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Contributor

Laura Payne

Laura Payne is a world-traveling teacher, writer, photographer and tea enthusiast. No matter where she goes, she always looks for skills to learn and stories to hear.

Articles

Explore

Okuizumo: Swords and Steel in Rural Japan

Explore hidden gems in Japan. Visit the Japan Heritage website and uncover Okuizumo in Shimane Prefecture—loved for its unspoiled nature, traditional steel forging practices and delicious food.

By 4 min read

Culture

Japanese Folklore in Studio Ghibli Animation

Traditional creatures, classic fairy tales and so much more inspire the iconic studio’s films. Here are seven examples of influences from Japanese culture and folklore.

By 5 min read

Culture

What is the Difference Between Sento and Onsen?

Both are traditional bathhouses, but they provide different experiences. Here’s a basic guide to sento and onsen—plus a word on their relationships with tattoos.

By 4 min read 1

Explore

12 Popular and Famous Churches in Japan

Japan is full of historic, beautiful churches—many hosting events around the holidays.

By 5 min read 1

Explore

The Best Autumn Leaf Viewing Spots in Shimane

Mountains, mansions, temples, traditional gardens and more are painted with the colors of autumn.

By 4 min read

Explore

Japan’s Worst Tourist Traps and Where to Go Instead

Some of the most famous destinations in Japan aren’t as great as advertised, but a better option might be just around the corner.

By 5 min read

Explore

The Best Autumn Leaf Viewing Spots in Tottori

Expansive nature, smaller crowds. Travel off the beaten path this autumn and experience leaf viewing in Japan’s most rural prefecture.

By 4 min read

Live

4 Tips for Surviving Life in Rural Japan

What is life in Japan's countryside like? How can you deal with the unique challenges of country living if you’re a teacher? Here's what I've learned from my experience.

By 4 min read 3

Explore

5 Spooky Sights in Shimane Prefecture

Fan of legends, scary stories and traveling off the beaten path? Test your courage by visiting these haunting destinations in Shimane Prefecture.

By 3 min read

Explore

5 Little-Known Destinations in Tottori

Hoping to visit some unique destinations away from the big city? Check out these sights in Japan’s most rural prefecture.

By 3 min read 2

Work

Teaching at International Schools in Japan: How I Added the IB Certificate to My Resume

Here’s what I learned from earning certification in a global education program and how it boosted my professional development.

By 4 min read 3

Learn

Izumo no Okuni: The Woman Who Created Kabuki

Modern-day kabuki actors are mostly men, but a woman from rural Japan founded this iconic traditional art.

By 4 min read