Glimpses of Lafcadio Hearn's Matsue

by Stephen Mansfield

The Matsue-bound train I boarded at Okayama Station was pointedly named Yakumo, a reference to its destination’s best-known former resident: Greek-Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), whose adopted Japanese name was Yakumo Koizumi. Although Hearn stayed in Matsue for only a year, he developed a great affection for this castle town ...

Czech Republic restores 17th-century garden

Sep 13, 2014

Czech Republic restores 17th-century garden

by Karel Janice

A visit to the Flower Garden in the eastern Czech city of Kromeriz is like traveling 300 years back in time. With its original geometrical layout and high topiary walls, it’s a rare example of an early baroque garden style. And it’s now reclaiming ...

Kanazawa City: the architecture of tea

Sep 6, 2014

Kanazawa City: the architecture of tea

by Stephen Mansfield

One of the first things you see as you exit Kanazawa Station is a giant brass sculpture of a teapot sunken drunkenly into a mound of grass or, depending on your interpretation, tilting to fill a cup of the refreshing green brew the city ...

Discovering Seoul through food, culture

Sep 6, 2014

Discovering Seoul through food, culture

by Amir Bibawy

South Korea’s hyper-efficient capital doesn’t spring to mind when you think of exotic Asian destinations. But this mega-city offers much to tempt travelers beyond a layover from the ultra-modern international airport in nearby Incheon. You can explore South Korea’s rich historic heritage, visiting temples ...

Pompeii: Dead city lives in ruins, imagination

Aug 30, 2014

Pompeii: Dead city lives in ruins, imagination

by Michelle Locke

Pompeii is the city of the long goodbye. In A.D. 62, a major earthquake toppled buildings, causing severe damage, harbinger of what was to come. Seventeen years later, in A.D. 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying Pompeii in a swift and terrible destruction. Today, Pompeii ...

Cheap train to the north with Basho

Aug 23, 2014

Cheap train to the north with Basho

by Davey Young

On July 19, the Yamagata Shinkansen debuted a luxury ashiya (foot bath) service. A ticket from Tokyo to Yamagata City, in Tohoku Prefecture, costs around ¥11,000, but 15 minutes in the foot bath car is extra. If Matsuo Basho, Japan’s most well-known poet, were ...