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

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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

Four Years After 3/11: The State of Sanriku Today

The March 11, 2011, megaquake generated tsunami that brought destruction to the entire length of the Sanriku coast, stretching from Aomori Prefecture in the north down through Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures. Even before the disaster, the hard-to-access communities here were watching their populations and economic vigor dwindle, with little industry beyond fishing to depend on—making 3/11 a massive shock to an already shaky regional society. Four years on, the rubble has been cleared away, but in many Sanriku communities all that remains is empty land.

The State of Sanriku Today (Part 2)
The State of Sanriku Today (Part 2)
The State of Sanriku Today (Part 1)

Matsuri Days (6): The Awa Odori and Shikoku

Away from the bustling metropolises, Japan's fourth largest island, Shikoku, has its own charms. In this feature we discover its people, natural beauty, and traditional arts and festivals.

A Touch of Refinement: The Delicate Sweetness of Japan’s “Wasanbon” Sugar
Japanese Indigo, a Living Tradition
Why Not Dance? The Awa Odori Festival (Video)

Matsuri Days (5): Sapporo Snow Festival

Hokkaidō, Japan’s northernmost main island, sees bitterly cold winters and plenty of snow each year. The main city of Sapporo makes the most of this with its annual Snow Festival, which has grown since 1950 into a major draw for tourists and festival participants from throughout Japan and all around the world.

Snow Sculpture Contest: Carving Out International Goodwill at the Sapporo Snow Festival
Sapporo Snow Festival: From Humble Beginnings to Global Fame
The Sapporo Snow Festival Heats Up Winter in Hokkaidō (Video)

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.

Foreign Tourists Flock to the Gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine
The Spiritual Pull of Shikoku’s “Henro” Pilgrimage

The Story of Japanese Whisky

Japan has been producing whisky for nearly a century, and in that time it has made great strides, with many brands now boasting an internationally recognized level of quality. Discover the history of this celebrated amber liquid in Japan and the people who have helped nurture it to its current high standard.

Whisky, a Spirit Imbued with Culture
The Woman Who Took Whisky to Japan: Remembering Rita Cowan Taketsuru
Japan Distills a World-Class Whisky Tradition

Discovering “Nōgaku”: The Blossoming of Tradition

Nōgaku is a multifaceted art form that incorporates elements of theater, music, dance, literature, and costume design. This series will examine this ancient theatrical tradition from a number of different angles to help readers gain a better appreciation of its artistic treasures.

“Teika”: A Work of All-Consuming Passion from the Nō Repertoire
“Nōgaku” Drama Kept Alive by Family Traditions

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.

(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

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