Todoroki Ninety-nine Waterfalls, Tokushima, Shikoku

One of three falls in Tokushima that are included in Japan’s ‘Top 100 Waterfalls’

Todoroki Waterfalls
Todoroki Waterfall 轟本滝
Todoroki Falls (轟の滝) is one of three falls in Tokushima that are included in Japan’s ‘Top 100 Waterfalls’. The kanji Chinese character for todoroki means ‘roar,  thunder or boom resound. If you’re adventurous enough to venture through the chasm into the cavern where the cascade is, the boom resound will become apparent.

The Renowned Sakura

The Best Spots to Hike and See Cherry Blossoms

The Renowened Sakura
Photo: Benjamine Scalvenzi
So much more than just a flower, so much more than just the iconic cherry blossoms of Japan, and a phenomenon you HAVE to see if you’re planning a hike through the Japanese countryside.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Tokyo

"Oshogatsu" - The Most Important Holiday in Japan

Queueing at a Temple on New Year's Eve in Tokyo

New Year is known as oshogatsu and is the most important holiday in Japan. Although in recent years Xmas is celebrated, once Dec 25th has passed all Xmas decorations are taken down overnight, to be replaced by traditional ones made of bamboo and pine branches. All duties are supposed to be finished before the end of the year, bonenkai (“forgetting the year”) parties are common, and houses are cleaned even more spotlessly than usual.

Loyalty and the 47 Ronin

See the Annual Parade at Sengaguki Temple, Tokyo

Sengakuji Temple 47 Ronin Festival

The true story of the 47 Ronin (masterless samurai) is one of the most famous in Japan. It is a tale adapted into countless kabuki plays, bunraku puppet shows, woodblock prints, and later films and television shows. Fictionalized versions of the story are known as Chushingura, and continue to be very popular to this day. It is based on an incident that happened during Japan’s feudal era.

KAFU Tea Ceremony Workshop in Kyoto

Are You Really Going to Leave Japan Without Having Experienced its Tea Ceremony?

Kafu Tea Ceremony Kyoto

While visiting Kyoto, you wouldn’t want to miss out on at least one of those cultural experiences now widely available here – activities such as taking first steps in any of Tea-ceremony, flower-arrangement, calligraphy, classical dance and Japanese cookery.

Cherry Blossom Viewing

It's Time to Party

Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom

Late March/early April is the time that the famed cherry blossoms open in Tokyo. As Japan is such a long thin archipelago, equivalent to the distance from Morocco to Norway, the cherries begin to bloom in February in Okinawa, have reached Tokyo in late March, and finally bloom in Hokkaido in early May.

Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Love Powder Love Zao

Zao Onsen Ski Resort

5-6 hours drive from Tokyo is the largest ski resort in Tohoku Region and is well-known for excellent powder conditions.

One of the oldest and most respected resorts in Japan because of its history and traditional onsens (hot springs) it is a great place to take the whole family.

Climbing Mount Fuji

Not a Task for Wimps

Sunrise at top of Mount Fuji

O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!

(Haiku by Kobayashi Issa)

There’s a well-known Japanese proverb that says, “A wise man will climb Mt Fuji once; a fool will climb Mt Fuji twice.” I have just returned from climbing Mount Fuji for the second time. Why did I do it again? Mainly to get photos for this website. Here’s the story; first a little background (the next two paragraphs below are taken direct from my book ‘Fukushima and the coming Tokyo Earthquake: and what it will mean for a fragile world economy’). Buy it and learn lots, grasshopper.

English-Speaking Doctors in Japan, How Do I Find Them?

New Website HealthyTokyo.com Makes it Easier Than Ever to Stay Healthy During Your Trip in Japan

English-speaking Doctors in Japan

Falling sick is never a welcoming experience and can get unnecessarily complicated when you are traveling, especially if you do not speak the language of the country or know the right vocabulary to communicate your needs. Finding English-speaking doctors and health and wellness specialists in Japan used to be pretty tricky, but the new website HealthyTokyo.com is determined to make it easier than ever to stay healthy during your trip.

The Robot Restaurant Tokyo

An Outrageous Experience that Needs to be Seen to be Believed

Robot Restaurant Tokyo

The Robot Restaurant is one of those outrageous experiences that needs to be seen to be believed.  I went with a friend who described it as the most typically Japanese thing he'd ever seen. Forget the 'restaurant' part of the name, you get a 'bento' box set for 'dinner' (read, cheap and convenient, available for microwaving from any convenience store). But that's not the point. The show is everything, and beer is served.

Cosplay Japan

See Cartoon Characters Come Alive in the Streets

Cosplay is Japanese word made from combining ‘costume’ and ‘play’. This shortening and combining of English words is very common in Japan. Japan is a very visual culture where people of all ages take appearance and dress very seriously.

Cosplay is very influenced by anime (animation) and comics known as manga. Many cosplay outfits are modelled on specific anime characters. In fact, the idea behind cosplay is to become that character, and much time effort and expense is put into getting the appearance just right.

Irishman Walking (Stage 1 Chapter 2)

Follow Michael Denis Crossey and His Walk Along the Coastal Roads of Japan

Irishman Walking in Hokkaido

Irishman Walking is about my walking the coastal roads of Japan through a series of summer, winter, spring, and autumn stages. Stage 1 began in Cape Soya in Hokkaido in the summer of 2009, and ended in Noshiro City in Akita Prefecture seven weeks later. This summer (2012), Stage 8 started at Shibushi Port in Kagoshima Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu, and ended in the city of Fukuoka six weeks after setting off. Stage 9 is planned to start from Fukuoka City this winter and will end at Hiroshima in January 2013. The stage is planned to last for five weeks.

By Michael Denis Crossey

Irishman Walking (Stage 1 Chapter 1)

Follow Michael Denis Crossey and His Walk Along the Coastal Roads of Japan

Irishman Walking in Hokkaido

Irishman Walking is about my walking the coastal roads of Japan through a series of summer, winter, spring, and autumn stages. Stage 1 began in Cape Soya in Hokkaido in the summer of 2009, and ended in Noshiro City in Akita Prefecture seven weeks later. This summer (2012), Stage 8 started at Shibushi Port in Kagoshima Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu, and ended in the city of Fukuoka six weeks after setting off. Stage 9 is planned to start from Fukuoka City this winter and will end at Hiroshima in January 2013. The stage is planned to last for five weeks.

By Michael Denis Crossey