November 12, 2011
OGASAWARA ISLANDS--With its listing as a World Natural Heritage site, the Ogasawara island chain has faced an inevitable surge in tourists--and among them visitors lacking basic common sense.
November 04, 2011
Situated in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, which straddles Akita and Aomori prefectures, Lake Towadako pulls in visitors from all over to enjoy the season-changing foliage, wildlife and the striking color of its water.
October 28, 2011
In the Kyushu Highlands, dubbed "the roof of Kyushu," the town of Takachiho in Miyazaki Prefecture is a land of myths.
October 21, 2011
People say time changes everything. But this does not seem to apply to the Nagaragawa river, flowing 166 kilometers through Gifu Prefecture in central Japan.
October 14, 2011
The Shimantogawa river begins life in Mount Irazuyama in Higashi-Tsuno, Kochi Prefecture, and for 196 kilometers slowly wends its way downstream. Joined by numerous smaller watercourses, it snakes into Ehime Prefecture at one point, before reaching its goal--the Pacific Ocean at the city of Shimanto.
October 07, 2011
Those were the days--the years--when Kurashiki was an exhilarating, jangling river port. Jump in our time machine and set the levers for the Edo Period (1603-1867).
September 30, 2011
Tateyama mountain range in Toyama Prefecture has long held a special place in the hearts of Japanese. It is one of the country's three sacred mountains, along with Mount Fuji and Mount Hakusan.
September 23, 2011
The mountains of Shirakami at the border of Aomori and Akita prefectures are fertile ground for one of the nation's great natural resources--vast forests of very elderly Japanese beech trees. Knarred and knuckled, they stand covered with moss and creeping vines, watching as centuries pass away.
September 16, 2011
The cities where most of us live are nature-free zones, concrete habitats suitable only for people and pigeons, crows, feral cats and rats.
September 09, 2011
Massive volcanic explosions that started 270,000 years ago created Mount Aso, whose top later sank to leave a massive caldera basin that has attracted visitors since the dawn of history to the present day.
September 02, 2011
For centuries, Hakone served as way station for travelers between the eastern and western parts of the country. It was also the site of a roadblock manned by shogunate troops. They served a dual purpose--keeping firearms out of the capital of Edo and keeping the wives and daughters of feudal lords in. The women were held hostage to guarantee the loyalty of the provincial warlords, a system that remained in place until the Meiji Restoration in the second half of the 19th century.
August 26, 2011
Inuyama may not make the history hunter's top 10 list, but if you give it a chance we're sure you'll like it. The city sits by the Kisogawa river and is within easy reach of Nagoya.
August 19, 2011
Skunk cabbage sounds revolting in English, but much nicer in Japanese--mizubasho--where it fairly rolls off the tongue.
August 12, 2011
Since the dawn of human history, the mountains of the Kii Peninsula have been worshipped as gods. South of the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, the peninsula's forests are still dark and dense and who's to say deities of immense power are not calling to each other when thunder roars and lightning flashes.
August 05, 2011
Along with Shimoda in Shizuoka Prefecture, Hakodate, a fishing port in southwestern Hokkaido, was opened to foreign trade in 1854 following the conclusion of a treaty with the United States.
July 29, 2011
Hiraizumi, now a sleepy Iwate Prefecture town surrounded by mountains and foothills, was the cultural center of northern Japan in the 12th century--a golden period that started after warrior Fujiwara no Kiyohira settled in the area around 1095.
July 22, 2011
Among the myriad ancient temples that form a great part of the attraction of Kyoto is Toji, located in the center of the city. If you have a guidebook, it's sure to point out that Toji's history dates back to right after the capital was relocated to Kyoto in 794.
July 15, 2011
Iriomotejima is one of the 19 Yaeyama islands of Okinawa. Like all the islands in the chain, it is surrounded by coral reefs.
July 08, 2011
Nagano came into the spotlight as the main venue for the 1998 Winter Olympics.
July 01, 2011
As the first port to be opened to foreigners and the trade they brought with them in the 16th century, Nagasaki was Japan's original window to the world.