Japan at Hand

Experience Japan close to home
Experience Japan close to home



Learn about Japan through purely educational and informative posts on national holidays, religion, gardens, art, learning the language and more.

All Posts

A shot of the Tokyo skyline

Is knowing Japanese necessary to visit Japan?

Is knowing Japanese necessary to visit Japan? is a question that is rightfully asked when planning a trip. I aim to help understand if this is the case....

Is Japan safe? crime and other considerations

Is Japan safe? An often asked question, that is almost universally answered with yes. However, I look at the numbers and some things to look out for....
NHK featured

NHK for learning Japanese: a useful Japanese resource?

The NHK network is a household name in Japan as a public broadcaster, however using NHK for learning Japanese has become a great option. ...
Mt fuji

The 5 best methods of transportation in Japan (by purpose)

Transportation in Japan should be big consideration for your trip, as the best method depends on your plans. To help you decide, here's 5 of the best...
Kanji From Zero front cover

Kanji From Zero review: a useful Japanese resource?

The Kanji From Zero workbook specifically targets those with zero Kanji knowledge, but is it a useful Japanese resource for that purpose?...

The story of Hachiko the dog: Japan’s most famous canine

Hachiko the dog was a remarkable companion who's story of loyalty and dedication has touched many people both in Japan and beyond. ...
three figure silhouettes against a bright yellow moon

Samurai ronin and ninjas: what’s the difference?

Who were the samurai? what are ronin? and what were ninja's really like? if you've ever asked one of these questions, here's an understanding of each....
The Satori Reader logo

Satori Reader: a useful Japanese resource?

Satori Reader, a Japanese language learning tool that focuses on reading comprehension to achieve fluency. How useful is it for learning Japanese?...
Samurai sword on wooden table

Are samurai swords legal in the UK?

Many who have an interest in Japan inevitably come to ask 'are samurai swords legal in the UK?' Here are some guidelines to an answer....
Japanese tips featured image

12 practical tips for learning Japanese

Japanese is one of the worlds hardest languages, however, there's a variety things you can do to help you improve. Here are 12 of my tips for learning Japanese. ...
window raindrops

Japanese haiku poems: form and content

Japanese haiku are beloved styles of poems that the ability to charm and inspire it's reader. Lets understand what makes them special....
Minna no Nihongo set one

Minna no Nihongo book review: a useful Japanese resource?

Minna no Nihongo is a series of books aimed at teaching Japanese. What can you expect to find? and most importantly, is it a useful Japanese resource?...
listening featured

Japanese listening practice: 24 hour live-streams

Finding continually new content for Japanese listening practice can be a challenge for many learners. So what about some trying 24 hour Japanese live-streams?...
Shot of mountain at sunset

The importance of Mount Fuji: The highest mountain in Japan

Mount Fuji is adored and revered by the population of Japan, but what makes the highest mountain in Japan so important?...
Valentines Day heart

Valentine’s Day and White Day reciprocation in Japan

Valentine's Day in Japan is a time for giving — but only for the female population. Men have their time one month later on White Day....
A phone on a table

Kanji Study app review: a useful Japanese resource?

Learning Kanji will always be difficult but some resources make it easier than others. Could the 'Kanji Study' app be one of those?...
Utagawa Kunisada 1857 Imayo mitate shino kosho yori shokunin

The prestige and influence of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints

Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) are considered to be the most important pieces of Japanese art. But what are they and why is that the case?...
Jpod feature

JapanesePod101 review: a useful learning resource?

JapanesePod101.com claims to teach you 'real Japanese from your first lesson' but is true? I tried them for a year to find out. ...
Obon albuquerqe bridge

Understanding Obon: a time for family past and present

Obon is about honouring ancestors and is very much a time for family but what takes place during this occasion? and where does it come from?...
Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri 06

What is Tanabata? A festival of stars, hope and lovers

Tanabata is a Japanese festival that is centered around a traditional folk story. Gain an insight into this visual representation of summer....
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What you will encounter studying the Japanese language

Before committing to learning the Japanese language, here's a short guide to what you can expect to encounter and the benefits for doing so. ...
small gates next to large rocks

What is Shinto? Understanding Japan’s deep rooted beliefs

Shinto is a distinctly Japanese practice, but one that is often shrouded in mystery. Find an answer to the complex question: what is Shinto?...
A gold coloured Japanese fan

Golden Week in Japan: All you need to know

Golden Week is the busiest time of the year for Japan but what is it all about? Read this short guide to get to grips with all that's involved....
Brightly lit sleeping pods
Engage, Learn,

The cause and effect of capsule hotels

Capsule hotels are a distinctively Japanese invention. What caused their appearance? What effect have they had? and UK variations you can try...
google arts and culture comp

Google Arts and Culture: a useful Japanese resource?

On the ever-increasing hunt for reliable Japanese information and learning opportunities, is Google Arts and Culture a useful resource?...
Sakura in Tokyo

The Japanese Hanami season and blossoms at home

Hanami and the blossoming of Sakura is a much awaited time of the year. Here's an introduction to the season and finding blossoms at home....
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Learn, Visit,

Deciphering Japanese gardens: Purpose, composition and UK locations

What makes Japanese gardens so unique? I try to understand their purpose, composition and where in the UK you can view them....
A Japanese flag

National Foundation Day Japan: All you need to know

February 11th is Japan's National Foundation Day. Lets take a look at the national holiday including it's origins, and its history....