Heirin-ji is a Rinzai temple of the Myoshin-ji branch located in Niiza city, Saitama prefecture, Japan, a city just outside of Tokyo

Heirin-ji is a Rinzai temple of the Myoshin-ji branch located in Niiza city, Saitama prefecture, Japan, a city just outside of Tokyo

A monk at Heirin-ji temple, Saitama, Japan. Heirin-ji is a Rinzai temple located in Niiza city, just outside of Tokyo.

A monk at Heirin-ji temple, Saitama, Japan. Heirin-ji is a Rinzai temple located in Niiza city, just outside of Tokyo.

Japanese castles I've visited: #46 Kisai Castle in Saitama Prefecture.

Japanese castles I've visited: #46 Kisai Castle in Saitama Prefecture.

Beautiful shibazakura fields at Hitsujiyama Park in Chichibu (Saitama Prefecture) = nice day trip from Tokyo.

Beautiful shibazakura fields at Hitsujiyama Park in Chichibu (Saitama Prefecture) = nice day trip from Tokyo.

Chichibu Night Festival (Chichibu Yomatsuri). The Chichibu Night Festival (秩父夜祭, Chichibu Yomatsuri) is the festival of Chichibu Shrine in Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, just 90 minutes from central Tokyo. It is held every year on December 2nd and 3rd, with the main action taking place on the 3rd.

Chichibu Night Festival (Chichibu Yomatsuri). The Chichibu Night Festival (秩父夜祭, Chichibu Yomatsuri) is the festival of Chichibu Shrine in Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, just 90 minutes from central Tokyo. It is held every year on December 2nd and 3rd, with the main action taking place on the 3rd.

The old merchant district in Kawagoe (Saitama Prefecture).

The old merchant district in Kawagoe (Saitama Prefecture).

Chichibu - In Spring (Late April - late May), you can see shibazakura (pink moss) in Hitsujiyama Park.

Chichibu - In Spring (Late April - late May), you can see shibazakura (pink moss) in Hitsujiyama Park.

Shotaro Hino (center), president of Tokyo Sento, stands with his staff in front of Kirakuyu, a public bathhouse operated by his company in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, in April. | KYODO

Creator of 'sento' website bathing in early success

Shotaro Hino (center), president of Tokyo Sento, stands with his staff in front of Kirakuyu, a public bathhouse operated by his company in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, in April. | KYODO

Spring walking event provides guided tour around Totoro forest loved by Hayao Miyazaki

Spring walking event provides guided tour around Totoro forest loved by Hayao Miyazaki

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