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Three Prefectures facing the Seto Inland Sea, offer precious experiences for you

The Seto Inland Sea is a body of calm water that lies between the Japanese main islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, stretching for 490 kilometers from Osaka to Kitakyushu.  The Seto Inland Sea includes about 3000 islands – many of which are inhabited – blessed by a mild climate and a relaxed atmosphere, often …

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A Quick & Quirky History of the Nakasendo: A Deep Dive into the History of Nakatsugawa

Here at Heartland Japan, we pride ourselves on going that little bit deeper than everyone else. This time we hone our focus on some of the quirkier histories of Nakatsugawa, home to several post towns of the Nakasendo. In particular, we will look into the Naegi Castle Ruins and local kabuki theatre, known as jikabuki. …

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Discover Owari Samurai & Timber

Samurai! Many places throughout Japan claim to have a strong samurai history, but looking at the history of the Owari domain (present day Aichi) and nearby Kiso Valley which they controlled, one can truly feel why this area was such a pivotal location throughout Japanese history, and thus, a place that bred strong samurai. First …

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6 Secrets of the Nakasendo – Hike from Nakatsugawa to Magome and Experience the Path Less Beaten

In southeast Gifu prefecture, the city of Nakatsugawa is a historical gem on the Nakasendo road. Too many travelers pass through without realizing what they are missing. Here are 6 little known reasons to hike from Nakatsugawa to Magome on the Nakasendo road. This hike passes through three old post towns. You can see rice …

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Japan’s Seasons

It’s often said that Japan is particularly noteworthy for its distinct and varied four seasons, each bringing a stark change in not only temperature and weather, but also in seasonal produce, flora and traditions as well. For this reason, the season during which you travel to Japan can have a considerable influence on what sort …

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Omotenashi – the Japanese concept for Hospitality, or something different?

Japanese people are very proud of many things that come from their country, and the concept of ‘omotenashi’ – identified as ‘hospitality – is most certainly one of them.  While ‘omotenashi’ may translate best as ‘hospitality’, its true meaning is far deeper and more detailed. Omotenashi is a way of life in Japan, focussed on …

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Matcha Green Tea

Have you heard of matcha? From cosmetics to frappuccinos and everything in between, the health benefits of Japan’s iconic green tea has helped it to become a firm favourite across the world.  While matcha may be a new concept to you, the rich-green powder made from ground tea leaves has actually been popular in Japan …

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Tattoos – Why can’t they become “just fashion” in Japan

From tribal designs and ancient runes to meaningful lyrics and memorable dates, chances are high that either you or someone close to you has at least one tattoo. These special, personal artistic adornments are incredibly popular in the West and have become increasingly common in modern years, yet there are still many countries and groups …

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Red-Light Legacy

Ornately-dressed women, discrete well-off businessmen, art, performance and slavery… The stories that surround Japan’s historic red-light districts may seem more like movie plotlines than anything else, but the truth of what occurred in these secretive streets inspired an important cultural legacy that continues even to this day.  Yoshiwara If you’ve ever watched the cult-classic 1927 …

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