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An Island Shrine, a Special Meal and a Unique Museum in Japan's Aichi Prefecture

In pursuit of a week-long adventure in Japan’s heartlandShoryudo Region, I sped west from Tokyo on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen. The train’s path followed the Old Tōkaidō Road (the 'eastern sea' road), used for centuries to travel between the governmental capital in Edo (modern Tokyo) and the Imperial capital in Kyoto. I was on my way to Aichi Prefecture which hugs the Pacific coast and offers a rich experience with culture, history, nature and culinary deliciousness.

I settled into my seat on the train, happy to be in Japan where public transportation makes it easy to explore all parts of the island nation. For intercity visits under three hours, I'll always take  the 200+ mph Shinkansen. 
Called the "bullet train" for good reason. Stand near railroad tracks as a Shinkansen passes and it feels like a jet on wheels is streaking by. Inside, when I'm sitting in a comfortable seat, reading a book or snacking on a bento box, I forget how fast we're traveling.  

I woul…
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An Onsen, a Castle and a 250 Million Year Old Cave in Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan's Shoryudo Region

Shizuoka Prefecture is famously the home of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s most revered landmark. West from Tokyo, mid-way to Kyoto, the prefecture is a popular destination because of the natural beauty of its mountains, lakes, rivers and Pacific Ocean coastline.  
The area is as well-known for the many battles that took place during the Sengoku Period (1467-1615), a time of instability when Japan’s daimyōs (local lords) fought against one another. Ultimately, after great bloodshed and turmoil, a unified Japan was created, leading to a time of peace that lasted more than two-hundred and fifty years. 
For anyone who loves history, good food and nature, an adventure in Shizuoka Prefecture hits all the sweet spots.
Kanzanji Onsen Hotel Kokonoe - Hot Water, Cold Rain, Great Food
After spending a full day enjoying the attractions of Shizuoka Prefecture, we arrived after dark at Kanzanji Onsen Hotel Kokonoe

Our guide, Masayo Atobe, recommended I visit the onsen before dinner, which was a Japanese custom. S…

A Tasting of Italian Wines in Century City

The 2018 Vini d'Italiatour was an invitation-only gathering to sample wines from some of Italy's best small-production wineries. After Philadelphia and Austin, the last stop was TerraEataly's rooftop dining room in the revitalized Century City Mall.


Marilyn Krieger works for the Winebow Group which organized the tour.  She said that the event was an opportunity to taste premium Italian wines distributed by Leonardo LoCascio Selections (LLS) and to talk with the winemakers. The wines we would taste that afternoon would evoke the location of their cultivation and the winemaker whose palate guided the creation of that year's bottling. Each wine was unique. Each winemaker had a story to tell.


I understood completely what Krieger meant. I love visiting vineyards and enjoy meeting winemakers, like Shawna Miller at Luna Vineyards in the Napa Valley and Mélanie Weber in her vineyard overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland.


The wines served at the afternoon event traversed Ita…

Love At First Crush, One Woman’s Love Affair with Winemaking

Traveling in wine country means visits to wineries to have tastings of vintages made with the grapes from the vineyards that spread across the fields surrounding the tasting room.

Being that close to the source of the wine you are sipping is a great pleasure. Having the opportunity to speak with a winemaker while you are there is icing on the cake. I was lucky enough to have that experience on a trip to Napa.

California’s Napa Valley is home to some of America’s best wineries. The valley is also well-known as an incubator of women winemakers. Shawna Miller is one of a group of talented women who have pursued a winemaking career in the valley.



Growing up in a small Virginia town along the Appalachian Trail, Miller spent a lot of time outdoors, hiking and helping her grandmother tend the large garden that fed the family. In the summer they ate what they grew and canned the rest. During the wet, cold winters they happily survived on the food they put up in the pantry, including jars of huc…