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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Fukuoka Tower

The 234m-high New Fukuoka Tower, located in the Seaside Momochi area of Fukuoka, is the tallest seaside observation tower in Japan and a striking example of Fukuoka's modern architecture.

The New Fukuoka Tower was constructed in 1989 and designed by the Nikken Sekkei company, who were also responsible for the Kobe Port Tower.

New Fukuoka Tower Kyushu

Fukuoka Tower has a triangular cross-section and is coated in mirrored glass. Fukuoka Tower is illuminated at night. At 123 meters is an observation deck with superb 360-degree views out over Fukuoka.

Close-by are a number of shops and restaurants and the Robosquare with displays of contemporary robots inside the TNC-TV Bldg.

New Fukuoka Tower, Kyushu

Fukuoka Tower Inc.
2-3-26 Momochihama
Fukuoka City
Tel: (092) 823-0234
Admission: 800 yen for adults
Hours: April-Sept 9.30am-10pm; October-March 9.30am-9pm
Access: There are Nishitetsu buses (approx 45 mins from Fukuoka Airport; 25 mins from Tenjin Station, 30 mins from Hakata Station, and 10 minutes from Nishijin-Fukuoka Tower South entrance bus stop).
The nearest subway is Nishijin and then a 15-minute walk or short bus ride.
Map of Fukuoka Tower

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, November 29, 2010

William Adams Grave Hirado


Those of us who are old enough to remember the classic, 1980 TV mini-series Shogun starring Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune will always have a soft spot for William Adams (1564-1620), the first Englishman to find himself in Japan.

William Adams Grave Hirado Kyushu

Adams' life was an unbelievable adventure story - shipwrecked off the coast of Japan on a Dutch ship the De Liefde, the Kent-born sailor, known in Japan as Miura Anjin ('Pilot'), was spared death and became a confidant of Tokugawa Ieyasu, advising the shogun on matters of navigation and ship-building.

Eventually Adams was granted the title of hatamoto - a samurai in direct service of the shogun - and granted lands and servants near present-day Yokosuka.

Adams moved to Hirado and was instrumental in setting up an English trading post on the island, though he quarreled with the English representative in Japan, John Saris, who disliked Adams for his adoption of a Japanese lifestyle and habits. Adams had taken a Japanese wife, with whom he had two children.

William Adams Grave Hirado

Adams passed away aged 55 on Hirado, a small island off the western coast of Kyushu, south of Fukuoka.

His grave, erected in 1954, is a short walk above the harbor and is a peaceful and evocative spot. A stone from the grave of his English wife was brought over from the UK to lie on Adams' tomb so the two could be reunited.

Another memorial stone at the site records the Englishmen who died in Japan during the 10 years of the English "factory" on Hirado.

Visitors on Hirado can also see Tabira Church, the English Factory established with the help of Adams and the Matsuura Historical Museum.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Japan News This Week 28 November 2010


Japan News.M.B.A.’s in Japan Struggle for Respect

New York Times

China's support of North Korea grounded in centuries of conflict


What makes good teaching?


North Korea’s ‘military first’ politics are behind recent attacks

Christian Science Monitor

Japan's justice minister resigns after gaffe


Japan election sure to show opposition to US base

Washington Post



Cabinet can't stray during drills: Kan

Japan Times

Les conséquences du déplacement de l'activité manufacturière vers la Chine et les pays émergents

Le Monde

Japan’s World Cup bid for 2022 faces obstacles

Yahoo Sports

Last week's Japan news

Japan Statistics

The number of Chinese tourists to Japan declined for the first time in nine months. The number of visitors in October was 106,400, a 1.8% decline from the previous year.

Source: Kyodo News

"Have you ever been bullied?"

Yes: 44%
No: 56%

Of those who replied yes, the top types of bullying were:

1) ignored
2) said mean things to
3) physical

Source: Asahi Shinbun Poll

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shirotori Garden Nagoya


Shirotori Garden in Nagoya is close to Atsuta Shrine and the Nagoya Congress Center.

Shirotori Garden Nagoya

Opened in 1991, the 3.7ha Shirotori Tei-en is a modern Japanese garden representing the countryside of the surrounding areas of Nagoya city.

