It must take Hitoshi Kobayashi a long time to walk anywhere if his collection of photographs is any indication. The photographer has been gaining attention online for his galleries of photos dedicated solely to the facades of local buildings tucked away in the quiet streets and alleyways of suburban Tokyo. In fact, taking a stroll through his pictures is almost like being spirited away to another world and time altogether.
Next week, people across Japan will be celebrating Tanabata, the age-old festival dedicated to the folk-tale of two lovers separated by the Milky Way, being reunited only once a year, on July 7th.
While in this romance story the Milky Way is nothing but an obstacle for the lovers, for the people of Aogashima, an island south of Tokyo, the Milky Way is an important part of their life and happiness. The uniquely shaped island has been gaining popularity lately, being dubbed a “natural planetarium.” Needless to say, the view of the night sky from Aogashima is outstanding.
There’s something about abandoned buildings, such as Nagasaki’s famed “Battleship Island,” and the ghost skyscraper in Bangkok, that is so creepy and mysterious that we just can’t get enough of them. One Shanghai-based photographer recently journeyed out to the nearby Zhoushan Archipelago to document the remains of a once-prospering fishing village, now abandoned and being consumed by nature.
People really love sports, don’t they? If, like me, you grew up lacking the gene that makes watching a bunch of strangers whack balls around somehow fascinating, then it sometimes seems like a whole alien world. Still, I can appreciate that televised sports bring a lot of excitement to people’s lives. What I can’t understand, however, is when people get all excited about sports players’ wives and girlfriends.
Miles Mikolas, a baseballer from the U.S., joined the Yomiuri Giants for the 2015 baseball season and it seems that a lot of people in Japan are much more interested in his beautiful, blonde wife than in him. And this is a guy who apparently ate a lizard whole during a game.
As the weather starts to get warmer in Japan, many people will cope by cranking up the air conditioner. But there’re also traditional options for beating the summer heat, such as whipping out a folding fan, and also psychological cooling tricks such as listening to the soothing sounds of a wind chime or taking a few moments to gaze at a tank of water filled with gracefully swimming goldfish.
If that last idea sounds like your kind of thing, you’re in luck, as the Art Aquarium exhibit is returning to Tokyo this July with its unique combination of artistic displays, DJ performances, fine sake to sip, and late-night viewings of aquatic life.
Filmmaker and travel enthusiast Brandon Li’s latest venture ‘Tokyo Roar’ is a love letter to the world’s ultimate metropolis. This remarkable short film encapsulate’s Tokyo’s unique blend of traditional and modern, urban and nature – all in under four minutes.
But it’s not all rose-tinted positivity here. While Li’s video takes us on a winding tour of Tokyo’s dazzling streets – through pachinko parlours and hobby shops, before peeping in at bamboo groves and Shinto shrines – we also glimpse homelessness, loneliness, the grind of the daily commute.
As Japan gets ready to flip the calendar from May to June, it’s a perfect time to get out of the house and spend some time outdoors. If you’re the sort who hates cold weather, it’s finally warm enough to spend the afternoon outside with no need of a jacket, and if you can’t stand the heat, you’ve only got a few weeks left until the onset of the steamy rainy season and sizzling midsummer weather patterns.
And to sweeten the deal, right now there’s a perfect spot for your sojourn with nature, this breathtaking field of over 15 million flowers in Saitama Prefecture known as the Heavenly Poppies.
Way at the western tip of Honshu, the main island of Japan, you’ll find the town of Shimonoseki. Shimonoseki is especially famous for its always delicious, naturally poisonous, and occasionally canned blowfish, but fishermen catch all manner of tasty seafood there in the waters off the edge of Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Wherever you have boats and coastlines, you’ll also want to put a lighthouse too. But on a recent night the beacon of Shimonoseki’s Tsunoshima lighthouse wasn’t the only thing shining in the darkness, as observers also roughly a dozen mysterious-looking lights in the night sky.
Whether you call it Bavarian cream or Bavarois, the classic dessert generally isn’t much to look at. Since traditional Bavarian cream itself is just a beige lump (being cream, after all), many chefs choose to drizzle a brightly colored fruit sauce on top of it. And while that definitively adds some much needed visual pizzazz, if you’re after a dessert that’s as captivatingly beautiful as it is mouth-wateringly tempting, this Tokyo pastry shop’s Bavarian cream that includes edible flowers is basically a work of art that you can eat.
Japan sure knows how to elevate its food to an unparalleled level of art, and today we’d like to introduce you to the works of another master Japanese craftsman of sweets. His life’s passion is creating exquisitely detailed animal-shaped candy, which are so astoundingly intricate that it probably won’t be long before a museum asks to put them on display!
