Headed Serpent

Hakone Shrine: Home of the Nine-Headed Serpent

The mountains of Hakone have been worshipped for at least 2,500 years. Hakone Shrine venerates the three most important deities of the region: two legendary ancestors of the Japanese imperial line, and the goddess of Mount Fuji herself!

Hakone Yosegi Zaiku: World of Woodcraft

Hakone Yosegi Zaiku: World of Woodcraft

Hakone 'yosegi zaiku' is a kind of woodworking technique typically used to make puzzle boxes with elaborate opening mechanisms. Not only do they make a great gift—at the Hakone Trick Museum you can even make one of your own!

Hakone Sekisho: Historical Checkpoint

Hakone Sekisho: Historical Checkpoint

The Hakone Sekisho was one of 53 checkpoints used by the Tokugawa Shogunate to maintain control over Japan's population. Now faithfully reconstructed, it makes for a pleasant visit while in Hakone, offering a nice view of Mount Fuji on a clear day.

Hakone Luxury: Toki no Yu Setsugetsuka

Hakone Luxury: Toki no Yu Setsugetsuka

With two hot spring sources and a vibrant atmosphere, this luxury 'ryokan' in Hakone feels less like a quiet retreat than an exciting 'onsen' resort!

Torigin: Good Eats South of Odawara Station

Torigin: Good Eats South of Odawara Station

If you're looking for a good meal around Odawara Station, head a block and a half southeast to Torigin, which focuses on 'yakitori' skewers and 'kama-meshi'—rice, meat and vegetables cooked in small metal pots.

Things to Do Around Hakone-Yumoto Station

Things to Do Around Hakone-Yumoto Station

Visitors to Hakone have to change trains at Hakone-Yumoto Station, meaning you always have a bit of time to kill. With temples, forest adventures, souvenir shopping and the Eva store, there's plenty to do while you wait!

Odawara Castle: Last Stand of the Old Order

Odawara Castle: Last Stand of the Old Order

Located just south of Tokyo, Odawara Castle was known as an impregnable fortress—until it was taken down by a party!

Mars GardenWood: Get a Fuji View in Gotemba

Mars GardenWood: Get a Fuji View in Gotemba

MarsGardenWood Gotemba is a resort hotel located to the southeast of Mount Fuji, with many of the rooms offer direct views of Japan's signature mountain.

Katsumata Seicha: Organic Tea on Fuji's Edge

Katsumata Seicha: Organic Tea on Fuji's Edge

Located in the heart of Japan's premier tea-growing region, Katsumata Seicha traces its tea-making history back to the days of the Warring States Period.

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.

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