Japanese Encyclopedia Tenmangu

first_imgTenmangu Shrines refer to a type of shrine that worships Michizane Sugawara, a nobleman from the 9th century. There are more than 12,000 Tenmangu shrines over the whole of Japan. Japanese people refer to these places of worship affectionately as Tenman sama or Tenman-san. In Japan, “sama” and “san” are honorific suffixes that show respect to the object or individual. “Sama” is very polite, whereas the “san” suffix is less formal, indicating a sense of closeness.Tenmangu Shrines are Extremely Popular with Students About to Take ExamsMichizane Sugawara was not a gifted political figure, but he was a fine scholar, which meant that he became more widely known as the God of LearningThe three shrines Hofu-Tenmangu (Hofu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture), Dazaifu-Tenmangu (Dazai City, Fukuoka Prefecture) and Kitano-Tenmangu (Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City) are known as the Three Great Tenjin Shrines of Japan (日本三天神, Nihon San Tenjin). They are visited by many students, particularly over the spring exam season, in the hope of securing a good exam result.Source: 学問の神様が祀られている東京の「湯島天神」に行こう!(Japanese)Every Tenmangu shrine has a statue of a cow, which is said to be the messenger of Michizane Sugawara. Visitors to the shrine believe that rubbing ailing areas on one’s own body first, then rubbing the exact same spots on the statue, will subsequently cause it to heal. It is also believed that rubbing the cows head will make you smarter, so it is very popular with students awaiting their exams. This practice is called “Nade-ushi”, which is an abbreviation of the words “rub” (naderu) and “cow” (ushi).Have a Blast at Osaka’s Tenjin FestivalFrom times of old, the Osaka Tenmangu Shrine (Kita district, Osaka city), abbreviated to “tenma no Tenjin san” by the locals, is famous for its festival.The Tenma Festival takes place yearly from July 24th to 25th, coming alive with over one million visitors every year. It boasts more than 1,000 years of history, and is also one of the three major summer festivals in Osaka. The omikoshi (portable shrine) is placed in the nearby shopping arcade, the Yodogawa river is full of boats, and there are a huge amount of food stalls dotted about the area. The climax has to be when the fireworks light up the night sky.With the sounds of the percussion-based festival band, which the Japanese people describe using the onomatopoeic expression “Konkon-Chikichiki”, it makes people feel that summer has truly arrived.last_img read more

Shopping in Asakusa NATSUNO for Cool Souvenirs

first_imgI like this skull that has Kaminarimon on its head.These are tumblers with elaborate and strong designs. People who love monsters and Japanese styles cannot help buying them.There are many accessories with skull motifs.With glittery stones and gentle colour,  Japanese ornamental hairpin “Kanzashi” have a rock and roll look.Besides, they also display bracelets with healing stones, stuffed bears, and glass ware.This shop has a good range of “Cool” products that meet your need of Japaneseness.The plant-figure is also cute! Check it out! Cool Japanese Fashionable Goods!You can see a big lantern ghost at the corner of Asakusa’s Hoppy Street. Thanks to him, many artists seem to start shops in Asakusa.Created by More Than 10 ArtistsAs soon as you enter this shop, you will meet a golden dragon.Of course, you can buy the towels on the wall as well.One-eyed monsters in pop color are located at the central shelf in this shop.”Fortune CAT” and “Fortune DARUMA” are displayed. Make sure to take a careful look at the DARUMAs, they are in polka dots!The shop is packed with other interesting goods.For example, you can stand out if you wear a showy T-shirt printed with a big character.center_img At this Edo (Old Tokyo) style gift shop, “Asakusa NATSUNO(浅草なつの)”, You can buy unique souvenirs which has “Japanese style” and “Asakusa” motifs. The main creator is Mr.Takumi Iwase, who created the poster characters “The lantern monster” and “Asakusa Ponta” of this shop. And there are more. There are many artistic post-cards created by illustrators. They express all aspects of “Japan”. You will be attracted to these.The concept of “Asakusa NATSUNO” is that “You cannot buy its products elsewhere but here.”How about discovering some extremely cool Japanese goods?InformationEdo-Style gift shop “Asakusa NATSUNO”Address:Asakusa 2-5-12,Taito-ku,TokyoTelephone number:03-6795-1472Opening hours:10:00a.m.~7:00p.m.(No scheduled holidays)Twitter:https://twitter.com/asakusanatsunolast_img read more

Just One Try and Youre Hooked What is an Internet Cafe

first_imgYou can read as many mangas as you like. This is great because…need I say more?There are stores with a wide range of weekly and monthly mangas, magazines, and even photo books. At 「メディアカフェ ポパイ (Media Cafe POPEYE)」, the internet cafe which the writer visited for this article, they have over 40,000 mangas in stock. This is the ultimate place for individuals who want to read multiple mangas, or for those who just want to lay back on a comfy chair and read until one’s heart’s content.3. “All-you-can-drink” Drink Service Internet cafes have a lot of 「~し放題!(“all-you-can-___”)」services, and this applies to drinks as well.From coffee, tea, frizzy drinks, to soup, a wide range of beverages are available. Furthermore, the stores have vending machines that sell precooked meals (additional charge), cup noodles, and snacks.4. 24 Hour ServiceMost internet cafes are open 24/7. You can enter the cafe any time of the day as long as there is an empty stall or room available. This is great for people who missed the last train and can’t get home, or for those looking for a place to spend the night, but don’t have enough money on them for a hotel room.5. Cheap FeeAll-you-can use internet service, all-you-can-read manga service, and all-you-can-drink drink service…you probably expect a hefty bill, right? Wrong. You can do so many things at an internet cafe, but the most appealing factor is it’s cheap price.”Business hotels” are known to be inexpensive, but one night stay will cost around 5000 yen, in comparison to the 2000 yen if you spend a night at a ne-cafe.(*1)While the exact price varies depending on the size and “rank” of your stall/room, you can reside in a stall/room for 400 yen per hour. Some internet cafes have a variety of discount services including an “all-inclusive price (パック料金)” which is useful when you want to take a short break or even when you’re looking for a long resting place at a cheap price.(*1)The exact price varies depending on the internet cafe, weekday/weekend, availability of stalls, etc.So, what do you think? Do you see yourself becoming a regular customer? It may take a bit of courage to enter a ne-cafe the first time. But take that first step, and enjoy the services at a ne-cafe to it’s full extent.InformationLook for the banner shown below to find an internet cafe in Japan. When you walk around a Japanese town, you will notice that there’s a lot of signs that read “ネットカフェ (net cafe/internet cafe)”. They’re actually a very common sight in Japan. However, would you be able to explain what an internet cafe is? Some of you may not be so familiar, or may not be able to give a detailed explanation. If so, you’ve come to the right place.What is an Internet Cafe?An internet cafe is often referred to as a “ネカフェ (ne-cafe)”.Internet cafes are often found in buildings with multiple shops and stores.You can’t peer inside the cafe from the outside, so it’s very hard to imagine what the atmosphere of the cafe is like. That explains why a friend of the writer described internet cafes as “slightly dodgy”.However, did you know that the people who have actually been to an internet cafe tend to become regular customers?Why are internet cafes so appealing, you ask?Here’s some basic information for those who’ll be going to an internet cafe for the first time.1. “All-you-can-use” Internet Service(Image source: internet cafe POPEYE official website http://www.media-cafe.ne.jp/)As the name “internet cafe” suggests, you can use the internet as much as you like. The majority of these stores have popular online games installed in their computers, so it’s common for people to go to ne-cafes just to play online games.2. “All-you-can-read” Manga Servicecenter_img Here are the details for the internet cafe that  the writer visited for this article:メディアカフェポパイ天王寺店 (Media Cafe POPEYE Tennoji Branch)Address:4th floor AIT Building 2-1-29 Abenosuji Abeno-ku, Osaka-shi (大阪市阿倍野区阿倍野筋2-1-29 AITビル4階)Service hour: 24 hour serviceClosed days: noneWi-Fi: AvailableCredit card service: Available (Edy)Station: JR Line “Tennoji Station” (JR線「天王寺駅」)Access: 3 minute walk from JR Line “Tennoji Station” Exit No.13 (JR「天王寺駅」13番出口) 3 minute walk from Kintetsu Line “Abenobashi Station” Exit No.1 (近鉄線「阿部野橋駅」1番出口) 3 minute walk from Tanimachi Line and Midosuji Line “Tennoji Station” Exit No.9 (大阪市営地下鉄谷町線、御堂筋線「天王寺駅」9番出口)TEL:06-6625-7220Official website: http://www.media-cafe.ne.jp/last_img read more

