Japan Visitor: What's happening in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Shimane Japan

Home    Japan Travel Guide     Tokyo Guide     Contact     Auction Service     Japan Shop

Monday, October 31, 2011

Aqueduct at Nanzenji Temple

Aqueduct at Nanzenji南禅寺水路閣

Nanzenji Temple, which is in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto, was first an aristocrat's retirement villa. It then was turned into a temple following the death of the owner.

The Emperor Kameyama (1249-1305) built a detached palace here in 1264.

Today Nanzenji is one of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto. It is moreover the headquarters of the Nanzenji branch of the Rinzai school of Zen.

Much of Nanzenji - like much of Kyoto - was destroyed during the 15th-century Onin Civil War.

Within the vast grounds of the temple complex is a much more recent structure that is perhaps equally beautiful and amazing: a 19th century aqueduct.

The red brick aqueduct was built in 1890.

The raised aqueduct is part of the Lake Biwa Canal. This was and is used to bring water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto (and which supplies to this day 97% of the city's water).

The aqueduct is 93 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 14 meters high.

Even now water flows along it at a rate of 2 tons per second.

The construction of the aqueduct alludes to the great structures of ancient Rome. Today the Suirokaku Canal is itself a destination within the grounds of Nanzenji Temple.

Information

Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel: 075 771 0365

Hours: Mar-November: daily 8:40-5:00; December-February: daily 8:40-4:30
Fee: Main temple building: ¥400; San-mon or Nanzen-in: ¥200

© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Halloween Masks
Books on Japan
Tags




Sunday, October 30, 2011

Japan News This Week 30 October 2011

今週の日本

Japan News.Hai! Karate - Journey To Japan

BBC

Another Scandal Unsettles Corporate Japan as Paper Maker Accuses Ex-Chairman

New York Times

Fukushima released 'twice as much' radioactive material as first thought

Guardian

Noda to declare Japan will join TPP at APEC

Japan Times

Madrid reinventa el 'sushi'

El Pais

Colère à Fukushima : « Après Tchernobyl, ils ont évacué »

Rue 89

日本援助越南人工卫星开发

Caijing

Photographer Fukushima Kikujiro - Confronting Images of Atomic Bomb Survivors

Japan Focus

Japan’s Sawa heads women’s World Player shortlist

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News

Statistics

Obesity rate by country (15 years and over) for 30 OECD nations.

1. USA: 34.3%
2. Mexico: 30%
3. New Zealand: 26.5%
4. United Kingdom: 24%
5. Australia: 21.7%
6. Iceland: 20.1%
7. Luxembourg: 20%
8. Hungary: 18.8%
9. Czech Republic: 17%
10. Slovakia: 16.7%

29. South Korea: 3.5%
30. Japan: 3.4%

Source: Asahi Shinbun


© JapanVisitor

Book a hotel in Japan with Bookings

Japanese Fiction

Happi Coats

Tags

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Atka Mackerel Shimahokke

しまほっけ

The Central Fish Market in Sapporo has an amazing number of marine creatures on sale both alive and dead.

Atka Mackerel Shimahokke Hokkaido
 

Atka mackerel, Pleurogrammus monopterygius, or shimahokke (shima means stripe in Japanese) is a favorite of Japanese cuisine and is especially known as a delicacy from Hokkaido, with catches of the fish made off the Shiretoko Peninsula in the Sea of Okhotsk in the far north of the island.

Atka Mackerel Shimahokke Sapporo


The fish is named after the island of Atka in the Aleutians.

Atka mackerel are bought charcoal grilled and have a salty and oily taste, much beloved in Japan.

Atka Mackerel


A smaller fish market in Sapporo where you can find shimahokke is the Nijo Fish market near Odori Station.

Central Fish Market Sapporo
North 11, West 21
Chuo-ku
Map of Sapporo Central Market

Access

Sapporo Central Fish market is a 10-minute walk from JR Soen Station or  Nijuyonken subway station on the Tozai Line.


 © JapanVisitor.com

Yahoo Japan Auction Service

Book a Japanese Hotel with Bookings

Japanese Friends

Rough Guide To Japan

Tags

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku

札幌らーめん共和国

As an alternative to the hole-in-the-wall ramen restaurants in Ramen Yokocho in the Susukino district of Sapporo, fans of Hokkaido's distinctive ramen can try Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku (Ramen Republic) on the 10th floor of the Esta Building in Sapporo Station.

Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku Hokkaido


Eight ramen restaurants from around Hokkaido (usually Sapporo, Asahikawa, Hakodate or Kushiro, though a Tokyo ramen shop is a representative this year) are gathered here in a kind of Meiji-era ramen theme park complete with steam train and period station. The restaurants may change each year depending on votes by ramen restaurant customers.

Sapporo Ramen


Ramen Kyowakoku opened in 2004.

ESTA 10F
2-1 Nishi
5 Kita
Chuo-ku
Sapporo
Hokkaido
Tel: 011 209 5031

Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku Hokkaido

© JapanVisitor.com

Yahoo Japan Auction Service

Book a Japanese Hotel with Bookings

Japanese Friends

Rough Guide To Japan

Tags

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Skymark Airlines

Skymark Airlines is a low-cost domestic airline based at Haneda Airport with flights from Haneda to Ibaraki, Sapporo, Naha, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Fukuoka and Kagoshima.

Skymark Airlines Japan


Skymark, which is part-owned by the HIS travel agency, also has connections from Nagoya Chubu to Sapporo and Naha (Okinawa), from Kobe Airport to Haneda, Ibaraki, Sapporo, Naha, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima, as well as flights from Narita Airport to Asahikawa (Hokkaido), Naha and Sapporo.

Skymark has plans to expand into the international market with flights from Narita to London, Frankfurt, Paris and New York.

Skymark Airlines Check In


Domestic routes are no frills with narrow seating and no meals provided. Customers may buy drinks on board, if desired.

Some representative, approximate one-way fares are Nagoya-Sapporo 15,800 yen (flight time 1 hour; 45 mins), Haneda-Naha 19,800 yen (flight time 2 hours; 50 mins), and Haneda-Nagasaki (via Kobe) 15,800 yen (flight time 2 hours; 55 mins).

Skymark
Reservations
Tel: 050 3116 7370

© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Halloween Masks
Books on Japan
Tags




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hamamatsucho Station Tokyo

浜松町駅

Hamamatsucho Station in Tokyo is a busy station on the Yamanote Line and the Keihin-Tohoku Line, which runs from Yokohama to Omiya in Saitama via Urawa, Nippori, Ueno, Shinagawa and Kawasaki.



Hamamatsu Station is also one terminus of the Tokyo Monorail to Haneda Airport. The entrance to the Tokyo Monorail is in a separate building just outside the JR station. The JR station building includes a number of shops as well as coin lockers. There is also a bus station at Hamamatsucho. The World Trade Center is also very close to Hamamatsucho Station.

Hamamatsucho Station Tokyo


Hamamatsu Station is relatively old in Tokyo station terms having opened in 1909. Throughout the station there are motifs of the Manneken Pis, the famous Brussels landmark. On one of the platforms is a fully operating miniature statue of Manneken Pis, which like the original changes his clothing throughout the year.

Hamamatsucho Station Tokyo


© JapanVisitor.com

Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Halloween Masks
Books on Japan
Tags




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bunbu Gakko Matsushiro

文武学校

Close to Matsushiro Castle and across the road from the former Saneda Residence is the remarkable Bunbu Gakko (文武学校) - an Edo Period training school for young samurai, established by the local feudal lord in Matsushiro.



Bunbu Gakko is a wonderfully preserved set of buildings and includes tatami-floored classrooms and a courtyard where students practiced Japanese martial arts including kyudo - Japanese archery - judo and kendo.

The Bunbu School was constructed in 1853 by the daimyo (feudal lord) Yukinori Sanada and was the han (domain) school for the sons of the Sanada clan and its important clan followers of samurai rank. The students also studied literature, Japanese kanji and western artillery techniques, as the spread of western military technology was gaining ground in Japan during this troubled time as the country verged on civil war.

Bunbu Gakko Matsushiro Nagano


Before being preserved as a national monument of historic interest, the Bunbu School was used as a normal elementary school until 1953.

