Journeys in Japan Season 4

Season 4

Journeys in Japan Season 4

First Air Date: January 08, 2013

First Aired on    :   2013
Episodes    :   42 episodes



Episodes

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4x42 Mesmerizing Islands at the Crossroads (December 31, 2013)


The Goto Islands in the East China Sea, comprise over 140 islands. The influence of diverse cultures has formed a unique architectural landscape and way of life.


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4x41 The Miniature World of Bonsai: Omiya (December 17, 2013)


The traditional art of bonsai recreates intricate scenes of nature in miniature, often called "living art". The Omiya Bonsai Village is one of Japan's biggest centers for bonsai. It is located in Saitama Prefecture, just to the north of Tokyo. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, photographer Kit Pancoast Nagamura discovers how these miniature trees are crafted.


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4x40 Continuing the Thread of Tradition: Kiryu (December 10, 2013)


Kiryu City of Gunma Prefecture is renowned for its textile industry. Kiryu Ori is produced using Jacquard looms for intricate, as well as colorful, kimono and obi sash designs. Model and actress Lemi Duncan explores the city, visiting a Kiryu Ori mill, a weaving workshop, and a bakery in a converted sawtooth roof mill.


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4x39 Celebrating Akita Cedar (December 03, 2013)


The cedar trees that are found on the mountainsides of Akita Prefecture, northern Japan, have long been prized for their timber. The slopes where they grow, in the basin of the Yoneshiro River, are considered as one of the 3 most beautiful forests in all Japan. The term "Akita Cedar" can only be used for the trees that have grown naturally in this area and are over 150 years old. Because of the harsh winter climate, these cedars develop slowly, and their timber has a beautiful grain and strength that is not found in cedars from other parts of Japan.


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4x38 Nostalgic Kawagoe (November 26, 2013)


Kawagoe City in Saitama Prefecture, famous for the Kawagoe Festival with its dazzling floats, is only 30 minutes away by train from the center of Tokyo. On this journey, our traveler, looking for a break from the hustle of his adopted-Tokyo, visits Kawagoe to enjoy the old Edo ambience. This journey fully introduces the attractions of Ko-Edo Kawagoe, near Tokyo.


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4x37 Iga Ninja Forest (November 19, 2013)


The word "Ninja" is known around the world. But the truth remains shrouded in mystery. This episode of Journeys in Japan features Iga in Mie Prefecture, the birthplace of famous clan of Ninja. Our traveler is William Reed, a master of the Japanese martial art of aikido, from the United States. He meets the descendants of actual Ninja family, learns the traditional skills of stealth that have been passed down the centuries, and explores the real story of the Ninja that lies behind the Hollywood stereotype in a completely new type of trip that combines history and action.


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4x36 Kagura: Dancing Beyond Time (November 12, 2013)


Kagura is a ritual dance of Shinto, the indigenous faith of Japan. Since ancient times, it has been offered to the gods in thanks for the blessings of nature. In the Iwami region of Shimane Prefecture, Kagura has developed independently of other styles. Contemporary dancer, Alessandra Lupi visits a small village to explore the many dimensions of this magical performing art.


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4x35 The Land of Fire: Kumamoto (October 29, 2013)


Kumamoto Prefecture is known as the "Land of Fire", with the active volcano Mt. Aso as its icon. Since ancient times, people have feared the volcano, yet at the same time learned how to live in harmony with it.


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4x34 Deep into Traditional Japan: Gokayama (October 22, 2013)


Deep in the mountains of Toyama Prefecture, not far from the coast of the Sea of Japan, lies the Gokayama region. The traditional architecture and culture of the villages in this area have been carefully preserved to the present day.


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4x33 The Festival for the Wind (October 15, 2013)


For over 300 years, people in the town of Etchu-Yatsuo, in Toyama Prefecture, have held a festival in early September. The 11 local communities get together to hold a traditional festival, called "Owara Kaze no Bon" to pray to the god of the wind for calm weather and bountiful crops. The local people parade through their neighborhoods all night long, dancing to music played on stringed instruments, kokyu and shamisen. Only unmarried men and women up to their age of 25 can take part.


