The frenzy of building bigger, newer, better illuminations with which to charm shoppers during the holiday season has died back a bit in Tokyo, but there are still plenty of … Continue Reading Where To See The Best Holiday Illuminations In Tokyo 2019!
The hot new trend of holiday illuminations in Tokyo has spread to the gardens and parks, with more and more lighting up their naturally spectacular autumn leaves and opening for … Continue Reading Where To See The Best Autumn Leaves In Tokyo…Lit Up At Night!
Last fall on this exact day, I was ogling some of the most gorgeous autumn leaves in Japan, and I’ve been WAITING for the season to roll around again, so … Continue Reading The Most Beautiful Autumn Leaves In Japan
This year, there were fewer artworks at the Yokohama Smart Illuminations, but the ones on exhibit were SO worth seeing! Or – more accurately – worth DOING. Because this year … Continue Reading Smart Illumination Yokohama 2019: WOW
Riusuke Fukahori paints 3-D goldfish so real you can’t believe they’re not wriggling. And I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but the exhibit of his work going on RIGHT … Continue Reading 3-D Goldfish Art: Wait, Those Are PAINTINGS?
It was construction as usual in the town of Gyoda, until an excavation for a new building hit a layer of lotus plants that had been dead for thousands of … Continue Reading When The Gods Decide To Plant A Lotus Garden, They Don’t Mess Around
In what has to be the weirdest creative medium next to the Seed Art Pavilion at the Minnesosta State Fair, Japanese farmers have taken to making large-scale art by planting … Continue Reading Rice Field Art
The spring rainy season isn’t the most delightful time to be in Japan…unless you’re hiking through a shady forest, surrounded by heaps and heaps of blue hydrangeas! Minamisawa Ajisai Mountain’s … Continue Reading The Enchanted Hydrangea Forest
For years, I’ve wanted to see the old-fashioned farmhouse hamlet of Shirakawa-go all lit up at night in the snow, and this week I got half my wish. It turns … Continue Reading Shirakawago In The Snow
If ogling giant resonating eggs and gawking at color-changing trees isn’t what you’re planning to do this weekend, cancel your plans and get thee out to Hanno to see this … Continue Reading New “Digitized Lakeside and Forest” Outdoor Art Installation!
Because I’m helplessly drawn to things that glow in the dark (gee, ya think?), I recently returned to two of my favorite lit-up-for-winter amusement parks, because I’d heard that they’d … Continue Reading Lighting Up The Winter Night
Free displays of holiday illuminations have become a huge attraction in Tokyo – probably because they’re the most instabae invention since selfie sticks – and every year they get bigger and … Continue Reading Where To See The Best Illuminations In Tokyo 2018
Woo hoo, it’s time for the annual art-as-entertainment Yokohama Smart Illumination 2018! This year, for some reason it took a giant leap in quality, and although the artspeak “explaining” each … Continue Reading Smart Illumination Yokohama 2018: ALL THE YES
That’s what you call this in Japan. It’s an experience that looks way better shared on social media than in real life. But I gotta say, Japan is genius at … Continue Reading Instabae
I know it seems like all I do these days is frant about looking at stuff lit up at night, but there’s been a sudden rash of illuminations events in … Continue Reading Yokohama Smart Illumination 2017: Even More & Better Than Before
Who can say they never clutched the fence at their local zoo’s lemur exhibit and didn’t long to sneak over the top just for a few minutes (or, okay, in … Continue Reading Mobbed By Lemurs At The Exotic Animal Petting Zoo!
These Japanese amaryllis bloom once a year for only a few days, right at the fall equinox. If you move fast, you can still catch the higanbana in their full … Continue Reading Where To See Magical Red Autumn Lilies In Tokyo
Making my way back to Kamakura Station after tossing a few plates at the Dish-Breaking Shrine, I was walking through a totally normal-looking neighborhood when I chanced upon this. A … Continue Reading When You REALLY Hate Your Neighbors
So, everybody knows about the cherry blossoms, and I bet you flower mavens even know about the glories of the plums, wisteria, azaleas and iris. But recently a bunch of … Continue Reading Secret Flower Seasons of Japan
Every once in a while you discover a place where the photos that made you run to the nearest station and jump on godzilla-knows-how-many-trains to get there did not lie. Not even a … Continue Reading Endless Fields Of Blue
It’s purple season again! Yes, the wisteria are blooming, and (did you even have to ask?) of course Japan has over-the-top displays of the good purple stuff. Peak season is mid-April to mid-May, … Continue Reading Where To See The Most Beautiful Wisteria In Tokyo
I mean, look at it. This tree is a THOUSAND years old. It has cranked out cascades of blossoms like this every spring, a thousand times. And if yesterday was any indication, the grand old lady … Continue Reading If I Were A Thousand Years Old, I Would Not Be Putting Out Like This
So, around this time of year, I get to thinking about how everybody is about to crowd into Japan to see the fluffy pink things, but that cherry blossom season is far … Continue Reading What’s Blooming In Japan Right Now?