Bunbu Gakko
Matsushiro 250-1
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: Adults 200 yen

Bunbu Gakko Matsushiro


Visitors to Matsushiro may also wish to visit Matsushiro Daihonei -  a tunnel complex built with Korean slave labor to house the Japanese Emperor and NHK in the event of a US invasion of Japan in WWII.


© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Halloween Masks
Books on Japan
Tags




Monday, October 24, 2011

Feel and Think: A New Era of Tokyo Fashion

感じる服 考える服:東京ファッションの現在形

I attended a fashion exhibition in the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery in Shinjuku on Sunday, called "Feel and Think: A New Era of Tokyo Fashion."

There were ten exhibitors: SasquatchFabrix, andrealage, mina perhonen, somarta, h naoto, keisuke kanda, matohu, mintdesigns, writtenafterwards, and TheatreProducts.

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo

"Feel and Think" trod the border between fashion and fine art, with much of what was on display created not so much to be worn as to stimulate the imagination. There were several apparel-inspired sculptures and installations.

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery Exhibition

There was no green, eco pussyfooting: there was leather and fur a-gogo, and even an installation that featured numerous stuffed birds and animals.

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery Exhibition

An odd feature of the show was the shoulder-height suspended beams that partitioned the exhibits, which you had to duck under to avoid bumping your head (and inevitably bumping your head on once or twice, anyway).

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery Tokyo

An even odder feature were the benches placed here and there that you were not permitted to sit on! A security guard came over: "No sitting on the benches, please."

Upstairs is an art exhibition.

© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Halloween Masks
Books on Japan
Tags



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Japan News This Week 23 October 2011

今週の日本

Japan News.Japan approves $157bn quake budget for reconstruction

BBC

Japan Courts the Money in Reactors

New York Times

Japan's 77-year-old porn actor: unlikely face of an ageing population

Guardian

Over 100 politicians rally against TPP

Japan Times

Japan: The Nuclear Village

The New Yorker

Judi Dench, premiada en Japón

El Pais

Baleines, algues, moules : océan radioactif au large de Fukushima

Rue 89

日本政府敲定12万亿日元大型补充预算案

Caijing

“Unacceptable and Unendurable:” Local Okinawa Mayor Says NO to US Marine Base Plan

Japan Focus

The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami

New York Times

Japan pitcher Darvish eyeing move to MLB

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News

Statistics

Married couples have 1.96 children in their lifetimes. This marks a new low in Japan, and was recorded from data in 2010.

In 1940 married Japanese couples bore and average of 4.27 children.

Source: Kyodo News

Foreign visitors to Japan in September declined by 24.9% from the previous September. This marks seventh month in a row of decline.

Source: Daily Yomiuri


© JapanVisitor

Book a hotel in Japan with Bookings

Japanese Fiction

Happi Coats

Tags

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Singha Beer in Japan

It was a pleasant surprise to discover Singha beer from Thailand on sale in my local convenience store to make a change from the rather samey suds of Japan's big four breweries: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and Suntory.

Singha Beer


The high value of the Japanese yen would seem to make importing foreign beer a cheaper proposition for Japanese companies, though a 330cl can of Singha is priced at 315 yen as opposed to 217 yen for a big four brew.

Singha Beer Cans

Singha beer is imported into Japan by Ikemitsu, a company specializing in foreign drinks, which includes beer from Vietnam, Russia, Austria, Belgium, Taipei and Belgium.

© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Shin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan
Tags




Friday, October 21, 2011

Gatekeeper at Ninnaji Temple

Nio-san Ninnaji Temple仁和寺の正門

Ninnaji Temple is one of Kyoto's great religious sites.

Located in western Kyoto, the temple was first a summer home for the imperial family. Every summer, the Emperor, his family and retainers, would decamp from the Imperial Palace and spend summers in a slightly cooler part of Kyoto to avoid pestilence.

In 886 C.E., however, Emperor Koko ordered the construction of a temple on these grounds. He died prior to its completion.

His successor, Emperor Uda, witnessed the completion of the temple in 888, and named it "Ninna" temple. From 888 until 1869 Emperors sent a son to act as head priest.

During the disastrous Onin War, in 1467, Ninnaji was destroyed by fire and fighting.

