Category Archives: TRAVEL

Portraits of Rakan

Rakan, sometimes referred to by their sanskrit name of Arhat, are generally considered to be disciples of the historical Buddha, and in Japan are often found collectively as a group of 500 statues.

One of their features is that every single face is different with a different expression, and that you will be able to find at least one that reminds you of someone you know.

In the rakan

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Some recent interesting and brief videos to introduce Japan

One of the challenges of teaching courses about contemporary Japanese culture at my university is that my students come from a variety of countries, backgrounds, majors and areas of knowledge. I cannot assume all of my international (and local) students are anthropology majors and/or have knowledge about the social sciences, cultural studies and/or Japanese studies. To bring my students up to speed at the beginning of the semester I usually recommend that they read An Introduction to Japanese Society by Japanese sociologist Yoshio Sugimoto. Now in its 4th edition (2014, Cambridge University Press) I find the chapters on “The Japan Phenomenon and the Social Sciences” and “Geographical and Generational Variations” to be especially useful as an introduction to Japan. But these days I have to wonder if my students actually do such recommended readings… Perhaps another way to introduce Japan might be through the use of popular YouTube videos. With this thought in mind I offer the following as a starting point for the exploration of Japan and its cultures. They are not perfect as there are a few small errors here and there, some bias problems and they might appear too pop in style for academics, which is why I still strongly recommend Sugimoto…

Geography Now! Japan

History of Japan (Bill Wurtz)

[360°VR] JAPAN – Where tradition meets the future (VisitJapan)

Why Japan Has No Mass Shootings (

Initial information and motivation from Japan Today, 2/17/18:

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Biwachi: Cycling around Lake Biwa

Partners Information: Have you heard of “Biwaichi”?

Biwaichi Cycling allows you to cycle around the circumference of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan and the symbol of Shiga Prefecture, while enjoying nature, history and sightseeing spots along the way.

A full circuit of the lake is approximately 200km in length, taking experienced cyclists a full day. Others often take two days with one night’s lodgings, but a three days, two nights plan actually comes highly recommended!

There are lakeside spaces where you can enjoy varied and thrilling seasonal scenery, as well as many historical sites and famous spots along the shores, offering a whole range of fun things to do.
The appeal of Lake Biwa is inexhaustible! Grab as much of it as you can from the back of a bicycle!

Many of the stations and tourist facilities in Shiga offer renta-cycles, making it easy to get your wheels on the ground. How about sightseeing across Shiga from the back of a bicycle, proceeding entirely at your own leisurely pace?

More information

The post Biwachi: Cycling around Lake Biwa appeared first on Japan National Tourism Organization.

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Five Cherry Blossom Hikes from Tokyo

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

If you don’t mind putting the work in for your cherry blossom viewing this spring, why not try combining your hanami with a hike?
Not only is hiking invigorating (apparently), it also gives you a sense of achievement and means you can see cherry blossom a tad later than usual, thanks to the colder temperatures that come with increased altitudes. While parks can be crowded and riversides packed, at least with mountain trails people have an obligation to keep moving. Once you reach the top, your picnic will be well deserved and your descent down will be as picturesque as the way up. While some of the hikes (looking at you, Takao) are quite popular and might attract couples on dates in heels and other unsuitable gear, other hike

The post Five Cherry Blossom Hikes from Tokyo appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

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The Seishun 18 Ticket and 5 Recommended Escape Routes from Tokyo

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

The Seishun 18 ticket allows dirt-cheap rail travel across Japan.
The Seishun 18 ticket (青春18きっぷ) is a special discount ticket sold by national rail operator JR three times a year—in summer, winter and spring. It allows up to five non-consecutive days of unlimited travel on JR local and rapid trains, making it a super-cheap way to explore Japan at a slow pace. Here’s the lowdown on this bargain deal.
First off, the price. Seishun 18 tickets (named for the youth who love to use them) cost ¥11,850 a pop, giving you unlimited travel for just ¥2,370/day—that’s outstanding value. While the ticket sales periods coincide with school holidays, anyone, of any age and nationality, can use the tickets. You can

The post The Seishun 18 Ticket and 5 Recommended Escape Routes from Tokyo appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

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