Simultaneously modern and traditional, with a culture that can take you into the future or deep into the past, the Land of the Rising Sun is truly in a class by itself.

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Summer In Kawagoe, Japan's "Little Edo" City

From June 30 to July 10, visitors to the lovely "Little Edo" city Kawagoe (population a bit over 353,000) just a half hour north of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture, can experience Chinowa Kuguri. This Shinto ritual, held at Kawagoe Hachimangu Shrine, began in the early Edo period (1603-1867) with the intention of warding off plagues and promoting disease-free breathing. A perfect event for an era with Covid, the liturgy, also known as Nagoshi no Harae ("summer passing purification…

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2 great Japanese evening "light-up" events in autumn 2021

In Japan's Nikko and Kinugawa-onsen areas, two hours north of Tokyo along the Tobu Railway Nikko and Kinugawa lines, special moon-viewing festivities with light-ups are being held from September through November. There is a Japanese expression, "aki no yonaga," which means "long autumn night." This year, despite the pandemic, two popular celebratory light-up events held annually are illuminating the autumn evenings in the Nikko-Kinugawa region, along Tobu Railway's Nikko and Kinugawa lines.…

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