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Destinations

Osaka Canal and Bright lights

Osaka Travel Guide Japan's 2nd largest city but still intimate, approachable, and welcoming

As Japan’s original commercial capital, Osaka prefecture, which wholly incorporates the city that bares its name, has been at the center of Japanese culture for over 1,000 years. Today, the Osaka metropolitan region is the world’s 8th richest metropolitan area, on par with cities like Los Angeles and Paris. The city is roughly divided by an uptown district and a downtown district. Uptown, or the Umeda district, is characterized by its many skyscrapers and Osaka station; while downtown’s Namba district is known for its extensive entertainment and shopping. Aside from its long history and modern cosmopolitan atmosphere, Osaka is known throughout Japan as the nation’s kitchen; it is said that what Tokyoites spend on clothes, Osakans spend on food!

fall leaves in iwate along river with boat

Iwate Travel Guide Japan’s most under-explored hidden wonder

Nestled in the northern region of Tohoku on Japan’s main island of Honshu, Iwate prefecture is one of Japan’s most underexplored hidden corners. Traditionally considered a remote frontier land, Iwate still retains much of its rustic appeal, complete with all the convenience of modern Japan.

Iwate happens to be Japan’s second biggest and least densely populated prefectures after Hokkaido; so, there’s plenty of room to enjoy the open air and get exploring. The prefecture contains some surprisingly magnificent natural and cultural scenery that will equally delight and stir your mind and senses!

Courses

Kasumigaseki Country Club Kawagoe, Saitama

Not much is known about Kasumigaseki Country Club outside of its domestic fanbase, but an upcoming appearance in the world’s greatest sporting contest is about to change all of that. Kasumigaseki CC beat other prestigious Japanese golf courses, including Yokohama Country Club and Wakasu Golf Links, to lay claim to Japan’s second Summer Olympics hosting gig – and its first Olympic golf competition.

Following last year’s completion of the redesign from legendary American golf course architect Tom Fazio, the course is now ready to welcome the best golfers on the planet as the countdown to July 29 begins. I was able to pay the course a visit in early May and get a preview of its impressive new layout, as well as learn more of its fascinating history.

Playing golf at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club, Mie prefecture, Japan

Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club Ise Shima, Mie Prefecture

As a mid-handicap golfer, I’ve never played in any serious golf competitions. The monthly medal at my home course or a "few bob" on a skins game with friends is as close to real tournament pressure as I will ever find. But as a fan of the game, I do love playing championship courses. Remembering the epic battles of professional tournaments fought by the greats of the game, the shots that won them the tournament, how they played the course and their composure never fails to inspire us to try and bring some of that into our own games.

On a recent trip to Mie prefecture in the southwest of Japan, I was lucky enough to enjoy a round at the fantastic Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club. A masterful design by Mr Osamu Umeda, this 18-hole, par-72 course was made famous by being home to...

Travel

Winter Golf in Tokyo

Admit it, you think golf in winter is crazy talk. Only a fool would brave Japanese winters to play golf on a frozen course you say. Well, I am here to debunk this myth and explain why golfing in winter in Japan is not only great fun, but equally as enjoyable as any other season.

To be fair, Tokyo is nowhere near as cold in winter as people might imagine. Sure, everyone skis in the mountains of close by Niigata and Nagano, but the vast majority of golf courses in and around Tokyo are snow free year round. And aside from a few seasonal adjustments, winter golf is just like golf during any other season. To prove this point, I went golfing during a winter week at 4 separate courses--each with its own special way to handle the winter weather.

Escape from Tokyo: North or South? A closer look at Hokkaido and Okinawa

Tokyo winters are very mild. The daytime temperature hovers around 10 C and snow rarely disrupts the capital. It’s just business as usual. Which is why Tokyoites look to get away when they have a chance. And many of them head in different directions: some head north, some (especially golfers) go south.

The Japanese archipelago is always described as stretching for 3,000 km from north to south, but that’s not strictly true. It stretches from the southwest to the northeast, from just above the 24th parallel (Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture) to the 45th (the tip of Hokkaido). Ishigaki’s latitude puts it south of Miami, Riyadh and Taipei. Surprisingly, Hokkaido, Japan’s snow country, is no further north than Milan or Ottawa.

