They might even start biting peoples heads! But don’t worry, it’s believed that the bite of a lion drives away bad luck and introduces good luck as well as good health. So it’s all in good fun.Enjoy Chinese New Years Traditions in JapanIf you want to experience a little bit of Chinese tradition when you are in Japan you shouldn’t miss out on the Chinese spring festival in Yokohama.If you want to enjoy the show from the front row, you should go to the park at least 30 minutes before the show begins. As it is still very cold in February, I recommend bringing a Kairo (a portable body warmer) so you won’t be cold.Watch the powerful dance of lions and dragons with your own eyes! Yokohama Chinatown View Informationstore The largest Chinatown in Japan is located in central Yokohama. It is lined with many small goods shops as well as restaurants. Many people like to come here to experience a little bit of China in the heart of Japan.A variety of Chinese events are being held in Yokohama Chinatown on a regular basis. Today we will introduce you to its Chinese Spring festival with colorful Chinese dragons and lions.Experience the Spring Festival in Yokohama ChinatownYokohama Chinatown holds its Chinese spring festivals every February, right around the Chinese Lunar New Year. The date of Chinese Lunar New Year changes from year to year, so the duration of this festival changes every year as well.I’ll introduce you to the festival called “Syunsetsu Goraku Hyouen” (Spring Entertainment Show Festival).”Syunsetsu Goraku Hyouen” showcases traditional Chinese performances such lion dance, dragon dance as well as other dance and acrobatic shows. The festival takes place in the Yamashitacho park, near Yokohama China Town.Colorful Handmade Dragons and LionsEven though it snowed heavily the day before the performance, many people still came to see it. People in the Tokyo area are not very used to snow and normally prefer to stay inside if the weather is cold and snowy.The Chinese show began with the sound of the exploding firecrackers. The first dragon dance was performed by a group of female high school students. Their dragon had a cute face and a flashy design. The dance was dynamic and dramatic and you could see how much they enjoyed their own performance. Next up was a group of male students entering the stage with their cool looking neon dragon. This dragon was even supposed to glow in the dark.You can only imagine how great their performance must have looked in the dim light of the evening with the dragon glowing while it moved.Good Luck LionsThe Chinese Lion Dance was performed after the dragon dance. It is believed that Chinese lions chase away bad luck while bringing good luck themselves.Both, the lion dance and dragon dance, are supposed to pray for a good harvest as well as good luck.Each lion has a different color and each color has it’s own meaning. A black lion stands for youth and being brave, yellow stands for goodness and nobleness and red for wisdom and courage.They look cute yet powerful when they are all lined up like this.But don’t be fooled by their cute appearance. They might suddenly rush into the audience.
You can find other flowers, too.Do you prefer eating or seeing flowers?Don’t worry. There are also cafes and spanish bars around here.When you’ve seen enough flowers, you can take a walk around the park.The Place to Find Beautiful RosesCherry blossom season is already over for this year.Were you unable to enjoy Ohanami this year?It’s too early to be disappointed. I’ll introduce another Ohanami that you can enjoy in Utsubo park.In Utsubo park, May and October is the season of beautiful roses.About 160 kinds of rose trees that over 3400 roses bloom from from spring to autumn in this park.If you come nearby, you should definitely visit here.Enjoy a romantic Ohanami with roses.InformationAdress：2cho-me 1 Utsubohonmachi nishi-ku Osaka-shi, OsakaAccess：Subway Sennichimae line Awaza station exit1 or 9Subway Yotsubashi line honmachi station exit24 or 28Official website：Rose garden of Utsubo park (Japanese) Utsubo park (靭公園, Utsubo kouen) is a park which is becoming popular among the local people in Osaka.From the end of March to the beginning of April, you can see beautiful cherry blossoms in Utsubo park.And in May and October, you can find about 160 kinds of roses here: There will be more than 3400 roses blooming brightly.That’s why Osaka people say, “If you want to see beautiful roses, you should visit Utsubo park.”This is a park that the people made in the middle of the city. However, this artificially beautiful park makes us feel closer to nature.An Oasis in the CityThis park is in between the Awaza (阿波座) area and the Honmachi (本町) area.When the weather is nice, there are families, people walking with their dogs, or people resting on the grass or bench in the park.You can spend a nice peaceful time here.Sometimes it’s nice to just kill some time here, free from care.There statues will probably be the first things you notice when you enter the park. Why? Because they’re so lifelike.When you see them from far away, you might wonder what they’re doing.Why don’t you take pictures with them for fun! Popular for its Sakura (桜, cherry blossoms)Every spring, many people visit this park to enjoy Ohanami(Sakura seeing).If you want to do Ohanami, I recommend saving a place for yourself early in the morning or the night before, so you can enjoy Ohanami peacefully.Check also the articles about Ohanami (click!).
Because this botanical garden specializes in exotic plants, it contains a great variety of cacti and fruit trees, making this greenhouse a bit different from others around the city. Located in Hokkaido, the Hakodate City Tropical Botanical Garden takes pride in showcasing exclusive plant life that can usually be found only in the southern parts of Japan or abroad.According to the garden staff itself, around 3000 plants are on display in the greenhouse at this time. Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden (Hot-Tubbing Monkeys) View Informationpark Enjoy viewing rare tropical plants at the greenhouse within the botanical garden, where the turtles meet you at the entrance and fruit trees grace the surroundings with their beauty.Experience Warm Temperatures in the GreenhouseHakodate is a city that is enjoyable in every season, but it does offer different experiences depending on the time of the year. If you travel in winter time, you can enjoy winter sports and the landscape covered in snow. If you come in spring or in summer, then you can fully enjoy outdoor activities. An activity that can be very enjoyable in the winter is visiting the city’s tropical botanical garden. When you’ll find yourself in the greenhouse, you’ll surely appreciate you can escape the cold temperatures and get warm.The Hakodate City Tropical Botanical Garden is a great place to spend an hour or more. During the winter season, a visit to the botanical garden is a good chance to take a break from the snow cold temperatures. Conveniently located outside the greenhouse, small foot hot springs (ashiyu) are available. Keeping your feet in the hot water of these springs can give you an extra boost when it’s cold outside.If you want to visit in spring or summer time, the botanical garden has surrounding water and summer activities you can enjoy. Let’s now take a look at the greenhouse itself.Enjoy Seeing Exotic Plants Upon entering the greenhouse you will immediately notice the difference between the cold temperature outside and the humidity inside the greenhouse. The greenhouse is very spacious and the many plant and flower species it contains are arranged in categories. There are many kinds of cacti in different sizes, so are the flowers on display.The greenhouse is arranged as a cozy pathway which you can stroll around as you watch the tropical plants from close. You will be impressed by their features exotic features.In the greenhouse, there are also some turtles that enjoy their lives surrounded by the plants. Once you reach Hakodate, there is plenty to do as a traveler. If your interest is leaning more towards nature and plant life, a trip to the city’s exotic botanical garden is a great and inexpensive activity. The facility also has an audience room with a small stage where various events and lectures are held every month. This room can also be taken advantage of as a room to take a rest in after some time spent viewing the plants.Location and Surroundings of the Botanical GardenAnother great thing about the location of the botanical garden is that it’s close to other famous sightseeing places. One of them is the hot spring enjoyed by the bathing monkeys, and anther one is the famous Yunokawa onsen – a very popular spa in the city. In fact, all three of these destinations are connected to each other by being part of the hot spring and botanical garden complex, though they serve as individual sightseeings.In Hakodate it is fairly easy to get from one sightseeing destination to another. If you have only a limited amount of time at your disposal, just by visiting this part of the city, you will be able to see many famous spots at one time.Read also:Hakodate Guide – 20 Sightseeing Spots, Access, Food, What To WearHow to Get to the Botanical GardenThe botanical garden can be easily accessed by taking the one line tram line from Hakodate Station to the stop “Yunokawa onsen”. The tram ride takes 30 minutes but will give you the chance to see many places around the city on the way. We recommend coming here in combination with other activities, such as a visit to the Yunokawa spa or to see the bathing monkeys.You May Also Like:Hakodate Guide – 20 Sightseeing Spots, Access, Food, What To WearEnjoy Hakodate’s Elegant Streets and Nature with This 2-Day Itinerary!10 Unforgettable Sightseeing Destinations in HakodateHakodate Sightseeing Guide – Transportation, Areas and Souvenirs
Top 4 Select Bakeries in Japan’s Unknown Bread Town, Kobe Decadent Kobe Beef For A Reasonable Price At Tanryu in Sannomiya Table of Contents5 Classic Spots to Visit in Hyogo7 Additional Spots to Further Enjoy Hyogo5 Great Shopping SpotsTop 5 Must-Eat Local DishesAccess to Kobe5 Classic Spots to Visit in Hyogo1. Kobe Port Tower Himeji Castle – History, Scenic Highlights And Access Five Souvenirs From Hyogo – Sweet Treats to Soothe Your Soul SakaemachiIn the Sakaemachi area—one of Kobe’s town centers about a ten minute walk from Motomachi—you’ll find a concentration of general goods stores, apparel shops, galleries, and cafés renovated from retro buildings. Kinosaki Onsen – Visit Outdoor Hot Springs And Try Tasty Local Snacks 3. Nankinmachi’s Chinese Cuisine 3. Kitano Ijinkan Street 5. Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge Ijinkan Street is located in the hilly neighborhood of Kitano district. Why not have fun “losing your way” down these narrow roads that few cars drive through and enjoy a stroll in this sophisticated area?Kitano Ijinkan StreetAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Kitanomachi Google MapOfficial Website: https://www.kobeijinkan.com/en/4. Himeji Castle 3. Tanba Sasayama Picture from A Stroll Through The 400-Year-Old Castle Town of Tanba SasayamaThe 400-year-old Tanba Sasayama area will have you seeing traditional wooden Japanese houses wherever you go. The Kawaramachi Merchant Housing District pictured above is a shopping district about 500 meters long that is lined with traditional houses from the Edo period.Kawaramachi Merchant Housing DistrictAddress: Hyogo, Sasayama, Kawaramachi Google MapRead also Picture from Arima Onsen Day Trip – Top 3 Recommended Hot SpringsArima Onsen is known for their characteristic auburn waters befittingly named the “Golden Spring.” Although the water source is naturally transparent, when it comes in contact with oxygen, it oxidizes and changes color due to its high iron content. The water is said to possess therapeutic properties to alleviate those with cold sensitivity and pain in the lower back, muscles, and joints.In addition, bathers are left with longstanding moisture due to the hot spring’s high salt content. Here, you can take time to wash away your daily fatigue.Arima Onsen (Arima Hot Springs Tourism Association)Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Kita, Arimacho 790-3 Google MapOfficial Website: https://visit.arima-onsen.com/Read also 2. The Dazzling Night View at Mt. Maya Kikuseidai Picture from Five Souvenirs From Hyogo – Sweet Treats to Soothe Your SoulKobe is filled with shops where you can sample trendy sweets. Lastly, we’ll introduce sweets that would make ideal souvenirs.Kobe Frantz’s Kobe Magic Pot Pudding is one of the most popular sweets in Kobe. Inside the pot is three decadent layers of cream, custard, and caramel. The small pot’s design is also adorable. Access to Kobe Akashiyaki – Akashi City’s Famously Fluffy Octopus Treat! Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUBecause the series creator Mitsuteru Yokoyama is from Kobe, a giant Tetsujin 28-go monument is installed in Wakamatsu Park just south of JR Shin-Nagata Station. The towering monument is fifteen meters tall and weighs approximately 50 tons. The measurements are almost the same size as the robot in the story, which will certainly impress you with its impressive appearance.Tetsujin 28-go MonumentAddress: Kobe, Nagata, Wakamatsucho 6-3 Wakamatsu Park Google MapRead also The Takeda Castle Ruins are located on a 350-meter-high mountain summit. Known for its mystical appearance that arises in the morning mist, it is also called “Japan’s Machu Picchu.”Currently, while only the stone walls remain, this “floating fortress” is believed to have once been a large castle. Picture from Five Souvenirs From Hyogo – Sweet Treats to Soothe Your SoulGaufre consists of sweet cream sandwiched between two thin senbei wafers. This delicate sweet was originally created as a Japanese version of a French baked confection. It is also as large as the palm of an adult male.Read also Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUBoasting a history spanning over 1,000 years, Arima Onsen is said to be Japan’s oldest onsen.On this compact street, measuring a kilometer long in each direction, are a cluster of buildings that include hot spring hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Picture courtesy of Kinosaki Onsen Free Photo Collection (Japanese)There are seven open-air baths (public bathhouses) in town. Going hot spring hopping while sporting a yukata (a summer kimono) is one unique way to enjoy yourself at Kinosaki Onsen. Try visiting several of the hot spring facilities such as Ichino-yu at the center of town or the charming wooden bath house Yanagi-yu.There are also plenty of yukata rental shops, so why not wander around this elegant hot spring town while adorned in an authentic yukata?Kinosaki Onsen (Kinosaki Tourist Information Center)Address: Hyogo, Toyooka, Kinosakicho, Yushima 357-1 Google MapOfficial Website: http://www.kinosaki-spa.gr.jp/global/index.htmlRead also The fog has a tendency to appear from daybreak to around 8 a.m. during October and November. While the Takeda Castle Ruins can be seen within this sea of clouds, if you wish to see the entire ruins, then make your way to Ritsuun Gorge or Fujiwa Pass. Ritsuun Gorge has three observation decks in the area along with 50 parking spots. By car or taxi, it is about ten minutes from Takeda Station.Takeda Castle RuinsAddress: Hyogo, Asago, Wadayamacho, Takeda Google MapOfficial Website: http://www.city.asago.hyogo.jp/takeda/ (Japanese)Read also Kobe Harborland umieA five-minute walk from Kobe Brick Warehouse lies another shopping mall called Kobe Harborland umie. You can also get your shopping fix here as well.Kobe Harborland umieAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Higashi-Kawasakicho 1-7-2 Google MapOfficial Website: https://en.umie.global/Read also Rokkosan Pasture. Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUMt. Rokko is a popular spot for all ages because of its idyllic pasture and activity facilities located in the mountains.When visiting the Rokkosan Pasture (Japanese), you should definitely try the soft serve ice cream made from fresh milk. In addition, Rokko Garden Terrace is where you can sample dishes made with local ingredients at the onsite cafés and restaurants while gazing at the stunning scenery. Souvenirs can also be purchased here. Fukura MarcheFukura Marche is a market where you can select fresh sashimi to build your own Self-Made Seafood Bowl. This recommended tourist stop has a souvenir shop next door, as well as a popular gelato shop, G.ELM, that specializes in local ingredients.The Awaji Puppet Theatre Company, located just across the road, is a facility where you can watch daily puppet shows rooted in Awaji Island. There are four performances per day—just under an hour long—and allows theatre-goers to admire traditional performing arts for a price ranging between 1,000 and 1,500 yen!Awaji IslandOfficial Website: https://www.awajishima-kanko.jp/ (Japanese)7. Tetsujin 28-go Monument A Stellar View From The Summit of Kobe – Mt. Maya Kikuseidai Since Kobe Port opened to trade in 1868, foreign nationals—such as the Americans, British, French, and Russians—have resided in Kobe, which, in turn, led to the cultivation of a new culture within the city.Ijinkan refers to the Western-style residences that the foreign nationals lived in at the time. There are currently 30 remaining ijinkan in the Kitano area and more than a dozen of these historical houses are open to the general public. Picture from Decadent Kobe Beef For A Reasonable Price At Tanryu in SannomiyaWhen you come to Kobe, you should definitely eat authentic Kobe Beef! Kobe Beef refers to beef selected from Tajima cattle—a Hyogo wagyu brand—which has been certified by the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association. Additionally, the standards for Kobe Beef have been strictly outlined.If you’re looking for the highest grade of steak, head over to Misono, a restaurant where teppan (cooked on an iron griddle) steak is said to have originated. Kobe Tanryu is where you can enjoy a Kobe Beef lunch starting from around 3,000 yen.Another recommended restaurant is Hiroshige, where you can savor a luxurious gyudon bowl—a beloved Japanese fast food dish—made with more Kobe Beef than you could imagine!Read also TorwestIn Torwest—a shopping area between Sannomiya and Motomachi Station—there are clothing stores, thrift shops, and cafés snugly hidden in a back street alley. You’ll have fun just strolling through the streets of both shopping areas.Sakaemachi: Google MapTorwest: Google Map3. Uonotana Shotengai Kobe – 15 Things To Do And Area Guide Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUThe Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge spanning 3,911 meters in length and took ten years to complete.This is an important bridge that connects Honshu (the main island of Japan) to Awaji Island as well as Awaji Island to Shikoku. Illumination lamps have been installed on the bridge, which also create a captivating night view during the evenings.Tours are conducted through Bridge World for Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. Tour participants will be able to walk through maintenance pathways that are normally off-limits and see a superb 360° panoramic view from the main tower sitting 300 meters above sea level. The tour’s rendezvous point is at a science museum called the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge Exhibition Center.The exhibition center introduces construction technology, such as those used to build the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. In addition, it’s located near the bridge’s entrance, so you’ll also be able to see the suspicion bridge at a close distance.Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge (Exhibition Center)Kobe, Tarumi, Higashi-Maikocho 4-114 Google MapExhibition Center Website: http://www.hashinokagakukan.jp/ (Japanese)Tour Website: https://www.jb-honshi.co.jp/english/bridgeworld/index.html6. Awaji Island Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUThe Tetsujin 28-go Monument is a one-of-a-kind spot near Shin-Nagata Station in Kobe.“Tetsujin 28-go” is a manga and TV anime that was popular during the 1950s to 60s. The story is about a young male protagonist that operates a giant robot named Tetsujin 28, who fights against criminals and enemy robots to restore peace. 5. Kobe’s Famous Souvenir Sweets Akashiyaki is a food similar to takoyaki and is made with octopus mainly caught in Akashi, Hyogo.Takoyaki consists of octopus, green onions, and other such ingredients mixed inside a wheat flour batter that is cooked, then eaten with a sauce on top. On the other hand, Akashiyaki is made with large amount of eggs in the batter compared to takoyaki and is dipped in dashi stock as opposed to sauce. The egg-rich batter is fluffy while the dumpling is gooey inside. You’ll be able to eat up as many pieces you want.Read also Enjoy Hyogo!Hyogo has many tourist attractions raging from World Heritage Sites to a trendy port city, shopping spots, and scrumptious food. Please thoroughly enjoy your time in Hyogo!Main image courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAURead also Kobe Port Tower – The Red Symbol Of The City Sparkling In The Sky Real Castles In The Sky! 5 Japanese Castles To Visit In Autumn 2 Day Kobe Trip – Real Kobe Beef, Harbor Views, And Hot Springs! A Stroll Through The 400-Year-Old Castle Town of Tanba Sasayama Enjoy Fresh Seafood And More At Uo-no-tana Shotengai In Akashi Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU (top left photo)Hyogo is located in the Kansai region of Japan. While it is located at an easily accessible distance from Osaka and Kyoto, it is a prefecture that possesses a unique culture.There’s the port city of Kobe, the pearly-white Himeji Castle, which is a registered World Heritage Site, the nature-rich Mt. Rokko, renowned night views, heaps of shopping spots, and loads of local food. In this article, we’ll introduce a comprehensive guide filled with recommended Hyogo spots, food, and the essential information you’ll need for your Hyogo sightseeing!How Much Does a Plane Ticket Cost to Osaka Kansai International?Hong Kong to Osaka Kansai InternationalA good deal$199Typical price$263Search for flights to Osaka Kansai International 7 Additional Spots To Further Enjoy Hyogo1. Mt. Rokko Stroll About In A Yukata While Visiting Kinosaki Onsen, Hyogo Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets. Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUThere are two outlet malls in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture: Kobe-Sando Premium Outlets and Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe.Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets is the second largest outlet mall in Japan and boasts the largest sales floor in western Japan with over 200 stores. Hyogo Travel – Visit Kobe and Many Other Beautiful Places! Picture from Stylish Kobe Spots – Café And Unique Stationery At Kobe Brick Warehouse!There are many commercial complexes huddled in the Kobe Bay Area. One recommended spot here is the Kobe Brick Warehouse. Built in the late 1890s, you’ll find cafés and restaurants inside this massive brick building.Among these shops, NAGASAWA Kobe Brick Warehouse has a collection of exclusively selected stationery purchased from across the country by its stationery-loving staff. Even if you’re not a self-professed stationery lover, the shop will undoubtedly make you feel excited.Kobe Brick WarehouseAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Higashi-Kawasakicho 1-5-5 Google MapOfficial Website: http://www.kobe-renga.jp/ (Japanese) Picture from Enjoy Fresh Seafood and More At Uo-no-tana Shotengai In AkashiUonotana Shotengai is a shopping district in the Akashi area that is often frequented by locals. This district is said to have first opened roughly 400 years ago. It is abundantly stocked with common foods consumed daily in Japan, such as fresh seafood, tsukemono (pickled vegetables), and ready-to-eat side dishes.Uonotana ShotengaiAddress: Hyogo, Akashi, Honmachi Google MapOfficial Website: http://www.uonotana.or.jp/index.html (Japanese)Read also Stylish Kobe Spots – Cafes And Unique Stationery At Kobe Brick Warehouse! Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe. Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUMitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe is an outlet along the sea. Approximately 140 stores line this Southern European-style open mall.Kobe-Sanda Premium OutletsHyogo, Kobe, Kita, Kozudai 7-3 Google MapOfficial Website: https://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/en/kobesanda/Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia KobeAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Tarumi, Kaigandori 12-2 Google MapOfficial Website: https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/mop/kobe/english/2. Sakaemachi and Torwest Picture from Kobe Port Tower – The Red Symbol Of The City Sparkling In The SkyThe most famous city in Hyogo is likely to be Kobe. As Kobe prospered as a port city, it simultaneously integrated various international cultures.Kobe Port Tower, a 108-meter-tall observation tower, is the symbol of Kobe. This iconic red tower—with its characteristically curved structure and narrowed center—is illuminated at night. You can take in a panoramic view of Kobe coined the “Ten Million Dollar Night View” simply by going up to the observation deck.Kobe Port TowerAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Hatobacho 5-5 Google MapOfficial Website: http://www.kobe-port-tower.com/language/english.htmlRead also Picture courtesy of Himeji CityHimeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of Japan’s famous castles.The castle’s construction began around 1346. It was reconstructed several times following its initial construction before reaching its present configuration. While some Japanese castles have been restored to their original states during the 20th century, Himeji Castle’s large tower built in 1609 still remains intact today. Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street is a shopping arcade that is roughly 600 meters long near Sannomiya Station in Kobe. There are all kinds of shops—from electronic stores to apparel shops and cafés—lining both sides of this spacious street.Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping StreetAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Sannomiyacho Google MapOfficial Website: https://en.kobe-sc.jp/Top 5 Must-Eat Local Dishes1. Kobe Beef 5 Spots Where You Can Shop Till You DropIf shopping is on your travel agenda, then head to Hyogo! For those who love to shop till you drop, there are even two outlet malls and a high-fashion district lined with many stores.1. Outlet Malls 5. Arima Onsen 2. Bread Rokko Garden Terrace. Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUYou can also immerse yourself outdoors in the crisp, clean air with athletic activities at the Rokkosan Field Athletic area (Japanese) or barbecuing at the Rokkosan Country House.2. Kinosaki Onsen Picture courtesy of Kinosaki Onsen Free Photo Collection (Japanese)Kinosaki Onsen is a hot spring said to have 1,300 years of history. Old wooden buildings lie along the Otani River, which flows through the center of the town. Tetsujin 28 at Shin-Nagata, Kobe Peking duck. CrispIy baked Peking duck skin and green onions sandwiched together and topped with a sweet sauce. Picture from Kobe – 15 Things To Do And Area GuideNankinmachi, western Japan’s Chinatown, is located about five minutes away by foot from Motomachi Station. Over 100 stores can be found in this area, measuring 270 meters from east to west and about 110 meters from north to south.Although you can enjoy lunch or dinner at any restaurant, there are many food stalls on the streets of Nankinmachi. Definitely grab a quick bite to eat while sampling a variety of snacks at these stalls!NankinmachiAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Sakaemachidori Google MapOfficial Website: https://www.nankinmachi.or.jp/ (Japanese)4. Akashiyaki Picture courtesy of Himeji CityOne stunning feature of Himeji Castle is its beautiful, white tower. At one point, the tower became slightly gray from deterioration over time. During major repairs that were completed in 2015, the castle was restored to its former beauty after repainting the plaster and replacing the tiles.The castle can get extremely crowded during consecutive holidays. You can check how congested the castle is on any given day via this website below. English tours are also conducted by professional guides twice a day.Himeji CastleAddress: Hyogo, Himeji, Honmachi 68 Google MapWebsite: http://www.himejicastle.jp/en/Read also Arima Onsen – Complete Guide To Japan’s Oldest Hot Spring Town Savor Kobe Beef At Misono, The Originators Of Teppanyaki! Find the best deals on flights to Osaka Kansai InternationalRoundtripOne-wayMulti-cityFromToDepartReturnAdults16+ yearsCabin classEconomyPremium economyBusiness classFirst-classChildren0-15 yearsSearch flights Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAUAlongside Nagasaki and Hakodate, Kobe is ranked as one of Japan’s top three night views. Mt. Maya Kikuseidai is where you can take in an especially stunning view of the illuminated cityscape.This vista is referred to as the “Ten Million Dollar Night View” because it’s said that when the energy consumption of all the lights seen from the observation deck is converted into currency, it would amount to ten million dollars.Mt. Maya KikuseidaiAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Nada, Mayasancho 2-2 Google MapRead also Rapeseed flowers in Awaji Hanasajiki, a famed park on the island. These beautiful seasonal flowers are one of the highlights of Awaji IslandOnce you cross Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge from Hyogo, you’ll find Awaji Island on the other side. There is a multitude of gourmet food on Awaji Island, including fresh seafood, Awaji beef, sweet onions, and other locally produced vegetables. 4. Takeda Castle Ruins Hankyu Kobe-Sannomiya Station Picture from Kobe – 15 Things To Do And Area GuideWe’ll introduce how to access Kobe, the central area of Hyogo.From Osaka and KyotoTo arrive at JR Sannomiya Station, it will take 21 minutes (JR Kobe Line Limited Express, 410 yen) aboard the fastest train line from Osaka or 52 minutes (JR Kyoto Line Limited Express, 1080 yen) from Kyoto to arrive.From Kansai International AirportIf you’ll be heading to the city from Kansai International Airport (Kanku), we recommend using the bus.Kanku Terminal 1Exit the International Arrival Lobby and take the bus bound for Kobe-Sannomiya/Rokko Island at Bus Stop 6 outside. It will take approximately 65 minutes.Kanku Terminal 2Exit the Departure/Arrival Lobby and take the bus bound for Kobe-Sannomiya/Rokko Island at Bus Stop 4 outside. It will take one hour and 20 minutes.*Please purchase your tickets at the ticket machines outside the bus stops.Destination: Kobe-Sannomiya Google MapTransportation Fare: One-way: 1,950 yen (adults) / 980 yen (children)Roundtrip discount: 3,080 yen (adults)Read also Ça Marche’s Black Tea Cream Bread Picture from Top 4 Select Bakeries in Japan’s Unknown Bread Town, KobeHistorically, Kobe has been a city that established its own unique culture through the influence of other foreign cultures. Following World War I, a German baker opened a bakery in Kobe, which marked the moment bread culture began to flourish in the city.Some unique bread include the Black Tea Cream Bread, filled with copious amounts of black tea leaves, that can be eaten at a popular bakery in Kitano called Ça Marche. There’s also the Red Bean Bread, with a swirl of anko rolled up inside, which is a signature item at Tommy’s. Please give this unique bread culture a try!Read also Indulge In Kobe Beef With Exquisite Gyudon At Hiroshige 5. Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street 4. Kobe Brick Warehouse and Umie Kobe Area Guide – Sannomiya, Kitano, Bay Area, And Arima Onsen How To Get To Kobe From Osaka – Visit The Port City!