The mound in the south-west corner of the garden represents Mt. Ontake, located on the borders of Nagano and Gifu Prefectures and the second highest volcano in Japan at 3,067m. The stream running from the mound represents the Kiso River in Gifu.

Shirotori Garden Nagoya

The Shiotori Garden contains a traditional teahouse, Seiu-tei, built in the Sukiya style by carpenters from Kyoto. Other features of this beautiful, strolling garden include a perfect, turf lawn, traditional, arched wooden bridges and a number of waterfalls.

The Shiotori Garden also plays host to various art events that are held within the grounds.

There's a cafe for visitors to refresh themselves and contemplate a garden that seems a million miles from the hustle and bustle of downtown Nagoya. Can you spot the toad/frog in the image below?

Shirotori Garden Nagoya Aichi

Shirotori Garden
Atsuta Nishi-machi 2-5
Tel: 052 681 8928
Admission: 300 yen; Yearly pass 1,200 yen
Hours: 9am-4.30pm; closed Monday and the 3rd Wednesday of the month.
Access: Shirotori Garden is a 10 minute walk from Jingu-Nishi Station on the Meijo Line.

Shirotori Garden Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.

Shirotori Garden Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.

Shirotori Garden Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Akaike Station Nagoya


Akaike Station (lit. "Red Lake") is at the eastern end of the Tsurumai Line of the Nagoya subway before the line becomes the Meitetsu Toyota Line to Toyota city. Some Tsurumai trains terminate at Akaike Station from Kami Otai while others continue on to Toyota-shi. Likewise some trains begin from Akaike rather than running through from Toyota.

The area around the station includes the Oxport sports center and pool (now closed), a popular McDonalds, a Piago supermarket, a branch of the Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ bank, a post office, a florist, a convenience store, a pachinko parlor, several juku (cram schools) and a number of bars, cafes and izakaya.

Akaike Station

Akaike Station has full wheelchair access and a paid for motorbike and bicycle parking lot. There are no coin lockers at Akaike Station.

Buses from Akaike no longer run to Chubu International Airport but there are bus services to Toyota, Nagakute Kosenjo Station on the Linimo, Nagoya Shoka University, Yufukuji and Toyota Nishi High School.

Akaike Station is a short walk from the Nagoya City Tram and Subway Museum. The preceding station from the west is Hirabari and traveling east the next station is Nisshin.

Meitetsu bus to Nagakute Kosenjo Station at Akaike Station.

There are three entrances/exits at Akaike Station: Exit 1 is at the southern end of the bus rotunda with Exits 2 and 3 at the northern end.

A vast shopping mall, Akaike Hills opened in November, 2017 close to the station.

Location on Google maps

Akaike Station Nagoya Aichi

Crowded Toyota-shi bound train at Akaike Station.

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kohaku Uta Gassen Lineup 2010

Kohaku Uta Gassen紅白歌合戦

With just over a month remaining in 2010, Japanese eyes are beginning to turn towards the annual "Kohaku Uta Gassen" New Year's Eve television extravaganza.

Unlike the West, New Year's Eve in Japan is a fairly quiet night. Many families stay in and watch Kohaku, which literally means "Red White."

In short, the program is a singing "battle." The great and not so great, talented and not so talented from Japan's music world are divided into Red (female) and White (male) teams. A panel of almost as famous judges evaluates each act, and then just prior to the tolling of the temple bells to ring in the new year one team is declared the winner.

In recent years, the men have been very strong.

The list of guests on the NHK program was recently announced.

Here is the 2010 lineup:

Red Team

Angela Aki
Ikimono Gakari
Sayuri Ishikawa
Kane Uemura
Miyuki Kawanaka
Kumi Koda
Natsuko Godai
Sachiko Kobayashi
Fuyumi Sakamoto
Yoshimi Tendo
Mitsuko Nakamura
Kana Nishino
Ayumi Hamasaki
Ayaka Hirahara
Nana Mizuki
Kaori Mizumori
Akiko Wada

White Team

Hiroshi Itsuki
Yuzo Kayama
Saburo Kitajima
Hiromi Go
Hideaki Tokunaga
Kiyoshi Hikawa
Masaharu Fukuyama
Takashi Hosokawa
Porno Graffiti
Shinichi Mori
Yusuke Yuzu
L'Arc en Ciel

The big surprise was the exclusion of Kenichi Mikawa, who is a man, pictured above.