But to the residents of Tokyo, Okinawa and...

Community

Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi Muromachi Mitsui Tower

Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi: A new home for the city's international elite The beloved expat institution has just opened some swanky new digs

Based on the award-winning Tokyo American Club’s concept of a first-in-class private club in the American tradition, Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi combines dining, drinking and fitness venues for members to unwind, entertain and exercise as part of an international community.

With a design by acclaimed architect Daishi Yoshimoto and bespoke furnishings throughout, including a curated collection of artwork, the club’s interior provides unparalleled luxury for all members. Its location in the heart of the business-focused Nihonbashi district - within walking distance of Tokyo station - also positions the club as a prime destination for those in search of a refined retreat before or after work.

About Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi

Tokyo American Club...

Japan Golfing During Covid-19 Your guide to stay safe and enjoy the game!

Japan was ready for an awesome golf season. An unusually mild January and February saw the courses full, and we were looking forward to more of the same with the sakura season, early summer, and then the Olympics where we knew many visitors would also give golf a go.... 2020 was set to be a momentous year for Japan Golf. We all know what happened next, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Since then we are doing our best to self-isolate, work from home, distance learning, and so on, and Japan has been stand-out in terms of flattening the curve.

The number of cases of Covid-19 are falling in Japan, and a likely lifting of the state of emergency as early as next week in all prefectures is expected, we dare to dream of hitting the links and enjoying the sport we hold so dear. But the 'New...

News

Magical Matsuyama equals wins record at Sony Open in Hawaii in stunning fashion

Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama delivered a grandstand finish in a playoff against a luckless Russell Henley to lift his career eighth title at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday and equal K.J. Choi’s record of total victories by an Asian golfer on the PGA TOUR.

The 29-year Matsuyama rallied from five strokes back with nine holes remaining at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu to tie overnight leader Henley on 23-under 257 in regulation play, and then thumped a spectacular three wood approach from 276 yards on the 18th hole to inside of three feet for his winning eagle in extra time as Henley struggled home with a bogey.

Matsuyama, who signed for a final round 7-under 63, couldn’t see his approach which soared into the skies and against a setting sun but the roars of...

Magical Matsuyama equals wins record at Sony Open in Hawaii in stunning fashion

Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama delivered a grandstand finish in a playoff against a luckless Russell Henley to lift his career eighth title at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday and equal K.J. Choi’s record of total victories by an Asian golfer on the PGA TOUR.

The 29-year Matsuyama rallied from five strokes back with nine holes remaining at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu to tie overnight leader Henley on 23-under 257 in regulation play, and then thumped a spectacular three wood approach from 276 yards on the 18th hole to inside of three feet for his winning eagle in extra time as Henley struggled home with a bogey.

Matsuyama, who signed for a final round 7-under 63, couldn’t see his approach which soared into the skies and against a setting sun but the roars of...

Instruction

Club 360 7 Mobility and Stability Drills for Golfers to Increase Swing Power and Improve Golf Performance

7 Mobility and Stability Drills for Golfers Sam Gilbert

Any golfer, or even those who have simply observed the game of golf, inherently understand that the swing is primarily a rotational movement. With any rotational sport, whether it be golf, punching, throwing, or tennis, there is a contribution to this rotation from several segments of the body, or what we refer to as the kinetic chain.

Maximizing force output in rotational movements for the large part requires optimization of rotational force through the hips and the upper back (thoracic spine).

If we fail to utilize these areas to their maximal potential, we may leave a lot of potential power (in other words, yards!) on the table. This may also increase the rotational load through the lower back, potentially contributing to injury in this area.

Utilization of...

4 Strategies to Hit Better Approach Shots Stroke Savers

When watching the PGA tour you will often see the stat for GIR or 'Greens in regulation' appear on the screen. You might have thought that SGP or 'Strokes gained putting' is the most important area for saving strokes in a round of golf, but it is actually the approach that accounts for 40% of the scoring average.

So, how do you improve your approach shots? In this guide, we have four strategies that will have you doing exactly that.

First off, let me explain what an approach is. An approach shot is generally any shot at the green on a par-4 or par-5, basically not including your drives on these holes. Par-3s are not considered an approach shot, but strategies two to four below can be used for par-3s as well.

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