Archery In A Volcanic Crater The Unique Charm Of Mount Omuro Izu

first_imgMount Omuro, or Omuro-yama as it is called in Japanese, is a 580-meter high volcanic cone situated on the eastern side of the Izu Peninsula. Formed about 5,000 years ago, it has been revered as a holy mountain by the people of the Izu Peninsula. They believe that the mountain brings safety for their ships and a good haul of fish. In the center of the mountain there is a large crater. There is a hiking trail around it and the visitors can enjoy a thrilling hike.In this article, we will be introducing some of the charming points of Mount Omuro and tips on how you can enjoy climbing it.The Walking Trail and Panoramic View from Mount Omuro One of the ways to climb to the summit is to take the paved path. The subtle breeze and the beautiful views will have a relaxing effect upon the hikers making them forget about the hustle and bustle of the city.You can enjoy a pleasant walk around the mountain summit, which offers clear views of the ocean, of the surrounding green hills and of the blue peaks that go on as far as you can see. The crater is around 300 meters in diameter and the path along its edge is offers breathtaking panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see the Izu Islands, Hakone, Mt. Fuji and the resort town of Izu-Kogen. How does the thought of doing archery within a volcano sound? Believe it or not, at Mount Omuro this unique experience is possible! Inside the crater of the mountain, archery butts have been set up and a small office rents bows and arrows (approximately 1000 yen per hour for access and rental). Visitors who seek adventure will surely love this activity. One of the highlights of visiting Mt. Omuro is the thrill of standing at the center of the volcanic mountain and doing archery.At the foot of the mountain, there is a park called ‘Sakura-no-sato’. There are over 3000 cherry trees of 35 different varieties, which bloom from September to April. It is accessible by bus from the Ito or Izu Kogen stations.How to Get to Mount OmuroMount Omuro can be reached by bus from Ito Station (35 minutes) or from Izu Kogen Station (15 minutes). From the station, take the Tokai bus and get off at “Shaboten Koen” bus stop. It is located in Ito City in Shizuoka Prefecture, less than three hours from Tokyo by local train.When you visit Izu, do enjoy a hike on Mount Omuro and take in the beautiful sights from above!You May Also LikeJogasaki Coast In Izu – Amazing Views Along The Pacific CoastFarm Stay In Shizuoka – Enjoy Local Hospitality And Beautiful SightsShizuoka: An Economical Two Day Gourmet Tour Of The Izu PeninsulaA Memorable Excursion By Steam Locomotive Along Oigawa River, ShizuokaDonguri Republic: Find Charming Studio Ghibli Character-Themed Goods! In the summer, it is yellow and green, because of the fresh leaves, in autumn it is covered with light yellow pampas grass and in winter it is completely white. What a view!Using the Chair Lift to Reach the Summitcenter_img Every year, on the second Sunday in February, the vegetation is burned off the mountainside. As a result of this practice, the distinctive cone shape of Mount Omuro will come into view. It is fascinating to witness this event. This practice of burning the grass is called “Yamayaki”.The tradition has started as a practice to clean the mountain by burning out old grass and insects that could damage the vegetation and the farms. It is also a way to ensure the growth of new grass. In early spring, the mountain becomes black because of the Yamayaki. This traditional event has been held for more than 700 years. A large number of international visitors and locals gather to see this event at the light of the torches.Enjoy Archery within the Crater of the Volcano! The summit cannot be reached by foot, so there is a chair lift service. Visitors can take the chair lift up the mountain which costs about 500 yen for a round-trip. One can enjoy an unobstructed 360-degree panorama with a view stretching as far as Fuji-Hakone and the Izu Islands. By taking the chair lift you’ll reach the summit in 5 minutes. Please note that ticket sales stop 15 minutes before closing.The chair lift ride is fun in itself. When you descend, you will have an expansive view in front of you. The sight of the large golf courses and of the greenery all around will make your heart pound at the vastness of the mountain. You don’t need to worry if you are afraid of heights, as the slope is always close to your feet. The slope of the crater is very gentle.Yamayaki Event at Mount Omuro The slopes of the mountain are covered with grass which makes it look like a soft pillow. The mountain changes its colors every season and it’s exciting to look at it from afar.last_img read more

CANAL CAFE – A Restaurant With A View In Kagurazaka Tokyo

first_imgOn the Deck Side, you can enjoy drinks on a boat.Let the staff at the counter know if you wish to ride the boat. You can go on a three-person boat for 40 minutes for 1,000 yen. The canal along CANAL CAFÉ is safe, even for beginners, thanks to the gentle currents.Quietly Enjoy the River View on the Restaurant Side! A trip to Tokyo usually includes famous spots, like Shinjuku and Shibuya. However, the crowds in these areas may tire you out.When that happens, we suggest relaxing at CANAL CAFE in Kagurazaka. The neighborhood, even now, has traces of what it was like during the Edo period.Here you can take in the stunning waterside view and enjoy tea time on a boat within just a minute away from Tokyo Metro Iidabashi Station.The restaurant has an elegant atmosphere while offering reasonably-priced food, desserts, and drinks. This makes it ideal for all types of situations, whether you’re with family and friends, on a date with your significant other, or by yourself.A Cafe on the Outer Canal of the Imperial Palace CANAL CAFE – A Cafe with a View in Kagurazaka, Tokyo When you go through the entrance, you will find a hall. The right hand side is the Deck Side where you can enjoy drinks and a light meal outside. The left hand side is the Restaurant Side, where you can enjoy the waterfront from inside or out on the terrace.Have Teatime Outside on the Deck Side! At the Deck Side, you can’t miss out on trying these Japanese menu items. They are the Original Sakura Tea (500 yen including tax) and the Sakura Italian Gelato (390 yen including tax), made with cherry blossom petals, high quality Darjeeling tea leaves, and cherry flavoring.If you want to have lunch, then you can also order dishes such as pizza or taco rice, an Okinawan dish where taco ingredients are put on top of rice.Have Tea While on a Boat! If you’re on the Deck Side, first place your order at the counter. Noren Kagurazaka – Cute Japanese Items You’ll Want To Take Home! Picture courtesy of CANAL CAFEOpen next to CANAL CAFE is CANAL CAFE Boutique, where you can purchase adorable desserts and enjoy yourself at a cafe. There are many photogenic sweets, so be sure to stop in! Canal Cafe View Informationcaferestaurant Picture courtesy of CANAL CAFE (only the top left picture is taken by MATCHA)In addition to the pizza above, you can enjoy an extensive Italian menu consisting of various kinds of appetizers, pasta, all sorts of pizzas, salads, and cake.English-speaking staff are always present at the restaurant. Chinese-speaking staff are sometimes working. If you have any requests, such as creating a vegetarian-friendly option or questions about allergens, let the restaurant know at the time of your reservation or when ordering.Enjoy All of Tokyo’s Seasons Sorrentina (2,160 yen including tax) is a CANAL CAFE original pizza and is especially recommended.The flavors of the pizza weave together seamlessly, with the springy, brick-oven-baked pizza dough, rich flavor of the cheese, subtle sweetness of honey, and slight acidity from the lemon. It is a fantastic dish. Terrace seats are set up to be close to the water, letting customers appreciate the spectacular view of the canal.Authentic Italian Food! Original Brick-Oven PizzaCANAL CAFE has a health-conscious menu with dishes using with organic vegetables from trusted farmers in Japan. Kagurazaka Stroll – 12 Places You Should Drop Into The appeal of the Deck Side is that you can enjoy tea while being cooled by the refreshing breeze. Look to the river, and you’ll see koi fish (carp), ducks, kingfishers, white herons, and other birds.Complete with Desserts! Picture courtesy of CANAL CAFEMs. Yuko Hanyu, the owner of CANAL CAFE, told us, “CANAL CAFE’s theme is coexistence with nature.”From late March to early April, the cherry blossoms growing by the canal dye the waterside with pink. In June, fireflies begin to flutter about above the canal. You can also enjoy an event called “Hawaiian Night” in August.During winter, tulips bloom early in the flower beds by the riverside, colorfully decorating the water. In the evening, illuminations beautifully light up the canal.Along with being able to enjoy these seasonal changes, the gorgeous sunset here is another charm of CANAL CAFE.CANAL CAFE is also involved in cleanup efforts for the canal to help protect the beautiful canal scenery.Tokyo’s First Boat DockCANAL CAFE is actually where the first boat dock was built in Tokyo.Ms. Hanyu’s grandfather thought that “boats are helpful in training the body to improve the skeletal framework of a Japanese person.” In 1918, he gave away all of his properties to establish this boat dock in the area.The restaurant and café were established on the dock since 1996. Following its establishment, the cafe has now become a place that calms the hearts of both Japanese people and international visitors as one of the most popular restaurants in Kagurazaka.Cute Sweets at CANAL CAFE Boutique From the terrace, you can enjoy your food and drinks while feeling the wind crossing the river. Read also Central Tokyo is surrounded by a canal that used to protect Edo Castle (which is now the Imperial Palace). Kagurazaka’s CANAL CAFE is located along the outer canal.Take Exit B2A from Tokyo Metro Iidabashi Station, then cross the pedestrian crosswalk in front of you. You’ll immediately see the entrance to CANAL CAFE. Picture courtesy of CANAL CAFEIf you want to take in the view peacefully from inside the restaurant or on the terrace, head to the Restaurant Side. Inside, you can enjoy the outdoor scenery from the wide glass windows. 9 Exciting Things To Do In Shinjuku From Morning To Nightlast_img read more

