Have you ever traveled to Nakasendō road or any of the post town stations along the way?

There are beautiful, ancient, and picturesque trails in Nakasendo中山道 where you will feel nostalgic, especially in the Kisoji area (Gifu & Nagano). These trekking routes between the post towns are where you can enjoy scenic mountain hikes.

In this blog, I visited and was introduced to some of the Kisoji road post towns in Aug 2021. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

What is Nakasendo and Kisoji?


The route in red is Nakasendō and light blue is Tōkaidō. (The black color is Kōshūkaidō, by the way)

The Nakasendō (中山道, Central Mountain Route) was built during Edo period (1603 – 1867 ), and one of the two that connected Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to Kyoto in Japan. There were 69 post-town stations between Tokyo and Kyoto, crossing through Saitama, Gunma, Nagano, Gifu and Shiga prefectures, with a total distance of about 534 km (332 mi).

Many of the post towns were once gone or abandoned, but during the Showa period (1926–1989), a number of them were restored and preserved back to their former glory with the help of the local people. Today, they have become popular tourist spots.

Unlike the coastal Tōkaidō 東海道 (東 = east, 海 = sea, 道 = road), the Nakasendō traveled inland as it shows in Kanji (中 = middle, 山 = mountain, 道 = road)” It is said that Nakasendō was favored by female travelers back then as it didn’t require a river crossing.

Kisoji (木曽路, Kiso road) is a part of Nakasendō from Magome to Niekawa, and there are 11 post towns located in the mountainous area of Kiso.

Nakatugawa-juku 中津川宿

Nakatsugawa-juku (中津川宿, Nakatsugawa-juku) is the 45th of the 69 stations of the Nakasendō, located in Nakatsugawa …continue reading


Count The Stars

Tokyo Tower’s Milky Way Illumination

Have you ever dreamed of watching the Milky Way unveil before your eyes across the night sky? Well, this summer, although not exactly the actual thing, you can see this in the heart of Tokyo. This weekend, follow the 600-step, star-studded outer staircase up to Tokyo Tower’s main observatory for a 360°-Milky Way illumination. Inspired by the Tanabata love story legend, this is the perfect place to take that special someone out this summer.

TELL Step Up Challenge 2021

21,081 Steps For Mental Health

TELL Step Up Challenge 2021

Following massive success in their past Tokyo Tower Climb events, TELL is back with a new step up walking challenge, and yes, you are all encouraged to jump in and help support the organization’s cause: prevent suicide and provide mental health support to Japan’s international community. See their website for more info about participation.

TEAM: ¥6,000 ADULT: ¥1,500 (UNDER 12 IS FREE)

to get it listed!

Attending any of these events? Send us photos through Facebook or Instagram for a chance to be published on the site. #SavvyTokyo

…continue reading


Source: Gaijin Pot

If you’re looking to work in Japan, check back here each week as we look through our database of top jobs in Japan posted to GaijinPot and showcase some of the most interesting ones.

You can apply directly to these companies by creating a profile on GaijinPot Jobs!

Office of Science and Innovation, Embassy of Sweden

Science and Innovation Adviser

  • Company: Office of Science and Innovation, Embassy of Sweden
  • Salary: Amount not specified
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • English: Business level
  • Japanese: Business level
  • Application: Overseas applications OK

The Embassy of Sweden is looking for an Adviser to promote and deliver collaboration between Sweden and Japan in innovation, science and higher education. Mainly, addressing joint societal challenges in fields related to climate, digitalization and health are of relevance.

You must be fluent (spoken and written) in English and Japanese.

Share this Job

Apply Here

Mahou no Hoikuen (株式会社HIROLINE)

Full-time Pre-School English instructor

  • Company: Mahou no Hoikuen (株式会社HIROLINE)
  • Salary: ¥280,000 ~ ¥300,000 / Month, Negotiable (depending on experience)
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • English: Native level
  • Japanese: Business level
  • Application: Must currently reside in Japan

Mahou no Hoikuen is looking for a creative, energetic and caring teacher to join bright and friendly pre-school in Shinagawa.

You will teach children between zero and six years old from 15 minutes to 30 minutes long, two to three times a day.

Previous Experience teaching English to children at an international school or English conversation school is preferred.

Benefits include a very competitive salary, transportation fees allowance, social and health insurance and bonuses twice a year.

Share this Job

Apply Here

Citrin Foundation Ltd.

Clinical Development Director

PCR Test In Tokyo Travel 2

If you are planning to travel out of Japan, chances are you will need to make a PCR test (Polymerase Chain Reaction) before your trip. Indeed, a vast majority of countries (and airline companies) require a negative PCR test in order to make your trip.

