Category Archives: Prefecture

Under attack at Osorezan

You would expect that coming up to Osorezan by bus means you go back to Shimokita by bus. However, for the intrepid – or naive – you can walk back down the mountain to Ohata then bus it back to … Continue reading

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Osorezan: is ethereal worth it?

You may have gauged already that I really enjoy riding trains in Japan. So on this fine and warmish autumn day I was looking forward to the 2 hour trip on local lines from Aomori to Shimokita via Noheji. The … Continue reading

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Goshogake bubbling up

By chance our travels north from Tokyo to Kamaishi coincided with a reward of delightful cherry blossoms in Morioka Castle Park in full bloom. More of that in a later post. Today I wanted to relay the story of a … Continue reading

Posted in Akita, People, Prefecture, Small Towns and Villages, Volcanos, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

From Sendai to St Ives North

I have been a volunteer fire fighter here in Australia for 37 years. For the last 9 years I have worked for the NSW Rural Fire Service. Around 5 years ago by chance I became involved in disaster resilience education … Continue reading

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More to explore in Tohoku, this time in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture

The Tohoku region north-east of Tokyo may not at the top of the visitor list, but it should be. Spectacular scenery, coastal and mountain landscapes, large cities as well as very small villages, numerous places to walk and with many … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Iwate, People, Small Towns and Villages, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

First hand account of Disaster Resilience education at work

I am in Japan again. Usually on one day I take some time to do ‘work’ around the management of disasters. This time I caught up with someone who I saw present at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk … Continue reading

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Laundry nirvana in Morioka

‘Laundry needs to be done again’ I didn’t want to think about it. After running around aimlessly for 6 hours in Tokyo on the great laundry hunt, and suffering the indignity of being offered a seat on the train, I … Continue reading

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A good beer and a good book

Another day goes by too quickly in Morioka. So I purposefully headed out to the Aeron Standard Diner and Bar for a local beer and maybe a conversation or two with the local patrons. Maybe I need to lower my … Continue reading

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No need to offer me a seat

And so here I was on the Chuo Line Rapid rumbling to Shinjuku, heading to the coin-operated laundry as directed by my Information Service friends back at Tokyo – back pack stuffed with dirty clothes. I know the last hour … Continue reading

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Surely the laundry is here somewhere

Tokyo is a big place and I assumed it would be pretty easy to find a coin-operated laundry, pop the dirty washing in, sit around for an hour, and be back out touristing before you know it. Here’s hour the … Continue reading

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Strolling the Mitake Gorge

No need to go further up the valley deeper into the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, strolling the Mitake Gorge riverside walking path caps off a great day that included the Mitake Tozan Ralway and the Musashi Shrine. Starting just below Mitake … Continue reading

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Musashi Shrine at Mt Mitake

When Tokyo gets discussed, the only image conjured up by most visitors is concrete and people. Yet as soon as you leave the flat land conurbation, extensive hills, mountains and forests beckon. Ome in western Tokyo is one of those … Continue reading

Posted in Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tokyo, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Can the Mitake Tozan Railway get any steeper?

Mt Takeo is a very popular destination on the western edges of Tokyo. Maybe less popular but an immensely interesting place to visit is Mt Mitake in Ome City where your day can have three distinct elements – the Mitake … Continue reading

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JR Metropolitan Hotel Marunouchi, worth the splurge

Fair to say that 5 Stars is punching well above my usual accommodation level when getting around Japan. 3 Star business hotels are the norm. The JR Metropolitan Hotel Marunouchi (Tokyo) has such a good reputation and is close to … Continue reading

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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

Yasu’s favourite izakaya is now mine. IZAKAYA たいと

I met Yasu at the Japan Council of Local Government Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) in Sydney a few years ago. With his posting over and a trip to Tokyo coming up for Veronica and I, some loose arrangements were … Continue reading

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Kawayu Onsen – better second time around

There is something exotic and very reflective of the heart of Japan to stay in an old wooden ryokan, a fast flowing river in front before big hills that surround. Add to that open air hot spring baths. Kawayu Onsen … Continue reading

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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

Posted in Art and Culture, Festivals, Small Towns and Villages, Wakayama | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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

Posted in Art and Culture, Festivals, People, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Wakayama | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Art and Culture, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Wakayama, Walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Umbrella

The simple question from my work colleague was “where did I get my umbrella?” It might look like an ordinary, cheap looking, clear plastic, black ribbed and black handled umbrella. But that umbrella is a link to disaster, resilience, hope … Continue reading

Posted in Accommodation, Disasters, Iwate, People, Small Towns and Villages | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Miffy Cafe brings smiles in Kamaishi

Fair to say that I am not a fan of theme cafes. But the unmistakable line visage of Miffy adorning a cafe in far-off Kamaishi took Veronica and I back to those days some 30 years ago when Dick Bruna’s … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Eating and drinking, Iwate, Small Towns and Villages | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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Remains of the Stay

Traveling brings with it an accumulation of momentary conversations and connections. Relationships that are never developed, and highly unlikely to be rekindled. Like a variant on Kazuo Ishiguro’s fantastic book The Remains of the Day. I smile to myself at … Continue reading

Posted in Akita, Disasters, Nagoya, People, Small Towns and Villages, Temples and Shrines, Tochigi, Volunteer Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Finding old Tokyo in Nippori

Ueno Park is a significant draw card for visitors, for its museums, galleries, zoo, temples and quiet contemplation. Just to the north of the Ueno Park precinct is Nippori, an old part of Tokyo that has history, culture and a … Continue reading

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Ok. Ok. I am wearing tights.

The universal snow symbol near Akita was a good clue that Kakunodate was not going to miss out on the upcoming cold snap. Predicted light snow from Tuesday when i was arriving, through till Friday AM, with the wind chill … Continue reading

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Packing. Not yet competent

You would think that after a dozen overseas trips that I would be able to get packing down to a fine art. Well think again. I am certainly a long way off being competent in the art of packing light. … Continue reading

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No regrets, but next time ….

Being a single traveler has a particular advantage in flexibility it brings. However you are always on the outside, a 2 hour drop in to a place, a single seat at the izakaya buzzing with small work groups. For all … Continue reading

Posted in Accommodation, Big Cities, Disasters, Miyagi, Small Towns and Villages | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment