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2017/07/27

On the road in Tohoku: Driving through Miyagi and Yamagata

Located in the Tohoku region in the north of Japan's main island of Honshu, Miyagi and Yamagata are two prefectures which are certainly not visited as often as other areas of the country, including the ever-popular areas surrounding Tokyo and Kyoto. Despite this, these two prefectures boast some of the most amazing sites in the country and are brimming with majestic mountains, hot springs and stunning nature spots...
2017/04/28

2017/04/28 - Hirosaki Report

Squeezing in one more cherry blossom report from the Tohoku Region before the weekend, I visited Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture again three days after my last visit. The last time I reported that the mainstream...
2017/04/27

2017/04/27 - Morioka Report

Today, I headed to the capital city of Iwate Prefecture, Morioka to check out the cherry blossoms in the city. Full bloom (mankai) was announced on April 24, three days ago, but I found that the petals have started...
2017/04/26

2017/04/26 - Kakunodate Report

Today I headed to one of the Tohoku Region's most famous cherry blossom spots, Kakunodate. The entire town has about 1500 cherry trees while the places I visited today, namely the Samurai District and the Hinokinai...
2017/04/25

2017/04/25 - Hirosaki Report

Continuing with our cherry blossom reporting in the Tohoku Region, I headed to Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture today. The castle is located in Hirosaki Park, and has over 2500 cherry trees of different varieties....
2017/04/24

2017/04/24 - Aizu Report

The cherry blossom season has begun to hit its peak stride in the Tohoku Region this week, with cities like Aizu Wakamatsu, Kitakami and Hirosaki having just reached full bloom.While the season has finished in...
2017/04/24

2017/04/24 - Kitakami Report

We kick off the new week continuing our reporting from the Tohoku Region. Joe visited both Sendai and Fukushima last week and you can read his reports here. Today, I visited Kitakami in Iwate Prefecture and found...
2017/04/19

2017/04/19 - Fukushima Report

The cherry blossom season is reaching its height this week in many spots throughout the Tohoku and Chubu Regions of Japan as the blossoms move their way north towards Hokkaido (due to reach best viewing in the first...
2017/04/17

2017/04/17 - Sendai Report

As the cherry blossom season is winding down in southern Japan and in Tokyo and Kyoto, the blossoms around central Japan's mountainous Chubu Region and northern Tohoku Region are rapidly entering their best viewing...
2017/04/14

2017/04/14 - Tomioka Report

The cherry blossom season is often seen as a time of new beginnings in Japan. This year, for the town of Tomioka in Fukushima Prefecture, both the symbol and the meaning couldn't be more real.Six years ago on March...
2016/10/11

Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu

The Oku Aizu region in the far west of Fukushima Prefecture is a mountainous region covered mostly by forest. Oku Aizu is roughly about the same size as Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo...
2016/08/16

The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan

The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan in Yamagata are made up of Haguro-san, Gas-san and Yudono-san. Together, they have been worshiped for hundreds of years...
2016/05/25

Five Years After The Tsunami

Five years after the big disaster, increasingly many new residential districts are being completed, allowing...
2015/11/11

Four And A Half Years After The Tsunami

On this trip we witnessed further progress in the monumental project to raise the elevation of entire former city districts by several meters...
2015/04/25

Four Years After The Tsunami

One year year after our last visit, we witnessed a lot of visible progress. Most eye-catching was the work on raising the ground of former town centers...
2014/11/06

2014/11/06 - Yamadera Report

After one and a half months of reporting the seasonal colors in the mountains of northern and central Japan, we will soon shift our focus onto the parks and gardens of Tokyo and Kyoto....
2014/10/21

2014/10/21 - Bandai Report

After a day out in Lake Towada yesterday, I headed to Urabandai in Fukushima Prefecture for another day of autumn colors. Due to the large change in...
2014/10/20

2014/10/20 - Towada Report

Today I visited Lake Towada and the Oirase stream in the Tohoku Region. Located way up in the northern most part of the region, Lake Towada...
2014/10/15

