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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…

Experience True Peace and Tranquility at These 2 Mountain Shrines of Gunma, Japan

The historical shrines of Nikko (日光) are world-famous, as are the temples of Kyoto (京都) and Nara (奈良), yet the mountain shrines of Gunma (群馬) have been sadly ignored by many. These shrines, each attached to a mountain range, form the “Three Mountains of Jomo (上毛三山)” and boast a history dating to early Asuka (飛鳥;…

10 Things to Do in Toyota City, Home of the Beloved Japanese Cars

Around the world, the name Toyota (豊田) is most commonly associated with the wildly famous brand of cars. However, did you know that the car shares its name with a city in Aichi prefecture (愛知県) in central Japan? The birthplace of Toyota cars, the city actually changed its name in the 1950s to match the…

Which Rides at Universal Studios Japan Are Fun for Non-Japanese Speakers?

Not speaking the language of a country where you visit a theme park is normally not a major issue because the attractions largely involve visuals and physical experiences. But with Universal Studios (ユニバーサル・スタジオ) parks, things are a little different. The attractions attempt to create a whole world for us to live in for a brief…

The 5 Best Ways to Discover the Japanese Country Music Scene

In a small Tokyo (東京) bar, people gather. The music’s loud, the atmosphere lively and the beer is flowing. But this is no ordinary tavern. No suits or cosplay here – just cowboy hats, tight jeans and belt buckles as large as the waist. It looks like Texas and sounds like Texas, but this is…

7 Things to Do and See in Japan’s Kamakura and Enoshima All in Just One Day

Kamakura (鎌倉) and Enoshima (江の島) are areas in Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県) near the sea, popular with tourists and packed with things to do. Here are several things for you to do in these areas, and how to get them all done in one exciting, fun-filled day. 1. Get Up Early and Stroll Kamakura’s Sleepy Streets…

Do You Live in Japan? Here Are 3 Great Ways to Earn Extra Cash!

Living in Japan is an exciting experience. You can learn a new language, experience a unique culture, and open doors to brand new experiences. Whether you’re a student, a language teacher, or a company employee, it’s always good news when you can find a way to earn a little extra money. Here are three ways…
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