Exploring Niigata's snow country

Travel Jan 23, 2016

Exploring Niigata's snow country

by Mandy Bartok

Marred though the view is with power lines and other trappings of modernity, the rainbow that appears at the far end of Tsubame-Sanjo Station seems a rather auspicious beginning. The initial impression that greeted us in front of this largely unpopular station just south ...

The heights and falls of Miyajima Island

Travel Jan 9, 2016

The heights and falls of Miyajima Island

by Davey Young

My alarm sounded at 6:45 a.m., but I quickly silenced it and rolled over in my futon. I enjoyed a fleeting moment of quietude before the thrumming of rubber soles on pavement and accompanying excited voices crescendoed, a brief multilingual hubbub that then faded ...

Bask in the warmth of Iheya Island

Travel Dec 19, 2015

Bask in the warmth of Iheya Island

by Stephen Mansfield

I thought I recognized the owner of the Iheya Kanko Hotel, her face fleetingly recalled as it passed over the screen at a Shinjuku showing of the 2012 film "Karakara." Written and directed by Canadian, Claude Gagnon, and starring the seasoned actor Gabriel Arcand, ...

Nishinoshima: Oki's island of sanctuary

Travel Nov 14, 2015

Nishinoshima: Oki's island of sanctuary

by Stephen Mansfield

Were it not for the well-nourished faces of the passengers suffused with keen expressions of expectation and purpose, the supine bodies, unpacked food, luggage and blankets strewn across the hard flooring of the ferry's modern equivalent of steerage class resembled those of a migrant ...

Aomori's moving castle and other architectural tales

Travel Nov 7, 2015

Aomori's moving castle and other architectural tales

by Daisuke Kikuchi

Once every century, Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture experiences an unusual event — the Hirosaki Moving Castle Project — when the city relocates an entire castle using manpower only. This year is that 100th year, and from Sept. 20 to 27, more than 3,200 travelers gathered ...

Cheers to Hirosaki's latest use of its apples

Travel Nov 7, 2015

Cheers to Hirosaki's latest use of its apples

by Daisuke Kikuchi

If you ask someone about Aomori Prefecture, it is likely that the subject of apples would pop up in conversation sooner or later. The city of Hirosaki boasts the title of holding the highest apple crop yields in Japan, producing 160,000 tons of apples ...