2014/10/15 - Kurikoma Report

One month into this year's autumn color reporting, I made a first-time visit to Mount Kurikomayama, a volcano on the prefectural borders of Iwate, Miyagi and...
2014/04/18

Three Years After The Tsunami

The focus of efforts along the Sanriku Coast have now definitely shifted from the clean-up to the reconstruction phase, and the recovery progress is becoming more and more obvious...
2013/10/30

2013/10/30 - Towada Report

Today I visited Lake Towada and the Oirase Stream for our final autumn color (koyo) report of the year from the Tohoku Region....
2013/10/29

2013/10/29 - Yamadera Report

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...
2013/10/28

2013/10/28 - Urabandai Report

Today I headed out to Fukushima Prefecture to check out the autumn colors (koyo) in Urabandai, the highland slopes to the north of...
2013/10/14

Two And A Half Years After The Tsunami

Clean-up efforts seemed to be nearing completion, as some of the last remaining damaged structures and most mountains of debris have disappeared from the cities...
2013/10/12

2013/10/12 - Hakkodasan Report

For this year's first autumn color (koyo) report from the Tohoku Region, we visited Mount Hakkodasan in Aomori Prefecture...
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...
2013/05/02

2013/05/02 - Hirosaki Report

Today I visited Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, home of Hirosaki Castle and its park - one of the best cherry blossom spots in all of Japan...
2013/05/01

2013/05/01 - Kakunodate Report

I started the first day of May at Kakunodate of Akita Prefecture, one of three best cherry blossom spots in the Tohoku Region, along with...
2013/04/30

2013/04/30 - Kitakami Report

After a week's break in our cherry blossom reporting, today we resume at the Tohoku Region. Compared to the average year, this year saw cherry blossoms blooming...
2013/04/18

2013/04/18 - Sendai Report

Today we continued our Tohoku Region cherry blossom reporting from Miyagi Prefecture, with stops in...
2013/04/16

Two Years After The Tsunami

After seeing little dramatic progress on our previous two visits, we felt that the recovery process has finally started to shift...
2013/04/15

2013/04/15 - Fukushima Report

Although some of the later opening cherry trees are still in bloom around Tokyo and Kyoto, at this point of the season the main...
2013/02/16

Zao Snow Monster Report

Today we went to Zao, a volcanic mountain range on the border between Yamagata and Miyagi Prefectures in the Tohoku Region. I had been particularly looking forward to this trip to see the famous Jyuhyo - trees covered in snow sculpted...
2013/02/15

Yokote Kamakura Festival

Located in south-eastern Akita Prefecture is Yokote, a small city of about 100,000 inhabitants. Yokote's claim to fame is its Kamakura Festival, a tradition with about 400 years of history. Every year on February 15...
2012/11/07

2012/11/07 - Yamadera Report

It was a good trip to Yamadera Temple today. The temple is one of the most important in the Tohoku Region, with a history of more than a thousand years. It has within its precincts more than 40 temple buildings, distributed along the...
2012/11/06

2012/11/06 - Naruko Report

It was a wet day. I made my way to Naruko Gorge in the morning expecting the best and worst day for autumn color reporting: best because I read that colors are currently at their peak there, worst because, well, it was a wet day....
2012/11/05

2012/11/05 - Hiraizumi Report

Today I visited the Unesco World Heritage site of Chusonji Temple in Hiraizumi, a city of great cultural and political prominence during the Heian Period. After immersing in the glory of past civilization, I went to nearby Geibikei...
2012/10/31

2012/10/31 - Towada Report

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...
2012/10/30

2012/10/30 - Bandai Report

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...
2012/10/11

2012/10/11 - Hachimantai Report

Today Schauwecker and I continued our Tohoku Region reporting with a visit to the Hachimantai area of Towada-Hachimantai National Park. We...
2012/10/10

2012/10/10 - Bandai Report

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...
2012/05/07

2012/05/07 - Hirosaki Report

One week after my last visit, today I visit Hirosaki again to check out the development of the cherry blossoms at its castle. Main keep and inner...
2012/04/30

