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.…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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 ¥850 ($6.54)? It is hardly an…

Read More

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.…

Read More

Wicked Fun At Noboribetsu’s ”Hell”

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…

Read More

In Search of the 7 Lucky Gods of Kamakura

Who wouldn’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…

Read More

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.

Read More

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…

Read More