Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Through The Eyes of Japanese Writers

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Through The Eyes of Japanese Writers

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of literary giants and look no further than Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島), which lies just about 1-2 hours away from Tokyo (東京) by train.

Famous for its hot spring resorts, this region has long been a popular destination for those seeking refuge from Japan’s harsh winters, and is beloved by countless renowned literary figures such as Shoyo Tsubouchi (坪内逍遥), Soseki Natsume (夏目漱石), Ryunosuke Akutagawa (芥川龍之介), Osamu Dazai (太宰治), Yukio Mishima (三島由紀夫), Junichiro Tanizaki (谷崎潤一郎), and Yasunari Kawabata (川端康成) amongst many others. 

Some of them arrive seeking solace in the tranquil embrace of nature, surrounded by the aroma of steaming hot springs, set against a backdrop of ever-changing mountains that mirror the shifting seasons. This is definitely an area that you wouldn’t want to miss out on if you’re a literature nerd like me! Here, we’ll explore the iconic sites within the Izu Peninsula that were not only frequented by these renowned authors, but also served as sources of inspiration for their masterpieces.

For enthusiasts of Japanese literature, let’s trace the paths of these literary giants and immerse ourselves in the restorative wonders that the Izu Peninsula holds in store!

 

1. Kiunkaku, Atami

Kiunkaku, a Japanese inn in Atami that had been loved by literary giants across the nation
Kiunkaku, a Japanese inn that had been loved by literary giants across the nation | Photo by Sue Lynn

Located in Atami (熱海), a seaside city lying on the northeastern corner of Izu Peninsula, Kiunkaku (起雲閣) is the sole remnant of Atami’s three great villas, alongside Iwasaki Villa and Sumitomo Villa. Kiunkaku was originally built in 1919 during the Taisho Period (大正時代) as a private villa by businessman Shinya Uchida (内田信也). Following the war, it underwent a transformation into one of Atami’s most renowned inns, hosting numerous distinguished literary figures of the era, such as Naoya Shiga (志賀直哉), Junichiro Tanizaki, Yuzo Yumamoto (山本有三), Yukio Mishima, Funahashi Seiichi (舟橋聖一), Taijun Takeda (武田泰淳), and Osamu Dazai. Having welcomed such an esteemed list of celebrated authors from across the nation, this is a spot that you absolutely cannot miss!

The building itself reflects a harmonious fusion of traditional Japanese architecture and Western influences that were prevalent during that period, allowing visitors lose themselves in the enchanting ambience of the Taisho and Showa periods (昭和時代) that remains in this refined space where time appears to have come to a standstill. The compound also features the vast Ikeizumi Kaiyushiki Garden (池泉回遊式庭園), boasting a central pond encircled by artificial hills, bridges and stones. Here, visitors can delight in leisurely strolls regardless of the seasons.

 

A traditional Japanese tatami room in Kiunkaku villa in Atami
T
aiho, a traditional Japanese room that had hosted the famous author Osamu Dazai, who had penned his work of tragedy, “No Longer Human”, in this very precinct | Photo by Sue Lynn

Ascending to the second floor of the Japanese-style building, you will be greeted by “Taiho” (大鳳), a tatami room famous for having hosted the acclaimed author Osamu Dazai during the creation of his masterpiece “No Longer Human” (人間失格), which Dazai composed in the company of Tomie Yamazaki (山崎富江), one of his mistresses. The well-illuminated room boasts exquisite purple walls that were apparently repainted during the inn’s reopening. From the room, visitors can enjoy a picturesque view of the Japanese garden through the elegant Taisho glass (大正硝子) window, each pane meticulously handcrafted by skilled craftsmen.

 

Tamahime room in Kiunkaku, Atami, Japan
Tamahime, an architectural wonder that had created a harmonious fusion amongst Japanese, Chinese and Western influences | Photo by Dawn Sim

Entering Kiunkaku’s western-style building, “Tamahime” (玉姫), completed in 1932, feels like stepping into an entirely different dimension altogether. It features a European-style fireplace, dining table, and hanging chandelier, while seamlessly blending elements of both Japanese and European architectural styles, exemplified by the coved ceiling (折上格天井 Oriage goutenjou).

