Journeys in Japan Season 12

Season 12

Journeys in Japan Season 12

First Air Date: January 05, 2021

First Aired on    :   2021
Episodes    :   27 episodes



Episodes

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12x27 Rising from the Ruins (November 23, 2021)


Around the turn of the 20th century, mining towns sprang up around Japan to meet the nation's growing demand for mineral resources. Communities flourished and grew rapidly, developing a culture of their own. But as the seams became depleted and prices fluctuated, their decline came even faster. Now, a century later, those towns are looking for ways to build a new future. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, we look back at 3 visits to mining towns, charting their changes and finding out what makes them special today.


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12x26 Northern Alps for All Seasons (November 16, 2021)


The Northern Alps, which extend some 150 kilometers, are the most popular among climbers in Japan. Many of its peaks tower more than 2,000 meters with 10 topping 3,000. Along the ridgeline alpine views rarely identified with Japan stretch out. Due to strong seasonal winds, climbers can enjoy nature that changes dramatically through the seasons. And, along with the show's director, that's just what we do this time on Journeys in Japan.


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12x25 Shinto Rituals: Linking Communities and Deities (November 02, 2021)


Since ancient times, Shinto rituals have been held at sacred sites across Japan, bringing people together and creating bonds between the participants through their shared faith. Many of those rituals are held in the autumn. Moreover, the 10th month of the lunar calendar (November in the Gregorian calendar) is a time when the many deities of Japan are said to gather for their annual conference. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, we take a deeper look at the diverse and vibrant rituals of Shinto, meet some of the people who take part in them, and discover the deep bonds that link those participants.


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12x24 Oki, Iki, Tsushima: Frontline Islands in the Stream (October 26, 2021)


Japan has about 6,800 islands that are larger than 100 meters in circumference. More than 500 of them are classified as "remote border islands." On this episode of Journeys in Japan, we revisit 3 of them -- the Oki Islands, Iki, and Tsushima -- to explore their culture, traditions and distinctive history on Japan's frontline.


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12x23 Hokkaido: Catching the Northern Lights (October 19, 2021)


On Journeys in Japan, photographer Alfie Goodrich framed his lens on Hokkaido Prefecture's Muroran and Rausu in 2019. Muroran is an industrial city that flourished on steel. Though it fell on some hard times, it is coming back with events targeting youth culture fans. Rausu is a sliver of a town nestled on the Shiretoko Peninsula -- a World Natural Heritage Site. It is famous for its untouched nature and wildlife, as well as its prized kombu kelp.


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12x22 Legacies of Samurai Culture (October 05, 2021)


When people think of the samurai they imagine fearless warriors skilled in the martial arts. But that's just one side. In this episode, we look at how elite samurai promoted artisanal culture and works of art even outside Edo (old Tokyo) and Kyoto. We trace their footsteps in Kyushu, Ishikawa Prefecture, Yamagata Prefecture and Aomori Prefecture.


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12x21 Creative Solutions Spark Rural Revival (September 28, 2021)


Across Japan, communities highlight their distinctive charms to attract visitors. On this episode of Journeys in Japan we revisit 3 locales that have come up with creative ways to put themselves on the map, becoming known not only in Japan but around the world.


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12x20 An Ode to Live Music (September 21, 2021)


With the world pandemic, music venues across the globe have gone silent. So this time on Journeys in Japan, American actor Charles Glover takes us back in time to get lost in live music. He revisits Kobe, the city of jazz, Tsugaru, the heart of the shamisen and Osaka, the place for the blues. And he gets the word from local musicians about the current situation in their area.


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12x19 Ascending the Sacred Peaks (August 24, 2021)


Modern mountaineering was born in Europe in the second half of the 18th century. Offering vigorous exercise along with magnificent views, the sport of Alpinism soon caught on around the world and was introduced to Japan in the Meiji period (late 19th century). In Japan, people have been climbing mountains since ancient times, as an important part of their religious practice. Even today, many Japanese people venerate major peaks as the abode of the deities. Traditional rituals are held to mark the opening of mountain trails for the climbing season, and prayers are offered at sunrise on some mountain peaks. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, we revisit some of the sacred mountains that we have featured in the past, introduced by the director who made those programs. He will also climb Mt. Oyama in Kanagawa Prefecture, another peak that has been worshiped since the old days.


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12x18 Ishinomaki: A Decade On - Remembering and Moving Ahead (August 17, 2021)


Located on the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, Ishinomaki City long flourished through fisheries. The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake ravaged the city, leaving 4,000 people dead or missing -- making it one of the worst hit areas. Richard Halberstadt from Great Britain was a victim of the disaster. Now as the director of the city's information center on March 11, he conveys the reality of that time to visitors. On Journeys in Japan, Richard and his friends take us on a tour of recovery. Looking back, they're passing on the memory of the earthquake and tsunami.