2012/04/30 - Hirosaki Report

I write as I am on board the train towards Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture. Aomori the northernmost prefecture of Honshu, the main island of Japan. The train is quite packed with whom I assume to be tourists, judging by...
2012/04/29

2012/04/29 - Kakunodate Report

Kakunodate is one of the Tohoku Region's top three cherry blossom spots, along with Hirosaki and Kitakami. During an average year, by this time around...
2012/04/28

2012/04/28 - Takizakura Report

Four days after our first visit to the Miharu Takizakura in Fukushima Prefecture, I revisited what I consider Japan's most beautiful tree...
2012/04/28

2012/04/28 - Kitakami Report

Kitakami is widely recognized as one of Tohoku's top three cherry blossom viewing spots, along with Hirosaki and Kakunodate...
2012/04/28

2012/04/28 - Aizu Report

After visiting the Miharu Takizakura, I drove 50 kilometers inland to Aizu-Wakamatsu, also in Fukushima Prefecture. Surrounded by snow covered mountains, including...
2012/04/28

2012/04/28 - Hiraizumi Report

Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture became recognized as a Unesco World Heritage just last year. Today, I have the privilege to visit the culturally important properties of Chusonji Temple and Motsuji Temple. While neither of these world...
2012/04/27

One Year After The Tsunami

One year after the tsunami, we revisited some of the worst hit cities along the Sanriku Coast in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures on April 16 and 17, 2012...
2012/04/25

2012/04/25 - Sendai Report

Sendai is a city close to my heart because it was one of the first places that I had visited during my first trip to Japan to watch the World Cup ten years ago. Today we visit its cherry blossom spots. The city's cherry blossoms...
2012/04/24

2012/04/24 - Fukushima Report

After a short break, today we travel further north into the Tohoku Region to resume our cherry blossom reporting. It looks set to be a good day as we make our first stop at the famed Miharu Takizakura (Miharu weeping cherry tree)...
2011/10/27

2011/10/27 - Towadako Report

This year's last autumn color report from the Tohoku Region comes from Lake Towada and Oirase Stream, a picturesque stream that flows out of the lake and down a...
2011/10/21

2011/10/21 - Fukushima Report

Mount Bandai (Bandaisan) is a volcano in Fukushima Prefecture which last erupted in 1888 in one of the most violent volcanic eruptions in recent Japanese history, thereby newly shaping the mountain's peak and the Urabandai...
2011/10/20

2011/10/20 - Zao Report

Located on the prefectural border between Yamagata and Miyagi Prefectures, Mount Zao is one of the highest mountains in the Tohoku Region, and therefore one of the first spots in the region to delight tourists...
2011/10/19

2011/10/19 - Naruko Report

The Naruko Gorge is one of the Tohoku Region's most famous autumn color spots and usually at its peak in late October to early November. It can be reached in a twenty minute walk from...
2011/10/18

Half A Year After The Tsunami

A little bit over half a year after the tsunami, we revisited some of the worst hit cities along the Sanriku Coast. In most areas the debris has been sorted and collected into huge mountains, paving the way for reconstruction...
2011/05/02

2011/05/02 - Kakunodate Report

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...
2011/05/01

2011/05/01 - Hirosaki Report

Today we continued our Tohoku Region cherry blossom reporting with a visit to Hirosaki in southwestern Aomori Prefecture...
2011/04/30

One Month After The Tsunami

One and a half months after the March 11 disaster, good progress has been made on clearing major roads, recovering victims and reinstating the food supply. The self defense force and police from all over the country were...
2011/04/29

2011/04/29 - Kitakami Report

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...
2011/04/29

After the Earthquake: A trip to Hiraizumi

In time for the Golden Week holidays, the Tohoku Shinkansen reopened along its entire length today, making it much faster and easier to access the northern Tohoku Region...
2011/04/22

2011/04/22 - Aizu Report

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...
2011/04/21

2011/04/21 - Sendai Report

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...
2011/04/21

After the Earthquake: A trip to Matsushima

Celebrated for one of Japan's three most scenic views, Matsushima is the best known tourist destination that got directly hit by last month's tsunami. Thanks to its location in a well protected bay within a bay, however, Matsushima...