The season has arrived, and in somewhat strange order this year. The ginkgo trees are full-on gold and already carpeting their surroundings with fallen leaves, but most Japanese maples are … Continue Reading A Feast Of Autumn Leaves
There’s a secret walled garden at the Ueno Toshogu Shrine that’s only open once a year for peony season, but guess what? This year they’re letting us come in to … Continue Reading In The Japanese Dahlia Garden
Went to check on whether the cosmos were blooming yet at Hama-Rikyu Teien garden last week and discovered that the lovely fields of gently nodding multicolored blooms I remembered were looking … Continue Reading Who Knew There Was A Butterfly Season In Tokyo?
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
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
From mid-April to mid-May, it seems like there are bright pink bushes whipping by the train window everywhere you go in Tokyo, but there are a few special places that just … Continue Reading Where To See The Most Amazing Azaleas In Tokyo
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
It never fails – every time the big cherry things burst into bloom, I see foods that totally make me want to shout “What the pinkity pink?” I’m not talking about food that … Continue Reading Pink Food Season Arrives In All Its WTF Splendor
Did you even have to ask? It’s not enough that famous cherry blossom spots are lit up at night, now Tokyo has electric cherry blossom extravaganzas that rival the ever-more-crazy holiday light shows! • TOKYO … Continue Reading Cherry Blossom Illuminations
You know those “Top Places To See Cherry Blossoms In Tokyo” websites that always tell you to go to Ueno Park? Well, this is how Ueno Park actually looks during cherry … Continue Reading Where To Take The Best Cherry Blossom Photos In Tokyo
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
All of February (and a little of March) is the best time to see fluffy pink and white and red beauties bursting like popcorn all over Tokyo. Here are the … Continue Reading Plum Blossom Countdown
Yes, it’s that time of year again, when you comb your list of friends & family for those who truly deserve that rare and awe-inspiring gift from Japan… 10. If there’s nobody on your … Continue Reading Top Ten Crazy Holiday Gifts From Japan 2016
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 have to admit, I was powerless to resist going to a thing where hundreds of people dressed more or less as cats pranced down the street, some of them raucously performing musical … Continue Reading At The Crazy Cat Parade
If you think that vast fields of blooming wildflowers are something you won’t find in Tokyo…think again! From mid-September to mid-October every year, the lowly cosmos is elevated to extravaganza status at … Continue Reading Where To See Huge Fields Of Cosmos In Tokyo
If it happens to be raining when you are invited to walk through a magical forest carpeted with five million blooming amaryllis, do not say no. Because this. If you’re in … Continue Reading The Magical Red Forest
Although by now we’re all sort of feeling like “don’t let the door hit you on the way out, you miserably hot & humid Japanese summer,” some of the various celebrations … Continue Reading Goldfish, Goldfish, Everywhere
The vending machines are suddenly stuffed with pink drinks. Of course, there hasn’t been a genuine fuzzy-skinned stone fruit within a thousand kilometers of these so-called “peach” libations, but that doesn’t stop … Continue Reading It Must Be Fake Peach Flavor Season Again
SUMMERTIME! In the land where fireworks are more like giant flaming bunches of posies than boisterous, wham-bam, shock & awe, that’s what hanabi really means in Japanese: fire flowers. A summertime treat accompanied … Continue Reading Big Bouquets Of Fire Flowers
I have a confession to make. Although my job is to write about ingenious ways people commit murder and mayhem, when it comes to obsessing about how I’d commit the perfect crime, … Continue Reading Hydrangeas: Gateway To A Life Of Crime
If you’ve never walked among peonies that stand shoulder-high, with flowers as big as your head, get thee to these Tokyo gardens right now and prepare to be amazed! NISHIARAI-DAISHI TEMPLE … Continue Reading Where To See The Most Gorgeous Peonies In Tokyo
Sometimes you’re trudging home and dreading getting on a crowded train, then you find THIS! How great is it that they have a peeing boy statue smack in the middle … Continue Reading The Best Dressed Nude Statue In All Of Tokyo
Whether you’re all about the beer drinking or just want to win a few photo contests, first you gotta find the big pink things. Here’s a list of my all-time … Continue Reading The Best Cherry Blossom Spots In Tokyo – With Maps!
Is your favorite lipstick color black? Do net quizzes always sort you into Slytherin? Would you rather eat deep fried cod testicles than be seen in a pink kimono? Then this set … Continue Reading Finally, Girls’ Day For Goths!
