3 fire festivals in Tottori and Shimane you should not miss

In Japan, Tottori and Shimane often get a bad rap. The shinkansen doesn't go there so they must be pretty backwater places. Au contraire, my friend, au contraire!  There's always something going on, if you know where to look. Like other prefectures in Japan, Tottori and Shimane have their own quirky light and fire festivals. [...]

3 top hiking destinations in Tottori prefecture

Tottori prefecture is as inaka as its gets in Japan. Although considered one of the country's least populated prefectures, nature here is simply stunning. If you're an outdoors type,  you will surely fall in love with the prefecture's mountainous landscapes. Here are 3 top hiking destinations in Tottori prefecture. 1. Mount Daisen Mount Daisen is the highest [...]

Spending New Year’s, Japanese style

In Japan, New Year's is way bigger than Christmas. In fact, no shōgatsu (New Year festival) is complete without a ritual visit to the local jinja (shrine). Kunito sensei, the school nurse, invites Jesse and I to visit her family jinja. Hiyoshi Shrine in Yodoe claims to be the only shrine in Japan located directly opposite a railroad crossing. As [...]