Entering the elevated gardens, one is instantly confronted by the robust clouds of green surrounding the elegant reddish stone building, now housing the Otani Art Museum, which reflects English aristocratic homes. It was originally the residence of Meiji-era politician Mutsu Munemitsu (1844-1897), whose son was adopted into the Furukawa family.
Anyone who has been living in Japan for any length of time knows of the friendly, decades-old, rivalry between Tokyo and Osaka – Tokyo built Tokyo Dome for baseball games and as a concert venue. A few years later Osaka Dome opened to great fanfare. Tokyo negotiated with the Disney Corporation and opened Tokyo Disneyland. Not wanting to be outdone, Osaka brought Universal Studios to Japan.
An often-neglected historical edifice but bearing equal significance and prestige not only for its vast, sprawling garden but also more importantly for the Art Deco interiors of Prince Asaka’s former residence, is the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum in Meguro.
A Shop of Different World Views – Irregular Rhythm Asylum and the Heartbeat of Japanese Counterculture
The moment you venture into the infoshop, be prepared to gaze upon reams of posters, books, “zines,” t-shirts, and other goods that favor countercultural ideas. From anarchist thinkers such as Mikhail Bakunin to early Japanese nonconformists like Noe Ito and Kotoku Shusui, you’ll find something to sink your political teeth into without much trouble.
But Omiya is more than just a gateway between differing versions of Japan. Omiya is quintessential Japan. With shrines dating back thousands of years to being the centre of bonsai culture, the city is a rich treasure trove of art, culture and history.
These are delicacies that are way beyond what I can afford, and even if I can, I would rather go for my favourite bowl of ramen instead for much cheaper. So when a friend told me about the Michelin 1 star ramen restaurants in Japan, specifically in Tokyo, I thought that I have no excuses not to try it the next time I was in the area. Nakiryu ramen, famous for the tantanmen was my next destination.
That also means that eating fruit as part of a daily, balanced diet is not a Japanese custom. What you may have grown up thinking of as an after school snack, in Japan is a delicacy, reserved at first only for the noble class, and later for special ceremonial meals like weddings and funerals.
You don’t have to go far to experience the ancient, living practice of Kannon Pilgrimage. One of Japan’s three major Kannon pilgrimages is just eighty minutes by train from Tokyo!
While there are numerous charming sights to see in Karuizawa, two of the worthy visiting spots to check are the Onioshidashi Park by Mt. Asama and the Shiraito Waterfalls.
Kawasaki, a city in Kanagawa-ken, has a 1.2-hectare park named Ikuta Ryokuchi. They have many places to visit such as Kawasaki Municipal Science Museum, Japan Open Air Folk House Museum, Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Yomiuri Land, and Kawasaki Art Center. But the one that I will share here is the rose garden.
During Hitsujiyama Park's Shibazakura Festival in Saitama you can stroll around the huge 1.8-hectare lawn filled with over 400,000 moss phlox of nine different varieties.
If you are in Tokyo and want to experience the Buddhist tradition of temple lodging, or “Shukubo”, you are in luck. Taiyoji, The Temple of the Sun, has everything you could want in a temple stay, just a two- hour train ride away.