Taketomi Island: Japan’s Southern Paradise

Just over 300 people call Taketomi Island home, and they must surely be some of the luckiest people in Japan to be able to enjoy the island’s fine climate, pristine beaches and traditional architecture every day of their lives. The rest of us, however, can still enjoy the laid back charms of this small but quaint island on a day trip from nearby Ishigaki Island. A ten minute ferry crossing brings you in to Taketomi’s port, where aside from the Ishigaki ferry, the majority of water traffic is made up of sun-bronzed fisherman.  If you are feeling energetic, you can rent a bicycle at the port and travel to Taketomi Village. Alternatively, a more traditional mode of transport is the suigyusha or water buffalo cart. These docile water buffalos transport visitors around the village while a local driver serenades you with melodies on the sanshin, a traditional Okinawan three stringed lute.

Enjoy charming fauna in an idyllic setting.

Enjoy charming fauna in an idyllic setting.

 

The village itself has only a few streets, but what an impressive few streets they are! Almost all of the houses are built in Okinawan style, a tradition that is sadly dying out on the larger islands. With their red clay roofs and guardian shisa lions standing watchfully, you might find yourself transported to a different time entirely. You may find no more beautiful sight in all of your Okinawa travels than the bougainvillea and hibiscus flowers that completely surround the houses in Spring.

Having enjoyed the architectural splendor of Taketomi, you can then dive (literally) into its natural wonders. Rent a snorkel from the visitor center and then cycle, walk, or take a buffalo cart around half a kilometer north of the village to Misashi, the island’s best snorkeling point. The shoreline is surrounded by coral reefs and as soon as you enter the water, the magical colors of the undersea world will come to life in front of your eyes.

Shisa lions are a common sight around Taketomi island.

Shisa lions are a common sight around Taketomi island.

 

Just over a kilometer south on the west coast lies the beautiful Kaiji beach. It is also known as “Hoshisuna-no-hama” (star sand beach), so named because of the star shaped ‘sand’ that accumulates there. The sand is in fact made up of countless shells broken into tiny fragments over time by the tide. After a swim you might have worked up an appetite. Taketomi has several charming restaurants such as Takenoko which serves a good range of simple, high quality soba noodle dishes in a beautiful traditional house. After refuelling, pick up a souvenir in the adjoining shop; one of Taketomi’s classic keepsakes is a bottle of star shaped sand. You can also go to the village mingeikan (craft gallery) for samples of traditional southern Okinawan minsa, a finely woven indigo-dyed cloth that will always remind you of your Okinawa travel experience.

A buffalo-drawn cart is the ideal way to enjoy getting around.

A buffalo-drawn cart is the ideal way to enjoy getting around.

 

After a full day of sightseeing, there should be just enough time for a well-deserved beer before heading south to the ferry terminal and back to Ishigaki. Alternatively, if the thought of leaving doesn’t appeal, there are a number of friendly Bed & Breakfasts on the island. Staying will allow you to enjoy the sun going down over the village while savoring Okinawan food and perhaps a musical performance from your host. After all, when you’ve found paradise, nobody can blame you for wanting to linger.

How to get to Taketomi island: A two-hour flight from Tokyo to Naha on Okinawa island, then a 30-minute flight to Ishigaki island followed by a 10-minute ferry ride from Ishigaki Port to Taketomi.

 

 

photo credit: コンドイ浜 via photopin (license)

OUTDOORS: 6 Ways To Enjoy Open-Air Life In Japan

Welcome to Japan, an outdoor wonderland! From the mountains to the sea, Japan offers unforgettable experiences for every kind of season and outdoor aficionado!

With so many activities to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start when planning your outdoor getaway to Japan. So we put together this list of 6 outdoor travel tips to help you get on your way:

1. Camping

Camping Japan

Did you know that you can camp in Japan? With over 3,000 campsites nationwide, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to take in Japan’s natural beauty.

2. Skiing/Snowboarding

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It’s no coincidence that Japan has hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice. The powder there is second to none and although you can take to the snow most anywhere in Japan, try Tohoku (northern area) in late April or Hokkaido in mid-May to catch the cherry blossoms in bloom while you hit the slopes.

3. Hiking

Japan Hiking

If you really want to experience the outdoors, why not take a nature walk and get up close and personal with Japan’s impressive landscapes? With mountains covering over 70% of Japan’s terrain, you’ll have no trouble finding a great hiking trail.

