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Scott's Japan Travel Journal
by Scott, staff writer of japan-guide.com

This journal is a log of my travels within Japan. Here you'll find my personal opinions on the places I've been and the things I've seen. Also expect to see the occasional review and editorial. Thanks for reading.

2016/05/13

Goodbye and Farewell

After almost 9 years as a staff writer and editor at japan-guide, I'm afraid that it is time for my family and I to move on. This summer we will be heading to the US so my daughter can attend school. I will be sad... read all
2015/12/31

Travel Highlights 2015

Well 2015 year has just flown by, and we've reached that time again where we take a look back and remember some of the highlights of our travels over the past year.Number 10: Hokuriku ShinkansenThis year saw... read all
2015/12/09

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

After 45 reports spanning three months, it has come time for our final autumn color (koyo) report trip of the season. This year has been an unusual one that started off strong in the northern regions of... read all
2015/11/27

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I spent the day revisiting many of the popular autumn color spots in Kyoto, many of which were most recently covered by Raina on her visit last week. Back then the... read all
2015/11/26

Autumn Color Report: Osaka

Today I headed east to continue reporting on the autumn colors (koyo) from the Kansai Region. After an early morning train ride, I arrived in Osaka, stowed my bags, and hopped a Hankyu train for... read all
2015/11/25

Autumn Color Report: Miyajima

Today I headed over to Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture to check out the autumn colors (koyo) on the island. When Raina visited Miyajima... read all
2015/11/24

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I headed out west to pick up the autumn color (koyo) coverage in Kyoto. The peak colors around much of western Japan appear to be slightly delayed this year, probably due to the abnormally warm,... read all
2015/11/17

Autumn Color Report: Mount Fuji

Today as the autumn colors (koyo) approach the peak around western Japan, I spent the day closer to Tokyo and headed back down to the base of Mount Fuji to... read all
2015/11/11

Autumn Color Report: Hakone

While Raina continues to see great colors across western Japan, today I headed out on an autumn color report from the famous national park area around Hakone, a popular side trip... read all
2015/11/06

Autumn Color Report: Mount Fuji

Today I drove down to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region at the base of Mount Fuji to check on the autumn colors (koyo) around the mountain. The Fuji Five... read all
2015/11/04

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

The autumn colors around the northern parts of the country seem to be coming to a close a bit faster than in a typical year, leaving us with a bit of a gap before we would normally start covering... read all
2015/10/28

Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Today Schauwecker and I drove out to Nikko to follow up on the progress of the area's autumn colors (koyo). It seems to have been a relatively fast koyo this year, and despite Nikko's... read all
2015/10/14

Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route

Today I embarked upon a follow up report from the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route to check out the autumn colors along the popular highland traverse. It has been nearly three weeks since Raina came through here on... read all
2015/06/23

Takumi no Waza - Master Craftsmanship of Japan

Today Schauwecker and I visited the Takumi no Waza, or Master Craftsmanship of Japan, a twice-yearly handicraft exposition of craftsmen held on the 7th floor of Mitsukoshi's flagship department store in Tokyo's... read all
2015/06/21

JCI Blending Together Tour

Today I joined a bus tour hosted by the Fujioka chapter of the Junior Chamber International, a group of young active people doing projects... read all
2015/04/30

Wisterias at the Kawachi Fuji Garden

Today Schauwecker and I undertook a mission to check out one of the more elusive, yet popular sites in Japan. You may remember photos of beautiful tunnels of purple, pink and white wisteria flowers that went viral... read all
2015/04/16

Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko

The cherry blossoms have finished around Tokyo and Kyoto and are now moving into the higher elevation areas and cooler northern regions of Japan. One of these later blooming areas is the popular... read all
2015/04/10

Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji

Today I spent one of my wettest reporting days yet this year checking out Himeji in western Japan. Like most of the other major cities around the country, the cherry blossoms around Himeji reached... read all
2015/04/09

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

At this point the cherry blossom season is coming to a close around most of Japan's major cities, and is now moving on to the more northern areas of Japan (check out our sakura forecast to see where... read all
2015/04/07

Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino

Today I spent another wet day checking out the cherry blossoms around Mount Yoshino (Yoshinoyama) in Nara Prefecture, which is arguable one of Japan's best... read all
2015/04/06

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

The cherry blossom season continues on with petals falling left and right around the majority of Japan. Today I spent another wet day out west, this time in the Kansai Region... read all
2015/04/05

Cherry Blossom Report: Okayama

Today I lucked out with the weather, as the rains forecast to hit Okayama today stopped shortly after I arrived in the city and held off until just after I... read all
2015/04/04

Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima

After a few days of cold, wet weather around much of Japan, it was nice to arrive in Hiroshima this morning and be greeted by warm, sunny skies. Like many cities around the country, the cherry trees in... read all
2015/04/03

Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya

The cherry trees are now at full bloom across a good part of the country (minus the northern Hokkaido and Tohoku regions), with most areas reaching their peak in... read all
2015/04/02

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Except for a few outliers, the cherry blossoms are now blooming in almost every part of the country save the northernmost Hokkaido and Tohoku regions. In addition, we... read all
2015/03/30

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

After a slightly early start to this year's season, the cherry blossoms around much of Japan have been racing towards full bloom with city after city reaching their... read all
2014/12/31

Travel Highlights 2014

Once again it has been another busy year filled with new experience and challenges. And as 2014 comes to a close, we've reached that time where we take a look back at our travels and think about what were some of the... read all
2014/12/02

Autumn Color Report: Kamakura

Three months since the start of the autumn season the colors have finally made their way down to Kamakura which is typically one of the last places in Japan to see their leaves change. While the season... read all
2014/11/27

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Today we took a break from Joe's coverage of the Kansai Region and headed down to Tokyo to check on the progress of the autumn... read all
2014/11/14

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

I headed back to Kyoto today to check back on the fall colors around some of the city's most popular autumn color spots. As mentioned on previous... read all
2014/11/12

Autumn Color Report: Eiheiji

This morning I jumped on the Thunderbird limited express for the 90 minute ride from Kyoto to meet up with Schauwecker in Fukui. The goal was... read all
2014/04/07

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

The cherry blossom season is really starting to come to a close around Tokyo and Kyoto now with petals falling around most of the major sites across both cities.... read all
2014/04/02

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Over the past few days, city after city across the county has reached full bloom, to the point that most of western Japan is now within the peak of the cherry... read all
2014/03/29

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

After spending the last few days enjoying the beautiful full bloom around Kyushu, it was time to head back to Kyoto to see how their... read all
2014/03/28

Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto

Today I headed down to Kumamoto to check out the cherry blossoms around the city's popular hanami spots. The blossoms in Kumamoto officially reached full bloom... read all
2014/03/07

Abeno Harukas

Today we paid a visit to the opening day of Abeno Harukas, a brand new skyscraper and crown jewel of Osaka's Tennoji and Abeno wards. After nearly a decade of... read all
2014/02/13

Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival

Today we headed way up north to one of the coldest parts of Japan, Sounkyo Onsen in Hokkaido, to check out the Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival (Sounkyo Hyobaku Matsuri). This chilly... read all
2013/12/31

Travel Highlights 2013

Well we've reached that time of the year again where we take a look back and remember some of the highlights of our travels over the past year. As always, 2013 was another busy year with plenty of material to choose... read all
2013/12/11

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

It's been two and a half months and 33 reports since this year's first autumn color report, and in that time we have trekked all over Japan following the changing foliage as it moved down from the... read all
2013/12/10

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I headed back out to Kyoto for this year's final autumn color (koyo) report from the Kansai Region. The season typically comes to a close around most of... read all
2013/12/03

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Today I headed down to Tokyo to make my final autumn color (koyo) report from the city for this year. It's not the last Tokyo report of the season though, as that one is traditionally done by... read all
2013/11/29

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I completed another whirlwind tour of Kyoto for my final report of this trip to the Kansai Region. This time the majority of the sights that I visited were in the northern... read all
2013/11/28

Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa

Today, in another slight departure from our regularly scheduled autumn program, I hopped on the Thunderbird limited express train for a 2.5 hour train ride to Kanazawa, where... read all
2013/11/27

