Praying and buying charms at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines famous for lucky attributes are Japanese rites of passage at every stage of life. Given our passion for pretty, why should beauty be any exception? For centuries, women (and men) have sought a spiritual cosmetic boost from two famous Kyoto shrines: Kawai Jinja and Utsukushi Gozensha.
As beautiful as traditional ryokans or inns in the Japanese countryside can be, they are sometimes intimidating, at least to my wife and me. There are procedures and rules known to most of their clients but not to us -- and reading about them goes only so far once you've actually arrived at the front door.
The damp, dark, and endearingly dirty Tsukiji wholesale fish and produce market is being transported to a boring spit of landfill near Toyosu Station. Or so the headlines shout. That's not exactly true.
History and beauty are not the only reasons Japanese choose which of the hundreds of temples and shrines to put on their Kyoto to-do lists. For centuries (and longer) certain shrines have made a reputation for themselves as especially lucky in love.
When visiting Japan, there are a few things that absolutely need to be on your list: enjoying some (or a lot) of sake with the locals, ample time to e...
You're likely familiar with the nearly symmetrical, often snow-capped cone of Fuji-san -- as the mountain is known locally -- through images of Japanese classical artworks, most famously in the print series by Hokusai, Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.
Dancing in the streets was only allowed during the festival period, and the story goes, Samurai were forbidden from attending. Now, the dance replicates these drunken origins, with precise dance moves performed throughout the day, becoming more frenetic as the night goes on.
Oriental Land Company Ltd., which operates Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, is breaking ground on expansive new themed areas for both Disney parks.
In Japan this spring, the color of money is pink. Thanks to the weak yen, Japan is suddenly affordable. Visitors from Asia and elsewhere are coming in record numbers to experience that most iconic of Japanese events, cherry blossom season.
There are some many beautiful places to see in Japan. Here are a few of the destinations that I'd like to see during my travels.
Tokyo superstores BicQlo, Shinjuku; Yodobashi Camera, Akihabara, and Don Quijote, just about anywhere in town; are big fun. They've refined the concept of 'shop 'til you drop' to the point where you can reach true retail exhaustion without ever leaving the building.
The art of alcohol distillation dates back to some of the earliest civilizations. Today, the practice continues and we highlight some of the coolest places in the world to sip on spirits while gaining an insider view on how they're made.
Ieyasu's shrine to himself and the mighty samurai class, Toshogu, was one of only a tiny number of buildings in the area that managed to survive this fierce final battle. So in-your-face reformers! Don't mess with this Shogun, even in death.
Tokyo's colorful Asakusa district is just about the luckiest place in town, with shrines and temples to the Seven Gods of Good Fortune all within walking distance.
Beautiful Meiji Shrine is already on most tour itineraries. The perfect stop before or after a ramble through Harajuku. Two very different -- but always compatible -- sides of this culture.
Traveling to Tokyo this December? Don't worry about missing out on holiday cheer. Japanese have embraced, if not the spirit, at least the traditions of the holidays with typical enthusiasm.