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More than a Bible in the Nightstand



The Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo. © Yasufumi Nishi, JNTO

If you're going to Tokyo and don't want to miss church, there're several houses of worship to visit. Here, we tour the Churches of Tokyo. And even for the non-believers out there, the places, such as the Holy Resurrection Cathedral, are worth a visit to marvel at their architecture.

More than a Bible in the Nightstand originally appeared on Japan Travel on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 23:36:41.

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20 Years of Noodling Around


Japan loves its noodles as much as it loves its rice. In the place where I am, udon is the king noodle. But in other parts it's ramen. In Yokohama, there's even a museum dedicated to the dish. It's the Shinyokohama Ramen Museum. And it's celebrating its 20th, with plans to head to Europe by the time it hits its 30th. The museum is home to some 41 restaurants. For more about the museum, click here.

Access: Take the Yokohama city subway to Shinyokohama Raumen Museum and get out of the station at exit 8.

20 Years of Noodling Around originally appeared on Japan Travel on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 10:27:25.

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Japan: Don't Get Lost in Transportation


As you're getting ready to jet to Japan for your summer vacation, here are some transportation stories to help you get around:

Taking the JR trains

Shinkansen 101

Driving in Japan

Jetting around Japan

Japan: Don't Get Lost in Transportation originally appeared on Japan Travel on Saturday, May 10th, 2014 at 21:23:51.

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Tea Fest in Okayama


After living in, and traveling many times to, Japan, I'm really not sure which drink is No. 1. Is it green tea -- as I once believed? Or sake?

What do other travelers think? (Take a poll below.)

Well, on to the news: For those in Japan this month, enjoy Japan's non-intoxicating drink: tea. Okayama Korakuen Garden will hold its annual tea picking festival where "tea picking girls" pick tea leaves and dance.

Access: The Korakuen Garden is 20 minutes by foot from the JR Okayama station. Phone 086-272-1148.

Tea Fest in Okayama originally appeared on Japan Travel on Saturday, May 10th, 2014 at 21:03:53.

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Looking for a Little Deal in Tokyo?



A rendering of what the sleeping pods at the Nine Hours hotel will look like. Photo provided by Nine Hours.

If you're flying to Japan in July, Nine Hours at Narita, a capsule hotel opening on the 20th is offering discounts to the first 50 people who reserve a room -- err, pod -- each day from July 20 to 31. The cost? 2,900 yen. About as much as a lunch.

Looking for a Little Deal in Tokyo? originally appeared on Japan Travel on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 21:03:35.

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May We Have Fun? Yes!