Autumn Color Report: Osaka

For today's report I paid a visit to Minoo Park (also Romanized as Mino or Minoh) about 30 minutes north of Osaka Station. The park is one of Osaka's better autumn color... read all
2013/11/18

Autumn Color Report: Fujigoko

Today I headed back down to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region to check up on the autumn colors (koyo) around the base of Mount Fuji. In my... read all
2013/11/06

Autumn Color Report: Fujigoko

Today I headed down to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region at the base of Mount Fuji to check on the autumn color (koyo) season around the mountain. It's been about... read all
2013/10/29

Autumn Color Report: Yamadera

It has been a long time coming, but today I finally made it out to Yamadera Temple in Yamagata Prefecture to check out the fall colors (koyo). The scenic... read all
2013/10/22

Autumn Color Report: Gunma

For today's autumn color (koyo) report I headed north to check out some of the mountains in northern Gunma Prefecture. First stop of the day was to... read all
2013/10/12

Autumn Color Report: Hakkodasan

For this year's first autumn color (koyo) report from the Tohoku Region, we visited Mount Hakkodasan (八甲田山, Hakkōdasan) in Aomori Prefecture.... read all
2013/06/01

Tohoku Rokkonsai 2013

The Tohoku Region in northern Japan has some really amazing summer festivals, most of which are held during the warm summer nights of early August. Some of... read all
2013/04/23

Northern Kanto Flower Report

Next week we will continue our cherry blossoms coverage from the Tohoku Region, but in the meantime we headed out to do something a little different. As the sakura... read all
2013/04/10

Cherry Blossom Report: Hakone

Though not really known as a major cherry blossom destination, Hakone nonetheless has several nice cherry blossom spots that tend to bloom around the... read all
2013/04/08

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

About one week ago we observed that the cherry blossom season around central Tokyo has pretty much come to a close, but today we went back down to revisit two of the later season... read all
2013/03/28

Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma

This year's greatly accelerated cherry blossom season around Tokyo has been playing havoc with people's carefully made travel plans. The blossoms around the city are at full... read all
2013/03/23

Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima

I spent my last day in Kyushu today visiting Kagoshima. One of the southernmost prefectural capitals of Japan, the blossoms here opened on March 15th and are currently at full bloom over most of the... read all
2013/03/22

Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto

Today I stopped by Kumamoto as I made my way south across Kyushu. The blossoms here officially opened on March 16th (although the trees around the castle were even earlier than that and opened on... read all
2013/03/21

Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka

Today I headed over to Kyushu to check out the cherry blossoms around Fukuoka. The blossoms here were some of the earliest to open in Japan and were first seen on March 13th.... read all
2013/03/20

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Schauwecker and Sean have already been out covering this season's cherry blossoms with quick trips to see the early blooming Kawazu... read all
2013/02/25

Tokyo Plum Blossom Report

Today the entire office headed down to Tokyo to check out this year's plum blossoms. The plum trees (ume in Japanese) usually bloom several weeks ahead of the cherry blossoms, and may open as early as February and last through March.... read all
2013/02/06

Asahikawa Winter Festival 2013

Today we headed to Hokkaido's second largest city to check out the opening day of the 54th Asahikawa Winter Festival. Though smaller than the Sapporo... read all
2012/12/31

Travel Highlights 2012

2012 was another rollercoaster of a year for us here at Japan-guide, and as always, before the close of the year we each like to take a moment to look back at some of the memorable experiences that we've had in the past 12 months of our... read all
2012/12/07

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Its been a week since our last autumn report from Tokyo, and in that time the autumn foliage has reach the peak around most of the sites in the city. Today I revisited some of Tokyo's best autumn color spots,... read all
2012/12/05

Autumn Color Report: Kamakura

Almost three months after our first autumn report, the colors have finally begun to change around Kamakura. Typically one of the latest places in Japan where the leaves change, the season doesn't usually... read all
2012/12/02

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I headed over to Eastern Kyoto on this year's last scheduled autumn color report from the Kansai Region. The season is definitely winding down around... read all
2012/11/29