4. Extreme Sports

Japan rafting

For those adrenaline junkies, Japan has no shortage of extreme sports. From white water rafting to bungee jumping, paragliding and more, you can be sure to find a thrilling activity to get the blood pumping.

5. Spelunking

Japan Spelunking

Japan’s long history of volcanic activity has left the island nation with countless caves and caverns just waiting to be explored. Exercise your inner adventurer with a cave tour and explore Japan’s hidden natural wonders.

6. Fishing

Japan Fishing

Aside from the obvious ocean fishing available to Japan as an island nation, there are also an abundance of rivers and lakes that offer fisherman the chance to catch some amazing freshwater fare. Try ice fishing like an Ainu for smelt on the Barato river in Sapporo and have your day’s catch made into tempura on site!

DAY TRIPS: 6 Quick Trips To Take You A World Away

Take in the view from a soaring city tower or a mountain peak. Relax in a soothing hot spring, or see how your favorite products are made. Extraordinary day trips await you in Japan!

Check out this list of useful tips for one-day travel excursions:

1. Airport Layover Excursion

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Long layovers don’t have to be spent cooped up in the airport when you can take a short train ride to stopover cities such as Narita, Ota City, or Sakai. Do some sightseeing at a local shrine without having to travel to central Tokyo or Kyoto.

2. Nature Adventure

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For the price of a cup of coffee you can get out of the hustle and bustle of the big city with a quick train ride to Mt. Takao. Hike the beautiful mountain trails just 50 minutes from Tokyo.

3. Take A Tourist Detour

Mount Fuji Hakone

Planning to take the train from Tokyo to Kyoto? Why not break up that long ride by stopping off in cities such as Hakone or Nagoya and spending a couple of hours sightseeing on the way?

4. Rejuvenate At An Onsen

Hot Spring Onsen

Tired after a long day of sightseeing? Take a quick trip to one of the thousands of hot springs and bathhouses that Japan has to offer and relax with the locals in the therapeutic waters.

5. See How It’s Made

Japan Factory Tour

Take a factory tour and see how companies such as Toyota, Cup of Noodles, and Asahi Beer make the products you see every day. You may even get a sample fresh off the production line!

6. Enjoy The View From Up High

Tokyo Skyline

Most major Japanese cities have skyscrapers and towers where you can ascend to take in the view from above, including newer destinations like SkyTree in Tokyo. If you want the scenic vistas without the entrance fee, try the Tokyo Government Building’s 202 meter high observation deck which is open to the public free of charge and has a café where you can grab a bite while you enjoy the view.

Say Hello to Tazuu!

Tazuu

Fun-to-pronounce Tazuu is a free of charge question and answer internet service designed specifically for people who want to visit Japan. Tazuu facts: more than 90% of questions asked get answered; you can ask questions in English; approximately 50% replies are posted within 2 hours after a question is asked.

Most people who reply are Japanese locals familiar with the area you have questions about, and who can answer precisely and quickly, so you can ask in as much detail as you like. But, you say, you don’t speak Japanese? No problem! Ask your question in English – it will be translated into Japanese and then the reply will be translated back into English (human or machine translation).

You can start asking questions almost immediately if you have a Facebook, Google or Twitter account! All posts are checked by their trained staff members within 24 hours of their posting.

For more information, please visit here.
http://tazuu.com/

Kyoto is a Magical Journey

image001.jpgKyoto is magical and it is easy to understand why the city received Conde’ Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice Award as the best Asian city of 2011. A journey to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital is to take a step back in time and to experience the essence of Japanese culture. From ancient temples and shrines where centuries old traditions are carried out before your eyes to the cobblestone alleys of Gion, the city’s historic Geisha quarter, where teahouses are filled each evening with music and laughter, the past comes alive in Kyoto.

No matter what season you experience Kyoto, its cultural refinement and grace, complimented by abundant natural beauty, beckon you to delve first-hand into the wonders and charm that the city has to offer. In summer relax in front of the glistening moss garden of an ancient temple admiring its subtle beauty as others have done before you for hundreds of years. While in fall, meander through the tranquil environs of a solitary temple that comes alive in the glow of autumn leaves where you may try meditation in the company of the friendly temple priest. Winter, perhaps my favorite time of year, brings certain solitude along with a blanket of snow that makes the city’s charm and beauty all the more radiant. As spring bursts forth with a wave of fragrant cherry blossoms that cover the city in a canopy of ephemeral beauty, stroll through the grounds of imperial villas that become like a work of art.

