Located in a lush valley in Oita Prefecture’s western Sarayama district, Ontayaki Pottery Village moves to a steady rhythm of its own. There’s no mistaking its distinctive sounds — rushing water, a…

The Covid-19 pandemic pulled the emergency lever on 2020–2021, bringing overseas travel to a grinding halt. This year, there is one mode of travel that is gaining in popularity – the wellness…

JAPAN RAIL CAFE TOKYO in Tokyo Station is a place where travelers' paths intersect. It is a great base for your next adventure, whether you grab a cup of matcha, use the WiFi or have JR staff help you with your trip planning. Their Travel Information Counter has multilingual staff who can tell you how to make the most of the JR EAST pass. JAPAN RAIL CAFE TOKYO with TW hosted six workshops on six Tohoku prefectures last year. This year, on June 26 and 27, there were six more events where we invited foreign residents to see, taste and learn about the highlights of Tohoku. TW's senior editor Lisa Wallin is our Tohoku Ambassador. At these events, she shared her insider tips with the participants — from personal recommendations to hidden temples that are not listed on Google maps. In addition to inspiring wanderlust, these events had a hands-on traditional craft workshop and an omiyage bag with some of the tastiest products each prefecture is proud of. The participants got as close to traveling without traveling as possible. When it's safe to travel many are planning to go to Tohoku. They shared with us that the vast nature and tranquil charm of Tohoku are exactly what they are craving. That's in line with current travel trends of staying closer to home and exploring nature instead of bustling cities. Those inspired to travel to Tohoku found out it's convenient to get there, especially now that JR have made their popular money-saving passes available to foreign residents living in Japan. JR EAST offers a great travel deal with their JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) and JR EAST PASS (Nagano and Niigata area), among other passes to other parts of Japan. Not to be confused with the JR EAST Welcome Rail Pass 2020 from last year, these new passes are similar and are available from April 2021 to all foreign passport holders (regardless of visa status). [Sponsored post]

When English archaeologist William Gowland coined the term “Japanese Alps” in the late 1800s, he was originally referring to the Hida Mountains, now commonly known as the Northern Alps. Here on the…

This beach destination isn’t just about the sand, sun and waves. It plays host to a surprising number of eclectic and delicious cuisines, well worth extending your stay for. Read on for…

Iconic waterfalls, untouched nature, and Shinto legends: this is all known about Miyazaki Prefecture. Thanks to its tropical location and warm seas, this oasis on the east coast of Kyushu is also…

Yamagata Prefecture boasts endless mountain landscapes, an abundance of terraced rice fields, 70 percent of Japan’s annual cherry yield and not a lot else. Or so the humble rural idyll would have you believe.…

The arrival of summer means the coastal areas of Japan are ripe for discovery. Unbeknownst to many, Japan does boast beautiful seaside destinations in some parts with refreshingly cool ocean water to…

Where will you first travel when the pandemic ends? For many international travelers, Japan is their top choice. For those of us already living in Japan, there are destinations at the top of…

Did you come straight here after watching our other softcream adventures on YouTube? Or you are just finding us for the first time? If it’s the former – welcome back! If it’s the…

Fourteen hundred years after his death, Prince Shotoku’s legacy remains strong in Japan. More than just a prince regent, Prince Shotoku was many things: a politician, a champion for Buddhism in Japan…

Located in Saitama Prefecture, this mountainous locale is the prefecture’s largest municipality known for its outdoor attractions as well as a thriving brewing industry. Here’s why Chichibu should be the site of your next…

The tranquility of Japan’s temples and is hearty and healthy, and chasing it down with shrines, vast landscapes, healthy food and an onsen soak all make for a wellness vacation, or “wellcation.”…

After ticking off Aomori Prefecture on our JR East Pass (Tohoku area) list, we move on to Akita and Yamagata. Akita Prefecture has broad cultural, natural and culinary appeal with its Akita…

Nagasaki Prefecture’s tiny Iki Island offers more than the pristine white sands of Tsutsukihama Swimming Beach and emerald green-and-turquoise blue waters. Located between Japan’s southwestern Kyushu region and the Korean peninsula, the…