Offbeat Japan
Alternative Japan Guide
abandoned, chiba, haikyo, japan, japanese, kanto, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Futtsu Park

Futtsu has something special to offer (who’d have thought it!) – a park on a small narrow peninsula. By stretching things a little (6 kilometres anyway), you can reach the seaport of Yokosuka on the other side and make...

animal, fox, japan, japanese, miyagi, natural, nature, snow, tohoku, winter

Zao Fox Village

At Zao, in Miyagi prefecture, lies the answer to an eternal question: why do we say something is foxy!? With a hundred foxes roaming around, you'll have an extreme immersion experience.

forest, natural, nature, religion, religious, shinto, shrine, spiritual, thing, tori

Kumamoto: Greenery and Limpid Water

I've been through Kumamoto Prefecture on several occasions. Overwhelmed by all the sights to see, I only wrote about the famous Laputa Road. But it's time to fix that. Join me as I make my way through...

abandoned, chichibu, haikyo, japan, japanese, kanto, ruin, saitama, urban exploration, urbex, village

Nichitsu Ghost Town

The abandoned tin-mining village, about 50 km from Chichibu in Saitama, can also be reached from Kofu in Yamanashi.

chubu, edo, era, japan, japanese, nagano, ryokan, special, thing, yamanouchi

Yamanouchi: Chihiro, Monkeys & Onsen

My favourite film from the Ghibli studios is Spirited Away. A number of ryokan inspired this anime fantasy, particularly Kanaguya, near the famous Jigokudani monkeys in the town of Yamanouchi.

asia, chiba, forest, japan, japanese, kanto, natural, nature

The Giant Maple Tree of Oihara

It’s still early and I leave Tokyo before sunrise. I take the long tunnel and the Aqua-Line bridge to the other side of Tokyo Bay, then follow a small mountain road that loses me somewhere in the heart of Chiba...

cosmos, flower, japan, japanese, kansai, nara, natural, nature, religion, religious, spiritual, temple

Hannya-ji: The Cosmos Temple

Nara is very pretty with plenty of hidden corners to visit that I’ll try to help you discover. One of my autumn favourites is Hannya-ji Temple.

flower, japan, japanese, kansai, nara, natural, nature, sakura, spring

Yoshinoyama, The Cherry-blossom Mountain

Mount Yoshino is the most famous sakura site in Japan. With more than 30,000 cherry trees covering the whole mountain, the very idea seems fantastic. But is this really the best site? To get off to a good start, here’s...

japan, japanese, kumamoto, kyushu, road, thing, transport, transportation

Laputa Road

Did you enjoy the Studio Ghibli animation Castle in the Sky? Then you’ll fall under the spell of this part of Kyushu: the Laputa Road.

japan, japanese, kansai, mie, natural, nature, religion, religious, rock, shrine, spiritual

Meoto Iwa: The Wedded Rocks

These two rocks connected by a thick rope and the little torii on top is one of these mysterious images that inevitably draw visitors to Japan. But if you actually go to see them won’t that strip them of their mystique...

azalea, drone, flower, japan, japanese, kyushu, natural, nature, saga, special, spring

Mifuneyama Rakuen: An Avalanche of Azaleas

Near the small town of Takeo there rises Mifuneyama, a proud mountain apparently covered with heads of broccoli. But a magical gardener has passed by and poured the juice of soft fruits over them, to announce the...