Visiting Lion’s Head Mountain and Nanzhuang, Taiwan

Lion’s Head Mountain (also known as Shitoushan or 獅頭山) is one of the most underrated attractions in Taiwan. Whether you enjoy hiking, are interested in Taiwan’s Buddhist and folk religious culture, want to spend a night in a temple, or simply want to get off the beaten track in Taiwan, Lion’s Head Mountain should be …

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Miaoli Taiwan: Hakka Culture & Off-the-Beaten-Track Travels

Things to do in Miaoli Taiwan

Miaoli is a mountainous county in northern central Taiwan. Foreign tourists seldom visit it because none of the things to do in Miaoli ever make it onto “must-do in Taiwan” lists (although I put three Miaoli attractions on my list of best things to do in Taiwan). The Taiwanese are certainly aware of Miaoli’s rural …

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Alishan, Taiwan: Best Sunrise Spots, Hiking Trails and Tea Farms

Alishan Taiwan sunrises

Alishan (Mt. Ali) is one of Taiwan’s top scenic attractions, along with Sun Moon Lake and Taroko Gorge. The Alishan National Scenic Area is renowned for its famed Alishan sunrises over seas of clouds, small gauge Alishan Forest Railway, and Taiwan’s most sought after teas (here’s my full post on Alishan High Mountain Tea). This …

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Pilgrimage Travel: Inspiring Sacred Walks around the World

Pilgrimage is act of devotion. In many religions, these sacred walks are prescribed, even considered a must in one’s lifetime, and followers from all of world’s major faiths make holy pilgrimages. For most, non-believers are accepted or even welcome. Pilgrimage travel can be a meaningful, moving experience in which travelers can enrich their understanding of …

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10 Close-Up Spots to Seek the Best View of Mt. Fuji (and how to get to them)

10 best spots to see Mt. Fuji

There are already as many “best views of Mount Fuji” LISTS as there are claimed best places to see Mt. Fuji. Personally, I don’t think any single one is best, but for this list, I have focused on the best places to see Mount Fuji if you want a good chance to ACTUALLY SEE Mt. …

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Japan’s Sacred Kumano Kodo Walk in Winter

Kumano Kodo in winter

The Kumano Kodo is a network of pilgrimage trails that connect various Shinto-Buddhist sites in the mountainous Kii Peninsula south of Osaka and Nagoya, and is considered one of the world’s great pilgrimages that travelers can easily join. These expansive tracts of wilderness are replete with spiritual sights that have attracted pilgrims for 1000+ years, …

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Kumano Sanzan and Ise Grand Shrine: 4 Gorgeous Temples on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

Kumano Sanzan and the Ise Grand Shrine

In 2018 I visited Wakayam, a remote and wild region of Japan south of Osaka and Nagoya, to walk parts of the Kumano Kodo, a network of ancient pilgrimage trails. These trails are easily accessible, making them one of the best pilgrimages in the world for travelers. Besides these amazing hot springs at the eastern …

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