Kiunkaku also boasts a Roman-style bathroom (ローマ風浴室), adorned with a grand stained-glass window and tiles harmonized in shades of white and pink, infusing the space with a nostalgic ambiance. 

 

Bungo no Ma: Hatsushimo, one of the exhibition rooms showcasing the legacies of the authors that have stayed in Kiunkaku
Bungo no Ma: Hatsushimo, one of the exhibition rooms showcasing the legacies of the authors that have stayed in Kiunkaku | Photo by Sue Lynn

In “Bungo no Ma: Hatsushimo” (文豪の間初霜), you will find an exhibition space showcasing the literary legacies of various renowned authors, as well as panels featuring the biographies of notable writers such as Yukio Mishima, Seiichi Funahashi, and Taijun Takeda, along with their connections to Kiunkaku. Adjacent to this room are two additional exhibition spaces: “Ozaki Kouyo no Ma: Harukaze” (尾崎紅葉の間春風) and “Tsubouchi Shoyo no Ma: Matsukaze” (坪内逍遥の間松風), so make sure to check those out too!

Having hosted countless literary giants for over 50 years, Kiunkaku was officially designated as a cultural property of Atami City in 2002 and continues to welcome many visitors as a cultural and tourism hub for the city.

 

Kiunkaku (起雲閣)
Address: 4-2 Showacho, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0022
Access: 20-minute walk from Atami Station (熱海駅) or take the Izuhakone (伊豆箱根バス) bus from Atami Station and alight approximately 10 minutes later at Kiunkaku-mae (起雲閣前) bus stop


 

2. Soushisha, Atami

A former residence of Shoyo Tsubouchi, a prominent figure in literature during the Meiji Period
A former residence of Shoyo Tsubouchi | Photo by Photolibrary

A mere 10-minute stroll from Kiunkaku will bring you before Soushisha (双柿舎), the former residence of Shoyo Tsubouchi (坪内逍遥), a literary giant of the Meiji Period (明治時代), where he resided from 1920 until his passing in 1935. He first began frequenting Atami when he accompanied his eldest brother, who was recuperating from an illness, during his student days. Prior to establishing Soushisha, Tsubouchi set up a villa in the area of Arajuku (荒宿) of Atami, now known as Ginza-cho (銀座町), where he dedicated himself to translating Shakespeare’s plays and crafting his own works including, “Nagori no Hoshi Tsukiyo” (名残の星月夜) and “Yoshitoki no Saigo” (義時の最後). 

As Atami flourished, the once serene Arajuku area gradually transformed into a bustling district. In 1919, seeking tranquility, Tsubouchi built a new refuge in Minakuchi Village (水口村) and named it “Soushisha”, derived from the two persimmon trees on the premise that are reputed to be 300 years old. 

Tsubouchi personally meticulously designed both the garden and building, reflecting his keen attention to detail and artistic vision. The bookroom, “Shoyo Shoya” (逍遥書屋), completed in 1928, is the culmination of painstaking efforts, boasting a stunning landscape that seamlessly integrates Japanese, Chinese, and Western architectural styles into a harmonious whole. Atop the tower sits a jade weathervane, inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear. In addition to the tower-shaped bookroom, there are other highlights within the residence, including the plague on the gate inscribed by Yaichi Aizu (會津八一), a student of Tsubouchi

 

Soushisha (双柿舎)
Address: 11-17, Minaguchicho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka 413-0016
Access: 5-minute walk from Kinomiya Station (来宮駅)

 

3. Statue of Kanichi & Omiya and The Pine of Omiya, Atami

Bronze statue of characters in "The Golden Demon" novel based in Atami
Statue of Kanichi and Omiya, depicting the farewell scene from the novel “The Golden Demon” by Koyou Ozaki | Photo by PhotoAC

Among the myriad of artists who have draw inspiration from the Izu Peninsula, few have left a legacy as enduring as Kouyo Ozaki (尾崎紅葉) and his masterpiece “The Golden Demon” (金色夜叉), which had been serialized in Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun for six years starting in 1899. Just along National Route 135, flanked by hot spring inns and hotels, stands a bronze statue depicting the poignant farewell scene between characters Kanichi and Omiya.

