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17/02/2015 Destinations

Enjoy an early spring! How about “Kawazu Cherry Blossoms” that will be in their peak soon?

【クレジット不要】河津桜

Early-flowering Kawazu Cherry Blossoms are now in bloom in Shizuoka! It will still be cold for some time, but already we can hardly wait for spring to come. Many think of “cherry blossoms” when speaking of a Japanese spring. There is a cherry blossom that will be in full bloom while it’s still cold. This is the Kawazu Cherry Blossom. Kawazu Cherry Blossoms are cherry blossoms that flower early in February. You can see them mainly in Kawazu, Shizuoka. The most common cherry blossom in Japan is called “Somei-Yoshino”, but the Kawazu Cherry Blossom is richer in color than Somei-Yoshino, and have very colorful and beautiful flowers. They were originally […]

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12/02/2015 Culture

February 14th, Japanese Valentine’s Day is for the gifting of chocolate! How do you think it was started?

valentine_02

Japanese people give chocolate on Valentine’s Day! As you may know, Valentine ’s Day is a Christian holiday. In Western countries men give greeting cards, flowers, and chocolate to their loved ones. In Japan, Japanese chocolate company “Merry chocolate” started selling chocolate promoting a “Valentine’s Sale” at the largest department store, “Isetan” in 1958. Following this, other chocolate companies took advantage of the opportunity to sell their chocolate on Valentine’s Day. It’s now become a big business and Valentine’s Day is recognized as a big event among Japanese people. The rule is that, woman give chocolate to men! Who gives the gift in your country? Do men give gifts to […]

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08/06/2016 Destinations

A Bonsai Exhibition with 130 kinds of Japanese plums at Sugawara Tenmanguu, the sacred shrine for wisdom in Nara!

ume

The god of wisdom, Michizane Sugawara, is enshrined in Sugawara Tenmanguu, and every spring (February to March) they hold a Bonsai exhibition with 130 different kinds of plums. The plum has a special meaning to Michizane Sugawara, and the exhibition is about how his life relates to it.

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12/11/2015 Destinations

The season for exams has come to Japan! Why not visit the “Yusima Tenmangu Shrine”, where the god of wisdom dwells?

Yushima Tenmangu

Yushima Tenmangu is a shrine located in Yushima, Bunkyo ward. It can be accessed in 2 minutes by foot from the Tokyo Metro, Yushima station. It was established in 458 A.D. to enshrine Amenotajikara-no-mikoto. In 1355, Sugawara-no-Michizane was also invited to pray, and is now worshipped as the god of wisdom.

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05/01/2015 Foods & Drinks

The Japanese New Year’s dish, “Nanakusagayu.”

nanakusgayu

Is this dish too simple for New Year’s festivities? “Nanakusagayu,” a dish from the Edo period. “Nanakusagayu” (rice porridge) is famously known by the Japanese and is one of many New Year’s dishes. Japanese New Year’s dishes usually contain many ingredients, but this porridge only uses 7 fresh young herbs. They are; seri (Japanese parsley), nazuna (shepherd’s purse), gogyo (Jersey cudweed), hakobe (common chickweed), hotoke no za (henbit), suzuna (turnip), and suzushiro (daikon), that are all collectively called the “Seven vernal flowers.” 【Photo by Hidetsugu Tonomura 】 Eat it while praying for good health in the New Year! The custom of eating “Nanakusagayu” on January 7th is an old tradition in […]

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30/12/2015 Life

Greet in the New Year! Customs for January

Customs for January

1st January to 7th January, The first visit to a shrine Hatsumode, or the first visit to a shrine, is a custom for new year in Japan. We wish for success in our New Year. People used to visit a shrine at night after the sun sets on New Year’s Eve, but now it’s common for people to visit in the morning after breakfast. In some areas, people visit a shrine and pray exactly when the date changes called, “Ninen-mairi”. Izumo Taisha Shrine Wed, 6th January Xiaohan Xiaohan comes 15 days after the winter solstice. Xiaohan continues until the beginning of spring. Around the 6th of January, Oshogatsu finishes and everybody goes backs to their normal […]

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09/01/2017 Events

Let’s see the Awa dance at the Shinkoiwa Lumiere Shopping Arcade!

title_shinkoiwa lumiere arcade

I’ll introduce one of the biggest new year’s events, Kurabiraki (蔵開き), held on January 15th at the Shinkoiwa Lumiere Shopping Arcade.
Kurabiraki is a sake brewery’s annual opening day event, and people celebrate the brewing of new sake.
You can see the Awa dance (阿波踊り) and get special sale items on this day as well!

