How to pick out the best anago eel and other things we learned at the anago processing center

Getting hungry and knowledgeable on a visit to Japan’s number-one anago prefecture.

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Prefectural rivalry in Japan: Survey reveals which areas compete against each other, and why

Competition between prefectures is real, and there’s a reason why it happens.

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Beautiful vending machine in rural Japan quenches visitors’ thirst, respects the historical scenery

Silver town’s vending machine deserves a gold medal for design.

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Prefectural governor wants 2021 Olympics and torch relay cancelled, Tokyo not pleased

Fellow politicians call for Shimane governor to be reprimanded for his comments.

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We visit the Giant Buddha statue that our reporter dubs “kawaii” and “like a mascot character”

The Arifuku Daibutsu in Shimane Prefecture is free for viewing by the public.

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Event held to watch noodles go down a long water slide, but no noodle eating allowed

Ain’t no noodle party like a Shimane noodle party.

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Video surfaces of Mr. Sato’s days as an alternative rock bassist and amateur animator

He was apparently a big Degrassi fan too judging by his clothes.

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In search of Japan’s hidden double pay phones

And you’ll need to find them all for 100-percent completion of Japan.

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The cat returns! Giant cat sells sweet potatoes from a pussy wagon in Japan 【Pics & Video】

This cat likes to pull peace poses, stand on two feet and make a living selling hot potatoes.

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Remote airport in Shimane serves up the best honey in all Japan: Airport Honey!

A hidden gem in Japan’s countryside offers a taste you’ll never forget.

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64-year-old man arrested for stealing a roll of toilet paper from hospital toilet

Japanese authorities take a hardline approach to taking something that isn’t yours, no matter how insignificant it might seem.

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We visit Japan’s “cave of death,” said to end the life of those who dream of it

Will this be Mr. Sato’s last adventure?

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Prefectural government in Japan to pay million-dollar restitution to family of deceased woman

Shimane Prefecture awards a college student’s family a settlement in restitution for the roadside accident that took her life.

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Shimane Prefecture will give you a house…but only if you promise to stay for 25 years!

As you may have heard, the population of Japan is getting older and smaller. While other (smarter) people have debated the problems and complexities of this issue, we do know one thing: It’s left a lot of prefectures without many young people. Some places are celebrating when the community has even a single wedding, but Tsuwano in Shimane Prefecture thinks they’ve hit upon an idea for injecting some new, young blood into their town. They’re giving houses away for (kind of) free! Of course, there are a few stipulations…

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Shimane Prefecture’s shrine-headed mascot is now an adorable rice field

We saw absolutely gorgeous rice field art up in Aomori prefecture just a few months ago, but we’ve never seen rice that looked this cute! Shimane prefecture’s very own mascot character has been turned into a smiling rice field; you’re going to want to take a closer look at this one!

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【Exploring Unfamiliar Japan】We stayed in a 120-year-old Japanese home, here’s how you can too

When European writer, Lafcadio Hearn, wrote about Shimane prefecture in 1894, he described a land steeped in tradition and nature. Since then, all of Japan seems to have ignored this sleepy area of the Chugoku region whose most recent claim to fame is having the country’s largest population of the elderly. But if Shimane prefecture is stuck in the olden days, the Oki Islands are lost in time. Lazily floating out at sea in what is technically Shimane, but is actually an entire world of its own, Oki is a forgotten gem tucked in a dusty corner of Japan. Rambling down the overgrown back roads, you’re sure to come across a wrinkled face and a hearty “konnichiwa,” a small experience that seems to have become a rarity in the always busy metropolises of this country.

It is in this uncommon place that we had the privilege of staying in a home that has stood for over a century. Join us as we share our experience staying at the Japanese guesthouse called Tsukudaya.

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Shimane Prefecture’s snarky mascot is at it again with masochistic 2014 calendar

Want to go to the least popular prefecture in all of Japan? Of course you do! Pack your bags, you’re going to Shimane!

Though Shimane is home to Izumo Shrine, one of the most significant shrines in all of Japan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the indescribably beautiful Oki Islands, this particular area of the Chugoku Region gets overlooked by most of Japan. In fact, year after year Shimane is ranked as Japan’s most forgotten and least identifiable prefecture.

But not to worry, that’s where Yoshida-kun, Shimane’s brutally honest mascot, comes in. We’ve seen this fellow before, pointing out Shimane’s shortcomings and proclaiming the area to be the the 47th most famous prefecture in a country that only has 47. Well, he’s back at it again with the Shimane x Takanotsume Super Deluxe Masochism Calendar 2014! Now with 20% more snark.

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Japan’s World Heritages Fly Well Under Radar

Did you know that Japan has 16 locations on the list of UNESCO World Heritages? Could you name them all with any sum of money on the line?

Survey Research Center, Co. Ltd. conducted a survey that showed that most people could not. When asked whether they were interested in Japan’s world heritages, 67.8% of those surveyed responded affirmatively. However, only 4% of respondents knew all 16 Japanese sites.

See how many you can name before looking at the list below:

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