Aug 15, 2004

Serendipty with suds

Forget that Kanto has a GDP bigger than Italy’s. What really fills me with a sense of civic pride is the knowledge that my Tokyo is home to the only museum in the world dedicated to laundry. Of course, it’s entirely fitting there should ...

Aug 15, 2004

Serendipity with suds

Forget that Kanto has a GDP bigger than Italy’s. What really fills me with a sense of civic pride is the knowledge that my Tokyo is home to the only museum in the world dedicated to laundry. Of course, it’s entirely fitting there should ...

The kids are all right at these spots

Jul 30, 2004

The kids are all right at these spots

The heat is most definitely on. And with the mercury so high, so are the expectations among the wee ones that you haul them off somewhere that little bit different. Here are a few ideas for Tokyo places where you and they might find ...

Do the Dogashima

Jul 23, 2004

Do the Dogashima

Less than an hour by shinkansen from Tokyo, touristy Atami is no one’s idea of a quiet little getaway. From there down to the tip, Shimoda — of Black Ship Festival fame — this eastern side of the Izu Peninsula is the busy, developed ...

The heartbeat of Aomori

Jun 25, 2004

The heartbeat of Aomori

Remoteness is not without its attractions, especially in crowded Japan. And on the main island of Honshu, you would be hard pressed to find a place of human habitation further from the baying crowds than Aomori Prefecture. Curled like a pincer around Honshu’s northern ...

Ancient port of quiet delights

May 28, 2004

Ancient port of quiet delights

By the time footsore travelers on the old Tokaido Highway made it to Otsu, the town must have been no unwelcome sight. Many of them would just have trudged some 500 km from Edo (present-day Tokyo), and Otsu was the last of the 53 ...

Overlooked -- and undervalued

Apr 23, 2004

Overlooked -- and undervalued

If there is one major spot in Japan that visitors somehow tend not to make a beeline for, it is Nagoya. The Japan National Tourist Organization confidently declares in its leaflet on Nagoya that the country’s fourth-biggest city “abounds in places of scenic and ...

Town of grisly times past

Mar 26, 2004

Town of grisly times past

As the unfortunate home to one-tenth of the world’s active volcanoes, Japan lacks no variety in these ill-tempered peaks. Some volcanoes, like Mount Fuji, are majestic affairs and have inspired poets and artists for centuries. And then there are others, like thuggish Mount Unzen, ...

Savor the spirit of ancient Japan

Feb 27, 2004

Savor the spirit of ancient Japan

In a far-off age — long before they were savoring the busy touristic delight of gadding around a dozen European cities in as many days — the Japanese were a fairly untraveled lot. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), the ruling shoguns believed that home ...