Category Archives: Honshu

2014 Rakuten Eagles Spring Camp Begins

This year’s national baseball champions in Japan were the  Tohoku Rakuten Eagles. As Champions you might expect a bit of extra attention from the media and a lot of interest in their spring training. Normally based out of Miyagi prefecture, every year the Rakuten Eagles come to Kume Island in February to train for the upcoming season. On February 1, the Eagles kicked off their camp with a ceremony at the Kume Island Stadium, with tons of fans from around

Senso Temple in Tokyo

After visiting Tokyo Skytree during my two-day trip to Tokyo I worked my way down to the new train station to work my way back into town. Many people had suggested the Asakusa area so I got off at the Asakusa station, just a few stops from the tower. I didn’t have any specific plans or maps but I quickly found my way to a highly populated area before the Senso Temple grounds. Between the Kaminari (lightning) Gate and the Hozo

Tokyo Skytree

Japan’s Largest Tourist Trap The third stop of my Tokyo trip (after leaving the Tokyo National Museum) was the famed and new Tokyo Skytree. Since I took the Skytree bus from near Ueno station (I saw it pull up to a line of people and jumped on. It cost about 200 yen and drove right under the skytree), I had no problem finding the towering tower. There are plenty of ways to get there. It’s Part Mall I was expecting

Tokyo National Museum

Just outside the grounds of the Ueno Zoo is a wide paved pavilion. Walking from the zoo, past the Starbucks and to the left is the Tokyo National Museum. For those interested in Japanese history it is a great place to stop by and see a wide selection of art, architecture, and historic items.  The museum complex includes five separate buildings, each with a separate focus. Honkan: Japanese Gallery The largest and most central building of the museum is the

Ueno Tokyo

Although I’ve lived in Japan for more than five years, until recently I had never traveled in Tokyo, which is usually the first stop for most expats and the home of many.  So, I’ll have a series of posts on my Tokyo trip from the perspective of a guy with Japan experience, but a fresh eye on the big city. I grew up in Phoenix, a large city but one that is spread out.  Our streets get more crowded than

Daidoge Festival in To-gatta

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Zao Machi in Miyagi Prefecture with the local Tunnaha Daiko group while they performed at the Daidoge festival on June first and second in the To-gatta area.  The festival was a street fair with the entire street near the local onsen being shut down.  Jugglers, musicians, magicians, acrobats, comedians, and more descended on the street for two full days of performances. The artists performed at “stages” during scheduled times, competing amongst each other

Zao Machi, Miyagi

One of the great things about Japan is the diversity in local culture. Japan’s long and isolated history due to geography and limited transportation technologies has led to one of the most unique and recognizable non-western cultures in the world. Those same historical forces also led to the many differences in language, beliefs, and culture throughout parts of Japan. While modernization has eliminated many of the gaps, there are still plenty of differences to experience and enjoy. This past week

Hoko Garden – Himeji City

The Koko-en or Koko Garden is located just west of Himeji Castle in Himeji City.  If you’re walking from the main train station, it is to the left of the castle grounds on the other side of the moat.  According to the visitor’s pamphlet, the garden was completed in 1992 and is situated where the samurai beholden to the local domain once lived. The day I visited, the weather was overcast, but I found the expansive garden a great place

Weekend Trip to Kansai- Kyoto

Since moving to Japan, I’ve lived on small islands in Okinawa Prefecture.  Unlike those on the mainland, it can be hard to travel when you factor in the time and cost of having to take a boat or plane before you get to a major airport, and at least two planes to get to a major rail station.  Still, after a motivating visit from ZoomingJapan and a time sale on Peach Airlines (less than 7,000 yen round trip from Naha to Kansai),

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture is hailed as the most fabulous of Japan’s many castles. It is definitely the largest. I had the opportunity to visit Himeji for a half-day at the start of March in 2013. Himeji Castle is a UNESCO World Hertiage site. Restoration Over the past several years, the main keep of Himeji Castle has been covered by a giant scaffolding that is essentially a building that encircles the high roof. The internal structure has been reinforced

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