【COMIKET】3 Things to prepare for Comiket in Winter

first_imgThe summer COMIKET is right there, but once the summer is gone, the winter COMIKET is gonna come soon as well for Otaku. It’s only four months ahead until the winter Komike. To fully enjoy it, we are going to introduce three things that help you feel warm and comfortable at the venue.■ 【COMIKET】Are you ready? 10 Summer Comiket Must-havesWear A Thin Jacket That is Resistant to WindIt is important to be warm enough when you are waiting outside of the gate, but you will be sweating once you get to inside. I would recommend you to wear a thin but warm jacket that is resistant to wind and rain and easily kept in your backpack or something so you don’t have to be bothered by carrying a heavy jacket whole time in the crowd. Also, a muffler and groves help to keep you warm.Bring Disposable Body WarmerIt makes your body feel pretty warm if you attach them on your back or belly. After 10 minutes or so once you open the bag, the body warmer gets pretty warm and it keeps your phalanges from getting cold. The heat will last for several hours.Newspaper When Sitting Outside the GateUnless you bring a mobile chair, you will be sitting on the ground when you are waiting. The concrete on the ground will dissipate your body heat from the bottom. However, a piece of newspaper will be your saver if you bring one. Spreading a piece of newspaper on the concrete ground will help your body to keep the cold away from the ground.It’s always good to overdo preparation in the winter because the weather is harsh. What’s more, if you are planning to wait at the west hall gate, you should be aware that there is a cold wind from the ocean, which makes it colder than waiting at the east hall gate. So don’t forget to bring these three items!InformationComic Market 87(C87)Date:2014, Dec 28(Sun) ~ 30(Tue)Hour:Circles booths 10:00am~4:00pm, Company booths 10:00am~5:00pm(the last day closed at 4:00pm)、Cosplay 10:00am~4:00pm(the last day until 3:00pm)Site:Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight)Address:3−11−1 Ariake, Eto-ku, TokyoStations:Yurikamome, Kokusai tenjijyo seimonmae staion「国際展示場正門駅」Rinkai line, Kokusai tenjijyo station 「国際展示場駅」Access:Walk 3 min from Kokusai tenjijyo seimonmae stain, Yurikamome, or walk 7 min from Kokusai tenjijyo station, Rinkai line.Official HP:http://www.comiket.co.jp/last_img read more

Japanese Encyclopedia Irori

first_imgImage from IRORI Nihonbashi Hostel And Kitchen – The Guesthouse With An IroriAn irori (fireplace) is typically a heating tool used mainly in the farmers’ houses. A square opening is cut in the floor and ash, firewood and coal are placed there to heat up the room.It used to be placed in the center of the room, so during dinner time the family would sit around the fireplace and enjoy gathering together.5-in-1!? Great Uses for the FireplaceThe fireplace isn’t used just to heat up the room. This one area of the room was also used for cooking, lighting, drying clothes, and it even helped ensuring the durability of the house.For example, cooking. By putting fish on skewers, and placing them in the fireplace, you can have grilled fish.Also, as seen in the picture above, if you hang a pole from the ceiling, you can place a pot at the end of the pole which allows you to cook soups, boil water and make different boiled dishes. By the way, the pole hanging from the ceiling is called a jizaikagi (pothook).Next is lighting. In the past, when there wasn’t electricity, fire was an invaluable source of light. It seems that women used to do needlework by the light of the fire at night.The fireplace also took the place of the modern day dryer. When clothes got wet in the rain, they were placed around the fire to dry.Probably the most unexpected role of the irori is that of improving the durability of the house. During old times, people used to live mainly in wooden houses. The heat that would come out of fireplace and into the surrounding atmosphere would draw the moisture out of the wood, which would help keep the wood from rotting. It also helped to keep bugs out.Facilities Where You Can Enjoy the Warmth of a Japanese FireplaceCurrently, there are very few houses that actually use a Japanese fireplace. Despite that though, there are still some old farming houses, old Japanese-style houses, hotels that are remodeled old Japanese-style houses, cafes, and restaurants where foreign visitors can go and experience this fireplace.In the past, MATCHA has introduced several facilities where you can see irori fireplaces.There is, for instance, the IRORI Nihonbashi Hostel and Kitchen, a guesthouse with a fireplace, and Hidefurukawa Satoyama Office, which is housed in a renovated old Japanaese home.Those interested in Japanese spaces and culture can learn more about facilities with Japanese fireplaces through the MATCHA articles.last_img read more

The Wonderful World of Japanese Tea

first_imgSimilarities and Differences Amongst Different Types of Japanese TeaMany products in Japan include the word “-cha” (tea) in their names, and yet nowadays, there are few Japanese people who can actually explain the differences between different types of Japanese tea.For instance, while some beverages are called “cha,” they may not be made from traditional tea leaves. Sometimes you might pick up a drink labelled “cha” thinking that it might be Japanese tea, but once you take a sip you might find that it is a completely different drink.This article will explain the different types of Japanese tea available. Use this information to help you pick your drink of choice when you are at a Japanese convenience store or grocery store!Green Tea: The Ambassador of Japanese TeaSenchaThe most commonly known type of Japanese tea is green tea. Japanese green tea is made by heat processing the tea leaves to prevent them from fermenting. While Japanese green tea is typically made from the same type of tea leaves as black tea, their flavors differ greatly due to how much they have fermented.Sencha, is the most common type of Japanese green tea. Freshly harvested leaves are steamed and roasted to minimize fermentation.Gyokuro green tea, is a similar to sencha. Its main difference is that the tea buds are grown in the shade to develop a rich flavor with less bitterness.MatchaMatcha is made by drying tea leaves, then grinding them into a fine powder with a mill. Unlike other types of tea, matcha does not become translucent when brewed. Matcha preserves the refreshing flavor of the tea leaves, and is traditionally used in tea ceremonies.HojichaHojicha is made by roasting green tea leaves at high temperatures to bring out a rich, roasted aroma. Because the roasting process removes most of the caffeine from the tea, hojicha has a clean flavor, absent of bitterness.GenmaichaGenmaicha is made of a combination of green tea and brown rice that has been soaked in water, steamed, and roasted. This type of tea is favored for the roasted flavor of the brown rice. It also has a lower caffeine content, because it does not contain much tea leaves.Tea That Doesn’t Use Tea LeavesMugichaAs mentioned before, there are types of tea that are called “cha”, even though they do not use tea leaves. The most common type of this non-tea is mugicha.Mugicha is made from roasted barley seeds. Unlike the previous types of teas introduced in this article, mugicha is not a type of green tea, as it does not contain tea leaves. It has no caffeine, and is commonly drank as a cold beverage in the summer.KombuchaKombucha is made from kombu, a type of seaweed, also known as kelp. The tea is made by simply adding hot water to dried kombu, which has either been sliced into strips, or ground into powder.  Some kombucha have been lightly salted to bring out the flavor, while others have been mixed with rice cracker bits or gyokuro green tea to enhance the aroma. One popular form is ume-kombucha, which contains pieces of dried ume, or Japanese plum. Kombucha has a slightly salty taste.Now That You’ve Mastered the Basics of Japanese Tea…This article focused on the basic types of Japanese teas. In Japan, teas are often chosen according to the season and setting.Recently, there are also many teas that are blends of multiple varieties, or mixed with other herbs. Some tea enthusiasts even choose their teas according to where the leaves have been produced.Now that you are familiar with the basics of Japanese tea, you can delve deeper into the vast world of Japanese tea!last_img read more