Being prepared is imperative to a good traveling experience. The possibility of sudden illness or injury, lost items and natural disasters is always present.However, it can be difficult to locate police stations and hospitals when you are traveling, particularly in places where you have never been before. This time around, we have gathered information on public washrooms, police boxes, hospitals, and evacuation sites in the Roppongi area.Details on each facility are located at the end of the article.Nearby Public RestroomsThe area around the Roppongi station has several public restrooms, and among them are some Western-style toilets that are especially accessible to those with children or in a wheelchair.The Kuwata Memorial Childrens’ Amusement ParkLocated 7 minutes from the Roppongi Station on the Oedo Line, this park has great facilities, including toilets designed for children.Hinokicho Park Public WashroomsJust 5 minutes from the Roppongi Station of the Oedo Line, it is located to the East of Tokyo midtown.Evacuation Areas for Natural DisastersIt is recommended that you take cover at the designated evacuation areas when natural disasters, such as earthquakes, strike while you are in Japan.However, there are times when it is safer to abide by the instructions of the store staff or the locals in the area. Remain calm, check your surroundings, and then head to the nearest evacuation site.Evacuation DistrictsThe area encompassing Roppongi Hills, Keyakizaka and TV Asahi is designated by the city as a section where the buildings are especially resistant to fire and earthquakes, making them comparatively more secure than the surrounding evacuation sites. If you are already in the area, there is no need for evacuation. Just stay where you are and pay careful attention to your surroundings.The Aoyama Cemetery AreaAddress: Tokyo Minami-Aoyama 2-32-2(Aoyama Park)If you find yourself to the north of Roppongi-dori, the Aoyama Cemetary is the nearest evacuation site. When evacuating from Roppongi, head to Aoyama Park, which also serves as a water supply station.Emergency Response/Foreign Language HospitalsAlthough a little far from the Roppongi Station, we will introduce some hospitals capable of dealing with emergency patients and clinics offering services in multiple languages.The Tokyo Metropolitan Hiro-o HospitalIt comprises internal medicine, surgical departments and orthopedics departments, as well as dermatology, ophthalmology, dental and oral surgery departments, it can deal with any sort of trouble you might encounter on your journey. For normal check-ups you need to call and make a reservation a day beforehand (call +81(0)3-3446-8331 for reservations), but it is open for emergency admissions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You will have to call beforehand in the case of an emergency as well (call +81(0)3-3444-1181, extension 2406 for emergencies). Well-equipped in dealing with tourists, credit cards are accepted and they have medical staff that can speak both English and Chinese.Ryu Internal Medicine ＆ OrthopedicsWith both internal medicine and orthopedics, this hospital has staff versed in English, Chinese and Korean.Services to NoteIf you want to use a different hospital than those listed here, or need any other kind of medical support, call the Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information Center.Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information CenterPhone number: +81-3-03-5385-8181Hours: 9:00am-8:00pmLanguage: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and SpanishShould you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to effectively explain your symptoms at a hospital or pharmacy, emergency translation services are available. Just call the number, explain your symptoms, and the worker on the other end will translate them for you.Emergency Translation ServicesPhone number: +81-3-03-5285-8185Hours: Weekdays from 5:00pm to 8:00pm / Weekends and Holidays from 9:00am to 8:00pmLanguage: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, SpanishFind the Nearest Police Box Should You Run Into TroubleThere is a police station right next to the Roppongi Station. Should you lose your passport or get caught up in some serious trouble, they can help you.The Azabu Police StationThis police station is right next to the Roppongi Station.There are also small branches where police are stationed throughout town, known as police boxes (交番: koban). If you have lost something, lost your way or gotten yourself into a fight, head to the nearest police box.The Roppongi 6-Chome Police BoxThis police box is on the corner of Roppongi Hills. It is among the Armani and Louis Vuitton stores on Keyakizaka.Smoking AreasIn Minato-ku where Roppongi is located, smoking in public places is banned; you can only smoke in designated areas. Find a designated smoking area nearest to you. The map below shows two that are available in the area.InformationHinokicho Park WashroomsAddress: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka 9-7-9Hours: open 24 hours a dayClosed: Open 365 days a yearWi-Fi:-Credit Cards: -Language: -Menus Available in: -Station: Roppongi Station on the Oedo LineAccess: a 5-minute walk from the Roppongi Station of the Oedo Line or a 6-minute walk from the Roppongi Station of the Hibiya LinePrice Range: FreeReligion: -Phone Number: -Official Website: -Kuwata Memorial Childrens’ Amusement Park WashroomsAddress: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka 9-3-21Hours: Open 24 hours a dayClosed: Open 365 days a yearWi-Fi: -Credit Cards: -Languages: -Menus Available in: -Station: Nogizaka Station of the Chiyoda LineAccess: a 3-minute walk from the Nogizaka Station of the Chiyoda Line, or an 8-minute walk from the Roppongi Station of the Hibiya LinePrice Range: FreeReligion: -Phone number: +81-3-03-5413-7015Official Homepage: -Tokyo Metropolitan Hiro-o HospitalAddress: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu 2-34-10Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm on weekdays / 9:00am-12:00pm on weekends and holidaysClosed: Sundays, Holidays *open for emergencies 24 hours a dayWi-Fi: -Credit Cards: VISA, Mastercard, JCB, AMERICAN EXPRESS, DinersClub, NICOS, UFJcard, DISCOVERLanguages: English, ChineseMenus Available in: -Station: Hiro-o Station of the Hibiya LineAccess: a 7-minute walk from the Hiro-o Station of the Hibiya LinePrice Range: Depends on the nature of the consultationReligion: -Phone Number: +81-3-03-3444-1181Official Homepage: Tokyo Metropolitan Hiro-o HospitalRyu Internal Medicine and OrthopedicsAddress: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Minami Azabu 2-2-13 Aso Hi-plaza 205Hours: 9:30am-1:00pm and 2:30pm-7:00pm from Monday to Friday, 9:00am-1:00pm on SaturdaysClosed on: Sundays and HolidaysWi-Fi: -Credit Cards: -Languages: English, Chinese, KoreanMenus Available in: -Station: the Azabu Juban Station of the Nanbou Line and Oedo LineAccess: a 5-minute walk from the Azabu Juban StationPrice Range: Dependent on the contents of the consultationReligion: -Phone Number: +81-3-03-5476-5489Official Homepage: -Azabu Police StationAddress: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-2-37Hours: 24 hours a dayClosed: open 365 days a yearWi-Fi: -Credit Cards: -Languages: -Menus Available in: -Station: the Roppongi Station of the Hibiya LineAccess: 30 seconds from the 1a exit of the Roppongi Station of the Hibiya Line, or a two minute walk from exit 3 of the Roppongi Station of the Oedo LinePrice Range: FreeReligion: -Phone Number: +81-3-03-3479-0110Official Homepage: Azabu Police Station (Japanese)Roppongi 6-chome Police BoxAddress: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-10-3Hours: Open 24 hours a dayClosed: open 265 days a yearWi-Fi: -Credit Cards: -Languages: -Menus Available in: -Station: the Roppongi Station of the Hibiya LineAccess: a 4-minute walk from the Roppongi Station of the Hibiya Line, or a 7-minute walk from the Roppongi Station of the Oedo LinePrice Range: FreeReligion: -Phone Number: +81-3-03-3479-0110 (Azabu Police Station)Official Homepage: –
Dashis are considered to be miniature shrines for gods to ride inside during religious festivals. Look closely and you’ll see small red torii gates surrounding all four sides of each float. You can either buy the ticket for 1,830 yen at the JR Bus counter located on your right after exiting Tokyo Station or you can buy it as you board. Please keep in mind that you can’t book tickets and seating is non-reserved. When you arrive at Kashima Jingu bus stop, walk back a little and take the first left on Sakura Machi. Next, walk straight for about 200 m until you see a big car parking lot with shops, taking you to the side entrance of Kashima Jingu Shrine.10:00 – 11:00 — Kashima Jingu – An Ancient Shrine Dedicated to the Deity of Martial ArtsKashima Jingu Shrine was built around 660 BC by Emperor Jinmu to honor the god of martial arts Takemikazuchi no mikoto who helped him win many battles. Since ancient times, Kashima Shrine, along with Katori shrine in Chiba Prefecture and Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, have held the sacred and prestigious title of Jingu, which signifies that they have a connection to the imperial family.Before you step between the two massive pillars of the grand torii gate at the entrance, it’s respectful to bow because you are entering sacred realm. Haruji Yoshihara (left) and Adrian Jukel of Hyoho niten ichi, a prestigious school of swordsmanship, battle it out. The spirit of the locals has helped maintain the town’s vitality and this is especially evident along Ono River where the buildings still have the look of the Edo of old. Masakazu Kuramoto, representative of the Okinawa Gojuryu, performs a kata, a pattern of movements that require great concentration and dedication to reach perfection. Buy a 320-yen ticket for Sawara Station using the vending machine. The 20-minute ride has great views of Chiba’s landscapes on both sides. If you take the 13:23 train to Sawara, you will be there at 13:44. Look out for the short street lamp posts along Ono River as each one has different and unique displays which only enhance the charm of this old merchant town.Don’t Forget to Look for Local SouvenirsFancy fine tea leaves (sencha) to give as souvenirs? Then head over to Otakaenchaho, two stores down from Chukei Bridge. In 1996, the Sawara district was designated by the Japanese government as the first preserved district in the Kanto Region. The original torii was built from granite in 1974 but it collapsed in the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. A new gate was completed in 2014 using four Japanese cedar trees from within the temple surrounds. Keiko Fukuda (left) of the Tendoryu Naginatajutsu deflecting a would be blow to the head. Naginata is a weapon which is a long staff with a bladed tip.In 2000, the Japanese Budo Council established that Japanese Martial Arts are based on the tradition and spirit of Bushido – the way of the warrior. This serves to systemize and preserve the many forms of martial arts in Japan and help practitioners contribute to the peace and prosperity of the nation through home-grown martial arts: jūdō, kendō, kyūdo, sumō, karatedō, aikidō, shōrinji kempō, naginata, and jūkendō.The Ancient Martial Arts Festival held yearly at the beginning of October at Kashima Jingu Shrine is an excellent opportunity to see demonstrations of these arts at one time. If you travel to Japan in October, do plan a trip to Kashima Jingu to see this impressive event.The Sacred Forest around Kashima ShrineWhen you step into the naturally formed forest that leads to Okunomiya Shrine, the hall where the patron deity is enshrined, the fresh air and gentle breeze from the cedar trees will ease your mind. This power spot is a tranquil place where you can contemplate, pray and find peace – even for a brief moment – in a busy world. The 11th owner of this shop built in 1765 recommends the high-quality sencha, sweet-smelling tea leaves from Kagoshima and Shizuoka prefectures, as well as fukamushi-cha from Sayama in Saitama, which has a mild taste. Both are 1,080 yen for 100g of high-grade tea. The shop opens 8:30 – 19:30. The tourist information center is two minutes straight ahead from Sawara Station. You can grab English brochures there.14:00 – 15:00 Lunch at Sunrise RanchAlthough grilled eel (kabayaki) is popular in Sawara, it would be foolish not to try the pork cutlet (tonkatsu) which was even featured on Japanese TV. From the tourist information center, turn right and look across the street to find the Sunrise Ranch. This restaurant serves tonkatsu that is so tender you could rest your head on it and go to sleep. The red tower gate at the entrance to the shrine grounds, an Important Cultural Property, was built in 1634 and is 13 m tall. It is a beautiful monument so please do take a good look at it.11:00 – 12:00 The Ancient Martial Arts Festival Held Yearly at Kashima JinguThe deity of martial arts, Takemikazuchi no mikoto, is enshrined at Kashima Jingu. As such, it’s not surprising that this city has bred fine warriors including the legendary swordsman and founder of the Kashima Shintoryu style, Tsukahara Bokuden.The Ancient Martial Arts Festival held yearly at Kashima Jingu contains a series of martial arts demonstrations which give one the chance to appreciate the awesome god-like skills of masters and practitioners from many disciplines across Japan. Located in separate prefectures but united by history, Kashima (Ibaraki Prefecture) and Sawara (Chiba Prefecture) are two towns that offer visitors a look into ancient Japan. Join me on a day trip from Tokyo to the shrine dedicated to the deity of martial arts in Kashima and to the river city of Sawara which was once called little Edo (*1).*1… Edo: The name of present-day Tokyo in the Edo Period (1603 – 1868).Once a year, Kashima Jingu Shrine hosts the Festival of Japanese Ancient Martial Arts, an event featuring demonstrations of various martial arts. This year, the event was held on October 8th. It’s an impressive, large-scale event, so it’s worth well planning your trip to Kashima Jingu accordingly, to be able to witness this festival. Let me introduce you to how such a day trip would look like.7:40 – 9:40 — Bus from Tokyo Station to Kashima ShrineGo to The Yaesu South Exit of Tokyo Station and head to bus stop No. 1. This is where the direct bus to Kashima Jingu departs from. Inside the festival float exhibition room, you can examine festival floats and their adornments and truly appreciate the workmanship – a typical Japanese virtue – that goes into their construction. For 1,000 yen, the most popular set meal in the shop is called Avocado Sunrise (AS) Black Pork. Other popular dishes are AS steak pork and special AS grilled pork, also for 1,000 yen.Sunrise Ranch has a shop inside which is open from 10:00 to 17:00. The restaurant is open between 11:00 and 15:00, and from 11:00 to 18:00 during festivals. An English menu is available and there is free Wi-Fi, but be warned – as with most shops in Japan – that you can pay by cash only here.15:00 – 16:00 Suigo-Sawara Museum of Festival FloatsThe “dashi” is a float that is pulled along the streets by dozens of locals during festival parades, adorned with colorful figures such as five-meter tall dolls, mountains, fish, birds, spears, animals or plants. The word ‘dashi’ referred to an earthly place onto which the gods descended.A great place to learn more about festival floats is the Suigo-Sawara Museum of Festival Floats, located 15 minutes away on foot from the station. It opens from 9:00 – 16:00, and costs 400 yen for adults or 200 yen for children. The Mitarashi Pond, located in the precincts of the shrine, holds about 400,000 liters – about the size of a 25m pool – of spring water. It’s so clear that you can see the bottom of the pond and see through the eyes of the koi fish swimming.At the beginning of each year, as many as 200 people enter the freezing pond as part of a Shinto tradition of purification of the body. Legend has it that for those who stepped into the pond as part of the ceremony for entering the Shinto priesthood, the water would remain at chest-height for both an adult and a child.Other places of interest around the shrine include the deer park, Kanameishi – the sacred rock believed to be protecting the country from big earthquakes, and the treasure hall housing Japan’s oldest and longest (3 m) straight sword produced around the 5th century.After exploring the precincts of Kashima Jingu and taking in its sacred atmosphere, let’s head to our next destination for today, Chiba Prefecture’s Sawara district.13:00 – 13:44 — Heading from Kashima to Sawara StationKashima Shrine is 7 minutes away on foot from the Kashima Jingu Station. Go back to the torii and continue to walk straight until you see the first traffic lights, then turn right and walk all the way down until you see Kashima Jingu Station. On the 3rd floor, you can see the oldest of the large dolls, created in 1739. This one is a tengu, an imaginary red-faced human creature with magical powers, ilustrated with a protruding nose and bird-like wings.16:00 – 16:58 Stroll around Sawara – A Japanese Heritage SiteKnown as “Ko-edo” or little Edo, Sawara is famous for its once prosperous harbour which has been preserved so that new generations can admire and appreciate traditional Japanese architecture. Walking around the streets weathered with years, you can still find some of the original shops and warehouses still in business. New shops are still designed to match the traditional and nostalgic Edo atmosphere. On a warm autumn day, go to the café near Chukei Bridge called Hana Kanmuri and try its seasonal best seller – a massive ball of shaved ice with raspberry syrup inside and on top. For added sweetness, do as the locals do by adding condensed milk. Besides this 1200 yen treat, the shop also sells sandwiches, rice cakes, and coffee. Hana Kanmuri opens 10:00 – 17:00 every day except on Mondays and Tuesdays.17:05 – 19:00 Bus from Sawara to Tokyo StationThe bus comes once every hour so be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes before the departure time to line up. Remember, it’s first-in-first-serve.These are the afternoon times for buses heading to Tokyo: 16:05, 17:05, 18:05, 19:05. The bus stop is on the other side of the station. As you walk towards it, there’ll be a footbridge on your left. Take that to get to the other side and as you get down, you’ll see a huge carpark on your right. Keep walking straight and you should see a small bus stop with “3” on it. You will have to pay 1,750 yen for the ticket as you get on the bus.Have a Great Time in Kashima and Sawara!The fans of Japanese martial arts and shrines will most surely enjoy this trip to Kashima Jingu, one of the most prominent shrines in eastern Japan, famous for its martial arts tradition, as well as the charming traditional townscape of Sawara.Kashima Jingu – Sawara Route SummaryTokyo Station → Kashima Jingu → Sawara Station → Suigo-Sawara Museum of Festival Floats → Tokyo StationTransportation expenses: 3900 yen.Lunch, snacks, souvenirs: around 3000 yen.Supported by The Three Cities in the Suigo district（Katori, Kashima, Itako) Earlier we met masters of martial arts, now meet the master of the culinary art. I asked owner Kunihiko Takagi about the source of his inspiration. “I have always loved Tonkatsu!” he explained with a smile. That was enough for him to set out to create the softest tonkatsu in town.The secret of his technique involves mixing Mexican avocado oil with (believe it or not) pig feed! According to the maestro, this is the key ingredient that tenderizes, lowers cholesterol and helps prevent arteriosclerosis because of the high oleic acid content. All I know is that it tasted sublime.
