The Mount Fuji volcano, located partially within the Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures southwest of Tokyo, is a national symbol of Japan which is instantly recognizable in countless works of art. This article will teach you about the culture of hiking the mountain, and the conditions you will face if you choose to travel and try to take the climb yourself. We will also give … [Read more...] about The Best Gear for Climbing Mount Fuji!
Travel & Culture
What is Takoyaki? Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack from the Osaka area that was first invented in the early 20th century. The word 'takoyaki' literally means grilled octopus. Made with a batter similar to that for pancakes, the main ingredient is the pieces of octopus added to each takoyaki ball. The takoyaki maker that is used to make takoyaki usually looks like … [Read more...] about What You Need to Make Great Takoyaki at Home
What is the Taisho Era? The Taisho era (1912-1926) was a relatively short period of Japanese history nestled between the much longer Meiji (1868-1912) and Showa (1926-1989) eras. It was a time of great change, in which Western culture permeated Japanese popular culture and the average lifestyle of Japanese people changed drastically. Many words and phrases such as 'Taisho … [Read more...] about The Fashion and Culture of Japan’s Taisho Era
Christmas is an event that has been celebrated in countries worldwide in a variety of different ways. This has even expanded in recent times to countries that are not connected to the origins of the holiday, such as Japan. Although Christmas is seen as a Christian religious holiday in other countries, Christmas in Japan is a different kind of celebration entirely! Even … [Read more...] about KFC and Christmas Cake?! How to Spend a Japanese Christmas
When thinking of the best way to give a gift to those you care about, there are many styles to choose from! In Japan, the art of gift wrapping has developed an especially deep culture. Using traditional furoshiki wrapping cloth is recommended as a way to reuse the same material many times. There are various ways to wrap things depending on their shape and size, or their … [Read more...] about Could Furoshiki Be Your New Gift Wrapping Hack?
What springs to mind when you think of Japanese ukiyo-e paintings? The famous image of huge, powerful waves crashing against Mt. Fuji? Kabuki actors captured in expressive poses? Perhaps you think more of the images of traditional Japanese spirits, skeletons, or other more shocking or explicit ukiyo-e subjects (and there are lots of these too!)? The art of ukiyo-e seems to … [Read more...] about All About Japanese Ukiyo-e Art!
The art of Kintsugi draws a lot of attention in not only in Japan, but around the world as well. Kintsugi is a Japanese traditional technique that mends broken ceramic pieces with lacquer and powdered gold or silver, and is a great way to recycle your precious ceramics. Kintsugi represents the 'mottainai' philosophy, which is a combined feeling of regret and consideration - … [Read more...] about Kintsugi: The Art of Repairing Broken Pottery
The city of Kyoto was the power center of Japan until around 150 years ago. It has a long history as Japan's capital city, lasting from when the capital was relocated there in the year 794 for approximately 1200 years. The original name for Kyoto when it was established was Heiankyo. The grid-pattern streets of the city of Kyoto were created when the town of Heiankyo was … [Read more...] about How to Experience the Kyoto of 1200 Years Ago!
Horyu-ji, the oldest wooden structure in the world, is said to have been built in Japan around 1,300 years ago. It is still common to find wooden structures like Horyu-ji across the country that had been built in the distant past. Many people find it hard to understand how so much wood-based architecture has survived to the present day in a country like Japan, which faces a … [Read more...] about Japanese Woodworking Tools and The History Behind Them
Among Okinawan sake, awamori is particularly popular. It is a traditional drink with a 600 year history that is said to have been the first distilled liquor produced in Japan! One special feature of awamori is the Thai rice used for its distillation, which has a uniquely sweet scent that is different from Japanese rice. One of the main points of awamori that make it so popular … [Read more...] about Awamori, the Refreshing Liquor of Okinawa