Journeys In Japan

Journeys in Japan provides an eye-opening look at the many unique places to visit in Japan. English-speaking visitors travel the length of the country, exploring the culture, meeting the local people, visiting historic sites and offering travel hints rarely found in guidebooks.

Distributed by: American Public Television (APT)
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Episode #217H

Bounty of the Wild North: Cape Soya, Hokkaido

Episode #218H · Cape Soya lies at the northernmost tip of Hokkaido Island. Located at a latitude of 45 degrees North, the landscape in this area is very different from the rest of Japan, and it is sometimes known as the "Ireland of Japan." Year-round, it is swept by strong winds and has an average annual temperature of about 7 degrees Celsius. This makes it a suitable habitat for plants that can only be seen at an altitude of around 2,000 meters in central Japan. The Okhotsk Sea is one of Japan's most fertile fishing grounds. Sarufutsu Village is known for its scallops, and more of the shellfish are landed here than anywhere else in Japan. The local fishermen release baby scallops in the sea water and leave them to grow for five years until maturity. These shellfish are prized for their meaty texture and rich flavor. This area also has a distinctive inland ecosystem, with some fascinating wildlife. One of the most remarkable is the itou (Japanese Huchen), the largest freshwater fish in the country, which is now critically endangered. In this edition of Journeys in Japan, John Moore explores the wild nature of Japan's northernmost tip. He sees for himself the bounty of the ocean, even in this harsh climate. And he tries his hand at fly fishing, in the hopes that the may come face to face with the mysterious itou fish.

Okayama: Into The Deep Red

Episode #219H · It's spring in Okayama, which facing the Inland Sea of Japan in the south and the Chugoku Mountains in the north, is blessed with abundant nature. In this edition of Journeys in Japan, John Moore and his daughter Ruadh visit the area, which has a long history and rich culture. They look for "the traditional reds" of Japan. In Fukiya, they appreciate the earthy-rough townscape. They taste a steamed sea bream dish the locals eat on joyous occasions. The fish's scales are a reddish ink, so people often call it "cherry blossom sea bream." The father and daughter also visit a swordsmith and observe how he forges a blade from the flaming red tamahagane, or raw carbon steel.

Hokkaido: Summer Gardens Under The Northern Sky

Episode #220H · Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost main island, turns into a paradise of flowers in spring and summer. After the harsh winter, plant life erupts in all its brilliant glory. It's a wonderful place to discover gardens. The 250-kilometer highway from Asahikawa to Obihiro passes close to eight notable gardens. That is why it has come to be called the "Hokkaido Garden Path". Each garden has its own individual character, setting, and vegetation. Anthony Wood is a photographer form the United States who has lived in Japan for 10 years. His home state, Minnesota, has vast and abundant nature, much like Hokkaido. At the beginning of this trip, Anthony focuses his camera mostly on the beautiful flowers in full bloom. But as his journey continues and he meets the people behind the gardens, he trains his lens more on them. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, Anthony embarks on a road trip through the far north of Japan, in search of beauty.

Episode #221H

Iwate Winter White

Episode #222H · Deep in the north of Japan at a mountain temple, a festival called the Somin-sai and nicknamed the Naked Festival, has been held for around one thousand years. British actor, Dean Newcombe, travels to Oshu, in southern Iwate, to join in this enigmatic festival. First he takes in some of Oshu's other ancient winter rites. And then he visits a Zen training temple to practice asceticism to focus his mind for the harsh festival. The finale of his trip, the Somin-sai, was an experience beyond Dean's wildest dreams.

Akiu: in the Footsteps of a Legendary Warlord

Episode #223H · The warlord Date Masamune rose to power during Japan's Warring States period in the 16th century, and went on to control a large area of Tohoku (northeastern Japan). Thanks to his rule, the castle town of Sendai developed into the largest city in the region. It is now a major industrial, economic and cultural hub for the region. Date Masamune was highly skilled in the military arts, but he was also known for his love of literature and his progressive thinking. He enjoyed composing waka (Japanese poetry), and loved sophisticated banquets. He also had a great interest in the world outside of Japan, and he sent special envoys as far as Europe. Even today, Date Masamune remains one of Japan's most popular historical figures. On hunting trips, the warlord would often visit a place called Akiu, where he would relax in the pools of natural hot-spring water. To this day, the area remains a popular resort where people come to ease their stress and fatigue-just half an hour by car from the Sendai city center. Peter MacMillan is a poet and printmaker from Ireland. He is also a university professor who teaches comparative literature and linguistic art and expression. In this edition of Journeys in Japan, Peter arrives in Akiu on the cusp of spring. He discovers the history and natural beauty of the area. He hikes in the hills, meets a local artist and immerses himself in the same hot springs that were such a favorite of Date Masamune.

Aomori: Out of This World

Episode #224H · Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of Japan's Honshu main island, has a number of enigmatic places that feel a world apart. On Journeys In Japan, poet Arthur Binard explores the area's sacred spots. He passes through more than 200 torii gates leading to a Shinto shrine, encounters fantastically-shaped giant rocks, and visits a sacred borderline of this life and the afterlife, as well as a temple with 2, 000 stone Jizo statues. He discovers the mysterious traditions of Aomori.

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