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Japan on a Budget: Fukushima-ken

Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima-ken Three years ago, most people probably hadn’t heard of Fukushima. Today everybody has heard of it, but very few people are visiting. This is a great shame, for many reasons. The name itself is something of a problem. Fukushima is the prefecture, a city within it, and also the namesake of the nuclear […]

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Japan on a Budget: Hirosaki and Aomori

Inside the Hakkoda-Maru Aomori-ken sits at the very top of Honshu. Getting there on the train is as easy as you could hope: Shin-Aomori is the current terminus of the Tohoku Shinkansen, so you can leap on a Hayate service from Tokyo or, like me, catch it from Morioka, where the Akita mini-shinkansen line meets […]

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Japan on a Budget: Tazawako and Nyuto Onsen

Tazawa is a beautiful, almost circular, lake in Akita-ken. Getting near the lake is easy: use the Akita mini-shinkansen, which if you’re coming from the south runs together with the main Tohoku line and forks off at Morioka (from the north, change there). Getting to the lake itself is harder. Having failed to find a […]

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Japan on a Budget: Sendai, Matsushima and nearby

Dancers, Sendai Getting to Sendai is easy: grab a Shinkansen train from Tokyo Eki. The Hayate services are best: you’ll need a reserved seat, but these fly past all but the biggest stations. Step out of the huge Sendai JR station and you’re within walking distance of just about everything, although there’s also a subway […]

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Japan on a Budget: Tohoku by Train

Matsushima, near Sendai, Miyagi-ken I came back from last year’s trip around southern Honshu determined to work on my kanji and head back the next year. One year, one hundred and twenty kanji and three more terms of general  study later, I was on a plane to Narita again. And this time, with something approaching […]

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