It took some 150 year to rebuild the temple. Most of the buildings today date from the 17th century.

The entrance of the temple is a massive "mon," or gate. It is protected on two sides by wooden sculptures known as "nio-san."

These are large fearsome deities that greet - and warn - all visitors.



© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Shin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan
Tags




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Idemitsu Museum of Arts

出光美術館, 東京

The Idemitsu Museum of Arts in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo near Tokyo Station is located near Tokyo International ForumBrick SquareNaka-dori and the Babasaki Moat of the Imperial Palace.

Idemitsu Museum of Arts Tokyo

The Idemitsu Museum of Arts houses part of the Idemitsu Collection, consisting mainly of calligraphy, ceramics and Japanese art, and opened to the public in 1966. The museum also presents special exhibitions during the year.

Idemitsu Museum of Arts


Religious paintings by French artist Georges Rouault (1871-1958) are on permanent display. The Sherd Room contains fragments of pottery collected from Egypt and parts of Asia.

The actual building of the Idemitsu Museum of Arts is above the Imperial Theater on the 9th floor.

Idemitsu Museum of Arts
9F, Teigeki Bldg, 3-1-1
Marunouchi
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo
100-0005
Admission: 1000 yen for adults
Hours: 10am-5pm; Friday 10am-7pm; closed Monday
Google map of Idemitsu Museum of Arts

The nearest stations to Idemitsu Museum of Arts are Tokyo Station and Yurakucho.

© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

TK16 Master Kendama
Tags




Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tsukuba Station

つくば駅

Tsukuba Station is the terminus of the Tsukuba Express (TX) that runs between Akihabara and Tsukuba (Science City) in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Tsukuba Station, Ibaraki


Tsukuba Station's facilities and platforms are underground and include the premises of the local tourism information office. Tsukuba bus station is adjacent to the train station. North of Tsukuba Station is the large Chuo Park area and an interestingly designed koban (police box). Farther north is the Tsukuba Expo Center and beyond that Matsumi Park.

Tsukuba Station

Other Tsukuba attractions within easy walking distance of Tsukuba Station include the Tsukuba Cultural Center Ars which houses the Tsukuba Museum of Art and the Municipal Library.

Nearby hotels include the Okura Frontier Hotel Tsukuba.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Zenshoji Temple

禅昌寺,下呂温泉,岐阜県

Visitors to Gero Onsen in Gifu Prefecture, should try to visit Zenshoji Temple (禅昌寺), a Rinzai-sect Buddhist temple, just one stop north on the JR Takayama Line from Gero Station.


Zenshoji Temple has on display a famous ink painting known as Happo Nirami Daruma by the artist and garden designer Sesshu (1420-1506). The painting shows the mysterious Indian Buddhist monk, known as Bodhidharma, who lived during the 5th and 6th centuries, traveling widely in China and south east Asia. Bodhidharma is credited as the founder and inspiration of Zen Buddhism and a number of miraculous tales grew up surrounding him.


Behind the main hall of Zenshoji Temple is a garden built up into the hillside, full of beautifully tendered bushes, stone lanterns (toro) and water purification basins (tsukubai). To the left as you enter the main grounds of Zenshoji is a huge 1000-year-old cedar tree.



Gero Onsen is easily accessible by train or highway bus from Nagoya. Route 41 leads to Gero directly north from Nagoya city.

Zenshoji Temple
Hagiwara-cho, Churo, 1089
Tel: 0576 52 1353
Admission: 300 yen


Tags


Monday, October 17, 2011

Japan The Strange Country

Japan The Strange Country by graphic designer Kenichi Tanaka takes a rather critical look at Japan through a number of categories: people, the economy, Tokyo, food, love and suicide.

The short video explores the Japanese stereotypes of a sex-less, suicide-prone, sushi-eating, over-worked and overcrowded race of salarymen slaves and vain designer-bag toting women and is sure to spark some debate.


Japan The Strange Country puts some figures on the stereotypes, though none of the statistics are sourced. 2 out of 100 people in the world are Japanese, 40% of Japanese people wear glasses or contacts, Japanese couples make love on average 48 times (the lowest rate in the world), 1,850,000 people visit Love Hotels every day, 90 people commit suicide daily, one every 16 minutes with 100 people found dead on Mt Fuji every year, 23,000,000 tons of food are thrown away each year, more than enough to feed all the starving in the world, Japanese people throw away 200 pairs of waribashi chopsticks each year and on and on it goes.

