Yatsuhashi: The Eight–Planked Bridge of Japanese Gardens


Some Japanese gardens have an intriguing type of bridge made from eight narrow wooden planks forming a zigzag pattern. These unique bridges are called yatsuhashi, meaning “eight bridges.” They are commonly used to cross shallow marshes or ponds with beautiful iris flowers. The yatsuhashi bridge’s name comes from the Heian period collection of poems and narratives, […]

More Japanese Street Foods to Enjoy!


Many countries boast of their unique kinds of street food. Sampling various street food from a particular place will give you a taste of their authentic traditional cuisine. Street food is usually ready to eat food sold in a street or public area by a hawker or a vendor from a booth or food cart that can […]

Motonosumi Inari shrine and its magnificent 123 torii


Nagato City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, was only founded on 31 March 1954. It includes the smaller towns of Fukawa, Misumi, Yuya, Heki, Senzaki, and Kayoi, as well as Omijima island. Nagato City has an estimated population of 37,998.  Nagato remains peaceful and quaint as if it exists in an era long gone. Within this […]

Amazing Japanese Toilets


Your derriere will sure know pampering with the elaborate toilets found in Japan. The bidet toilet installed in at least 72% of Japanese households is the current state of the art Western-style toilet. Bidets are often called washlets (a brand name of Toto Ltd.), and common features include bidet and anus washing, seat warming, and […]

Nengō: The Japanese Era Name


The Japanese calendar scheme is identified by two elements: the first is nengō or gengō (the Japanese era name) and the second is a number that indicates the number of years since an era began. The nengō system was derived from the Chinese Imperial practice that dates back to 140 B.C.E. and was also common practice in […]

Washi: traditional Japanese paper


Washi, a type of paper unique to Japan and one of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage objects, is made of fibers from the barks of mulberry (kozo) and gampi  trees and the mitsumata shrub. Hemp, bamboo, rice, and wheat are also used to make washi. There are some areas in Japan where you can see how washi is made. […]

Learn More About the Wonders of Hokkaido


Hokkaido, which means “Northern Sea Circuit,” is Japan’s second largest island and the northernmost of all the 47 prefectures. The island of Hokkaido is separated from Honshu by the Tsugaru Strait, but the underwater railway, Seikan Tunnel, connects the two. Hokkaido was initially the home of indigenous ethnic groups such as the Nivkh, Orok, and Ainu around 20,000 years ago. […]

Kyaraben: Cute and Delicious Character Bento Boxes


Bentos (Japanese boxed lunch) are popular among Japanese for a fast and easy way to grab a meal. They are single portion meals that can either be prepared at home, as takeout from restaurants, or pre-packed at convenience stores. It’s an economical, healthful, and delicious meal-in-one that is readily available almost anywhere around Japan. The […]

The Great Kantō Earthquake


The Great Kantō earthquake was one of the worst natural disasters in Japanese history. It caused widespread damage in Tokyo, Yokohama, the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and throughout the Kantō region. The estimated deaths brought about by the Great Kantō earthquake tragedy reached about 142,800. Destruction caused by the Great Kantō earthquake. On a […]

Traditional Japanese Tatami Mats


Tatami (畳) is a type of flooring used for traditional Japanese rooms. Tatami, or mats, were originally made using rice straw to form the core. More modern versions of tatami are made from either polystyrene foam or compressed wood chips, and they come in standard sizes with or without cloth edging. Tatami was derived from the word tatamu […]