Many people visit Buttsuji Temple during autumn. It is renowned for its glorious display of fall colors. If you can, avoid visiting during weekends and choose a weekday instead.Remember to take warm clothing no matter how warm the day: up in the mountains the temperatures are considerably cooler.Admission: freeHow to Get to Buttsuji Temple If you want to make the most of your autumn leaf hunt it is best to head out of the city into the wild, preferably with a rental car. Let me introduce you to places you should definitely add to your to-visit list while in Hiroshima, an area where the best time to see the autumn leaves is around mid-November.Buttsuji Temple in Mihara Albeit a small garden, it is a traditional Japanese one and well renowned in the local area for its beauty.The small town of Kake is bustling with life as it knows to expect the masses of autumn leaf hunters. Make sure to try a few local delicacies while you are in town. You will find pastry shaped as autumn leaves filled with red bean paste everywhere, a Japanese favorite. Tucked away deep in the mountains of Hiroshima prefecture is Buttsuji, a temple built less than a hundred years ago but still of great significance. It is also an active Zen school which offers training and actually consists of several temples in a relatively small area up on the mountain. Renting a car is a great option as then you get to visit several spots throughout the day and to make most of your day. If you can rent a car, consider it a viable option as public transportation in remote areas is scarce and time-consuming.From JR Hiroshima Station to Buttsuji Temple it takes approximately 70 to 90 minutes by car depending on traffic. If for you choose public transportation, the Mihara JR Station is a 30-minute shinkansen ride away from Hiroshima.From Mihara Station, you can take a bus going towards Buttsuji Temple. It takes around 42 minutes. The bus stop is approximately a 15-minute walk from the temple.Yoshimizuen Garden in Kake For the autumn of 2017, Yoshimizuen Garden will be open on November 18th – 19th for visitors to come and see the autumn leaves. Enjoy your momiji-gari in this beautiful garden!Admission: 200 yenWebsite: Yoshimizuen GardenHow to Get to Yoshimizuen Garden Places such as Haji Damn or Sandankyo Gorge become very accessible to visitors with a car. But no matter what your mode of transport is make sure to enjoy this gloriously colorful time in Japan.By the same authorThe Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park – A Place To RememberSakurasaku - A Vegan Friendly Haven For Traveling Foodies In HimejiNunobiki Herb Garden – A Hidden Gem In The Heights Of Kobe Taking into account how large is Hiroshima prefecture, if you are willing to get out of the beaten path, you can discover sides of Japan you have never thought possible.If you are thinking about driving, make sure you have an international driver’s license and a permit to drive in Japan. Most nationalities need a special permit from a consulate or an embassy before entering Japan if they want to rent a car.It is a small price to pay for the incredible experience to visit some truly exceptional places in the Japanese countryside. Japan has four distinctive seasons. No matter where you travel in Japan, the locals will be always very proud of two things – the lovely cherry blossoms in the spring and, almost as importantly, the stunning autumn colors in their area.Momiji-gari, meaning hunt for the autumn leaves, is an important tradition in Japan. This tells the visitor how this vividly colorful season is of great importance. And indeed it should be as autumn truly is a stunning here in Japan.Enjoy the Beautiful Autumn Landscape! Located in the mountainous countryside, Yoshimizuen is actually a private garden that opens its gates to the public only four times a year. It’s open on two weekends during both spring and autumn.Lucky for us, they allow visitors during autumn as this small garden is definitely worth the trip to the countryside. You can reach Yoshimizuen by car in around 60 minutes driving from Hiroshima. A rental car is by far your best option as Yoshimizuen is located deep in the rural parts of Hiroshima prefecture. This way you also get to discover plenty of stunning, colorful scenes.If you are willing to make the effort, you can get there by public transport from JR Hiroshima Station. Take the Kabe Line to Yokogawa Station approximately 5 minutes, then change to the bus outside Yokogawa Station on the Sansogyo Line going to Kake Shinmachi. Get off at Kake Shinmachi. The bus ride will take around one hour.Enjoy Hiroshima in Autumn!
This market is not only a trade area, but is also an important place for people to interact. There are picture books and books related to food available for anyone to read, as well as playgrounds for children. At the florist, one can find flowers grown in the northern area of Kobe adding their bright colors to the event space.You can find a wide variety of bread, desserts, spices, and many other products right here. For more details, check out the Facebook page of EAT LOCAL KOBE every week to see what’s going to be around.A Café Under the Trees From the largest island of Japan, Awaji Island, you can get freshly laid chicken eggs. This is a booth run by a couple who practices “organic farming”. You can enjoy the homey and gentle atmosphere they create. After shopping around, take a break under the trees. The shops offer small snacks and drinks. Being able to see and meet the people who actually make the food contributes to the feeling of trust and safety in our every day lives. Around seven to nine farmers participate in this event every time. Being able to interact and talk to the farmers about farming and tasty recipes is part of the fun of visiting this market. Aside from vegetables, there are farmers who also carry home made miso (bean paste) and pickles. Within Higashi Yūenchi Park, a “Farmer’s Market” is held almost every Saturday.Local farmers bring their products and sell them at the market. This event is held by EAT LOCAL KOBE, an organization that connects buyers and sellers through the local products of Kobe.Kobe has the image of being a busy city, but its northern and western areas are actually major farming areas. It is a profitable business, as farming near the city allows farmers to sell their products directly. Some of the farmers sell mint and other herbs.A frequent shopper mentioned how they commute by train every week to come to this market, as everything tastes so good and they are able to learn new recipes each time.Dairy Products, Eggs, Tofu and More! This is a cabbage freshly picked in the morning! The farmers attending change every week, so you may be able to find something new each time you go. This is a tofu stand. How about trying a delicious breakfast made with vegetables harvested from Kobe? Kobe Port is famous as a location with many unique coffee shops. One of the best coffee shops in Motomachi has opened a stand here at the farmers’ market.Enjoy the Neighborhood One of the organizers was kind enough to give a message to our readers: “Please come and join the market! Everybody who appreciates fresh products is welcome!”Not all the shops can offer services in English, but food has the power to transcend any language barriers. One of the shop owners stated: “We welcome customers from abroad with enthusiasm and that gets through even without words.” This impressed me a lot! If you have the chance, how about enjoying the farmers’ market through the great food on sale here?Please note that there are no trash cans in the park. Return the tableware to the shops after you finish your meal.Below you can see the schedule of the event in 2016. In Japanese there is the term chisan chisho (地産地消) , which means that the local products are made and consumed locally. This ensures that the costs of transportation are kept low. In addition, the consumers can enjoy delicious fresh products.The concept of the market is summarized on a black board set within the market.1. Let’s eat locally harvested products.2. Let’s eat seasonal products.3. Let’s grow vegetables.4. Make cooking simple.5. Let’s cook together.6. Let’s eat together.7. Let’s buy ingredients at the farmer’s market.Let’s check out how this event is like.Enjoy Talking with the Farmers! In the center of Sannomiya, an area in Kobe, Hyogo prefecture, there is a park called Higashi Yūenchi. It is conveniently located to the south on of Kobe city hall. Aside from farm products, there are approximately seven to ten booths that carry tasty specialties made with ingredients from Kobe. The representatives of a family owned ranch near Mt. Rokko bring fresh milk and cheese. InformationEAT LOCAL KOBE FARMERS MARKETAddress: Hyogo, Kobe, Chūō ward, Kanō-chō 6 Higashi YuuenchiHours: 9:00 – 12:30 (Breakfast starts at 9:30)Open: June 4, 11, 18. July 16, 23, 30. Please check their website for future dates.Wi-Fi: -Credit Cards: -Other Languages: Varies depending on the shop.Menus in Other Languages: depends on the shop.Nearest Station: JR Sannomiya Station (JR三ノ宮駅) / Hankyū Sannomiya Station (阪急三宮駅) / Hanshin Sannomiya Station (阪神三宮駅) / Kobe city subway Sannomiya Station (神戸市営地下鉄三宮駅) along with Sannomiya Hanadokei mae Station (三宮・花時計前駅) / Port Liner Sannomiya Station (ポートライナー三宮駅)Access: 5 to 8 minute walk from each stationPrice range: -Religion: –Phone number: +81-078-322-5355 (Directs to the Kobe City Agricultural and Marine Product Industry Bureau)Homepage:EAT LOCAL KOBE (Japanese)
For shopping and browsing for gifts and food, be sure to walk down Miyuki Dori, a traditional shotengai, or shopping street. Keep your eye out for cats, which are often spotted in this part of Himeji.You will find local shops of all types, selling clothing and Japanese souvenirs. There are also many restaurants offering local specialties, like freshwater fish sushi and oden, as well as cafes making almond toast. Pictured above is a coin purse in the shape of the mascot of Himeji Castle. You can also find traditional snacks like mochi, as well as Japanese-style cakes and cookies.14:40 – 16:00 Shop for Souvenirs on Miyuki Dori Over 400 Years Of History – Himeji Castle, The Pride of Japan 10:00 – Start from Himeji Station! Ride the Ropeway to Mt. Shosha First-time visitors to Himeji shouldn’t miss a chance to pass up seeing the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle. This six-story castle built during the Muromachi period (1333 – 1568) and played a large role in western Japan’s history up until around the Edo period.It is also entertaining to just walk around the premises outside and take photos. There is also a small souvenir shop on the grounds outside to check out for shopping and snacks. Use the Mt. Shosha Ropeway and bus ticket (1,400 yen; shown above) to save money. You can purchase it at the Shinki Bus Information Center next to Sanyo Himeji Station. Limited English support is available.Take the #8 bus that leaves from platform 10 of the north side of JR Himeji Station. The last stop of the bus is the Shosha Ropeway, where you will get off. The ride is about 30 minutes. Please note buses only leave twice an hour, so check the schedule before you prepare for departure.The ropeway ride is only 4 minutes long, taking you to the summit quickly. If you choose to hike up the mountain, it takes around an hour.10:10 – 12:10 – Shoshazan Engyoji – Explore A Temple Encompassed in Nature The Niomon gate is thought to have been constructed during the Edo period.The Niomon gate (pictured above) designates the east entrance into the main area. Step through and continue walking to get to the other areas of the temple.*Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage in Kansai similar to Shikoku’s with 88 temples, where people travel around to different temples, praying and receiving for goshuin, or stamps and calligraphy from priests as a spiritual practice. It starts in Wakayama Prefecture and ends in Gifu Prefecture.Things To Do at Engyoji – Historic Artifacts, Dining, and Overnight Stays Jikido was a filming location for the “Last Samurai”Many visitors also come to Engyoji to see Jikido and its neighboring structures, as they served as a filming location in the “Last Samurai” and numerous other Japanese historical period television dramas. At Nae-no-niwa, you can see small plants grown during the Edo era, as well as other flowering plants. Make sure to go inside Jikido as well, where you will find two floors of artifacts on display, with many designated culturally important for their age and significance. Visitors can also practice copying sutras on the first floor when there are workshops. Pictured above is a view of Oyashiki-no-niwa, the largest garden at Koko-en, in the summer. It was built in the image of the nearby Seto Inland Sea. Around 250 colorful carp swim along in the pond’s clear waters. The combination of the clear water and the bright greenery is incredibly relaxing and calming to view. After taking your time to explore the temple, head back down via ropeway. After coming down the mountain, there is a small shop close by that sells delicious grilled dango. Stop by while waiting for the bus back to the main Himeji area if you are hungry. Shoshazan Engyo-ji temple View Information13:00 – 14:00 Koko-en – Visit a Tranquil Garden Next to Himeji Castle Picture courtesy of Shoshazan Engyoji TempleFor lunch, vegetarian Buddhist cuisine, or shojin ryori at Juryoin is also available. An advance reservation, which can be made over the phone, is required to try in this traditional, carefully-prepared cuisine consisting of vegetables and tofu. There is also Hazuki Cafe, a small dining establishment on the temple grounds by Maniden, serving snacks and light meals like udon. 10 Itinerary Suggestions For A One-Day Trip From Kyoto While strolling through, try to take notice of the differences for yourself. Koko-en Garden View Informationpark14:00 – 14:30 Stroll Around Himeji Castle The last garden on the path is the bamboo grove, which contains around twenty different varieties of bamboo, from big stocks to rare colored plants, to tiny, grass-like bamboo. Head first to Mt. Shosha, a 371-meter (1,217 feet)-tall mountain, to experience the great outdoors and history in Himeji. The mountain can be climbed up or ridden up via ropeway. Riding the ropeway provides gorgeous views of Himeji and even the Seto Inland Sea on a clear day. The view during summer from the ManidenWith so much to explore on the temple grounds, plan to spend around two hours here to see the main structures. The trails that lead through the grounds reveal Mt. Shosha’s gorgeous flora and little details that create an even more sacred-feeling, magical atmosphere, like statues and small shrines.Signs in English and Japanese will guide you from one landmark to the next, and there is also an English-speaking guide to help you if you get lost. There is much to see at these serene gardens year-round. Visitors can see the seasonal changes within the immaculately-landscaped gardens with the flora here. During summer, the flora is a bright green, and hydrangeas and lotuses bloom. Fall is especially famous for the golden and crimson leaves that illuminate the entire area with a warm glow. The gardens also are popular during cherry blossom season. The Maniden of Shoshazan Engyoji Temple was originally constructed in 970.Shoshazan Engyoji is a Buddhist temple of the Tendai sect, located on Mt. Shosha. It is thought to have been established over 1,000 years ago. It boasts numerous important cultural properties that date back to the Heian period (794 – 1185), including the temple structures themselves, statues, and artifacts. Many visitors are drawn to this history, as well as pilgrims on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.