Descending into the somber history of a once-glittering prize

May 23, 2008

Descending into the somber history of a once-glittering prize

It’s a balmy spring day in Shimane Prefecture, but one step into the newly reopened Okubo Shaft of the Iwami silver mine and your body is enveloped by the darkness and the cold. In these eerie surroundings, it’s not hard to imagine encountering the ...

It's hands-on in Kyoto

Apr 25, 2008

It's hands-on in Kyoto

The standard visit to Kyoto is a test of endurance: you stay until you are sick of temples. This comes as a shock to first-time visitors, for while the city is rich in beautiful tourist spots, a true understanding of the nation’s cultural heartland ...

Hanami among the mountain gods

Mar 14, 2008

Hanami among the mountain gods

Spring once again blushes the face of Japan, nowhere more so than in Yoshino, the nation’s most famous sakura (cherry blossom) viewing destination and UNESCO World Heritage site. Each year, the sleepy mountain village in Nara Prefecture comes to life at the end of ...

Crossing over to the next world

Mar 7, 2008

Crossing over to the next world

The ghosts of Oku-no-in, cemetery and spiritual heart of Mount Koya, have a long time to wait: 5,670,000 years, give or take. According to the scriptures of Japan’s Shingon sect of Buddhism, that’s when the faithful expect the “Buddha of the Future” to arrive ...

In the pink at Kinosaki Onsen

Feb 15, 2008

In the pink at Kinosaki Onsen

Pink, hot and naked: All those who go to Kinosaki Onsen end up in scalding water, both crustaceans and tourists alike. Each year, 1 million visitors visit the small onsen (hot spring) village on the Sea of Japan coast, drawn by the therapeutic waters, ...