It is said Eso Hachimangu was founded in 661 around the time the “Empress Saimei” died near here at the Asakura temporary palace. It is claimed that the mound on the hill above was the temporary burial site of Saimei before her body was taken back to Yamato for burial, though evidence suggests that in reality it is a 5th century burial mound. “Empress” is in quotes because the title tenno, which …continue reading


Members from Japan's shopping and tourism companies greet a group of tourists from Hong Kong upon their arrival at Haneda airport, as Japan gradually opens to tourists after two years of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Tokyo, Japan, 26 June 2022 (Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato).

Author: Yusaku Yoshikawa, JIN Corporation

On 10 June 2022, Japan finally started allowing international tourists into the country for the first time in two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began. Seeking to balance its reopening and preventing the spread of infection, the Japanese government requires all tourists to wear face masks, and to be privately insured and chaperoned.

This reopening is a first step to ending Japan’s strict entry restrictions for tourists. Post-pandemic tourism will force the country to juggle its economic benefits with sustainability. A key challenge will be to make the country more responsible and open-minded to foreigners.

Before the pandemic, Japan’s tourism industry was booming. According to the Japan Tourism Agency, Japan welcomed 31.9 million international visitors in 2019, making Japan the 11th most-visited country in the world and the 3rd most-visited in Asia. Together with a global increase in the number of tourists, the number of international visitors increased nearly five times in a decade.

The visitors were mainly from neighbouring East Asian countries including China (30.1 per cent), South Korea (17.5 per cent), Taiwan (15.3 per cent), and Hong Kong (7.2 per cent), followed by the United States (5.4 per cent) in 2019. Tourist spending was valued at 4.8 trillion yen (US$36 billion) in the same year.

But the number of international visitors plummeted to 4.1 million in 2020 due to the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with tourist spending decreasing nearly 85 per cent.

Although it has been supported by government subsidies and the ‘Go-To Japan’ domestic travel campaign, tourism has been undoubtedly one of the hardest-hit industries in the country. The pandemic …continue reading


The three waterwheels at Hoshino, along with two further pairs of waterwheels nearby, were completed in 1790 to help irrigate the rice paddies of the area. They are still used today.Fed by a canal from the nearby Chikugo River, the wheels lift water to allow it to be distributed further away from the river. Originally driven by the waterflow itself, they are now powered by electricity.It is said

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Source: Tokyo Cheapo

It’s past midnight, and you just missed the last train. A hotel is out of the question — much too pricey — but you definitely want more privacy than a tiny cubicle in a manga cafe. What’s a cheapo to do? That’s where the capsule hotel comes in.
For many travelers, staying in a capsule hotel is a must-do when in Japan. We can’t honestly say they’re the pinnacle of comfort, but they do have the advantage of being quick and well-equipped for the no-nonsense tourist … and also good for a story when you get home.
Note: The rates listed here are intended as rough estimates only, and may vary significantly. Promos and seasonal discounts can bring down the prices quite a bit.


The post Capsule Hotels: Minimalist, Budget-Friendly Accommodation appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

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Some of the biggest trees I have encountered while walking around Western Japan have been Camphor trees, Cinnamomum camphora, kusunoki in Japanese.This example is found near the Chikugo River in Asakura, Fukuoka, and is named Kakurega no mori, which means “hideaway forest” and is believed to refer to the wooded area that stood here in earlier times when it was a barrier or checkpoint and people

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The last post town on the Hita Kaido, or the first if you are leaving Hita and traveling west, was Yoshii, now a part of Ukiha.Compared to Kusano, the former post town I have been showing you the last week or so, there is much more of Yoshii still remainingSo much, in fact, that the area has been registered as a historical preservation district one of the topics I became intrigued by…

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Immerse yourself in the world of Studio Ghibli, literally and figuratively.

Back in 2019, the “Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition” made its debut in Tokyo, and since then it’s travelled to a number of locations, including Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Kyoto.

During its travels, new exhibits have been added, including 8,800-plus books read by Suzuki over his 73 years of life, making it bigger and better than ever.

▼ The book section is modelled after Suzuki’s private hideaway, Rengaya, and is designed to inspire visitors to read more.

Now, for the first time in three years, the exhibition is returning to Tokyo, and in addition to the new exhibits, there’ll be a brand new, never-before-seen area dedicated to the world of Spirited Away.

This lantern-filled space aims to help visitors slip into the world of the “Aburaya” bathhouse run by Yubaba, who makes an appearance here in a big way.

While the giant Yubaba/Zeniba display above made its debut at the original exhibition in 2019, and has since wowed crowds at other exhibition sites, there are a couple of new areas here that are making their debut for the first time.

The most noticeable new addition is the Aburaya Annex itself, which received a visit from Suzuki and No Face during the pre-opening celebrations held on 30 June.

