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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

Kagoshima Golf

Kagoshima’s Golfing Gems Tanegashima and Ibusuki rank with the best golf courses in Japan

“Suppose they gave a war …. and nobody came” was a famous anti-war slogan from the 1960s. Well, suppose they built a golf course …. and nobody came. That could be the slogan of the beautiful but sadly under-used Tanegashima Golf Club in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Traveling from the Tokyo region to this remote island off the south coast of Kyushu feels like heading into the wilderness. It’s a 90-minute jetfoil ride from Kagoshima City, 90 minutes that quickly takes you from the fast lane to the slow. Only 28,000 people live on Tanegashima, with more than half of them in the main town and port of Nishinoomote. The island stretches north to south for nearly 60 km but is barely 10 km wide and has a maximum elevation of 282 meters.

But it still has plenty going for it. Its most...

Night Golf In Japan Under an hour from Tokyo

Part of the advantage of living in Chiba, as I do, is the proximity to golf courses. But living out there still doesn't make me immune to the dreaded morning and afternoon traffic jams that greet all golfers! To counter this several golf courses offer night golf, which is the perfect antidote to traffic not only on the roads but on the course itself! Playing night golf in Japan is like playing golf overseas: you drive there in 30 minutes or less, get right on to the course, and play-through in under 4 hours, and head back home. What's not to love? Well, I can hear the naysayers asking about lost balls. But I can honestly say that I lose fewer balls at night than I do during the day. More about that later.

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

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...

Tokyo American Club–Men’s and Ladies Golf Group The biggest expat golf group in Japan

So you’ve just arrived in Japan?

You’re one of the lucky ones.

One of the safest countries on Earth. Fast, efficient transit and top-notch customer service. Hundreds of Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo alone and, with the Olympics mere months away, the opportunity to take in a premier international event from your doorstep.

Yes, life in Japan doesn’t force you to make many compromises–unless you’re an ex-pat with a love of golf. Japan boasts one of the world’s most active golfing communities outside of the United States, but even with more than 2,000 courses, breaking in as an ex-pat can be tricky. Courses aren’t equipped to serve English-speaking golfers, and that can mean big headaches when booking tee times. Without a car, getting your clubs from the...

News

Iconic match between Europe and USA heads back to Ireland for the 2026 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor

Irish golf is set for an extended spell in the golfing spotlight following Shane Lowry’s Open Championship victory, with the announcement of Adare Manor as host venue for the 2026 Ryder Cup. Since reopening in April 2018 on completion of a two-year reconstruction commissioned by its owners, the McManus family, The Golf Course at Adare Manor has been propelled to global recognition by a host of well-wishers.

The property has been an immediate hit with industry figureheads and top players alike, each rich in praise for the Tom Fazio design and, in particular, its pristine condition. In its first eighteen months of operation, Adare Manor has collected numerous global accolades, capped off with today’s confirmation of its Ryder Cup host venue status.

Shane Lowry Wins the British Open Irishman Wins First Major Amid Emotional Scenes

Final day at The Open, and Irish eyes were smiling on one of its own; Shane Lowry who takes home the claret jug with a convincing six strokes amid emotional scenes at Royal Portrush on Sunday. Unrelenting support by the sellout crowd saw the 32-year-old lowry from Louth in the Republic of Ireland stay of England’s Tommy Fleetwood, despite a run of bogeys on the back 9.

He carded A one-over-par 72 in strong winds and intermittent rain which buffeted the late starters. "My mum and dad, they sacrificed so much for me when I was younger and I'm so happy I can hand them this trophy tonight," Lowry said as he clutched the Claret Jug, his voice cracking with emotion. He finished at 15-under 269, while Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, the only player to apply any semblance of pressure on...

Equipment

Taylormade Golf Japan Ginza Store English- friendly Flagship store launches in Ginza

Taylormade Golf Japan opens the doors to its latest store in the Ginza area of the capital today. Ginza is a mecca for tourists and Tokyoites alike, known for its world-class shopping, restaurants, and buzzing nightlife, it will now offer the best in golf technology and style with the opening of the new Taylormade flagship store.

Located on the very exclusive Sotobori street just a few minutes walk from Ginza station, the Taylormade GINZA aims to have a full service for its its international visitors, with trilingual staff (English, Japanese, Chinese) and offering a free testing and assessment service, giving advice on clubs and their set-up as well as offering a tax-free shopping for overseas visitors (that's 10% off!).

TP Patina Putter Collection By Taylormade Golf

Featuring the new 'Pure Roll' insert technology, TaylorMade announced the anticipated release of the TP Patina Putter Collection. Comprised of seven distinct models, the TP Patina Putter Collection is a modern take on a classic design, built with TaylorMade’s patented Tour-proven Pure Roll insert. All in, TP Patina is a look from the past that plays like the future.

Delivering a rich and classic colorway to the line of TP Putters, the TP Patina Putter Collection features a naturally tarnishing patina finish. Through combining black nickel and copper properties, they have created a unique reveal on the edges and sole of the putter. The TP Patina Putter Collection is built for golfers who favor a smooth and traditional putter shape, backed by modern performance...

Lifestyle

Big Easy On The Course And In The Winery

I am very excited about AIR Golf allowing me the opportunity to write about 2 of my favorite things: Golf and Wine. Golf and Wine complement each other in so many ways and in this quarterly column we will be exploring the intersection as well as how each can be enjoyed on their own.

Several South African PGA golf professionals have had great success on the course as well as catching the wine bug and starting their own wine brands in their native land. With some of the most picturesque vineyards in the world, almost perfect Mediterranean climate and a diverse food and wine scene, there is no wonder why these South African’s got involved in wine.

David Frost (29 professional victories) and his family have been in the wine business for over 60 years. David has been in and...

Maduro Lounge Premium booze and all that Jazz at Tokyo Grand Hyatt.

It had been a fair few years since I had visited Maduro- the Tokyo Grand Hyatt’s plush Jazz bar located in Roppongi Hills. The entrance is a little hidden, its large wooden doors tucked away in between floors of the plush five-star property.

It’s a Thursday and the bar has just opened its doors, no band yet and it’s relaxingly quiet. Besides me, 3 suits are finishing off the day's business over a drink and two couples are having an aperitif before dinner.

The interior is exactly what you would expect for a luxury jazz joint. Tastefully backlit, comfortable chairs and round candlelit tables are around a typical jazz band stage. To the right is the bar, boasting a hefty selection of rare whiskeys-more on that later. I settle into a back table and peruse the menu.

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