A New World Through The Green Door Mugimaru 2 In Kagurazaka

first_imgWhile there are rows of beautiful buildings all over Tokyo, areas which retain the appearance of Japan from a bygone era still remain, too. One example is Kagurazaka. This district contains narrow alleys which remain unchanged since a hundred years ago, and vestiges of the pleasure quarters which flourished during the Taishō era (1912-1926) can still be seen in Kagurazaka today.Kagurazaka is home to fascinating shops that cannot be found anywhere else, with stores shaped by the owners’ unique tastes, and tasteful establishments quietly hidden away behind garden paths.We will introduce one eccentric area cafe that expresses the charms of Kagurazaka. Enter the alley at the Kagurazaka-ue intersection and you will soon come across an ivy-covered two-story house; this is Mugimaru 2. The entrance, overrun by greenery, absolutely looks like an entrance to a different world. Just passing through will give your curiosity a jolt.Mugimaru 2 is best known for homemade manjū (sweets made by kneading wheat flour into balls, stuffing them with filling, then steaming them). You can also get orders to go from the adorable window. With a cute window like this, you almost-unconsciously want to order takeout.The Cafe Interior Contains Plenty of Retro AccessoriesThe outside of the window is enveloped in ivy vines. Sunlight passes through the leaves and gently pours into the inside of the cafe. If you visit on a sunny day, the gap between the bright outdoors and the dim interior of the cafe becomes quite prominent, and you feel unexpectedly distant from the outside world.On occasion, the cafe’s pet cat ventures out to greet customers. It comes and goes as it pleases, and may sit next to friendly customers. Stroking a cat while unwinding at a cafe certainly is relaxing.The inside of the cafe contains lighting fixtures, electric fans, shelves and other antique items that cannot be found anywhere else. Apparently the owner found all of these odds and ends at curio markets in Japan and France.One of the pleasures of a visit to this cafe is taking the time to look over the items in the interior.Choose From Nine Fresh, Piping-Hot Manjū VarietiesThe handwritten menu, inlaid with cute illustrations, also has English text to put your mind at ease. The only items on the menu are manjū, which are all 140 yen (before tax).This is the “Deluxe Cold and Delicious Set” (900 yen before tax). We received a set containing vanilla ice cream garnished with azuki beans, a manjū and a glass of cold green tea. You can choose what manjū you would like from the menu.This is the tsubuan in mugwort dough manjū variety. The dough, made of kneaded mugwort, is filled by tsubuan (made by boiling azuki beans and sugar down into a paste, which retains the texture of the beans). The firm, springy texture of the dough shell and the restrained sweetness of the bean paste were quite delicious, and the taste of the simple, homemade manjū softens the heart.Mugimaru 2 also serves Vietnamese coffee, not a common sight at your typical cafe. You consume this strong coffee along with the condensed milk resting at the bottom of the cup, which dissolves as you drink it. We combined this extremely sweet drink with a manjū, and enjoyed the strangely delicious combination. At this cafe, you can enjoy more than just a manjū and a cup of tea; the cafe is a treat for the eyes, too. How about enjoying an instant of calm as you feel the slow passage of time happening around you?Step through the fairy tale-esque green door at Mugimaru 2 and experience its therapeutic atmosphere for yourself. mugimaru2 View Informationcafelast_img read more

Enjoy Okinawa in Tokyo Just 10 Minutes from Shinjuku Station

first_imgAt Ijun you can buy various products made in Okinawa. Though many are food products, like salt from Okinawa (from 500 yen), tofu yo (a fermented tofu dish; 780 yen) and Okinawa soba cup noodles (220 yen), you can also buy Okinawan handicrafts like items made from Ryukyu glass (*1) here.*1 Ryukyu Glass: a traditional handicraft produced in Okinawa that is known for its colorful appearance and for the bubbles in the glass. Okinawa is located in the southernmost point of Japan and is quickly becoming a popular resort area for visitors from overseas.Do you know that there is a place where you can enjoy Okinawa in Tokyo? It is just two stations away from the Keio Shinjuku Station and is called Okinawa Town.Okinawa Town was created on the Suginami Izumi shopping street in March, 2005 as a part of an urban development project. Along this shopping street you can enjoy Okinawa’s food and products in a relaxed atmosphere while still in Tokyo.How to Get to Okinawa TownThe nearest station to Okinawa Town is Daitabashi Station on the Keiō line. It is just two stations away from Shinjuku Station by local train, which takes about six minutes. Please keep in mind though that limited express and express trains do not stop at this station.Head out of the North exit of Daitabashi station and walk along the street for about a minute; you will find yourself on the Koshu Kaido. Then you will need to go over the footbridge like in the picture above.After crossing the footbridge, turn left. You will see the sign for the entrance right there. 沖縄タウン杉並和泉明店街 View Informationshopping_mallRecommended Stores in Okinawa TownThere are many different stores available along this shopping street. Now we will introduce our most recommended ones in this article.Okinawa Goods Store: Ijun We tried the Soki soba (830 yen) this time. There are two choices for the soup base: one is Okinawa Dashi jiru, which is made from bonito and konbu kelp, while the other is Shuri Dashi jiru, which is a broth made from pig bones and dried fish. In addition, you can choose between two types of noodles – wheat flour noodles or their home-made noodles, called Oba no men.We chose the Okinawa dashi jiru and Oba no men this time. The homemade noodles were springy and had a great texture to them, and were a perfect match to the bonito soup.You can also try a set meal which comes with Okinawan soba and Okinawa’s seasoned steamed rice dish, jushi (900 yen). Okinawa Orion beer (500 yen) is also available here. 1-chōme-3-16 Izumi View InformationKatagiri Sake ShopA liquor store, called Katagiri Sake-ten, and found right by the entrance to the shopping street, sells Awamori, an alcohol made from rice produced in Okinawa. Perfect for souvenirs, there are many small bottles of different brands of Awamori and other drinks available in this shop.And this is their special product, Original Awamori (1515 yen), produced in collaboration with Kumesen, a famous Awamori brewery. Awamori in general is a rather strong drink with an alcohol content of about 30%, but this one has been brewed to be 25% proof, making it a bit easier to drink.Tastings of this drink are available if you would like to give it a try. Katagiri Liquor Store View Informationliquor_storestoreAs night falls the atmosphere of this area changes. If you visit Okinawa Town at night there are many different Okinawan-style izakayas to enjoy. For those who wish to head out and enjoy a tropical island but unable to take a vacation, then visiting Okinawa Town is the next best thing.Recommended articlesA Stunning Seaside View And Stellar Okinawan Soba At KunnatoWays To Travel From Tokyo To Okinawa! A Thorough ComparisonThe Beautiful Sunayama Beach on Miyakojima Island, OkinawaCome See the Whale Sharks at the Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa4 Festivals You Should Experience In Kyushu And Okinawa Okinawa’s specialty: Sata andagiSome of Okinawa’s specialty sweets are sata andagi which look like donuts (370 yen), beni imo tarts made from sweet purple potatoes (670 yen), and chinsuko which is like a sweet biscuit (from 300 yen) and other popular products are sold here.Blue Seal ice cream which is known as ice cream “born in the US and raised in Okinawa” is also available here. Please give it a try while exploring this area. いじゅん View InformationstoreSyuri SeimenThis is an Okinawan soba noodle store right next to Ijun. Syuri Seimen is a popular shop where you can eat healthy Okinawan soba; here they are very particular about their ingredients and use only natural, non-artificially enhanced seasonings.Okinawan soba is made from wheat flour rather than buckwheat flour and is a famous local dish. The noodles are cut thicker than standard soba noodles while the soup base is very refreshing and not oily in the slightest.last_img read more

