Started in June 2016, Unfamiliar Japan, or UJT, is an attempt to introduce Japan from an unconventional perspective. Rather than take time presenting Japan’s major tourist destinations, we strive to show would-be travelers the nation’s off-the-beaten paths and forgotten aspects. We want to introduce you to everything you won’t find in typical Japan travel itinerary. Although we are also offering you a tour-guiding service and can talk with you about customized guided tours in Japan (see the Rates/Contact page on this site if you are interested), it is just a secondary side to our primary aim: to reveal as many lesser-known places and obscure aspects of the country as possible, hoping to finally conjure up somethingーsomething like a glimpse of real Japanーin the eyes of the travelers.

The intention of UJT is two-fold: 1) To introduce Japan’s less well-known places and unique aspects, 2) To introduce them in a way that is not stereotypical, and not influenced by the context of modern-day tourism. We know that, when Bruno Taut talks about Katsura Imperial Villa, for example, he pays attention to the things which may be commonly regarded as on the periphery, like a bamboo gutter on a nondescript building, a wave-like oval window on the side wall of an tokonoma alcove, or small creatures native to Japan, such as a Japanese tree frog, a Japanese grass lizard or a Japanese pond turtle, living in a compound. And he talks about them with the same passion and sincerity as he does about the villa’s renowned Japanese garden. On the contrary, looking at Japan’s tourist industry today, sometimes it seems that everything is, by and large, strictly governed by efficiency, profits and safety. The situation is like this for good reason. However, if details happen to be overlooked, we want to focus on them and bring them to light.

@ Tetsu Sawamura



Ota Shrine in Kyoto