*To get to the main temple buildings from the ropeway platform, proceed straight. There will be a small admission gate where you purchase a ticket enter the temple grounds. Admission is 500 yen. Pamphlets, which include a map of the grounds, are available in English, French, and Japanese.To get around Engyoji, you can either walk or ride a bus that will take you to the main temple buildings (the bus is additional 500 yen for a round-trip). It takes around 20 minutes to walk to the main buildings or 5 minutes via bus. Koko-en, or Himeji Castle Nishi-Oyashiki-Ato Garden, is a traditional garden built on the grounds of Edo-era samurai quarters. The garden is designed so that visitors can view next-door Himeji Castle while enjoying a stroll through its nine charming sections. In addition to its gardens, there is a restaurant overlooking the grounds, as well as a tea house where visitors can relax with authentic matcha and seasonal wagashi.Admission into the garden is 300 yen for adults and 150 yen for minors (elementary- through high-school age). Buy your ticket at the vending machines at the entrance.Gorgeous in Every Season – Classic Japanese Landscaping with Edo Era Plants and Bamboo Himeji – Enjoy Kansai’s Quiet Side at a Mountain Temple and Historical Castle Town Himeji is a city in Hyogo Prefecture in Japan’s western Kansai region. Most known for its white castle originally constructed during the Edo Period (1603 – 1868), it is a popular day trip from Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe.This thriving castle town is filled with things to do and a traditional Japanese atmosphere, similar to areas in Kyoto. However, it is a serene area with relatively few travelers, and there are many hidden spots to discover. This article introduces a day trip itinerary with more than just Himeji Castle. Continue reading to get ideas for a day trip filled with history, nature, while avoiding large crowds.Getting to and Around HimejiHimeji has a Shinkansen stop and JR rapid service trains connected to the Osaka and Kyoto areas. It is very convenient to get to Himeji via train when traveling from other Kansai areas. If you hold a JR pass, take advantage of the free Shinkansen rides as it is faster and more comfortable.From Osaka Station, it takes around one hour via JR rapid service train and costs 1,490 yen. Riding the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station, it will take 30 minutes and costs 3,950 yen.For travelers coming from Kyoto Station, the JR rapid service train takes around one and a half hours for 2,270 yen. The Shinkansen ride is 54 minutes and costs 5,270 yen.A bus is helpful for navigating around Himeji, but the area between Himeji Station and the castle is walkable and pleasant during nice weather.Read also In cooperation with Shoshazan Engyoji Temple and Koko-en Lunch And Tea Inside A Cave! Vegan Treats In Himeji At TEEDA CAFE If you have the time and stamina, it is recommended you walk. Proceed past the bell tower (upper-right) and continue straight. The trail provides picturesque views of the Himeji area, and numerous Buddha statues line the path.Signs will point you in the direction that leads towards the main temple quarters. As the path is uneven and uphill in places, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Sakurasaku - A Vegan Friendly Haven For Traveling Foodies In Himeji Shinkansen – How To Buy Bullet Train Tickets There are also Japanese sweets for sale along the street, including wagashi in adorable shapes, as well as taiyaki (a red bean paste-filled pastry). Pictured above are traditional seasonal sweets made with red bean paste, usually enjoyed with matcha.16:00 – Head Back or Enjoy Local Dining in HimejiAfter a day of adventure in Himeji, you can either head back to Osaka or your lodging area for dinner. However, Himeji has many cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy an early dinner or teatime. As mentioned above, Miyuki Dori is an ideal spot to find one-of-a-kind restaurants. Below are a couple of suggestions on where to eat:KOBA & MOREKOBA & MORE is a small, six-seat ramen restaurant located along Miyuki Dori. The charismatic owner can speak English and is eager to please diners with delicious food. There are vegetarian options on the menu.Address: Hyogo, Himeji, Gofuku Machi 59Website: https://www.facebook.com/kobaandmore/Rikimaru SushiFor visitors wanting to try local seafood, head to Rikimaru for conveyor belt sushi. This local chain restaurant is known for its high-quality sushi. Conger eel sushi, in particular, is a specialty here. Customers order with touchpad menus equipped with multi-language options so international visitors can feel at ease, as well as non-fish sushi options.Address: Hyogo, Himeji, Tofumachi 222 Piole 3Website: https://kaiten-sushi.net/ (Japanese)Fall in Love with HimejiHimeji, a thriving area offering much to travelers with its castle, historic landmarks, and nature. However, it is a relatively lesser-known destination in Kansai in comparison to Kyoto and Osaka, making it is an ideal destination for those wanting to avoid crowds.Take the train to Himeji and enjoy a day of relaxation and fun!Read also
Virtually unknown to tourists, Nakaoatsuta Shrine was recommended to us by the locals. If you are looking for a place to refresh your spirits, this brilliant green moss covered shrine is ideal; to both the left and right of the stone torii you will find clear spring waters burbling forth.The Shrine with a Sumo Arena – Horaiyoshimi Shrine The world famous medical scientist, Kitasato Shibasaburo was also born in the town of Oguni, Kumamoto. To preserve the memory of his great achievements, this center, the Kitasato library, visitors hall, familial home and more have been carefully gathered, preserved and put on display here for the public. This is soft serve ice cream, made from Oguni Jersey milk. Having a similar richness of flavor as the yogurt, this ice cream is also quite refreshing. At several of the shops throughout Oguni you can find various flavors of this amazing soft cream, so why not make it a point to search for your favorite when you visit? Not only that but here you can also see the Mikami Cedar, a massive three trunked cedar tree with a single central main trunk. The highlight of this sight is the unusual straightness of the three trunks as they climb into the sky.Nakaoatsuta Shrine Thanks to the beautiful clear waters of Oguni, incredible soba noodles can also be enjoyed here. Possessing a spring to them, these fresh and delicately flavored noodles are another must. The variety of toppings and side dishes available with this soba varies by shop, but tempura made with Oguni vegetables is an excellent dish to start with.Sightseeing SpotsThe Sakura Tree of Maebaru This is a solitary sakura tree beloved by the town. As it is a single tree situated on top of a mountain, the striking contrast between the brilliant green of the mountain and the delicate pink of the flowers in full bloom is a sight that many people seek out each spring. As it is an older tree, there are some branches that do not bloom any longer, but the people of the town do their absolute best to take care of their tree all year round.A Sacred Ginkgo Tree This is large ginkgo tree is known as Shimojo no Oicho. As it is the only tree of its kind in the town, it has been enshrined in Oguni. It goes without saying that the trunk is very thick, but the impressive spread of the branches and leaves can only be truly appreciated from looking upwards from the base – it’s quite surprising! As this ginkgo tree is over 1000 years old, it has also been designated a natural national monument in Japan.The Amida Cedar Tree The Amidasugi, or Amida cedar tree, is the largest great cedar in Kumamoto; believed to be roughly 1300 years old, this tree has also been designated a natural national monument in Japan. Its unusual name comes from its appearance. There are several large branches spreading out from the central trunk, and each branch is covered in multiple smaller twigs, giving it the appearance of being an infinite small forest on its own; the name Amida comes from Amida Buddha or Amitabha, also called the Buddha of Infinite Light.Nabegataki Falls With wide exhibition rooms, visitors can freely sit on the tatami mats and leisurely appreciate the works on display.Kitasato Shibasaburo Memorial Museum Here is the famous reverse view of the Nabedataki waterfall. With its continuously falling negative ion water, this waterfall is both impressive and beautiful, and has found popularity through its use in green tea commercials. This waterfall is part of and was formed by the Aso Caldera roughly 90,000 years ago during massive pyroclastic events that have left their mark on the Kumamoto region ever since.Temples and ShrinesOguniryo Shrine Known as the Grey Painter, and the Silent Man of the Orient, Sakamoto Zenzo was an abstract painter born and raised in Oguni, Kumamoto. The Sakamoto Zenzo Art Gallery is where you will find natural works and items that have come from the town itself, not to mention Japan-specific works of abstract art that have even won critical acclaim overseas. Fans of sushi will be surprised to see this konnyaku jelly sushi, an unusual dish even in Japan. Though there are many different dishes made from konnyaku throughout Japan, using it in sushi is very, very rare. With cooked rice and green perilla (shiso) sandwiched inside thick slices of konnyaku, the flavors of this simple dish really work well together and make for a dish that everyone should try at least once. Only in Oguni town in Kumamoto prefecture can you enjoy a full hot spring town experience like those found at Tsuetate Hot Springs, or the superb sights found at Nabegataki Falls. There are plenty of delicious foods and sights you must see at least once in your lifetime here too. Today, let’s get a closer look at the delicious cuisine and sightseeing spots that you can only enjoy in Oguni, Kumamoto.Delicious Local Products of Oguni In the gift shop you can also purchase pins featuring the bust of Kitasato Shibasaburo made from Oguni cedar.In conclusionDelicious local products, a picturesque sakura tree, massive cedars, a reversed waterfall, unusual shrines and even unique museums – all only found in Oguni, Kumamoto. With not one but two large hot springs to choose from, spending a night or two in Oguni and taking in all that they have to offer is our recommendation; by all means, please visit this charming town in Kumamoto. One of the most popular treats found in Oguni is this, their Nomu Yogurt (drinkable yogurt; 160 yen). Made with milk from locally raised Jersey cows, this yogurt has a deep richness to it. Other dishes made with Oguni Jersey milk are also popular here. Horaiyoshimi Shrine is known to the locals as Hokonomiya and has two key features that stand out. The first you can see in the photograph right away; standing at the entrance to the shrine are Meotosugi, or a Coupled Cedars, both of which have been standing for roughly 700 years. To see such grand trees standing outside a shrine is a sight almost unheard of in other parts of Japan. The building of the art gallery itself is quite unique; a private home originally built in 1872 was dismantled and rebuilt here, and is the only fully tatami-matted building of its kind in all of Japan. Here is Oguniryo Shrine, which has a rather unusual feature of its own. The second unusual feature is that the shrine has its own outdoor sumo arena. It is very rare for most people to see a sumo arena, so if you have made the trek to Oguni, it’s a good idea to stop by Horaiyoshimi Shrine and check it out.Art Galleries and MuseumsAnd when visiting the town of Oguni, make sure to stop by and see their fascinating art galleries and history-rich museums.Sakamoto Zenzo The numerous stone statues! With statues for every animal of the Chinese Zodiac, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that you can see all manner of stone creatures here at this shrine.
