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Four seasons in Japan

You often hear that Japan is blessed with a beautifully distinct four seasons. But you’ve got to experience one or more of the seasons to actually know what it means. We have just completed our signature spring ‘Cherry Blossom Spectacular Tour’ and comments we received from the members of the tour demonstrate that the experience…

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Takayama Festival

The Takayama Spring Festival starts mid April and runs for two days. The centuries old festival apparently started about  the  17th centuries. There is little documented history about the start of the event, it is held to commemorate a good harvest. One of the largest festivals in Japan, it is a spectacle not to miss. The Takayama…

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Kyushu

Kyushu – Less Travelled Path

Speak of Japan and places likes Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Takayama spring to mind. All these places are on the main island of Honshu. There is an island in Japan that is steeped in history, has wonderful natural wonders (like volcanoes), is renowned for food & festivals and yet it is less visited. You may…

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Sake Tasting

Australians have great wine and the knowledge of wine often causes confusion when considering Sake. Just like wine there is a very large choice. Some sake has pronounced fragrance and yet others have almost none at all. Sake offers a range from dry to quite sweet and yet another dimension is the way the alcohol/acidity…

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Outdoor Onsen

A Japanese person’s view of Paradise

Ask a Japanese person what they believe paradise is and almost universally the response will be being in an onsen, especially an onsen with a beautiful view of nature.  So what is an onsen? An onsen is bath (some the size of a small swimming pool) where mineral hot spring water runs continuously. Before you…

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Snow Monkeys

Snow Monkeys – A Summer treat

The Japanese Macaque (commonly known as the ‘Snow Monkey’) is unique in its behavior. Best known because it takes to the geothermal spring waters in winter as a way to get warm. So the story goes, it is only a little over 50 years ago when a female monkey first started soaking in the spring…

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Kamikochi - Japanese Alps

Leisurely hiking in the Japanese Alps

On our research trip to Japan this July we were lucky enough to visit Kamikochi, one of the most scenic spots in Japan. Kamikochi approximates to ‘where gods decend’. It is an area surrounded by 3,000 meter-class mountains of the Japanese Alps, that stretches for roughly 10 kilometers along Azusa River. It was originally a…

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At the Star Festival in July

Star Festival

July 7th is called Tanabata or Star Festival in Japan. The star festival is celebrated in the streets of cities and towns all over Japan. We were fortunate enough to be in Asakusa (Tokyo) on the 7th of July and experienced the fun and colour of a parade and decorated streets. In some regions, where…

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