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12x17 Summer Festivals to Celebrate around Japan (August 10, 2021)


Festivals are an essential element of summer in Japan. Held around the country, some feature music and dancing, others spectacular lights or massive floats. On this special episode of Journeys in Japan, Shizuka Anderson introduces 4 of the largest, most exuberant summer festivals that have been featured in previous shows. Each has its own history and local traditions that often date back centuries. What they all share in common is the passion and intensity of their local communities.


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12x16 Lifting the Spirit through Architecture Nikko Okinawa Osaka (August 03, 2021)


On Journeys in Japan, we've discovered the history and culture of many places through their architecture. On this episode, we revisit Nikko, Okinawa Prefecture and Osaka Prefecture, to take a close look at significant buildings and how they connect with the people.


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12x15 The Trail to Chiyanoki: Mountain Biking Revives Village (July 27, 2021)


A stunning mountain bike course has been carved into a mountain of a Genkai-shuraku -- a marginal hamlet where more than 50% of the population is aged 65 or over -- in Saga City. The trail has attracted new faces and energy to Chiyanoki Village, which is facing depopulation and super-aging. Masunaga Eiichi, who ran a mountain bike shop in Fukuoka City, spearheaded the trail project and eventually relocated there. He spent years cultivating relations with the locals before they would allow him to design and build his trail. His strategy was patience, and offering community volunteer work along with his bike rider friends. Eventually, he got the green light. And in return he and his colleagues regularly help trim back vegetation and clear roads. Residents and newcomers are now forging a vibrant culture.


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12x14 Cultivating a Taste for Summer Vegetables (July 20, 2021)


Because Japan's landmass extends north-south through a number of different climatic zones, farmers can cultivate a wide variety of different produce, reflecting the local environment and conditions. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, we look back at episodes from past years celebrating the variety of summer vegetables that are grown around the country. We follow our reporters as they visit farms in 3 parts of Japan. We find Renkon (lotus root) being cultivated in the fertile soil and abundant water of Ibaraki Prefecture. We discover how Rakkyo (a kind of shallot) is grown in the sand dunes of Tottori Prefecture. And we introduce Kanpyo, a preserved food produced in Tochigi Prefecture, which has been part of the Japanese diet for over 300 years.


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12x13 Toba Islands: Life and Love in a Traditional Community (July 13, 2021)


The Ise-Shima National Park is one of Japan's most popular sightseeing areas, but not so many people visit the islands that lie offshore from Toba City. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Ogawa Niki visits 2 of those islands. In Toshijima he explores the back alleys of a fishing town, where the distinctive tradition and local culture remain strong. And in Kamishima he discovers the setting for a novel that has become one of Japan's most popular love stories.


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12x12 Go Deep! Underwater Paradise (July 06, 2021)


Islands -- stringing along 3,500 kilometers, north to south, in the Pacific -- so narrow that no point is ever far from the sea. Coastlines alone spanning 35,000 kilometers… We dip under the waves to explore the Japanese archipelago's epic world of water. Tagging along with Michael Keida, and on one dive with Bonnie Waycott, we delight in tropical and temperate zone marine life, corals, 2 shark species and a friendly Asian sheepshead wrasse. Michael reminisces in the studio about his adventures with narrator Bill Sullivan.


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12x11 Rainy Nights, Summer Mysteries (June 29, 2021)


As spring changes to summer in Japan, there is a period of about a month when rainy, cloudy conditions persist. This transitional season is known as Tsuyu. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, we introduce some of the beautiful, mysterious natural phenomena that can be seen at this time of year, as well as an event traditionally held in rural communities across the country. The program is introduced by Michael Keida, who has a smallholding near Tokyo where he cultivates around 200 different kinds of vegetables and other crops using organic methods.


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12x10 Minami Shinshu: A Solo Alps Journey (June 08, 2021)


Outdoor guide Daniel Moore gets a taste of deep mountain life on a drive around Minami Shinshu in southern Nagano Prefecture. On his way he stays in an abandoned old post town, hikes with a hunter, visits a master wood artisan, camps under a blanket of stars, shoots down the Tenryu River in a traditional boat and sips tea high up on a farmer couple's terraced slope.


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12x09 Yamatokoriyama: Water Brimming with Goldfish (May 25, 2021)


Elegant and charming, goldfish have captured the hearts of people in Japan for centuries. One of the main areas where they are produced is the historic city of Yamatokoriyama in Nara Prefecture. Although this region of Japan does not receive a lot of rainfall, there is abundant groundwater. There are many rivers running through the city, and reservoirs have been built to make use of their water. Over the centuries, the terrain was modified until it was perfect for goldfish breeding, and it took off in a big way. This time on Journeys in Japan, US photographer Seri Nieves visits Yamatokoriyama to explore the deep connection with water and goldfish in this ancient castle town.


