Next Episode of Journeys in Japan is
English-speaking visitors travel the length of Japan, exploring the local culture, meeting the people and offering travel hints rarely found in guidebooks.
Cyril Coppini discovers the pride of Kikuma, its rich kawara tile production, as well as an ancient horse pageant and race.
Mt. Togakushi, in northern Nagano Prefecture, has been a focus for religious faith for over 1,000 years. From around the 13th century, it was a sacred center for Shugendo, a mountain religion based around ascetic practices. Then from the 17th century the area became popular among ordinary people as a pilgrimage destination. On this edition, Huang Haiyan follows the old Togakushi pilgrimage trail. She visits the workshop of a craftsman making traditional wares, and also tries her hand at preparing the local specialty, soba (buckwheat noodles). Finally, she climbs to the top of Mt. Togakushi together with a mountaineering guide.
Lake Towada, on the border of Aomori and Akita prefectures, is one of Japan's most scenic spots. The large, double caldera lake is part of a national park. Kit Pancoast Nagamura visits Lake Towada where she discovers unspoiled beauty, extraordinary 20th-century wooden architecture, and historic mine ruins... all against the backdrop of autumn foliage.
Karatsu Kunchi is a three-day festival held in November each year in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture. The highlight is the gigantic floats known as hikiyama that are hauled through the streets of the old town. Kyle Card visits Karatsu to discover the spirit of Kunchi. He observes the 14 floats, which each belong to a different neighborhood. And he meets some of the men who make this event happen.
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