Yesterday I got to stumble around doing a 360˚ gawk in a forest of plum trees wearing all their favorite clothes at once. Kairakuen Garden in Mito was planted by a genius of a daimyo who totally got that too … Continue Reading Lost In A Forest Of Blooming Plum Trees
There’s a little town about two hours from Tokyo called Katsuura, where one a year, dolls rule. 12,000 of them, to be exact. So, how did Katsuura get so many dolls? … Continue Reading Girls’ Day Dolls…On Steroids
On the way to the Werewolf Shrine in remote Chichibu, locals have enterprisingly turned the frozen waterfalls that spangle the cliffs and caves alongside the Arakawa River into a winter wonderland! … Continue Reading Rainbow Icicle Wonderland
High on top of a snowy mountain in Chichibu – so far from any train station that you’ll be eligible for a senior citizen discount by the time you get … Continue Reading The Werewolf Shrine
Here’s what it’s like to visit Fox Village in the snow, when the foxes are at their fattest & fluffiest! I have to confess, when it comes to which animals would get … Continue Reading Fox Village Videos!
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I finally made it to Zao Fox Village last spring, but it’s a good thing I didn’t actually shuffle off this mortal coil due to fox-induced … Continue Reading Fox Village: Even Better With Snow On Top!
By the time I took four trains and a bus to the gates of the aging amusement park Yomiuri Land, I had already decided that no illuminations could possibly be worth the … Continue Reading Yomiuriland Illuminations
True confessions time. I was just reading my fellow blogger Ben’s account of climbing Mt. Fuji (it’s pretty excellent – check it out here) and it occurred to me that, as an … Continue Reading My Worst Foreigner Moment
If your squee-meter isn’t totally burnt out after Fox Village, it certainly will be, after we check out BUNNY ISLAND! Okunoshima isn’t easy to get to, but that’s why there’s an entire chunk of land off the … Continue Reading Let’s Go To Bunny Island!
Jaded denizen of the interwebz that I am, there’s not much that makes me leap out of my chair and scream “WANT!” but when I first saw a picture taken at Zao … Continue Reading How To Go To Zao Fox Village: Squeeee Capital Of The World
I knew I was going to love the Sasuke Inari Shrine from the moment I saw the long tunnel of red lacquer torii gates leading into the deep, dark woods. … Continue Reading The Fox Shrine To End All Fox Shrines
Outside of Japan, nobody has heard of shibazakura, but they should! Check out the rolling hills covered with pink flowers that bloom in the middle of May! (They’re actually a … Continue Reading Vast Carpets Of Lawn Cherries!
When I was a kid, every year in mid-December we’d all pile into the car and drive around to find the house with the most over-the-top Xmas decorations. No surprise, I am … Continue Reading The Mother Of All Illuminations Theme Parks!
Last night I went to see what I thought was going to be a modest art-light event on the Yokohama waterfront, secretly expecting that the photos from past years were exaggerating the quality of … Continue Reading 「Yokohama Smart Illuminations」: Wow. Just…wow.
As you may have guessed by now, in Japan no flower is safe from being planted together en masse, in order to deliver total sensory overload at the appointed moment. It’s no surprise … Continue Reading Up To My Knees In A Vermilion Sea
Do you think the artist who carved these beasties had ever actually seen one? I guess it doesn’t matter, as long as the guy who paid the bill hadn’t either. These elephants … Continue Reading Furry Elephants. With Claws.
In case you need proof that “the harder a garden is to get to, the more spectacular it is,” look no further than Ashikaga Flower Park. Two solid hours from Tokyo … Continue Reading Yes, This Is One Wisteria Plant!
I’m not sure who first thought that walking across burning coals would be an awesome superpower to have, but sometime in the distant past, that’s exactly what a bunch of … Continue Reading Firewalking 101
The god of rice’s building at the Ise Shrine sits next to a vacant lot. Or, actually, a construction site. Because every twenty years, a replica of the rice god’s … Continue Reading At The Ise Shrine, Everything New Is Old