Fine and healthy dining in rural Japan -- Apr 08
As soon as the express train leaves for Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo, you leave behind the suburbs and encounter forests where they say animals still roam in search of fruit.

The JR Chuo line express is a 90-minute ride through scenic gorges into inaka or rural Japan. Crossing into the Japanese fruit-producing region, you see a colourful part of the mountainous interior. The train tracks hug the side of wooded cliffs and pass over rushing crystal clear water which takes your mind away from hectic Shinjuku, the departure point.

The trip can even be a day adventure like mine; a speedy introduction, but I really should have found time to go walking, gaze at Mount Fuji or linger over the amazingly fresh cuisine. On the rail trip and driving around, I experienced autumn colours with red, burnt orange and yellows which we never see in our tropical forests, and forests a plenty there were. There are many reasons to seeing, tasting and enjoying this area, famous for its scenery, hot springs (onsen), vineyards and picking your own fruit, all within view of Mount Fuji.

After the 90-minute trip from central Tokyo, I got off the speedy and comfortable train at the peaceful town of Enzan. With my seasonal choice of late autumn, I could not try fruit-picking cherries (yes they blossom but early in April), peaches, grapes or strawberries. My friend who accompanied me (used to study in Wellington, New Zealand, where I also went to university) enjoys what we call "the countryside" and cuisine. It was a short drive from the train station for Malaysia's "national pastime" – eating.

News source:
Dec 07
Narita International Airport near Tokyo is looking to ease congestion at one of its terminals. (NHK)
Dec 03
Inui Street in the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo was opened to the public on Saturday, in time for the autumn foliage season. (Jiji)
Dec 01
Local restaurants, souvenir shops and even some temples and shrines are hoping to cater to foreign guests with an international custom yet to be adopted in Japan: letting customers pay their bills with credit cards instead of cash. (Japan Today)
Nov 29
The latest edition of the Michelin guide for Tokyo is due out on Friday with 82 new restaurants, including five new two-star establishments and 23 entities garnering single stars, Michelin said on Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Nov 28
From a television commercial that gives a humorous twist to a theme park’s impending closure to hotels staffed by robots, tactics to capitalize on company outings, and ads featuring Japanese pop idols and actors — theme parks in Japan are squeezing their creative juices to attract more first-time visitors and repeaters through avant-garde ways. (Japan Times)
Nov 27
A new Tokyo Bay amphibious bus tour was launched Monday to service the expected influx of foreign tourists drawn to the city ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. (Kyodo)
Nov 26
Railway fans have gathered in western Japan to see a steam locomotive get chugging again for the first time in 44 years. (NHK)
Nov 25
Japan appeals to different people for different reasons. Some visit for the history or the food. Many stay for the martial arts, while others keep coming back for a dose of manga, anime and video-game culture. Still others come to enjoy the land — the huge span of scenery from the north of Hokkaido to Okinawa in the southwest, and the sharp changes such places undergo with the revolutions of season. (Japan Times)
Nov 19
The Phoenix Hall of Byodoin temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, glows at night during a trial illumination on Friday. (
Nov 17
Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui sought support for the western Japan prefecture's bid to host the 2025 World Exposition at a general meeting of the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris on Wednesday. (Jiji)