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Scott's Japan Travel Journal

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.

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

2014/11/11 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Today I headed out to Kyoto to follow up on Schauwecker's visit last Friday and check out a few of the more popular autumn... read all

2014/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki

Today we headed north to Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture for this year's final cherry blossom report from the Tohoku... read all

2014/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate

Picking up from where Raina left off, today we continued our Tohoku Region cherry blossom reporting with a visit to Kakunodate in... read all

2014/04/19 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsushima

Over the last few days, Schauwecker and I have been travelling down the Sanriku Coast to gather information for our biannual recovery report.... read all

2014/04/16 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai

After exploring Fukushima's cherry blossom spots yesterday, today I headed further north to Sendai in neighboring... read all

2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima

As the season presses on, the cherry blossom front has moved on beyond the popular sightseeing spots of Tokyo and Kyoto and into the northern... read all

2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma

As the regular season comes to a close around Tokyo and Kyoto, Schauwecker and I headed out to check out Gunma Prefecture.... 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

2014/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

After a quick visit to Kamakura this morning, I rushed over to Tokyo to check on the blossoms at Sumida Park and... read all

2014/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kamakura

As the cherry blossoms continue to peak around Kyoto, the sakura season in Tokyo is starting to wind down. Over in... 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

2014/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka

The cherry blossoms continue to open up in cities across the country, including Kyoto and Osaka, both of which officially marked their... read all

2014/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

This year the cherry blossoms are expected to open more or less on an average schedule, with the exception of Kyushu and... 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

2013/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Four days after Sean's last report from the Kansai Region, it was finally time for me to take a turn and head down to... read all

2013/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo

It's been just over a week since Schauwecker made our first autumn color report from Tokyo, and as expected, he mostly... 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

2013/10/30 - Autumn Color Report: Towada

Today I visited Lake Towada and the Oirase Stream for our final autumn color (koyo) report of the year from the Tohoku Region.... 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

2013/10/28 - Autumn Color Report: Urabandai

Today I headed out to Fukushima Prefecture to check out the autumn colors (koyo) in Urabandai, the highland slopes to the north of... 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

2013/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate

Today we wrapped up our 2013 cherry blossom reporting with a visit to Hakodate in southern Hokkaido. Hakodate lies in a similar locale as... read all

2013/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae

Nearly two months since the first cherry trees opened in Kyushu, this year's cherry blossom front has finally landed in Hokkaido... 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

2013/04/18 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai

Today we continued our Tohoku Region cherry blossom reporting from Miyagi Prefecture, with stops in... read all

2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Mount Fuji

It has been five days since our last visit to the the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region at the base of Mount Fuji, during which time... 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

2013/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Mount Fuji

While the cherry blossom season around Tokyo has pretty much come to a close, no doubt helped along by Wednesday's heavy rains, the trees in other... read all

2013/03/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Today I headed down to Tokyo to revisit some of the city's popular hanami spots. The cherry blossoms were at full bloom when we... 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

2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kamakura

Today I returned to the Kanto Region to report from Kamakura, a popular tourism destination about an hour south of Tokyo. Even though... read all

2013/03/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Today I returned to Kyoto after spending the last three days reporting on the cherry blossoms around Kyushu. During my... 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

2013/02/05 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2013

The 64th annual Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) began today and will run through Monday, February 11th.... 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

2012/10/11 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai

Today Schauwecker and I continued our Tohoku Region reporting with a visit to the Hachimantai area of Towada-Hachimantai National Park. We... 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

2011/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki

Today we continued our Tohoku Region cherry blossom reporting with a visit to Hirosaki in southwestern Aomori Prefecture... 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

2009/08/07 - Tohoku Sandai Matsuri: Sendai Tanabata

Reporting from the Sendai Tanabata in Sendai City. read all

2009/08/06 - Tohoku Sandai Matsuri: Nebuta Matsuri

Reporting from the Nebuta Festival in Aomori City. read all

2009/08/04 - Tohoku Sandai Matsuri: Kanto Matsuri

Reporting from the Kanto Festival in Akita City. read all

2009/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagano

Reporting from Takato Castle, Matsumoto Castle, Alps Park, Shiroyama Park and Koboyama. read all

2009/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Reporting from Ueno Park and Shinjuku Gyoen. read all

2009/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kamakura

Reporting from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Genjiyama Park, the Great Buddha, and Kitakamakura. read all

2009/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Reporting from Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park, Sumida Park, Chidorigafuchi and Yasukuni Shrine. read all

2009/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Reporting from Inokashira Park, Yoyogi Park, Chidorigafuchi and Yasukuni Shrine. read all

2009/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo

Reporting from Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park, Meguro River and Asukayama Park. read all

2009/03/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima

Reporting from the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima Castle, Shukkeien and Hijiyama Park. read all

2009/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Miyajima

Reporting from Miyajima Island near Hiroshima. read all

2009/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima

Reporting from Hirakawa Zoo, Sakurajima Dinosaur Park and the Kotsukigawa Riverside. read all

2009/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagasaki

Reporting from Tateyama Park, Inasayama Park and Nagasaki Peace Park. read all

2009/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima

Reporting from Senganen and Yoshino Park. read all

2009/03/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto

Reporting from Kumamoto Castle and Suizenji Garden. read all

2009/03/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka

Reporting from the Fukuoka Castle Ruins, Nishi Park and Atago Shrine. 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

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