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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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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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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Cormorant Fishing (Ukai)

People have used animals to assist with hunting food for hundreds and thousands of years. They can even be used to assist in fishing. Cormorant fishing is the use of specially trained birds to help fisherman catch fish. It’s particularly famous around the Nagaragawa River in Gifu prefecture, near Gifu City. I was incredibly fortunate […]

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Traditional Ainu Clothing

The Ainu are the indigenous people of the Japanese and Russian isles, mainly in northeastern Honshu (the main island) and Hokkaido, the northern island. While visiting Sapporo, I happend to stumble upon an Ainu exhibit in the lobby of a fancy hotel. Not one to pass up the opportunity to learn something new about history, […]

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Children’s Day in Japan

Japan is no stranger to population woes of the modern era: Birth rates are down, people are working longer hours, and many young adults don’t see the benefits or point of marrying and raising a family. Amidst all this negative, the country still celebrates children and give thanks and gratitude towards their mothers on Children’s […]

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Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Nikko has a lot going for it: Beautiful nature, enjoyed in every season, and the great honor of being called the true Japan. There is also quite a bit of history nestled away in Nikko, such as in the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, a great feat of architecture that attracts visitors from near and far to […]

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