On the women's side two stalwarts, Kyoto's Kumi Koda and veteran Akiko Wada, will attempt to defeat the men.

© JapanVisitor.com

Nagoya Dome


Nagoya Dome near Ozone in Nagoya is the home stadium of the Chunichi Dragons baseball team and also plays hosts to music concerts, conferences and trade fairs.

The Rolling Stones played here back in 2006. Other bands to have performed at Nagoya Dome include Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, Steve Barakatt, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Fuel, Billy Joel, Luciano Pavarotti, Queen + Paul Rodgers, and Wayne Shorter.

Nagoya Dome

Nagoya Dome opened in 1997 and has a capacity of around 38,000 people. The dome is opposite a huge Aeon shopping mall and the new Meijo University Dome-mae campus and is a popular spot for joggers running around the stadium.

Nagoya Dome, Nagoya

Nagoya Dome is best accessed by subway to the Nagaoya Dome-mae Yada Station on the Meijo line or Ozone Station on the JR, Meitetsu and subway lines.

Nagoya Dome home to the Chunichi Dragons

Nagoya Dome
Tel: 052 719 2121

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robosquare Fukuoka


Robosquare inside the TNC TV Building in Fukuoka is a free museum showcasing Japan's prowess in the field of robotics.


On display are the robotic dog, Aibo, the cuddly cyborg seal, Paro and a number of other robots including Aimo, Robonova and RIDC.

Robosquare holds workshops and seminars for school children to prepare for participation in Robocup Junior competitions and to promote the robotics industry in Fukuoka.

2F TNC-TV Bldg.,
2-3-2 Momochihama
Tel: 092 821 4100
Hours: 9.30am-6pm; closed 2nd Wednesday of the month
Access: 15 minute walk from Exit 1 of Nishijin Station of the Fukuoka subway.
Robosquare Fukuoka Map

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Pooping or Peeing in Kyoto

No Pooping or Peeing in Kyotoペットの糞、小便させないでください

On the side of a traditional home in downtown Kyoto, the owner has a affixed a very "kawai" (cute) sign warning pet owners not to let their beloved pooches poo or pee on the wall.

Japan has been in the middle of a pet "boom" for more than a decade, and dog-lovers and those who are not as fond of them are sometimes at odds.

The biggest complaints about dogs are 1) "kinjo meiwaku" (causing a disturbance in the neighborhood, usually by barking and being nosiy), and 2) owners not scooping the poops.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

Takachiho Yokagura


Takachiho Yokagura is performed nightly at Takachiho Shrine in Takachiho in Miyazaki Prefecture.

Usually four dances are performed in the hourly show which begins at 8pm (500 yen).

The evening we attended we saw the Dance of Tajikarao, the Dance of Ameno-Uzume and the Totori Dance featuring Tajikarao. In the first dance Tajikarao listens for sounds of Amaterasu (the sun goddess) hiding in Amano-Iwato cave. In the second dance Ameno-Uzume performs an "unusual" (read "bawdy" according to the ancient texts) dance that makes the other gods laugh, thus making Amaterau curious enough to peek outside her cave. In the third dance, Tajikarao, known for his great strength, gathers his energy and removes the stone blocking the cave, thus restoring the sun to the universe.

The dance shown in the video (above) is the comic Goshintai Dance and shows Izanagi and Izanami, the god and goddess who created Japan according to Japanese mythology, as they make and drink sake. These two gods are known for their long and loving marriage before the tragedy of Izanami's death in child-birth. This dance is also known as the "Creation of Japan" dance.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Japan News This Week 21 November 2010


Japan News.Japan Pushing the Mob Out of Businesses

New York Times

How to boost corporate Japan: Stop speaking Japanese


China 'to resume rare earth exports to Japan'


Japan abandons bid to make China a key pillar of its foreign policy

Christian Science Monitor

Ady Gil and Japanese whaler both blamed for collision


Ipads Ensure Tourists in Japan Not Lost in Translation: Video

Washington Post



Niigata halts plan to sell plot for consulate amid outcry

Japan Times

Hatsune Miku, la chanteuse à succès... qui n'existe pas


Ultra-small is beautiful for Japanese homeowner


Japan’s Nishioka cleared to move to MLB

Yahoo Sports

Last week's Japan news

Japan Statistics

Women who eat three bowls of rice or more daily have a 50% higher risk of becoming diabetic than those who eat just one bowl. That data comes from a study by the National Cancer Institute.