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4x32 Life on the Lake: Kasumigaura (October 01, 2013)


Kasumigaura is the 2nd largest lake in Japan. Just an hour and a half by train from central Tokyo, Lake Kasumigaura is also considered one of the 100 most beautiful places in Japan. Erin Fowler came to Japan from the US 3 years ago, and works as an English teacher at an elementary school in Ibaraki Prefecture. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Erin visits the Kasumigaura area for the first time.


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4x31 Japan's Porcelain Legacy - Arita & Imari (September 24, 2013)


In the 17th century, porcelain known as Imari ware was exported from Japan to Europe despite the country's isolation policy. An elegant style called Kakiemon especially astonished people around the world for its vivid colors on a lustrous white body. Our traveler, Kristina Mar, visits Arita and Imari, where these porcelain pieces originated.


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4x30 Wonderful Yakushima (September 17, 2013)


Yakushima was registered as an UNESCO World Natural Heritage site 20 years ago. Though small, the island has mountains rising more than 1,000 meters. Elevation differences have created a unique climate zone allowing for 1,900 species of flora from subtropical to subalpine. The island also receives significant rainfall; so much so that people joke it rains 35 days a month. Blanketed in primeval forest, Yakushima attracts visitors from all over the world. Our reporter is Peter Skov, a Canadian photographer living in Japan for 12 years. On Journeys in Japan, Peter focuses his lens on Yakushima's primeval forests, its soaring mountains and its sea turtle spawning grounds.


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4x29 Ise Jingu: Man, Gods and Nature (September 03, 2013)


Ise Jingu (Grand Shrine of Ise) is one of the most important and most revered Shinto shrines in all Japan. Founded over 1,300 years ago, it lies in the east of Mie Prefecture, surrounded by unspoiled nature.On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Manjot Bedi explores this majestic power spot, to gain a deeper understanding of its significance and the special energy that can be felt there.


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4x28 Setouchi Triennale: Art-Island Hopping (August 27, 2013)


The Seto Inland Sea is surrounded by 3 of Japan's 4 main islands - Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. An international art festival called the Setouchi Triennale takes place on several of the 727 islands scattered across the sea. Our traveler this time is documentary film director Soraya Umewaka.


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4x27 Tsugaru Soul Music - Tsugaru Shamisen (August 20, 2013)


Japan's Tsugaru Shamisen is taking off in North America and Europe today. Fans of the lute-type instrument are captivated by its dynamic sound, produced by striking thick strings with a plectrum. On Journeys in Japan, our reporter JJ, visits the heart of Japan's soul music - the Tsugaru region of Aomori Prefecture.


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4x26 Living with Horses: Hidaka (August 13, 2013)


The Hidaka area on the southwestern coast of Hokkaido is famous for its racehorses. This is where many of the most famous Japanese racehorses were born, raised and trained. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, Daniela Shiga travels to Hidaka to see the way people live alongside horses.


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4x25 Oki Islands (July 16, 2013)


The Oki Islands lie in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Shimane Prefecture. For countless centuries, people have lived here along with their cattle, and they have developed a very distinctive culture. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, writer David Chart travels to the Oki Islands, to explore the culture and terrain, and to get a taste of life on these remote islands.


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4x24 Osaka Art Power (July 09, 2013)


Osaka is a vibrant city, full of warm people. But that is only one aspect of Japan's 3rd largest city. This edition of Journeys in Japan explores Osaka through its art. Our traveler, woodblock printmaker David Bull embarks on a journey to encounter Osaka's beauty from past to present.


