Itoigawa is located in the westernmost part of Niigata Prefecture, with Nagano to the south and Toyama to the west. Taking the shinkansen, the trip from Tokyo is a comfortable two hours.…

In April 2019, I embarked on a flight from France to Tokyo to do a cycling adventure all around Japan. Cycling at dawn, eating at convenience stores and bathing in hot springs,…

Living in central Tokyo, it can sometimes be easy to forget that Japan is not just an endless metropolis full of bright lights, flashing neon signs and convenience stores. I for one…

Mount Fuji, perhaps Japan’s most famous symbol, has fascinated people for millennia. Even today, appreciation for this sacred mountain ranges from adoration to downright obsession. It has inspired everything from Katsushika Hokusai’s…

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…

When the English archeologist William Gowland saw the major mountain chain in the middle of Honshu he thought they resembled the European Alps so he named them accordingly. Later, English missionary Reverend…

The year 2020 taught us that we can work from anywhere in the world. Thanks to advances in digital technology we can work from the beach, the mountains, and even the ski…

The Hakuba mountain range is the first section of the Japanese Alps that Siberian storms hit after their moisture-absorbing journey across the Sea of Japan. This contributes to the allure of Hakuba 47,…

When poet Matsuo Basho referred to the “silent clouds of stars” he very well could have been referring to the tiny village of Achi in Japan’s Southern Alps. Located in Nagano near…

There are a few things that always come to mind when one thinks of Japan. Sushi is one. The Shinkansen, or bullet train, is another. But perhaps the most obvious is Mt…

In southern Nagano Prefecture between the Southern and Central Alps is the scenic Ina Valley. The rapid waters of the Tenryu River, referred to as the “Violent River” in Nara period records,…

After driving up a long winding road, offering expansive views over the rolling mountains and towns of Shizuoka, you arrive at Katsuragi Kitanomaru, a dream-like castle resort constructed from seven 200-year-old repurposed country homes. Pass over the impressive moat and main gate, and you will enter the spacious grounds of the hotel resort, boasting not only beautifully designed tatami rooms with original beams and sunken hearths, but also a vast Japanese garden, three public baths, and two golf courses, all perfectly blending history with modernity. Make sure to stay in one of the Japanese-style suites and let yourself get transported back to the Edo-era. To complete your modern castle experience, indulge in one of the hotel's splendid kaiseki dinners, which combine the region's best produce and meat in a beautiful succession of courses you will never forget. Address: 2505-2 Ugari, Fukuroi, Shizuoka Website: www.yamaharesort.co.jp    Tel: 0538-48-6118