You guys, it’s May, so that means you can finally go see the beautiful wisteria tunnel that we told you about last October! If you find yourself anywhere near northern Kyushu or have time for a weekend getaway, head to Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kitakyushu City. If you think we’re exaggerating or doctoring the pictures to make them more beautiful (we’re not), at least trust the opinion of the Japanese Twitter users gushing over the wisteria’s beauty!
While people in Japan put up decorations to celebrate different holidays, most of them are placed inside the home, such as the dolls for Girls’ Day/Hina Matsuri in March or the vegetables displayed during Obon in the summer. Out in public, though, though, you’d be hard-pressed to tell one Japanese holiday from another, with the exception of Children’s Day/Kodomo no Hi on May 5.
That’s because when Children’s Day rolls around, all you have to do is look up at all of the beautifully awesome carp streamers flying overhead,
Of all the beautiful sights in Japan, there is nothing quite like cherry blossoms blooming in spring. As soon as the winds of winter end, these tiny buds start growing and cities are filled with various shades of pink. However the cherry blossom season is very short, and just as soon as the sakura have come, they’re falling off the trees in a downpour of petals.
But when these petals fall into a river, or cover a paved street, another magical sight can be enjoyed. Let us show you another way you can enjoy cherry blossoms once they have blown off the tree with breathtaking pictures of hanaikada, cherry blossoms floating atop a river.
As of yesterday, it’s officially cherry blossom season in Tokyo, with media outlets reporting the first flowers of the year spotted inside the capital. While we’re still a week or two away from the sakura being in full bloom, their incredibly short life span means they’ll be gone before you know it, so most people are looking to spend as much time watching the delicate pink flowers as they can in the coming days.
Much as we’d like to, though, most of us can’t spend all of the next few weeks stretched out on the grass under a cherry tree. But should you find yourself stuck in front of a computer monitor with work or social responsibilities to take care of, you can still soak up a bit of the cherry blossom atmosphere with this app that produces a cloud of sakura petals on your desktop.
For generations, Rolls-Royce has been the most exalted name in British automaking. Yes, the Mini may have had the most historical significance. Various models of MGs and Triumphs provided immense pleasure for the driver at an affordable price, and Aston Martin did likewise at unaffordable ones. But for absolute presence and luxury, none of them could ever touch Rolls-Royce.
For its latest showcase model, though, the carmaker with a history as English as high tea looked east for inspiration, and the result is the Serenity Phantom, a car decorated in silk and cherry blossom motifs that looks like it’d be as appropriate for transporting a member of the Japanese imperial family as a British royal.
There appears to be a mascot for everything in Japan. Leave it to advertising agencies here to put a face on whatever product they are selling. But some products and promotions are difficult to create adorable characters for. How do you encapsulate all the intricate eccentricities of a city, for example, in one single super-deformed character?
Well Katsushika City in Tokyo is approaching the problem in a different way, but choosing not just one “cute character” to represent them but having an entire cast of beautiful heroines. Say hello to Katsukore!
Remember a while back when we told you about the Malaysian girl with 229,000 Instagram followers, who uploads pictures of herself holding things? Well, it turns out that she has a sister who is just as cute, and since we know how much you all love pictures of cute girls (and guys!) we decided to introduce her to you! Join us after the jump to meet Min Chen’s sister, model Brandy Akiko!
When it comes to beautiful landscapes, one of the best is anything with rolling banks of thick fog. Now, we imagine some people who live in places like Seattle or London might not agree with the sentiment, but for many of us, the heavy mist of a spring morning is like meandering through a dream. Maybe not the best way to get yourself ready for a day of work, admittedly, but it’s definitely affecting.
Of course, many in Japan would agree–from 12th century emperors to contemporary filmographers. Just check out this stunning video titled “TOKYO DENSE FOG” to see how something as simple as the weather can turn Japan’s modern capital into a mystical realm.
A few weeks ago we introduced you to the world of traditional Japanese woodwork, a technique that uses no nails or hardware, just precise joints, to keep furniture and even buildings together. This technique is also used to create intricate, wooden, functional artwork, known as kumiko, which is used within Japanese style-rooms to create a stunning atmosphere.
The traditional handicraft has been passed down for centuries, however, the trade is sadly dying out. In response, artisans are taking the age-old concept and applying the designs to more modern-day household items, such as chairs and lampshades. The results are nothing short of exquisite!
Being the very heart of the anime and consumer electronics scene in Japan, it’s no surprise that Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood has Internet cafes where you can also read comics from a massive in-house manga library. But as nice as it can be to immerse yourself in all of the extremely important information available online, or to gorge yourself on a year’s worth of manga at a fraction of the price you’d pay to buy it, you might find yourself wanting to do so in relaxing, even traditional surroundings.
If so, a visit to the Nagomi-Style Cafe Akiba is in order, as it’s the only manga and Internet cafe in Akihabara designed with the look and atmosphere of a Japanese ryokan inn.