Tokyo hotel gets into bed with local artists

Apr 23, 2016

Tokyo hotel gets into bed with local artists

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When building a new hotel, designers would normally consider the artwork displayed on the walls as a finishing touch. But for BnA Hotel Koenji, which just opened in Tokyo’s Koenji neighborhood, the artwork definitely comes first. BnA Hotel Koenji, produced by the Bed & ...

Saga touts unknown attractions in tourist drive

Apr 9, 2016

Saga touts unknown attractions in tourist drive

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Saga Prefecture has long ranked low among domestic tourist destinations in Japan, but local officials and residents believe this is all down to a bad rap that is quite unearned. The prefecture in northwestern Kyushu, they argue, suffers because it lacks a signature image ...

The 'art-itecture' of Tadao Ando shapes Naoshima Island

Mar 26, 2016

The 'art-itecture' of Tadao Ando shapes Naoshima Island

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Because I had just emerged from the gloom of a tree-lined approach, the white stones that paved the courtyard seemed impossibly bright. Then, my eyes caught something unexpected: a flight of chunky glass steps, a very modern touch on a renovated shrine. Encountering surprising ...

Battle of Sekigahara: a war set in stone

Mar 19, 2016

Battle of Sekigahara: a war set in stone

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The open valley basins of Gifu Prefecture at the very center of Honshu, where the town of Sekigahara lies, were easily co-opted as theaters of war. It's no coincidence, given the martial history of the region, that the town of Seki was once known ...

Nagoya's big names, trains and automobiles

Mar 12, 2016

Nagoya's big names, trains and automobiles

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Mount Fuji whizzes by as I drive the Tokaido N700 series shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya. “Don’t let the speed go above 270 kilometers per hour,” warns Kaori Takagi. I heed the warning, though Takagi is not a shinkansen driver instructor. We are, in ...

Japan's picture ID before World War II

Feb 2, 2016

Japan's picture ID before World War II

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Last year, the number of tourists coming into Japan outnumbered those going out for the first time in 45 years. In absolute terms, it may be the first time that tourism has properly taken off for this country, despite numerous attempts by various ministries ...

The uplifting tones of Okinawan blues

Jan 30, 2016

The uplifting tones of Okinawan blues

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The winter vocabulary of the majority of Japan residents doesn’t include the color turquoise. Or aquamarine, azure or the somewhat intellectually pompous “cerulean.” This, however, is the palette I attempt to describe with my husband as we turn our tiny rental car onto the ...

Exploring Niigata's snow country

Jan 23, 2016

Exploring Niigata's snow country

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Marred though the view is with power lines and other trappings of modernity, the rainbow that appears at the far end of Tsubame-Sanjo Station seems a rather auspicious beginning. The initial impression that greeted us in front of this largely unpopular station just south ...