By markwilliamsmedia

Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi : Pure Land Buddhism and Tohoku Pride

“夏草や 兵どもが 夢の跡”(`Natsukusa ya tsuhamonodomo ga yume no ato`) – “Grasses in summer, the warriors’ dreams… all that is left”. This poem, written by Master haikuist Matsuo Bashō after he visited the ancient temple complex of Hiraizumi, is one of the most famous in Japan. Located in Iwate on the banks of the Kitakami-gawa, these simple words…
Inokashira Zoo

Inokashira Zoo – a zoo within a park… a park within a zoo

Kichijoji – an area west of Tokyo, has a reputation for being one of the most livable places in Japan, and it’s easy to see why. One of its draw-cards is its lovely park, located south of the station. This park, perhaps one of the prettiest in Tokyo, has a beautiful forest-like feel to it.…

Eihei-ji – a Temple in the middle of a serene Cedar forest

Eihei-ji is one of those temples that many Japanese have heard of but few have actually visited. On New Year’s Eve, the temple is featured on Japanese television ringing out the old year with 108 purifying tones. This classical temple is famous for its Zen style meditation, distinctive vegetarian meals and of course, as a…

Take a Look Into Japan’s History in the Castle Town of Odawara in Kanagawa

When people think of Japanese castles, castles like Himeji spring to mind. Usually, these places are far from Tokyo, accessible by Shinkansen, and require an overnight stay. However, there are lovely, more accessible castles that are equally full of history and tradition. Located in Kanagawa, Odawara Castle and the nearby Hotoku Ninomiya Shrine are such…

Visit the Stunning Area of Hakone, Where Diversity and Beauty Await!

One of the greatest images of Japan would have to be that of Mount Fuji after the snowfall. Famous in print and art, “Fuji-san” around 3,776 meters high, is considered one of the most sacred mountains in the country, and the best place to see it is in Hakone. However, Hakone, a convenient 90-minute train…

4 Must-Visit Spots in the Less Traveled yet Historic City of Gifu

While both picturesque and historic, Gifu, located next to Aichi Prefecture, tends to be engulfed by its more famous cousin. Nagoya City in Aichi is usually the tourist destination of choice for many. Yet Gifu City, a small attractive town only 30 minutes from Nagoya by train, holds some wonderful sights and is ideal for…

Experience Ancient Fishing and Other Beautiful Sights Along This River in Japan

As the sun sets over Aichi’s Kiso River, three boats cast off from the shore of Inuyama. Lit only by a fired lantern, they paddle into the darkness, continuing a tradition over 1,300 years old. With an imposing skyline and an ancient castle as a backdrop, the boats – like fireflies – make their way…

Do You Know Where You Can Relive the Famous Story of the 47 Ronin in Tokyo?

The legend of the 47 Ronin (warriors without a lord) has been ingrained into Japanese folklore through books, films, and other forms of art. Known in Japan as the “Ako Roshi,” the story has even made it to Hollywood. With its tale of honor and sacrifice, it captures the essence of Bushido – the samurai…

6 Things to See in Sendai’s Gorgeous Hidden Treasure of Shrines and Temples

Sendai (仙台) is a beautiful city set within the prefecture of Miyagi (宮城県). Famous for its beef tongue, kokeshi dolls, and Feudal Lord Date Masamune (伊達政宗), is it a major stop on the Tohoku (東北) trail. Linked by shinkansen (bullet train; 新幹線), it’s only a 90-minute ride from Tokyo. Yet despite its fame, there is…

Following the Yamagata Mountain Pilgrimage of One of Japan’s Greatest Poets

The Mountain Temple has long been synonymous with haiku master Matsuo Basho (松尾芭蕉) and his immortal travel log, Oku no Hosomichi (奥の細道; The Narrow Road into the Deep North). Its very name evokes feelings of mystery and tranquility. Situated in the Yamagata (山形) region of the beautiful Tohoku (東北), Yamadera (山寺), meaning “mountain temple”, is…
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