The Monkeys of Hell Valley

With their gentle pink faces and thick fluffy coats, the snow monkeys have to be one of the cutest wild animals in Japan. I’ve encountered Japanese macaques in a few different areas – Kamikochi, Tateyama, Kyoto – but nowhere is comparable to seeing them at Jigokudani Yaen-koen. Deep in the mountains of northern Nagano, a…

Spectacular Colours in Kyoto

Kyoto is incredible any time of the year. No two visits are ever the same, and there are endless places to explore. With its World Heritage temples and shrines, geisha district, traditional foods and ancient history, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular cities in the world. Even for Japanese people, no place…

Journey to the Soul of Japan

Two thousand years ago, the emperor of Japan sent his daughter on a mission. She was to find a new home for a sacred mirror, one of three items that had been passed down from their ancestor, Amaterasu, the sun goddess and the creator of ancient Japan. The mirror was worshipped as though it was…

Iya Valley

Vine Bridges of the Iya Valley

Has there ever been a place you’ve dreamed of going to for years? You’ve seen it in pictures, you’ve read about it, you’ve heard about it from other travellers… but you just haven’t been able to get there yourself. Maybe you and your travel buddies just couldn’t align your schedules. Maybe you were waiting for…

Japan’s Beautiful Canal Town

After around 4 hours and multiple train changes, I had arrived at Okayama, the self-proclaimed Land of Sunshine, and the official home of the folktale character Momotaro (a boy who is born out of a giant peach found floating down a river). From Okayama Station, I then hopped on a local train and made my…

Le Petit Prince in Hakone

Hakone is home to a very bizarre mixture of things. To most Japanese, it is known as an onsen town. The many hot springs in the area are thanks to the volcano complex, Mt Hakone. You can even go up to the crater where you’ll find black onsen-boiled eggs that add 7 years onto your life!…