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My son exploring the beach along the Mekong.

Secrets in Laos

The country of Laos has an amazingly intricate history full of kings and takeovers, French occupation and covert missions.  Its ties to the West...

Panel that shows different Noh masks at the Kurokawa Noh Museum

Kurokawa Noh

Kurokawa, a small village in the mountains near Tsuruoka in Yamagata...

Atago Shrine

Atago Shrine

Fire gods reside on mountains and are among the most powerful deities in Japan. They stand as protectors of the cities as well as guardians for...

Tennozu Isle by night is a world away from the social hub of Shinagawa Station just 10 minutes away. Photo courtesy of Toshihiro Oimatsu

Toyoko Inn Tennozu Isle Shinagawa

To the uninitiated, Tennozu Island evokes images of white sand beaches, tropical palm trees and lapping waves, where you can sip a pina colada in...

Residents of Unzen were led by samurai reenactors March 30 in carrying torches through the streets to the temple as the samurai did after returning from a battle some 400 years ago. Kanoukaen literally means "sakura fire party" in kanji and has been going on for at least 70 years. It is just one of the things that makes Unzen a great place to visit. Matthew M. Burke/Stars and Stripes

Kanoukaen festival in Nagasaki prefecture, Japan

It started with one small flame, then another, then another. Soon, night became day in the sea of fire.

Children laughed as skin began...

The Halema'uma'u crater expels gases and lava at Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii's Big Island. Its most recent seismic activity began in 2008. It contained a lava lake until 1924, when it exploded, doubling the crater's width to a half-mile. Erik Slavin/Stars and Stripes

Hawaii's Big Island exploding with activity for travelers

There is a typical Waikiki version of Hawaii involving leis, luaus and tourists swarming the same few blocks of beachfront property.


Cousins having fun.

Decisions. Decisions.

I’ve just come back from about a week long vacation in Hawaii.  As you might imagine, it was a pretty amazing time.  Even more amazing because we...

Idyllic Yongshou China

Have you ever seen a traditional Chinese painting with a river running between dramatically steep mountains, verdant misty valleys, maybe a little...

Hands-on animal experience

Mother Bokujo Farm Experience

Mother Farm, aka Mother Bokujo (or マザー牧場 if you are so inclined), is a fantastic family outing approximately 2 hours south of Tokyo in the verdant...

Celebrating Buddha’s birthday

Children poured sweet tea to celebrate Buddha’s birthday at Chokoku-ji temple, Tokyo on April 8


The views of Mt. Fuji from Kawaguchi-ko Music Forest are spectacular. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

Kawaguchiko Music Forest in Japan dedicated to instruments

Are you the sort of person who is enchanted by music boxes?

The Kawaguchiko Music Forest is a kind of mecca for those who find...

Photo courtesy of Edo Tokyo Museum

Edo Tokyo museum in Ryogoku

A daunting three-story escalator whisks you away from modern-day Tokyo and plants you face-to-face with the historic Nihon-Bashi, which serves as...