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By Claire D'hooghe | June 12, 2016

Sagano Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama You’ve seen the stock image before: a low angle shot of an overwhelming, towering, green bamboo forest and a lonely path. It invokes the sense of a quiet, intimate scene; the observer looking up at the bamboo swaying in the breeze, surrounded by an ancient, spiritual sing-a-long of the engulfing Japanese forest. This idealistic, tranquil place exists in Arashiyama, Japan, so the caption says. Tourism information will tell you…

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By Benjamin Pratt | June 9, 2016

As party-centric as Koh Phangan is there’s much more to island the average nomad noggin wouldn’t have any idea about. Granted, this is the home of the voracious Full Moon/Half Moon/Any Kinda Moon Parties, but there is a total tree-loving, joint-passing, drum-circling sustainable culture here, co-existing in a weird yin-yang harmony with the fluorescent-jamboree of…

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By Benjamin Pratt | June 1, 2016

I used to imagine small mountain town bars sheltering twenty or thirty men in flannelette huddled around, stinking of lumberjack sweat and stale beer, watching replays of old college football games. Then I went to Ruins in Minakami, Japan. This bar is far away from that image. It’s pumping with the atmosphere of young locals, seasonal gaijins (foreigners) and…

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By Benjamin Pratt | May 28, 2016

On the outside, during the day amongst the Minakami nature, Doai Station looks like any other semi-abandoned station in the middle of nowhere. There’s no station attendants, no ticket machines to manoeuvre and no signage; not even a hint of civilisation. But, what’s real trippy: Doai Station is 70 metres underground – the deepest active train station…

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By Benjamin Pratt | May 24, 2016

Yeehaw, baby! You’ve decided to immerse yourself in the knee-deep snow and picturesque natural surroundings of mountain-town Minakami. A decision you’re not going to regret. Now you just gotta figure out how to get there. Good news: it’s not far from Tokyo. Only 90 minutes by Shinkansen, and a free trip if you get your…

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By Benjamin Pratt | May 20, 2016

In the valley of the Japanese mountains in Gunma prefecture lays a small, unassuming mountain town called Minakami. Just jump on a Shinkansen from Tokyo for an hour and a half and you’ll be transported from the metropolis jungles of downtown districts to a lavish land of natural splendor and vitality. Engulfed by mountainous peaks,…

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By Claire D'hooghe | May 18, 2016

If you’ve been to Japan, you already know. If not, I doubt you’ll be surprised that Japanese food actually made in Japan is Next Level Shit. When Australians look for a cheap, quick meal we see (Australians, please excuse my stereotyping here) meat pies, everything avocado (including sushi), fresh sandwiches, and, of course, an invasion of burger/Mexican joints….

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