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12x08 Eye on Nagoya: A City's Identity through Architecture (May 11, 2021)


Nagoya is in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan. While it is sometimes compared unfavorably to Tokyo, Kyoto Prefecture and Osaka Prefecture, there is more to the city than meets the eye. It's a fascinating place steeped in history. From the ancient Atsuta Jingu, a shrine with deep ties to the Imperial Family, to contemporary buildings we explore renowned architecture old and new to reflect on the culture of Nagoya.


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12x07 Otaru: Herring and Glassware; Keeping Alive Otaru's Tradition (May 03, 2021)


The city of Otaru, on the Sea of Japan coast of Hokkaido Prefecture, was founded about 150 years ago and grew rapidly as the main port for shipping coal from mines in the region. It also became the primary fishing port for the massive herring catch. The fish were used as fertilizer by farms growing cotton. For this reason, demand was strong and herring fetched a high price. Many people made their way to Otaru hoping to prosper from the herring business, and the city's population grew rapidly. In response to this economic boom in Otaru, as many as 25 banks opened branches in the city and it became Hokkaido's financial and trading center. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Isis Berns explores the city of Otaru, delving into its history of fishing and glass-making, to discover the proud vestiges of its past prosperity.


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12x06 Poetic Beauty of Wintry Kussharo (March 30, 2021)


Winter in Hokkaido Prefecture... It's a fascinating time to visit for the stunning snowscapes and natural phenomena caused by the severe cold. Kussharo, located in a huge caldera, is part of the Akan-Mashu National Park. Cradled by the outer rim of the crater, heavy, cold air accumulates and the temperature plummets below minus 20 degrees Celsius on windless days. Lake Kussharo is the largest lake in Japan that completely freezes over. Hot springs gush out from many spots, releasing steam. Snow, ice and the steam interact in the ultra-low temperatures to create mysterious and stunning natural works of art.


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12x05 Frozen Beauty at Dawn and Dusk: Hokkaido in Midwinter (February 23, 2021)


Hokkaido Prefecture in mid-winter is a frigid land of snow and ice, where temperatures can drop below minus 20 degrees Celsius for weeks on end. But this is the perfect time to see wildlife and natural phenomena that can only be glimpsed at this time of year. And, of course, it's a paradise for winter sports and other outdoor activities. This episode is presented by Bill Sullivan, the narrator for Journeys in Japan. He loves Hokkaido and the great outdoors. Right now, he can't make any trips, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But he hasn't stopped making travel plans. So this time he introduces 3 places and activities that are on his wish list, all in Hokkaido.


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12x04 Moji: Gateway to the World (February 16, 2021)


Moji, just over 800 kilometers west of Tokyo, is on the northernmost tip of Kyushu. Facing the Kanmon Strait -- an easy access route for Japan's main island and mainland Asia -- Moji prospered as a major sea transportation post from the Meiji to early Showa periods. Businesses catering to the port visitors, including foreigners, cropped up. And much of the Western-style architecture of the time has been preserved. On Journeys in Japan, Winnie Hsu strolls around the old port town, tracing its legacy.


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12x03 Tsushima: Slow Living on a Frontline Island (February 09, 2021)


The island of Tsushima, in Nagasaki Prefecture, lies between Japan and South Korea, just 50 kilometers from the South Korean port city of Busan. Thanks to its location, the island developed as a thriving hub for trade and cultural exchanges between Japan, the Korean Peninsula and mainland China. Tsushima has also played a strategic role on the frontline between the regional powers. From the Battle of Baekgang (663) and the Mongolian expeditions of Japan (1274 and 1281) to Japan's invasions of Korea under Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1592-1598) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), it has had a long and turbulent history but has overcome all challenges. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Brandon Chin explores Tsushima, meets the residents, and discovers the important role the island has played in Japan's history and international relations.


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12x02 Tsu: A Path to the Heart (January 26, 2021)


Tsu in Mie Prefecture prospered as a castle town during the Edo period (1603-1868). Situated close to Ise Jingu, one of Japan's most significant Shinto shrines, it has been a crossing point for pilgrims since ancient times. Tsu is known for its appealing post town architecture, as well as its historic shrines and temples. Dance performer, and local resident, Yuko tours the sacred sites while holding a wish for the pandemic's end in her heart.


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12x01 Kyoto: Tango Chirimen (January 05, 2021)


The Kyotango area of northern Kyoto Prefecture is known as the birthplace of Tango Chirimen, a variety of crepe silk with a finely crimped texture and luxuriously soft feel. For 300 years, this fabric has been an essential part of its history and culture. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, we meet the people who produce Tango Chirimen, from the craftsmen who maintain the traditional skills of weaving and dyeing, to the modern artisans creating contemporary designs. And we explore the deep connection of this fabric with the natural environment of the Kyotango area.