By markwilliamsmedia

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;…

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…

Discover the Wonders of Nagano on the Road to Zenkoji Temple

The road to Zenkoji (善光寺), one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Japan, is an easy one. Situated in the beautiful Japanese Alps, a convenient, regular, 80-minute bullet train links Tokyo with Nagano City (長野市), the capital of the Nagano Prefecture (長野県) and the gateway to this seventh-century icon. Nagano Unlike Zenkoji, Nagano City…

10 Fantastic Spots for a Photographer on Tokyo’s Sumida River

The Sumida River (Sumidagawa 隅田川), one of Tokyo’s classic waterways, is a photographer’s dream. With waterside terraces, appealing atmosphere, and breathtaking views, it’s a definite “must” on any tourist’s list. Yet sadly, many fail to take advantage of this fun, free opportunity. Originating in Chichibu (秩父), Saitama (埼玉), the Sumidagawa breaks off from the Arakawa…

Welcome to Shibamata, Home to the Classic Comedy, “Otoko wa Tsurai yo!”

“Otoko wa tsurai yo!” (男はつらいよ; It’s hard being a man)! These famous words, now part of Japanese folklore, are synonymous with the lovable movie character, Tora-san (寅さん). Ahh, poor Tora-san… that traveling salesman whose comical exploits cause his family endless problems. The poor guy whose romances never work out the way they should. Yet with…

Discover the World of Writers in Ryusen, Tokyo’s Hidden District

Most people who come to Tokyo visit Asakusa (浅草); it is a hotspot for tourists which boasts wonderful sites, including the famous Senso-ji Temple (浅草寺). Then there’s popular Ueno (上野) – a magnet for culture, with its museums, history, and park. But have you ever heard of Ryusen (竜泉)? It is often overshadowed by its…

Where to Go and What to Do in the Paradise of Matsumoto

Easy access to snow monkeys, mountain ranges, historic shrines, and perhaps the best-preserved castle in Japan; first-class bars selling regional wine and sake, a local football team whose fans are amongst the most loyal, and people whose genuine smiles warm the hearts of locals and tourists alike – this is what awaits you in Matsumoto…

7 Places to Explore and Discover in the Must-Visit District of Ueno

Ueno (上野) is a MUST on any tourist’s agenda. Located conveniently to the north of the city (connected by numerous JR and Metro lines), Ueno is a visitor’s dream come true. Its park and pond boast many beautiful walks, its shrines and temples are amazing, and its museums are well worth a visit. Let me…