Source: Yomiuri Shinbun

"Do you want to live abroad?"

Yes: 56%
No: 44%

Of those who replied yes, the top choices were:

1) Canada
2) Australia
3) USA
4) New Zealand
5) UK
6) Italy
7) Northern Europe (Sweden, Norway, etc.)
8) Western Europe (Holland, Switzerland, etc.
9) France
10) Spain

Source: Asahi Shinbun Poll

The number of Japanese students in the US declined 15% in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Japan ranked sixth in number of foreign students in the US, but its total dropped to 24,800.

With 128,000 students, China was the number one country.

Source: Kyodo News

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lions Mansion


Lions Mansions can be seen throughout Japan and are up-market rental apartment blocks. The first Lions Mansion condominium was built in Akasaka in Tokyo in 1968. The brand is owned by the massive Daikyo Corporation, which has over 6,000 buildings throughout Japan.

Lions Mansion

Lions Mansions are built in faux red brick and have a statue of a lion outside the block.

Lions Mansions
Tel: 0120 117 406

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

Myomanji Temple Kyoto

Myomanji Temple Kyoto妙満寺

North of Kitayama, and not far from Entsuji Temple, is the interesting Myomanji Temple.

Myomanji is part of the Nichiren sect and is a relatively new temple.

It is close to and has fabulous views of Mount Hiei.

One of the highlights is a concrete copy of the famed stupa at Bodh Gaya, India. This is where the historical Buddha gained Enlightenment.


A five-minute walk from Kino station (Eiden Line). Twenty minutes on foot from the last stop--Kokusai Kaikan--on the Karasuma subway line.

91 Hataeda-cho, Iwakura, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto.
Tel: 075 791-7171

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Early Christmas in Tokyo


Christmas in Tokyo

It's mid-November, and already in Tokyo the Christmas decorations are going up. One of the biggest retail presences in Shinjuku shopping, the Odakyu department store, on the west side of Shinjuku Station, has just put up its Christmas lights in the form of hundreds of colored squares covering the front of the building.

The brightly lit up area in front of Odakyu Department Store is the huge Shinjuku bus depot used by a number of bus companies.

Read more about Shinjuku.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Asakusabashi Station Tokyo


Asakusabashi Station Interior Tokyo

The Asakusabashi (literally "Shallow Grass Bridge") station building serves two lines: the JR Sobu line, between Akihabara Station to the west, and Ryogoku Station to the east, and the Asakusa subway line between Higashi-Nihonbashi and Kuramae stations.

The station is on the north-south-running Edo-dori Avenue that intersects Yasukuni-dori Avenue just a little to the south of the station.

Asakusabashi Station, Tokyo, Japan.

The JR station is on the second story of the building. It has an east and west exit, and is open between 6am and 11.30pm every day. The East Exit is the main exit, facing Edo-dori Avenue.

The Asakusa subway line station is on the underground floor and is open from around 5 am to around midnight. It has six exits: A1 to A6.

Asakusabashi Station Tokyo

JR Asakusabashi Station began life in 1932, and the subway Asakusabashi Station in 1960.

The JR station and subway station serve about 50,000 passengers per day each, for a total of about 100,000.

The stations serve the surrounding Asakusabashi and Yanagibashi districts, well known for their numerous stores specializing in traditional Japanese dolls, as well as fireworks stores, fabric, trinket and clothing accessory stores, and even a specialty balloon store. There are several banks, convenience stores, Japanese fast food stores, a supermarket, restaurants, pachinko parlors around the station and under the elevated JR Sobu line.

Asakusabashi Station, Tokyo.

The Asakusabashi area does not offer much high end shopping, and, being small, relies for custom on residents, not visitors from other parts of Tokyo, except for the trade in dolls and koinobori for which Asakusabashi is famous.

The biggest tourist attraction in this area is the tour boats moored in the Higashi-Kanda River, just south of the station, and that flows into the Sumida River, just east. However, most of these boats are for group hire.
Asakusabashi Station Tokyo

Asakusabashi station is at 1-18-11 Asakusabashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo
The JR station telephone does not have a direct telephone line for customers, but lost and forgotten inquiries can be made to the JR Lost Property Office at 050-2016-1601.

