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ピンもと:The Japan Times

Between a rock and an art place in Kurashiki's merchant quarters

Kurashiki — a town planner’s draft, a cultural geographer’s map of urban growth; from the postwar sprawl typified by the compression of buildings contiguous with highways and railroad tracks, to the painted walls and turrets of Kurashiki Tivoli Park, a children’s storybook theme park, replete with artificial lakes, palaces and a Ferris wheel, to the well-ordered Edo Period (1603-1868) grid of Bikan, the original town.

ピンもと:The Japan Times

The changing view of Onomichi town

Onomichi is taking its Edo Period manors and historic Temple Walk into the present with cyclist-focused hotels and cat's-eye-view maps.

ピンもと:The Japan Times

Kochi doesn't need to fish for compliments

Kochi sits in the cradle of the southern coast of Shikoku, a city of waving palms and welcoming people. In the Edo Period (1603-1868), it was one of the nation’s most isolated cities, a last port of call before the relative unknown of the Pacific.


Ito Station (伊東駅)

Onlookers wait for a sign of movement at the Atagawa Tropical & Alligator Garden. Atagawa's heyday as a stylish hot-spring resort has long passed, but this quiet spa town still retains a particular southern charm.

ピンもと:The Japan Times

Glimpses of Lafcadio Hearn's Matsue

Although Lafcadio Hearn stayed in Matsue for only a year, he developed a great affection for this castle town and its surrounds, which — far removed from the changes taking place elsewhere — were ripe with tradition, time-embalmed customs, folklore and local superstitions.

ピンもと:The Japan Times

Listening to the wind on Battleship Island

Gunkanjima, or Battleship Island, has gone from mining island, to ghost town, to alternative tourist attraction, to UNESCO World Heritage site.

ピンもと:The Japan Times

Yuasa: The salty, fermented heart of Japan

Two artisans in Yuasa — one making miso, the other making shoyu — struggle to keep the traditional town alive in modern Japan.

ピンもと:The Japan Times

Hakone in hot water: Romance, gimlets and raunchy 'onsen'

Couples can take the Romance Car to Hakone and experience one of its famous hot springs or stay at Japan's first Western hotel.