Snow Magic in Sapporo

Sapporo, the city of the north… Despite it’s harsh winter weather and average annual snowfall of about 6 metres, it’s surprisingly Japan’s 5th largest city. It’s not constantly dark and gloomy, though. Just think, endless chances to have snowball fights, make snow angels, go skiing, eat fresh seafood, slurp down miso ramen – there’s a lot to love! And there’s one more…

Christmas Time in Tokyo

Sparkling lights and cool winter nights… Christmas in Japan is all about romance. It’s a day for going on a special date with your significant other. So, it’s no wonder winter illuminations are hugely popular. You can drink champagne beneath the lit-up trees and cuddle together for warmth. It’s the perfect date spot!  My top…

WPC – Chaos

When you think of the Japanese way of life, words that typically come to mind are orderly, calm or disciplined. Then there are matsuri, or Japanese festivals… My first taste of a ‘chaotic’ festival was the Sanja Matsuri, famous for the yakuza who walk around freely showing off their tattoos. Men and women heave portable shrines through…

Boro Ichi

Tokyo’s 438 year old market

It all started way back in the year 1578 when Tokyo was nothing more than agricultural land dotted with a few castles. Odawara Castle, close to Mt Fuji, was under control by the prominent Late Hojo clan. They had an alliance with many smaller warlords and ruled the entire region including present-day Tokyo. Wanting a place…

Jimbocho

A Pocket of History in Tokyo

Right in the very centre of one of the world’s most populous metropolitan areas, is a legendary neighbourhood known as hon no machi, or ‘book town’. Here, book lovers hunt for antiques in streets that have a history spanning as long as Tokyo has been Japan’s capital city. This week, the entire suburb of Jimbocho has…

Ikegami Honmonji

Celebrating Saint Nichiren

The train pulled into Ikegami Station, in the southern outskirts of Tokyo, and a flood of people piled onto the platform. We were immediately met with station masters shouting orders at us, as they herded the masses through the ticket gates as smoothly and quickly as possible before the next train arrived. Outside the station, strange shapes…

Koenji awa odori

Dancing the Night Away

As the train doors opened at Koenji Station, a familiar sound immediately filled the air. Beating drums… whistling bamboo flutes… clanging bells… twanging shamisens… Ahhh, the sound of a Japanese summer festival! The streets of Koenji were packed with hundreds of thousands of people this weekend for one of the most famous annual events in Tokyo, the Koenji Awa Odori.…

Lanterns

Legend of the Stars

Long, long ago, there lived a princess named Orihime. She was the daughter of a god of the heavens, and lived by a vast river of stars known to us as the Milky Way. She diligently wove cloth to make clothes for the people in her kingdom. One day, her father realised Orihime was no longer a little girl, but a young woman who…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

The Color Run… the happiest 5k on the planet! A couple of weekends ago, some friends and I headed over to Tokyo Bay near Disneyland to participate in this year’s The Color Run Tokyo. We joined last year too and it was so fun that couldn’t resist going again! The Color Run has spread like…

Azalea Heaven in Nezu

First it was the plum blossoms, then the cherry blossoms, then the tulips, and now the azaleas are stealing the show! I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since the sakura departed. I’ve been up to my neck in work and other things lately, and the blossoms already seem like a distant memory. The sakura trees are now full…