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Tea Etiquette: How to Serve and Enjoy Tea in Japan

Tea Etiquette: How to Serve and Enjoy Tea in Japan

Tea etiquette is vital in Japan: from the intricate details of the traditional tea ceremony to casually serving guests in your home. There are subtle rules, for the server and the guest, that have been passed down through generations and have become ingrained in Japanese tea culture.  

Get Cultured! – A Guide to Kyushu’s Strangest Local Cuisine

Kyushu (九州)
Kyushu (九州) – Japan’s southernmost mainland island has arguably the most sought after and unique cuisine anywhere in Japan. This is due to a multitude of factors, but most importantly their Chinese immigrant influence, geothermal phenomenon, and historic availability of coastal and deep-sea fishing due to their numerous ports.

ONSEN (温泉) - Mystifying Rejuvenation in Japan's Hot Springs

ONSEN (温泉) - Mystifying Rejuvenation in Japan's Hot Springs

One of Japan’s most enjoyable, but at first intimidating, traditions is that of the onsen (温泉). A literal public naked bath, often times outdoors, is hailed for its mystifying rejuvenating and cleansing properties.

KYUSHU (九州) - Awe Inspiring Beauty in Japan

KYUSHU (九州)
From the rolling hills of native flowers to lava and ash covered mountains to mystic and fog covered towns, Kyushu is truly a world unique to its own.  

Shojin Ryori - The Delicate Tastes of Simplicity

Shojin Ryori - The Beauty of Simplicity
As with so many things in Japan, some of the most treasured experiences are often the simplest. These philosophies are particularly true of the traditional Japanese Buddhist cuisine known as shojin ryori. These vegetarian and often vegan meals are not only for devout Buddhist monks, but are a highlight for anyone visiting ancient places such as Kyoto where they can be enjoyed within the Buddhist temples themselves.

Gift Giving Etiquette in Japan

Kokoro Care Package

The giving of gifts in Japan is an important cultural and traditional ritual with as much attention paid to how and when the gift is presented as to the actual gift itself. From holidays, to business meetings, returning from a trip, to visiting someone's house, the etiquette of gift giving in Japan is a symbol of your relationship and a way of showing respect and gratitude to the recipient.     

Okinawa: A Blend of Culture and History

Okinawa: A Blend of Culture and History

Okinawa Prefecture is the southernmost prefecture of Japan. With a culture uniquely its own, these tropical islands have been strongly influenced through trade with China, Japan, Korea and other Southeast Asian countries. 

The Invention of Oyster Sausages - A Delicacy from Iwate Prefecture

The Invention of Oyster Sausages - A Delicacy from Iwate Prefecture
I had no idea that oyster sausages existed on this earth, or that they were in Iwate Prefecture.

Dancing with Colors in Iwate Prefecture

Ninohe dance Festival

Up in Iwate prefecture is a tiny town called Ninohe. Ninohe’s community center has boosted their efforts to increase youth involvement in hopes they will carry on local traditions. One such tradition is a dance with lots of colors and instruments.

Regional Dishes to Try in Tōhoku

Yonezawa beef

Japan's Tōhoku Region is renowned for producing some of Japan's highest quality agriculture. Here are a few regional specialities.

Tohoku: Bountiful Nature in Northern Japan

Yokote Snow Festival in Akita, Japan

Japan's Tōhoku Region (東北地方), known for its rustic countrysides, expansive landscapes and relaxing natural hot springs, consists of six prefectures located in the north of Japan's main island of Honshu. Renowned for its samurai history, the region is also famous for having Japan's highest quality agriculture including rice, sake, farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, and horse sashimi.

Japanese Comfort Food: Food of the Heart, Food of the Home

Japanese Comfort Food: Food of the Heart, Food of the Home

As is the case with many things in traditional Japanese culture, simplicity seems to be key even in home cooking. Many of the dishes close to people’s hearts are the ones that embrace the wabi-sabi, the imperfections and sometimes the rough nature of home cooking. They are made just as much by the intent going into them as they are by their individual ingredients.