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.
Bonsai-mura (literally: “Bonsai Village”) is a neighborhood of Omiya, Saitama Prefecture, strongly associated with the cultivation of dwarf trees, which came into existence less by intent than happenstance. Assessing the damage and losses from the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, bonsai growers in Tokyo’s Sendagi district decided to, quite literally, uproot and relocate to nearby Saitama.
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.
A thatched teahouse in the refined Washi-no-Sato area of Ogawamachi town in Saitama Prefecture. Japan has been making "washi" paper for at least 1,300 years, and visitors can try out the ancient craftwork for themselves.
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.