Nagoya Castle and Hommaru Palace

After destroying an entire tower with the flick of his tail, Godzilla approaches a tall, white building with full force. But then he stumbles and falls into instead, nonetheless sending it crashing to the ground. The target of the mon-star’s rage in this epic scene from Mothra v. Godzilla is, of course, the historic Nagoya Castle. The smell of hot…

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The Onsen-Bathing Monkeys of Yamanouchi

Because of Japan’s high volcanic activity, thousands of hot springs are scattered throughout the country. Locally known as onsen, the mineral-rich water is believed to cure a wide range of ailments and diseases, from muscle pain to diabetes. Bathing in onsen has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, and more recently it has been adopted by another population:…

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Lake Shoji: The hidden gem of Mt Fuji

Lake Shoji is a hidden gem at the base of Mt Fuji. The smallest of the Fuji Five lakes, it is beautifully quiet and serene, and completely removed from the rest of the bustling, touristy scene surrounding the famous volcano. Almost untouched, the lake only has four hotels, 2 restaurants and a conbini. It’s hard to imagine why; it offers…

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