No35 [Travel] The hidden face of Yokohama

The second largest city in Japan is known for its harbour and Chinese quarter. Let’s discover its hidden treasures. Ten years ago I discovered the manga writer Taniguchi Jiro thanks to a work of his called “Aruku Hito” (Translated into French and English as “L’Homme qui Marche” and [...]

No34 [Travel] The incredible Kii Peninsula

By following the Kisei line that runs along the coast, you can discover all the treasures of this region, which are more than worth a detour. Located in an ideal spot at the far end of a large bay, the charming town of Kii-Katsuura sits in a half circle, reflecting the bright colours on the hulls of[...]

No33 [Travel] Ishinomaki Faith in a rebirth

Badly damaged by the tsunami in March 2011, the city has high hopes with its manga museum. I f one has heard the name Ishinomaki, it’s probably because of the earthquake of Spring 2011. Last March Prince William came on an official visit to the city. It gave encouragement and hope to the inhabitan[...]

No32 [Travel] In Hiroshige’s footsteps

Several sections of the famous road that links Edo to Kyoto are accessible. We travelled along one of them. A meeting place was agreed on: Nihonbashi in Tokyo. Built more than four centuries ago, this bridge, initially made of wood, was the starting point for the main routes travellers had to take t[...]

No31 [Travel] The magic of the oki Islands

If you are looking for a place where you can recharge your batteries, then think about travelling to this unique archipelago. Prize-winning novelist and former Japan resident David Mitchell once remarked “If you only make one trip while you are in Japan, make sure it’s to the Oki Islands”. Th[...]

No30 [Travel] A walk through Torasan’s shibamata

Yamada Yoji built a great part of his legendary film career in the Shibamata district of Tokyo. Since ancient times, and especially with the establishment of the Edo shogunate (1603-1867), Tokyo has been divided into two roughly defined areas: on the west side of Edo Castle (the site of today’s Im[...]

No29 [Travel] A little jaunt to Kanazawa

Thanks to a new fast section of railway line, this port city is now only two and a half hours away from Tokyo. The countdown started a year ago. Now everybody knows that the shinkansen, the fastest train in Japan, will be stopping at Kanazawa from March 2015, taking just two hours and 28 minutes to [...]

No28 [Travel] Walking in Taniguchi’s footsteps

700 kilometers west of Tokyo, Tottori prefecture has much to attract the curious. It all starts on a train, as it did for Nakahara Hiroshi, the main character in A Distant Neighbourhood (Fanfare, Ponent Mon). The idea of this journey is to discover the region in which Tanugichi Jiro, Manga artist an[...]

No27 [Travel] Behind the scenes in Asakusa

Everyone comes here to see the famous Thunder Gate (Kaminarimon). However, the district has many other surprises too. The eastern district of Asakusa is one of Tokyo’s more popular areas, for it retains that shitamachi (downtown) old-time feeling that has all but disappeared from the rest of the [...]

No26 [Travel] A trip back in time in Matsumoto

Located in the heart of the Japanese Alps, this city is home to one of the rarest gems of military architecture. “Matsumoto, Matsumoto, Matsumoto” sings out a woman’s voice in welcome as you step off the train in this town nestled at the heart of the Japanese Alps. The city has many attraction[...]