Read Greet and Sleep in a Bookstore BOOK AND BED TOKYO Ikebukuro

first_imgWould you like to meet and talk with other travelers while staying in Tokyo?BOOK AND BED TOKYO is a bookstore-themed hostel located a convenient five minute walk from Ikebukuro station. Known as a “tomareru honya” (“the bookstore you can sleep in”), there are about 1,000 books including manga (comic books) and photo albums you can read while staying at BOOK AND BED TOKYO.During your stay in this fashionable place, you can get to know other travelers, read any books you want, as well as ask the English-speaking staff for any recommended restaurants in the area. You will have a wonderful time chatting with others, reading and finding something new and unique here.Let’s take a closer look at what this hostel is like through pictures!No Curfew! Located in a Convenient Shopping SpotBOOK AND BED TOKYO is on the seventh floor of a building with many izakaya (Japanese bars) and restaurants.Within a five minute walk from the hostel there are plenty of convenience stores, a Matsumoto Kiyoshi drug store, and even a foreign currency exchange center. Even if you forget to pick something up, you won’t have any problems finding it in the area if you stay here.Take the elevator up to the seventh floor then ring the bell on the reception counter.You will be asked to fill out a form at the reception and receive a code in order to enter your room. Check-in time starts from 16:00, however you are free to drop off your luggage at any time, which is really convenient for travelers with multiple bags.And, because there is no curfew, you can go out and come back anytime you want, which allows you to explore the city at night too.A Relaxed Space to Read InPhoto courtesy of BOOK AND BED TOKYOWhen you get inside, the fashionable wooden book shelves and the large comfortable sofas will catch your eye right away!This reading space may be used by non-hostel stay guests from 13:00 to 17:00 for 500 yen (no tax). The hostel also offers free wi-fi, making it easier for you to get the information you need while traveling.There are books in English, such as Doraemon (a long-running Japanese manga series), a bilingual book on ramen (Japanese noodle soup dish) restaurants as selected by an American, and even “Where’s Wally?”. Whether reading alone or reading with others, you’re sure to have a great time in this comfortable space.Two Types of SpacesPhoto courtesy of BOOK AND BED TOKYOThere are 30 beds in total with two different spaces to choose from.1. BookshelfPhoto courtesy of BOOK AND BED TOKYOThe picture above shows the beds behind bookshelves; there are 12 bookshelves in total where you can easily fall asleep amid the books.2. BunkThe other type are bunks, which are a type of capsule sleeping compartments. There are 18 beds like those shown in the photo above – ideal if you want to focus more on your reading.Two Compartment SizesTwo compartment sizes are available, STANDARD (measuring 120 x 200 cm) and COMPACT (measuring 80×200 cm).1. StandardThe picture above is the STANDARD space that comes equipped with a small locker.2. CompactThe picture above is of the COMPACT space.There are small lockers outside of these compartments.Room FeaturesAll rooms are equipped with sockets, a personal reading lamp and free disposable earplugs.Hostel equipmentThere is a Healsio microwave, a toaster, an electric water boiler and a coffee maker available in the kitchen area.A cup of coffee costs 150 yen (without tax).There are also cups and plates you can use.Two recommended restaurants near the hostel are Midori Zushi, located underground at the station and a Turkish bakery, DEGIRMEN BAKERY, which opens from morning. You can order takeout food at both places; wouldn’t it be nice to have a treat to snack on while reading a book?They also offer a free shower service. Showers are separated by gender.Photo courtesy of BOOK AND BED TOKYOHot water is available in the sinks and the bathrooms come equipped with hair dryers.Amenities like such as towels, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner and body wash can be bought for 500 yen (towels must be returned).A Popular Hostel Among Travelers from All Over the World70% of the guests who stay at BOOK AND BED TOKYO come from various countries such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, even from Europe and South Africa, while the rest are Japanese who live in Tokyo. So it really is the best place to get real-time information about Tokyo.The staff working here have all lived overseas and there are international staff from China and Bangladesh – all the staff are well-equipped to answer any questions you might have. Reservations are available through their website, however it’s a good idea to book at least two months in advance as it is quite popular.If you would like to meet some lovely people while staying in Tokyo, how about staying at BOOK AND BED TOKYO? BOOK AND BED TOKYO View Informationlodginglast_img read more

Visit Suma Temple Kobe Japanese History And Unusual Statues

first_imgThere are charms for academic success and good health. The Zodiac netsuke carvings are particularly popular with overseas visitors (300 yen). Netsuke were used as fasteners in the Edo era to weight down small items like tobacco pouches.Suma Temple During the Seasons There are six Warabe Jizo statues wearing cute caps and aprons, posed in different positions, with their arms up in banzai (*2) poses or giving peace signs. Warabe means child in Japanese. Statues of Jizo, who is said to be a Buddhist figure who saves people from their suffering through mercy, are common in Japan.*2: A position that expresses joy and other similar positive emotions.2. Giant Prayer Beads These are red prayer candles. Write a wish and make your offering to the deities here (200 yen). Historical Buildings and Unique Statues of Suma Temple Light your candle and offer it at the front of the main building. The flickering flame creates a serene, solemn atmosphere. It is said that if you put these giant prayer beads on and make a wish, Kobo Daishi will grant it. Prayer beads, usually worn on one’s wrist when praying, are woven together with string. These beads are so large that they can’t be completely supported by just one person. Be safe and give it a try.3. Seven Lucky Gods Prayer Wheel Shingon, a Buddhist denomination, was started in the ninth century by the monk Kobo Daishi, also known as Kukai. Kobo Daishi remains an important figure even today. There is a hall that enshrines a statue of Kobo Daishi on the west side of the main building. The Bujikaeru frog (“getting safely home frog”) has eyes and a neck that turn. If you want to be surprised, rotate the eyes. If you’re worried about debt, turn the neck. The device has its origins in Japanese expressions; “rotating your eyes” means you’re astonished, while “being unable to turn your neck” refers to stress about having debts that you can’t repay.5. Five Monkeys The 25-meter tall, vermilion-lacquered three-storied pagoda on the grounds will draw your attention. The mountains are directly north, and the contrast of red and green emphasizes their beauty. This is a great place to take photos at Suma Temple.2. Sense the History of Japan From These Statues Suma Temple also conducts activities to preserve traditions, such as single-stringed zither performances (*they require a fee). You can call ahead if you want to hear it played (078-731-0416).According to legend, the noble Ariwara no Yukihira became depressed after being sent to Suma from Kyoto in the Heian era. For amusement, he attached a string to a plank he had found at the beach and used it to play songs.Prayer Candles, Charms, and Fortunes at the Temple Office The five monkeys will display different movements when rubbed on the head. “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, Buddha is watching, don’t be wrathful.” The teachings of Buddha are inscribed on the monkeys.Suma Temple has more interesting things to discover that will amuse visitors of all ages.Experience Suma Temple’s History1. Three-Storied Pagoda Picture courtesy of Suma TempleIn the wintertime, even the main building is blanketed in snow.Suma Temple Koike: Suma Temple has many sides. It is a place that relays Buddha’s teachings, a place where history still remains, a place that transmits culture and tradition, and a place where you can discover many interesting things. There is also natural beauty all year-round, with cherry blossoms and fall foliage. Please come visit the temple.Suma Temple has a rich history and a high reputation while being a friendly place where you can chat with the monks, like Koike. When you go sightseeing in Kobe, drop by Suma Temple.YouTube – Essays from Yonin Koike, Chief Priest’s Deputy (Japanese) Suma-dera View Information There are various good luck charms inside the fortune slips given out at the temple office. There is a small daruma included with the fortune pictured above (200 yen). In the fall, there are maple and gingko trees that paint the temple grounds.center_img This is a prayer wheel on top of a turtle with the seven lucky gods inscribed on it . The seven lucky gods: Daikokuten, Ebisuten, Bishamonten, Fukurokuju, Hoteison, Jurojin and Benzaiten. They are said to grant wishes. Prayer wheels, common in Tibetan Buddhism, are used to pray by spinning them. You can climb on top of the turtle to pray, but avoid climbing on top of the gods.4. Return Home Safely! Bujikaeru Frog Kobe Nishimura Coffee – Timeless Landmark Beloved By Everyone The Heike general above is Taira-no-Atsumori. Known for his mastery of the flute, the statue recreates his episode with Naozane Kumagai. You can also see his beloved flute on display here.3. A Musical Instrument That Carries on Traditional Culture Picture courtesy of Suma TempleSuma Temple has beautiful scenery all year-round. The cherry blossom season is from late March to early April. Read also Where To Stay In Kansai – 6 Great Guesthouses In Osaka, Kyoto, And Kobe! Top 5 Reasons To Visit The Ikuta Shrine Power Spot In Kobe Daishi Hall of Suma TempleSuma Temple, located in western Kobe, was founded more than 1,100 years ago. Its official name is Joyasanfukusho Temple and is the main temple (*1) of the Shingon Suma sect.*1: The headquarter temple of a religious sect. Picture courtesy of Suma TempleA temple festival with food stalls and a lively atmophere is held on the 20th and 21st every month. Though Suma Temple has a long history, it is also modern, with unique statues throughout the grounds, and its priests stream lectures on YouTube. There are plenty of highlights that can’t be found at any other temple. Let’s take a look.Fun Photo Opportunities!1. Warabe Jizo We received a message from the chief priest’s deputy at Suma Temple, Yonin Koike. The chief priest is responsible for the temple, and the deputy assists him. In the latter half of the 12th century, the Genpei War broke out, which was a civil war between the Genji and Heike clans. The two factions fought for six years. The general pictured above is Naozane Kumagai. Suma Temple was also a battle site, and is thought to have been an encampment for Minamoto no Yoshitsune of the Genji clan. There is an English guide at the temple office across from the main building. Make sure to take a copy. In cooperation with Daihonzan Suma Templelast_img read more