Because what do snow and tropical fish have in common? They both make killer themes for a bar! Yes, this aquarium has a bar (because Japan). Usually it’s called the Coral Bar, but until mid-April, the same artists … Continue Reading Snow Aquarium
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
Middle school boys in foxface and golden skirt-pants carrying gigantic fox heads through the streets of Tokyo? Can you think of a better way to ring in the new year? Every … Continue Reading Midnight Fox Parade
Are you ready once again to have holiday lights spoiled for-e-ver by the insanely great Tokyo Illuminations? This year, the old favorites do not disappoint, but there are a couple of … Continue Reading The Best Tokyo Winter Illuminations 2015
It’s time for Only In Japan’s yearly holiday gift round-up, and it looks like 2015 is holding its own! I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be the only one to bestow one of these awesome gifts … Continue Reading 2015 Top Ten Crazy Gifts From Japan!
This time of year, if it’s sweet and purple, it tastes like…WAT? Yes, sweet potato candy (and muffins and ice cream) is a THING, and anything that’s purple in … Continue Reading What’s Purple And Squishy And Tastes Like Thanksgiving?
• Read a novel set in Tokyo
Because in Japan, dressing up is no joke! Real cosplayers scoff at Halloween as Amateur Night, but for most people, the Big H is a chance to flaunt their secret zombie in public, and even … Continue Reading Level Up, Halloweenies!
If someone says “hydrangeas” and you think “boring white puffballs,” you haven’t seen the outrageous ones in Tokyo yet! Here are my favorite hydrangea garden extravaganzas, and they’ll be blooming ’til the end of June, just … Continue Reading Great Balls O’ Flowery Fluff: Tokyo’s Best Hydrangea Gardens
Fields of riotously blooming purple, blue & white iris? Yes, please! Here are the best places in Tokyo to see the iris extravaganzas of your dreams. New for 2020! HASEDERA … Continue Reading Where To See The Best Iris Gardens In Tokyo
When winter finally lets go of Tokyo and the days start to get long and warm, it’s time to take the local deities out and show them a good time! But … Continue Reading Partying With The Gods
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!
Many a cherry blossom party has been thwarted by wacky weather or unavoidable business trips, but even if the gods throw a wrench into your best-laid plans, don’t despair! Late-blooming yaezakura come into their … Continue Reading The Best Places To See Late-Blooming Cherry Trees In Tokyo
Cherry blossoms and crowds go together like long bathroom lines and hanami parties, but at these secret Tokyo spots, you can enjoy the pinkness without getting trampled, even at peak season! Here … Continue Reading The Best SECRET Cherry Blossom Spots In Tokyo!
Yes, it’s a heart-shaped patty of raw meat. Because what could be more romantic? (Thanks to my friend Mad Caron of Clumsy Dandy fame for spotting this, er, treat.) • … Continue Reading The Hamburger Of Luv
I am a total, total sucker for plum blossoms. The flowers are much more beautiful than cherry blossoms up close, and you gotta admire that the damn things even bloom in … Continue Reading Where To See The Best Plum Blossoms In Tokyo
In Japan, the frenzy of weird Santas and blue poinsettias are whisked away the day after Christmas, and replaced with something far better…new year’s decorations! I never saw them before I lived … Continue Reading I Love Japanese New Year’s Decorations!
…I’d have realized I could have had a smashing set of ram horns to wear all day, to welcome in the Year Of The Sheep! Happy New Year, everyone! May the … Continue Reading Dang, If Only I Hadn’t Been Distracted By The Satan Horns…
As you know, I take an avid and unnatural interest in Japanese holiday costumes, and this year is no exception. There were the usual acts of Santa blasphemy – including Sexy Santa, Emo … Continue Reading Looks Like Santa’s Been Skipping The Gym This Year
10. What do you give the person who has everything? They’ve already got a one-shot coffee maker. And a one-shot tea machine. But I bet they don’t have a ONE-SHOT … Continue Reading Top Ten Only In Japan Holiday Gifts 2014!
I hope you’re all rested up from our cherry blossom death march last spring, because it’s time to strap on your camera and a couple of extra batteries to hunt down … Continue Reading Where To See The Best Fall Leaves In Tokyo
Here, you don’t need to go out and commune with nature to know when autumn has arrived – all you have to do is check your corner vending machine to see how many of the cold … Continue Reading Fall Is When The Vending Machines Change Colors In Japan