The video has both English and Japanese versions and is useful as a resource for studying Japanese.


© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Shin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan
Tags




Sunday, October 16, 2011

Japan News This Week 16 October 2011

今週の日本

Japan News.Radiation hotspot in Tokyo 'not linked to Fukushima'

BBC

Japan offers free return flights to revive tourism after Fukishima disaster

Guardian

Lawyers, NPOs slam Karen refugee resettlement scheme

Japan Times

6 unbreakable rules from the Japanese bar

CNN

Keigo Higashino, a la conquista de Occidente

El Pais

Du rugby au Japon : pas si ridicule !

Rue 89

京都:真正的日本在这里

Caijing

Discordant Visitors: Japanese and Okinawan Messages to the US

Japan Focus

Fan Reaction: Mariners Opening Season in Japan a Bad Idea

Yahoo Sports

How Japanese manga can land international travelers in jail

CNN

Last Week's News

Statistics

"More than one-third of the workforce is part-time as companies have shed the famed Japanese lifetime employment system, nudged along by government legislation that abolished restrictions on flexible hiring a few years ago. Temp agencies have expanded to fill the need for contract jobs as permanent job opportunities have dwindled.

Many fear that as the generation of salaried baby boomers dies out, the country’s economic slide might accelerate. Japan’s share of the global economy has fallen below 10% from a peak of 18% in 1994. Were this decline to continue, income disparities would widen and threaten to pull this once-stable society apart."

Source: Daily Finance


© JapanVisitor

Book a hotel in Japan with Bookings

Japanese Fiction

Happi Coats

Tags

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cosmos

コスモス

Originating in the Americas, the cosmos plant has spread throughout Japan since the early Edo period.

The cosmos flowers in autumn with beautiful pink, purple and white flowers.

Cosmos

Cosmos can be found in meadows, river banks and increasingly in parks and gardens, like these beautiful petals pictured at Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki Prefecture. Koganei Park in Tokyo has a huge number of Cosmos and there are cosmos viewings at Hamarikyu Gardens, Akirudai Park, Shinagawa Hanakaido and Symbol Promenade Park in Odaiba, all in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Cosmos

© JapanVisitor.com

Yahoo Japan Auction Service
Japanese Friends
Tokyo Rental Apartments
Japan Job Search
Rough Guide To Japan
Tags

Friday, October 14, 2011

Matsue Station

松江駅, 松江, 島根県

JR Matsue Station in Matsue in Shimane Prefecture is a main point of access for visitors to the city. JR Matsue Station is on the Sanin Line which actually runs all the way from Kyoto to Shimonoseki. From Matsue Station there are regular trains to Izumo, Yonago, Gotsu, Yunotsu, Hamada and Masuda.


The tourist information is in a booth just outside the main station entrance and there are a number of hotels close to Matsue Station.

Visitors to Matsue can enjoy Matsue Castle, Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence as well as a boat trip along the castle moats.




© Japan Visitor.com

Yahoo Japan Auction Service

Book a hotel in Japan with Bookings

Fox Mask

Japanese Friends

The Japanese Spa: A Guide to Japan's Finest Ryokan and Onsen

Tags

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Genkoan Temple Kyoto

Genkoan Temple源光庵

Kyoto's Genkoan Temple is famous for several reasons.

Founded in 1346, the temple is well known, among other reasons, for its two windows that look out from its main hall onto a Japanese garden.

One of the windows is perfectly round, and is known as the Window of Enlightenment or Realization (Satori no Mado). The other, adjacent window (pictured here) is imperfect and called the Window of Uncertainty (Mayoi no Mado).

The former represents Zen, a calm state of mind. The latter represents suffering, the human condition.

In addition to the gardens, Genkoan is also justly famous for its bloody ceilings. The ceilings in the main hall were built using blood-soaked lumber.

The wood came from Fushimi Momoyama Castle, which following a siege some twenty years earlier was dismantled in the 1620s.

