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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kyooji Temple Yanaka


Kyooji Temple is a small Nicheren temple off the Yanaka Ginza shopping lane in the Yanaka (Yanesen) district of Tokyo.

Kyooji Temple, Yanaka, Tokyo.

The temple dates from the Edo Period and contains a statue of Daitokuten, one of the Seven Lucky Gods (shichifukujin). The statue is said to have been carved by Nichiren (1222-1282) himself though this is, probably, unlikely.

The main gate still has bullet holes from the Battle of Ueno in 1868 during the Boshin War when supporters of the Tokugawa shogunate were driven out of Edo by imperial troops.

Kyooji Temple, Yanaka, Tokyo.

Kyooji Temple
3-2-6 Nishinippor
Tokyo 116-0013
Tel: 03 3821 5241

Kyooji Temple is a short walk from Nippori Station on the Yamanote Line.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kyoto City Bus 1


Kyoto city bus #1 runs from Nishigamo Shako-mae close to Kamigamo Shrine in the north of Kyoto to Demachiyanagi Station and then back.

Kyoto City Bus 1.

Bus #1 passes Jinkoin, Omiya Somonguchi-cho, Yamanomaecho, Gentaku-shita, Murasakino Sendocho, Asahigaoka, Bukkyo Daigaku-mae, Senbon Kitaoji, Funaokayama, Kenkun Jinja-mae, Daitokuji-mae (for Daitokuji Temple), Kitaoji Horikawa, Kitaoji Shinmachi, (Kitaoji Bus Terminal (Subway Kitaoji Station), Karasuma Kitaoji, Shokubutsuen-mae (Kyoto Botanical Garden), Furitsu Daigaku-mae (Kyoto Prefectural University), Rakuhoku Koko-mae, Ipponmatsu, Shimogamo Jinja-mae (Shimogamo Shrine), Tadasunomori, Shin-Aoibashi, Aoibashi Nishizume, Kawaramachi Imadegawa and Demachiyanagi Station.

Kyoto City Bus 1.

The Kyoto #1 bus service begins at 5.47am daily from Nishigamo Shako-mae and the last bus is 10.24pm.

From Demachiyanagu Station the first bus is at 6.19am daily and the last bus is at 10.56pm. There are 3-6 buses an hour.

Find out more about buses in Kyoto.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Sesoko Island


Sesoko Island is a small island off the Motubu Peninsula near Nago on the west coast connected by bridge to Okinawa Honto.

Sesoko Island, Okinawa.

Sesoko has a few lovely white sand beaches and a number of guest houses and minsuku that attract budget travelers for snorkeling and relaxing throughout the year.

The most popular beach is on the west coast, the 800m-long Sesoko Beach, which has parking (1000 yen), life guards, umbrellas and loungers as well as food and drink for sale.

There's also a  smaller beach right at the bridge to the main island - Anchi-hama. The water at both beaches can be amazingly clear and the sea a beautiful turquoise color.

Sesoko Island, Okinawa.

A number of specialist marine sports shops offer jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling and diving trips in summer.

A photo posted by JapanVisitor (@japanvisitor) on

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Japan News This Week 15 January 2017


Japan News.
Caroline Kennedy, an Ambassador Whose Role Transcended the Embassy
New York Times

Emperor Akihito: Japan considers moves to allow 2018 abdication - reports

Almost 75% of Japan's biggest coral reef has died from bleaching, says report

China moves Japan war start date up to 1931 in textbooks to boost ‘patriotic education’
Japan Times

The Japanese State versus the People of Okinawa: Rolling Arrests and Prolonged and Punitive Detention
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


A recent survey of sixth graders across Japan asked them about their future dream job (the number in parenthesis is the result from the previous year).

For girls, the top five responses were:

1) Food service (chef, etc.) (1)
2) Day Care Worker (2)
3) School Teacher (5)
4) Doctor (4)
4) Nurse (3)

For boys, the top five responses were:

1) Professional Soccer Player (1)
2) Researcher/Professor (8)
3) Police Officer/Detective (3)
4) Professional Baseball Player (2)
5) Doctor (6)
5) Food service (chef, etc.) (7)

Source: Asahi Shinbun

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Chogakuji Temple & Takeda Shingen


Chogakuji Temple in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture is associated with the death of the legendary warlord Takeda Shingen (1521-1573).

Chogakuji Temple, Nagano Prefecture.

Takeda Shingen's death is shrouded in mystery. It is thought he died of pneumonia while returning to his base in Kofu from an attack on Noda Castle, north east of present-day Toyohashi. In Akira Kurosawa's film, Kagemusha ("Shadow Warrior"), Takeda Shingen, however, is shot at night by a Tokugawa sniper at the castle and fatally wounded.

Chogakuji Temple, Nagano Prefecture.

One version of the following events is that Takeda Shingen's body was cremated in the hills near Chogakuji Temple and his ashes are buried within the temple grounds. His followers tried to maintain Takeda was still alive to fool his enemies, hence the "Shadow Warrior" of Kurosawa's movie, a common thief with a remarkable resemblance to Takeda, who was forced into impersonating him.

A ten-story pagoda was erected in 1974 to mark the spot where Takeda's ashes are buried, paid for by subscriptions from residents of Takeda's home province of Yamanashi. A noticeboard references the popular 1988 NHK Taiga drama, Takeda Shingen and the history of the warrior's final days.

Chogakuji Temple, Nagano Prefecture.

Chogakuji Temple
Achi Village
569 Komaba, Shimoina-gun
Nagano Prefecture 395-0303
Tel: 0265 43 2967

Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 200 yen adults

Chogakuji Temple is located in the village of Achi midway between Iida and Nakatsugawa just off the Chuo Expressway. Chogakuji Temple is very close to the Hirugami Onsen resort.

