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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kyoto Keirin

Kyoto Keirin京都競輪

On a recent day at the races at the Kyoto Keirin track in Mukomachi, we took in a few track cycling races, lost a bit of money, partook of one cup of Cup Sake, and met a few of the punters.

The track is 400 meters long and one race is five laps, or 2,000 meters.

The first 2-3 laps are slow going, with a lead bike taking the nine racers out. At that point, the lead bike drops out, and the action begins.

It is a cat-and-mouse game, followed by sudden bursts of great speed.

On race day the men - the crowd is 99% male - place bets in the intervals between races. Nearly all carried racing forms, well marked, and other study aids.


Hankyu Railways: Get off at Higashi Mukomachi Station. There is a free shuttle on race days, or it can be walked in 15 minutes.

Japan Railways (JR): Get off at Mukomachi Station, the third local stop from Kyoto Station. There is a free shuttle on race days, or it can be walked in 20 minutes.

Tel: 075 921 0317

Entrance Fee

50 yen for one day

© JapanVisitor.com

Kyoto KeirinKeywords
Kyoto Keirin

Monday, May 30, 2011

Higashiyama and Kodaiji Temple

Kodaiji Temple Kyoto高台寺

Kodaiji Temple is a dramatic temple on top of a hill in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto. It was established by Nene in 1606 in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Nene, who is enshrined at the temple, was the wife of Hideyoshi.

Kodaiji is a zen temple, and the buildings and grounds are lovely.

The main hall building on the grounds is bookended by two gorgeous gardens.

One is a rock garden that is said to symbolize a vast ocean. The other garden is an has a pond, man made hills, decorative rocks and pine and maple trees.

The entire area is classic Kyoto.

Below Kodaiji is the Path of Nene, a beautifully preserved cityscape full of shops and other temples.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Japan News This Week 29 May 2011


Japan News.Japan eyes solar panels on all new buildings


Japan's car production plunges due to parts shortages


5 beautiful Japanese travel movies


Japan nuclear plant confirms meltdown of two more reactors


Angry Parents in Japan Confront Government over Radiation Levels

New York Times

Transfer of Korean archives OK'd

Japan Times

Japón vuelve a registrar inflación dos años y cuatro meses después

El Pais



Deception and Diplomacy: The US, Japan, and Okinawa

Japan Focus

Japan name teen star for World Cup warmup

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News


Average Nippon Pro Baseball Salary by team, Central League, 2010 (in USD):

Tokyo Giants $940,827
Chunichi Dragons $730,379
Hanshin Tigers $643,724
Yohohama Bay Stars $420,896
Yakult Swallows $371,379
Hiroshima Carp $259,965

Source: http://nenshu-up.mokuren.ne.jp/

Average Major League Player Salary, 2011:


Source: USA Today

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Iyeyasu & Mikawa Bushi Museum

三河武士のやかた家康, 愛知県

Okazaki Park consists of the former grounds of Okazaki Castle where Ieyasu Tokugawa (1542-1616), one of the most famous men in Japanese history and the founding father of the Tokugawa shogunate was born.

Iyeyasu and Mikawa Bushi Museum

Okazaki Park also contains the interesting Iyeyasu and Mikawa Bushi Museum (Tel: 0564 24 2204) which details the history of Ieyasu and the local Mikawa area clan to which he belonged. Note the different spelling of Tokugawa's first name in the name of the museum.

The museum focuses on the emergence of Ieyasu's Matsudaira clan in the Chubu area through video presentations, his early life at Okazaki Castle and his years spent as a hostage firstly with the Oda clan from age 6-8 and later with the Inagawa clan until he was 19. Life wasn't all bad however, as at 14 he married his captor Imagawa Yoshimoto's niece, Lady Tsukiyama.

The Iyeyasu & Mikawa Bushi Museum also has replicas of Ieyasu's armor, original swords, battle helmets, documents, wooden statues, and a diorama of his most famous victory at the Battle of Sekigahara.

There are a number of video games aimed at children where you can find out lots of useful facts about Tokugawa Ieyasu: he had 16 children, was 158cm tall and his shoe size was 22.5cm.

Just outside the entrance to the Iyeyasu and Mikawa Bushi Museum is the Karakuri Tokeito, a mechanical clock from which every thirty minutes a model of Ieyasu dressed in Noh costume appears and performs a dance accompanied by Noh music. The performance ends with a few of the Ieyasu's famous precepts such as "Blame yourself, not others," "Moderation is better than excess" and "Don't hurry."

