Category Archives: Historical

March 05

Samurai Road

Seki’s not a place you’ll hear about in any foreign tourist magazine. But given its history, it should be front and centre, for in this little slice of Japan time seems to have barely moved in almost 400 years. Seki (関), in Mie Prefecture, was once the 47th ‘post town’ along the Tōkaidō, the historical route […]

February 27

Yokohama by day

Scenes from The Bluff, Minato Mirai and the Pacifico.

January 30

Japan’s Machu Picchu

It’s billed as Japan’s Machu Picchu but in my eyes, Takeda Castle is far more like Japan’s ‘Edoras’. The ruins of this fortified citadel lie perched atop a big hill in the midst of a wide mountain ringed valley in Hyogo Prefecture. But sadly this ‘Edoras’ is under siege. The official tourism line would have you […]

December 14

Little star of Bethlehem

I’ve lived in Tsu for more than four years now and I had no idea that tucked away down the side-streets in the next suburb was a glorious 100 year old church that looks like it was plucked from the American Midwest. There’s even a tale of trial and tribulation to go with it’s existence […]

December 09

Sights on a Saturday stroll – Akogi, Tsu

A look around my local neighbourhood in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture.

August 24

Ancient giant

This 26m tall, 40m wide camphor laurel tree ( クスノキ – Cinnamomum camphora) lords over the rice fields in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. It is said to be over 1000 years old and given that there was an airbase close by in WWII, very lucky to still be standing.

June 12

Spirited Away

Fancy feeling like you’ve stepped into animated Studio Ghibli film? Try stepping straight into Spirited Away by visiting Dogo Onsen in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. This enormous three storey 19th century wooden bathhouse was apparently the inspiration for the spooky bathhouse of otherworldly beings in Spirited Away. In this world, the hot spring waters of Dogo […]

February 13

Protect the Oni Gate

Fancy a hike that’s more like a slightly strenuous stroll upwards with plenty of interesting sights along the way? Then head for Asamagatake in Ise (朝熊ヶ岳, 伊勢). Mie Prefecture has plenty of mountains to offer that are far less daunting than the towering peaks that form the ‘roof of Japan’ in Nagano and Gifu Prefectures. […]

October 19

Stone Mountain

Want to see a place that is a combination of hundreds of years of work in Tsu?  Well you’re in luck. Just make sure you have a set of wheels, be that two or four. A senior co-worker first told me about an interesting mountain tucked away in north-eastern Tsu (closer to Shiroko and Suzuka […]

May 17

Bicycle is a dirty word

It seems that across the ditch in China bikes are disappearing from everyday life.   During Golden Week, a week spanning April/May which in Japan has five public holidays in it, I hopped over to Qingdao, China, to visit a retired Australian couple who teach English at a special hotel college there. Qingdao, the capital of […]

March 17

One year on

Today’s post has nothing to do with cycling. March 2012 marks one year since the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and resultant tsunami laid waste to most of Japan’s eastern coastline, especially across the Tohoku region. One week after the anniversary I found myself in Kobe, the scene of Japan’s previous major earthquake, the Great Hanshin Earthquake.  […]