Category Archives: Art and Culture

Cafe Aun quiet beside the Tama River

From the riverside walking track only a small wooden gate sign lets you know that both a gallery and cafe lie on the other side. The short path leads you past kid’s bikes, a cubby house and a deflated football … Continue reading

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Akagi-goe section of the Kumano Kodo

The loop from Hongu Taisha to Hosshinmon-oji, on to Funatama-jinja and then on to Yunomine via the Akgi-goe section of the Nakahechi route is a very popular day walk. A short distance from Funatama-jinja, the route crosses over the Otonashi-gawa. … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Onsen, Small Towns and Villages, Wakayama, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Heart beat #19958

Contemporary art can be weird wonderful and whimsical, more often weird. When it is participatory, it is at another level again. And so I became heartbeat #19958 recorded on 13 April 2016 in Christian Boltanski’s worldwide installation ‘Les Archives du … Continue reading

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Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival

With declining rural communities as well as less Shinto followers  across Japan, local religious and cultural local festivals might be struggling to maintain community interest and participation. S0 I say to fellow visitors in particular – seek out and celebrate … Continue reading

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Images of the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival

Big festivals in Japan are vibrant and exiting, the energy of the massive crowds palpable. But small festivals with rich history and cultural connections are worth finding. On such festival is the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival, in Hongu, Tanabe … Continue reading

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A short but well-formed section of the Kumano Kodo

Historic pilgrimage routes are becoming extremely popular with serious trekkers and casual visitors. The Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture offers the Kumano Kodo network of pilgrimage routes. The 7 km walk from Hosshinmon-oji to Hongu Taisha is an easily accessible … Continue reading

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Cafe Ryusenkei replaces a faster music life

So this is Cafe Ryusenkei, an American Airstream caravan from the 60’s transformed into an intimate, mobile cafe fitted out by award-winning designers. Moving from place to place, a calendar identifying the next port of call.

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Putting Hiraizumi on your itinerary 

A few hours north of Tokyo is the recently registered World Heritage Site of Hiraizumi that is recognised for its remarkable buildings and gardens that directly express Pure Land Buddhism. I know little about Buddhism and less about the ancient … Continue reading

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Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum of Art

In 2012 I saw an exhibition of Hiroshige Utagawa’s Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido prints in Sydney and was amazed at the vibrant colours and detailed depictions of rural Japan life around 1830. Museums and galleries around the world proudly … Continue reading

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Cornering the Takayama Autumn Festival

Getting a bed in Takayama around the famous and hugely popular Autumn Festival can be a challenge. By booking months ahead, Veronica and I got a fantastic Japanese style room at the Zenkoji Buddhist Temple right in the centre of … Continue reading

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The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail

The Kumano region sits well south of Osaka in the mountains of the Kii peninsula. Kumano includes Koyasan which is more accessible and popular. But venture further south along the ancient roads linking to the shrines and temples of Kumano … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Volunteer Guide, Wakayama, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Free visitor advice service

Tokyo is one of the great cities of the world with 1,001 things to see or do. Making a decisions about what how to spend your little time there will define your visit. So, here is my free visitor advice … Continue reading

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Shitaya Matsuri in Ueno, Tokyo

53 versions of a travel itinerary just couldn’t work in this year’s Asakusa Sanja Matsuri in mid-May. While Ueno’s Shitaya Matsuri may not have the million or spectators like Asakusa, it is exuberant, colourful and highly recommended.  On previous trips … Continue reading

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Narai-juku to Yabuhara via the Torii Pass

(post updated 8 November, 2012) Kiso Valley (木曽谷), is surrounded by mountains such as the Central Alps to the east and the North Alps to the west.  The old Nakasendo Highway, which was completed in the Edo Period 1603–1867) as … Continue reading

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Guide to Nikko World Heritage Area

I wrote the post below following a great 3 days in Nikko World Heritage Area in August 2011. I arranged a local guide for a morning exploring Nikko’s main temples and shrines – and that guide that day was going … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tochigi, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Matsumoto Taiko Festival

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Taiko means great or wide-drum – and aptly describes the annual Matsumoto Taiko Matsuri (Drum Festival) held with an exquisite backdrop of Matsumoto Castle and the Japan Alps. The stage was large, the drums large, the troupes varying from 5 … Continue reading

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Photography and Beer Museums at Ebisu

The Ebisu Garden Palace is an office, shopping and cultural precinct that includes the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Yebisu Beer Museum. Heading for the Beer Museum, the Museum of Photography was a nice surprise. There were 4 … Continue reading

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Hama-ryku Gardens

When Veronica and I were here in September 2009, we took this tourist ferry to Hinode Pier. This time, Hama-ryku Gardens were my target. In 2009, the ferry was packed with lots of overseas visitors and locals. This time around, … Continue reading

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