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4x23 Hakone and Izu: Classic Hotel Stays (July 02, 2013)


Mt. Fuji was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Hakone and Izu are popular resorts near the majestic mountain. Our reporter, American actor Charles Glover, enjoys historical hotels in the area that offers world-class service and cuisine. He savors the serene beauty of a traditional tatami guest room and relaxes in an open-air onsen hot spring surrounded by nature.


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4x22 Tohoku Haiku Journey: Following Basho's Footsteps (June 29, 2013)


Haiku are brief poetic snapshots that encapsulate in a few words the essence of a moment, be it the beauty of nature or just a scene from daily life. This form of poetry, born in Japan, is now becoming known around the world. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, writer and photographer Kit Pancoast Nagamura travels through the north of Japan, following in the footsteps of the 17th century haiku poet Matsuo Basho, who described his journeys in his book, "The Narrow Road to the Deep North".


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4x21 The Rhythms of Ainu Life: Lake Akan (June 18, 2013)


The indigenous Ainu lives in Hokkaido, Japan's most northern main island. Our reporter, Shakuhachi player John Kaizan Neptune, visits the shores of Lake Akan to experience Ainu culture, including its music.


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4x20 Tateyama Peak Experience (June 11, 2013)


In this edition of Journeys in Japan, musician JJ enjoys the beautiful snowy scenery of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, one of the foremost mountain resorts in Japan.


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4x19 Peach Trees and Rural Retreat Kofu Basin (June 04, 2013)


The Kofu Basin, in Yamanashi Prefecture, lies north of Mt. Fuji. In mid-April, when peach flowers blossom, the landscape becomes a carpet of pink. On this edition of "Journeys in Japan," German national Lana Bergmann, who is studying film, visits Kofu when the peach flowers are in full bloom.


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4x18 Kamakura Tradition: Spring in the Ancient Capital (May 28, 2013)


The historic city of Kamakura lies about 1 hour south of Tokyo by train. At the end of the 12th century, Kamakura was chosen to be the administrative capital by the samurai warlord Minamoto no Yoritomo. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, Rosa Yum returns to Kamakura to explore the city further.


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4x17 Ishigaki Island: Living in Harmony with the Ocean (May 21, 2013)


Surrounded by pristine water and coral reefs, Ishigaki Island lies at the far southwestern tip of Japan, around 1,900 kilometers from Tokyo. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, Teodora Vegh meets with a number of Ishigaki islanders, and finds out about the strong connection the local people feel for the sea.


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4x16 Textiles from a Royal Tradition (May 14, 2013)


In the old days, the islands of southwestern Japan (present-day Okinawa Prefecture) formed an independent nation, called the Kingdom of Ryukyu. A vibrant culture flourished in those islands and people lived in harmony with the subtropical climate. Sophisticated textiles were developed as clothing for the royalty and the aristocracy. They were dyed in a style known as bingata. To this day, the vivid colors of bingata fabrics are one of the most beautiful and elegant examples of Okinawan culture. Teodora Vegh came to Okinawa from Hungary 5 years ago to discover the traditional culture and to learn the techniques of bingata dyeing. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, Teodora explores the history and long tradition of bingata, and the way it is being adapted and used in contemporary design.


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4x15 The Soulful Rhythms of the Amami Islands (May 07, 2013)


The Amami Islands are subtropical. Blanketed in dense forests and surrounded by emerald waters, they are located about 400 kilometers from Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Kyushu. These islands, isolated from the continent long ago by tectonic activity, are full of rare indigenous flora and fauna. But the animals and plants are not the only thing that the forests of Amami have nurtured. They have also shaped a distinctive culture there. One example is the Amami folk song, called Shima-uta. In this edition of Journeys in Japan, Naotomo Umewaka explores the mystical forests of Amami, as well as the music and spirit of the people on the islands.


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4x14 Minami-Boso: Seaside Trip With Children (April 30, 2013)


Close to Tokyo but far from the city, there are great places to visit in Japan if you're traveling with young children. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, the Koivumaa family from Finland - Mikko, Elisa and their children Eero and Eeva - are making a short trip to Minami-Boso, in southern Chiba Prefecture.


