Tokyo’s new samurai photo studio sends you to Japan’s feudal era with awesome digital backdrops

Japan’s Sengoku period was, in many ways, the archetypical era of the samurai. During its roughly 150 years, Japan’s most storied warriors clashed with one another in a dramatic struggle to unify the country. But while the Sengoku period ended some four centuries ago, it was only last week that Tokyo saw the opening of […]

5 emerging destinations to explore in Japan

Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Chances are you’d heard travellers mention these three cities when they talk about their trip to Japan. But there’s more to Japan than its major metropolises. TripAdvisor has revealed that the Japanese cities of Kanazawa, Ishigaki, Takayama, Nagasaki and Fujikawaguchiko-machi have been growing in popularity each year among international tourists. Here […]

Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura: the samurai era in town and country

A friend I’ve known for more than 20 years is now president of the Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura cultural theme park in the Kinugawa Onsen area of Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. That friend, Ryoichi Yuki, is also an actor and singer who is well known for playing historical roles, and — being 43 years old, handsome, […]

Explore Japan’s history in the seaside town of Kamakura

Vibrant, fast-paced Tokyo is renowned the world over, but visitors in Japan looking for a more laid-back destination can head to the seaside town of Kamakura. Just a 45-minute train ride from Tokyo via the JR Yokosuka line, Kamakura was recommended by my Japan-based relatives. It was a good way to gain a perspective of […]

The 36 Gates of Edo Castle

Edo (Yedo) Castle, constructed in 1457, transformed Tokyo (then called Edo) from a small fishing village into an urban center for trade, culture, and politics. Edo Castle became the official residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Upon the shogun’s arrival in 1603, the castle was in shambles, requiring an extensive 40 year reconstruction project. The […]

The elaborate armor of the Yokohagido type – early to mid-Edo period: 17th-18th century

The techniques used by Japanese armorers evolved through the centuries. Made for war, armor protected the samurai who wore it, adorning and honoring those who fought and died in combat. Many materials were required to produce a Japanese armor that was as beautiful as it was functional. Iron, leather, brocade and precious and semi-precious metals were […]

Seikado Bunko Art Museum Exhibition: Perfect Guide to the Japanese Sword

The Seikado Bunko Art Museum is holding a special exhibition aimed at introducing Japanese swords to beginners by utilizing 30 wonderful blades from their collection of 120 swords that originally belonged to Baron Yanosuke Iwasaki and his son Koyata (the founder of the museum). Yanosuke was the younger brother of the Tosa samurai and founder […]


Togakushi Village and the nearby Togakushi Shrine are situated in the north of Nagano within the Joshinetsu National Park – just 45 minutes drive from Myokokogen, Nozawa Onsen or Nagano City. This volcanic area has an altitude of 1,200m and is located at the foot of the two volcanoes, Togakushi and Iizuna. About Togakushi Village, Togakushi […]

Tōshō-gū in Ueno Park has a beautiful peony garden in Japan

Winter peonies Tōshō-gū in Ueno Park has a beautiful peony garden that is open to the public twice a year: early January to early February for winter peonies, and mid-April to mid-May for summer peonies. There are about 40 varieties of winter peony in the garden, but it’s so difficult to cultivate the flowers in […]