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03/01/2017 Destinations

Don’t miss the Hokusai masterpieces, on display for a limited-time!

title_Sumida Hokusai museum

Do you know the ukiyo-e artist, Katsushika Hokusai?
His enticing life and diverse artwork, spanning over 70 years, are recognized more than ever before, even 160 years after his death.
Today, he takes the spotlight as one of the world’s greatest acclaimed artists.
Hokusai had a profound influence on European artists including, Vincent van Gogh and Edgar Degas, and continues to gain international acclaim to this day.
In 1960, he was honored by the Congress of the World Peace Council in Vienna for his contribution to the promotion of culture worldwide.
In 1999, he was the only Japanese person given a place in Life Magazine’s, 100 Most Important Events and People of the Past 1,000 Years.
To my joy, the Sumida Hokusai Museum opened in the Sumida Ward on November 22, 2016.
I’d like to introduce you to the Sumida Hokusai Museum!

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22/12/2016 Events

Let’s celebrate the New Year with a SAMURAI ceremony using real Japanese swords and a Sake Party!

title_samurai ceremony

Have you ever seen the ritual of purification using a real Japanese sword and a performance with traditional instruments? You can experience Japanese culture through this precious ceremony. You can also enjoy a belly dancing performance, and Japanese Sake is served in a small wooden box(升酒) with snacks. Let’s celebrate the New Year together with fantastic performances!

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10/12/2016 Culture  Life

Omisoka and Oshogatsu: The Japanese Year End and New Year’s holidays

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Today’s Shogatsu inherits some traditional customs and also adds more modern elements. Let’s see how Japanese people spend their Year End and New Year’s holidays.

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17/12/2016 Culture  Destinations

The annual fabric dyeing festival, “Some no Komichi”

somenokomichi_title

Every February an event known as “Some no Komichi” (染の小道) turns the river and streets of Nakai town in Shinjuku ward into a gallery filled with displays of dyed fabrics.
Supported by student volunteers and local residents from the Ochiai and Nakai areas, 2016’s hugely successful, “Some no Komichi” welcomed over 15,000 visitors.
Let’s have a look at the history of dyed fabrics in the region, and some festival highlights.

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25/11/2016 Destinations  Events  Foods & Drinks

Ukiyo-e art, Edo food, and Sumo, Ryōgoku is full of Entertainment!

冨嶽三十六景_神奈川沖浪裏

Ryōgoku was the area where the ordinary people of Edo gathered. Their culture has been passed down to present day locals and has given the area unique tastes. Ukiyo-e art, Edo food, and Sumo cultures have been improved upon since. This winter (2016), you’ll not be able to take your eyes off the Ryōgoku area.

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10/10/2016 Culture  Destinations  Foods & Drinks

A half day walk-and-eat tour in the Sumo town of Ryogoku! Don’t miss the historical sites, museums, and foodie destinations. Vol. 1

title_Ryogoku

Do you know the traditional Japanese sport of Sumo? Ryogoku is famous for Sumo, because there have been many sumo stables located here since ancient times. Excluding sumo, we don’t know much about the history and places to go in this town.
There are a lot of historic sites and buildings from Japan’s Edo era in Ryogoku.
I’ll show you some must-go-places such as museums, sumo-related-facilities, and local snack shops.
Let’s stroll around Ryogoku in half a day, you might even come across sumo wrestlers on the street!

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27/04/2016 Destinations

Energy food for Sumo wrestlers, Chanko-Nabe (includes restaurant info)【Ryogoku】

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After watching Sumo Wrestling in Ryogoku, you might question how the Sumo wrestlers maintain their large and powerful bodies. Are they eating unhealthy food every day? No. They eat a notoriously healthy dish that makes their bodies strong. Chanko Nabe (Hot Pot with miscellaneous ingredients) is crucial energy for the fighters.

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03/08/2015 Destinations

A former Miko will guide you through the most popular destination among foreign visitors, “Fushimi Inari-taisha” !

Senbon-torii gate

It is said that there are about 30,000 Inari-jinja Shrines throughout Japan. Inari-taisha is commonly known as a God that enshrines rice, or is a shrine to pray for a large harvest of rice, for people of all ages. Fushimi Inari-taisha is the leading shrine of all Inari-jinja Shrines in Japan.

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