The Shinto priest, Mr. Miyata, was kind enough to take the time to give me a detailed history of Arita and of the nature of Shinto itself, despite the language and culture barrier. If the shrine is not too busy and you are lucky, you may have the chance to speak to him yourself and learn more about the secrets of Arita’s history.If you walk along the path through the shrine, in about 10-15 minutes you will be able to see the monument to Ri-Sanpei rising up before your eyes.From the top of this hill you can enjoy a panoramic view of Arita – this is my favorite spot in the city. Whenever I have time I come here to enjoy the view. The scenery gives me the impression that the old houses, the red-brick chimneys and the mountains in the distance are all closely linked to one another.Arita and Arita-yaki CrockeryTowards the end of the Asuka period (during the 7th century), Japan began to import porcelain from China, and started its own porcelain manufacturing at about the same time. The Japanese of the time were very interested in the blue and white pottery coming from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) in China and from the Goryeo and Chousen eras in Korea. It wasn’t until the Edo era however, that Japan established its own porcelain-manufacturing methods. Sueyama Shrine, also often called Tozan Shrine, is a rather special Shinto shrine found in Arita, in Saga prefecture. Arita is where you will find Arita-yaki or Arita ware, a traditional type of porcelain that originated in this city. Today, the author of this article, Sebastiano Pimenta, who came all the way from Brazil to study Japanese pottery, would like to introduce you to the history of this amazing traditional handicraft and of the area that produced it.Sueyama Shrine and Ri-Sanpei’s MonumentSueyama Shrine was built in 1658 to enshrine Ri-Sanpei (Yi Sam-pyeong), the father of Japanese porcelain. Only here will you find unusual items like porcelain komainu, large water vessels, handrails and more; through these touches it is easy for anyone to understand the charms of Arita’s porcelain.These various Shinto implements and other architectural features made from Arita-yaki can be seen throughout the tranquil atmosphere of this shrine. It is said that Ri-Sanpei discovered high quality pottery stone in the Izumiyama area, and in 1616, the first Japan-made porcelain was successfully produced. Early Arita-yaki took a great deal of influence from the works imported from China and Korea as they were white with indigo blue-only patterns, but in 1640 the first Kakiemon (Sakaida Kakiemon) perfected the ‘akae-jiki’ porcelain, which is a vibrant red color, and soon multi-colored porcelain works could be made.From 1650, Arita-yaki began being exported to many countries in Europe by the Dutch East India Company; it is said that the royalty and nobility of Europe at the time were passionate collectors of these porcelain items.Photograph location: The Saga Prefectural Art Museum Kyushu Ceramic Museum/Aritamachi Museum of History and FolkloreThe collection in the above photo was assembled over many years in Europe by the late Kanbara Hakaru from Arita. These incredible works that found such favor in Europe’s upper classes serve to tell even the people of today of their splendor.Even today, Kakiemon, Imaemon, Genemon and other traditional manufacturers still produce their own Arita-yaki according to the conventions that their individual histories have passed down to them.Photo location and copyright: The Saga Prefectural Art Museum Kyushu Ceramic Museum/Aritamachi Museum of History and FolkloreArita-yaki is known throughout Japan for being the highest quality porcelain, and, despite the introduction of modern manufacturing technology, much of the pottery produced in Arita still retains the traditional designs and production methods that began so many years ago. Not only on display in museums and shops, visitors to Arita can also view Arita-yaki in the showrooms of pottery shops here. The people that you meet there and the various works that you see are sure to be wonderful; you’re bound to have a fantastic experience.Photo location: Koraku Kiln2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the start of porcelain production in Japan and the establishment of Arita-yaki. With many people coming from all over the world to see and celebrate this, many events and projects have been planned. In fact, the author of this article has also been invited to be the Artist in Residence at Koraku Kiln, and will be working with an Australian team as well.Many lovely accommodations have been prepared for visitors as well, so when you visit Arita, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to tell you more about the history, traditions and future of this fantastic traditional craft.InformationSueyama ShrineAddress: 2-5-1 Odaru, Arita-cho, Nishi-Matsuura, Saga prefectureNearest Station: Arita stationAccess: 15 minute walk from Arita station or 3 minute taxi rideReligion: ShintoPhone: 0955-42-3310Website:Sueyama Shrine
Not many Japanese people have actually made sushi by themselves, so everyone’s a novice. That is why they are concentrating so intently at their sushi making.Using a special knife like the one in the picture, you can cut your sushi roll like a professional!You don’t need to fear using the knife. Everyone is ready to assist you, just like friends.The sushi is ready! Everyone’s happy that it came out well.Tasting the sushi you made yourself will naturally make you smile. 酒＆飯 SUiTO FUKUOKA View InformationrestaurantA Walk through Ohori ParkThe five of them head afterwards to Ohori Park. There they walked a lap around the lake and talked in their mother tongue about life and about what they found surprising in Japan. They also seemed to be having fun talking about how hard it was to make sushi and how exciting it was to use the pencil and write Japanese characters.Read also:Connect With Nature and Art in Ōhori Park, FukuokaHeading Back to Keigo Park to Say Goodbye Japanese cuisine has been designated intangible cultural heritage and even Mt. Fuji, the symbol of Japan, has become a World Heritage Site. With Japan&s cuisine and sightseeing destinations being recognized worldwide, the number of travelers from abroad keeps on increasing.Did you know that in Japan there are touring services available, where locals take you not only to the famous tourist spots, but also to places and facilities that they themselves enjoy on a regular basis? We’ll be introducing to you today the service called “TOMODACHI GUIDE”.This time we will be focusing on a TOMODACHI GUIDE tour in Fukuoka. Read also:TOMODACHI GUIDE – Enjoy Japan With A Personal Guide Like A FriendMeeting at Keigo ParkThe guides this time are Kentaro and Mai from Japan. The participants to the tour are Alexandra and Klaus from Germany and Gerald from America.These five people got in touch beforehand on TOMODACHI GUIDE and agreed to meet up at Keigo Park. If the guide is a person living in Fukuoka city, you’ll be meeting up at a familiar place.From the left, Mai, Alexandra, Kentaro, Klaus and Gerald.The participant to this tour have seen each other’s profiles and have communicated before on TOMODACHI GUIDE. That is why they seem to know each other just like old friends even though it’s their first time meeting. They greet each other and the tour starts.What is “TOMODACHI GUIDE”?“Tomodachi” means “friend” in Japanese. Huber.’s TOMODACHI GUIDE service links people from abroad who want to get to know locals with local people who want to introduce the charm of their home towns and their favorite activities, and makes it possible for you to have a personalized tour experience as if traveling with friends.Three Reasons To Choose TOMODACHI GUIDEThere are three main reasons we recommend TOMODACHI GUIDE.1. Experience Japan With A Personal, Friendly Guide!Unlike typical tour guides who give explanations while the tourists simply look and listen, the guides in TOMODACHI GUIDE tours share the same experience with their guests throughout their tours!Whether it’s visiting a shrine, dining at a local restaurant, or making Japanese food in the kitchen, everything you do on a TOMODACHI GUIDE tour is going to be unique and special for you as well as for your guide.2. A Guide And Interpreter On Every TourThere may be times when tourists have to just stand and wait in a typical tour if the tour guide needs to converse with someone at a shop or site. This is unlikely to happen in a TOMODACHI GUIDE tour, because there’s always two people accompanying the gusts: one organizing the tour and the other interpreting.Both a guide and an interpreter accompany you, so you won’t be left aside.3. A Custom Tour Designed To Suit Your Wants And NeedsWith TOMODACHI GUIDE, you can either talk with your guide to arrange a custom plan from scratch, or pick one from the wide range of pre-planned tours and adjust it to suit your preferences.Want to try on a kimono? Need to go in restaurants with halal food? TOMODACHI GUIDES work their best to suggest a plan that suits your preferences and needs, so if there’s anything you would like to do, just request it!Watch the video below to get an idea of what it’s all about!For further information, visit the TOMODACHI GUIDE website.Drawing Omikuji at Keigo ParkThey headed first to Keigo Shrine (Keigo jinja). The three guests know that there are many shrines in Japan, but this is the first time they hear about them in depth. Everyone listened attentively to the explanations about shrines and torii gates, such as the one saying “don’t go through the middle of the torii gate”, which is an important rule in Japan.After the general explanation was done, they pulled an omikuji. There are information papers available in various languages explaining the meaning of the omikuji. Kentaro and Mai were helped by a Shinto priest when they had a hard time explaining the technical terms. The three guests were satisfied with their first omikuji.Read also:Japanese Encyclopedia: Omikuji (Fortune Telling)Experience Japanese culture at SUiTOLet’s head to SUiTO, which is right near Keigo Shrine. This place has a tourist information area for international travelers, various different places to experience Japanese culture, and restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food. This time we’ll be experiencing the calligraphy course where you write Japanese characters on T-shirts, as well as the sushi making course.Experience Calligraphy! Write Japanese Characters on T-shirtsFirst, we experienced writing Japanese characters on T-shirts. Just as the title of the course says, it’s a workshop where you first practice writing beautifully and then transfer the Japanese characters onto a T-shirt.At first, the teacher suggests several popular Japanese characters. Your guide explains to you the Japanese characters with difficult meanings. This way you can select the character you like.This is the start of our first calligraphy experience! It’s actually the first time for Kentaro and Mai too, but they explain clearly how to apply the Japanese ink and how to use the pencil, while mixing in some jokes.Alexandra selected the Japanese character sakura (桜, cherry blossom). TOMODACHI GUIDE’s uniqueness is that you can spend fun times like these where it seems like you’re with your friends.Finally, you receive a T-shirt with the Japanese character you wrote. They seem so satisfied after putting on their T-shirts!Experience Making SushiNext, we’ll experience sushi making on the 1st floor of SUiTO. It’s a popular workshop where you can make various kinds of sushi and sushi rolls.First, Mr. Itamae explained to us the concept of the workshop. Your guide interprets for you the difficult technical terms and information.What makes SUiTO’s sushi making experience unique is that you can make sushi in the kitchen. You get to set foot in a place you normally wouldn’t be able to get in. Mr. Itamae is by your side teaching you. The five members who enjoyed Fukuoka city using TOMODACHI GUIDE, headed back to Keigo Park, where they had met up. Here they hugged, promised to meet again, and said goodbye. Since the guides and guests get so close, it7s very hard to say goodbye.In ConclusionHow was it? For those who wish to experience Japan’s appeal in a way only locals can, want to enjoy a vacation that fits them, and make Japanese friends, please consider taking part in a TOMODACHI GUIDE tour!For detailed information on TOMODACHI GUIDE, please refer to their website.Recommended articles:TOMODACHI GUIDE – Enjoy Japan With A Personal Guide Like A FriendA Muslim-Friendly Tour Of Tokyo By Trip DesignerEnjoy Sightseeing and Delicious Food In Fukuoka! A Two-Day Itinerary10 Great Sightseeing Destinations in Fukuoka CityFukuoka Airport – Facilities, Services and Access to the City
In Japan, Buddha statues that are over five meters tall are called Daibutsu (大仏).With its large plump hands facing towards the worshiper, Daibutsu looks over the people it protects with a gentle expression on its face. From ancient days the Daibutsu has been an object of collective worship in Japan.The Daibutsu at Tōdai-ji (東大寺) in Nara and the one found at Kōtoku-in (高徳院) in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture are among the most well-known.A Daibutsu in Gifu Prefecture?Did you know that one of the three major Daibutsu statues in Japan, one that fits right in with those in Nara and Kamakura, is located in Gifu prefecture? Gifu is in the central region of Japan, just a little bit north of Nagoya.Popularly called the Gifu Daibutsu (岐阜大仏), it is maintained by Shōhō-ji Temple (正法寺).This is Shōhō-ji Temple. For a building that houses a large Daibutsu, it looks quite compact.On the stone pillar near the entrance (on the left side of the picture), the words “Nihon Sandai Daibutstu” (Japan’s Third Great Buddha) are engraved. The sign further states that this is one of the three largest Buddha statues in Japan and that the Daibutsu at Shōhō-ji is nearly the same size as the Daibutsu at Tōdai-ji (roughly 13 meters high).The prayer fee for adults is 200 yen, and for children 100 yen. An English pamphlet explaining various points about Shōhō-ji and the Daibutsu is available here.The Main HallAs you enter the main hall, the golden shining Daibutsu is there to greet you.The Daibutsu at Shōhō-ji Temple is leaning slightly forward, giving the impression that it’s trying to draw nearer to the worshipers who visit it. With its plump shape and eyes almost closed, the overall impression exuded by this Buddha is one of kindness.Daibutsu statues generally have their right hand opened, but the Gifu Daibutsu has put its thumb and middle finger together and has struck a pose that looks like an “OK” sign.Though most Daibutsu are made of metal, this statue was made using a technique called mokushin kanshitsu zukuri: first a wood and bamboo “skeleton” is build, then paper or hemp cloth dipped in urushi (漆 lacquer, *1) are woven through the bamboo and allowed to dry before being guilt in gold.For this reason, this statue is also known as the “Kago Daibutsu” (the basket Daibutsu).*1 Urushi: lacquer, made from plant extracts; when this sealant hardens it creates a water and acid-proof finish on the surface of the object.Let’s Look Around the Main HallWhen you enter the main hall, and once you have taken note of the Daibutsu, the next thing that will catch your eye is Binzuru-sama, the Buddha representing the concept of “mubyō-sokusai” (無病息災) or “being in a state of perfect health”.It is believed that if there is a part of your body in poor health, if you rub the corresponding part of this Buddha’s body, your illness or injury will be healed. But of course, be very careful when touching the statue.The numerous smaller figures that can be found surrounding the Daibutsu are known as the Gohyakurakan – the disciples of the Buddha.The expressions of all the rakan statues are different and it’s said that if you check each statue, you will without a doubt find the face of one of your blood relatives among them.Originally there were more of these figures but many of the Gohyakurakan were severely damaged over the years by earthquakes and, as a result, the ones you see here are all that have survived.This statue looks exactly like my grandfather!Besides the Daibutsu statue at Shōhō-ji, there are plenty of other places to see in Gifu prefecture. For example, Gifu Castle, Gifu Park, the Gifu City Museum of History, and in the summer there are traditional “ukai” (cormorant fishing) events and firework festivals. Gifu is still fairly unknown to travelers too, making it one of the best places to really get an authentic taste of Japan.A comparatively easy place to reach, with frequent bus service, why not start your sightseeing adventure in Gifu here? When you visit Gifu, please be sure to head to Shōhō-ji Temple and see the third largest Daibutsu in Japan.InformationShōhō-ji DaibutsudenAddress: Gifu, Gifu, Daibutsu-cho 8Hours: 09:00 – 17:00Closed: Open all yearWi-Fi: -Credit Cards: -Other Languages: English pamphlets、English in some areasNearest Station: Gifu Kōen/Rekishi hakubutsukan Mae stop by Gifu City Bus (岐阜公園 歴史博物館前 岐阜バス)Access: 15-minute ride from JR Gifu Station or Meitetsu Gifu Station: take any Gifu City Bus from N32 to N86, the N80 bus to Takatomi, or the City Loop Hidarimawari bus to the Gifu Kōen, or Gifu Kōen/Rekishihakubutsukan Mae stop, then walk for 5-minutes. An adult bus ticket costs 210 yen one way.Prayer Fee: 200 yenReligious Considerations: BuddhismPhone number: 058-264-2760Homepage: Great Buddha