In the novel, Kanichi and Omiya’s engagement were called off when Omiya, tempted by a diamond ring, ended up marrying the affluent Yuitsugu Toyama (富山唯継). This symbolic scene captures Kanichi’s seething rage as he confronts Omiya by the coast, vowing revenge, perfectly encapsulating the sorrowful love between the two, who have grown apart under the harsh conditions of their time. 

A literary luminary of the Meiji Period, alongside Ogai Mori (森鴎外), Kouyo Ozaki unfortunately passed away before completing his novel. However, “The Golden Demon” garnered dervent support from readers across Japan, and much like the enduring appeal of the story, the coast of Atami continues to captivate people’s hearts to this day. 

 

The Pine of Omiya in Atami
The Pine of Omiya, situated next to the bronze statue of Kanichi and Omiya. (Image credit: PhotoAC)

Just beside the bronze statue stands a magnificent pine, originally known as “Hagoromo no Matsu'' (羽衣の松). However, after Fuha Oguri (小栗風葉), one of Ozaki’s students, erected a monument inscribed with a haiku from “The Golden Demon” next to the pine, it become affectionately known as “The Pine of Omiya” (お宮の松). 

The bronze statue of Kanichi and Omiya, as well as The Pine of Omiya have now become popular destinations for sightseeing and as photo spots. These landmarks stand as a testament to the profound influence of Atami on creative minds, perpetuating its legacy as a source of inspiration. 

 

Statue of Kanichi and Omiya/The Pine of Omiya (貫一・お宮の像・お宮の松)
Address: 15-45, Higashikaigancho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka 413-0012
Access: 12-minute walk from Kinomiya Station (熱海駅)

 

4. Yumotokan, Yugashima

Calligraphy written by Yasunori Kawabata himself, framed in Yumotokan
Calligraphy written by Yasunari Kawabata himself, framed and preserved in Yumotokan | Photo by mari (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Calling it his second home, Yumotokan (湯本館), located in Yugashima (湯ヶ島) was the beloved inn of Yasunari Kawabata (川端康成), the Nobel Prize-winning author of famous works including The Dancing Girl of Izu or “The Izu Dancer” (伊豆の踊子), “Snow Country” (雪国), and “The Sound of the Mountain” (山の音). He was said to have spent extended periods of time in Yugashima between 1924 and 1927, during which he penned “Memories from Yugashima” (湯ヶ島での思い出) which served as a preliminary draft of “The Izu Dancer”. This masterpiece was in fact crafted from Kawabata’s personal experience during a solitary sightseeing trip to Izu, where he was inspired by a travelling entertainer with a dancer whom he met.

Nestled along the banks of the Kano River (狩野川), the inn preserves its original charm, along with the room where Kawabata had stayed, known as “Kawabata-san” (川端さん), which has also been preserved in its original state, maintaining the same atmosphere it had during his time there. The lobby of Yumotokan resembles a memorial museum, adorned with paintings and materials related to “The Izu Dancer”.

To delve deeper into the experience, you can also reserve the “Yasunari Manju” (康成饅頭), a bun featuring Kawabata’s signature, with reservations available one day in advance. These will surely make an ideal souvenir for fans of Kawabata. Besides Kawabata, the inn has also been frequented by another famous Japanese writer, Motojiro Kajii (梶井基次郎), the author of “Lemon”.