EVENTS THIS MONTH April 29 to May 3: Meiji Shrine's Grand Festival Masters of Japan's traditional arts perform at the famed Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, starting with the court dances and tunes of bugaku on Apr. 29 at 11 a.m., and continuing with theater shows of Noh and Kyogen on May 2 at 11:30 a.m.; the chamber music of sankyoku on May 2 at 3:30 p.m.; the music of hogaku and hobu on May 3 at 11:45 a.m.; and Satsuma biwa songs on May 3 at 2:30 p.m. Address: 1-1 Yoyogi-kamizonocho, Shibuya ward, Tokyo. Now to June 1: "Playmaking" in Kagawa Four Japanese artists, including the Osaka-born Brooklyn resident Misaki Kawai, display works that get your childhood imaginations running again. The show, at the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, includes Kawai's giant pink puppy-ish creation that lets spectators comb its fuzzy fur and a shadow show created by a toy train set with a flashlight attached to it. Oh, there's also a futon mountain that kids can climb on. Admission to the exhibit is about 950 yen. Access: For more on the museum and directions, click here. For our story about Mimoca, click here. May 3: Archery Show in Kyoto This one should really hit the spot. Donning Heian period ceremonial court costumes, archery experts whiz by on horseback, shooting arrows at targets near Shimogamo shrine, a World Heritage site. Access: The show is at Shimogamo shrine, which is close to the Shimogamo-jinja stop on the City Bus line; Phone: 075-781-0010. For details, see here. May 5: Equestrian Festival in Kyoto Known as the Fukakusa festival, this event shows off acrobatic horseback-riding feats and includes a parade. Access and address: The festival is at Fujinomori Shrine, a short walk from Fujinomori station and the Sumizome station. May 10: Kawaii Nippon Expo in Tokyo Models, music and more with one thing in common: Cuteness. I'm talking about "kawaii" cuteness, which, depending on your taste, is either sweet and adorable or highly annoying and head-ache inducing. That means chirpy voices, pink and more pink, ponytails, artificially big eyes (don't ask me how they do that), and lots of batting eyelashes and pouting. My advice: Bring aspirin. Inquire about admission costs. Access: Halls 9, 10, and 11 at the Makuhari Messe. For directions, click here. May 14-15: Tokyo's Kanda Festival Watch in awe as huge crowds gather for this Edo-era bash. The highlight: When the Shinko-sai parade marches by with hundreds of floats and throngs hoisting portable shrines, called mikoshi. Address and access: The center of the celebration is at Kanda Myojin, 2-16-2 Soto Kanda, Chiyoda ward. It's not far by foot from Ochanomizu station, Shin-ochanomizu station, Suehirocho station and Akihabara station. May 18: Tea Picking Fest in Okayama It's all about the drink - the green drink, that is - at the Okayama Korakuen Garden Tea Picking Festival where "tea picking girls" pick tea leaves (what else?) and dance. Access: The Korakuen Garden is 20 minutes by foot from the JR Okayama station. Phone 086-272-1148. May 24-25: Hiroshima's Daimonji Festival This one is big - literally. A huge bonfire on Mount Takamatsu lights up in Asakita ward in Hiroshima in the shape of the Kanji character "dai," which means big. Access: Takamatsuyama is in Kabe-cho in Asakita Ward. May 28 to June 1: Osaka's Satsuki Exhibition The pretty satsuki flower will be on display in bonsai sizes at this fourth annual flower show at the Sakuya Konohana-kan in the Tsurumi ward. Address: 2-163 Ryokuchikoen,Tsurumi ward, Osaka. Costs 500 yen. May We Have Fun? Yes! originally appeared on Japan Travel on Sunday, April 27th, 2014 at 20:42:05.Permalink | Comment | Email this[...]




A bonsai for sale at Takamatsu's Tamamo park, where a huge bonsai convention is held every fall. Photo © A.D. Smith

If you're a fan of bonsai, now's time to start planning for a trip to Japan in the fall when the massive bonsai convention takes over Tamamo park in Takamatsu on Shikoku island.

Bonsai! originally appeared on Japan Travel on Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 02:16:33.

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Crafting a Good Beer


Just a reminder that on April 19 Hiroshima's craft beer festival begins. The month-long event -- called the "I Love Beer Microbrewery Beer Festa" -- on the old Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium will include all kinds of local brews.

(If you're in the area, it's also a great time to try out the local variety of oranges -- before they're out of season.)

For more info, call 082-248-2657. The stadium is at 5-44 Motomachi, Naka ward, Hiroshima city.

Crafting a Good Beer originally appeared on Japan Travel on Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 21:31:35.

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Flying High


For many readers, vacation time is fast approaching. So, if you're planning a spring or summer trip to Japan, here are a few stories that might help make the flight a bit easier:

5 Tips for Taking Domestic Flights

How to Avoid Pitfalls of Jetting to Japan

Taking Your Pets With You

Flying High originally appeared on Japan Travel on Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 01:31:40.

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Another Flower Springs Up ...



Nanohana is thought of as a weed as it grows in the wild, often along rivers, as is the case in the photo above. But the yellow flowers that spring up around April and May are cherished in Japan. Photo © A.D. Smith

With all the hype around sakura -- or cherry blossoms -- right now, I thought it'd be a good time to give some credit to the nanohana flowers that also bloom in the wild around Japan at this time. You can see from the photo above that the nanohana's burst of yellow flowers is pretty ... well, pretty. The plants, known as rapeseed in English, are also delicious as a cooked vegetable.

Another Flower Springs Up ... originally appeared on Japan Travel on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at 19:48:39.

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