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I headed out to Kyoto to continue our coverage of the autumn colors in the Kansai Region. Many of the spots around Kyoto have already reached their peak and beyond, so part of today's report was to... read all
2012/11/27

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Another week has passed since Schauwecker made our last autumn color report from Tokyo, so today I headed back down to the city to revisit some of last week's... read all
2012/11/27

Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination 2012

Since I was spending a few nights in Nagoya this week, we decided that it was a good time to check out the winter illumination at Nabana no Sato Flower Park in nearby Mie Prefecture. Part of... read all
2012/11/15

Autumn Color Report: Mount Fuji

Today I made a follow up visit to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region on the northern side of Mount Fuji. It's been ten days since our last visit to the area, and since then the... read all
2012/11/13

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Today I made our first autumn color report trip to Tokyo. As it is still relatively early in the season, the trees around Tokyo are understandably pretty green. However, some of the earlier changing trees are... read all
2012/11/09

Autumn Color Report: Sakurayama

Today I visited Sakurayama Park in Fujioka City, Gunma Prefecture which is a well known spot for seeing winter cherry blossoms, a rather uncommon variety of cherry blossom that blooms in the... read all
2012/11/07

Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Today I revisited Nikko to check on the state of the autumn colors around the lower areas of Okunikko and around Nikko Town. Nikko has a particularly long koyo season, which is... read all
2012/11/05

Autumn Color Report: Mount Fuji

Today we paid a visit to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region along the northern side of Mount Fuji. At about 1000 meters above sea level, the area normally sees its autumn foliage about three weeks... read all
2012/10/31

Autumn Color Report: Lake Towada

Today I completed my late October Tohoku reporting with a visit to Lake Towada (Towadako) way up north in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. The largest caldera lake in Japan, Lake Towada... read all
2012/10/30

Autumn Color Report: Bandai

Today I headed back up to Fukushima Prefecture to check out the lower slopes around Mount Bandai. The area experiences a long autumn colors season due to the large... read all
2012/10/22

Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route

Today I head out to the Northern Japan Alps to revisit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, a series of buses, cablecars, electric trolley buses, and a ropeway that connect Toyama and... read all
2012/10/16

Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Today I made our second autumn color visit to the popular Nikko area, about two hours north of Tokyo. Its been a week since our first report from... read all
2012/10/10

Autumn Color Report: Bandai

Today we paid a visit to the Bandai area of Fukushima Prefecture for our first autumn color (koyo) report this season from the Tohoku Region. After an... read all
2012/07/30

Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial 2012

Yesterday marked the opening of the 2012 Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial, a huge art festival consisting of about 360 artworks scattered all over the Echigo Tsumari region in rural... read all
2012/05/07

New Tokyo Buildings

Today we headed down to Tokyo to check out a host of new department stores and shopping centers that seem to be rushing to open ahead of the opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree on May 22. Our first stop of the day was at... read all
2012/04/25

Cherry Blossom Report: Mount Fuji

Today I made our yearly trek down to Yamanashi to check out the cherry blossoms around the Fuji Five Lake region at the base of Mount Fuji. The trees around the mountain... read all
2012/04/13

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Today I headed down to Tokyo to check out the cherry trees around Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park, and Sumida Park. The cherry blossoms around the capitol reached full bloom about a week ago and since then... read all
2012/04/12

Cherry Blossom Report: Yokohama

The cherry blossoms around Yokohama reached full bloom earlier this week, so I headed down there today to check out the trees around Sankeien Garden and Negishi Forest Park. Although we had some heavy rain... read all
2012/04/12

Cherry Blossom Report: Kamakura

Like Yokohama, which I visited earlier this morning, the cherry blossoms around Kamakura reached full bloom a few days ago and, while not severely affected by yesterday's... read all
2012/04/09

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Today I made a follow up trip down to Tokyo to check out the cherry blossoms at Shinjuku Gyoen, Koishikawa Korakuen, Chidorigafuchi, and Ueno Park. Both... read all
2012/04/06

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Heavy rains and extremely strong winds swept through Japan since our last report from Tokyo and a lot of people were concerned about the effect that this would have on the cherry blossoms. I'm happy to report that... read all
2012/04/03

