Mt. Daisen: July 1, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. At the time of its completion in 2011, the Tokyo Skytree was the largest tower, and the second-largest man-made structure in the world. As of 2020, it remains in the top five, and is easily visible from many of Tokyo’s 23 wards, as well as the neighboring mountains. At night, and on holidays, the tower lights up in a variety of colors. I loved being able toRead more
Welcome Tea at Japanese Inns (Ryokan) and Temple Lodgings
Japanese people have many customs that may seem strange or unusual to Western visitors, many of which are easy to admire and enjoy. One of my favorites is the custom of welcome tea, still practiced by most ryokan (traditional inns) and temple lodgings, as well as traditional shops and businesses.*Read more
A Visit to Koyasan, part 1: Up the Mountain!
Kōyasan, or Kōya, is a natural basin atop a mountain in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. The shallow basin (called a kōya in Japanese) sits 800 meters above sea level, and is home to one of Japan’s most sacred temple complexes (also known as Kōyasan), as well as Japan’s largest cemetery, Okunoin. In the weeks that come, I hope you’ll join me for a virtual tour of Kōya and its various sites of interest. Today, we’re taking the journey up the mountain by cable car.Read more
Breakfast at a Japanese Buddhist Temple
Many Buddhist temples in Japan offer overnight lodging and meals for visitors. In most cases, these meals follow the standards of shōjin ryōri (literally “devotional cuisine”), a vegetarian style of cooking that involves no meat — and in some cases, no “vegetables that excite the senses” like spicy peppers and garlic. Some people think that meals without meat or heavy spice sound “boring” – but shōjin ryōri is one of my favorite styles of eating in Japan, and every temple meal I’ve eaten ranks among the most delicious food I’ve sampled in Japan. Here’s what travelers can expect from a typical shōjin ryōri breakfast in Japan: –Read more