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  • Ninja vs. Samurai

    Two of the most evocative images of historical Japan are the ninja and the samurai. We've all heard of them, but what do you actually know about these famous historical assassins and warriors? It's time for the epic showdown of the ninja and the samurai! First of all, who were they? Samurai 侍 (usually called "bushi" or "buke" in Japanese) were the military nobility of Japan. They lived during a time when the Emperor of Japan was little more than a ceremonial figure, and the country was actually ruled by a shogun, or military general. The shogun presided over a bunch of powerful clans, called daimyo, each of which controlled its own small portion of the country and hired samurai to act as its guards and warriors. Samurai were not only fierce warriors but followed strict cod ...

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  • Hit the road: Driving vacations in Japan

    Every month, our Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist Amy Tadehara brings us insider knowledge on how to access semi-impenetrable experiences, avoid crowds, and find hidden delights.  This month, she’s letting us in on her favorite stops for driving vacations in Japan. (more…)

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  • 20 Reasons to Visit Japan in 2020 Part Four: Spring

    The arrival of spring in Japan is, quite simply, gorgeous. For thousands of years the thawing of winter and the cherry blossoms bursting into life has inspired artists, poets and philosophers, reminding them of the transient nature of life. As friends gather in parks to admire the pink sakura trees, Japan’s usual buzz - mellowed throughout the winter months – returns in force. Boisterous festivals welcoming the new season erupt throughout the length of the country, tea plantations and strawberry fields are a hive of activity, beaches reopen on the south islands, and the spectacular Sumo Summer Basho kicks off once again. (more…)

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  • 20 Reasons to Visit Japan in 2020 Part Three: Winter

    You've not experienced serenity until you've experienced winter in Japan. The temples, mountains and bamboo forests that amaze visitors through the warmer months take on a whole new personality when the temperature drops and the snow falls; their magic – already abundant – is amplified ten times over. (more…)

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