Kiyomizudera: Waters and Blessings

Let’s be real: Kyoto can really be overwhelming with the number of shrines and historic places nestled within its boundaries. There are just so many to see that in order to draw in pilgrims, visitors, and those lucrative tourist moneys, each shrine or temple needs to have something to draw people in. It isn’t necessarily […]

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Dasai! Is Saitama Lame?

After the Yuru-kyara Grand Prix this year, the magical mascot of Shiki won the first-place prize. That’s a city just a few stops up the Tobu Tojo line from my beloved Kawagoe, and it has gotten a lot of people talking about Saitama prefecture, mainly, how it has a reputation of being lame, full of […]

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Sapporo Beer Factory

Way back in February of this year, I was in the snowy northern island of Hokkaido. While there, I was able to visit the Sapporo Beer Factory, producer of one of the most iconic Japanese beers seen at home and abroad: Sapporo. While the tour was all in Japanese (unlike the information available from Yebisu) […]

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Pocky Day in Japan

11/11, November 11th, is Pocky Day here in Japan. It’s pretty low-key; you won’t really find it unless you really look for it. The consumer-based holiday isn’t really all that old or revered, but it did come about from a bitter rivalry with a certain country across the Sea of Japan, or the East Sea, […]

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Edo-Style Starbucks in Kawagoe

Starbucks is ubiquitous in the developed world. Wherever you go, you’ll more likely than not find a Starbucks to sell you coffee and treats for a nominal fee. There was some cheering and grumbling when a new Starbucks opened in Kawagoe’s historical district, steps away from a historic bell tower. Many were upset about corporate […]

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Minoo Falls and Minoh Brewery

Osaka can really get you down. The drudgery of everyday life, the rat race, the grind, the hustle; it can all really make you yearn for simpler times, simpler pleasures. Luckily, the weekend warrior can find his or her arena just a short train ride outside the city in a small town called Minoo. Go […]

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