Autumn arrives early on Mt Fuji where the Karamatsu (Japanese Larch) in the “oniwa,” or garden, and “oku-oniwa,” or inner garden, are stunted, making for a strange landscape reminiscent of Hobbit Land. Those who make it to the one of the viewpoints are rewarded with stunning views of clouds above a mountain range in the distance and, if lucky, the Southern Alps of Japan further afield.
A half-hour drive from Matsumoto city in Nagano prefecture, along snaking roads with countless twists and turns through densely forested mountain terrain, lies Myojinkan(明神館), a secluded Japanese-style ryokan, or upscale inn, with a difference. Like many quality ryokan, Myojinkan offers spacious rooms tastefully decorated in a contemporary Japanese minimalist style, several communal baths and meals worthy of at least a couple of Michelin stars, served in elegant dining rooms. The distinctive aspect of Myojinkan is its location deep in the… Read more »
Towards the end of World War Two, when US bombs rained over many Japanese cities, Kurashiki was spared, the story goes, thanks to the presence of the Ohara Museum. A high-ranking US general with a passion for art prevented Kurashiki from being destroyed because he wanted to preserve the Ohara Museum and its collection of paintings by El Greco, Monet, Renoir and Gauguin, among others. That, at least, is the story we were told by our guide and skipper on… Read more »
A taste of early autumn at Hitachi Seaside Park (ひたち海浜公園) in Ibaraki Prefecture. The crimson colored Kochia (broom) plants are in season and can be leisurely enjoyed, along with other beautiful flowers, as one strolls through the vast park. Play areas for children and a disc golf area for the young at heart, are also available.
The sky is big and the waves are rough along the stretch of sea that separates Japan from its northern neighbour, Russia. We are staring out across the Soya Strait from Wakkanai (稚内), on the northwestern tip of Hokkaido. On a clear day, it is possible to catch a glimpse of Sakhalin, Russia’s largest island that lies just 159 kilometres away. But today, the clouds are thick, the wind is swift and Sakhalin is shrouded in haze beyond the grayish… Read more »
Tokyo is teeming with restaurants that serve excellent food, whether Japanese, French, Italian or Chinese. The city is also a showcase of trendy interiors, ranging in style from mid-century modern to Scandinavian hip and Italian minimalist. But when it comes to combining top-notch Japanese cuisine with a contemporary, minimalist setting, there are few places that can match Sasya Kanetanaka(茶酒金田中) in Omotesando. Housed in what used to be the Hanae Mori building and is now the oak omotesando building, Sasya’s first… Read more »