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Listening to the Voices of Trees: The Bonsai World of Kawabe TakeoTakemori Ryōichi

Ōmiya-based Kawabe Takeo is a bonsai artist with a difference. His groundbreaking approach has overturned the conventions of bonsai and brought him international acclaim. We talked to him about his search for a more natural approach to bonsai aesthetics.
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Researchers Back Record of Red Aurora in Thirteenth-Century Kyoto (News)

Tokyo, April 4 (Jiji Press)—To see an aurora is almost impossible in Kyoto in the present day, but it was possible in the low-latitude Japanese city in the early thirteenth century, as recorded by poet Fujiwara no Sadaie (1162–1241), according to a recent study by a Japanese research team. In his diary titled Meigetsuki (Record of the Brilliant Moon), the poet, also known as Teika, wrote that h…
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Venerable Blossoms: Daigozakura in OkayamaTakahashi Hiroshi

The Daigozakura stands sentry atop a hill in northwestern Okayama Prefecture. An edohigan tree, the strain famed as the largest of all the sakura, this specimen is revered by local residents, who maintain its hill in a state of natural splendor to showcase the giant as it deserves.
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Venerable Blossoms: The Yoshitaka Sakura in ChibaTakahashi Hiroshi

Standing alone in a field in northern Chiba Prefecture, this magnificent yamazakura (mountain cherry) tempts photographers and flower-viewers, who try each year to pinpoint when its difficult-to-predict blossoms will cover its dome-shaped crown.
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Venerable Blossoms: Miharu Takizakura in FukushimaTakahashi Hiroshi

In the central Fukushima town of Miharu stands the 1,000-year-old Takizakura, or “waterfall cherry,” whose drooping branches seem to send rivers of pink blossoms flowing toward the ground each spring. The largest shidarezakura (weeping cherry) in the country is considered one of the “three great cherry trees” of Japan.
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Venerable Blossoms: Three of Japan’s Most Revered “Sakura”Takahashi Hiroshi

Roughly 80% of cherry trees in Japan are somei-yoshino, a relatively recent breed. There are numerous, much older sakura, though, that over centuries have grown into giants renowned for their spectacular displays of blossoms. These venerable plants are truly awe-inspiring when in full bloom.
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Mount Takao: A Natural Treasure Nestled in Western Tokyo

Mount Takao’s proximity to central Tokyo and easily climbed slopes are factors that make it the most visited mountain in the world. Yet, many tourists fail to widely explore the mountain and miss many of its natural and cultural charms. Find out more about the peak in our guide.
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Nature Worship in Old ShintōToya Manabu

Before Shintō came to be practiced in constructed shrines, it was centered on the direct worship of nature itself. Toya Manabu surveys the various objects of worship that formed the original focus of Shintō belief.
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Northern Dancers: The Red-Crowned Cranes of Hokkaidō (Photos)Wada Masahiro (Photographs)

Red-crowned cranes are a traditional symbol of good fortune in Japan. Conservation efforts have brought regional population back from the brink of collapse and there is now a flourishing crane population in Hokkaidō. These photographs show the cranes’ graceful forms through the year, including the bitter cold of a northern winter.
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Miyazawa Kenji’s Answers for Japan and the WorldRoger Pulvers

Neglected in his lifetime, the poet and author Miyazawa Kenji has come to new prominence in Japan, particularly in the last two decades. His pioneering environmentalism and emphasis on taking personal responsibility struck a chord with many in the wake of tragedies that shocked the nation in 1995 and 2011.
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