Free Admission Suginami Animation Museum Experience Anime Production

first_imgThe Suginami Animation Museum is located in the Suginami ward, Tokyo. It is an appealing museum full of Japanese animation fun where you can learn about the history of anime as well as experience the production process.It is a 20 minute walk from JR Ogikubo station, but many tourists visit Japan just to come here. Today we will introduce the Suginami Animation Museum, Japan’s first anime museum.From Classics to the Latest TechnologyThe museum is located in Suginami Kaikan (杉並会館), a community building of the Suginami ward. Let’s head right to the reception on the third floor and start looking around.First you will find a chronological table of Japan’s animation history.With 1917 as the starting point, this table lists all the names of the Japanese anime representatives. There are even some anime that the author herself doesn’t know, although she is Japanese.Now, if we turn around here…There are countless autographs on the pillar. The autographs of world renowned animators, such as Tōru Yoshida (animator of Mobile Suit Gundam) and Ayumu Watanabe (animator of Doraemon), cover the wall.They say it was completely white at first, but now the pillar is completely covered in autographs. Some have added little illustrations of their favorite characters. Just thinking that these famous directors set foot here is really exciting.There is also a corner that has recreated Yoshiyuki Tomino, Takayuki Gotō, and other famous directors’ desks.In another area you can take photos with your favorite anime characters and with the limited exhibitions focusing on a particular anime.The latest anime production methods and technology are also explained. You can tell the production of anime has changed significantly with the advancement of technology. Here you can learn about what technology was used in what anime.How is Anime Created? Let’s Try!At Suginami Animation Museum, not only can you learn about anime, but you can even experience making it!This is where you can experience the digital production of anime.Here you can try dubbing some famous anime. I also tried it out, but it was actually pretty hard. You should really try it for yourself too.There are also limited-time workshops held irregularly at the Suginami Animation Museum. For more details check out their official website.We had a chance to talk with a member of the staff, Fujita-san.Fujita-san: “We casually watch anime, but when you try making it yourself and dubbing the animation, you’ll realize how hard creating anime actually is. I’m happy if you can experience the high level technology used in the anime you enjoy watching. It would be great to see people being influenced by this experience and deciding to become anime creators.”Communication in Several LanguagesThe museum has many visitors from overseas. On some days there are more tourists than Japanese visitors, so the museum offers support in Chinese, Korean and English.Brochures are also available in different languages.The main displays have explanations written in English and Chinese (Simplified). The experience corner also has English instructions, so you won’t need to worry. Just remember that not all the staff can speak English, and only some of the displays have English explanations.Just so you know, in May of 2016 they have introduced a multilingual audio guide that will explain the history of anime as well as the process of making it and more. The museum also offers Wi-Fi.Stop by the Suginami Animation Museum to learn, make, and experience the anime you love to watch!InformationSuginami Animation MuseumAddress: Tokyo, Suginami, Kamiogi 3-29-5Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Final admission 17:30)Closed: Mondays (the following day if Monday is a holiday) and New Years (December 28-January 4)Wi-Fi: YesCredit cards: -Languages: English, Chinese (Simplified・Traditional), Korean (brochure and audio guide)Nearest Station: Ogikubo Station (荻窪駅) on Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line or JR Chuō LineAccess: From Ogikubo station North Exit, Kantō Bus (platform 0 or 1) ride 5 minutes. Get off at “Ogikubo Keisatsusho Mae” (荻窪警察署前, Ogikubo Police Station)Entrance Fee: FreeReligion: -Phone number:+81-3-3396-1510Official website: Suginami Animation Museumlast_img read more

Four Festivals You Should Enjoy In Chūgoku And Shikoku

first_imgThere are countless appealing festivals in the Chūgoku region and the Shikoku region. There is an elegant festival where you can listen to traditional music at a world heritage shrine, and a lively one where you can dance around the city. Today we’ll be introducing some of the well-known festivals in the Chūgoku and Shikoku areas.Read also:Japanese Encyclopedia: The Chūgoku RegionJapanese Encyclopedia: The Shikoku Region 1. Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima: Kangensai Festival©Hiroshima Prefecture / ©JNTOThis festival is held annually in early August, at the world heritage site Istukushima Shrine in Hatsukaichi city of Hiroshima prefecture. Miyajima is a majestic and sacred island, sometimes called the “Mont Saint-Michel of Japan”. The Kangensai Festival held here is also full of divinity.©Hiroshima Prefecture / ©JNTO”Kangen” means “wind and string instruments”. True to its name, there are performances of traditional Japanese wind and string instruments.The Kangensai is said to have been started by Taira no Kiyomori, a man of power in the 12th century. At that time, it was popular among nobles to float boats on the water and play instruments like the flute and the koto.The beautiful sound of wind and string instruments resounding around the island create a dreamy experience for the participants. The entrance fee to Itsukushima Shrine is 300 yen for adults, 200 yen for high school students, and 100 yen for elementary and middle school students. Miyajima is a 5 minute walk from JR Miyajimaguchi station.Event InformationAddress: Hiroshima, Hatsukaichi, Miyajimachō 1162-18Website: Kangensai2. Kochi City, Kochi: Yosakoi Matsuri© Kochi Visitors & Convention Association/©JNTOThis festival is held annually in Kochi city of Kochi prefecture from August 9th through the 12th. It is one of the three Great Yosakoi Festivals in Shikoku, along with the Awa Odori in Tokushima and the Niihama Taiko Festival in Ehime.It is also the original home of the “Yosakoi festivals” that have come to be held all throughout Japan. It is also one of the Three Great Yosakoi Festivals of Japan, alongside the YOSAKOI Sasebo Festival in Sasebo city of Nagasaki, and the YOSAKOI Soran Festival held in Sapporo city of Hokkaido.What’s unique about Yosakoi festivals is that people dance while clapping naruko (*1), which were originally used to ward off harmful birds. The choreography of the dances originally were based on traditional Japanese dancing, but in recent years the dancing teams have added their own touches to the music, as well as created their own unique costumes and makeup.At Ōtesuji nearby Kochi Castle, where the main venue is, reserved seating for spectators is available for 1800 yen and unreserved seating for 1300 yen.Even InformationAddress: Kochi Kochi-shi Ōtesuji 2Official Website: Yosakoi Matsuri (Japanese)*1 Naruko: a wooden clapper similar to a castanet used to make noise.3. Tokushima: Awa Odori©JNTOThis festival is held every year from August 12 to 15 in Tokushima city of Tokushima prefecture.Awa Odori dancing festivals are held in a number of places in Japan now, but the home of the Awa Odori is here in Tokushima. 1,300,000 people visit every year to dance at this large-scale event.Awa Odori dancing is different for men and women. Women perform a more sensual kind of dance while men dance dynamically using a fan. The dancing is enjoyed along with the fun music created by six traditional Japanese instruments.The festival is held in an urban area to the south of the JR Tokushima station, and visitors can watch the dancing at a theater. There is a free theater and a theater with a fee. Of course, the theater you have to pay for offers a higher quality of dancing. The venue is right in front of JR Tokushima station so you won’t have trouble getting there. What you’ll have to be careful about though is where to stay the night. The number of places to stay in Tokushima city is limited, so we recommend you book a room early.Event InformationAddress: Tokushima, Tokushima, Terashimahonchōnishi 1Website: Awa Odori (Tokushima Official Website)4. Niihama, Ehime: Taiko Festival©JNTOThis festival is held annually in Niihama city in Ehime prefecture from the 16th to the 18th of October.This festival is unique for its luxurious dashi (*2) decorated in gold and silver called “Taikodai”. More than 50 dashi parade through the streets.The highlight of the Niihama Taiko Festival has to be the Kakikurabe. The Kakikurabe is a competitive performance where about 150 men remove the wheels and lift up the 2.5 ton Taikodai. At times the men will hit the Taikodai together. It’s a performance that often leaves spectators blown away. However, you should keep a distance to prevent accidents from happening.The Kakikurabe takes place in various places around the city, but we recommend the Ikku Shrine path as it’s the spot with the most excitement. You can purchase tickets in advance for viewing seats at the Ikku no Mori Museum for 3000 or 3500 yen, or on the day of the event for 3500 or 4000 yen. Ikku Shrine is a 30 minute walk from JR Niihama station or a 10 minute ride by car. It’s a little hard to reach, but the sounds of the Taiko and the heated atmosphere of the Kakikurabe are worth seeing.Event InformationAddress: Ehime, Niihama, Ikkuchō 1-3-1Website: Niihama Taiko Festival (Niihama City Tourism Website)*2 Dashi: A vehicle for the gods. People pull it by rope at festivals.Chūgoku and Shikoku Region Festival MAPlast_img read more

