All About Japan

In the Footsteps of Japan’s Yamabushi Ascetics

Visit this isolated village in central Japan for a glimpse of Japan's ancient ascetic traditions that are still being practiced today.

Nostalgic Trip to a Beloved Tokyo Neighborhood

The Shibamata neighborhood on the outskirts of Tokyo retains the essence of the city’s “everyman” past. An iconic films series has helped to preserve its charms.

In Samurai Footsteps: The 47 Ronin Tour

One of the most famous stories of historical times is the saga of the 47 ronin, a group of samurai who avenged their deceased lord in a famous vendetta. Tokyo has several spots where fans of the story can visit to pay homage to the dedicated warriors.

The Old Town of Sawara: The Ideal Day Trip from Narita Airport

From centuries-old buildings to botanical gardens and picturesque canals, the Edo-era town of Sawara is a joy to discover—and a short distance from Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

These Traditional Dolls Are Earthquake Ready

As one kokeshi doll workshop's owners began cleaning up their shop, a flash of genius stuck them: why not equip their topple-prone traditional dolls with lights that can be used in case of future earthquakes?

A Walk Through Tokyo History: Yotsuya to Shinjuku on the Koshu Kaido Road

A guide to walking through the center of Tokyo on the course of the Koshu Kaido road, one of the five routes that connected the old city of Edo with the provinces. Among the modern buildings and bustling streets are remnants of a remarkable past.

Japan’s Ancient UFO: The Tale of Utsuro-bune

The utsuro-bune legend has has been a source of intrigue in Japan for over 200 years. Read on to discover what is behind the legend.

Savor Local Japanese Life in Hiroshima

Attractive accommodation options in nature-rich Shobara and the port city of Onomichi make ideal bases for savoring the charms of Hiroshima prefecture at a leisurely pace while connecting with the local culture.

How I Learned to Wield a Samurai Sword

Spending a few hours, or even a day, at Meihodo, a complex of Edo-style buildings and gardens in the Mt. Aso caldera of Kyushu's Kumamoto Prefecture, is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in samurai culture.

Time Travel with Japan's "Warlord" Clocks

Tokyo's Daimyo Clock Museum showcases unique Japanese clocks and the old way of measuring time used in the Edo period.

Celebrate Summer in Japan Like a Local: Bon Odori Dances and Fireworks Festivals

Discover the magic of summer’s fabulous Bon Odori festivals and hanabi taikai fireworks festivals!

Tokyo Corners: The Unique Style of Sculptor Asakura Fumio's Museum

A visit to sculptor Asakura Fumio's former studio and residence, now a museum, in historical Yanaka, offers a look at one man’s vision of art and life

The Isolated Attractions of Shikoku's "Tibet"

Some dedicated people are intent on saving the small village of Kito, and the last 20 bears that live in the surrounding mountains.

Making Herbal Tea at Oyakuen Medicine Garden

Herbs and other botanicals with healing properties have been used for medicinal purposes in Japan for centuries. I had a chance to learn more about the historical cultivation of such plants, and make my own blend for tea, at Oyaku-en in Aizu Wakamatsu.

The City of Salmon – A Day in Murakami

Murakami, in northern Niigata, is home to the eerie tradition of hanging salmon. It is also famous for tea, sake, wagyu, and more!

Takigyo: Japanese Waterfall Meditation

Takigyo, or waterfall meditation, is a rare practice that samurai and ascetic Japanese Buddhists and Shintoists engaged in for centuries. There are several places around Japan where visitors can join the breath-taking training.

Learning Japan's Ancient Horseback Archery

Yabusame is a traditional samurai martial, involving shooting an arrow at a target from the back of a horse galloping at full speed. I attempted to learn this in one day. And so can you.

Englishwoman, Buddhist Priest, Country Mom

Victoria Yoshimura went from English teacher to Buddhist priest at a rural Kyushu temple, with many adventures on the way

Why I Love Nihonga (and Want You to Love It Too)

Nihonga is a genre of modern Japanese painting that uses natural materials and draws inspiration from nature and traditional themes in Japanese culture. Find out more, including the best museums in Japan to experience the unique beauty of nihonga.

Discover Japanese Woodwork Traditions at Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum

This Kobe museum features the traditions and technology of Japanese carpentry and tool artisanship that are used in buildings from simple tea houses to complex temple designs.

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