Burritt Sabin

For Burritt Sabin's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Where myths and Mammon meet

Jun 21, 2009

Where myths and Mammon meet

Crossing Enoshima Benten Bridge to Enoshima Island in Sagami Bay, 80 km south of Tokyo, I was stopped in my tracks by a pair of mustard-eyed dragons slithering down gray granite lanterns. A man dismounted his bicycle and asked if I needed help. No, ...

On the trail of the ancients

Apr 19, 2009

On the trail of the ancients

Today, most visitors to Kamakura reach the former shogun’s capital by rail. But the railway was not blasted through hills until 1889, and in shogunal days travelers arrived via the seven kiridoshi, passes cut through hills as entrances to the city. Deciding to enter ...

| Mar 1, 2009

Following the footsteps of the famed in Nikko

Behind the front desk of the Nikko Kanaya Hotel hang photos of an unlikely trio: James Curtis Hepburn, Isabella Bird and Zenichiro Kanaya. Hotel President Takayasu Akiyama connected the dots over a cup of java in the Maple Leaf Lounge. Zenichiro was a ninth-generation ...

Following the footsteps of the famed in Nikko

| Mar 1, 2009

Following the footsteps of the famed in Nikko

Behind the front desk of the Nikko Kanaya Hotel hang photos of an unlikely trio: James Curtis Hepburn, Isabella Bird and Zenichiro Kanaya. Hotel President Takayasu Akiyama connected the dots over a cup of java in the Maple Leaf Lounge. Zenichiro was a ninth-generation ...

Echoes of the footfalls of soldiers

| Dec 12, 2008

Echoes of the footfalls of soldiers

I was looking for a pillbox pockmarked with bullet holes in the Kudanminami district of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. That’s what an elderly friend told me I’d find in front of the area’s Kudan Kaikan hotel. He used the Russian loan-word “tochika” for pillbox and ...

Awash with beauty

| Oct 24, 2008

Awash with beauty

The escalator at the Keikyu Line’s Misakiguchi Station transported me to a windswept hilltop where a booth provided information on places to pick mikan (tangerines) and shops sold tuna, toasted laver bread and horse mackerel seasoned with mirin (a rice wine). I boarded a ...

The Parnassus of Surugadai

| Sep 5, 2008

The Parnassus of Surugadai

Ochanomizu, the Tokyo neighborhood stretching from Yushima, Bunkyo Ward, to Kanda, Chiyoda Ward, gives good vibes. Jazz, rock and reggae spill from music stores and guitar shops lining Meiji-dori as it drops south toward Yasukuni-dori. Mid-slope is Meiji University’s Liberty Tower, where one drizzly ...

Romancing the hotel

| Aug 1, 2008

Romancing the hotel

The symmetrical beauty of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the meditative colossus of Kotokuin, and the Zen-inspired splendors of Kenchoji and Enkakuji may win Kamakura inscription on the World Heritage List. Comparatively unknown are its Western-style buildings constructed after Kamakura became accessible from Tokyo by rail ...

A grande dame on the waterfront

| Jun 6, 2008

A grande dame on the waterfront

Urban planning can be a zero-sum game. A case in point is Yokohama. The city redeveloped the waterfront to create Minato Mirai (Port of the Future), where visitors shop in boutiques, revolve on a Ferris wheel and whoosh in one of the world’s fastest ...

High in the Mampei

| May 2, 2008

High in the Mampei

In mid-April, Karuizawa is quiet but for the buzz of saws and taps of hammers readying shops for the tourist season. Many shops, few of which rise higher than two stories, remain shuttered until then, and the streetscape surprises after the lofty skylines of ...