The Magnificent Parade Of Torches On Mount Daisen Tottori

first_imgWritten by Ramona TaranuSponsored by Tottori Prefecture In the parade, which is held annually in June, 2000 participants with torches in hand come down the shrine mountain path around dusk.The procession begins from the Ogamiyama Shrine’s Okunomiya. This shrine, along with Daisen Temple, is a center for spiritual practices related to the mountain worship that has a long tradition on Mt. Daisen (*1). The Okunomiya is located on the mountainside, about 800 meters from the approach to Daisen Temple, which is lined with shops and bustling with visitors.*1 Mountain worship (sangaku shinko): A form of religion that worships a mountain as a deity. The Shinto priest who presides over the ceremony at the shrine leads the procession, followed by ascetics dressed up as the fabulous creatures called tengu, which have a deep connection to Mt. Daisen, and yamabushi (ascetics training in the mountains). The Tottori Daisen Tour – From Fine Cuisine To Museums Tottori’s Power Spots – Feel The Healing Power Of Nature Mt. Daisen has been regarded as a place of worship for more than 1300 years, containing various small temples related to Daisen Temple. Various shops also line both sides of the approach, so it might be a good idea to have a quick meal before the parade.Here you will find delicious snacks like soft-serve ice cream made with local milk, fragrant taiyaki (a fish-shaped pastry) and yakidango (toasted dumplings) filled with sweet bean paste. If you’re lucky, you might be able to meet Gu-chan, the local tengu mascot character.Everyone Is Welcome in the Parade of Torches! Ogamiyama Shrine’s Okunomiya, the starting point of the procession, enshrines Okuninushi no Kami, the deity of prosperity and rich harvest, who is also revered for driving away evil spirits. Okuninushi no Kami is described in historical documents, including the “Kojiki” (“Records of Ancient Matters”) and Nihon Shoki (“The Chronicles of Japan”).In ancient Japan, Shinto and Buddhism were closely intertwined. Shinto’s view of nature and the Buddhist teachings spread together in a syncretic form of religion. Although Shintoism was separated from Buddhism in the Meiji Period, this ancient type of syncretic religion still remains throughout Japan, including Mt. Daisen.Savor Local Cuisine Before the Paradecenter_img A River of Fire! The Unforgettable Parade of Torches on Mt. Daisen, TottoriOne reason why Japanese culture never ceases to amaze visitors from abroad is its ability to impact our lives and our values. Preserving historical traditions, Japanese culture is ingrained in daily life here, making us want to visit Japan again and again.The Parade of Torches, which takes place on the eve of Mt. Daisen Summer Opening Festival, is one such influential event that could change your view of life. If you want to join the Parade of Torches, head to the Bakuroza Parking Lot around noon. Registration starts at around 13:00, so wait in line to get a torch ticket, which costs 500 yen. Please note the registration will end as soon as the tickets sell out.The torches will be distributed from 15:30, at a designated spot along the approach. Receive your torch by 18:00 and head for the Ogamiyama Shrine’s Okunomiya. From the Bakuroza Parking Lot, it will take about twenty minutes on foot to the shrine.The Parade of Torches commences at 19:00.Precautions for Parade Participants1. The torch contains an oil-soaked rag, so until the start of the parade, hold the torch straight up, and away from the fire.2. After the parade starts, keep the torch away from the people around you.3. The temperature will drop at night, so have a jacket ready.4. Participants will be walking on a stone-paved approach, so be sure wear comfortable shoes.The Parade of Torches is held every year in June, on the eve of Mt. Daisen Summer Opening Festival. In 2018, Mt. Daisen will be celebrating 1300 years of history, and hold “The Parade of 1300 Torches” on September 30th to honor the anniversary. The participation fee is 1300 yen, and participants will receive a commemorative souvenir.If you visit Japan in autumn 2018, be sure to join the Autumn Parade of Torches at Mt. Daisen. We are sure you will have an unforgettable experience!For details, please check the fifth page of this pamphlet. Ōgamiyama Shrine Okunomiya View InformationFor more information please check the official website of Tottori Prefecture: https://www.tottori-tour.jp/en/Please also check out our articles in the Tottori section.Read also The impressive yamabushi ascetics lead the participants through the dark mountainside.They blow the horagai (conch seashell) to ward off the animals living the mountain and guard the procession. The magestic sound of the horagai adds to the mystical atmosphere. The procession heads slowly down the mountain, passing the sculptured gate and the torii.The Parade of Torches is a part of a yearly ceremony dedicated to Mt. Daisen, a sacred mountain and a residence for Shinto deities. After the Shinto ritual at Okunomiya to pray for a safe mountaineering season, participants descend the mountain bearing the sacred fire in their hands. This is a ritual to ensure the safety of the visitors entering the holy realm of Mt. Daisen.Joining the parade of the torches allows you to experience firsthand ancient religion in Japan. Participants can visit the temples and shrines located in the forest of Mt. Daisen, and witness the yamabushi and Shinto priests with their own eyes. The experience is refreshing and offers a valuable opportunity to clear your mind.Mt. Daisen – History and CultureMt. Daisen is called Hoki Fuji, as it resembles Mt. Fuji when viewed from a certain angle. It is located in western Tottori, rising 1729 meters above sea level. It has been revered as “kami imasu yama” (a mountain inhabited by deities), nurturing sangaku shinko, a Japanese belief which reveres nature as a deity. Japanese Culture At Mt. Daisen In Tottori – Celebrating 1300 Years Of History! On the day of the parade, the Bakuroza Parking Lot which is located at the entrance of the approach to Daisen Temple hosts various events, including stage performances and the Daisen Gotochi Gourmet Festival, a great opportunity to taste local dishes.last_img read more

4 MUJI Matcha Sweets Recommended By Shop Staff

first_imgThe Matcha Chocolate Coated Wheat Puff (190 yen plus tax/package) is a matcha sweet recommended by the staff at MUJI. Photo courtesy of MUJIThe balance between the sweetness of the wheat puff chocolates, a type of Japanese dagashi (popular sweet), and the bitter flavor of the matcha green tea is just right. This is a product you’ll eat up without getting sick of it.At first, you’ll be able to taste the bitterness of the matcha before the sweetness of the wheat puff chocolates come through the more and more you chew.3. Baumkuchen Matcha: New and Improved Baumkuchen is a type of cake that has been long loved by fans of  MUJI sweets. There is also a matcha green tea version of the cake.The sweet product was improved in 2017 and is now sold as the Fuzoroi (Irregular) Baum (190 yen plus tax/package).After the product was updated, it was made bite sized and uses ingredients that were only rejected as products due to their imperfect shapes. As a result, this product is also quite reasonably priced.This product holds MUJI’s wish for customers to eat it as “something that is delicious to eat” without being concerned by its appearance due to uneven browning or its strange shape. The Matcha Pound Cake (390 yen plus tax/five-slice bag) is what we recommend to those that love the combination between matcha green tea and azuki beans. We were told about four hand-picked matcha green tea sweets, among many other products available at MUJI, that are recommended by staff and are super popular with customers.1. Matcha Chocolate Coated Strawberry: Overpowering Popularity! Photo courtesy of MUJIThe latte is much sweeter than the other matcha sweets while being mild in flavor and very easy to drink.MUJI – A Simple, High Quality Japanese Brand Photo courtesy of MUJIEach individual cake has been cut into just the perfect size and is easy to eat.You’ll find azuki beans inside this moist pound cake. At first, the fragrance of the matcha and a slight bitterness will spread in your mouth before soon being followed by the sweetness of the azuki beans.This is a product that you can eat multiple pieces of at once as it isn’t too overly sweet.Instant Matcha Latte: Change the Richness Yourself! Photo courtesy of MUJIIt isn’t circular in shape, but is instead cylindrical, which makes it easy to eat. You will smell the pleasant fragrance of the matcha when you bring it close to your mouth to eat. The mild bitterness of the matcha when you eat it is irresistible, isn’t it? You’ll feel completely satisfied after eating it too, thanks to the dense firmness of the dough.Flavors aside from matcha include butter, banana, and black tea, with a total of eight varieties.4. Matcha Pound Cake: Filling and Satisfying! Buying Tasty Japanese Souvenirs? Get MUJI ProductsThere are many people that think, “Since I’ve come all the way to Japan, I want to bring home Japanese souvenirs for my friends and family!”Matcha green tea sweets from MUJI is what we recommend to those people. Matcha is a type of tea, but is also immensely popular as a confectionery flavor.Above all, the sweets sold at MUJI, Japan’s representative brand, use matcha green tea that has been blended at a historic Kyoto tea store and are available at reasonable prices.4 Recommended MUJI Matcha Sweets Here’s an extra product we recommend. The Instant Matcha Latte (350 yen plus tax/bag) is a particularly popular drink product.The package comes in a zipper pouch and contains powder that will become the base of your matcha latte inside.You can make a matcha latte to your own preferences by adjusting the amount of powder to how you feel that day, whether it be when you want to drink a rich matcha latte or when you want to drink it a little on the thin side.Other products in the Enjoy Your Preferred Richness series include Hojicha (roasted green tea) Latte and Masala Chai, for a total of seven varieties. The most popular sweet are the Matcha Chocolate Coated Strawberries (290 yen plus tax/package).This product consists of various sized strawberries coated in an Uji matcha green tea chocolate. As it uses strawberries of all sizes, it’s able to maintain a steady price. Photo courtesy of MUJIMujirushi Ryohin is a Japanese brand also known as MUJI. In addition to approximately 420 stores in Japan, the chain has also expanded overseas with approximately 450 stores in countries such as China, Taiwan, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom (as of November 2017).The store sells approximately 7000 kinds of items, from furniture and clothing to stationery and food. This brand has high popularity worldwide from being great in quality no matter what kind of product it develops. For this article, we paid a visit to the largest MUJI store in the world, MUJI Yurakucho.Most of the products sold by MUJI are carried at this location! The second floor carries clothing items, a book corner, and a café space where you can dine in called Café & Meal MUJI. The third floor carries a variety of products such as furniture and home appliances.Please also stop by the other floors if you’ll be visiting to buy matcha sweets at MUJI!Made in cooperation with Ryohin Keikaku Photo courtesy of MUJIThe secret behind its crunchy texture is the fact that the strawberries are freeze-dried. The bittersweet taste of the Uji matcha green tea combined with the acidity of the strawberries creates a sweetness that is just right.This line originally began with the White Chocolate Coated Strawberry as its first product. It captured interest from the public, resulting in there now being four types of flavors – white chocolate, Uji matcha chocolate, strawberry chocolate, and standard chocolate – sold within the line.2. Matcha Chocolate Coated Wheat Puffs: Highly Recommended by Stafflast_img read more

