History of Japan: Showa Period (1926-1989)

The Showa period is often described as a significant break point in Japanese history that followed the Taisho Period that represented a continuation of Japan’s rise on the international scene and liberalism. Other episodes in the Japanese history such as the Sengoku period and Edo period draw often much more attention and interest from foreigners. However, the Showa Period, about the 60 years of history, is full of historical events including the World War II which have totally changed the entire nation and people’s lives. Learning about Showa period and its politics, culture, economy and wars will help you get to know the period deeply and how Japan became one […] …continue reading


Bonsai Tree – A Traditional Japanese Art Form

Bonsai (盆栽) are miniature potted trees and plants, they are grown in pots or containers and cared for in such a way that they look their most beautiful. Bonsai are the Japanese version of the Chinese Penzai, the difference between the two is that bonsai are a representation of a single tree that resembles the shape of a real life tree, whereas Penzai are often displayed in a landscape form and look more natural and wide. Bonsai trees come in different sizes, shapes and prices. You can get your own bonsai for as cheap as ¥2,000 or, when looking for something more special, up to millions of yen. A bonsai […] …continue reading


How To Cook Rice The Japanese Way


This post – How to Cook Rice The Japanese Way – is all about the Japanese way of cooking rice. Preparing rice is one of the fundamentals of Japanese cooking. It is not boiled like pasta, it is cooked using the so-called absorption method. But there are more secrets to it.

I have included methods not only for cooking rice in a saucepan but also using a rice cooker in this post.

In Japanese culture, cooking rice (okome, お米) is almost an art. At home appliance stores in Japan, you will find so many different types of electric rice cookers on display.

About Rice in Japanese Cooking

Rice is one of the most important staple foods for Japanese people. People have a favourite brand of rice grain, and they strive to cook the best rice possible. Hence, most Japanese people have an electric rice cooker that will deliver consistent results.

Japanese rice is a short grain white rice that is fluffy and slightly sticky. Unlike long grain rice, including Basmati rice and jasmine rice, Japanese rice grains stick to each other when cooked. This is quite important because you can easily pick up a mouthful of rice with chopsticks.

Rice grains in a wooden measuring cup.

The brand of rice grain is also a critical factor. There are so many different brands from all over Japan as well as overseas and competition is fierce. Japanese farmers put a lot of effort into the pursuit of producing the best rice grain.

The high quality of rice however also means a high price. But many Japanese people say that they are happy to pay a lot for good rice, even if they have to buy cheaper side dishes to go with it.

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Things to Do in Kiyosumi Shirakawa

Kiyosumi Shirakawa (清澄白河) is a historic downtown district in the Fukagawa (深川) area located in eastern Tokyo. In the Edo Period (1603-1868), the area was home to merchants and other working-class specialists. Due to its low ground level and large lower class population, it was aptly named “Low Town”. Much of Tokyo has gone under development but Kiyosumi Shirakawa has managed to keep its original charms. Many of the old charms still shrine through today and many artisans have created their own home in the town. The town has become increasingly popular for its art spaces, coffee cafes, and cycling pathways. So to help you escape the hustle and bustle […] …continue reading


Japan’s 10 Most Beautiful Lakes

Japan is a blessed country with natural sights and spectacular views that can take anyone’s breath away. This includes some of the most amazing lakes in the world. Take a boat across to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding nature like giant mountains and seasonal foliage. Visitors can also enjoy fishing and even swimming in the lakes during the summer season. If you’re interested in seeing some of the best water Japan has to offer we put together a list of the 10 most beautiful lakes in Japan. Lake Chuzenji (Tochigi) Located in Japan’s sacred Buddhist city Nikko, Lake Chuzenji serves as a popular tourist destination in the area. Nikko […] …continue reading


The 9 Best Japanese Knives You Need To Have In Your Kitchen

Best Japanese Knives - Shun Cutlery Premiere 8” Chef's Knife

Japanese knives have shot through the ranks in popularity over the years, and for good reason. When you’re traveling Japan and witnessing firsthand the precision and skill that sushi chefs display when slicing through fish, you’ll be immediately enraptured.

Unlike the heavier counterparts that you may be used to at home, Japanese knives are lighter and slimmer than most. Traditionally, chefs in Japan tend to favour sharpness and precision over heaviness and durability. Some say that Japanese knives were initially inspired by the long-revered Samurai sword. If you think of samurai swords in movies, they can easily slice through a tree trunk in one motion!

Now, think back to the Japanese dishes you experienced in Japan; you’ll notice how almost every dish contains minute details of every ingredient. Even the smallest of garnishes would have been prepared with utmost care to ensure perfect presentation.

That is the result of using Japanese knives.

Why Japanese knives are so popular?