In September, 1600, surrounded by an invading army numbering 40,000, some of the 2,000 or so soldiers within the castle chose to commit ritual suicide - thus soaking the floorboards.

In the photo below, a four hundred year old footprint in blood can be seen.

Information

Genkoan is north of Bukkyo University on Senbon Dori.

Tel: 075 492 1858

© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Genkoan TempleShin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan
Tags




The Expat's Guide to Japan

"The Expat's Guide to Japan" website is a resource for everyone interested in, or already living and working in Japan.

Expat Guide to Japan


The site takes a broad focus, combining general and practical information, in an attempt to reach people regardless of what point they are at in their stay in Japan.

Basic information on the medical and education system are paired with large lists and introductions of hostpitals and schools with foreign language services.

In the same way, food, culture, and event information covers everything from the introduction to specific information on when and where things are happening. In addition to all of the information that is included in the yearly print guide, the website provides more up to date information information on tourist spots and featured articles on things ranging from traditional performance arts to travel information.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

JR Saiin Line Bridge Hozukyo River

JR Saiin Line BridgeJR西院線の保津川辺りの橋

One stop and several tunnels from Saga Arashiyama Station on the JR Saiin Line heading west out of Kyoto is a deep gorge.

The line uses several tunnels and bridges to get to Umahori, Kameoka, and beyond.

On a recent hike that followed the Hozu River back towards Arashiyama, we came to a point that overlooked one of the bridges.

The emerald green waters of the river are far below the bridge.

The trail was more or less empty, but once back on the narrow country roads that slice up and down and around the hills and gorges, many, many racing cyclists in full gear were out.

Two less strenuous options exist for seeing the same scenery: the Torokko tourist train (aka, Sagano Romantic Train), which runs between JR Saga Arashiyama Station to Kameoka; and the Hozu River Boat Tour. The two can also be combined. The boat trip takes about two hours and ends near the Togetsukyo Bridge.

Boats depart hourly between 9:00 and 14:00 and then at 15:30.

However, between December 1 - March 9,m the boats leave at 10:00 and 11:30 in the morning and 13:00 and 14:30 after lunch.

© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Shin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan

Tags




Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Onsenji Temple Gero

温泉寺,下呂温泉,岐阜県

Gero Onsen in Gifu Prefecture, a 3-hour drive north of Nagoya or 90 minutes on the train on the Takayama Line, is a hot spring resort redolent with the soothing sounds of water.

Onsenji Temple Gero Gifu

Onsenji Temple, a short walk up the hill from the main town is a peaceful place to enjoy fine views of the Mashita River valley below.

Legend has it that after a strong earthquake in 1265 the onsen hot spring dried up until a white heron lead the villagers to the source of a new spring. When the bird flew into the woods in the mountains behind the town, the grateful residents built a temple on the spot where the bird rested in a tall pine tree.

Onsenji is dedicated to Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine and healing and the temple grounds contain a bell tower and a Shinto shrine to kitsune.

Onsenji Temple Gero Onsen

Onsenji Temple is a short walk from Shiunso ryokan (Tel: 0576 25 2101).


Tags

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shiso, or perilla (beefsteak plant)

紫蘇

Perilla


The leaf and oil of the perilla (or, beefsteak plant) is used extensively in Japanese cuisine - the leaf, most notably, in the presentation of sashimi.

As a member of the mint family, along with basil, it has a flavor close to mint, but with a distinctive pungency that is somewhat less savory than mint or basil.

Perilla is shiso (紫蘇) in Japanese, the shi being the kanji for the word murasaki meaning "purple, violet." This reflects there being several varieties of shiso commonly used in Japan: varying in color between green, purple and combinations of the two. However, the purely green variety seems to come into more common use than the purple-shaded ones. The second kanji, so, is for yomigaeru meaning to be resurrected, revived, rehabilitated.

This combination of characters comes from the place perilla holds in Japanese and Chinese culture not just as a culinary ingredient, but as a medicinal ingredient, too: originally, so the story goes, being used an antidote to food poisoning, and the purple varieties also used also as an antidote to depression. Scientifically, perilla is said to be rich in numerous kinds of vitamins and minerals, and of verifiable efficacy in helping relieve symptoms of the common cold.

