All About Japan

The World's in Love with Zen

Zen concepts and practices have heavily influenced prominent people in the West in all fields, from business to entertainment to the arts. What is it about Zen that attracts them?

Iriomote—Japan’s Last Secluded Isle

Known locally as Iriomotejima, this remote Okinawan island is almost entirely covered in virgin subtropical forest and mangrove trees, and is often called “Japan’s last secluded island.” Iriomote is also home to rare plants and animals!

How Imari Ware Took Europe By Storm

Imari ware began shipping from Japan to Europe in the late 17th century, and the elegant porcelain thrilled royals and nobles. The mountain village of Okawachiyama and its secret kilns is the best place to explore the history of Imari ware.

Japan Opens a Door to Fourth-Generation Nikkei

This summer the Ministry of Justice began granting special long-term visas to fourth-generation Nikkei Japanese. If they meet the requirements, applicants can receive a visa of up to five years with no limits on the type of work they do.

From France to Tokyo: Working in Japan

Frenchwoman Samantha Lassaux is a sales manager for Meiji Shrine’s event hall, known as the 'Meiji Kinenkan.' Lassaux talks about her work at the historic venue, which was built in the Meiji Period and originally served as a state guesthouse.

Yakushima: Island of Thousand-Year-Old Cedars

Registered as a Natural World Heritage Site in 1993, Yakushima’s Yakusugi have flourished for over ten centuries, and the islanders have revered these cedar giants as sacred since ancient times.

A Train That Conveys the Spirit of Recovery

A journey on Minami Aso Railway’s trolley train, which trundles past the Aso Caldera—one of the world’s largest volcanic craters—gives riders the leisurely opportunity to marvel at the natural splendors of Kumamoto’s landscape.

Traverse the Natural Wonders of Kushiro Marsh

The Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko is a popular sightseeing train that chugs along at a leisurely pace through Hokkaido’s Kushiro Marsh from spring to early autumn.

The Living Appeal of Bonsai Art

Bonsai, the art of planting and tending to miniature trees in pots, is a noteworthy offshoot of Japan’s vaunted gardening culture. Bonsai gained worldwide notice in the 1970s, and its popularity only continues to grow.

Daughters of Meiji: Women's Education in Japan

At the dawn of the Meiji Period, three young girls were sent to live in the United States to experience American education and society firsthand and bring their knowledge back to Japan.

Aomori Nebuta Festival

The Aomori Nebuta Festival enthralls millions of visitors every year from August 2 to 7, with brightly lit, intricate and boldly colored floats known as nebuta.

Trekking Through the Mosaic

Each year about 38,000 visitors hike through the verdant trails of the Shin-Etsu trail in northwestern Japan.

Forgetting Time on the Resort Shirakami

The Resort Shirakami is a travel experience that combines the romance of the railways with traditional culture and beautiful scenery.

The Japanese Seasoning on Everyone’s Table

Known as 'shoyu' in Japan, soy sauce is ubiquitous in Japanese cuisine, whether it’s being drizzled on roasting corn or adding flavorful depths to vegetable, fish and meat dishes.

Riding the Rails: The Sagano Scenic Railway

The Sagano Scenic Railway runs the popular sightseeing train known as the Sagano Romantic Train, which takes you on a seven-kilometer journey between Kyoto’s Arashiyama district—a tourist spot in the Sagano area famous for fall foliage—and Kameoka.

The Roots of Tonkatsu: A Delicious Fusion

Tonkatsu—the breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet so popular with the masses—was originally one of many Japanese twists on Western recipes imported to Japan. Learn the history of tonkatsu according to the first restaurant in Japan to put the dish on its menu.

Mastering Winemaking in Nagano

Well-known essayist and painter Toyoo Tamamura and his wife live in Nagano Prefecture, where they run a winery and restaurant. He talks about his new life and work styles, the late life lessons he’s discovered and his plans for the future.

Onitsuka Tiger: Shoes Running Around the World

Onitsuka Tiger is an iconic shoe brand produced by sporting goods company ASICS. Despite once disappearing from the market, it has been revived as a fashionable sneaker brand with global popularity.

Rebun: The Flower Island

Two hours away by ferry from Wakkanai City in Hokkaido, Rebun Island is especially cool and delightful during the summer as hundreds of types of flowers bloom among its mountains and on its shores, and the surrounding sea offers up delectable fare.

Omotenashi of English-Speaking Geisha in Kyoto

The “flower town” district of Gion in Kyoto is where geiko and maiko in glamorous kimono enchant people with their talents, elegance and grace. One geiko in particular shines through her use of two languages; a unique dialect of Japanese, and English.

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