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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Museum Archaeological Institute of Kashihara

奈良県立橿原考古学研究所

The rather awkwardly named in English, The Museum Archaeological Institute of Kashihara Nara Prefecture is located just opposite the Emperor Jinmu Mausoleum and the Emperor Suizei Mausoleum and a little way to the north of Kashihara Jingu.

The Museum Archaeological Institute of Kashihara.


This archaeological museum exhibits artifacts unearthed from Yamato sites in Nara Prefecture. The museum's three galleries exhibit artifacts from Japan's early history through to the Muromachi Period which have been excavated in Nara Prefecture.

The Museum Archaeological Institute of Kashihara.

The large collection includes pottery from the Jomon period, dotoku bells, later bronze arrowheads and bronze disks, distinctive canes with jasper end caps, magatama or comma shaped pendants, bronze mirrors as well as gilt bronze crowns and saddles found in tombs in the Asuka area. From the still later Asuka period there are also tea kettles, chess pieces, Buddhist images and various roof tiles.

The Museum Archaeological Institute of Kashihara.


The Museum Archaeological Institute of Kashihara
1 Unebicho
Kashihara, Nara Prefecture 634-0065
Tel: 0744 24 1101
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 400 yen for adults or presently free for foreign visitors with a passport.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Shin Aomori Station

新青森駅

Shin Aomori Station in Aomori in the very north of Honshu will be the beginning on the Hokkaido Shinkansen to Hakodate in Hokkaido when it launches next month, replacing the Hakucho Express services through the Seikan Tunnel.

Shin Aomori Station, Aomori Prefecture, Tohoku, Japan.

Shin Aomori Station is presently the terminus of the Tohoku Shinkansen, at 674km Japan's longest shinkansen line. The modern shinkansen station opened in 2010. Shin Aomori Station is also on the JR Ou Line which connects Fukushima, via Akita Station to Aomori Station.

Shin Aomori Station, Aomori Prefecture, Tohoku, Japan.

There is not much in the way of services around Shin Aomori Station except for a rental car office. Most visitors make the short trip into Aomori to find a hotel.

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Sunday, February 07, 2016

Japan News This Week 7 February 2016

今週の日本

Japan News.
In Industry Shift, Sharp Looks Outside Japan for a Buyer
New York Times

Sakurajima volcano erupts in southern Japan
BBC

Japan to spend millions on tiny islands 1,000 miles south of Tokyo
Guardian

Osaka’s move on hate speech should be just the first step
Japan Times

What Lessons Can Vietnam teach Okinawa about U.S. Military Dioxin?
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog

Statistics

2015 Corruption Perception Index:

1 Denmark
2 Finland
3 Sweden
4 New Zealand
5 Netherlands
5 Norway
7 Switzerland
8 Singapore
9 Canada
10 Germany
10 Luxembourg
10 United Kingdom
13 Australia
13 Iceland
15 Belgium
16 Austria
16 United States
18 Hong Kong
18 Ireland
18 Japan

Source: Transparency International

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Hibiya Station in Tokyo

日比谷駅

Exit B6 of Hibiya Station, Tokyo, Japan.
Exit B6 of Hibiya Station, at the Babasakimon Gate of the Imperial Palace Tokyo.
Hibiya Station in central Tokyo is operated by both Tokyo subway operators: Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd. and the Bureau of Transportation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government ("Toei" or, in English "Tokyo Subway").

Hibiya Station serves three subway lines: the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line and Chiyoda Line, and the Toei Mita Line.

A notable feature of Hibiya Station is the wide reach of its exits. There are no less than 30 exits in operation (with two currently closed), making access to Hibiya Station possible from all over the Marunouchi and Yurakucho areas of Tokyo. The Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Station, about 350 meters north-east of the Hibiya Line, is directly accessible undergound from Hibiya Station.

Hibiya Station is very near Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace.

The following is a list of Hibiya Station exits and where they lead to (all marked on this Tokyo map
  
Exit A0 ("A zero") of Hibiya Station
Yurakucho 2-chome
Yurakucho Asahi Hall
Yurakucho Mullion (in the Yurakucho Center Building)
Mullion Eigagai (Mullion Movie Theaters)
Yurakucho Hankyu Department Store
Yurakucho Lumine

Exit A1 of Hibiya Station
Yurakucho 2-chome
Sukiyabashi Park (with its big, distinctive Taro Okamoto sculpture)
Yurakuza

Exit A2 of Hibiya Station
Yurakucho 1-chome & 2-chome
Yomiuri Hall
JR Yurakucho Station
JTB Shutoen Yurakucho Branch
Yomiuri Kaikan Hall
JNTO Tourist Information Center (TIC)

