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[...]

No25 [Travel] Autumn in Hiroshima

The trees clothed in their autumn colours are a stunning spectacle that’s not to be missed. There’s something magical about the onset of autumn in Hiroshima. Summer’s suffocating heat is just a memory; the typhoon season has blown itself out, leaving bright days and refreshingly cool nights. T[...]

No24 [Travel] Walking sacred paths

Kumano and its sacred pilgrimage routes were jointly registered as a UNESCO World heritage sites ten years ago. A good place to start your journey through this sacred area is at the summit of Mount Koya (koyasan) where you will find a large cluster of 120 temples and monasteries founded in 816 by th[...]

No23 [Travel] Yanaka, an oasis of peace in Tokyo

Yanaka has become one of the capital’s most popular locations, yet it is still one of the most peaceful. Let’s give you a guided tour. Allan West adds the final touches to his latest work before climbing down from his stage-like workplace and joining us out in the street. The American artist has[...]

No22 [Travel] The Inner Sea by bike

  There’s nothing like a lovely bike ride from one island to the other to discover one of Japan’s most beautiful regions. Despite the dense steam rising from the onsen (hot spring bath), Jupiter is clearly visible over the twinkling black waters of the Seto Inland Sea. It’s not hard to se[...]

No21 [Travel] Between heaven and earth

Far less well-known than Naoshima, Teshima in the Inland Sea has many surprises in store. For several years now, contemporary art lovers travelling to Japan have been visiting Naoshima whenever they can. This island situated in the Inland Sea has become the symbol of the potential to turn an industr[...]