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Alon Adika
Alon Adika, a travel writer for The Japan Times, holds a B.A. degree in East Asian Studies and a M.Sc. degree in education. He lived in Japan for a number of years and returns as often as possible. He currently resides in New York City.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Aug 18, 2017
Searching for traces of a mountain mystic in rural Aichi
Mount Horaiji was said to be home to Rishu Sennin, an ascetic from the mists of antiquity
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 16, 2016
When Kyoto is overrun with tourists, head for the hills
The age-old road leading to Kiyomizu Temple had turned into a river of people. Accents and languages from across the world filled the shop-lined slope, as couples in rented kimono took photos with selfie sticks and amateur photographers tried to get a shot devoid of the crowds — a nearly impossible...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Apr 11, 2015
Sakai: a keyhole to the history of Osaka
As I peered out the window from my vantage point on the 21st floor of the Sakai City Hall, in the distance I could see Abeno Harukas — Japan's tallest skyscraper, which houses a train station, hotel, museum, department store and offices. But this modern curiosity was not what I was looking for....
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Aug 16, 2014
Chasing the ghost of Musashi in Kyushu
In the spring of 1645 a man lay dying in Kumamoto, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. He sensed that his time was near, asked for someone to help him into a seated position and tucked his short sword into his belt. This way he could greet death with dignity. The dying man was the celebrated swordsman...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
May 3, 2014
Ako: trailing the ghosts of Japan's greatest vendetta
By noon of March 14, 1701, Edo was abuzz with rumors about what had happened earlier, in the "Great Pine Corridor" of the shogun's castle. Officials posted wooden signs around the city stating that Asano Naganori, lord of Ako Domain, had attacked and wounded his former tutor, Kira Yoshihisa.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Feb 1, 2014
Tsuruga: truly a 'port of humanity'
The man in the black-and-white photograph wore a dark jacket with wide lapels. His hair was cut short and parted to one side. His eyes were directed toward the camera as if he were looking directly at me. I recognized him immediately: Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese vice-consul in Lithuania who helped...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jan 11, 2014
Communing with nature in Kumano's land of ancient gods
An old tale from Kumano tells of a hunter who was out one day with his dogs when he spotted a large boar. Stretching his bow, he took aim and loosed an arrow deep into the body of the beast.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Nov 2, 2013
Sweet times beside a scary Kyoto mound
"You have big hands, so make it a little larger," Kataoka-san said, referring to the piece of sweet mochi (glutinous rice cake) I'd been shaping as dexterously as I could manage.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Sep 21, 2013
Tsushima: a boundary island of Japan
If you want to get to Tsushima, an island in Nagasaki Prefecture, by ferry, you will have to start in Fukuoka — or a quicker option would be to start your journey in Busan, South Korea. The jet foil from Busan zips passengers across the nearly 50 km separating it from Tsushima in little over an hour....
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Aug 3, 2013
The Emperor and the general: a visit to Fushimi Momoyama
On the evening of Sept. 13, 1912, a cart decorated in gold leaf and lacquer and solemnly hauled by a team of oxen left the Imperial Palace in Tokyo along with a phalanx of people carrying banners, torches and weapons and beating drums and gongs. After midnight, a special train left Tokyo Station bound...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jun 23, 2013
Temples, dragon boats and fireworks in Chinese Nagasaki
There was a time when the journey from East China to Nagasaki was a long and treacherous one across an unpredictable sea. Once a ship entered the verdant hill-sheltered bay that led to the city, the passengers thanked the gods for their safe arrival. After anchoring in the harbor, a procession accompanied...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
May 5, 2013
Yagyu: Nara's hidden village of the shoguns' sword masters
Legend has it that while roaming the wooded hills around his village one day, Yagyu Munetoshi encountered a tengu — a mythical creature, part human and part bird, adept at swordplay.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 15, 2012
On the trail of treasures at Kyoto's Toji Temple
The man unfurled the scroll and hung it on the wall of the makeshift tent to reveal a majestic mountain soaring to the heights in bold black brush strokes. It was a scene showing nature in all its grandeur dwarfing a lone human figure halfway up the mountain.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jan 8, 2012
Nosing around Nada, the nation's sake-brewing mecca
Chewing and spitting out rice, unseemly as it sounds, is a key step in making kuchikami (literally, "mouth-chew") sake, an early form of the now world-famous drink. Fortunately, the brew has come a long way since then.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Oct 9, 2011
Setting a course for pirate isles in the Seto Inland Sea
A Portuguese Jesuit named Padre Louis Frois, who was one of the first Europeans to write extensively about Japan, described Murakami Takeyoshi as the most powerful pirate in Japan and a man feared by all.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 24, 2011
Taking in Tomonoura's many delights
"The most beautiful scenic view in Japan," was how the woman in the temple in Tomonoura translated it when I asked her the meaning of some calligraphy carved into a wooden sign mounted on the wall.

Longform

People wait for the main act to begin at Summer Sonic, which holds simultaneous music festivals for those in Tokyo and Osaka.
Can Japan's summer music festivals adapt to a post-pandemic reality?