Exit A3 of Hibiya Station
Yurakucho 2-chome
Yurakucho Denki Building
Subaruza Cinema

Exit A4 of Hibiya Station
Yurakucho 1-chome & 2-chome

Exit A5 of Hibiya Station
Toho Twin Tower Building
Teikoku Hotel
Hibiya Chanter ("shan-tay") shopping/dining building
Tokyo Takarazuka Theater
Toho Cinema and Drama Area

Exit A6 of Hibiya Station
Yurakucho 1-chome
Hibiya Park Building
The Peninsula Tokyo Hotel

Exit A7 of Hibiya Station
Hibiya Intersection
Harumi-dori Avenue
Yurakucho 1-chome
The Peninsula Tokyo Hotel

Exit A8 of Hibiya Station
Hibiya-dori Avenue
Yurakucho 1-chome
Yurakucho Sankei Building

Exit A9 of Hibiya Station
Hibiya Marine Building

Exit A10 of Hibiya Station
Iwaidabashi Intersection
Hibiya Park
To Sakuradamon Gate of the Imperial Palace
To Courthouse of Tokyo High Court, Tokyo District Court, and Tokyo Summary Court

Exit A11 of Hibiya Station (currently closed)
Yurakucho 1-chome & 2-chome
Toho Cinema and Drama Area

Exit A12 of Hibiya Station
Hibiya Mitsui Building
Mitsui Sumitomo Bank Headquarters

Exit A13 of Hibiya Station
Uchisaiwaicho
Tokyo Takarazuka Theater
Nissay Theater
Teikoku Hotel

Exit A14 of Hibiya Station
Uchisaiwaicho
Hibiya Kokaido Public Hall
Hibiya Press Center Building
Nishi Shimbashi (West Shinbashi)
Chiyoda City's Hibiya Library & Museum
Tokyo Institute for Municipal Research
The Hibiya City complex

Exit B1 of Hibiya Station
Yurakucho Building
Shin-Yurakucho Building
Marunouchi Police Station
Yurakucho Station of Marunouchi Fire Brigade
Togyo Kaikan (Sugar Manufacturers' Association) Building & Nippon Hoso (Nippon Broadcasting System) Headquarters
To JR Yurakucho Station

Exit B2 of Hibiya Station
DN Tower 21 (Daichi Seimei Insurance & Norinchukin Bank headquarters)

Exit B3 of Hibiya Station (in the Teigeki Building, open 7 am - 11 pm)
Teikoku (Imperial Garden) Theater
Shin-kokusai Building
Idemitsu Art Gallery
Shin-Nisseki Building
Kokusai Building
To Tokyo International Forum

Exit B4 of Hibiya Station
Fuji Building
Shin-Tokyo Building
To Tokyo International Forum

Exit B5 of Hibiya Station (currently closed)
Tokyo Kaikan Hall
Fuji Building
Shin-Tokyo Building

Exit B6 of Hibiya Station (from first train to 11 pm)
Nijubashi Gate of the Imperial Palace
Babasakimon Gate of the Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace Gaien Garden

Exit B7 of Hibiya Station (from first train to 11 pm)
Tokyo International Forum
Fuji Building
Shin-Tokyo Building
Tokyo Station on the JR Keiyo Line Line
Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI)
Marunouchi Park Building

Nijubashi-mae Station Connecting Exit (5 am - 11 pm)

Exit D1 of Hibiya Station
Teikoku Theater
Idemitsu Art Gallery
Kokusai Building

Exit D2 of Hibiya Station
Yurakucho Building
Shin-Yurakucho Building

Exit D3 of Hibiya Station
Shin-Kokusai Building
Shin-Nisseki Building

Exit D4 of Hibiya Station
Yomiuri Kaikan Hall

Exit D5 of Hibiya Station
Tokyo International Forum

Exit D6 of Hibiya Station
JR Yurakucho Station
Yomiuri Kaikan Hall

Exit D7 of Hibiya Station (with elevator)
JR Yurakucho Station
Yurakucho Mullion

Exit D8 of Hibiya Station
Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan

Exit D9 of Hibiya Station
Ginza Inz 3

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Yodobashi Akiba Akihabara

ヨドバシAkiba

The Yodobashi Akiba store across the road from Akihabara Station is a huge electronics emporium with a huge range of cameras, PCs, tablets and other household electronics. Yodobashi Akiba also retails a vast array of non-electronic goods including clothing, health products, DIY goods, bike and car accessories, books, interior goods and pet supplies.

Yodobashi Akiba Akihabara, Tokyo.

