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a girl in traditional clothing takes a picture with her mobile phone in Kanazawa

Is Kanazawa worth a Visit?

Kanazawa hit the travel sections in March 2015 with the opening of a new shinkansen (bullet train) line going there from Tokyo. It cut the travel time to less than two and half hours, which makes a Kanazawa day trip a viable option. I’d never heard of it before, but that coverage led me to add…

Supporters of the Hiroshima Carp release whistling balloons at the top of the 7th inning.

A baseball game in Japan

When I took a group of Dutch students to the US a few years ago, I insisted that we attend a professional baseball game, something they were distinctly unenthusiastic about. They said it was a boring game. I told them it wasn’t about the game; it was about the whole event around the game: the…

The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima

A day trip to Hiroshima

I had mixed feelings about visiting Hiroshima and initially decided not to. I know a lot about the atomic bomb attacks on Japan. Back in the early 90s, I attended a three-week intensive workshop for teachers about nuclear issues. I learned about the science of the various kinds of nuclear weapons, the mathematics of radiation…

another monkey carving in Tosho-gu Shrine in Nikko, Japan

What to see in Nikko, a breathtaking World Heritage site

Nikko, Japan, nestled in the mountains north of Tokyo, is a small town, but is home to an incomparable assemblage of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sprinkled around a national park forest above Nikko town is a collection of Shinto and Buddhist shrines and mausoleums that are breathtaking in their beauty and workmanship. Most of them date to…

shoes lined up outside a temple in Himeji, Japan

Barefoot in Japan: A bumbling fool

Much of the time that I was in Japan I felt like a bumbling fool, and shoes were a big part of it. The Japanese have a lot of rules regarding footwear. Basically, you are expected to go barefoot in Japan pretty much anywhere inside. That was more difficult for me than you’d think. Disclosure:…

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