Editor's note: This is part of a series of stories featuring the aesthetic landscapes of Mount Fuji, Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture and Izu in Shizuoka Prefecture, which have been visited by an increasing number of tourists from overseas. Based on conversations with travelers, the series casts light on sceneries and cultural heritages that gave form to these areas.
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KYOTO--An elegant cloth used to decorate a Buddhist altar at Kodaiji temple here turns out to have been refashioned from a kimono belonging to the wife of warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
A description on the back of the "uchishiki" cloth stated that Hideyoshi's wife, Nene (1549-1624), donated it to Kodaiji in July 1607. Nene commissioned the temple the previous year.
TOYOHASHI, Aichi Prefecture--Two South African white rhinos who escaped poachers who killed their mothers have found a new home here, playing a part in an anti-poaching movement.
"Tandy! Tom! Come over here!" Hidekazu Ohashi, a staff member at the Toyohashi Zoo and Botanical Park, beckoned the pair toward him. The rhinos, each weighing more than two tons, slowly approached him as soon as they heard their names being called.
Prayer facilities have been set up in expressway service areas along popular routes to cater to Muslim visitors ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
In a first in Japan, prayer areas opened March 26 at the Hamanako service area and on the outbound side of the Ashigara service area along the Tomei Expressway in Shizuoka Prefecture. On March 27, a prayer facility was set up in the Suwako service area's outbound side on the Chuo Expressway in Nagano Prefecture.
HIGASHI-CHICHIBU, Saitama Prefecture--As if by the magic of anime, a series of beloved characters of Studio Ghibli Inc., including Totoro, Kaonashi (No-Face) and witch Kiki, have mysteriously appeared on a mossy wall along a mountain road here.
The artwork has drawn attention on the Internet and led to an increasing number of visitors.
Golden marshes--what a beautiful name! Perhaps at sunrise or sunset, the sun's golden rays created a magical view of Kanazawa.
No, not the Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture; I'm talking about the one in Kanagawa. The area that hardly anybody calls by its "proper" name and instead refers to as "Bunko" or "Hakkei."
The pink blossoms of a giant weeping cherry tree in Rikugien Gardens sparkled with bright lights during an illumination event held here on the evening of March 24.
Crowds flocked to see the dazzling cherry blossoms at the Tokyo metropolitan government-run park, which bloomed March 19, two days earlier than the official announcement of the start of somei-yoshio cherry blooming. They combined with the surroundings of the Japanese garden in the capital's Bunkyo Ward to create an enchanting atmosphere.
In a mansion standing in a prime location in Milan, a servant polishes silver tableware while a personal chef shows off his skills for the epicurean family that calls it home.
It's not a scene from a film, but a snippet out of the daily life that chef Tetsuo Ota experienced in his early 30s. At that time, Ota, who is now 38, worked under a company owner in the glamorous Italian city. Her house had a special room where tableware was kept. Each plate was wrapped in thin sheets of paper, and he recalls that even antique plates seemed new.
Although it was not quite in season yet, the freshly parboiled bamboo shoot tasted amazingly sweet. The subtle tang in the aftertaste suggested the arrival of spring.
Rice cooked with large pieces of bamboo shoots, complete with the vivid young leaf buds of Japanese pepper, is also a feast for the eyes.
Kujo green onions grow lushly on a patch of land in a residential area in Kyoto's Ukyo Ward.
The field is owned by Genichi Nagasawa, 65, a farmer who produces Kyoyasai (heirloom vegetables of Kyoto) as well as daikon radish, turnips and other produce through organic farming.
Greengrocer Koji Ueda has been espousing the virtues of "Kyo-yasai," heirloom vegetables of Kyoto, for about 50 years.
He tells customers how the Shogoin turnip, the Kujo green onion, the Kamo eggplant and the mibuna potherb mustard taste and offers tips on the best ways to cook them in front of his store.
The fish cooked slowly in low-temperature oil is served on the plate like a spring bouquet with vegetables that vary in aroma and texture.
"Confit of splendid alfonsino with seasonal vegetables" is a dish that mirrors the spirit of Tadashi Michino, whose career spans 40 years. The 64-year-old is the chef of Michino Le Tourbillon, a French restaurant in Osaka.