Manami Okazaki

For Manami Okazaki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Miyagi's hot-spring valley of the dolls

Travel Aug 22, 2015

Miyagi's hot-spring valley of the dolls

If local train rides, bucolic vistas, simple family-run ryokans and hot-spring baths overflowing with mineral-rich waters sounds like the perfect getaway, Naruko Onsen village in Miyagi Prefecture should be your next destination. Accessible by the Rikuu-East train line, the valley is flanked by wooded mountains ...

Ghostly Japanese shipwrecks at the bottom of Chuuk Lagoon

Travel Mar 21, 2015

Ghostly Japanese shipwrecks at the bottom of Chuuk Lagoon

When most people think of scuba diving, they usually envision colorful coral reefs, turtles and countless schools of fish. At Chuuk Lagoon in the Federated States of Micronesia, however, the star attraction is not the abundance of life that exists beneath the waves, but ...

Celebrating friendship with Japan and 100 years of U.S. <em>hanami</em>

Lifestyle Mar 13, 2012

Celebrating friendship with Japan and 100 years of U.S. hanami

Once an activity for the nobility of the Imperial court in Japan, hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) became a popular tradition among the elite ruling class during the Heian Period (794-1185), and then later, with the encouragement of Tokugawa Yoshimune (1684-1751), among commoners. Today, Japanese people typically ...

True glimpses of the underworld

Culture Sep 8, 2011

True glimpses of the underworld

Cloaked in mystery and perhaps a certain degree of myth, the yakuza constitute one of the hardest subculture groups in Japan to infiltrate. But when Belgian photographer Anton Kusters and his brother, Malik, saw a gangster walk by as they were drinking at a ...