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There are [1149] stories and [17105] photos from Japan

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Latest stories from Japan

Chūson-ji and the Golden Hall of Konjikidō

Tue, 27 Aug 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [220]

IT WASN’T EASY TO LEAVE NIKKO.  EVEN THE Frank Lloyd Wright designed station seemed to tug at our sleeves.  But the shinkansen was coming faster than a speeding bullet and we didn’t want to miss the train.      ... Read more >

Much Ado About Nikko

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [174]

IT ISN’T OFTEN THAT THE FIRST PLACE YOU VISIT in a new town is a cemetery.  And not a famous one like Arlington National Cemetery or Normandy, either.  We had to work with a map and the lady at Nikko’s Tourist Information Center ... Read more >

Tokyo Metro

Fri, 16 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [156]

YOU CAN GET ANYWHERE IN TOKYO ON THE METRO for only a couple hundred yen.  It’s certainly faster and it may be cooler than walking but you miss so much on the train.  Take today, for instance.  We decided to walk in the opposite ... Read more >

Tokyo National Museum

Thu, 15 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [144]

AFTER 32 DAYS ABOARD, HALF OF THEM AT SEA — plus the 3 weeks aboard in April —Maasdam felt almost like home, not that we would know what that "home" is.  Still, we gladly hopped on the train from Yokohama to Tokyo’s Ueno Station ... Read more >

Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

Thu, 29 Aug 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [141]

JOHN IS PRETTY COMFORTABLE DRIVING ON THE LEFT as they do here in Japan.  He has had enough practice, after all — nearly a year in Australia and New Zealand, half a year in South Africa, several trips to the UK and even six months in Uganda ... Read more >

A Safe Harbor in Yokohama

Tue, 13 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [135]

THE CAPTAIN INFORMED US THAT OUR VISIT to Hakadote would be an abbreviated one; 9AM until 3PM instead of the scheduled 10PM departure.  It looked like Krosa would hit Tokyo early on the 14 th and he wanted the Maasdam tied up and battened ... Read more >

Glimpses of Japan

Mon, 11 Nov 2019 | By krodin | Views [133]

Ok. Now I am really confused. Both American and European plugs work, they drive on the British side, the trains go at lightning speed and there is a 16 hour time differential from here to my U.S. family and students. Welcome to cosmopolitan Tokyo, where ... Read more >

Tags: city visit, museums, sacred sites

The Zen of Takayama

Mon, 19 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [131]

I HAVE TO WONDER HOW WE MISSED HIDA TAKAYAMA last time.  It is arguably one of the top destinations in Japan, even if there isn’t a festival going on.  Takayama sits on the shoulders of the Japanese Alps and at 550 meters elevation, ... Read more >

Tokyo Imperial Gardens

Sun, 18 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [130]

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY SEEMED LIKE GOOD days for walking in the Imperial Palace Gardens and Shinjuku Gyoen, two wonderful havens in sweltering Tokyo.   The Imperial Palace Gardens are the site of the former Edo Castle’s main defense circle and ... Read more >


Sun, 11 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [129]

WE HAVE LEFT BOTH RUSSIA AND FRANCISCO BEHIND but it seems we are heading into another, much stronger typhoon, Krosa by name.  As we cruise towards our ports on the island of Hokkaido, the captain’s reports of 12 meter seas and 100+ km winds ... Read more >

A Rough Road to Nikko

Thu, 22 Aug 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [123]

WE HAD THE DEVIL OF A TIME GETTING FROM Takayama to Nikko, a route that ended up requiring a bus —two depending on how you count — and five different trains.  We were in the second car of a two car train heading to Toyama with four ... Read more >

Takayama Matsuri Festival

Tue, 20 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [122]

WE JUST REALIZED WHY WE SKIPPED TAKAYAMA in 2014.  The Takayama Matsuri, one of the three most popular festivals in Japan, was going on while we were in the area.  I don’t recall trying but I am sure we couldn’t have gotten reservations ... Read more >


Tue, 6 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [120]

SOMETHING ABOUT THE SHORE EXCURSIONS IN KANAZAWA seemed familiar.  So we checked back in our journals and, yes, we had been here five years earlier.  In 2014 I wrote in the first “vagabonds:”        ... Read more >