Shiso plant


The leaves of perilla are roundish and serrated (photo above), and its inflorescence is striking for the symmetrical arrangement of slightly spiraling flower buds (photo below).

Perilla is easily grown. The pictured specimen is on this writer’s balcony. It requires only the basic minimum upkeep: daily watering with a drop of fertilizer once a week.

Next time you’re out dining Japanese, keep an eye out for that shiso leaf, and give it its due.






© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Shin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan
Tags



Sunday, October 09, 2011

Japan News This Week 9 October 2011

今週の日本

Japan News.Are Japan's music festivals just sterile, fun-free cash cows?

CNN

From Our Own Correspondent - Japan and the Czech Republic

BBC

Fukushima: third worker death 'not related to radiation'

Guardian

Ozawa hospitalized with stones in ureter

Japan Times

Accidente de Vettel en Japón

El Pais

Hatsune Miku, la diva virtuelle qui électrise le Japon

Rue 89

日本政府通过9.2万亿日元临时增税方针

Caijing

“Public Anger,” Power, and the Rule of Japanese Elites

Japan Focus

Nadal reaches Japan Open semis

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News

Statistics

Geothermal use by country, ranked (2010 megawatts):

1. USA (3.093)
2. Philippines (1,904)
3. Indonesia (1,197)
4. Mexico (958)
5. Italy (843)
6. New Zealand (628)
7. Iceland (575)
8. Japan (536)
9. El Salvador (204)
10. Kenya (167)

Source: Asahi Shinbun


© JapanVisitor

Book a hotel in Japan with Bookings

Japanese Fiction

Happi Coats

Tags

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Japanese Grand Prix 2011

鈴鹿サーキット

The 2011 Japanese Grand Prix takes place at Suzuka Circuit in Mie prefecture, central Japan on Sunday with championship leader Sebastian Vettel from Germany holding a big lead over Britain's Jenson Button.

Practice was perfect on Friday with more excellent weather in the Nagoya area forecast for this long weekend holiday. Temperatures on Sunday should be an ideal 24 degrees Centigrade.

Suzuka Street Car National Festival

The 5.8km Suzuka circuit is a classic figure of 8 track with an overpass and has seen some great races in the past. Suzuka hosted the 2010 and 2011 races after Fuji Speedway dropped out of the F1 calendar after hosting the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007 and 2008.

Suzuka hosts other motor sport events and the Suzuka Street Car Festival.



Suzuka is in Mie Prefecture not far from Nagoya city by public transport. Take a Kintetsu or JR train from Nagoya Station or Osaka Station. Shiroko Station has shuttle buses to the track. Alternatively change at Yokkaichi and take an infrequent Ise Tetsudo Line train to Suzuka Circuit Ino. Then a 20 minute walk.
If driving from Nagoya or Tokyo take the Tomei Expressway and exit at the Suzuka IC. From Osaka take the Shin Meishin Expressway and exit at the Kameyama IC.
Suzuka Circuit
Tel: 059 378 1111
Tickets 11,000 Yen -72,000 Yen

© JapanVisitor.com

Yahoo Japan Auction Service

Book a Japanese Hotel with Bookings

Japanese Friends

Rough Guide To Japan

Tags

Friday, October 07, 2011

Taihen: everything from "very" to "hard"

大変


The word "taihen" is a handy cover-all item of Japanese vocabulary that can be used in pretty much any situation where an undesirable result or situation has come about, or one which involves or suggests a difficult time ahead for those involved.

In English, it could be loosely translated, depending on degree of formality, from "You have my every sympathy" to "I don't envy you" to "What a pain in the ass." A typical usage is as in the expression Iroiro taihen da to omoimasu ga, gambatte kudasai, or "Looks like you've got quite a job on your hands, but do your best."

Having said that it can be used in such situations, it is not limited to that usage, but can simply mean "enormous(ly)," or "great(ly)," as in "You've been a great help." (Taihen o-sewa ni natte imasu.

The kanji for the word are made up of the character for "great, big" followed by the character for "change": reflecting a conservative mentality that views change as innately undesireable. Note, however, that this is only an etymological observation. The literal meaning of the word "taihen" is not "great change," but the meanings of "hard," "problematic," "arduous," "trying," "weighty," "great," or "very."

