Ghosts continue to haunt Japan's Battleship Island

Feb 18, 2017

Ghosts continue to haunt Japan's Battleship Island

The haunting silhouette of Hashima Island, known in English as Battleship Island, rises up from the sea, an abandoned testament to what was once the most densely populated city on Earth. Thousands of men, women and children lived and worked on the island just ...

The 'washi' paper trail: from the tree to its many purposes

Jan 7, 2017

The 'washi' paper trail: from the tree to its many purposes

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Stepping off the bus at the Gakko-iriguchi stop in Higashi-Chichibu Village in Saitama Prefecture, the first things to strike the eye are high-flying clusters of balloons, suspended like colorful dirigibles. Here, the workshops and exhibition spaces of Washi-no-Sato, a well-known papermaking center tucked into ...

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 ...