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589-4 Miyajimachō, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0559, Japan
I'll be honest. I like watching okonimiyaki being assembled and grilled more than eating it. How the pile (or mix, depending on where you 're eating) sizzles on the hot griddle as you divide shares around the table using tiny metal spatulas. My...
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1741 Yawatano, Itō-shi, Shizuoka-ken 413-0232, Japan
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THE CRISP COTTON YUKATA ROBErubs gently against my skin as I walk out of the ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, into the brisk evening air. I cross a tiny bridge, a gentle wind tousling the peach trees and swaying the golden lanterns that light...
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Japan, 〒506-0026 Gifu-ken, Takayama-shi, Hanasatomachi, 6 Chome−11
East of the picturesque city of Takayama you'll find the famous ice cave. It is the highest snow cave of Japan, located 800m above sea level. It is famous for its huge amount of helictites and stalactite formations. As you leave the caves put a...
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2 Chome-2-2 Jigyōhama, Chūō-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka-ken 810-8660, Japan
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Visiting Japan can be quite a culture shock. Remember Bill Murray in Lost in Translation? To help our kids get acclimatized after traveling halfway across the globe to the capital city of Kyushu, Japan, I figured a visit to the local ballpark for...
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Setouchi, Okayama Prefecture, Japan
Les Archives du Coeur is a collection of recorded heartbeats housed in a small building on Teshima island in Japan’s Inland Sea. I got there by a 10 minute walk, through woods, past crumbling old houses, faded shop signs, moored fishing boats, and...
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Japan, 〒444-0022 Aichi-ken, Okazaki-shi, Asahichō, 3 Chome−1 岡崎市役所東庁舎2F
It's officially springtime in Japan and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Okazaki Castle was a quintessential spot for viewing the blossoms against traditional Japanese architecture and gardens. The Castle was originally built in the late...
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Glorious, solitary, active volcano Fujisan (known the world over as Mount Fuji) is the highest peak in Japan, and can be seen from Tokyo on a clear day. Symbol to many as birth and rebirth, Fujisan has been a pilgrimage place for artists and poets...
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Yakushima, Kumage District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Mossy landscapes and ancient, indigenous cedar trees make for fairytale hiking heaven here, and moisture is plentiful at this elevation – Yakushima is the highest mountain in southern Japan. The exquisite scenery of this island, its mountains and...
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Japan, 〒381-0401 長野県下高井郡山ノ内町平穏6845
I left tropical Southeast Asia for Japan in the dead of winter for one reason - to see snow monkeys. I'd always seen pictures like the one above, of zen macaques in steaming hot springs surrounded by snow, and had no idea how accessible they were...
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Mie Prefecture, Japan
Meoto Iwa, also known as the wedded rocks, are located in Ise Bay near Japan's Grand Ise Shrine. Ise is a great day trip. Home to one of Japan's three great shrines, the streets of Ise are packed with old wooden houses, Japanese sweet shops, and...
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294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera on Mount Otowa is one of the most famous temples in Japan, a place that appears in every sequence of Japanese travel photos. The landscape is all cherry trees and forest; it is among Kyoto's loveliest spots. The current structure...

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589 Ohara, 大原 いすみ市 千葉県 298-0004, Japan
Don’t get me wrong—I love Tokyo and wouldn’t trade it for any other city in world. But sometimes you’ve just got to get out and decompress by dropping the pace several notches with an overnight stay somewhere beyond the borders of the urban...
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Arashiyama Genrokuzancho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-0007, Japan
In western Kyoto, there is a very large forest of bamboo. As you can see in the photo, the shoots grow very tall, making those who stroll by look quite small. I'm sure there are times when this road is crowded, but when we were there, people were...
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Travel up to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji to find an alpine village, complete with shrine. It's a fun way to experience the area.