An example situation using "taihen" is as follows:

_________________________

Ms. Tanaka: Sato-san, inu-san wa saikin zenzen kikoete imasen yo ne.
佐藤さん、犬さんは最近全然聞こえていませんよね。
(Ms. Sato, you know, we haven't heard your dog at all recently.)

Neighbor. So nan desu yo. Jitsu wa hikarete shimatta no desu yo.
そうなんですよ。実はひかれてしまったのですよ。
(Yes, that's right. Actually, he got run over.)

Ms. Tanaka. Arara, sore wa taihen desu ne.
あらら、それは大変ですね。
(Oh dear, how awful for you!)

Neighbor. So desu ne, kanari taihen deshita. Toku ni kodomo ni wa ne.
そうですね。かなり大変でした。特に子供にはね。
(Yes, it was all quite horrible. Especially for the children, you know.)

Ms. Tanaka. So deshou ne.
そうでしょうね。
(I can imagine.)

Later that evening, at dinner.

Ms. Tanaka: Tonari no inu ga hikarete shindan datte. Dakara saikin konna ni shizuka na no.
となりの犬がひかれて死んだんだって。だから最近こんなに静かなの。
(Apparently the dog next door got run over and died. That's why things have been so quiet recently.)

Mr. Tanaka: So ka. Ore wa sore ga taihen ureshii koto sa.
そうか。俺はそれが大変うれしいことさ。
(That so? Well, I for one couldn't be happier.)

Ms. Tanaka: Maa, kodomo ni wa taihen na koto datta kamoshirenai ga, ano inu wa taihen urusakute taihen datta yo ne.
まあ、子供には大変なことだったかもしれないが、あの犬は大変うるさくて大変だったよね。
(Yes, well, I guess it must have been tough on the children; but that dog was just the noisiest - really awful.)

Mr. Tanaka: Taihen datta yo.
大変だったよ。
(It was a right pain in the ass.)

_________________________

Sate, taihen wa imi to tsukaikata ga iroiro atte chotto taihen da to omoimasu ga, tsukaetara taihen benri desu.
(There you have it. Taihen is rather difficult with its various meanings and usages, but it's really useful once you know how to use it.)

Read more about the Japanese language


© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Shin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan
Tags



Thursday, October 06, 2011

Loose Socks in Tokyo

ルーズソックス

Loose Socks in Tokyo, Japan

Loose socks (pronounced in the Japanese vernacular like "lose socks") is a fashion feature of Japanese junior and senior high school girls.

Loose socks are said to have originated in the wake of high school girls' shortening their skirts toward the end of the last decade, and using baggy socks to mask what are the often stocky calves that many Japanese women are endowed with to make them appear slimmer.

Over ten years after the fashion trend began, loose socks have lost something of the rebellious edge they once had, but, in a country of such fashion inertia as Japan (e.g. where punk stayed alive and kicking right through to the '90s), they have become become somewhat tired and standardized as a fashion statement, but still indicative of a desire to appear at least a little - and naively - out of line.

The non-standard school bags and the photos of what is doubtless a boy pop idol peeking out the top of the bag of one of the girls add slightly more personalized touches of non-conformity.

(Photo snapped in the Tokyo subway.)

© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Shin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan
Tags




Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Noodle Joint Kyoto

Noodle Place in Kyotoそば屋京都

Across the street from Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, in Kyoto, is a gorgeous noodle place.

The building itself has been renovated while maintaining the exterior.

On the front of the building, just under the roof on the left side, a plum branch has been painted.

This of course is an allusion to the grove of plum trees at Tenmangu Shrine.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine was built in honor of the poet and scholar Sugawara no Michizane (845-903). It draws many many students who come to pray to the patron saint of scholarship in the hopes they will be admitted to the high school or university of their choice.

Kitano Tenmangu also is known for its beautiful plums. It is said that there are 2000 trees, which bloom from February to March. On February 25th, there is a tea ceremony performed here by geisha from neighboring Kamishichiken geisha district.


© JapanVisitor.com


Like this blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter

Shin Fuji Kendama On Sale
Books on Japan
Tags