This safety measure has been put in place in order to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

If you are planing to make a PCR test in Tokyo, check out our tips and our recommended provider below.

When to make your PCR test?

The requirements depend on your destination but most of the time, the PCR test needs to be done 72h before your flight. So if you plan to fly on Friday for example, you would need to do your test during the 3 days prior to your flight, from Tuesday.

What we would recommend is to actually make your test 2 days (48h) before your flight to make sure you meet the requirements. If we take our example again (flight on Friday), you would make your test on Wednesday, receive your results one day later (Thursday), and finally fly on Friday.

What type of PCR test should you make?

PCR Test In Tokyo Travel 4

Another thing to have in mind before to make a PCR test is what type of test you will choose. They are mainly 2 different types of PCR tests:

  • The nasopharyngeal swab where the sample will be taken from your nose. This test is a bit uncomfortable but it’s the most reliable.
  • The saliva test where the sample will be take from the saliva you would split from your mouth. This test is more comfortable but …continue reading

Koinnoki Shrine is within the grounds of Mizuta Tenmangu Shrine in southern Fukuoka and is distinctive for being painted pink.There are also a plethora of hearts around the shrine so you would perhaps not be surprised that the shrine advertises itself as a Love Shrine.Probably the original shrine that took the name “Love Shrine” is the small one in Kyoto next to Kiyomizu Temple. It enshrines

…continue reading


There is a kanji quiz called “Kanji Quiz for working adults” put out by Baila. The quizzes are not easy. Almost all kanji are certainly recognizable (認識できる ninshikidekiru), but how you read them is very difficult.

photo by author

Today’s kanji was 仄々. I certainly was one of many that could not read this kanji. It is read as honobonoto (ほのぼの), meaning “dimly lit” or “heartwarming”. We use hiragana when we write ほのぼの almost all the time. Partly because hiragana can add soft feeling, and partly because 仄々 is not commonly used in writing, although 仄 is one of the commonly used kanjis (常用漢字 joyokanji). If you can type Japanese on your keyboard, type “honoka.” You may get ほのか and 仄か. 仄 (hono) attaches to verbs or adjectives indicates “faintly noticeable” as in 仄暗い – faintly dark (honogurai). But when you type honobono, you most likely get ほのぼの or ホノボノ。

How about 滴々? You have seen 滴 (shizuku or teki, a drop) as in 水滴 (waterdrop, suiteki) 点滴(intravenous drip, tenteki.)You get the idea. So how do you think 滴々is read? Tekiteki? The answer is ぽたぽた (potapota)- onomatopoeia (擬音語 giongo) of water drops. 滴 sure is not read ぽた though. By typing ぽたぽた, you will get ポタポタ but not 滴々. You will need to learn this kind of kanji reading by reading literature (文学 bungaku).

Image by rony michaud from Pixabay

〜に集る is the next kanji. You may have seen 集める (atsumeru, to collect, to gather) or 写真集 (shashinshu, collection of photos). Then is it atsuru? Shuru? It is read as 〜ni takaru, meaning to sponge off〜.

I can spend hours …continue reading


Perfect for modern-day warriors.

The haori jacket has been enjoying a boom in popularity in Japan recently. The thigh-length coat, traditionally worn over a kimono or hakama pants, was once the wardrobe of the Japanese elite, before becoming popular everyday wear for samurai, members of the merchant classes, and now, anyone who wants to add some traditional flair to their modern wardrobe.

The classic shape and style of the versatile coat is perfectly suited to modern casual wear, and retail chain Muji, who specialises in no-frills everyday co-ordinates and classic cuts, is now giving us their take on the haori, with the new Water-Repellent Stretch Chino Haori.

The Muji design features a dropped shoulder silhouette and open front, in keeping with the traditional style. It’s incredibly versatile to wear, pairing well with dresses, skirts, shirts and trousers, adding a layer of warmth to your outfit during transitional seasons like spring and autumn, although it can be easily layered with a turtleneck sweater during winter too.

The traditional style has been given a modern overhaul with a stretch chino polyester material, which makes it comfortable to wear and less prone to wrinkling.

It’s also water-repellent, so you won’t have to worry if you find yourself caught in sudden rain or snowfall.

