Archive for September, 2016

Silver Week lights up Japan

September 19, 2016

Silver Week: it sounds like a celebration of old people, but is actually the less blingy sibling of Golden Week.

Golden Week, as you know, is a special time in spring when a number of national holidays fall together to make one big holiday. In silver week, two holidays fall close to each other, and when you factor in the proximity of weekends, you have another shining chance to get out of the office and enjoy Japan’s many delights.

And it gets better because there’s a little-know law in Japan that says if two holidays fall together with only one day separating them, then that in-between day becomes a holiday too, which means that from time to time, silver week becomes even shinier. (Unfortunately, this year is not one of those years.)

But if the name suggests senior citizens to you, you are not way off because the first of the two holidays is Respect for the Aged Day — so, yes, Silver Week actually does contain a day in honour of our silver folk. The other day is Autumnal Equinox Day — not the most evocative of names, but significant to the nature-loving traditions of Japan, and very significant to those of us who are ready to get over Japan’s persistently hot summer and get into cool and atmospheric autumn.

By happy coincidence, another association with silver comes with the proximity of the harvest moon (this year the 16th of September), a great occasion to get out and enjoy the season with friends and a drink under the open sky.

When the summer heat burns off, Japan’s mountains and historical sites beckon the visitor to tour Japan. Taking off into the cooler weather, into the lush greenery and atmospheric and mysterious temples and shrines, not to mention the paradise of fine places to eat and drink, is one of the special thrills of this time of year, and silver week is a bright opportunity to indulge.

If you want to make the most of this time of year with a guide, Dragonfly offers its Heartland Tour, Kyushu Gateway Tour, Ancient Highway Tour and Crimson Leaf Tour through the autumn.

The Heartland Tour

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Huganbana, the red spider lily, in bloom at silver week.

Matsue Castle in Shimane

September 9, 2016

One of 12 original castles still standing in Japan today having survived war, earthquakes and fires for 4 centuries.

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Matsue Castle in Shimane

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Matsue Castle in Shimane

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Matsue Castle in Shimane

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Matsue Castle in Shimane

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Matsue Castle in Shimane

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Matsue Castle in Shimane

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Matsue Castle in Shimane

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Matsue Castle in Shimane