Shorter pieces shedding light on the creativity underlying Japanese culture and technology and on lives and lifestyles in Japan.

Japan’s Rail Network

Japan is a railfan’s delight, boasting not only leading-edge technologies like those featured in the Shinkansen and the maglev but also an increasing number of unique rail services in localities around the country.

Kyoto Railway Museum: A Showcase of Japan’s Rail Heritage

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Visiting Japan’s Remote Communities

There is more to Japan than huge cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Some would say that the best of the country can be found in tiny villages far from the urban centers. While battling depopulation, the hardy residents live their lives, largely forgotten by the rest of the nation. journeys to discover Japan’s timeless mountain and island communities.

Shimoguri-no-sato: A Japanese Shangri-la

"Bentō": A Feast for the Eyes and Stomach

Bentō, or box meals, contain a fine balance of rice and other dishes, carefully thought out down to the colors and layout of the food. The bentō eaten in Japan include homemade meals, those sold at convenience stores, and the luxurious variety offered by upscale Japanese restaurants. Explore the fun of bentō for insights into Japanese food culture.

Show Me Your “Bentō”! Part 1: Under the Cherry Trees
Power Lunch at Japanese Schools
The Local Flavors of Popular Railway Box Meals
My “Bentō,” My Pride
Your Own Japanese-Style Box Meal

Japan’s Holy Places

The ancient belief in a myriad of native deities resident in the mountains, seas, and trees fostered the earliest sacred sites in Japan. These were added to over the centuries by significant locations in the imported faith of Buddhism. This feature explores Japan’s holy places.

A Clean Bill of Health for Kamakura’s Great Buddha
Foreign Tourists Flock to the Gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine
The Spiritual Pull of Shikoku’s “Henro” Pilgrimage

The Pastimes That People Love

Life isn’t just about working—the Japanese are serious about playing, too. This section offers a look at people who are hooked on their hobbies. Here you’ll find dazzling portraits of men, women, and children pouring themselves passionately into their interests outside the workplace or school.

Way of the Sword Remains Exclusive: Kendō’s Largely Local Appeal
Men’s Rhythmic Gymnastics: A Japan Original
Can’t Help But Sing of Joy

Matsuri Days (1): A Guide to Asakusa and the Sanja Matsuri

With its well-preserved traditional culture, Asakusa is one of Tokyo’s biggest tourist draws. No event attracts more visitors than the Sanja Matsuri, a 700-year-old festival that draws 1.5 million people to the narrow streets of the old quarter each May. We look at what makes Asakusa and its famous festival special.

Asakusa Samba Carnival’s Dance Extravaganza (Video)
The Sanja Matsuri: Tokyo’s Most Raucous Festival (Video)
The Sanja Matsuri in Six Key Words
Strolling Around Old Tokyo
Experiencing the Sanja Matsuri
Japanese Festivals and the Annual Cycle of Life
Unlocking the Secrets of the Sanja Matsuri

The Tokusatsu Entertainment Genre that Godzilla Spawned

Godzilla first appeared on the big screen 60 years ago, with the release of the 1954 film of the same title. This anniversary coincides with the 2014 release of a popular new Hollywood film also titled Godzilla. In this series, we take a closer look at the so-called tokusatsu style of special effects that Godzilla spawned as well as the movies and TV series that emerged in the six decades that followed, while also speculating on what the future might hold for this genre.

“Attack on Titan” Invades Movie Theaters: An Interview with Director Higuchi Shinji
(Video) Godzilla’s Second Tour of Duty
Being Godzilla: An Interview with Nakajima Haruo, the Man Inside the Suit
Godzilla’s Analog Mayhem and the Japanese Special Effects Tradition

Japan's Hot-Spring Tradition

Japan is a paradise for hot-spring lovers, with over 3,000 “onsen” locations nationwide. For centuries, Japanese have loved hot-spring baths. This way of relaxing mind and body remains as popular as ever in Japan today and is also attracting more and more foreign tourists. In this series we take a multifaceted look at the charms of “onsen” in Japan.

Soaking up the Benefits: Japan’s Hot Springs Tradition
Professor Onsen’s Top Hot Springs

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