The 'washi' paper trail: from the tree to its many purposes

Travel Jan 7, 2017

The 'washi' paper trail: from the tree to its many purposes

by Stephen Mansfield

Stepping off the bus at the Gakko-iriguchi stop in Higashi-Chichibu Village in Saitama Prefecture, the first things to strike the eye are high-flying clusters of balloons, suspended like colorful dirigibles. Here, the workshops and exhibition spaces of Washi-no-Sato, a well-known papermaking center tucked into the ...

Tokyo hotel gets into bed with local artists

Lifestyle Apr 23, 2016

Tokyo hotel gets into bed with local artists

by D.H. Rosen

When building a new hotel, designers would normally consider the artwork displayed on the walls as a finishing touch. But for BnA Hotel Koenji, which just opened in Tokyo's Koenji neighborhood, the artwork definitely comes first. BnA Hotel Koenji, produced by the Bed & Art ...

Saga touts unknown attractions in tourist drive

Travel Apr 9, 2016

Saga touts unknown attractions in tourist drive

by Supriya Singh

Saga Prefecture has long ranked low among domestic tourist destinations in Japan, but local officials and residents believe this is all down to a bad rap that is quite unearned. The prefecture in northwestern Kyushu, they argue, suffers because it lacks a signature image to ...

The 'art-itecture' of Tadao Ando shapes Naoshima Island

Travel Mar 26, 2016

The 'art-itecture' of Tadao Ando shapes Naoshima Island

by Donna Bryson

Because I had just emerged from the gloom of a tree-lined approach, the white stones that paved the courtyard seemed impossibly bright. Then, my eyes caught something unexpected: a flight of chunky glass steps, a very modern touch on a renovated shrine. Encountering surprising and ...

Battle of Sekigahara: a war set in stone

Travel Mar 19, 2016

Battle of Sekigahara: a war set in stone

by Stephen Mansfield

The open valley basins of Gifu Prefecture at the very center of Honshu, where the town of Sekigahara lies, were easily co-opted as theaters of war. It's no coincidence, given the martial history of the region, that the town of Seki was once known ...

Nagoya's big names, trains and automobiles

Travel Mar 12, 2016

Nagoya's big names, trains and automobiles

by Mark Andrews

Mount Fuji whizzes by as I drive the Tokaido N700 series shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya. "Don't let the speed go above 270 kilometers per hour," warns Kaori Takagi. I heed the warning, though Takagi is not a shinkansen driver instructor. We are, in ...