Subway station tel: 03-3866-8765

Asakusabashi Station Google Map

View Tokyo Map Japan in a larger map

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Takachiho Station


The Takachiho to Nobeoka Line in Kyushu, southern Japan was closed in 2005 following the powerful typhoon Nabi and subsequent flooding which washed away two bridges along the route. No funds were available from central government for rebuilding and the company went into liquidation in 2009.

Takachiho Station, Takachiho, Kyushu

Now Takachiho Station runs only a few toy "torokko" trains a couple of kilometers down the line for tourists. The station remains open as a travel information and tribute center to the former glories of the picturesque railway, which linked the tourist town of Takachiho to Nobeoka and from there to Oita, Fukuoka (via Kokura) and the rest of the country.

Takachiho Station

The 50km-long Takachiho Railway was one of the most scenic railways in Japan before the disaster with 14 daily trains in each direction.

Takachiho Station, Kyushu

Takachiho Amaterasu Rail Park
Tel: 0982 72 3216

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

APEC hits Tokyo traffic

APEC hits Tokyo traffic

The 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting took place in Yokohama on 13 and 14 November - just finishing last night. While attempts were being made to kick start the long-stalled Doha Development Round talks, and Prime Minister Kan reasserted the Japaneseness of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and President Obama was seeking freer trade with Asian countries, the police in Tokyo were taking no risks and restricting traffic around key areas of the meeting and the leaders' accommodation.

The result this weekend was unusually severe traffic congestion in certain parts of Tokyo, a fact that was carefully planned for and which announcements were made continually over Saturday and Sunday.

The above photo was taken on Edo-dori Avenue in Tokyo's Taito ward (one stop east of Akihabara). It says "APEC: until November 14, restrictions are in place on metropolitan freeways."

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Japan News this Week 14 November 2010


Japan News.Return of the Samurai

New York Times

Japanese Runner Looks to Make Mark in New York

New York Times

Japanese Whirlwind Kagawa Propelling Borussia Dortmund in Bundesliga

New York Times

Must Japan be eclipsed by China?


Japanese bra that talks and promotes sightseeing


Can a pop opera bring Japanese animation to life?

Japanese coast guard member admits to leaking collision video


The yakuza


Peace Prize winners meet in Japan to abolish nukes

Washington Post



Uniting APEC too tall an order for Kan?

Japan Times

Le Japon tétanisé par ses disputes avec la Chine et la Russie

Le Monde

Japanese draw Argentina in Copa America

Yahoo Sports

Last week's Japan news

Japan Statistics

Beer consumption fell to a record low in October. Domestic shipments of beer-like budgets dropped 6.2% from the previous year, down to 35.63 million cases.

Source: Kyodo News

"Are you satisfied with your salary?"

Yes: 27%
No: 55%
Neither: 18%

Source: Asahi Shinbun Poll

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide to Japan

The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide to Japan

by Armand Vaquer

51 pages

Californian Armand Vaquer is a serious kaiju eiga (monster movie) fan, especially of the monster of monsters, Godzilla. He writes for various fan blogs on the subject, he travels to fan conventions, he has met up with Godzilla personnel all to the way up to the president of Toho Pictures, and he has traveled numerous times to Japan to visit the original Godzilla settings.

"Original settings" is a bit a tricky concept in this context, of course. Those Japanese landmarks had been recreated as scale models in the Toho Studios and were then destroyed by the giant monster. In real life, they still stand unscathed by any monster action and can easily be visited.

The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide to Japan

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide to Japan is Vaquer's guide aimed at monster fans who also want to travel to Japan and see the sites where Godzilla went on his rampages.

The fanzine-style, self-published booklet starts out with a detailed description of the basics, from getting an American passport to the procedures at Narita Airport to the details of Japan Rail passes.
He then moves on to the actual cities Godzilla scenes took place in, starting with Sapporo in the north and going all the way down to Kagoshima in the south.

Tokyo has of course been most prominently featured in the movies, Yokohama, Nagoya and a few other cities have also had their share of space on the Godzilla screens. There, the most and best settings can be found and Vaquer lists a lot of them.

