MAY 2020

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Beyond Tokyo: Let’s go to Koya-san, one of the most mystical pilgrimage sites in all of Japan

Mossy statue of Kobo Daishi (Kukai) at Koya-san in Japan

Whether you’re searching for enlightenment, want to test whether you’re pure of heart or not, or just want to see the tomb that’s carved in the shape of a giant coffee cup, Koya-san is well worth the more

Seasonal Secret for May: Six things you didn’t expect to discover on a pilgrimage

Goshuin Japanese pilgrimage stamp books

Pilgrimages can deliver so much more than sore feet and eternal brownie points! While earning the ultimate travel souvenir, we might find anything from samurai era graffiti to shortcuts to paradise on our journey to spiritual enlightenment…read more

This month’s book review: Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye

Cover of When the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye by Marie Mustuki Mockett, with Jizo figures and pinwheels

This is the book that made me want to see Koya-san for myself. The author leads us on a journey to legendary places––from meditating at an elite Zen monastery to standing in line at the haunted lake where you can consult a blind medium to speak with the dead––and asks all the right questionsread more

Japanese Home Cooking for May: Yakitori Chicken Mini-Burgers

Yakitori Chicken Min-Burgers in pan on stove (tofu hambugers)

While these are cooking, I guarantee every family member is going to appear in your kitchen at some point, asking, what smells so great? And when’s dinner? Then they’ll inhale these as though they hadn’t eaten for a week, never stopping to ask what’s in them or suspect how insanely healthy they actually are…read more

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Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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