The Source of Inspiration for Muzan’s Infinity Castle

Nakime, the biwa-playing demon from Kimetsu-no-Yaiba, strums her instrument in Muzan’s Infinity Castle
Nakime, the biwa-playing demon from Kimetsu-no-Yaiba, strums her instrument in Muzan’s Infinity Castle

Hey there my fellow Kimetsu-no-Yaiba fans! Did you know that a lot of spots in everyone’s hit anime series are actually based on real-life locales in Japan? For example, the home of the Kamado family is actually based on a peak called Mt. Kumotori (lit. “Mt. Cloud Catcher”) in western Tokyo. In fact, you’ll find that many of the scenes in Kimetsu-no-Yaiba take inspiration from real-world locations all over the country. So, on that note, we’ll be looking at the basis for the demon lord Muzan’s Infinity Castle in the remainder of this article.

As anyone who has already seen…


Gunma Prefecture’s Photogenic Koizumi Inari Shrine

A fox statue at Gunma Prefecture’s Koizumi Inari Shrine
A fox statue at Gunma Prefecture’s Koizumi Inari Shrine

Dear reader…

Are you the type of person who will do just about anything for the Gram? Do you regularly make insane journeys to picturesque locations simply to snap the perfect selfie? If so, I have the superb spot in mind for you. Known as Koizumi Inari Shrine, this hidden gem can be found smack dab in the middle of nowhere in Gunma Prefecture. Despite its extreme remoteness though, you’ll often see Koizumi Inari Shrine pop up on Instagram. Why would anyone in their right mind venture to this god forsaken scene? …


Five Reasons Why Japan is the Best Country to Visit

The famed Chureito Pagoda and the ever-majestic Mt. Fuji during winter
The famed Chureito Pagoda and the ever-majestic Mt. Fuji during winter

A few weeks ago, someone on the app Clubhouse asked me out of the blue why I spend such a staggering amount of money traveling around Japan and promoting my content. This person was a fellow creator here in Tokyo so I was initially taken aback by their sudden query. I mean, isn’t it blatantly obvious why I am so inescapably addicted to this amazing country? If anything, I am the one who is puzzled why someone wouldn’t want to throw all of their disposable income at exploring Japan. Honestly, what the hell else would I do with it? …


My Visit to Gifu Prefecture’s Bizarre Yoro Park

Odd objects are strewn about at Yoro Park’s Site of Reversible Destiny in Gifu Prefecture
Odd objects are strewn about at Yoro Park’s Site of Reversible Destiny in Gifu Prefecture

The subject of today’s post is an odd destination that has been on my to-visit list long before I started producing travel content in 2016. Known as the Site of Reversible Destiny, this peculiar attraction resides within Gifu Prefecture’s much larger Yoro Park. The space is a collaborative work that was fashioned by a pair of acclaimed architects in the late 1990’s. While located a long way off of the beaten path, the Site of Reversible Destiny is a unique spot that is definitely worth visiting if you’re looking to be dealt a new hand by fate.

Now, you, the…


Exploring the Southern Tip of the Miura Peninsula

A drone shot of Misaki Port and the island of Jogashima at the tip of the Miura Peninsula
A drone shot of Misaki Port and the island of Jogashima at the tip of the Miura Peninsula

Every time I think I’ve crossed Kanagawa Prefecture off my bucket list once and for all, something always comes along to capture my attention. Recently, while contemplating possible day trips from Tokyo, I realized that I had yet to cover Misaki Port. Lovingly referred to as “Tuna Town” by the locals, this cozy, seaside hamlet prides itself on its high quality catches. What’s more, much like the better known fish markets up in the capital, Misaki Port allows visitors to experience the daily tuna auctions.

Of course, tuna isn’t the only reason one ought to visit Misaki Port. The area…


A Pair of Attractions in Southeastern Kyoto

A statue of Murasaki Shikibu along the Uji River in Kyoto
A statue of Murasaki Shikibu along the Uji River in Kyoto

Over the years, I’ve been quite weary of visiting Japan’s former capital. Simply put, the place has been overrun with tourists for the past few years to the point where it had become akin to Disneyland. In fact, it was so bad that the very charm that makes Kyoto appealing in the first place had largely vanished. Alas, one silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic for residents of Japan has been that Kyoto has briefly returned to the bygone days prior to the inbound tourism boom. …


The Best Day Hike from Tokyo

The epic view from the top of Mt. Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture
The epic view from the top of Mt. Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture

Dear reader, allow me to begin this one with an intriguing folktale. According to this legend, back in the early mists of time, a deity descended from the heavens. Seeking a place to spend the night, this divine being beseeched two mountains. The first of these peaks was none other than Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately for our celestial friend, the iconic mountain haughtily refused, thinking that it didn’t need the deity’s blessing. Still needing a place to stay the god instead turned to Mt. Tsukuba over in Ibaraki Prefecture. In stark contrast to Mt. …


Visiting the Site of Oda Nobunaga’s Infamous Massacre

Mt. Hiei’s Enryaku-ji temple complex in Kyoto burns from Oda Nobunaga’s attack.
Mt. Hiei’s Enryaku-ji temple complex in Kyoto burns from Oda Nobunaga’s attack.

“I am going to burn them with the flames of war and let the true Buddha be called forth from these ashes!”

— Oda Nobunaga

Imagine this. You’ve just consolidated control over most of Japan but there’s still a constant thorn in your side. Much to your chagrin, the warrior monks of Mt. Hiei continue to meddle in your affairs. Based in the mountaintop bastion of Enryaku-ji, this Buddhist collective has long held sway over the politics of Kyoto. In fact, many years ago, Emperor Shirakawa even went as far as lamenting that the only three phenomenon that he couldn’t…


A Pair of Dual Allures in Northern Kyoto

The lanterns that line the main approach to Kifune Shrine in Kyoto
The lanterns that line the main approach to Kifune Shrine in Kyoto

It’s really no secret that I’ve not been a fan of Kyoto over the years. Though I am sympathetic towards the plight of the city now that the pandemic has ground all inbound travel to a halt, Japan’s former capital used to suffer greatly from overtourism. Even during the days where Kiyomizu-dera and other popular sights were swarmed with hordes of tourists though, there were always a handful of yet-to-be-discovered allures such as the venerable Iwashimizu Hachimangu. While the more mainstream spots were honestly nigh unbearable at times, these attractions were rarely, if ever, crowded.

On that note, I’d like…


Round Two in This Rural Part of Fukuoka

Asakura’s iconic water wheels along the Chikugo River.
Asakura’s iconic water wheels along the Chikugo River.

It should really come as no surprise to those who already follow me on the Gram that Asakura has a special place in my heart. Not only is this provincial section of Fukuoka Prefecture a treasure trove of bucolic delights, it’s also under the jurisdiction of a close friend and his company, Discover Deep Japan.

Donny Kimball

Exploring a different side of Japan and putting the country’s many hidden gems on the digital map…

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