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Bill Willis

For Bill Willis's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Enoshima: Kamakura's better half

Apr 27, 2003

Enoshima: Kamakura's better half

Benten is one of those deities you can find yourself developing a soft spot for. She is the goddess of fortune and feminine beauty, she likes a bit of a song and, for a deity at least (as I was to discover), she seems ...

Some culture with your coffee?

| Mar 23, 2003

Some culture with your coffee?

KANAZAWA, Ishikawa Pref. — As orderly creatures, Japanese generally have a fondness for numbers and happily assimilate the world in neat numerical packages. Of these, the triad has always beguiled. Japan has its Three Most Beautiful Landscapes, its Three Imperial Regalia, its Three Plants ...

Feb 23, 2003

Austere monks in a lavish monastery

It seems at first that they are not of this world, these monks living out their lives of mountain seclusion. They glide purposefully — as if on some devout mission from on high — through the monastery corridors. At times, they flit by at ...

| Dec 15, 2002

What's Uwajima so bullish about?

Long before you step into the firszt gift shop peddling the usual range of touristic fripperies, you are in no doubt about how serious Uwajima is on the subject of bulls. In fact, the first thing you see as you get out of the ...

More than just another Little Kyoto

| Oct 29, 2002

More than just another Little Kyoto

Travel around Japan enough and you soon notice how so many places like to imagine themselves as somewhere else. Aomori Prefecture is proud of its “Mount Fuji,” Mount Iwake; Kawagoe likes being called “Little Edo”; and there are so many “Ginzas” in the land ...

Historic Tsumago: a time capsule of Edo living

Sep 2, 2002

Historic Tsumago: a time capsule of Edo living

Build a good tourist trap, and the world will beat a path to your door. This seems to have been the thinking in the small town of Tsumago in southwestern Nagano Prefecture. Facing rural decay in the late ’60s, the townspeople decided to do ...

| Jul 23, 2002

A village welcomes visitors to preserve itself

Timing is everything with Shirakawago. Arrive midafternoon on a fine weekend in spring, especially around Golden Week, and you could be forgiven for wondering why you bothered coming in the first place. Unless you have a fondness for shoulder-to-shoulder stadium-size crowds, the delights of ...

| Jul 23, 2002

A village welcomes visitors to preserve itself

Timing is everything with Shirakawago. Arrive midafternoon on a fine weekend in spring, especially around Golden Week, and you could be forgiven for wondering why you bothered coming in the first place. Unless you have a fondness for shoulder-to-shoulder stadium-size crowds, the delights of ...