Lost Nambu citadel of the North

Jan 16, 2004

Lost Nambu citadel of the North

With Morioka, you know where you stand from the outset. As the title to the official English guide declares, Morioka is “the castle town of northern Japan.” Indeed it is a castle town in all senses of the term — except, nitpickers may note ...

'Land of Fire' with history burning in its mokkosu heart

Dec 12, 2003

'Land of Fire' with history burning in its mokkosu heart

Few things puff up local pride like a local hero. Sendai dotes on its “One-Eyed Dragon,” warrior Date Masamune. Kagoshima loves its plump 19th-century rebel Saigo Takamori. And Kumamoto adores its old daimyo lord Kato Kiyomasa. Like the other two, Kato was very much ...

| Oct 24, 2003

Where time flows slowly

Some places really do have the image thing sorted out. Mention of the name Kurashiki generally conjures up a warm picture of traditional Japan, a town where life trundles along at a gentler pace than elsewhere. What tends not to be conjured up is ...

The little town with a big name

Sep 5, 2003

The little town with a big name

You’ve hauled your bags off the conveyor belt onto the cart, you’ve skulked through Customs and you’re staring blankly at an electronic board, trying to fathom which Limousine Bus is going where. You’ve heard that there is another Narita apart from this one dedicated ...

| Aug 3, 2003

Where the crowds head to cool off

With the rainy season coming to a close, Japan starts to slide into its dog days. As thermometer and hygrometer levels nudge to swelteringly high levels, many Tokyoites feel the burning need to escape the busy, cramped shopping streets of the city and find ...

To the sacred temple-city in the clouds

Jun 22, 2003

To the sacred temple-city in the clouds

KOYA-SAN, Wakayama Pref. — If there is one all-round good guy to emerge from the pages of Japanese history, someone for whom nobody seems to have a bad word, it is Kobo Daishi (A.D. 774-835). Buddhist saint, scholar, spiritual healer, calligrapher, poet, sculptor, engineer, ...