Writer: Alyson

Alyson currently lives in Yokohama where she works in an international school. She uses weekends to go out and explore the local area, and holiday to explore further afield in Japan. She has had articles and short stories published online and in magazines in the UK. The chance to combine travel and writing for this site was one she couldn’t miss.

Ryugashi Cave - Hamamatsu

Ryugashi-Do is an hour’s bus ride from Hamamatsu. It was opened to the public in 1983, after explorers widened the cracks in the limestone to allow access and cleared away rubble. The length of the cave is about 1000 metres but only around 400 metres are developed and accessible to tourists. The stalagmites and stalactites at Ryugashido have been given whimsical names and are artfully lit so they appear resemble real things.

Inuyama Ukai Fishing

There are several reasons to visit the town of Inuyama in Aichi prefecture: the castle designated as the National Treasure, the Urakuen with its National Treasure teahouse and the nearby museum or theme parks like Meiji Mura and Little World. But for me the best reason to visit Inuyama, is to witness the Ukai fishing, a traditional fishing method using cormorants that apparently dates back some 1300 years.

Botanical Garden: Hamamatsu Flower Park

The botanical garden at Hamamatsu is primarily for flowers and plant-viewing, but the garden management authorities have endeavoured to recreate the gardens into a haven for visitors with some quirky plant-displays, a play area, entertainment and restaurants — all designed to appeal to families and groups. This makes it an interesting day out for people of all ages.

Yokohama Firsts

When Japan opened up to America and Europe after the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, Yokohama became a gateway for the introduction of new technologies and Western culture. Items such as ice cream, games such as tennis, and expertise in areas such photography all made their first appearance in Yokohama.

A Day in Sawara

We visited the old Japanese town, east of Narita, where many of the merchant buildings and warehouses have been preserved as they were during the Edo period some 100 or 200 years ago. Wooden shops with decorated tiled roofs and storehouses lined with earthen walls to protect goods from fires border the streets.

Hakone Sekisho

“Hakone Sekisho, known for its strictness, was primarily responsible for keeping women from escaping from Edo.” This phrase appears in the brochure you are given when buying a ticket for Hakone Sekisho, a restored checkpoint of the old Edo highway, which ran between Tokyo and Kyoto.

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