 

Yumotokan (湯本館)
Address: 1656-1 Yugashima, Izu City, Shizuoka 410-3206
Access: Take a bus from Shuzenji Station (修善寺駅) and alight at Yugashima (湯ヶ島) bus stop. From there, it is a 15-minute walk to the inn. 

 

5. Joren Falls, Yugashima

Joren Falls or Joren no taki
Joren Falls or Joren no Taki, one of Japan’s top 100 falls, located in the upper reaches of the Kano River | Photo by photoAC

Just a 20-minute bus ride south from the inn will bring you to the iconic setting that inspired the story of “The Izu Dancer”. Joren Falls (浄蓮の滝), named after Jorenji Temple (浄蓮寺) which once stood nearby, measures 7m wide and 25m in height, earning its place among Japan's top 100 falls. 

 

Statue of Izu no Odoriko en-route to Joren Falls
A statue of a man and woman based on the novel “Izu no Odoriko" written by Yasunari Kawabata | Photo by photoAC

Upon arrival at Joren Falls, you will be greeted by the statues of a man and woman, characters directly inspired by Kawabata’s novel itself. Since the falls itself is the starting point of a trail that will bring you to Amagi Pass (天城峠), one of the locations that appears at the beginning of the novel, continuing with the trail further enriches the journey’s atmospheric as one is reminded of Kawabata’s own journey to Izu, where he encountered some wandering musicians, including the dancer who served as inspiration for his work.

 

Joren Falls (浄蓮の滝)
Address: 892-14 Yugashima, Izu, Shizuoka 410-3206
Access:  From Shuzenji Station (修善寺駅), take a bus bound for either Kawazu Station (河津駅) or Showa-no-Mori Kaikan (昭和の森会館), then get off at the Joren-no-Taki (浄蓮の滝) bus stop. From there, it is a 3-minute walk to the falls. 

 

Immortalising Izu Peninsula

A region deeply cherished by literary greats for the healing properties of its land, the landscapes of the Izu Peninsula, immortalised in Japanese literature, continue to resonate deeply in the hearts of many, even as times continue to change. Hop on a train and journey to the Izu Peninsula to witness for yourselves the very locations that inspired these writers. Who knows, you might just discover a spark of inspiration of your own along the way!

In the meantime, it is not too late to get your hands on the Izu-exclusive Omiyage Snack Box by JAPAN RAIL CLUB this month! Titled “With Love, Izu”, it is a box full of snacks exclusive to the surrounding region of Izu and Shizuoka, as well as romantic motifs recalling Valentine’s Day and White Day that are unique celebrations celebrated in Japan. Subscribe by 29 February 2024 to secure this exciting snack box!

Meet the author

Dawn Sim

An avid lover of nature, photography, and Japanese literature, you will find Dawn (@oyakodawn) either lost in the midst of a historical pilgrimage route or in any local book cafes from the north all the way to the south of Japan. Dawn has lived in Kyoto for a year and still can’t get enough of its cultural and historical richness - not to mention the hipster cafes that serve to satisfy their coffee addiction!

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當提到日本的綠茶,大家都知道日本京都是茶文化的中心。 綠茶一開始是在西元9世紀,由幾個佛教僧侶從中國引進到日本的。在日本人的生活中,綠茶已經成為一種有著許多用途而且對人體健康的飲品。 作為日本文化的一部分,抹茶、煎茶和玉露等的綠茶品種也提供了多樣的口味選擇和體驗。例如傳統的日本茶道,不僅喝茶能帶來健康,茶道更成為了日本獨一無二的文化。

Maker's Story: Gyokuro Tea from Kyoto by Maikonocha Honpo
Sue Lynn

Maker's Story: Gyokuro Tea from Kyoto by Maikon...

When it comes to green tea from Japan, Kyoto stands as the hub of tea culture. Originally introduced by returning Buddhist monks from their travels in China in the 9th...

Sue Lynn Food

Maker's Story: Gyokuro Tea from Kyoto by Maikon...

