Archive for July, 2016

Omimaiko summer fireworks

July 26, 2016

It was the Omimaiko fireworks at the weekend, Lake Biwa, Shiga. Love the summer.

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Omimaiko Fireworks, Shiga, Japan

Dive in! It’s Marine Day in Japan

July 18, 2016

It makes sense that Japan has a national holiday dedicated to the ocean.

This is an island nation in which almost all the population live along narrow coastal strips, mostly on the Pacific; the country is an archipelago stretching from the frigid north to the sweltering south; the favourite food is fish; seaweed is eaten like lettuce.

And so the third Monday in July is Marine Day.

The holiday stands in memory of a voyage by the emperor Meiji in Japan’s first iron steamship in 1876 but has since become a celebration of ocean-going culture and the central place of the sea and its bounty in the life of Japan.

July is hot with the temperatures climbing into the high thirties almost every day, so what better time to cool off in the ocean waves?

This Monday holiday makes for a very welcome three-day break near the hottest time of year, and Japan’s population, taking the hint, will be heading for the beach, or out on the waves or under them.

Okinawa is well known for every water sport and diversion you can think of, from water skiing to diving to jet skiing to banana boats to fishing to parasailing while Wakayama offers both diving and surfing, and there are many other spots on the never-ending coast to catch big Pacific rollers.

Not all of us are so active or adventurous in the heat but there’s always the beach, and in this country, even when you are on the sand, you are never more than arm’s reach from a cold beer.

Japan’s sea-soaked history means the coastline is home to uncountable little fishing villages, lodged in the hills above the water, and whose lifestyles have barely changed in generations. These are fantastic places to explore and cultural treasures in their own right.

When you tour Japan, you are very aware that the life on the ocean wave (or next to it) shapes the spirit of the country. We should take advantage of it too, and even if you get only as close as the sushi you are reaping the bounty of Japan’s marine heritage.

Dragonfly Tours Japan

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Marine Day, Sunset, Japan

Suntset from office – Dragonfly Tours Japan

July 15, 2016

The view from the office just now as the sun sets.

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Dragonfly Tours Office View – Shiga, Japan

Nagahama, raw beef, craft beer and architecture

July 14, 2016

Some pics from a private tour visiting Nagahama situated on the south side of Lake Biwa, not far from the castle town of Hikone (not to be mistaken for Hakone!).  For me, I associate Nagahama with some excellent craft beer, IPA in particular.  There is also a nice historical area with atmospheric old Edo and Meiji era buildings. It’s off the beaten track in regards to foreign visitors, but definitely worth stopping by if you’re in the area and want to drink some yummy beer with Omi-gyu sashimi beef as a side dish!

The Heartland Tour, Arashiyama, Kyoto

July 13, 2016

Met up with the July Heartland Tour last week in Kyoto, great team!

The Heartland Tour

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The Heartland Tour in Arashiyama, Kyoto

Dance class in Asakusa, Tokyo

July 6, 2016

Our current Heartland small group guided tour of Japan doing a dance class in Asakusa, Tokyo.1467771019259

The Heartland Tour