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.
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!

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!

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.

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!

Succulent Stew at Dai Min

Succulent Stew at Dai Min

Located in Hokuto City, Yamanashi, Dai Min (臺眠) offers succulent salmon and melt-in-your-mouth beef stew.

Starry Café Lights up Haneda

Starry Café Lights up Haneda

Looking to kill some time before your flight out of Tokyo's Haneda Airport? Head to Planetarium Starry Café on the fifth floor of the international terminal for a view of 40,000,000 stars while you wait!

11 Anime You Have to Watch Before You Die

11 Anime You Have to Watch Before You Die

Everyone has on opinion on the 'best' anime. But which are the anime that—regardless of quality—you simply have to watch before you die? These 11 are the ones you need to see!

Japan's 12 Most Famous Samurai

Japan's 12 Most Famous Samurai

You probably know Miyamoto Musashi, but how many other real-world samurai can you name? Here are 12 of the most famous samurai in Japan!

Japan's 8 Biggest Anime & Otaku Events

Japan's 8 Biggest Anime & Otaku Events

What's an anime or gaming otaku to do in Japan? Check out its massive anime- and gaming-related events, that's what! From the Tokyo Game Show to the World Cosplay Summit, there's plenty to see throughout the year!

Surprise: Tokyo Cheaper than Most Major Cities

Surprise: Tokyo Cheaper than Most Major Cities

20 years of economic stagnation has had an incredible effect that few people have realized: thanks to inflation everywhere else, Tokyo is now actually cheaper than most major cities in the rest of the industrialized world!

Top 20 Power Spots in Japan

Top 20 Power Spots in Japan

Japan seems to be overflowing with so-called 'power spots.' Here are 20 of the best, many of them tied to mountain worship, ancient shrines, and the very origins of Japan.

All the Public Holidays in Japan

All the Public Holidays in Japan

While Japan may be famous for its grueling work ethic, the nation actually has a surprising number of national holidays—nearly one every month. Find out when you can get a day off to enjoy the rising sun!

Full List—Japan's Intangible Cultural Heritage

Full List—Japan's Intangible Cultural Heritage

Beyond its 20 spectacular World Cultural Heritage Sites, Japan has 21 traditions recognized by UNESCO as elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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