When it comes to green tea from Japan, Kyoto stands as the hub of tea...

Maker’s Story: Premium Matcha Products from Uji, Kyoto by Kyoeiseicha
Sue Lynn

Maker’s Story: Premium Matcha Products from Uji...

This May, JAPAN RAIL CLUB celebrates the joy that matcha brings to our lives with the special “So Much Matcha” Omiyage Snack Box. May marks the start of the traditional...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

Maker’s Story: Premium Matcha Products from Uji...

This May, JAPAN RAIL CLUB celebrates the joy that matcha brings to our lives with...

綠之日快樂!一起來探索日本新綠季節中五個不能錯過的景點
Sue Lynn

綠之日快樂!一起來探索日本新綠季節中五個不能錯過的景點

在日本眾多節慶與珍貴傳統之中,有一個特別關於自然崇敬的慶典——綠之日。這個國定假日訂於每年五月四日,見證了日本與自然的深厚連結,也提醒人們欣賞這個70%都是山區的島國上,那些美麗的綠色景觀。

Carissa Loh Culture

綠之日快樂!一起來探索日本新綠季節中五個不能錯過的景點

在日本眾多節慶與珍貴傳統之中,有一個特別關於自然崇敬的慶典——綠之日。這個國定假日訂於每年五月四日,見證了日本與自然的深厚連結,也提醒人們欣賞這個70%都是山區的島國上,那些美麗的綠色景觀。

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Explore During Japan's Shinryoku Season
Sue Lynn

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Expl...

Nestled amongst Japan’s vibrant festivities and cherished traditions lies a celebration rooted in reverence for nature―Midori-no-Hi (みどりの日 Greenery Day). Observed annually on 4 May, this national holiday is a testament...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Expl...

Nestled amongst Japan’s vibrant festivities and cherished traditions lies a celebration rooted in reverence for...

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central Wholesale Market
Sue Lynn

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central...

Hokkaido is Japan’s food paradise as the northernmost part of the country is the top producer of agricultural products and seafood: the vast lands covering Japan’s second largest island and...

Wendy Ng

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central...

Hokkaido is Japan’s food paradise as the northernmost part of the country is the top...

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of Japan
Sue Lynn

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of ...

Japan is an island nation that has always been known for its stunningly beautiful landscapes but even amongst these, there are three locations that rise above the others and are...

Dawn Sim Nature

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of ...

Japan is an island nation that has always been known for its stunningly beautiful landscapes...

Japan celebrates Golden Week between April 29 to May 5
Sue Lynn

Golden Week: Exploring Japan's Week-Long Festiv...

What is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク or 黄金週間 Ogon Shukan), recognised as one of Japan's most prominent and bustling holiday periods, usually spans from late April to early May...

Dawn Sim Culture

Golden Week: Exploring Japan's Week-Long Festiv...

What is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク or 黄金週間 Ogon Shukan), recognised as one of...

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉
Sue Lynn

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉

賞花的樂趣之一,就是它們轉瞬即逝的特性:花期每季只有幾天,但那短暫幾天卻難忘極了。來看看六種春天當季花卉,以及賞花最佳時機!

Carissa Loh Nature

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉

賞花的樂趣之一,就是它們轉瞬即逝的特性:花期每季只有幾天,但那短暫幾天卻難忘極了。來看看六種春天當季花卉,以及賞花最佳時機!

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Than Sakura
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Tha...

Flowers herald the beginning of spring, and in Japan, no flower is more synonymous with spring than the beloved cherry blossom (桜 sakura). However, other than these pretty, pink blossoms,...

Carissa Loh Nature

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Tha...

Flowers herald the beginning of spring, and in Japan, no flower is more synonymous with...

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in April and May
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in A...

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are flowers symbolic of spring, often alluded to the promise of a new beginning in many Japanese literature. | Photo by Dawn Sim   A symbol...

Dawn Sim Spring

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in A...

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are flowers symbolic of spring, often alluded to the promise of...

