An Eerie Hike Up Mt Tsukuba

Spring is a time for flowers and sunshine. A time when the sun comes out and heats everything up - with birds chirping and bees buzzing. But this was not the case when a friend and I decided to undertake a hike up another one of Japan's many, many mountains: Mt Tsukuba. Tsukuba-san is a mountain …

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Japanese Gift Giving Occasions

The gift giving culture in Japan is a huge part of this society, with presents given for all types of occasions. Now, while there are plenty of gift giving etiquette to remember, it's also important to know the different occasions when gifts are appropriate - and the best type of gift for each occasion. So here's …

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Gift Giving Guidelines in Japan

Giving gifts are an incredibly important part of Japanese culture and presents are given for so many different occasions. In fact, gift giving in Japan is taken so seriously that it's not only seen as common courtesy, but a social obligation as well. Of course, like any gift giving culture, there are a certain number of …

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A Field Trip to Shinjuku Gyoen

Before the burst of cherry blossoms hit Tokyo (and thus the burst of insane crowds), I decided to take a trip to the famous Shinjuku Gyoen - a large national garden in the center of Tokyo's liveliest area. A few months ago, it was suggested to me that winter was one of the ugliest seasons …

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Yoshimi Hundred Caves

Saitama, often thought to be a very boring prefecture, actually contains an incredible out-of-the-way, well-worth-visiting historical site: The Yoshimi Hundred Caves (吉見百穴 Yoshimi Hyakuana). Excavated in the 1880s, the tombs were originally thought to be the dwellings of pre-Japanese little people - maybe the Koro-pok-guru of Japanese folklore. But after this claim was refuted, it was …

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