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4x13 Jazzy Kobe (April 23, 2013)


Our destination is the cosmopolitan city of Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture. Actor Charles Glover discovers its unique culture of jazz. In fact, the city is considered the birthplace of the genre in Japan. Being a prosperous port city, Western fads were introduced early on including jazz, which quickly took off.


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4x12 A Spiritual Journey in Oita (April 16, 2013)


Oita Prefecture, in southwest Japan, is an area with beautiful natural scenery and many sacred sites. It also boasts a remarkable number of Buddhist statues, in out-of-the-way rural locations. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, Mark visits Oita Prefecture and visits some important Buddhist sites close to 3 stations along the JR Nippo Main Line.


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4x11 Spring Colors of Ibusuki (April 09, 2013)


In this episode, photogravure artist Peter Miller travels to Ibusuki City, a hot spring town at the southern tip of Kyushu, in search of spring.


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4x10 Nature's Beauty in Microcosm (April 02, 2013)


Since ancient times, formal gardens have offered a distinctive expression of Japan's traditional aesthetic. Often featuring lush greenery, bodies of water and seemingly random arrangements of rock, these gardens can be viewed as nature in microcosm. Our reporter is Joseph Cali, a designer who has published books on Japanese gardens. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, Joseph visits Shikoku. He discovers the beauty of the natural environment - and the way it is reflected in two very contrasting traditional gardens.


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4x09 Discovering Tottori Crafts (March 26, 2013)


Tottori is a major folk craft center in Japan. On this trip, our reporter Dario Ponissi travels across Tottori Prefecture from east to west to discover the world of Shoya Yoshida's folk crafts.


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4x08 Ice Monsters And Warm Hospitality: Zao (March 19, 2013)



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4x07 Sanriku Coast: Abundant Sea Part 2 (March 12, 2013)


The Sanriku Coast of northeastern Japan is a beautiful area with stunning scenery. It was devastated by the great earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. But life is gradually returning to normal and people are rebuilding their communities and their lives. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, JJ returns to visit another stretch of the Sanriku Coast.


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4x06 Honjima: Treasure-house of the Seto Inland Sea (February 26, 2013)


Honjima is one of the Shiwaku group of islands in the Seto Inland Sea, between Japan's mainland Honshu and Shikoku. On this edition of "Journeys in Japan", radio DJ Chris Glenn explores the history and culture of Honjima and discovers handsome townscapes that have changed little for more than a century.


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4x05 Pure Mt. Fuji: A Winter Journey (February 19, 2013)


This week we journey to the foot of Mt. Fuji in winter to discover the area's majestic nature.


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4x04 Namahage New Year's Rite (February 05, 2013)


On this "Journeys in Japan" our reporter Deborah Ten experiences the rings in the New Year in northern Japan. She visits Oga Peninsula, in Akita Prefecture, to see an unusual New Year's Eve rite. During the folk ritual, known as namahage, demon-like incarnations of the mountain gods go from home to home in the Oga area.


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4x03 Zen and the Samurai Spirit: Kamakura (January 29, 2013)


The city of Kamakura lies just south of Tokyo. From around 800 years ago, it was the capital of the samurai generals who ruled Japan. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, Rosa Yum explores Kamakura when the autumn foliage is at its most beautiful, and visits several of the ancient religious sites in the city.


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4x02 Winter Bliss in Takayama (January 22, 2013)


Our destination is Takayama City in Gifu Prefecture. Our reporter Charles Glover discovers the city's traditions by sightseeing on foot.


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4x01 Exploring Yatsugatake's Nature and Jomon Legacy (January 08, 2013)


On this edition of "Journeys in Japan" we visit the southwestern foot of Yatsugatake, a chain of mountains extending 30 kilometers from north to south on the border of Nagano and Yamanashi Prefectures.