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in Japan
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in J...

Spring in Japan is a time for celebration as the season marks new beginnings. Other than the mesmerising cherry blossoms painting the landscape, spring is the best season to experience...

Wendy Ng Food

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in J...

Spring in Japan is a time for celebration as the season marks new beginnings. Other...

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festivals in Japan
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing with it beautiful flowers, comfortable temperatures, and a time of celebration. While most travellers head...

Carissa Loh Festival

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing...

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in Japan
Sue Lynn

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich history and enduring cultural heritage, is particularly famous for its magnificent Japanese castles (お城 oshiro)....

Carissa Loh Culture

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich...

Sakura Karinto and Marui Suzuki
Sue Lynn

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions of celebrating this season is to enjoy “ohanami” (お花見)! Ohanami means “flower-viewing”, and this is...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions...

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the start of springtime in Japan. Spring is the prettiest and most enjoyable season with radiant...

Wendy Ng Spring

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the...

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of Shochu Distilleries in Miyazaki
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese drink more shochu than sake. Considered to be Japan's national spirit, Shochu is gaining great...

Wendy Ng

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese...

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultural Icons
Sue Lynn

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition, Tohoku (東北), the northeastern part of Japan comprising of six prefectures – Aomori (青森), Akita...

Dawn Sim Culture

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition,...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you can unearth more culinary treasures spread throughout the country if you venture into the less...

Wendy Ng Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you...

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots in Tokyo for Ohanami
Sue Lynn

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you have witnessed the enchanting sight of cherry blossoms (桜 sakura) in full bloom. A cherry...

Carissa Loh Culture

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Tohoku
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six prefectures, and is a treasure trove of beautiful nature and fascinating history. It’s a wonderful...

Carissa Loh Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six...

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souvenir & Gift-Giving Culture
Sue Lynn

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably seen the colourful and beautifully packaged boxes of local confectionery filling the gift shops along...

Carissa Loh Culture

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably...

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers from Akita by Kanaeya
Sue Lynn

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as an example, a prefecture where lush landscapes meet premium rice fields. Renowned for its exceptional...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as...

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from Takachiho (Winner of JR East Omiyage Grand Prix 2023 - Koshin’etsu Area Prize)
Sue Lynn

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the perfect souvenir or omiyage (お土産) to bring home for your loved ones and colleagues. While...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the...

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival Celebrating Girls’ Day
Sue Lynn

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the Hina Matsuri | ©photoAC Have you ever heard of Japan’s Hina Matsuri (雛祭)? Otherwise known...

Dawn Sim Culture

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the...

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Through The Eyes of Japanese Writers
Sue Lynn

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of literary giants and look no further than Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島), which lies just about 1-2...

Dawn Sim Travel

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of...

Mount Fuji with tea plantation in the foreground
Sue Lynn

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is Japan’s highest mountain, and has become a symbol of the country, recognised worldwide for its...

Carissa Loh Travel

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is...

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in Japan to Meet Feline Friends
Sue Lynn

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have noticed how beloved cats are over there. Think maneki-neko (招き猫) cat figurines that beckon luck,...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have...

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s Day in Japan
Sue Lynn

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day is universally celebrated across the globe where presents like chocolates, candies, and flowers are gifted...

Wendy Ng Culture

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day...

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the Izu Peninsula
Sue Lynn

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your loved one, but where to start? Here are our top five picks for romantic dating...

Carissa Loh Travel

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your...

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo”, Cafes, and the Railway Museum
Sue Lynn

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is the gateway to the neighbouring Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県). It is also a stop on more...

JAPANKURU Travel

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is...

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi by Kameya Foods
Sue Lynn

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the Japanese horseradish is a unique spice native to Japan and is a staple in Japanese...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the...

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan and Must-do Activities
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in regions lying alongside the Sea of Japan (日本海), otherwise known as Yukiguni (雪国), or Snow...

Dawn Sim Festival

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in...