Shelter for many of Montreals Inuit in a fight for survival

first_imgTom FennarioAPTN NewsAnnie Roussy-Ste-Croix volunteers at Montreal’s Open Door Shelter when she’s not in class.The gregarious 18-year-old Inuk wants to a be a paramedic one day.But she has another good reason to be there.“My grandmother is over there, at the table,” says Roussy-Ste-Croix.But the shelter, which acts as the last refuge for many of the city’s Inuit, is in a fight for its survival.Its current location was sold to condo developers last spring.It has yet to secure a new location.The good news is their Jan. 1 deadline has been pushed back.“Things are beginning to look positive for the future of the Open Door, of course we’re excited about that. There’s still some work to do, but yes we are going to be able to remain past December 31st,” says David Chapman, acting director.Chapmen wouldn’t divulge any potential new locations, however a nearby spot was nixed in the fall when locals found out and didn’t want it in their backyard.Roussy-Ste-Croix is resigned to the fact that wherever it does move will be much farther than the current location.“I’m just disappointed, ’cause this is kind of like home for most people, like everyone hangs around Atwater so it’s more like a home,” she says.But for now the doors remain open.And for the people who use it, every day counts.last_img read more

ExMalaysia leader Najib charged with breach of trust graft

first_imgKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was charged Wednesday with criminal breach of trust and corruption, two months after a multibillion-dollar graft scandal at a state investment fund led to his stunning election defeat.He pleaded not guilty to all charges. “I claim trial,” he said in a barely audible voice as he stood in the dock at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur. A judge set bail at 1 million ringgit in cash ($250,000) and ordered Najib to surrender his two diplomatic passports.The patrician and luxury-loving Najib, wearing a suit and a red tie, appeared calm and smiled as he was escorted into the court complex. He was arrested Tuesday by anti-graft officials over the suspicious transfer of 42 million ringgit ($10.4 million) into his bank accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB state investment fund that U.S. investigators say was looted of billions by associates of Najib.Najib was charged with abuse of power leading to gratification under Malaysia’s anti-corruption law and three counts of criminal breach of trust. Each charge has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Whipping is also a penalty but Najib would be exempt because of his age.Anger over the 1MDB saga led to the shocking defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in May 9 elections and ushered in the first change of power since independence from Britain in 1957.Malaysia’s new attorney general, Tommy Thomas, who is heading the prosecution, said the 1MBD case has attracted global attention and “brought shame to the country.” Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah protested the comment calling it “nonsense” and “coffeeshop talk.”Najib, 64, has accused Malaysia’s new government of seeking “political vengeance.”At a news conference after the hearing, Najib said a trial was “the best chance for me to clear my name after all the slander and accusations.” It is set to start Feb. 8, subject to confirmation at a preliminary hearing next month.Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the rule of law must be followed in the prosecution of Najib.“I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to be judged on a media trial — this is important,” Wan Azizah said Wednesday at a conference in Mongolia. “The other thing is that, however I feel, I want the court to be independent and, therefore, give him all the avenue he has under the law to defend himself.”Wan Azizah is the wife of reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar was convicted in 2015 of a sodomy charge that he said was concocted to destroy his political career, and was freed in May after obtaining a royal pardon.Najib set up 1MDB when he took power in 2009 but the fund amassed billions in debts and is being investigated in the U.S. and several other countries.New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad reopened investigations into 1MDB that were stifled under Najib’s rule.Najib and his wife were questioned last month over the SRC case by the anti-graft agency and were barred from leaving the country.The attorney general’s case says the $10 million that Najib allegedly received via SRC was a bribe for approving government guarantees of loans totalling 4 billion ringgit (nearly $1 billion) in 2011 and 2012 that apparently became part of the ransacking underway at 1MDB.Police have also seized jewelry and valuables valued at more than 1.1 billion ringgit ($272 million) from properties linked to Najib.U.S. investigators say $4.5 billion was stolen and laundered from 1MDB by Najib’s associates, including some $700 million that landed in Najib’s bank account. While in power, Najib said the $700 million was a donation from the Saudi royal family.Najib’s lawyer Muhammad asked for the case to be expedited.Najib “is anxious to clear his name,” he told the High Court. “We are pretty confident about this case.”Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asia expert at John Cabot University in Rome, said Najib’s arrest was the “inevitable outcome” after he lost power.“It shows the resolve of the new government to address previous abuses of power. It has been done judiciously so far and speaks to a needed reckoning for Malaysia and a key step toward a cleaner governance,” she said in an email.last_img read more

Truth Behind Alleged Marriage of ISIS Member with 7YearOld Girl

Casablanca – Social media across the world was abuzz in recent weeks with outrage and condemnation before a misleading picture linked to ISIS was proven to be a hoax. The picture shows an ISIS member, seemingly in his thirties, with a seven-year-old, crying girl, who had been interpreted as his bride. The photo sparked widespread condemnation on social media before a video on YouTube proved it to be a hoax.The picture generated several theories. The most popular theory is that the young girl had been converted to Islam before being forced to marry the ISIS member appearing in the picture, according to IB Times. The website Arabic Canada solved the mystery surrounding the “outrageous” picture, by sharing a video of what seems to be a Quran recital competition—from which the picture was taken—organized by ISIS in Klassa, a neighborhood in Aleppo, in 2013.The video shows the ISIS member, who was misleadingly presented as the young girl’s groom, having a small chat with her before she recites verses of the Quran.Feeling embarrassed for making several mistakes during her recitation, Ghada, the young girl, starts crying before the man returns. He then clearly tries to comfort her and boost her spirits.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Wind Mobile names new CEO Pietro Cordova Anthony Lacavera to remain chairman

TORONTO — Wind Mobile said Monday that chief executive Anthony Lacavera is giving up the chief executive role at the wireless company, but will remain its chairman and a major investor.The company named chief operating officer Pietro Cordova as its new chief executive.The change follows a deal last month that saw a Lacavera-led investment group buy out Wind Mobile’s foreign owner VimpelCom.Wind Mobile slashes roaming rates after Ottawa’s price capsLacavera has been a prominent voice for the upstart wireless company in its fight to establish itself amid stiff competition from the big telecommunication companies.Wind Mobile says he continue to have an active role at the board level, including working on business planning and strategy.The company has more than 750,000 customers in Canada. read more