A waterlogged retreat, deep in the mountains of Gifu

Jun 4, 2016

A waterlogged retreat, deep in the mountains of Gifu

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For a town so closely associated with water, it’s rather fitting that Gujo-Hachiman is shaped like a fish. “An ayu (sweetfish), to be exact,” clarifies Yuka Tanaka, my guide for the afternoon and a native of this small town of approximately 18,000 inhabitants tucked ...

Exploring Europe on a rented motorcycle

Jun 4, 2016

Exploring Europe on a rented motorcycle

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Gingerly balancing on the foot pegs of the big Ducati motorcycle, I turned the machine down a dirt-path hill between olive trees and grape vines. Instructors from a course offered by the bike’s Italian manufacturer wanted to show how its off-road antilock braking system ...

Backstage drama on Ginza's Konparu-dori

| May 28, 2016

Backstage drama on Ginza's Konparu-dori

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A temperate breeze swings through the surrounding willow trees as I pass jewel-encrusted ball gowns in the display windows of Ginza Takaraya, near Shinbashi Station in Tokyo. I’m scouting out Konparu-dori, a street named for the eponymous noh troupe that was gifted land here ...

Shikoku's 'path less traveled' is busier than ever

May 21, 2016

Shikoku's 'path less traveled' is busier than ever

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A pilgrimage route stretching across Shikoku, one of Japan’s four main islands, has recently been attracting more non-Japanese visitors with various cultural and religious backgrounds. Some of these pilgrims view the walk as a spiritual journey, while others want to make the pilgrimage for ...