Mino, Japan: Railway to the Lights

With how reliable, convenient, and well-connected trains in Japan are, vacations and even staycations in the countryside from major cities are pretty much effortless.

While living in the Chubu region’s center of Nagoya, I had many chances to make easy day trips to charming small towns around Chubu. One of the most memorable experience for me has to be how I managed to jump onto a train ride after my morning class, visit the traditional merchant town of Mino in the countryside with an atmospheric paper lantern festival, and come back to Nagoya on the same day.

Frankly, I would recommend spending a whole day or even staying overnight in Mino for a vacation in that area, but considering how busy I was with my thesis at the time, I was thankful it was possible to set aside some time at all for a pick-me-up staycation. Even the train ride in the area is in and of itself an interesting experience.

Read More »


Nagoya, Japan: Hopping Through the Seasons at Miwa Shrine

Find one shrine, get infinite floral art free.

While it isn’t unusual for Shinto shrines to be decorated with some flowers, Miwa Jinja Shrine in Nagoya has to be one of the most creative and generous. There is something new to discover every month and adding in the shrine’s interesting connection with rabbits, relationships, and happiness, it has become one of my most favorite finds in Japan.

Read More »

Hakodate, Japan: Twinkle, Twinkle, Big Port City

As the third largest city in Hokkaido with twinkling panoramic night view regarded as the best in Japan and one of the top three in the world, Hakodate already has what it takes to become a big star among travelers.

And as beloved as Hakodate night is, Hakodate actually shines both in the night and in the day. This oldest international port city on Hokkaido comes highly recommended in travel guides for its lively waterfront and hill lined with Western-influenced buildings. That said, Hakodate retains the chill atmosphere like most places in Hokkaido and getting to and around the city is easy.

From sunrise to after sunset, there are plenty of things to do and see in Hakodate. I had to start my city walk around noon though, so I didn’t have enough time to try fresh seafood at Hakodate Morning Market and trace the Boshin War history at the star-shaped Goryokaku Fort. Sunshower and rain also came and go throughout the day, but let’s see the scenes I have managed to capture in this charming city.

Read More »

Nagoya, Japan: Hydrangeas and Divine Histories in Chayagasaka

I am always excited to take photos whenever I travel anywhere, but the lesser known the places and the fewer pre-existing photos of them in the media, the more excited I tend to be.

Professionally-taken photos of popular attractions in Nagoya have graced countless international tourism brochures, travel magazines, websites, and social media and I had fun visiting and taking photos of those locations too. However, the opportunity to study and live in Nagoya for a few years led me to discover many hidden gems from local pamphlets and websites. Oftentimes, these sources included only a few pictures or even only one per recommended spot, and their professional photos barely exist on mainstream platforms. I truly enjoy and feel inspired by all the brilliant photos of professional photographers and fellow bloggers, but the sense of mystery before visiting also intensifies my photographic groove. Not knowing can help us become even more exploratory, I think. (Though admittedly, the amount of photos I am going to share may inspire you or lessen that sense of mystery I talked about, depending on your preferences, and I am sorry if the latter is the case for you, haha).

Chayagasaka area was among Nagoya’s local spots that really got me into my groove. You can go there in any season for a pilgrimage of Japan’s most famous and deified historical figures, but there is nothing better than an early summer visit for the nature’s beauty that is hydrangeas.

Read More »

Nagoya, Japan: Grainy Days in Monochrome City

I must admit that although photography has become one of my hobbies since 2011, the thought of trying black and white photography never crossed my mind until mid-2020. While I do enjoy looking at other people’s black and white photos, I have this weird thought that when it comes to my own memories, I want to preserve them in color. Unless it is Bangkok (my hometown) and Phang Nga (my dad’s hometown and former home of my paternal grandparents where we still go annually), I rarely get to revisit most places. This is why I want to hold onto as-vivid-as-possible memories of the places I probably will never see again. Even though I know that I will have to let go of those memories eventually when I no longer exist in this world.

But this isn’t to say monochrome memories are inferior. Color photography is my personal preference, but shooting in black and white opens up unique possibilities and perspectives. Some photos gain extra depth and dimension. Texture, patterns, light and shadow, and certain details can become more prominent. The vibes of many photos change and sometimes I find photos that look more interesting in greyscale too. All these cool factors and the fact that I had an opportunity to live in and explore Nagoya for about three years made me decide to try shooting my first black and white roll there.

With the grainy Ilford Delta 3200 film stock, I spent three days visiting some of the places (without admission fee) that I wanted to see in black and white. I had already been to most of these places, but I tried to capture the angles or the objects that I had never photographed in color for a change. In addition to not knowing right away how the photos would come out on film, I didn’t know how they would look in black and white either. That means the excitement before having the film developed got doubled. While B&W photography is as challenging as they say and I still have a lot more to work on, I did have a lot of fun because of that sense of mystery throughout the process.

Here are the results from my first black and white roll. Most of the shots feature man-made structures since Nagoya is one of Japan’s largest cities. That said, the city didn’t really leave me feel so disconnected from nature because of its many parks, a lot of trees and flowers at the bigger shrines and temples, and even the sea. One roll wasn’t enough to show the various sides of Nagoya, but I tried to be as diverse as I could.

Read More »