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Today I headed down to Tokyo to check on the state of the cherry blossoms around Shinjuku Gyoen, Koishikawa Korakuen, Rikugien, and... read all
2012/02/06

Sapporo Snow Festival

Today was the opening day of the 63rd annual Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri). This year's festival will run through Sunday, February 12th. As we mentioned on our earlier preliminary... read all
2012/02/05

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

The Yuki Akari no Michi Festival (Snow Light Path Festival) is another of Hokkaido's popular winter festivals. It is held in Otaru, a canal lined port town about a 30-45 minute train ride from Sapporo.... read all
2012/02/04

Sapporo Snow Festival - Preliminary Report

The Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) is known for its massive snow sculptures that are built along twelve blocks of Odori Park in the center of the city. Constructed of a hard... read all
2012/01/23

Chinese New Year in Yokohama Chinatown

Today was the first day of the Chinese New Year (旧正月, Kyushogatsu), a big affair that marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and is celebrated with a two week long festival. The dates vary from... read all
2011/12/31

Travel Highlights 2011

Obviously Japan spent quite a bit of time in the news this year, the majority of which was under the shadow of the March earthquake and subsequent disasters. But as the end of 2011 approaches, we'd like to take a moment to look back at... read all
2011/12/08

Autumn Color Report: Kamakura

Today I paid a visit to Kamakura, which is one of the last places in Japan where the leaves change colors. In a typical year the autumn colors (koyo) around Kamakura reach their peak from early to... read all
2011/12/05

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Today I returned to Tokyo to check out the autumn colors (koyo) at Rikugien, Koishikawa Korakuen, Hama Rikyu and the Icho Namiki... read all
2011/11/30

Tokyo Motor Show 2011

The Tokyo Motor Show is back! After a scaled down 2009 Tokyo Motor Show that saw very little participation by foreign car makers, this year's show is up and running with an exhibition so large that... read all
2011/11/29

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I headed over to Arashiyama on the outskirts of northwestern Kyoto to follow up on our autumn colors (koyo) reporting. It's been exactly a week since our... read all
2011/11/28

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today we spent the morning in Kyoto checking up on a few autumn colors (koyo) sights that Schauwecker visited last week. We started the day with an early visit... read all
2011/11/27

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Today I headed back down to Tokyo to check on the progress of the autumn colors (koyo). The first stop of the day was Icho Namiki (Ginkgo Street) near the National... read all
2011/11/22

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

I took another trip down to Tokyo today to continue our reporting on the autumn colors (koyo) in eastern Japan. A little progress has been made since my trip last week, however it is still very... read all
2011/11/15

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Today I made our first official Autumn Color (koyo) report trip to Tokyo. As expected, it is still pretty early in the season and most of the trees around Tokyo haven't really begun to change colors yet. Although... read all
2011/11/12

Autumn Color Report: Unzen

Today we visited Mount Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture for our first autumn color (koyo) report of the season from Kyushu, Japan's southern-most main island. Mount Unzen... read all
2011/11/04

Autumn Color Report: Kurobe Gorge

Today we traveled out to Toyama Prefecture to check on the Kurobe Gorge, a steep, mountainous ravine that is a famous spot for its autumn colors (koyo). The main attraction of the gorge is the Kurobe... read all
2011/10/27

Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Today I took a trip to Nikko to follow up on the progress of the autumn colors. So far this season I haven't really had the chance to see any good autumn colors (koyo), but looking at our last report from the area really reignited my... read all
2011/10/07

Autumn Color Report: Nasu

Today we headed out to Nasudake, a dormant volcano in Tochigi Prefecture, at the northernmost end of Nikko National Park. The autumn colors (koyo) typically appear in the higher elevations of Nasudake around late September... read all
2011/10/04

Ceatec Japan 2011

Today we headed down to Chiba Prefecture to check out the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) tradeshow held at the Makuhari Messe convention center. CEATEC is the largest... read all
2011/09/27

Autumn Color Report: Norikura

Today we checked out Norikuradake in the Northern Japan Alps. Norikuradake is a collection of peaks, the highest of which is over 3000 meters tall, that straddle the border between Nagano and Gifu prefectures. It is... read all
2011/09/22

