Hinamatsuri – The Amazing Doll Festival in Japan

Dolls on Display for the Doll Festival in Japan

If you’ve been to Japan in February or March you might be wondering why there are bright red staircases full of dolls everywhere. If you’re there now and googling that very question…the answer is you’ve arrived in time to see the Doll Festival in Japan, aka Hinamatsuri, Doll Day or Japanese Girls Day on March …

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Sanatorium – Fukuoka’s Most Curious Cafe.

Anatomical dummies decorate Sanatorium Cafe, Fukuoka

It’s not unusual for someone to wake up one day and decide to start a cafe, however, few people would then decide to theme that cafe around a hospital ward complete with a scan of their own brain as part of the decor, but not everyone is Fukuoka-based artist Sumi Takamasa – and not every …

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What are Billiken – And Why is Osaka Full of Them?

Billiken statue in a clown suit, Osaka Japan

There’s a lot of odd things dotted around Osaka. You’ll find giant pufferfish hanging in the sky, gold turtles climbing up the sides of a building, huge lobster decorating the ceiling of the market – there’s even a giant metal wasp if you know where to look, but among all these fabulous things is one …

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12 Fun and Unusual Things to do in Kokura, Western Japan

Statue of a man with pasta for a head, Kokura, Japan

If at this point, you’re saying Koka what ra, I don’t blame you. Kokura is not the best-known town on the island of Kyushu in Western Japan. I hadn’t heard of it either until I ended up there for two nights. For that, you can thank the Korean boy band, BTS (cue loud screaming). And …

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28 Fun and Unusual Things to do in Fukuoka

Vending machine shaped like a robot in Fukuoka, Japan

Fukuoka in Western Japan is Japan’s seventh biggest city, but despite this when you look for suggestions of things to do in Fukuoka not much comes up – yes, there’s the big shiny Fukuoka tower, ruins of a castle and a huge mall, but generally, that’s about all anyone suggests. However, dig a little deeper …

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Cool Things to do in Matsue, Western Japan

Matsue Castle, Japan

It’s home to one of the best castles in Japan. Home to some great modern art and a spectacular sunset. Home to amazing samurai history, delicious food and a short hop from one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in the world – but when it comes to the average visitor’s plans, Matsue in Western …

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Motonosumi Inari Shrine: How To Find This Stunning Shrine in Western Japan

Shrine made of hundred red tori gates on a cliff

They have good dreams in Japan. Dreams that make things. Things like bright scarlet shrines that balance on the edge of craggy windswept clifftops. Scarlet shrines like the outrageously pretty Motonosumi Inari Shrine near Nagato in Western Japan. It’s a must see if you’re in the areas of Nagato or Hagi – and something to …

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Why a Hot Springs Hotel in Japan is a Brilliant Alternative to a Ryokan.

Traditional ryokan style room with tatami mat floor and a low table

I have a confession to make. There’s something about Japan that scares me… It’s something thousands of tourists do in the country every week, for some it’s potentially the highlight of their trip – yet, the very idea of it brings me out in a stress rash. I’m talking about staying in a ryokan – …

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Ainoshima: Fukuoka’s Cute Cat Island

Grey cat walking toward the camera on Ainoshima Cat Island japan

I’m surrounded by kitties – they’re sleeping in fishing nets, chilling out in wheelbarrows, prowling the paths around the bright blue, fishing boat filled harbour hoping for snacks or just sitting in the sunshine doing whatever cats who live on an island do all day. This is Ainoshima, one of Japan’s many cat islands – …

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The Stunning Adachi Museum of Art Gardens – Designed to be Viewed From The Inside

View of the Adachi Museum of Art garden through their frame like windows

Here’s a question…What do you do to encourage visitors when you build a museum containing some of the finest works of Japanese art in the midst of rural Japanese farmland? The answer, if you are Zenko Adachi, a farmer’s son turned influential art collector, is to build one of the most beautiful gardens in the …

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