Vaquer's writing is at its best when he can actually relate a certain building or mountain to a certain scene in a specific movie. Unfortunately, Vaquer has always just come to Japan as a tourist on short trips. He rarely provides much detail. In most cases, he just tells the fans "This landmark was destroyed by Godzilla in XY movie" and already moves on to the next topic. But for hardcore kaiju fans who know the films by heart, this might be all they need to know.

In the case of cities that have only one or two sites connected with monster movie settings, Vaquer provides general information on what else is to see and do there. So, the reader can decide if the destination is worth a trip.

In short, if you are a real Godzilla fan and have always toyed around with the idea that someday you might go to Japan and see the home of the monster by yourself, this booklet is for you. It might help to get you started to actually realize that trip.

Distributed by Comix Press online:
Price: US$ 15 plus shipping

© Johannes Schönherr & JapanVisitor.com

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nishijin Kyoto


Kyoto's Nishijin area is the city's traditional weaving section.

It has seen its fortunes wane because of the strength of the yen and lifestyle changes. Even in Kyoto, most women rarely wear kimono though yukata robes are making a bit of a comeback.

Much of the area - roughly north of Imadegawa, west of Horikawa - is defined by traditional buildings. And many weaving companies remain.

The alley pictured above right is one of the few remaining "roji" - a narrow cul-de-sac lined with wooden homes and shops.

Because of building codes, such alleys once they disappear will be gone for good. The primary reason is safety: fire trucks and equipment cannot get into the narrow alleys.

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Japan Baseball Season 2010


The 2010 Japanese baseball season ended last week with the Chiba Lotte Marines edging the Chunichi Dragons 4-2-1 in the Japan Series.

The Marines were led by series MVP Toshiaki Imae and rookie outfielder Ikuhiro Kiyota and won their first Japan Series title since 2005. They are also the first team to finish third in the league standings to reach and win the Japan Series.

The sixth game of the series ended in a 2-2 tie after 15 innings and at 5 hours and 43 minutes was the longest Japan Series game in history.

The Dragons were the Central League champion this season while the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks won the PL. The season also featured three players who surpassed 200 hits, which prior to this season had happened just three times in the history of Japanese baseball.

Leading the way was Hanshin Tigers outfielder Matt Murton who set a new single-season record with 214 hits, Chiba Lotte Marines shortstop finished with 206 and Norichika Aoki recorded 204 hits for his second career 200-hit season.

Hiroshima Carp pitcher Kenta Maeda won the pitching triple crown and edged Yu Darvish and others for the 2010 Sawamura Award, becoming the first CL pitcher to win the award since Chunichi's Kenshin Kawakami won in 2004.

Individual title winners in the major categories for hitters were:

Batting average: CL, Norichika Aoki (Tokyo Yakult Swallows) .358 PL Tsuyoshi Nishioka (Chiba Lotte Marines) .346

Home runs CL, Alex Ramirez (Yomiuri Giants) 49 PL Takehiro Okada (Orix Buffaloes) 33

RBIs CL Alex Ramirez 129 PL Eiichi Koyano (Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters) 109

For pitchers the winners were: ERA: CL Kenta Maeda (Hiroshima Carp) 2.21 PL Yu Darvish (Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 1.78

Wins CL Kenta Maeda 15 PL Chihiro Kaneko (Orix Buffaloes) Tsuyoshi Wada (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks) 17

Strikeouts CL Kenta Maeda 174 PL Yu Darvish 222

© Jason Coskrey & JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Itsukushima Shrine Kyoto

Itsukushima Shrine Kyoto厳島神社京都

Kyoto also has an Itsukushima Shrine. Unlike its namesake in Hiroshima, it is not a World Heritage Site; in contrast, it is barely known to even the biggest shrine afficionado in Kyoto.

That is because it is located deep in the hills of northern Kyoto, in Kumogahata.

The shrine's original name was Kumogahata Benzaiten (after the Buddhist god of wisdom and music), and first appeared in written records before the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912).

At the beginning of the Meiji Period, when religion was repressed the name changed to Itsukushima Shrine to avoid repression.

Today it is a small, rarely visited and beautiful place.


Take the 37 bus from Demachiyanagi to Kumogahata Gakko Mae. About 45 minutes.