A journey to Kyoto would not be complete without an evening in a ryokan or Japanese inn. From a former Buddhist temple that is now a luxuriously appointed inn located deep in the surrounding mountains to an impeccable inn located in the center of Kyoto, an evening at a ryokan is a holistic experience. A ryokan allows you to enjoy with all of your senses the refinement of Kyoto that has been developed and nurtured over generations. Passing the evening in a simple tatami room of refined elegance while enjoying a delicious kaiseki meal served with understated grace and style is an experience that you will never forget.

By Philip Rosenfeld

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Kayotei Country Inn in Ishikawa

By Everett Kennedy Brown

When I first heard of Hokuriku I thought it sounded like a rooster call. When I actually visited the region just two and half hours from Tokyo on the new Shinkansen route (that opens in March 2015), I quickly discovered that it is one of the most scenic regions of Japan.  It is a place I return to again and again to photograph and explore rural villages and rediscover the other side of Japan, the region along the Japan Sea, that is known for great local food and lodgings.

At the foot of the mountains in Ishikawa prefecture is one of my favorite country inns in Japan. In 30 years of global travel as a photographer it is one of the most fulfilling lodging experiences I have ever had. It offers not the luxury of a grand Parisian hotel, or a Balinese beach resort, but the subtle and refined luxury that only Japan has to offer, but taken to a more sublime level.

On my first visit to the country inn Kayotei, I was met at the entrance by three of the staff. They greeted me with a gentle and nostalgic intimacy that gave me the odd impression that I was returning home, to my own private country villa, after a long hiatus. From the start, the whole experience, replete with first class attendants, maids, chefs and décor left a profound impression on the body and spirit. I was hooked from the first day.

Located in the small hot springs village of Yamanaka in Ishikawa prefecture, the village remains much the same as it has for generations. The inn owners are active in promoting the long traditions of the community and are ever ready to escort inn guests to visit the local organic farmers and craftsmen who provide the soul, spirit and sustenance of the community.

Kayotei Ryokan Lodge     Kayotei Ryokan Lodge

Kayotei becomes a showcase for these local artists and craftsmen whose work is displayed amidst the antique furniture, long polished oak tables, hand painted screens and traditional ceramics that adorn the interior, all of which give the inn a feeling of being untouched by time. This atmosphere is also due to the finely nurtured traditional gardens that surround the garden and the ancient and thickly forested hills that rise above the inn’s natural hot spring baths.

Kayotei has only ten suite rooms. Each is designed in a tea pavilion style that provides a remarkable sense of privacy. Japanese traditional meals, using only the best local ingredients of the season are provided in room. A divine vegetarian menu is also available and the breakfasts, are considered the best in Japan by Lonely Planet.

A night or two at Kayotei elevates the perceptions to a higher aesthetic level. It is perhaps my most valued secret for making better photographs when visiting the Hokuriku region.

For more information about Kayotei, visit here. http://www.ryokancollection.com/eng/kayoutei/ryokan_story.htm?ryokan=kayoutei

 

A visit to the Tsurunoyu Onsen

As our taxi driver missed the entrance and proceeded to do a U-turn in the middle of the road, I thought the gorgeous fall colors enveloping the highway around us might have mesmerized him, but I quickly realize he completely missed the turn that took us to the Tsurunoyu Onsen. We circled back around and turned down a non-descript dirt road with a small sign written in Japanese that even our locally born taxi driver didn’t catch. He nodded and said “daijobu,” or something to the effect that we’re ok and now on the right path towards the famed onsen nestled at the base of Mt. Nyuto-zan in the Towada Hachimantai National Park.

I’ve never traveled in the Akita Prefecture before and only knew the Tohoku region as the area that was struck by the devastating 2011 tsunami. As an American tourist who has visited Japan numerous times, getting away from the hustle of Tokyo can be rewarding but most Western tourists rarely leave the capital and tend to travel exclusively to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and a few other major cities south. Yet a trip north into the Tohoku region allows travelers experience the real Japanese countryside, the heart of authentic Japan. Skyscrapers give way to endless emerald green rice fields, majestic mountain views, and a Japanese friendliness that escapes those who live in the big cities.

