Category Archives: Japan

Wangkou Village

It had been a long day. We’d already visited three previous villages and all had been crowded, touristy, cleaned up and some partially rebuilt. I was not hopeful that the last village – Wangkou – would be any different. But … Continue reading

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10 days in a Chinese ink painting

Our 10-day trip to China was mostly rained out. But for once, boy were we glad it rained. Grey skies almost 80% of the time, with rain and mist and fog, this would have been a dampener on any holiday … Continue reading

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Daibutsu at Kamakura

A tourist-show, a legend told, A rusting bulk of bronze and gold, So much, and scarce so much, ye hold The meaning of Kamakura? – Rudyard Kipling, Buddha at Kamakura Neither tsunami nor earthquake could put a dent in the … Continue reading

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Bessho Onsen

If you asked me where my deep affinity for all things Japanese came from, I guess it must started with┬áthose calendars. As a child, I was always drawn to the beauty of the Japanese garden scenery reflected in the glossy … Continue reading

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Nagano’s Path to the Pure Land

In Nagano, all paths lead to Zenkoji. Possibly one of the most important and influential Buddhist centres of worship in Japan and a pilgrimage site, Zenkoji has had a long and important history in Nagano. In fact, with Zenkoji being … Continue reading

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Togakushi: Soba, Ninjas and Shrines

As with any pilgrimage, it is often the journey that is just as, if not more important than the destination. In the magnificent tree-lined path leading to the innermost sanctuary of one of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines, there is time … Continue reading

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In the shadow of Beijing’s towers

Before the skyscrapers on the outer ring roads sprang up, in the heart of the inner city, the tallest buildings around Beijing’s hutongs were the Bell Tower and Drum Tower. These are no tall, spindly needles but short fat hulks … Continue reading

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Frogs, Springs and Shrines: Matsumoto’s little discoveries

I was glad to return to Matsumoto. The last time I was here was in 2011 and while we covered the major sights the last time ie the black castle, this time I was happy to just wander around and … Continue reading

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Kurobe Alpine Route 2

These are the famous snow walls in the snow corridor near Murodo. This road is snowed over every year from November to April. In April, the road is cleared with great fanfare, with the event broadcast on national television! The … Continue reading

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Kurobe Alpine Route 1

This picture was taken in late April. Well into spring already but up here on the Midagahara plateau, I am still standing on ice and snow at least eight metres deep. Only the tips of the trees can be seen. … Continue reading

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