On October 7, 2021 a 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook Tokyo. Damage was minimal, but the quake was strong enough to cause power outages in several neighborhoods. This was the strongest earthquake the…

Situated in the mountains along the western border of Iwate Prefecture, close to Morioka, the small town of Shizukuishi can be reached in three hours from Tokyo on the Akita Shinkansen. Its…

The brick-laid signage blends in so well with the row of trees behind that we almost missed it amid the falling snow. Rolling scenes of rice fields-turned-snow blankets streaming through our car…

Said the late, great comedian Bill Hicks, “The world is like a ride in an amusement park…. And the ride goes up and down and round and round.” This pompously profound soliloquy wasn’t going through my…

Around 400 horse-riding flag-bearing samurai warriors in armor sprinting across the fields is a sight that warps all sense of reality. But it opens a convincing portal to the past for three…

Untamed nature is the name of the game for most of Iwate Prefecture: Jodogahama Beach’s jagged gray rocks, Hachimantai’s snow-capped peaks and Geibikei Gorge’s sheer cliffs are just a few of this…

Some of our most memorable travel memories are tied with food. The captivating scenery and rich cultures are heightened further with the addition of tantalizing local fare. Give your taste buds a…

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]

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 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…

Aomori Prefecture is a big place — one of Japan’s 10 largest prefectures — and yet many of us only associate Aomori with apples and snow. Which, in all honesty, isn’t entirely…