Make Japanese Food in Osaka!When one mentions Japanese cuisine, the range of dishes varies drastically depending on the region and ingredients used in various areas of Japan. Osaka especially has a distinctive gastronomical difference, as dishes such as okonomiyaki or takoyaki are very popular in standard households. Those types of dishes all use flour as the main ingredient and are referred to as konamon (粉もん flour products) in Japanese.At the cooking class Cook In Osaka Sashisuseso, located in Sawano, Osaka, visitors from outside of Japan can learn how to make authentic foods from Osaka such as konamon dishes along with the basic way of making dashi broth.For more information about food in Osaka, read 6 Dishes From Osaka That Will Satisfy Your Heart And Stomach.Learn Japanese Food at Cook in Osaka Sashisuseso Next, we continued on to okonomiyaki and yakisoba. Like the takoyaki, both dishes are very common among the people of Osaka. Standard okonomiyaki uses slices of pork, but vegetarian requests can be accommodated. All courses begin with an explanation of dashi broth. You will be making a soup stock made with kelp, katsuobushi bonito flakes and niboshi dried fish. Dashi broth is a stock that is used as the base of many Japanese cuisines. Dashi broth is used even in the takoyaki and okonomiyaki made in the Osaka course.Tasting the Dashi Base of Japanese Cuisine After cutting the scallion and octopus, you will mix the batter to make the takoyaki or okonomiyaki using flour, dashi broth, and other ingredients. Japanese cuisine may seem rather complicated, but konamon dishes are not too difficult, so even those who aren’t confident about their cooking skills can easily give it a try. On your next trip to Japan, why not experience true Japanese culture through food at Cook in Osaka Sashisuseso? You will be able to learn Japanese home style cooking in a relaxed atmosphere as though you were in your own house. It would surely be a special and memorable experience of your time in Japan. Once the preparations are done, we began making the takoyaki. In the class, we used a takoyaki maker that many takoyaki shops use professionally. In Osaka, you will find many takoyaki shops all over town, however, the locals of Osaka enjoy making takoyaki at home with their friends and family too. Therefore, many household takoyaki makers are sold normally. Add the sauce, seaweed, and bonito flakes as the topping and you’re done! The takoyaki made in the cooking class uses the dashi broth, so it is recommended that you try it without any toppings first. At the end of the class, you will receive a pack of kelp from Rausu, bonito flakes, and niboshi dried fish as a souvenir – meaning you can make authentic dashi back home. The souvenir is packaged by the instructor with hopes of “adding easy and healthy Japanese cuisine into your daily life”. Not only will you be learning how to make the dashi broth, but you will also be able to taste the broth made with kelp and cold water overnight. Taste the differences between the stock made from kelp from Hidaka and Rausu, Hokkaido. Despite both being made by kelp from Hokkaido, you would be able to feel the differences in flavor. Many of the participants this time tasted dashi broth on its own for the first time and found it to be an interesting experience that you can only try in Japan.Learn to Make Osaka’s Konamon Dishes As you can see, the participants in this lesson managed to learn the techniques to make a nice ball shape.Takoyaki is a popular snack you will find at many outdoor festivals around Japan.In Osaka, takoyaki is served at home parties among close friends. For the fun-loving people of Osaka, takoyaki is a must-have food for a festive time. The participants happily commented. “I was surprised it was so easy to make dashi broth! I want to make it at home”, “I tried making okonomiyaki using a recipe back at home, but I didn’t expect such difference in flavor by adding the dashi broth”, “all the utensils were real and each plate and even the chopsticks rest was cute”.Take Home Dashi as a Souvenir The classes here are all held in English and come with helpful recipes written in English. The recipes contain ingredients that can be found easily outside of Japan to make cooking them back at home easier. Cook in Osaka Sashisuseso is a cooking school in Osaka, Sumiyoshi ward, Sawano. It is about thirty minutes from Umeda Station, twenty minutes from Namba Station and twenty minutes from Tennoji Station.The four cooking courses you can select from are the dashi broth course, Osaka course, tempura course and sushi course. This time, we decided to join the Osaka course to learn how to make takoyaki, okonomiyaki and yakisoba noodles.
Picture from 『六本木』素食者也能大快朵頤！有機素食漢堡 Veganic to go (Taiwanese)This is the Veganic Tartar Fish Burger (980 yen excluding tax). The fish patty is actually made from tofu, and the shop staff experimented in order to create a fish-like texture.As you can tell by looking at the photo above, this is a monster-size burger! This is a very delicious burger that provides the same level of satisfaction as a burger made from meat.The menu is in both Japanese and English, so customers without a command of Japanese can order easily.These burgers are made with vegetables equivalent to a serving of one entire salad! Serving vegetable-filled dishes are not only good for consumers but also supports local vegetable farmers.All the menu items are suitable for vegans with 100% plant-based ingredients and are made without artificial additives and preservatives, and chemical seasonings. Alcohol is not used in any of the restaurant’s dishes, making this ideal for halal diets.Meals prepared by Veganic to go will certainly make your body and mind feel healthy.Veganic to go, a Limited Liability Company, owns the rights to veganic®︎Veganic to goAddress: Nogizaka Studio 1F, 7-4-14 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo Google MapAccess: 3-minute walk from exit #3 of Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line), 4-minute walk from exit #7 from Roppongi Station (Toei Oedo Line), 5-minute walk from exit 4a of Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)Official Homepage: http://25.veganic.jp/Read also “The Tokyo Vegan Meetup Group” – A Monthly Buffet in Roppongi Picture courtesy of Hanada RossoPictured above is the HANADA veggie burger with additive-free french fries (1,580 yen excluding tax). This is only available at dinner time.The burger is flavored with organic tomato ketchup and makes for a filling meal. Both the burger and sauce are made entirely from vegetables and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. For customers who are unable to eat gokun (*1) for religious reasons, the shop can prepare burgers and sauces without them.For dessert, we recommend the homemade vegan chocolate cake (500 yen excluding tax) which uses fresh seasonal fruit. The restaurant also has a full drink menu that includes organic juices, lassi (a chilled beverage from India), and smoothies, so you can also stop in for a cafe break.*1 Gokun: Vegetables belonging to the green onion (negi) family of plants, including green onions, shallots, garlic, onions, and Chinese chives.Hanada Rosso-Harajuku HontenAddress: Miyazaki Building 101, Jingumae 6-28-5, Shibuya, Tokyo Google MapAccess: 1 minute on foot from exit #7 of Meiji-jingumae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin Line)Official Homepage: http://hanada-rosso.net/access.html (Japanese)Read also Writer of original article: Amika Moriyama*This is a revised version of an article written on June 27, 2014. Picture courtesy of Hanada RossoHanada Rosso, located in the back of a building close to exit 7 of Meiji-jingumae Station, is where you can relax and enjoy a delicious meal. The restaurant has a cute, red and white themed interior, and even solo diners will feel comfortable here.This space also serves as a destination for art and culture, as art exhibits are held at the shop at certain times throughout the year. Halal Certified Restaurants And Products In Japan: A Muslim’s Guide 17 Things To Do In Harajuku – Tokyo’s Pop Culture And Fashion District Picture from 『六本木』素食者也能大快朵頤！有機素食漢堡 Veganic to go (Taiwanese)Roppongi is a popular neighborhood, home to large-scale commercial complexes like Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown. Veganic to go is located about a five minute walk away from Roppongi Station. The shop has a cozy interior and an eat-in space. You can relax and take your time dining at this restaurant. Halal Sushi and Yakiniku Restaurants in Tokyo Read also Savor Delicious Vegetarian and Vegan Hamburgers!Are you afraid you can’t enjoy burgers anymore because you don’t eat animal products? If you’d like to enjoy vegetarian and vegan hamburgers but don’t know where to go, try visiting these two restaurants. 2. Veganic to go: A Healthy Body and Mind Vegetarian and Vegan RestaurantsAlthough vegetarian restaurants have increased in number recently in Japan, the reality is that there are still just a few. In addition, it is rare that supermarkets carry vegetarian ingredients, making it difficult to customize your own vegetarian meal, even if you have vegetable broth.However, in Tokyo, there are shops serving hamburgers that vegetarian diners can enjoy.This article feature must-try hamburgers made with healthy ingredients that are ideal for visitors who’d like to fill themselves up with delicious plant-based food.1. Hanada Rosso: Enjoy a Meal Made with Healthy Ingredients Getting To Roppongi Station From Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tokyo, and Ueno Stations Five Things to Enjoy at Roppongi, Tokyo Getting Around: Your Guide to Harajuku’s Stations Meiji Jingu: Harajuku’s Stunning Shrine Three Restaurants In Roppongi With Enchanting Night Views Of Tokyo A Muslim-Friendly Tour Of Tokyo By Trip Designer
From: Travel to Ancient Japan – Yoshinogari Historical Park In SagaThe next major epoch in Japanese history is the Yayoi period, an Iron Age like time in Japan that dates from about 300 BCE to 300 CE. The very first examples of pottery from this era were discovered in Yayoi, in the Bunkyo ward of Tokyo, which gave its name to this era. According to other evidence found across Japan, the Yayoi period saw the start of hierarchical societies in Japan, and the use of bronze and iron metallurgy became commonplace.One of the best ways to understand a culture that existed so far back in history from the modern age is to see it in person. While this might sound like an impossible feat, it is possible. The Yayoi period was when China first came in contact with the Japanese of the time, and they wrote about what they discovered of this civilization extensively. They took down details about the land of Wa, beginning in about 57 CE, and not only recorded their myths, but also the structures of their settlements, what they ate, how their society functioned as a whole, and much, much more.This proved invaluable in the reconstruction of the ruins that were discovered in Saga prefecture at the Yoshinogari Historical Park, where visitors can see the Yayoi period come to life today.Kofun (250 CE – 538 CE) The Kofun period is an era in the history of Japan from around 250 CE to 538 CE that takes its name from the burial mounds discovered that date to this time – kofun meaning ‘old tomb’ in Japanese. This is the earliest recorded era of Japanese history, and is unique for the development of Shinto; haniwa, or clay offerings shaped like animals, daily implements and humans; and for the magatama, or curved jewels, which are stones carved in a comma-like shape, which can still be found in shops and jewelry stores today. Photo from:Yakushima – Trekking To The Ancient Cedar Tree (Part 2)If you would like to see a tree that has existed since the Jomon period, then a trip to the Kyushu region’s Yakushima to see the Jomon sugi, a 7200 year old cedar tree is a must.Yayoi (300 BCE – 300 CE) From: Sightseeing In And Around Nara, The UNESCO World Heritage CityThe Nara era lasted from about 710 to 794 CE, and marks the period where the capital of Nihon moved to Heijo-kyo (Nara city), which was modeled after the capital city of Tang China. The influence of Chinese culture can be seen in the use of Chinese fashions, adopting the use of Chinese writing systems, the spread and influence of Buddhism, and in many other regards.The two earliest records of Japanese history, the Nihon Shoki and the Kojiki, were made at this time, and thanks to the development and spread of writing, Japanese literature, especially poetry, really took off. It was a time of rapid social, cultural and industrial expansion.If you’d like to learn more about sightseeing in Nara, take a look at Nara Travel Guide – Get To Know Japan’s Ancient Capital.Up NextIn the next article, we will be moving on to the Heian era (794 – 1185), a time known for its great contributions to the Japanese arts, through to the Sengoku period, when daimyo and other great military leaders ruled the country.By the Same AuthorJapanese Religion – Terms To Know When Visiting A Shinto ShrineLearn The Impossible! Untranslatable Japanese PhrasesJapan Rail Pass Or Discount One-Day Tickets? Why You Should Use BothMissed Your Last Train? How To Spend The Night Safely In The CityDelicious And Satisfying: 7 Must Try Comfort Foods In Japan! In this special three part article, I have outlined the major epochs of Japanese history, starting from its earliest historically accepted dates and leading right up to the modern day. To start things out right, I will be covering everything from the Paleolithic to the end of the Nara era in this first article, the second from the Heian to the Sengoku era, and the third will cover Modern Japan, from the Edo era onward.Places in Japan where you can actually see the vestiges of each of these eras are also mentioned here, so, if there is one particular period in Japan’s history that fascinates you, take up the next opportunity and visit those places.If you’d like to learn more about Japanese history, you should really pay a visit to the Japan gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science, or check out any of the amazing museums and galleries found in this article.Jomon (12,000 BCE-800 BCE)The Jomon period includes the earliest known human inhabitation of what would ultimately become Japan, spanning from the year 12,000 BCE to around the year 800 BCE. This time period was marked by the appearance of pottery that had cord patterns to it, which translates to Jomon in Japanese. For many scholars both in Japan and around the world, pottery was first produced in mainland Asia and then brought to Japan by other groups. But the materials used, and figures produced in Japan have their own distinct look. From: Ukiyo-e, Mandala And More: Tokyo National MuseumTake the heart-shaped dogu statues for example. Featuring uniquely shaped faces, the existent examples of dogu have been overwhelmingly female in form, and are thought to have been either fertility figures or objects used in prayers for abundant harvests. From: Arita: The Historic, Traditional And Futuristic Town Of PorcelainThe Asuka period, (538 CE – 710 CE), is known for its significant artistic, social, and political transformations that took place in the late Kofun period, but were mainly impacted by the arrival and influence of Buddhism and Chinese culture from East Asia. According to historical records, this is also the period wherein the name of the country changed from Wa to Nihon.One of the major imports from China aside from Buddhism, was pottery, which quickly became a status symbol and began production in what is now Saga prefecture. Society became based on clans and was ruled overall by the Emperor of Japan whose capital was in Yamato province, now known as Nara. This was also the period wherein the Fujiwara family, who would have great influence over Japanese politics for the next few centuries came about.There is also a famous kofun from the Asuka period in Nara, the Ishibutai Kofun which is located within the Asuka Historical National Government Park in Asuka village. It is believed that it is the tomb of Soga no Umako, a politician and influential leader in regards to Buddhism and its spread in Japan. Read more about it on our article on sightseeing in Nara.Nara (710 CE – 794 CE) If you are in the Tokyo area and want to see a kofun for yourself, then head to the Saitama Kofun Park.Asuka (538 CE – 710 CE)
31 December, New Year’s Eve. In Japan, on the last day of the year, there is a custom to eat “Toshikoshi-Soba”. So what is “Toshikoshi-Soba” like?It doesn’t mean that there is a dish called “Toshikoshi-Soba”. We call the normal Soba noodles “Toshikoshi-Soba” when we eat them on the night of New Year’s Eve.Photo by Karl BaronWhy do people in Japan eat Soba noodles on the last night of the year?Actually, the reason and origin are not clear.The generally known theory is that people eat Toshikoshi-Soba to wish they can live thin (frugally) but long just like Soba noodles in the coming year.In addition, as Soba noodles easily fall apart, people eat them to wish they can cut off misfortunes in the previous year. Photo by Yoshihiro HIRANOThere are various ways to eat Toshikoshi-Soba depending on the family. Some have early dinner and then eat Toshikoshi-Soba in the mid-night, when counting down for a new year; others eat Toshikoshi-Soba for dinner.There are variations of Soba noodles as well: Warm Soba with a shrimp tempura, cold Soba and so on. Moreover, in some regions, it seems that people eat them on New Year’s Day. Quite a few Soba shops are usually very busy with outside catering. Some shops just cook for customers who reserved noodles in advance.Recently though, it is in fashion for younger people to have pasta or ramen on New Year’s Eve.Some people who live by themselves just have instant noodles.Udon lovers sometimes choose to have Udon, not Soba. It’s true that Udon noodles are thin and long anyway. Even if people today eat different kinds of noodles for New Year’s Eve, there is no change in the custom that people wish for something by eating thin and long noodles.For this year’s Toshikoshi-Soba, where and with whom do you eat noodles?We wish you a Happy New Year.
