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Japanese Culture

When is the best time to visit Japan?

Miyajima Itsukushima Shrine

The best answer:- The best time to visit Japan is ‘anytime’. There are 4 very distinct seasons and you can enjoy any of them, so read on! An even better answer:- The best time to visit Japan and enjoy it to its utmost you need to take advantage of the seasons. Your itinerary and the things…

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Japanese Gardens

When you think of Japanese Gardens, order and tranquility seem to spring to mind. There again, there are the Japanese sand and stone (or dry landscape) gardens made from such harsh substances yet they convey idealism and potential for contemplation on a totally different plane. The variety of gardens in Japan is staggering. Some of…

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Japanese Cuisine (1)

Until recently, UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage included only one traditional cuisine – French.  However, there are now two cuisines listed; French and Japanese. The traditional Japanese cuisine known as “washoku” was recently added to this exclusive list. We are all familiar how good chefs around the world have frequently turned to the foundation…

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Ryokan & Minshuku

There is a wide variety of accommodation in Japan, from the large 5* international chains to the smaller more personal type of accommodation. Of interest here are two particular types of accommodation in Japan; ryokans and minshuku. Some ryokans can be quite large up to 100s of rooms, whereas minshuku approximate to our family operated…

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Japanese Tea Ceremony

The roots of  tea ceremony were in China and appearing in Japan more than 1000 years ago. Having seen the Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies, apart from consuming tea, it is hard to discern what else is in common. The Japanese tea ceremony has evolved in its own way over time with its own purpose and…

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The Buddhist Monk

The two major religions in Japan are Shinto (the indigenous faith of the Japanese people) and Buddhism. Buddhism originated in India and apparently arrived in Japan via two routes, Korea and China. Buddhism came to Japan about 1500 years ago. Buddhism took some time to get a foothold in Japan because of its more complex theories.…

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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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A Japanese person’s view of Paradise

Outdoor Onsen

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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Star Festival

At the Star Festival in July

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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