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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Nagoya Castle

Japan has no shortage of castles sprinkled about the country. While visiting Nagoya for a conference, I was able to stop by the local castle, as it was only about a 15-minute walk from my hotel. Each castle seems to have its own unique attribute that pulls in tourists, and for Nagoya, it definitely was […]

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Japanese Mascots (Yuru-kyara)

Everywhere you go in Japan, you’re sure to stumble into a sign, poster, or merchandise with a cute character emblazoned on it. There seems to be a mascot arms race here in Japan and with good reason: The right mascot can bring prestige, popularity, and a boatload of money with it. Let’s take a look […]

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