Category: Japan

Kyushu is the southernmost of the big Japanese Islands. It is mountainous, and Japan’s most active volcano, 1,591-metre-high Mount Aso, is on Kyushu. There are many other signs of tectonic activity, including numerous areas of hot springs. The most famous of these are in Beppu, on Kyushu’s eastern shore. I arrive in Beppu after nightfall and meet a Japanese-Austrian guy and soon find myself heading with him […]

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Shikoku is one of Japan’s main islands and is south of Honshu. Shikoku is considered a bit of a backwater and the most traditional of the islands. Historically, it had been rather isolated but that changed with the construction of three imposing bridges linking it to Honshu. I arrive by ferry from Hiroshima and the trip is fabulous. The ferry is near empty and I can have a seat with a perfect view as we move through the Inland Sea of Japan, most of the time close to the shore or to one of the many, many islands. […]

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If you love temples, Kyoto is for you. The city was chosen as the seat of Japan’s imperial court in 794 and remained in that position for eleven centuries until 1869. The city was arranged in accordance to traditional Chinese feng shui. It escaped widespread destruction in WWII and is considered the cultural capital of Japan. In fact, its cultural heritage probably saved it from obliteration. It was removed from the five-city list of targets for a nuclear attack on the personal urging of the US Secretary of War, who had visited the city several times. […]

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I stayed six weeks in Japan and left with the feeling that I never spend so much time in a country while understanding so little about it. Japan is fascinating but Japan felt very distant. Much of the fascination lies in the fact that Japan is the only country I can travel to that is of similar wealth than my own but with a totally different culture. I find it extremely interesting that Japan has often found very different solutions to very similar questions that arise in society. A few examples? […]

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