New Kanagawa Museums

This morning we all headed down to Kanagawa Prefecture to check out the recently opened Fujiko F. Fujiyo Museum (aka, the Doraemon Museum) in Kawasaki City, which... read all
2011/05/02

Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate

We concluded our Tohoku Region cherry blossom reporting with a visit to Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture. Kakunodate is another of Japan's Top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots, and the final leg of the three best Tohoku hanami spots that... read all
2011/04/29

Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami

Today we are reporting from Kitakami in the Tohoku Region. Kitakami is located in southern Iwate Prefecture, about 50 kilometers inland from the coast hit by last month's tsunami. The city is far enough inland that it was unaffected... read all
2011/04/22

Cherry Blossom Report: Aizu

We spent the second and last day of our cherry blossom report trip to the southern Tohoku Region in Aizu, a popular tourist destination in Fukushima Prefecture, over 100 kilometers east of the Fukushima power plants. Tsuruga... read all
2011/04/21

Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai

As the season progresses, the cherry blossoms are reaching the Tohoku Region and with it the areas worst hit by last month's earthquake and tsunami. Today we visited Sendai... read all
2011/04/14

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

I've returned to the Kanto Region this week and am reporting today from Tokyo. The cherry blossom season around the capital has been progressing pretty much on track since our last report from the city on April 11, 2011. Most of the... read all
2011/04/10

Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka

Today I spent the last day of my contribution to this year's Kansai Region reporting by checking out some of the best cherry blossom spots in Osaka. After today I'll be heading back to the Kanto Region, and will hand off the area to... read all
2011/04/09

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Today I made our fifth cherry blossom report trip to Kyoto this year to revisit Arashiyama, the Philosopher's Path, and Kiyomizudera Temple... read all
2011/04/08

Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino

Today I made the trek out to Yoshinoyama (Mount Yoshino) in Nara Prefecture. Mount Yoshino is one of Japan's most famous cherry blossom spots and lends its name to the country's predominant somei yoshino cherry blossom variety... read all
2011/04/07

Cherry Blossom Report: Iwakuni

After spending the morning checking out the cherry blossoms in Hiroshima (a separate report can be found here), I took the rest of the afternoon to explore Iwakuni, a beautiful riverside town not to far from Hiroshima. But before reading... read all
2011/04/07

Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima

Today I headed out to check on the cherry blossoms in Hiroshima and Miyajima, after which I made a quick afternoon visit to Iwakuni (a separate report can be found here). However, before reading these you may want to check out this... read all
2011/04/06

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Today I headed back out to Kyoto to resume coverage of the cherry blossoms in western Japan. This was our fourth visit to Kyoto this season, and during the day I was able to revisit some sights that we had reported on previously (Keage... read all
2011/04/05

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Today I made another visit to Tokyo to follow up on our previous cherry blossom report trips on April 2, 2011, March 30, 2011, and March 27, 2011. Shinjuku Park April 5, 2011 - opening... read all
2011/04/02

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Today I stopped by Tokyo on my way home from the Kansai Region to check out the cherry blossoms. This is our third Tokyo report this year after our previous visits on March 30, 2011, and March 27, 2011. Shinjuku Park April 2, 2011 -... read all
2011/04/01

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Today I made a follow up visit to Kyoto to see how the cherry blossoms have been progressing since Schauwecker's visit on March 29, 2011. I can't say that the trees have made significant progress over the last few days and while some... read all
2011/03/30

Cherry Blossom Report: Kochi

Today I met up with Schauwecker in southern Shikoku to check out the cherry blossoms around Kochi City. Although Schauwecker has been on the road for a few days now, I was looking forward to getting out on what was to be both my first... read all
2010/12/31

Travel Highlights 2010

2010 is finally coming to a close, and sitting down to write about the year's travel highlights always brings back a lot of fond memories from the past year. Often times the trips start to run together in my head, but after looking... read all
2010/11/30

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Today I made another follow up trip to Tokyo to check on the state of the autumn colors (koyo). The first stop of the day was at the Institute for Nature Study, a nature reserve preserving Tokyo's... read all
2010/11/24

Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

Today I made a follow up to our November 16, 2010 visit to Tokyo to check out the state of the autumn colors (koyo) at a few parks and gardens that are known for their leaves. The first visit of the... read all
2010/11/19

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I checked out the autumn colors (koyo) situation over in the Higashiyama District of Kyoto. The first stop of the morning was a follow up visit to Kiyomizudera Temple. The trees around the temple have progressed a lot since our... read all
2010/11/18

Autumn Color Report: Nara

Today I took another side trip from Kyoto and headed down south to check out some of the sights in Nara Prefecture. After arriving at Kintetsu Nara Station, I immediately picked up a rental car and headed out of the... read all
2010/11/17

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

oday I made some follow up visits to some of the sights in Kyoto that we visited on November 10, 2010 to check on the progress of the autumn colors (koyo). The first item of the day... read all
2010/11/16

Autumn Color Report: Koyasan

Today we continued our autumn leaf (koyo) reporting with a trip to Koyasan, the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism high up in the mountains of Wakayama... read all
2010/11/15

Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today Schauwecker and I continued the autumn leaf season reporting from the Kansai Region with a follow up trip to Kyoto. This time we visited Jingoji Temple in Takao, the mountainous region in the north... read all
2010/11/09

Autumn Color Report: Fujigoko

Today we made a trip to the Fuji Five Lakes area around Mount Fuji to check out the autumn colors (koyo). The first stop of the day was at the Chureito Pagoda, a popular photography spot... read all
2010/11/04

Autumn Color Report: Daisen

Today Schauwecker and I visited Mount Daisen on the western end of Tottori Prefecture to check out the autumn colors along the trail up the mountain. At 1729 meters above sea level, Mount Daisen is... read all
2010/10/27

Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Today I went on another follow up visit to the Okunikko region, following my previous visits on October 5, 2010 and October 14, 2010. As expected, the season is coming to a close in the higher elevations of... read all
2010/10/14

Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Today I went on a follow up visit to the Okunikko region, the Inner Nikko area in the mountains above the temples and shrines of Nikko, to check out the autumn colors (koyo). As I saw last week, due to the... read all
2010/10/05

Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Today we headed over to Okunikko, the Inner Nikko area that lies in the mountains above the temples and shrines of Nikko, to check out how the autumn colors are progressing... read all
2010/09/29

Autumn Color Report: Oze

It's been two weeks of poor weather since our last autumn color report from Kurodake, so we took advantage of today's brief respite from the rain to head up to Oze National... read all
2010/04/14

Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko

Today we went to check out the Fuji Five Lakes area which is a popular spot to take pictures of cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji as a backdrop. Two of the best places to view the combination of flowers and mountain are at Chureito Pagoda... read all
2010/04/08

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Today after spending a week reporting on the cherry blossoms in the Kansai Region I've returned to Tokyo to follow up on Yasukuni Shrine, Chidorigafuchi, Sumida Park, and Ueno Park... read all
2010/04/04

Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji

Today was a follow up visit to Himeji to check the state of the blossoms at Himeji Castle and Kokoen Garden. Our previous visit to Himeji was on March 26, 2010... read all
2010/04/03

Cherry Blossom Report: Nara

It has been two weeks since the cherry blossoms in Nara opened and a week since our last visit to the city. Today's report includes follow up visits to Heijo Palace, Nara Park and Wakakusayama... read all
2010/04/02

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Today we made a third visit to Kyoto to check out the development of the cherry blossoms since our last reports on April 2, 2010, March 27, 2010 and March 23, 2010. Today's report included followup trips to the... read all
2010/03/30

Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Cool weather in Kyoto persists, resulting in a slowed advancement in the state of the cherry blossoms since they were last reported on March 23, 2010 and March 27, 2010. Today's report covers a return trip to Arashiyama, as well as first... read all
2010/03/29

Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka

Today for our first cherry blossom report of the year from Osaka we covered Expo 70 Commemorative Park, Kema Sakuranomiya Park, and Osaka Castle. As with Kyoto, cool temperatures over the last few days have prolonged the progression of... read all
2010/03/26