You’re probably thinking, any proper chef would be able to re-create that! Well, that may be true, but most of us are normal beings who just want to prepare good home cooked meals for our families and friends. Most of us haven’t had years of training under chefs who have been slicing fish for 30 years!

That’s where Japanese knives come into play. The intense engineering and thought process that has gone into creating these small, lightweight pieces is beyond what people can imagine. Using these knives to prepare food in your kitchen is bound to elevate your cooking skills to the next level.

When you hold a Japanese knife for the first time, you’ll immediately notice that they’re thinner, lighter, harder, and see that they’re sharper than most. You’ll also find that, although the handle is majestic (they’re traditionally designed after Samurai …continue reading


Sakura Miyawaki’s HKT48 graduation apparently leaked by HMV

Sakura Miyawaki recently completed activities with the successful South Korean based group IZ*ONE. In 2018 she successfully was one of the winning contestants on the CJ E&M talent reality show Produce 101, as one of the winners she halted activities with AKB48 and HKT48 to focus on IZ*ONE.

After three years fans were looking forward to her return with HKT48, but it appears that her time with the group is limited. Popular retailer HMV shared a preview photo of Sakura in an upcoming issue of the popular fashion magazine ViVi. In the page it has text that approximately says:

“AFter finishing activities with IZ*ONE, Sakura Miyawaki has returned to HKT48 after just announcing her graduation a few days ago”.

The tweet was quickly deleted shortly after it was posted, oops! A statement has yet to be revealed on Sakura’s apparent graduation. Some fans were reminded of former AKB48 Haruka Shimazaki, whose graduation was leaked weeks prior to the official announcement.

Back in March it was rumored that Sakura would be joining the agency BigHit Entertainment, BTS’ agency who has since rebranded as Big Hit Music. While nothing has been confirmed, with news of Sakura now graduating HKT48 this past rumor has became a hot topic again.

(via k-plaza)


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15 Typical Japanese Meals you Can Make At Home

When asked about what they like best about Japan, many (international) will mention the food in their top three reasons. The Japanese sushi and ramen are world famous, but there is much more to discover than just these two, just think of all the different types of noodles and vegetables. Because Japan is an island country, it has developed a unique food culture with a range of ingredients produced within the country. Recently, Japanese food is getting more and more popular as a healthy cuisine with the number of Japanese restaurants around the world expanding rapidly. While there are traditional Japanese dishes that have been loved for over centuries, some […] …continue reading


Ito Japan – Travel Tips To Explore This Relaxing Onsen Town In Izu Peninsula

K's House Ito Onsen - Historical Ryokan Hostel 1

Ito Japan – The Izu Peninsula is located on the gorgeous coastline southwest of Tokyo. Located only a few measly hours away by train, this is one of the most popular getaways for Tokyoites throughout the year, but especially in summer.

The Izu Peninsula is characterised by beautiful traditional hot springs, stunning coastlines, multiple beaches, and mountainous scenery. What makes it the perfect getaway throughout the year is that its climate is always on the mild side, and thus you won’t feel the extremes of summer or winter here.

Ito Onsen Town is located along the eastern side of the Izu Peninsula. It’s flanked by Atami and Shimoda, and together they make up the most developed cities across the peninsula. Because of this, you can expect there to be many activities (however laidback they are) to participate in and relax here.

Whilst Ito does offer developments that make it easy to access and find accommodation, it’s the mix of Old Japan through historic ryokans and untouched hilly terrain that make it a standout destination.

Read on as we detail all that Ito has to offer! But first, let’s have a look at what Ito looks like in this virtual tour:

How To Get To Ito

Ito can be accessed directly from Tokyo station. Simply hop on the JR Odoriko limited express train for 1.5 hours and you’re there! This method will cost only 4,500 yen one-way.

If you are traveling from the nearby Atami, there are multiple trains leaving the station that will only take 20-minutes and cost 330 yen one way.

Both train rides are fully covered by the JR Pass (as well as the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, JR East Nagano Pass, JR East Tohoku Pass, and JR East South Hokkaido Pass).

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Experience Gunma’s Kusatsu Onsen – One of the Best Hot Springs in Japan

Kusatsu Onsen (草津温泉) is ranked as one of the top three hot springs in Japan due to its high water quality and history. Only three hours away from Tokyo, this quiet onsen town makes for a perfect weekend getaway from the busy life of the city. The water is thought to warm the body and kill harmful bacteria. Kusatsu Onsen is a wonderful spot where you can enjoy high-quality hot springs, ryokan, delicious food, and a beautiful nighttime view. Kusatsu is also known for the World Heritage Sites Tomioka Silk Mill, and Minakami. Located at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level, the temperature around Kusatsu is around 7-8 […] …continue reading