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Nature & Seasons

New Year's in Japan

New Year's in Japan

In Japan, New Year's is one of the busiest time of the year but also one of the most festive! We'd like to take this opportunity to share with everyone some of the fun foods and activities you'll only be able to experience around this season.

Japanese Spirituality

Japanese Spirituality

Japanese spirituality is complicated, and it is said that Japanese people nowadays get baptized at a Shinto shrine, marry in a Christian church, and have their funeral at a Buddhist temple. Many Japanese people would say that they do not really have a faith, and yet be involved in multiple religious groups.

In Search Of Zen

In Search Of Zen

It can be said that Japanese culture has become intrinsically linked with Zen. First introduced to Japan around the 7th century, Zen ideology spread rapidly throughout the 12th century, a time known as the Kamakura period. Zen generally refers to a meditation practice derived from Buddhism, and its influences can be found throughout daily life in Japan.

Kaiseki Ryori - The Pinnacle of Authentic Japanese Cuisine

Kaiseki Ryori - The Pinnacle of Authentic Japanese Cuisine

Kaiseki embodies the fundamental concepts in washoku, such as the attention to the seasons, and the emphasis on using natural local ingredients to create an eating experience that is not only delicious, but also demonstrates how preparation and execution of a meal can be an art form.

An Introduction to Washoku, Traditional Japanese Cuisine

An Introduction to Washoku, Traditional Japanese Cuisine

While the term literally means "Japanese food," in reality the term refers to a much broader and important cultural concept. In 2013, washoku was actually added to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritages. The organization's explanation of washoku reveals why it is so much more than food, and why it deserves to be enshrined as an invaluable part of world culture. 

A Journey Through Japanese Gardens

A Journey Through Japanese Gardens

Japan’s emphasis on the natural form also has a significant influence on its gardens.  While the idea of gardens was originally brought to Japan from China, over time it has evolved into an irreplaceable aspect of Japanese culture.

Authentic Wasabi

Authentic Wasabi

Wasabi (わさび), Japanese horseradish, is a root vegetable eaten with many Japanese dishes. Many of you have probably seen wasabi in the form of a finely grated green paste with your sushi, sashimi, or soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles). But did you know that even in Japan, most of the wasabi eaten is, in fact, not “real” wasabi? Then what have you been eating all along?

Koi Fish: The Japanese Carp

Koi Fish: The Japanese Carp

Although koi are the national fish of Japan, they are not a native species —they were brought to Japan from China in the 1st Century A.D. as a source of food. In fact, the earliest record of koi farming traces back to China in the 5th Century B.C. Koi has since spread its fins beyond Japan and is now loved by people around the world.

Winter Holidays In Japan

Winter Holidays In Japan

This winter season in Japan welcomes a rare experience of traditional holiday events, food, and unique Japanese holiday cheer. Japan’s winter skies are crisp with sunny weather, making it the perfect time for sightseeing and taking breathtaking photos.

Experiencing Autumn in Japan

Experiencing Autumn in Japan

Autumn is arguably the best time to be in Japan.For many people in Japan, autumn marks the end of hectic summer vacations, signaling a transition to a season filled with delicious food, gorgeous scenery, and a flourishing of the arts.

The Art of Japanese Bonsai

The Art of Japanese Bonsai

The art of bonsai has existed for well over a thousand years. In China, the art of creating miniature landscapes, called penjing, has mythological origins dating back to as early as the 3rd century AD.  The process of growing miniature trees from source specimens is thought to have begun in Japan in the 7th century AD when Japanese Buddhists returning from China brought source plantings back with them.

Getting through the summer in Japan

Getting through the summer in Japan

Japan has four seasons, and the people of Japan traditionally have had numerous ways to enjoy each of them. They place great importance on the progression of the four seasons, and have developed their culture and leisure activities around it. The ancestors of today's Japanese population thought up numerous special ways to escape the summer heat.