Tsurunoyu Onsen Japanese Hotspring

We left Tokyo taking a three-hour trip north on the Shinkansen train from Tokyo Station to Akita. The bullet fast train dropped us off at Tazawako Station but we were still a distance from Tsurunoyu. According to the Onsen’s English website, visitors need to take an additional bus to the hot spring but Tsurunoyu suggest you call them in advance to let them know your bus departure time so they can arrange transportation to meet you at their bus stop. A walk from the bus stop to the Onsen would take over an hour so that call from the station is crucial.

Although it would cost more money, we opted for the convenience of a taxi, as we were both jet lagged and needed to travel to the next town over after our day trip to the Onsen.

As our taxi continued down the forest road, we were engulfed by fiery fall foliage, as the leaves had not yet shed from the trees. The taxi must have continued for at least another ten minutes until we finally reached what appeared to be a structure built in a different era. Tsurunoyu Onsen sat nestled at the bottom of mountain with the fall colors completely swallowing the property. Yellow reeds and birch trees obscured a water wheel slowly churning over a misty brook and the smell of sulfur signaled the mineral rich waters of the mountains awaiting us in the bath.

Tsurunoyu Hot Springs

 

The onsen was established in the 1600s and was used by the local nobility and samurais of the Akita region. The original thatched roof building still stands on the property. Once frequented exclusively by local visitors in recent times, international travelers have now discovered the onsen’s magical waters. So when we arrived, we rubbed elbows with Taiwanese, Thais, Malaysians, and a few Europeans. The onsen’s isolation also did not ensure us an overnight booking as the ryokan, or guesthouse, was booked solid for weeks. However, Tsurunoyu offers a day pass and we couldn’t miss bathing in the spring’s blue waters.

After arriving and purchasing a day pass, we hit the hot springs. A visit to a Japanese bath can be daunting to many newcomers but it is an experience not to be missed. The ritual of the onsen involves showering in a communal room before entering the hot springs. You shower by squatting on an impossibly low stool that forces your knees upwards towards your ears and bathe under a waist-high showerhead. Shampoos and liquid soaps are provided in your shower stall but they’re never in English, so I always find myself conditioning my feet and body soaping my hair. After washing every inch of your body, you can either rinse off using the showerhead or dump water over your head from a faux wooden bucket that is provided with your “never in English” soaps. Since my mom never let me take a bucket into the shower with me as a child, I always go for the dramatic rinse off.

With only a tiny towel to modestly cover you, you slip through the shower room and into the outdoor bath where you slowly ease into the warm, if not too hot, spring waters. Many novices find it tough at first to get over the no bathing suit issue but after a few minutes the hot bath soothes all those jitters away.

Tsurunoyu Onsen Japanese Hotspring

Fall colors surround you as you sit in the onsen at the base of the mountains. A mist slowly rises off the bluish, milky water that is rich in minerals found at the water’s source. The murkiness obscures any part of your body soaking in the water, so you never feel like you are completely exposed in the bath. Since the water temperature is fairly high, it doesn’t take long for bath to get uncomfortably warm so I found myself constantly getting in and out of the waters. But once I acclimated myself, sitting in the chest deep warmth invigorated my aching body as well as put me at ease.

Since we couldn’t spend the night, we asked if we could tour the property after our baths. The manager graciously obliged and we walked around the ancient grounds. Upon entering the main house where many of the guest rooms are, the smell of cedar and hay embraced us. We slipped off our shoes in exchange for the always-too-small Japanese slippers and slid our way across the polished wooden hallways towards one of the larger guest room. The huge tatami room was continuously held in reserve by a very large Japanese firm. The firm’s executives and guests would arrive unannounced and Tsurunoyu would accommodate them at a moment’s notice.

The reserved room, like much of the property we saw that afternoon, lacked many modern conveniences harking back to a time when visitors once arrived on foot or on horseback. Faded Japanese mountain-scape paintings covered the timeworn sliding doors, and shoji screen windows warmly filtered sunlight across the tatami mats. There was no flat screen TV to distract from the panoramic forest views that dominated the room. An open pit sat in the middle of the floor where an iron pot hung from a large hook over a soon to be lit fire. A small, sliding door led to private hot springs just outside of the grand room.

