From pictorial villages of traditional thatched-roof houses to one of Japan’s beloved onsen hot spring towns, a visit to Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県) is ripe with opportunities to discover an older way of life in Japan.
Over 5.8 million LEDs transform the 26,000 square meter park of Nabana no Sato into Japan’s largest illumination festivals, transforming a chilly winter night into dreamy images of mountains, rivers, oceans, and flower fields in every colour you could imagine.
A flurry of steam filled the forge as katana swordsmith Matsunaga Genrokuro scooped clay water onto the amber-red iron of a Japanese samurai sword. Only a moment ago, he’d pulled the blazing-hot metal from under the massive hammer that sent sizzling flares out like an erupting volcano, before cooling it into the muddy concoction. Isn’t that steam hot? I thought as it swirled up to mask Matsunaga’s face.
An overnight stay and onsens in Oita's luxury ryokan inn, Sanso Tensui.
A two-day trek to understand the spiritual practice of the Rokugo Manzan — a unique confluence of Shinto, Buddhism, and forest worship that emerged in the deep forests of Kunisaki over 1,300 years ago
A five-day itinerary of exploring Japan's intertwining cultures of Modern and Ancient Japan, from Tokyo’s bright city lights to Miyazaki’s rural mountains and the gentle sea breeze of Oita’s fertile coast.
A seven-day recommended trekking itinerary of Japan's spiritual paths, from Japan’s main island to Kyushu’s historical and spiritual sites.
How to get help in Japan in the event of a medical emergency, being a victim of a crime, or experiencing a natural disaster like earthquakes or typhoons.
A day trip to Oita's castle town in Usuki.
Finding a quiet place to enjoy sakura blossom season isn't easy in Japan, but here is one of my favourite gardens in Kyushu that you can enjoy almost alone!