Former firefighter Yoshifumi Usui now guides tourists in search of active pursuits in and around the Aso caldera.
LIFE / Travel
Oct 21, 2023
In volcanic Aso, the land gives much more than it takes
Locals in Aso have a saying: “The land takes away, but it gives us something, too.”
Hiruzen Kougei employee Moeko Hirao, craft brewer “Sugichan” and furry friend Tsubu help out with the tomato harvest at 6:37 a.m.
LIFE / Travel / Longform
Oct 16, 2023
The farmer's intern: A month in the Japanese countryside
Escaping the chaos of Tokyo for a month, our writer heads to rural Okayama Prefecture and discovers the delights of natural farming.
A performer going by the name “Tanefukube” leads shishi-odori dancers during Tono Meguritoroge’s grand finale at Rokko-shi shrine.
LIFE / Travel
Sep 30, 2023
Dancing with ghosts at Tono’s rural folk festival
The Tono region is Japan’s go-to setting of scary stories to tell in the dark.
Fukuoka, known for its outdoor food stalls, is a popular destination for Japanese tourists, but now it's starting to draw more international travelers, too.
LIFE / Travel
Sep 9, 2023
Beyond its yatai, Fukuoka hosts travel pleasures aplenty
Tourists come for the city’s lauded cuisine, its casual atmosphere, vibrant arts and nightlife scenes and temperate
Japan railways are rapidly approaching a future of unmanned stations from one side of the country to the other.
LIFE / Travel
Sep 3, 2023
Trouble sometimes pulls into Japan’s unmanned train stations
Nearly 60% of the 4,368 stations operated by the six Japan Railways Group passenger companies now run without staff.
Aoi Suzuki’s son runs past a home in Taketomi on Iriomote Island (not to be confused with Taketomi Island, which lies to the east of Iriomote). The Suzukis run the Takemori Inn, one of the few hotels on Iriomote.
LIFE / Travel / Longform
Aug 14, 2023
My annual pilgrimage to Okinawa
Navigating between different ferries can open up whole new worlds in Japan's southernmost islands.
In total, the Yoshinogari Historical Park holds 98 buildings, including dwellings, storehouses and watchtowers.
LIFE / Travel
Jul 31, 2023
Think you could survive in prehistoric Japan? This Kyushu park lets you try
The Yoshinogari Historical Park, which preserves ruins across the sprawling site in Saga Prefecture, lets visitors get a feel for local history from 500 B.C. to 300 A.D.


Yoshiko Koide sits in a classroom at Nagoya College where she teaches a Japanese-language observation seminar.
How a dictionary came to spark outrage among the web’s otaku