Chogakuji Temple, Nagano Prefecture.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Shin-Ochanomizu Station Mosaics


Shin-Ochanomizu Station on the Chiyoda Line of the Tokyo metro in Ochanomizu has some lovely mosaics by glass artist Ikkou Itabashi representing the months of the year and including phrases from the old lunar calendar to describe the seasons, for example, 立秋 (risshuu), meaning the beginning of autumn.

Shin-Ochanomizu Station Mosaics, Tokyo.

Shin-Ochanomizu Station also has the longest escalator on the Tokyo subway network. Another reason to visit.

Shin-Ochanomizu Station Mosaics Tokyo.

The mosaics were completed in 2002 and make use of recycled glass.

Shin-Ochanomizu Station Mosaics Tokyo.


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hotel Avanti Tokushima


Hotel Avanti Tokushima in Tokushima city on Shikoku is 600 meters from Tokushima Station and only 100 meters from the ropeway going up Mt. Bizen and Awa Odori Kaikan.

Avanti Hotel, Tokushima, Shikoku.

The Hotel Avanti is very popular with backpackers, pilgrims and foreign visitors to Japan on a budget.

The Hotel Avanti has free wifi and is very foreigner-friendly. There is no kettle in the rooms but hot water is available in the lobby.

A small breakfast is provided on a tray in your room.

Avanti Hotel, Tokushima, Shikoku.

Hotel Avanti
Higashidaiku-machi 1-20
Tokushima Prefecture, 770-0905

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Edo Noren Ryogoku


Edo Noren, a two story food and shopping center opened in November 2016 as part of the redevelopment of Ryogoku Station. Ryogoku is the heartland of Japanese sumo and Ryogoku Station is less than five minutes' walk from the Kokugikan sumo stadium and close to a number of sumo stables or heya - where sumo wrestlers live and train.

Edo Noren, Ryogoku, Tokyo.

Edo Noren has a sumo ring as part of its "Edo era" design and among the dozen or so restaurants in the complex is one specializing in the dish most associated with sumo wrestling: chankonabe (see the last image).

Other restaurants offer sushi, okonomiyaki, yakitori, noodles, tempura and other favorites of Japanese cuisine.

Edo Noren, Ryogoku, Tokyo, Japan.

There's lots to see and do in the Ryogoku area including the Edo-Tokyo Museum, the new Sumida Hokusai Museum, the Ryogoku Fireworks Museum and the Ruins of Kira Yoshinaka's House, Kira Yoshinaka being the man murdered by the 47 Ronin in the ultimate revenge attack way back in 1703.

Edo Noren, Ryogoku, Tokyo, Japan.

There are plenty of other places to try chankonabe and delicious sushi in the area, especially on the road running parallel to the railway tracks north of Ryogoku Station up towards Ryogoku subway station. Edo Noren, though, is a welcome addition to an already excellent culinary scene in the area.

Edo Noren, Ryogoku, Tokyo.

Edo Noren
1-3-20 Yokoami
Sumida-ku, Tokyo (JR Ryogoku Station West Exit)
Hours: 10am-11.30pm; closed January 1-2

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Man in the Moon Pub Kyoto Station


Man in the Moon bars are a small chain of Irish-style pubs in Kyoto with pubs at Kyoto Station and others in Shijo Karasuma, Gion and Rokkaku. The chain also includes the Pig & Whistle on Sanjo which recently celebrated 30 years in business.

Man in the Moon Pub Kyoto Station.

Man in the Moon pubs offer draft Guinness, a variety of Irish and Scottish spirits plus perennial food favorites such as fish and chips all served up in cozy, wood-panelled interiors with live sports on TV.

All the Man in the Moon pubs have free Wifi.

Man in the Moon Pub Kyoto Station.

The pub at Kyoto Station is at the Hachijoguchi Exit near the Shinkansen tracks. Turn right (west) as you exit the station and walk about 500m.

The interior is tight for space at the Kyoto Station pub and can get pretty smoky...be warned.

Man in the Moon
Kintetsu-meitengai Miyakomichi 31-1
Kamadonno-cho, Higashi-shiokoji, Shimogyo-ku
Kyoto 600-8215
Hours: Friday & Saturday: 11am - 4am
Sunday - Thursday: 11am - 2am
Happy Hour 11am to 7pm
All alcohol reduced by 100 yen

Man in the Moon Pub Kyoto Station.

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Monday, January 09, 2017

Orion Happy Park


Orion is Okinawa's very own beer with an American-style mild taste and an alcohol content of 5%.

Orion Happy Park, Nago, Okinawa.

Orion Happy Park in Nago in the north east of Okinawa main island offers brewery tours and tastings. You can also visit Orion Happy Park just to eat and drink in an Okinawan beer hall environment.

Brewery tours can be booked online (see the link below) and include 2 drinks (non-alchoholic for drivers, minors and non-drinkers). There are 23 tours a day starting at 9.20am and finishing at 4.40pm with one every 20 minutes. Each tour lasts 35 minutes with 20 minutes sampling time.

Orion Happy Park also includes a store where you can buy Orion beer and souvenirs and a beer hall/restaurant.

Orion Happy Park, Nago, Okinawa.

Orion Happy Park
2-2-1 Agarie, Nago City
Okinawa 905-0021
Closed: December 31 - January 3

Orion Happy Park, Nago, Okinawa.

If driving leave the Okinawa Expressway at the Kyoda I.C. and then take highway 58 for about 10 minutes.

Other attractions nearby in the Nago area include Pineapple Park, the ruins of Nago Castle and the Nago Museum next door to the Town Hall.

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Orion Happy Park, Okinawa.

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