Kagoshima’s Art Forest

Charcoal skies and lime lawns – that’s how I remember my first visit to the Kirishima Open-Air Museum last June. Now, eight months later and in the last months of winter, the landscape surrounding the outdoor art gallery looked somewhat different. As Ian and I chugged up the road that winds around the side of Mount Kurinodake, I kept my…

Continue Reading

In Pictures: Chiran’s Nebuta Festival

Every year on the third Saturday of July, Chiran holds its own, miniature, version of the famed Nebuta Festival that takes place in Aomori City. Large washi lanterns, decorated with images of legendary warriors, are hand-wheeled up and down the town’s main shopping street, accompanied by drums, flutes and dancing. In the  Chiran adaptation, the performers still wear the traditional haneto…

Continue Reading

Kagoshima’s Kamikaze Town

“Why are you taking pictures of yourself?” Mark asked with one eyebrow raised as he turned around and saw my lens pointing into the window. “I’m getting bored, there’s nothing else here to photograph,” I replied. The humidity had produced rivers of sweat on my forehead, which were running down the back of my neck and feeding into the giant prickly pear that was now my ball…

Continue Reading

Ookawara Gorge and the Firefly Festival

If ajisai is the quintessential flower of tsuyu season, the firefly must be it’s insect. Called hotaru in Japanese, these lightning bugs swarm around streams and rivers in the countryside from late May to June and can be viewed in some places up until August. In Kobayashi, Idenoyama Park hosts a firefly festival every year, and after talking about going for almost a month,…

Continue Reading

Cape Noma

Have you ever seen a place that’s so beautiful it doesn’t seem real? That’s how I felt staring out the car window as Mark and I made our way down the coast to the Kasasa region of Minamisatsuma. The road took us to  a hook-shaped peninsula, known as Nomahanto, that extends 10 km (6.2 mi) into the East China Sea. Designated a prefectural park, the…

Continue Reading