Category Archives: Tourism

Video: Yajiyagama Cave Tour on Kumejima

I’ve always been fascinated with caves. Growing up in  Arizona, I would camp in Sedona every year with my family. Our campground was nested along a river and there were caves along the cliffs which you could hike up into. Farther south there was also the Colossal Cave which I found impressive but unfortunately tame. There’s just something about exploring a natural cave that is interesting, provided it hasn’t been too softened with walkways and guide ropes. On Kumejima the

Video: Okinawan Desserts on Kumejima

Okinawa boasts its own variety of sweets, many based on local flavors including fruits and sugar cane. On Kumejima, you can learn how to make some of the most popular Okianwan desserts at the Kumejima Island School tours, which were organized by the local tourism association. In the video below, locals demonstrate making two classics, Chinbin, a type of crepe, and Sata Andagi, or Okinawan Doughnuts. Both are delicious and participants, not only get the recipe and practice making them,

Video: Kumejima Wetland Forest Tour

Kume Island in Okinawa is unique among small islands in that it historically has had rich water resources. The tall mountains allow for ample rainfall which is collected in small lakes, wetlands and springs. The age of the wetlands has created a habitat for species now unique to Kumejima. The center of the island is taken up by wetland forests, which are preserved under the Ramsar Convention. Since most roads, houses, and other buildings are situated along the main roads

Video: Nishime Walkabout

How different can two neighborhoods be on the same island? Both the Maja Tour and Nishime Tours are guided around local neighborhoods on the same island by different local guides, yet the experiences are quite different. Dissimilar geography and historic precedents have led to the areas being used in different ways. In the Ryukyu period the island was separated into two districts, which became villages in the Meiji era. The separation of the island into districts and even smaller neighborhoods

New Video: Kumejima’s Maja Scenic Tour

Kume Island in Okinawa is home to many scenic and historic spots. For most visitors and locals, the main attractions such as Hateno Beach or events such as the yearly festival overshadow the much older local delights that can only be found when walking along with someone who truly knows the area. Recently, a new program is offering island experiences to delve into the historic, cultural, and natural side of Kumejima that the casual tourist might enjoy but find difficult

Food of Miyazaki Prefecture

You might have noticed that there was no post last week. The reason is that I spent 5 days in Kyushu’s Miyazaki prefecture. Though I’ve been to Kyushu three times with my students on their school trips, this was my first time to the southern prefectures.  There was a lot to see and do so I’ll split the trip into a series of posts on each place I visited. This post I’ll use to share some of the interesting differences

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

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

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