Setsubun: The Holiday Where Japanese Pelt Demons with Soybeans

According to the Japanese Lunar Calendar, ‘Setsubun’ (literally ‘seasonal division’ in English) is the day before the arrival of spring, or the day that sits between winter and spring, dividing the two seasons. It is celebrated on February 3rd usually as a part of the Spring Festival (Haru Matsuri) across Japan at all shrines and…

All About Coffee: The 7 Best Independent Coffee Shops in Tokyo

It is perfectly normal to see large groups of business people, students, and tourist amass at Tokyo’s numerous coffee shops throughout the day. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning or night, the many Starbucks, Dotour, Tully’s, Excelsior, and Cafe Veloce coffee shops that adorn many corners and subway stations with their signs, promotions, and menus…

Studio Ghibli: The (Not So) Hidden Meaning of Spirited Away

Japan is one of the world’s leading countries in the production of animated works. Although Dreamworks and Disney will no doubt come to mind when someone mentions animation, the Japanese company Studio Ghibli is renowned internationally for its feature films and other animated works such as short films and commercials. With their stunning art style…

All-Time Famous Japanese Writers You Should Know

by Zoria Petkoska Japan’s literary tradition stretches centuries back to the “Tale of Genji” (Genji Monogatari), the first Japanese novel, published in the early 11th century. Written by Murasaki Shikibu, it also shows women writers have been the pioneers of literature in Japan, elevating the Japanese language in the process. In those times, classical Chinese…

Japan Has an Incredibly Low Number of Five-Star Luxury Hotels. Why is That?

Here is an interesting question, what’s something that countries like the United States, China, France, and Italy have in great numbers and that Japan lacks? The obvious answer, based on the article’s title at least, is five-star hotels. To put into perspective just how few five-star hotels Japan has when compared to other places, London…

Tokyo’s Best Natural Parks and Gardens

For a large and modern city, it might come as a surprise to find that Tokyo is actually blessed with some wonderfully natural parks. Of course, people often visit Ueno park with its zoo, museums and sakura trees, yet beyond this well-healed park, are some beautifully structured and calming gardens that can rival even those…

Japan Vs. Tourists: Bans and Limitations That Impact Tourism

There is a saying with a couple of variations that goes something like “tourists seem to leave their brains at home when they travel”. Many will read this and nod in agreement, as tourists everywhere are often seen disoriented, bumbling, fumbling, miming, breaking social rules and norms, and some even breaking laws! The bigger the…

Make Your Own Realistic Food Replica in the Fake Food Capital of Japan

Almost every city in Japan has a dish or specialty they can boast about. Gujo (郡上), however, is famous not for its cuisine, but for its food replicas. If you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant, or merely passed one on the way, you will have seen the plastic foods displayed at the entrance. Very…

All about the SHISA Lions of Okinawa-the Stone Guardians of Japan

Off the shores of Kyushu (the third largest island of Japan), there are a number of volcanic islands flowing south-west towards Taiwan. These are named the Ryukyu Islands, also known as the Nansei Islands, but many people simply call them Okinawa because two thirds of them form the Okinawa prefecture of Japan. In the center…