The stretchy material makes it easy to carry in your bag for those times when the weather changes and you need some extra warmth. The haori is available in extra-extra-small …continue reading


Source: Grape

The long-tailed tit (Shima enaga in Japanese) tends to blend in a lot with the snow covered branches found on trees on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, but its adorable appearance makes it stand out easily as it’s often described as “the cutest bird in Japan.” It’s quite the reputation to live up to, often drawing comparisons to Pokémon and Sanrio mascot characters, but just one look at them can be pretty convincing!

source: MakiEni / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

The adorable birds have quite a fanbase, and luckily for them there’s a Twitter account dedicated to sharing all things long-tailed tit on a regular basis, @daily_simaenaga.

Recently, @daily_simaenaga has created a popular series of recreating the long-tailed tit from Japanese foods such as rice balls and mochi to great success, but one of their most recent hits has been turning riceballs into long-tailed tit versions of yankii, rebellious delinquent youths often seen in Japanese school anime and dramas.

As you can see, @daily_simaenaga is able to quite cleverly recreate yankii hairstyles such as pompadours and perms by using fish, and their standout jackets with wrappings of nori seaweed.

Source: @daily_simaenaga
Source: @daily_simaenaga
Source: @daily_simaenaga
Source: @daily_simaenaga


— ぼく、シマエナガ。 (@daily_simaenaga) September 9, 2021

@daily_simaenaga may have outdone themselves this time, however, with their adorable and delicious looking yankii long-tailed tit sushi! By using sushi toppings, each set of fishy hair looks more slicked back, and the octopus in particular captures the curls perfectly.

Source: @daily_simaenaga
<img loading="lazy" src="" …continue reading


Japan's Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ito Naoki takes a selfie next to the metro rail at the Diabari depot Uttara. Bangladesh's first-ever metro rail train on its test run in Dhaka's Uttara (Photo: Md Manik/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/ Reuters).

Author: Shaikh Abdur Rahman, CFISS

As the world continues to struggle with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh has been able to maintain economic growth with the help of its readymade garment sector and foreign remittances. But it has also relied significantly on assistance from its development partners, including Japan.

Immediately after Bangladesh gained independence in 1971, Japan lent Dhaka a helping hand to reconstruct the war-torn country. Bangladesh and Japan started diplomatic relations on 10 February 1972. Since then, the two countries have enjoyed a fruitful and trustworthy relationship. Japan is one of Bangladesh’s largest development partners and a vital source of aid as the country attempts to graduate from least developed country status by 2026 and become a developed country by 2041.

Bangladesh’s bilateral relations with Japan range from socio-economic to people-to-people links. But the relationship can be further strengthened through signing a free trade agreement (FTA), accelerating investments in special economic zones (SEZs), cooperating on vaccine co-production and supporting each other in multilateral fora.

Over the last decade, Bangladesh has been able to maintain an average growth rate of 6.6 per cent. Japan has provided loans and grants for infrastructural development projects in Bangladesh, notably for the Mass Rapid Transit in Dhaka and Matarbari Port. Under the strategic ‘Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt’ scheme, Japan sees Bangladesh as a gateway to South and Southeast Asia. At the same time, Bangladesh is actively focusing on its ‘Look East’ policy to accelerate its economic and infrastructure development.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, mega projects including the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, Metro Rail project and Matarbari Port are moving ahead at full speed. China, India and Russia — Bangladesh’s three largest development partners — are interested in utilising Bangladesh’s strategic and economic advantages. These include the …continue reading


One of the most common jobs for expats in Japan is teaching English to children or middle school age students. Therefore it is no surprise that it is also the first job for many who come to work in Japan from overseas. Due to the great demand for native speakers and the few actually available, it’s a job seekers market. Many teachers therefore find themselves dropped into the classroom, with little to no formal experience or education, and the shock can be scary. Not to worry! The good news is that there is a wealth of information available, from your support staff, fellow teachers and a hoard of people who have been in the exact same position as you.

Today we are going to look at a six tips that will help you stay afloat whilst you build experience, and keep students motivated and engaged. Becoming a good teacher requires active study and experience, and is the most important first step for any teacher of English in Japan. Keep these six tips in mind as you build such experience, and you will not only become a better teacher, but find the job far more enjoyable.

1. Motivation

Keeping students motivated is one of the trickiest parts of being an English teacher to children in Japan. Unlike adults, they are not necessarily in your classroom by choice, many of your students simply do not care about English. Try to employ some empathy, how much did you enjoy your French classes back in school?

The best way to keep students motivated is to expect, maintain and check realistic progress. If students feel that the lesson is moving too fast, many will simply give up. Japanese students especially are adverse to bringing attention to themselves, so do not expect anyone to tell you they are …continue reading