Keeping the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive in Tamba Sasayama Castle Town

Originally written for Voyapon Sponsored by North Kansai Tourism Association It was a day of wind and rain — not exactly the ideal weather for a photoshoot in Hyogo Prefecture’s (兵庫県) Tamba-Sasayama (丹波篠山市). Home to a rich 400-year old history, this Japanese castle town includes a unique pottery culture, a contemporary castle, and perfectly preserved samurai…

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A Stay in the Traditional Japanese Home of Umetan FUJI, Hyogo

Originally written for Voyapon Sponsored by North Kansai Tourism Association “Watch out for those deer!” I whispered, as a herd suddenly skipped across the road in the dark. It was a moonless night in Hyogo prefecture’s Tamba Sasayama (丹波篠山) as we headed to our accommodations at Umetan Fuji for the night. Our guide Michiko however, seemed to have seen them a mile…

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Miyazaki Day 3: Takachiho

Day 3: Takachiho Gorge Our last day in Miyazaki starts early. There’s a place I’ve wanted to visit since looking into our travels in Miyazaki. Takachiho Gorge is famous for its gorgeous ravines. There are turquoise blue boats you can rent for a unique perspective of the gorge. The previous night, we learn on the…

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Miyazaki Day 1: Aoshima Island and Obi Town

From the 29th of April to early May, a string of consecutive holidays called Golden Week (GW) takes place every year in Japan. This year’s abdication of the Emperor and the subsequent succession meant that this Golden Week would be extended to the first ever ten consecutive days off around the country. It was always my…

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April Neighbourhood Walking Tour

There seems to be what feels like a sudden change in the air here in Usa city. With the warmer temperatures come blossoms and flowers of all shapes and colours, and the rice fields that were laid bare during the winter is now lush with thick, green waves of wheat. So, I believe it’s high…

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Showa no Machi

The change of weather into hotter days has given more opportunities to explore areas of Oita prefecture haven’t yet visited. That’s exactly what I did on a beautiful 22 degree Sunday. A 20 minute drive takes me to Bungotakada, where Showa no Machi (Showa-era Village) is. The popular shopping district preserves many nostalgic shops of…

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Rice Harvesting in October

In October of 2018, rice harvesting season was upon us here in Usa. One warm, sunny day in the still balmy heat of autumn, I decided to go out for a walk. Around the corner from the apartment are several rice fields, and I noticed a harvest in progress. After asking for permission to watch…

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First-time Futon Buyer’s Cautionary Tale

Ever since arriving in Japan, I had a romantic idea of sleeping on the floor on top of a futon bed. To clarify, I don’t mean the low, wooden sofa beds of the Western-style futons. I mean the real, lay-on-the-floor, heavy duvet sandwich with you in the middle. Whenever I visited a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn),…

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