Wed, 11 Sep 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [119]

OCHIISHI NATURE CRUISES SAIL ONLY ON WEEKENDS.  Their website is so poorly translated from Japanese that we had to drive all the way to Ochiishi to get the bad news.  This would have been our last chance to get a good look at a spectacled ... Read more >

Takamaya: Hida Folk Village

Wed, 21 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [117]

THE HIDA FOLK VILLAGE IS A FAIR WALK FROM Takayama.  But a short bus ride.  The 1000 yen return fare also includes admission to Hida no Sato , a sprawling open-air museum.  There are 30 or so thatched and shingled houses, shrines, workshops ... Read more >

The Grizzly Details—Shiretoko National Park

Sat, 7 Sep 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [116]

BROWN BEARS—GRIZZLIES TO US YANKS—were on everyone's minds.  Scores of weekend visitors—I didn’t realize it was Saturday until I saw the buses—hoped to see one of Shiretoko National Park’s Yezo brown bears. ... Read more >

The REAL Red-Crowned Cranes of Hokkaido

Tue, 10 Sep 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [116]

ONSEN IS JAPANESE FOR A HOT SPRING but it can also be a spa.  Or in the case of Akan Onsen, an entire town.  Akan Onsen sits on a lake which was formerly the caldera of a volcano and where Connie hoped to see Japanese waxwings.  We passed ... Read more >

Two Shrines and a Temple: Nikko's Tōshō-gū

Sun, 25 Aug 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [115]

CONNIE DID INDEED SAVE THE BEST FOR THE LAST.  The Tōshō-gū Buddhist Temple is the cherry on the sundae that is Nikko.  The restoration for the 400 th anniversary of Tōshō-gū won’t be completed until 2024, but it’s easy to forgive ... Read more >

A Damned Good Feeling

Fri, 6 Sep 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [113]

THE 325 KILOMETER DRIVE FROM SAPPORO was in its way nostalgic.  No, we've never been to Abashiri, nor have we driven in Hokkaido before yesterday.  But the long drive north brought back memories of other drives in other cars in other countries.... Read more >


Sun, 4 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [109]

KOCHI MAY HAVE THE WORST PORT YET.  To make up for its industrial impersonality and isolation, the town provides free shuttle buses for the 12 kilometer trip into town.  It is still another mile walk from the shuttle stop through the ... Read more >

Sunny Sunday

Sun, 22 Sep 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [108]

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES.  The rain has stopped, the wind has died down and the sky has patches of blue.  Typhoon Tapah left behind some scattered palm fronds, more rubbish along the high-tide line and empty store shelves.  One Family ... Read more >

Two Shrines and a Temple: Nikko's Rinnō-ji

Sat, 24 Aug 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [106]

NIKKO COULD JUST BE THE JERUSALEM OF JAPAN.  Both cities have UNESCO World Heritage status and each has three important religious sites.  It’s probably a poor analogy — there is no strife in Nikko — Buddhist and Shinto practitioners ... Read more >


Sat, 3 Aug 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [104]

THE PORT AT TAKAMATSU WAS A PLEASANT EXCEPTION.  The ferry dock is adjacent to the cruise terminal and the harbor has a park-like feel, with the Takamatsu Castle as a centerpiece.  Japan is currently experiencing a heat-wave — like everyplace ... Read more >

Guardian Rabbits of Hirosaki

Sat, 31 Aug 2019 | By graynomadsusa | Views [100]

LIKE A ROLLING STONE, CONNIE GATHERS NO MOSS.  As soon as she wakes up, she’s out of bed and soon on her way — unlike a certain slug-a-bed who will remain nameless.  She is pretty religious about her morning walks as her iPhone ... Read more >

Welcome to Japan

Mon, 29 Jul 2019 | By vagabonds3 | Views [97]

FOR NEARLY 36 HOURS WE SLITHERED THROUGH FOG, accompanied every two minutes — as required by maritime law — by a blast on the Maasdam’s horn.  Gloomy though it was, Connie completed her daily 6-miles trudge on deck.  She ... Read more >


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