Christmas Day – Nagano and the Jigokudani Snow Monkeys

The snow was coming down fast and heavy. As I watched the Jigokudani snow monkeys enter and exit their private outdoor onsen, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.…

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Participating in a Summer Purification Ritual in Takayama

I had not planned on participating in a summer purification ritual. I had been trying to find my way out of Shiroyama Park forest, alarmed by the multiple bear warning…

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A Summer Weekend in the Japanese Alps

Stunning alpine views, tiny white butterflies fluttering above colorful wildflowers, crystal-clear streams, I was in the alps all right - the Japanese alps. Getting There - Takayama Day 1, July…

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An Epic 28 Mile Walk From Yokosuka to Tokyo

Why would anyone choose to walk 28 miles from Yokosuka to Tokyo when there was a world-class public transportation system, at a cost of Ā„850 ($6.54)? It is hardly an…

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Checking Out Three Unique Temples and Shrines in Kamakura

One hot Saturday in June, I decided to visit three of the most unique temples and shrines in Kamakura. In a town known for religious sites, it's hard to choose.…

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Wicked Fun At Noboribetsuā€™s ā€Hellā€

Go to hell. The phrase has lost its power through overuse. Unless, perhaps the phase "go to hell" was intended not as a threat, but as a travel recommendation. Just…

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In Search of the 7 Lucky Gods of Kamakura

Who wouldnā€™t want to find seven lucky gods? This particular pilgrimage in search of the 7 lucky gods of Kamakura, known as a Shichifukujin, was both an expression of devotion…

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Shaking Out The Butter: One Perfect Day in Hokkaido

I get the decided impression that Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefecture, is always beautiful no matter what the weather.

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Unexpected Sweet Surprises of Living in Japan

I love living in Japan. It's a remarkably easy thing to wax eloquent about the wonders of living here. The people are kind, patient, and genuinely lovely. Despite the many…

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