Exploring Wakasa: Kyoto’s Influence on Fukui’s Obama City and the Wild Monkeys at Hibiki Terraced Rice Fields

Article originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. “GAH! MONKEYS!!!” I stopped dead in my tracks as I stumbled into a group of wild monkeys at Hibiki Terraced Rice Fields. I think I surprised them as much as they did me,…

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Exploring Tango Part 2: A Bridge to Heaven at Amanohashidate

Article originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. Japan is a country of lists. Top five cities. Top ten shrines. Top 100 ramen joints… you get the picture. So it didn’t surprise me when I started researching the famous sight…

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Exploring Tango Part 1: Feeling Small at Maizuru Red Brick Park, Kyoto

Article originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. In the beautiful stretch of coastal scenery in northern Kyoto prefecture (京都府), lies a port town of lovely red brick buildings at Maizuru (舞鶴) Brick Park. Facing the Sea of Japan (日本海), Maizuru was originally a fishing…

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Exploring Tajima Part 2: A Private Spa and Local Flavours at Kinosaki Onsen

Article originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. I might not have been the image of grace stomping along in my inch-high geta sandals. But it completed my yukata and onsen hopping outfit, as I clip-clopped along the willow-lined canal of Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉). With the…

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Exploring Tajima Part 1: My Soba Eating Tour in Izushi Castle Town

Article originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. “Itadakimasu!“ With my stomach already dangerously at capacity, I dove into my last order of soba (buckwheat) noodles in the Japanese castle town of Izushi (出石). As my favourite go-to cold noodle dish during the summer months in…

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Exploring Tamba Part 3: A Stay in the Traditional Japanese Home of Umetan FUJI, Hyogo

Originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. “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…

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Exploring Tamba Part 2: Keeping the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive in Tamba Sasayama Castle Town

Originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. 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…

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