Straddling the skyline in Shibu Toge Pass

Ever since I moved to Gunma, I've wanted to visit the caldera of Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane. Unfortunately, I'm doomed to disappointment as the volcanic activity levels have been too high to safely allow visitors for the past 3 years. Despite this, it's still well worth the effort to make the drive up the mountain. The twisty-turny... Continue Reading →

九湯巡り: Touring the 9 bathhouses of Shibu Onsen

Shibu Onsen is a 1,300 year old traditional onsen town in Nagano. It's nestled in between the mountains, bracketed between Jigokudani Monkey Park and Yudanaka Onsen. It's a beautiful area - the town is built up on a slope next to the Yokuyugawa River, and looking across the valley offers stunning views of the Japanese... Continue Reading →

Chatsubomi Moss Park and the Pit of Hell

Chatsubomi Moss Park (チャツボミゴケ公園) is a natural area preserved by the Ramsar Convention. It was incorporated into the Nakanojo area in 2012, and is about 30 min away from the popular onsen town Kusatsu. The park is a natural wonder - beautiful to the casual visitor, but also a deeply unique and fascinating environmental landscape.... Continue Reading →

Echigo-Yuzawa Station’s Ponshukan

Niigata Prefecture boasts about growing the "No. 1 Rice in Japan," so it's expected that the prefecture would also top the markets in fine sake (Japanese rice wine). The Ponshukan (ポン酒館) translates to "the museum of Japanese sake." The Ponshukan is a series of tiny sake "theme parks" in three different train station in Niigata... Continue Reading →

Sunrise at Hottarakashi Onsen

My husband and I took a mini-vacation over a 3 day weekend to Yamanashi Prefecture. As I was scrolling through travel blogs (definitely not at work when I should have been doing work-type things) to figure out what we should do, I came across a brief mention of something that I knew I desperately had... Continue Reading →

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