The Yodobashi Camera part of the building is on floors 1-6 and is open daily from 9.30am-10pm. The 7th floor has a range of speciality stores, the 8th floor is the restaurant floor and the 9th floor has a batting center and golf shop.

www.yodobashi-akiba.com
101-0028, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo Hanaokacho, Tokyo 1-1

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A Walk Around Shodoshima Day 1

A Walk Around Shodoshima
Day 1, Morning
Thursday December 24th

I start my walk along the Shodoshima Pilgrimage just after the sun has risen. Only a few days past the winter solstice, the days are very short and I need to take advantage of all the daylight there is.

When I arrived here last night it was pouring with rain, but I am pleasantly surprised to find clear skies and pink clouds of mist collected around the mountaintops this morning. I elect to start the walk at temple number 4, Furue-an, as it is right next door to the minshuku I am staying at for these first few days of my walk.


A Walk Around Shodoshima Day 1.

Furue-an is a small building right on the water with the ubiquitous meter-high concrete wall separating it from the sea. It's an uninhabited site, really just a wayside chapel and so it's locked up and nobody about. In front a line of 33 statues, each one representing a Kannon on the famous Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. I have a quick look around the small shrine next door and then I follow the small coast road down the peninsula and watch the caps of mist on the mountains across the water lose their pink tinge and shrink and disappear.

After about a kilometer the peninsula narrows to just a few hundred meters and I cross over to the other coast and the little fishing village of Horikoshi. The road along the water's edge, protected of course by a meter high concrete wall, is lined with wooden buildings covered with dark, weathered wood, broken by a few doors of the same wood, but with no windows.

For protection the village turns its back to the sea. I find the next temple, number 5, Horikoshi-an, up some winding lanes where the village climbs the hillside. Like number 4 it is located right next to the small village shrine. The suffix -an on a temple name could be translated as "hermitage", which means that rather than being a full-fledged temple it is somewhere that historically a nun or monk lived.

A Walk Around Shodoshima Day 1.


There is a honzon, a statue of the deity enshrined here, and often there will be a bronze bell, but usually not much more. The next stop is further down the peninsula, and I have several possible routes. There is a narrow road from here along the south coast. A couple of years ago it was closed by a landslide, and it may or may not have been repaired, or, I can backtrack half a kilometer and take the main road along the north coast.

The decision is made for me, a third way. There are about half a dozen small signs in front of Horikoshi-an pointing along a path that leads up the hillside. The most direct route, over the mountain. The path passes by some tiny vegetable plots before entering the forest. The path is covered with fallen leaves and steep enough to have a handrail.

I am no great fan of climbing hills or of walking uphill in general, but in Japan there is no choice. I climb and climb, thankful that I only have about 150 meters to ascend. When I get to the pass I am delighted to have been directed this way. It's magical.

Thin mist still hovers in the trees and the sunlight floods the forest with golden shafts. Here at the pass is a small Jizo statue in its own shelter. Every pass used to have one. Back in the day, not too long ago, when Japanese walked everywhere, there were hundreds of trails like this with a Jizo at the pass.

I wonder how many are now all alone where a path used to be, long since overgrown. As the trail descends the forest becomes bamboo. A narrow corridor through dense bamboo. Part way down I cross a stream and here are a couple of Fudo Myo statues.

A Walk Around Shodoshima Day 1.


The bamboo becomes thicker still and curiously there is a an overhead lattice of bamboo that has snapped and fallen horizontal. The corridor has become a tunnel until I emerge into the sunlight at the top of the fishing village of Tanoura.

Tanoura-an, number 6 on the pilgrimage, is at the top of the village, right next to the village shrine and a huge tree trunk, obviously an old Gingko tree that died. A largish Jizo statue wearing multiple bibs and a couple of caps is in front of the small hall. This is a wart-removing Jizo and people will come some distance from outside the village to make an offering in the hope of having warts disappear.

Down at the waterfront I stop in at an old, wooden schoolhouse. It closed in 1971, but is open as a tourist attraction as this is where one of the most popular Japanese movies ever was filmed. 24 Eyes is not as well known outside Japan as other movies of the 50's, but many Japanese tourists will come to Shodoshima because of it.

The pilgrimage route now heads back up the peninsula to where I started but first I take a little one kilometer detour down to the 24 Eyes Movie Village, a major tourist destination built on what was the movie set for a remake of 24 Eyes.

Not being a big fan of the movie, unlike most of the visitors, I'm not all that impressed, so after taking a bunch of photos I leave and stop in at a little eating establishment just outside the entrance. I order a curry rice and it comes topped with three small, green olives. Shodoshima is the olive growing capital of Japan and has become the prime identity of the island, so I suspect I will be finding more meals with added olives. After a coffee I head off up the road past a bus shelter made from an old soy sauce brewing barrel. Soy sauce is the next most famous product of the island.