Tsurunoyu Onsen Japanese Hotspring

Dinner is provided to overnight guests, so we sadly missed out on a feast of river fish, mountain vegetables and other locally sourced ingredients. Luckily we knew of a great restaurant in the next town over that would have a similar menu; however, it was tough not dining in such a historic property.

Luckily our taxi driver understood my bad Japanese and was waiting for us out front and we left the Tsurunoyu property near dusk. I sadly glanced back and saw the property get smaller as we traveled away. I knew it would be tough to return to this far away location but Japan has always driven me back into her arms. I’m positive I’ll visit this onsen again.

by Marco Garcia

Himi, Toyama Prefecture: Fixed Net

© Himi City, Toyama Prefecture

The fleet was grounded and I missed my chance to watch the fishing. The daily auction would proceed, I presumed, to dispose of the previous day’s dregs. 6:00 a.m. found us pummeled by the gale, searching for a way into Himi’s control central–the Fisheries Association building, a large concrete industrial-looking structure perched at the edge of a large harbor fronted by jetties.

We eventually found the way in and slipped into the black, felt-lined, knee-high rubber boots that everyone wore. The concrete floor of the auction room was slick with puddles and open to the sea. We were given yellow plastic visitor’s tags, which we draped around our necks. We were told to behave ourselves and stay out the way. The cavernous concrete space was dim in dark early morning.  There was a group of exchange students from Colgate University, there to intern at the docks. We were shown around the facility by Mr. Tatsuyuki Hirose, General Manager of the Himi branch of Japan Fisheries Cooperative who one of the women in our group said looked like Richard Gere.

I sat down with Mr. Hirose in one of the large office spaces off the main hall. Mr. Hirose told me that Himi is renowned not only for its variety of seafood but the way it’s caught. Himi’s fishermen are masters of a technology that goes back centuries called fixed net fishing. Mr. Hirose said Himi is the only place where this ancient art is practiced all year (two other ports along the Japan Sea Coast use the technique but only in summer).

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Two parallel nets over a quarter mile long are set in relatively shallow water on the edge of the steeply dropping floor of Toyama Bay. The nets taper and rise together at their tip. Using their boats, the fishermen drive fish into a gate that opens into the tapered corral of the nets. It’s almost like a cattle drive! The fish are then herded into the net’s shallow tip, where they’re scooped up with long-handled nets. The catch suffers a minimum of trauma. Mr. Hirose said 70% of the catch escape, which is one of the reasons Himi has such good fishing season after season.

The Bay is rich in sardines and other baitfish. When I was there, fish like marlin, bonito, immature yellowtail, and mahi-mahi were feasting on the bait (and being served up in sushi, sashimi and chirashi). A small black and white striped snapper (tai) was around as well as a number of different types of squid. The sea also provides an array of shellfish—absolutely delicious sweet shrimp, and, in October, when I was there, something called “Babylon Shell”, a large snaillike crustacean that is eaten both raw and cooked.

To continue onto part three of this story, click here.

 

By Kenneth Wapner

Himi, Toyama Prefecture: A Country of Water

Typhoon #18 is roaring up from the south Pacific toward Himi, the small fishing village on the Sea of Japan where I am staying at Umiakari, an onsen (hot springs) hotel. Waves pound the windswept coast. The fast-moving sky is low and gray. I am supposed to go out on a boat tomorrow to watch the famed fisherman of Himi ply their trade, but we may be grounded by weather.

Few Western tourists come to Himi, although it’s heavily touristed by the Japanese who come for the fish. Perhaps nowhere else in Japan can you get the variety and quality of fresh seafood year round. The Japanese come to eat fish and for the spectacular views over the big water of Toyama Bay to the rugged, snow-capped peaks of the Japanese Alps that rise over 10,000 feet from the narrow coastal plain.

I saw many photos of this magnificent panorama, of which the people of Himi are justifiably proud, but I never got see the scene itself. When I woke during the night, snug in my futon on tatami, I heard rain slashing the windowpanes. The next morning at 4:30 a.m., I padded in yukata and slippers through silent halls to the spring fed pool on a fourth floor terrace. There was an indoor and outdoor pool and both were lined with stone.