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

This is our second Tokyo cherry blossom report trip reporting on the early season state of the trees at Koishikawa Korakuen, Yasukuni Shrine, Chidorigafuchi, and Ueno Park... read all
2010/03/23

Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Tokyo's cherry blossoms officially opened yesterday, which is pretty much as predicted and overall about a week earlier than during an average year. Shinjuku Gyoen March 23, 2010 - just opened (0-10%) The day started off with a... read all
2009/12/31

Travel Highlights 2009

2009 is coming to an end and for our final assignment we were tasked to blog about our favorite travel moments from this past year. It was a difficult choice, but thumbing through the thousands of pictures I took... read all
2009/12/08

Tokyo

A quarter of a year after the first autumn color report, we concluded this year's reporting with a final trip to Tokyo where the season is still in full swing. We started our tour of Tokyo at the Imperial East Gardens... read all
2009/12/02

Kamakura

Among the last regions of Japan to see autumn colors are not only the southern tips of Japan's southern main islands of Shikoku and Kyushu, but also the greater Tokyo area. Today we visited Kamakura, one train hour south of Tokyo... read all
2009/11/27

Tokyo

Today I took another trip to Tokyo to check out how the fall colors are progressing since our previous Tokyo koyo report trip on November 18, 2009. On today's itinerary were three gardens and two tree lined streets... read all
2009/11/18

Tokyo

Tokyo may not be known as an autumn color destination like Kyoto, but the city does offer quite a few nice spots for fall foliage in its parks and gardens. Today we went to check out three of them. We started the day at the Former Furukawa Garden (Kyu-Furukawa Teien)... read all
2009/11/16

Mount Takao (Takaosan)

While trees in central Tokyo have only just started turning colors, the koyo season in the mountains west of Tokyo is already approaching its peak. One of the closest and most attractive mountains near central Tokyo ... read all
2009/10/28

Mount Fuji

Today we headed down to Mount Fuji to check out how the leaves are progressing around a few of the 5th Stations around the mountain and at Lake Kawaguchi. It has been our experience... read all
2009/10/21

Tokyo Motor Show 2009

The 41st Tokyo Motor Show is off and running, and today I had the pleasure of a sneak peak during the first of its press days. The show, which is open to the public from October 24th to November 4th... read all
2009/10/19

Nikko (2)

Today we returned to the Okunikko area of Nikko National Park, the Inner Nikko area in the mountains above the famous temples and shrines of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture. Our first stop of the day was at Konsei Pass... read all
2009/10/05

Nikko

Today we checked out the Okunikko area of Nikko National Park in Tochigi Prefecture. While most people are familiar with the temples and shrines of Nikko, the national park... read all
2008/10/29

Lake Towada

A visit to Lake Towada and Oirase Stream in Towada-Hachimantai National Park. read all
2008/10/21

Nishizawa Valley

Today we made a second trip out to the Chubu Region to check out the fall colors. This time we headed south to Nishizawa Valley in Yamanashi Prefecture. This narrow valley... read all
2008/10/03

Tateyama Alpen Route

With heights of over 3000 meters, the peaks of the Tateyama mountain range in Toyama Prefecture are among the tallest in the Japan Alps. Consequently, their slopes are among... read all
2007/09/18

Kodo One Earth Tour

This was my fifth time seeing Kodo live and as always I left the show feeling thoroughly impressed and with a renewed interest in taiko. My favorite song of the concert was the opening piece called "Burning"... read all
2007/09/04

Kusatsu

If you are an onsen fan then you have probably heard of Kusatsu. For those of you who haven't, it's a beautiful hot spring town in Gunma Prefecture. It originally became famous back in the Edo Period when... read all
2007/09/01

Zi-Pang Concert

I've been interested in taiko since I was young and we'd watch Sacramento Taiko Dan's kids teams perform, but I never really had the time or opportunity to get involved. However, when I moved to Japan... read all
2007/08/23

First Day on the Job

My name is Scott and I'm a new staff writer here at japan-guide. I just wanted to introduce myself and my travel journal which I will try my best to keep updated with all my trips, both business and pleasure... read all