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Monday, February 01, 2016

Tokushima Station

徳島駅

JR Tokushima Station in Tokushima, Shikoku, is a major railway station in Shikoku. The large, modern station building houses the Clement Plaza with numerous stores and a restaurant floor. There are a number of business hotels and car rental outlets close to Tokushima Station.

Tokushima Station, Shikoku, Japan.

Tokushima Station is on the Tokushima, Kotoku, Mugi and Naruto lines. The Kotoku Line connects Tokushima with Takamatsu Station to the north west. The Mugi Line runs from Tokushima about 80km to Kaifu. The Tokushima Line links Tokushima with Awa-Ikeda. The Naruto Line runs from Ikenotani Station to Naruto Station in Naruto with trains connecting through to Tokushima Station.

Tokushima Station, Shikoku, Japan.

Places to stay within easy access of Tokushima Station Station include the four-star Hotel Clement, the three-star Daiwa Roynet Hotel Tokushima Ekimae, the APA Hotel Tokushima Ekimae and the Tokushima Tokyu REI Hotel.

Tokushima Station, Shikoku, Japan.


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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Japan News This Week 31 January 2016

今週の日本

Japan News.
Japanese End Drought in Sumo Wrestling, Their National Sport
New York Times

Ford pulls out of Japan and Indonesia
BBC

Japan begins work on 'world's largest' floating solar farm
Guardian

In Philippines visit, Emperor asks youth to keep memories of World War II alive
Japan Times

Muddy River
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog

Statistics

Japan's most notorious yakuza organized group is in deep decline. Membership has fallen below 10,000 in the Yamaguchi-gumi, the Kobe-based and nation's largest mafia group. In the early 1960s, membership topped 50,000.

An internal split in the Yamaguchi group last summer - a breakaway group in Nagoya took members from the main organization in Kobe - resulted in the drastic decrease.

What this portends for pubic safety remains to be seen.

Source: Asahi Shinbun

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Capt.Line Ferry

キャプテンライン

The Capt.Line is a high-speed ferry service that shuttles between the Kaiyukan West Pier at Osaka's Kaiyukan Aquarium and Universal City Port at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Citywalk Osaka.

Capt.Line Ferry in Osaka, Japan.


The one way fare for an adult (classed here as an over 12 year old) is 700 yen with the return fare 1,300 yen. Visitors can buy a combined ticket with the boat fare and entrance to the Kaiuyukan for 2,700 yen for persons over 16.

The crossing takes just 10 minutes and sailings begin usually at 9.15am from Universal City Port
 and 9.30am except in December when the first boat is at 9.45am from Universal City Port and 10am from the Kaiyukan.

Check the Capt.Line website for further details and exact sailing times.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Imperial Palace Sakurada Moat Repairs

桜田濠の工事

For the past few days, the Sakurada Moat (Sakuradabori in Japanese) of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo has had a barge floating in it loaded with all sorts of construction-related equipment.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Marunouchi district in background.
The following sign in front of Sakuradamon Gate explained it all: "We're repairing the stone slabs in Sakurada Moat." Looking it up, it seems that this happens every two or three years.

Sakurada Moat repair information board, Imperial Palace.
Information board for the Sakurada Moat repair work
There are numerous moats - 15 to be precise - around the Imperial Palace, excavated during the rule of the first three Tokugawa Shoguns, Ieyasu (1543-1616), Hidetada (1579-1632) and Iemitsu (1604-1651). who inhabited what was then known as Edo Castle.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, plus barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Hanzomon district in background.
The Sakurada (literally "cherry blossom field") Moat is the moat that goes from about the "6 o'clock" to "9 o'clock" stretch of the perimeter of the Imperial Palace, or, in terms of landmarks, from Sakuradamon Station ("Sakuradamon" meaning "Sakurada Gate," one of the Palace's nine gates) up to about the National Theater of Japan.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with up-close of a barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Hanzomon and Kojimachi districts in background.
Sakuradamon Gate has a somewhat bloody role in Tokyo history, having been the scene of the assassination of the Chief Minister of State at the time, Ii Naosuke (1815–1860), on March 24 1860 by disaffected samurai who protested his having signed the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United States, thus opening up Japan further to Western influence.

Sakuradamon Gate was also where a disaffected Korean nationalist tried to assassinate the Emperor on January 9 1932 by throwing a grenade at him.

Anyway - to return to the present - Sakuradamon Moat is currently a scene of great activity, as the photos show, complete with divers.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with two divers doing repair work.
Divers in Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, doing repair work on the stone walls of the moat.
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