BUILT in 1992, the 40,000-seat Kashima Soccer Stadium is the Japanese equivalent of London’s Wembley. It was a venue for matches during the 2002 FIFA World Cup and is home to the Antlers, named for the indigenous sacred deer known for their fighting spirit. The team joined the professional football J-League in 1991 and is now ranked No1. The stadium boasts an irrigation system that sprays warm water in the winter to prevent the ground from freezing and it has a royal box with a marble- THE cloud-clipped trees at Auberge de Manoir Kittei in Sawara are perfectly lit at night in the fine garden that surrounds this restaurant and small accommodation house. The trees look like giant bonsai and I marvel at the expertise required to prune so intricately on such a large scale. The menu is described as modern Japanese/French, which turns out to be a wonderful combination. Auberge de Manoir Kittei has well-appointed accommodation for six guests in an adjoining contemporary house. More: kittei.co.jp.
FIELD OF COSMOS
BETWEEN Itako City and Narita airport, my bus stops briefly at a field of pink cosmos. Planted to rejuvenate the soil after the rice harvest, the flowers are free for the community to pick and enjoy. Helen McKenzie was a guest of the Kanto District Transport Bureau and Japan Airlines. au.jal.com suigosanto.com/en katorishi.com/en jnto.org.au