Layers of artistic heritage in Aomori Prefecture

Travel Apr 12, 2018

Layers of artistic heritage in Aomori Prefecture

The weather is crisp when I arrive at Shin-Aomori Station via the Tohoku Shinkansen. I'm not surprised, though, the northernmost prefecture on the island of Honshu is known as a cold and isolated place. It's likely thanks to the chillier environment keeping people inside with ...

Kiyoshi Koyama: A life lived with jazz

Music Mar 29, 2018

Kiyoshi Koyama: A life lived with jazz

"I have lived a life alongside jazz," says Kiyoshi Koyama, jazz critic, journalist and radio host. This is apparent on a recent visit to his home in Chiba Prefecture, where he and his wife live surrounded by walls of neatly organized records, CDs, books ...

Two millennia of heritage along Wakayama's Kumano Kodo trail

Travel Mar 9, 2018

Two millennia of heritage along Wakayama's Kumano Kodo trail

The Kii Peninsula is a land of ancient spiritual paths and holy mountains. Part of Wakayama Prefecture, the area is famous for onsen, temperate rainforests, mountains and a beautiful coastline. The prefecture is known as a place of rich cultural heritage, in part because ...

Living and breathing history, through noh

Stage Mar 1, 2018

Living and breathing history, through noh

Noh performer Hisa Uzawa has spent her life devoted to an art form that — with its slow and steady movements, sparse staging and ancient chanting — may at first seem staid. In her hands, however, the 650-year-old tradition becomes relentlessly contemporary. Uzawa was born ...

A cloven landscape, a cloven tree, a cloven self

Art Jan 4, 2018

A cloven landscape, a cloven tree, a cloven self

On a recent trip to Tohoku, photographer Naoya Hatakeyama took a picture of a tree. It wasn't a particularly remarkable tree, but it caught his attention all the same. In Hatakeyama's photo the tree stands in the middle distance, right in the center of the ...

Here comes the sun: Recommended hatsuhinode spots

Travel Dec 29, 2017

Here comes the sun: Recommended hatsuhinode spots

The first sunrise of the new year represents a chance for a new beginning and so it's hardly surprising that some once viewed the first rays of the sun on Jan. 1 with special reverence. It was believed to be the moment that Toshigami, ...