The end of September, during Silver Week, is a little early for the autumn foliage to be out. However, you can enjoy the wonderful colors in the north, where temperatures drop quickly on higher ground. Mt. Daisetsu is said to have the earliest autumn foliage in the country, and it can be seen from mid-September until early October. Take the ropeway halfway up, then a seven-minute lift ride will get you to the top. If you’re confident in your level of stamina or physical fitness, you can also walk to the summit to enjoy the amazing view.Enjoy the Season Along With An Onsen Bath (Shin-Hotaka, Gifu) Since many people will be leaving Tokyo for their hometowns, metropolitan routes headed for the countryside will be crowded for the first half of Silver Week, and countryside routes bound for cities will be crowded for the latter half. Be aware of this pattern and you might be able to avoid some traffic when you’re traveling.In addition, there is data which states that traffic on the final day of Silver Week and other such long holidays is comparatively less congested. Perhaps there are a lot of people who want to relax on their last vacation day, or have to get ready for the following day of work.The Best Destinations During Silver WeekThe Earliest Autumn Foliage in Japan (Mt. Daisetsu, Hokkaido) Silver Week is thought of as a time for people who live in Japan to go back to their hometowns or go traveling. Roads, trains, airports and sightseeing areas will be unusually busy, so you’ll need to plan cautiously when making your itinerary.No matter what form of transportation you use during Silver Week, you’re bound to encounter crowds. If you get trapped in a traffic jam while taking a car or bus, you run the risk of losing a day of travel time. It’s more likely that you will be able to stick to your schedule by taking trains, but it’s very possible that you’ll tire yourself out just commuting, as the trains will be packed and you’ll almost definitely have to stand. If you want to save time and avoid the Silver Week crush, pay for a reserved seat on a train or go by plane. Having said that, it’s a popular time for travel, which means that prices will be inflated, so make reservations early. Silver Week is a string of consecutive holidays which may occur in autumn depending on that year’s alignment of national holidays. During Silver Week, public transportation is very crowded, which can have an effect on your trip. This article will talk about the schedule of Silver Week, how to avoid the rush, and some places to enjoy autumn travels. For information about Golden Week, which occurs in the spring, please read this article.Silver Week doesn’t necessarily happen every year. There are two national holidays in September, and if they line up correctly, it results in Silver Week. Those two national holidays are “Respect For The Aged Day,” which happens on the 3rd Monday of the month, and “Autumnal Equinox Day,” (*1) which occurs around September 23rd.Since normal weekdays which are sandwiched between national holidays become citizens’ holidays, any weekday that falls between Respect For The Aged Day and Autumnal Equinox Day becomes a holiday. For example, if Respect For The Aged Day is on Monday, and Autumnal Equinox Day is on Wednesday, the Tuesday in-between becomes a citizens’ holiday. This results in a Silver Week five-day holiday, including Saturday and Sunday.The most recent Silver Week was in 2015, but it had actually been six years since the last time it properly occurred. The next Silver Week will happen a decade from now, in 2026. After that, the next Silver Weeks will happen in 2032 and 2037.*1: The date of Autumnal Equinox Day, when the daytime and nighttime are equal in length, is decided by the National Astronomical Observatory. It is a day to celebrate the fall harvest, and also serves as a day to venerate ancestors.Important Points About Silver Week When is Silver Week? The Nezu Jinja Reitaisai is a historic festival at Nezu Shrine that sees 30,000 attendees a year. At the festival, you can see traditional “mai” dances, as well as mikoshi (portable decorated shrines which are carried around). Street stalls line the festival’s spacious grounds, and you can really enjoy the bustling atmosphere around you. The time of Silver Week has wonderful weather and food, and it’s the perfect season for traveling. Take the unique travel situations of consecutive holiday periods into account when you plan your trip, in order to make the best of your time in Japan.Recommended articlesJapanese Encyclopedia: Golden WeekThe ATMs Are Closed?! Facts About Japanese Long HolidaysAutumn Activities, Weather And Clothing In JapanTraveling by Bus is Now Even Easier: New Bus Terminal “Busta Shinjuku” The Shin-Hotaka Ropeway is famed as a place where visitors can look down at the autumn foliage that shrouds the overlapping mountains. We recommend taking a dip in the open air bath at the waystation on the ropeway, so you can relax and gaze out at the mountains.A round trip fare for the ropeway (2900 yen), a ticket for food and drink (2900 yen) and a pass to the open air bath (600 yen) can all be yours if you buy a “Refreshing Pack” for 3900 yen, which is quite a bargain.One of Edo’s Three Great Festivals: Nezu Jinja Reitaisai (Tokyo)
I borrowed the COUPY pencils and POSCA markers (*2) that I used to use when I was a child. The blue sheet under everything in the photo above is a place mat that you can draw or write on.*2 Both are popular items from famous stationery brands in Japan.There were many illustrations by visitors in the sketchbook. Good drawings, right?This is the “one lined” writing table.ssYou can see the stationery used by person sitting next to you, so you could start a new conversation by asking them about their favorite stationery. There are regular tables as well, of course.If you want to sit down and read, there are books on the theme of stationery here as well, such as the Mannenhitsu Chronicle (Fountain Pen Chronicle) and other novels and magazines.Other Attractive Things at Bunbōgu CafeThere are other spaces where the walls are made from white board that have been labeled “Members Only” (*4), and calendars with upcoming events and seminars posted on them too. Both wi-fi and wireless cable are available in the cafe too, so this is a great place for meetings.Although computers and tablets have become a part of daily life, there is still something about analog stationery that appeals to people. Why not head to Bunbōgu Cafe and rediscover your love of writing and drawing?*4 Membership costs 700 yen; please visit their website for more details.InformationBunbōgu CafeAddress: Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingūmae 4-8-1, Uchida building B1FHours: 10:00-23:30Nearest Station: Omotesandō Station (表参道駅), Tokyo Metro Hanzomon/Ginza/Chiyoda linesAccess: 4 minute walk from A2 exit of Omotesandō StationPhone Number: 03-3470-6420Website: Bunbōgu Cafe (Japanese only) Fans of stationery know that the range of Japanese stationery available is unbelievable. There is even a cafe dedicated to the love of these fantastic daily goods: the Bunbōgu Cafe in Omotesandō. The concept of this cafe is: “when someone finds the perfect stationery, great new things can happen.”What is Bunbōgu Cafe?The Bunbōgu Cafe is a place where you can look at, try out and even read books about stationery, though of course, it is a cafe first and foremost. Since many stationery-lovers visit there, you might even find yourself making new friends over shared favorites.This is the entrance. Be careful or you might miss it!Let’s take a look inside!Stationery Recommended by StaffDownstairs you will find the neatly arranged stationery shop, where everything from standard notebooks and pens to truly unique and unexpected goods can be found.Some paper labels sold here are in shape of glasses and mustaches, which are sure to make you smile and are my favorite SUGAI WORLD and midori corporation products.These memo pads look like real tofu and they are called Tofu 1-kyō Memo (Momen ver./Kinugoshi ver.)(*1), which make people look twice when they see them on your desk.*1 Momen/Kinugoshi: the firm and soft texture types of tofu.The photo above shows a handmade car-shaped case which is perfect for storing paper labels, clips or other small items.The Menu is Very Unique TooEvery day they only sell twenty Bunbōgu parfaits, so if you want to try one, you better get their early!Many Surprises for Stationery Lovers!
Toyama is located in the Hokuriku Region of Japan. It’s a beautiful city that boasts delicious seafood from the Toyama Bay, natural surroundings, and a view of the Tateyama Mountain Range. The Hokuriku Shinkansen opened in 2015, making traveling between the city and Tokyo possible in just around two hours.Today, we’ll be introducing a Starbucks location well-known for its elegant design. Starbucks Coffee Toyama Kansui Park is just a 15-minute walk from JR Toyama Station.First we’ll be explaining how to get there. After exiting JR Toyama Station’s north exit, you’ll see the platform of the Toyama Light Rail. Pass right by it and continue straight until you find the entrance to Fugan Canal Kansui Park.Fugan Canal Kansui ParkFugan Canal Kansui Park is a 9.7-hectare waterside park. Walking further into the park, you’ll see the Starbucks in the distance. The store has a unique modern-design elegant-colored exterior. Starbucks has specially-designed stores called concept stores like the Kobe Kitano Ijinkan Starbucks. This one in Toyama is also one of these.Starbucks Coffee Toyama Kansui ParkThe store is filled with sunlight thanks to its many glass windows.This is the store from the other side. You might enjoy spending some time on the terrace seats in the warmer seasons.Now let’s go inside.The sofas and tables are all done in warm colors, such as brown or red-orange.Look up at the ceiling and you’ll find that the building uses a lot of wood to add to the warm feel.You don’t have to sit at a window seat to be able to enjoy the view of the canal and Tenmonkyo Bridge.Photo by Starbucks Coffee JapanA warm Starbuck Latte (tall, 370 yen before tax) and a chocolate chunk scone (230 yen before tax) are perfect for the cold Hokuriku winter. The melted chocolate of a warmed-up scone is really something. Now let’s have a look at those terrace seats.There’s a pedestrian walkway within the park where many locals come to walk their dogs. That might be why you can find this in a corner of the terrace area.The park’s iconic Tenmonkyo Bridge has observation towers on either end and between these towers is a 58-meter long “red yarn phone (akai ito denwa)”. You can use this phone to speak to someone on the other side through the yarn. It’s a fun attraction for families and couples alike (not available during the winter season from December to March).This is the view from atop an observation tower. The snow-covered Tateyama Mountain Range can be seen in the distance.Visitors can ride a cruise ship called the Fugan Suijo Line from April to November. You’ll see many cute birds and ducks like these walking along the canal. Many migratory birds can be found in the Hokuriku Region. A stroll around the park will allow you to hear not only the chirps of birds, but also cicadas crying in the summer and the sounds of small insects and other creatures in the fall.Of the several Starbucks Coffee concept stores, there aren’t many that can be found in the middle of a central park fitting in perfectly with its natural surroundings. The store is within walking distance from JR Toyama Station, so we recommend stopping by.InformationStarbucks Coffee Toyama Kansui ParkAddress: Toyama, Toyama, Minatoirifunecho 5, Toyama Fugan Canal Kansui ParkHours: 8:00-22:30Closed: IrregularWi-Fi: YesCredit Cards: Accepts most credit cardsMenus in Other Languages: EnglishNearest Station: Toyama Station (JR Takayama Main, JR Hokuriku Main, Ainokaze Toyama Railway Lines), or Intekku Honsha-mae Station (Toyama Light Rail Line )Access: 15-minute walk from Toyama Station or 10-minute walk from Intekku Honsha-mae StationPrice Range: 300 yen – 1000 yenPhone Number: +81-76-439-2630Website: Starbucks Coffee Japan Toyama Kansui Park