Finding Solace in My Recent Adventures

Dear travelers,

Greetings from Tokyo!

Well… Here we go. For better or worse, the now-delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are finally about to kick off. Alas, there’s not the usual festive vibe that accompanies the games here in Japan.

As much as it pains me to say it, there’s no way that Japan is going to recoup the massive investment it put into the Olympics. With no overseas visitors or even spectators, these very well may be the saddest games ever.

I still remember how excited I was nearly ten years ago when it was announced that Tokyo would host the…


Why You Should Check Out this Side of Hiroshima

Let’s face it. When it comes to tourism and Japanese history, the period of World War II often gets skipped over completely. While visitors to Japan do indeed flock to Hiroshima’s Atomic Bomb Dome, rarely do you see anyone seeking out any other attraction related to Japan’s wartime past. For reasons that are far too complicated for the scope of a travel guide, it just seems like this part of history is off limits. …


What’s It Like Over Here in Tokyo Right Now

Dear travelers,

Greetings from Tokyo!

It’s hard to believe that there’s only a handful of days left until the Olympics. Alas, Tokyo right now certainly doesn’t feel like a city that is about to host the world’s most eminent sporting event. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to even tell that anything out of the ordinary is going on, let alone the Olympics…

Some of you may have heard but we are now in our fourth state of emergency due to the coronavirus. This means that restaurants are again being asked to close at 8 PM and alcohol cannot be…


Welcome to Koenji, Tokyo’s Top Retro Neighborhood

People exit from Koenji’s Pal Street in western Tokyo
People exit from Koenji’s Pal Street in western Tokyo

As anyone who has visited Tokyo before can attest, Japan’s capital city is like one of those Matryoshka dolls. Every time you think that you’ve reached the bottom of what Tokyo has to offer, it always surprises you with something new. While haunts like Shibuya and Akihabara will always be perennially popular with overseas visitors to Japan, there’s just so much more to Tokyo than these iconic, mainstream spots. While I’ll admit I am a bit of a snob when it comes to hidden gems, I believe that authenticity is integral to creating lasting travel memories.

On that note, I’d…


Finally, a Chance to Properly Explore the City

Hiroshima’s tragic Atomic Bomb Dome during a pleasant summer day
Hiroshima’s tragic Atomic Bomb Dome during a pleasant summer day

Much like those who call themselves a content traveler in the inbound tourism space, I am no stranger to Hiroshima. Alas, though I’ve been in (and through) the city numerous times, I’ve never really had a chance to savor Hiroshima’s lesser known sides. While I have experienced the tragic Atomic Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, alternative plans and circumstances have always pulled me in another direction. Consequently, I had limited opportunities to investigate what Hiroshima has to offer.

Luckily for you, the reader, I recently had the chance to spend a couple days exploring Hiroshima. Though the…


Yes, This Too is a Part of Tokyo Prefecture

The main approach to Fuchu’s Okunitama Shrine in western Tokyo
The main approach to Fuchu’s Okunitama Shrine in western Tokyo

Tokyo just never ceases to amaze me. Every time I think that I’ve seen most of the spots that I want to, something new pops up on the proverbial radar. Simply put, this megalopolis is like an onion. Every time you pull back a layer, there’s another one waiting to explore. Case in point, a very close friend of mine (you know who…) recently had driving school in western Tokyo. Following her class, we decided to check out the neighboring area of Fuchu. Low and behold, I uncovered a treasure trove of yet-to-be-documented attractions during my research for the outing…


My Visit to Japan’s Oldest Surviving Fortress

Inuyama Castle, the oldest surviving Japanese castle
Inuyama Castle, the oldest surviving Japanese castle

Those who have visited Japan in the past are likely aware that the country is home to a great many medieval-style fortresses. Alas, only a few of the structures in this collection are actually historic buildings. In fact, only a mere twelve of numerous castles stand as originals. The remaining castles are ferroconcrete reconstructions that were assembled in later years to recapture the losses Japan endured following the shift to modernity during the late 1800s. While these newer buildings often housed an impressive collection of historical artifacts (e.g.


Following Peak Bloom from South to North

An iconic cherry blossom tree in on Kyoto’s Ninen-zaka slope during spring
An iconic cherry blossom tree in on Kyoto’s Ninen-zaka slope during spring

As anyone who has planned (or is currently planning) a springtime trip to Japan likely already knows, the cherry blossoms tend to reach their zenith in Tokyo around the end of March. While still somewhat chilly, this annual flowering is cause for much celebration in Japan’s capital city. Alas, one of the tragic realities about the cherry blossoms is that they only stay on the branch for a few weeks at max. …


More than Just Japan’s Noodle Capital

Mt. Iwate as seen from Iwate Prefecture’s capital city of Morioka
Mt. Iwate as seen from Iwate Prefecture’s capital city of Morioka

Ah, Morioka — Known internationally for its three great noodles and well… not much else. What a tragedy! You see, my dear readers, the capital city of Iwate Prefecture has so much more on offer than just these famed delicious dishes. While often not a spot overseas visitors to Japan flock to, Morioka is indeed a locale that is worth your consideration. Many of the allures can be relished in the better part of a day meaning that it combines well with all sorts of other northern-bound adventures.

Now, if you’re not up to date with your Japanese geography, understand…


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…

Donny Kimball

Tokyo-based freelance digital marketing consultant who is addicted to exploring the lesser known sides of Japan.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store