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I washed myself thoroughly, squatting on a plastic stool in front of a chest high spigot that filled shallow plastic tub with warm water that I splashed over my head and body again and again. Squeaky clean, I walked out a steamy glass door into stormy predawn. Rain pelted my face. Wave after wave broke below. Dim lights signaled the curve of the coast. I faced west toward the Continent. The water was very hot, up to my neck, and I was all alone. Wind and rain ruffled the steaming surface of the pool. Water tricked in from a stone shoot and sloshed out over an indentation in the pool’s lip. Water was constantly coming into the pool and going out. I leaned back. The country was a country of water. We had passed river after river, traveling south to Himi along the coast. This was the route the bullet train from Tokyo would run next spring when it opened up this coast and the mountainous interior: the folded land, the further north, the back of the beyond. Hokuriku was rich in hot springs. More of them were here than anywhere else in Japan. The Western Sea tumbled at my feet. The country was a country of water, fresh and salt, snowmelt and thermal. It was country of moving water and fish and restorative bathing. No matter what happened, how difficult things got, there was always the steaming water to slip into. It was so simple and available—the ultimate luxury. I breathed in the steam and squall. My body felt sleek, almost buoyant. The water had a texture to it, a silkiness and substance that with traces of earth and was both vegetal and mineral. It heated my core. The rain that whipped into my face and hair felt lifted from the Sea. It was cool but not cold, and it was delicious to wallow in the molten broth with my face and head cooled by the storm.

When I left the bath, gray light was coming up in the heavy sky where the mountains would have been.

To continue onto part two of this story, click here.

 

By Kenneth Wapner

TOP PHOTO:  © 2014 Toyama Prefectural Tourism Association

Japanese Time Travel in Sado

Japan is a great place for time travel. In the remote villages, temples and shrines of the countryside there are places that lure the imagination into another age. This is one of the great pleasures of travel anywhere in the world, that experience of stepping out of daily life into another era. As a photographer who has travelled extensively in Japan, I have encountered many such places along the Japan Sea coast, a region also known for its delicious food and sakes.

The western coast is also known as ‘other side of Japan,’ a relatively unknown and less visited region of Japan. It wasn’t always that way. Since pre-history the Japan Sea coast was the gateway for travelers from the Asian continent. With the advent of modern Japan in the 19th century, however, the country’s largest cities flourished and spread along the Pacific coast and the Japan Sea region slipped into the shadows of history. The area has now become a wonderful destination to discover the old Japan.

Japan Sado Island

One of my favorite places for photographic adventure along the Japan Sea is Sado Island. The island is located just off the coast of Niigata, the home of some of Japan’s most prized sake breweries. Though only 3 1/2 hours from downtown Tokyo by Shinkansen and hydrofoil, the island has a remarkably strong feeling of being ‘cut off from the modern world.’  This atmosphere is there in the daily lives of the farmers and fishermen, who continue to live a life deeply rooted in the island’s fascinating history.

On a recent trip to Sado I drove through the countryside photographing the elderly farmers harvesting their autumn crops. I stopped my rental car to photograph a group of grandmother’s picking persimmons. We chatted for a few minutes, and to my surprise one of the women put down her picking basket and asked me to wait a few minutes while she drove off in her mini truck. Momentarily she came back with a plate of chilled cut persimmons brought from her home. Seeing that I enjoyed the flavor, she placed a small bag of the orange fruit in my hands for the continuing journey.

The Sado island people have a deep and long connection with the past. Perhaps this is due to the unusual history of the island.  Know for its great gold mines, the island also has a 1,300 year old legacy of hosting an astonishing assortment of historical individuals who were banished by the lords on the mainland. These characters include Japan’s most renowned Noh dramatist, a Buddhist saint, a disgraced emperor, and an assortment of poets and aristocrats who brought their cultured lifestyles to the island.

Distanced from the intrigues of the mainland many of these individuals devoted their energies to cultural activities like tea ceremony, writing poetry, meditating and gathering up local farmers and fishermen to start local Noh drama groups. Throughout much of the year, these outdoor performances can still be enjoyed under firelight as it has for hundreds of years.

Japan Kodo performer

This tradition of island entertainment has morphed into the great Japanese drum group, KODO, which tours the world much of the year. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these performances in your area, I highly recommend it to experience the timeless quality of the island’s continuing creative spirit.

 

By Everett Kennedy Brown

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