This is where you’ll find some new gems, …continue reading


Source: Gaijin Pot
Kamakura Daibutsu

A trip to Japan isn’t complete without at least one trip to a temple, which is ji or tera in Japanese. While you’ll likely find that temples are quite a common sight, not every temple has a Buddha statue with a hand the size of your body. These large, divine statues are known as Daibutsu, or “giant Buddha.”

Some of these Daibutsu are carved from stone, while others are forged using bronze. Whichever the case, each statue comes with its own interesting origin story— some of which are thousands of years in the making.

Here are five of some of the most iconic Daibutsu spread across Japan.

1. Todai-ji Daibutsu (Nara)

Photo: Thomas Faull
The bronze statue watches over Todai-Ji.

Todai-ji Daibutsu is found in Todai-ji Temple in Nara. The temple and surrounding park area are well-known for their friendly (sometimes not so friendly) deer, but the area is also steeped in history.

The statue takes a seated position and measures 15 meters in height. It represents Vairocana, the Illuminator, and has its hand out in a gesture of blessing or protection. The palm alone of this open hand measures an overwhelming 148 centimeters.

The statue, its surrounding halls and structures underwent a lot of hardships and damage over the years. Some of which were caused by fires, wars and earthquakes. But each time, the statue was dutifully repaired, allowing us to see it in all its glory to this day.

406-1 Zoshicho, Nara, 630-8587 – Map

<svg width="20" aria-label="Cost" version="1.1" xmlns="" xmlns:xlink="" x="0px" …continue reading


Source: Gaijin Pot

I’m drenched in sweat from riding all day. I’m pedaling as fast as I can towards the light at the end of a dark tunnel when a cool afternoon breeze hits me, and I finally see Lake Kawaguchi’s vibrant, deep blue colors. I let out a triumphant whoop as the road turns downhill.

Then, I stand up in my seat and let gravity do the rest as a sunset baths Fujisan in a red glow. “So, this is the Fujigoko (Fuji Five Lakes) cycling adventure,” I think. This is my experience cycling around the iconic Mount Fuji and how you can do it too.

Starting at Lake Kawaguchi

Photo: iStock/ Dragonite_East
The morning scenery at Kawaguchiko.

When I arrived in Fujikawaguchiko, I stayed at Hana Hostel and was welcomed by Hana and her family. In the morning, I ate a hearty energy-supplying breakfast, loaded up complimentary snacks, rented a bike from Hana and started down the hill towards Lake Kawaguchi.

The roads in town did give me some slight trepidation at the prospect of crashing into someone on the narrow sidewalks all day, but paths widened once I reached the lake—with enough space for cyclists and pedestrians to share.

A quick stop for art

Photo: Sean Pavone
The Fuji view at Oishi Park.

About 30 minutes after starting my ride around Lake Kawaguchi, I arrived at the Forest Music Museum. The steep admission (¥1,800) was worth it to see this quaint, European mountain village-style gallery of acoustics, organs and opera concerts. I could easily spend hours exploring the museum, cafe or its lovely Tulip garden on the lake’s edge.

After …continue reading


Breathtaking night sky shows the beauty of this landlocked prefecture.

It’s pretty easy for travelers to forget about Gifu. It’s one of Japan’s few landlocked prefectures, and many tourists end up drawn to the attractions of Gifu’s neighbors instead, such Nagano’s ski slopes, Mie’s Ise Shrine, Shiga’s Lake Biwa, or the big-city sights of Nagoya in Aichi.

That doesn’t mean people should forget about Gifu, though, and with a dramatic reminder of that is Japanese photographer and Twitter user @ta2funk, with one of the coolest Japanese castle photos we’ve ever seen.

That’s Gifu Castle, which stands in Gifu City, and as you can probably guess from the photo’s quality, this wasn’t the first time @ta2funk turned his lens towards the night sky. “Over seven years, I’ve taken about 400 full-moon photos,” he says, “and out of all of them, this one is the best.”


— Tatsuki Ito| ta2funk.eth (@ta2funk) June 14, 2022

@ta2funk says several people have asked him if the photo, which he took back in August of 2018 but recently shared on Twitter, is a multi-image composite. He says it’s all single photo, though, even while he admits that he himself can barely believe how fortunate the picture’s timing and focus were.

▼ @ta2funk shows the photo’s original data and lighting correction.


— Tatsuki Ito| ta2funk.eth (@ta2funk) June 15, 2022

@ta2funk’s self-assessment that this is the best full-moon photo he’s ever taken doesn’t appear to be a case of overconfidence if reactions from other Twitter users are anything to go by.

“That moon’s presence is overwhelming.”
“It looks like the opening shot for a Hollywood-made ninja movie.”
“I …continue reading