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Suitengu Shrine


Suitengu Shrine Tokyo

Suitengu Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Tokyo famous for being where expectant mothers go to pray for the safe delivery of their child.

Suitengu Shrine Tokyo

Interestingly, this shrine’s roots are in Fukuoka prefecture, but it was the shrine of a prominent family that moved to its former site in Akasaka to its present site in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi-kakigaracho district (in Chuo ward) in 1871. This followed a process known as bunrei, literally, “splitting of the spirit,” whereby the spirit worshiped at the original shrine was “split” for simultaneous worship at another shrine.

Suitengu Shrine

The god enshrined there, Ame-no-minaka-nushi-no-kami, is not a god that was closely associated with daily life, but was more of a creator-type character, and for this reason worship of it was not usual until about 700 years ago.

Suitengu Shrine Tokyo

The present shrine building dates from 1967, and is on the upper of two stories, taking full advantage of the prime Tokyo land it occupies by housing commercial premises on the ground floor.

Suitengu Shrine Tokyo

It hosts numerous events throughout the year. The one pictured here is typical, with vendors selling food and amulets, and priests performing rituals over the mothers gathered there.

Suitengu Shrine Tokyo

Suitengu Shrine features some interesting statuary, from the ornate, fierce lions at the main entrance, to the bronze bitch looking after her puppy, to the cute kappa – a legendary river denizen – also nursing its child.

Suitengu Shrine Tokyo


Suitengu-mae Station, Hanzomon Subway Line, Exit 5
Google Map of Suitengu

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, November 08, 2010

Industrial Waste Management Japan Company Sign

Construction Company Gate産業廃棄物会社の看板

In the hills north of Kyoto, several companies that handle industrial waste mar an otherwise pristine forest and river.

The grounds of the company are surrounded by sheet metal fences and are monitored by security cameras.

Every now and then a dump truck will roll out, loaded with only God knows what.

Illegal dumping is rife in Japan, as a quick peek into the woods and rivers that line many rural roads will attest to.

The villagers in Kumogahata, near the company pictured above, picketed and protested and even enlisted the help of the Kyoto City Communist Party to prevent the companies from setting up on this river. All to no avail. The city government went ahead and gave approval.

Below the company logo - the odd looking man with a chainsaw and cigar - is its name and license number.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Japan News this Week 7 November 2010


Japan News.Japan’s Auto Parts Makers Try to Anticipate Shift to Electric Cars

New York Times

Japanese Runner Looks to Make Mark in New York

New York Times

Is the Japanese gaming industry in crisis?


More turf wars for Japan after Russia's Medvedev visits disputed Kuril Islands

Christian Science Monitor

Miffy biffs Cathy in Kitty copycat case


Tokyo investigates video behind China-Japan clash

Washington Post



Lawyer fatally stabbed while cops mistakenly tried to subdue him

Japan Times

Island disputes reveal Asia's evolving powers


La visite de Medvedev dans les îles Kouriles provoque la colère du Japon

Le Monde

Japan pitcher Darvish plans on playing in US in 2012

Yahoo Sports

Last week's Japan news

Japan Statistics

Percentage of Japanese polled who would "welcome the arrival of a US military base in your neighborhood."

Yes: 26%
No: 74%

Source: Asahi Shinbun Poll

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Beware Bear Sign Kyoto

Beware of bears!くま出没注意京都

In the mountains of northern Kyoto city, there is a small village called Kumogahata.

It is just a thirty-minute drive from downtown, but a world away.

Until the 1860s, it was the hunting grounds for the emperor, and game still exist in large numbers. Deer, fox, boar, and bear are all common.

This year because of the brutal heat of summer, the bear are causing havoc among city and town dwellers. Their usual food supply is in short supply, and all over Japan bear have been wandering into areas where bear and humans meet.

In Kumogahata, this is not unusual. The sign above is mainly for children who attend the small elementary school nearby. (Behind it is a crossing guard's sign.)

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Nail Art Salons In Japan

Even the smallest towns in Japan now have a nail art salon and large cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto all have many such stores.

Nail Art Salons

Nail art salons offer nail manicures, pedicures, nail enhancements, waxing and nail deco.

The Tokyo Nail Expo to be held this year on 28-29 November at Tokyo Big Sight is the biggest nail art event in Asia, and a mecca for all nail art fans and competitors.

Nail Art In Japan

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