Hihōkan: Japan's vanishing sex museums

by Kayleigh Barr

The real world ends beyond a thick, black curtain. On the other side is one of Japan’s last remaining hihōkan (sex museum, literally “treasure palace”) in the faded resort town of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture — a strange, dimly lit space of questionable morals and dated fantasies. After handing over my ...

Get a taste of Denmark in California's Solvang

Nov 22, 2014

Get a taste of Denmark in California's Solvang

by Solvej Schou

As a Southern California native with a Danish dad and the tongue-twisting Danish name “Solvej,” I’ve always been asked, somewhat cheekily, “Hey! Do you know the town Solvang?” I do, of course. Yet, as an adult, I only passed through the touristy enclave of ...

Discovery Park dazzles crowds in Tennessee

Nov 15, 2014

Discovery Park dazzles crowds in Tennessee

by Adrian Sainz

When Discovery Park of America opened on a cornfield in rural Tennessee, its founders expected the museum described as a “mini-Smithsonian” to draw about 150,000 visitors in its first year. They exceeded that goal by 120,000, with a total of 270,000 people visiting since ...

Yamadera: 1,000-step staircase to paradise

Nov 8, 2014

Yamadera: 1,000-step staircase to paradise

by Mandy Bartok

We’re only a few minutes into our climb up one of Yamagata Prefecture’s holy mountains, Mount Hojusan, and already our pace has slowed considerably. Our destination is Risshakuji Temple, more colloquially known as Yamadera (literally: “mountain temple”), a far-north outpost of Tendai Buddhism since ...

Italy's Tuscany is best savored on foot

Nov 8, 2014

Italy's Tuscany is best savored on foot

by Karen Schwartz

Walking from the towns of Buonconvento to Montalcino as part of a weeklong trek through Tuscany, I was faced with a tough decision. How many bottles of wine could I reasonably carry in my daypack? The road that led to this quandary had passed ...

Cultivating shrunken worlds in Bonsai-mura

Nov 1, 2014

Cultivating shrunken worlds in Bonsai-mura

by Stephen Mansfield

Omiya is one of greater Tokyo’s rare pockets of residential comfort that can accurately be defined as middle class — a trait it shares with places such as Chiba’s Ichikawa Mama or southwestern Tokyo’s Denenchofu district. Bonsai-mura (literally: “Bonsai Village”) is a neighborhood of ...

U.S. museum marks birthplace of country music

Nov 1, 2014

U.S. museum marks birthplace of country music

by Jeff Martin

The sounds of some of the earliest country music recordings are filling a new museum. But the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is not located in Nashville. Instead, it’s in Bristol, a small town on the Tennessee-Virginia state line. The museum aims to tell ...

Christmas cake to ring in the holidays

| Oct 30, 2014

Christmas cake to ring in the holidays

It is getting chilly, cities are turning on colorful holiday lights and now is the time to start getting ready for the holiday season. Here are some Tokyo hotels offering their mouth-watering Christmas cakes that will liven up any party with delicious Christmas wonder. ...