Iyeyasu & Mikawa Bushi Museum Access

Take a Meitetsu Express train to Higashi Okazaki Station from Nagoya Station (28 mins) or from Toyohashi (20 mins). The nearest station to Okazaki Park is actually Okazaki Koen-mae one stop west on a local Meitetsu train or JR Naka Okazaki.

The main JR Okazaki Station is a distance south of the downtown area so change to the Aichi Loop Line (Aikan) and take a local train two stops north to Naka Okazaki Station, just opposite the Hatcho miso factory.

By car exit the Tomei Expressway at Okazaki Interchange or take National Highway Route 1 (the old Tokaido).

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

NLGR+ 2011 Gay & Lesbian Festival in Nagoya ゲイ・レズビアン祭りイン名古屋 

Nagoya's big annual gay and lesbian event, NLGR+, is happening again this year on June 4 and 5, 2011.

The main event is an outdoor festival in Nagoya's Ikeda Koen Park in Naka-ku, 4-chome on Saturday June 4 from 2pm and Sunday June 5 from 11am, 2011. The park will have various booths and tents, including a men's stage tent, a women's booth, an orientation tent, and booths representing a range of different groups such as the Bear Club of Japan, the Taiwan Red Ribbon Foundation, a gay Christian group, an HIV prevention information tent, and more.

The two days will feature a constant flow of entertainment by a huge variety of show boys and girls, bands, and speakers.

In the evening of the 4th and 5th, partiers can visit the numerous gay and lesbian bars and clubs in the area.  And on Saturday night (June 4th) there are no less than 6 different club events happening, at:
-Club JBs for the mixed gay/lesbian Pierrot Vol.26 NLGR+ Special nite - drag queens galore!!
-Cafe Domina for the men-only Paisley Park NLGR+ Special nite - ripped go-go boys!
-Club Colors for the men-only Deluxe nite
-Montage Lounge for the gay/lesbian Mixture Pot nite
-Club Viper for the women-only Love Track nite
-Pub Classmate for the women-only Pt. Stripper nite

Check out the NLGR+ website for details (in Japanese only)

Google Map to the Nagoya gay and lesbian bar and club district

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tokyo Spring Fashion - at Shinjuku Station

東京 春のファッション

Tokyo is remarkable for the degree of fashion-consciousness of its denizens and for the huge range of clothing fads represented.

The latest in boots, stockings, bags, hats, cutesy accessories, runway spectacular, pair-look follies - Tokyo has it all.

JapanVisitor set out last weekend to see just what Tokyoites were wearing this spring. And what better place to check out the Tokyo fashion scene than Tokyo's busiest railway station, in one of Tokyo's prime shopping districts: Shinjuku Station?

Read more about Shinjuku shopping.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Henry Heusken & Korinji Temple


Henry Heusken (1832-1861) was the young Dutch-born interpreter for Townshend Harris, the first American Consul General in Japan.

Korinji Temple, Tokyo

Heusken fell victim to the random violence of the sonno joi ("Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarian") movement that swept Japan during the chaotic Bakumatsu Period - the death throes of the Tokugawa regime before the Restoration of the Meiji Emperor in 1868.

Other notable victims of samurai antipathy to foreigners at the time were Charles Richardson, a British trader hacked to death at Namamugi, near Yokohama in 1862 by Satsuma han swordsmen and eleven French sailors killed in the Sakai Incident of 1868.

Korinji Temple Tokyo

Henry Heusken died of his wounds at Zenpukuji Temple following an attack by unknown swordsmen on Nakanohashi Bridge in Tokyo. Heusken ignored warnings from his boss Harris not to ride in the streets after dark.

Heusken is now buried in the grounds of Korinji Temple (光林寺) not far from Zenpukuji. Also buried here is Dankichi, a Japanese castaway, who had lived in the USA and China and was an interpreter for British Consul Rutherford Alcock. The low born Dankichi was resented for his hauty attitude by his fellow Japanese and cut down on the steps of the British Legation in 1860.

Korinji Temple in Tokyo

A weathered tombstone with an inscription in English commemorates the young Dutchman's brief life and there are a few Bols bottles at the foot of the tombstone to remind the visitor of Heusken's roots in The Netherlands.

The grave is on your right as you enter the temple about four main rows up at the far end.

Korinji Temple is close to the Iranian Embassy in Tokyo and a 15-minute walk from Hiroo Station on the Hibiya Line of Tokyo Metro. Korinji is known for its beautiful cherry blossom in season.

Korin-ji Temple
4-11-25 Minami Azabu
Tel: 03 3473 2621
Korinji Map

Korinji Temple

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spring Parking Infringement - A Haiku Anthology

駐車違反 俳句

Haiku is a simple form of Japanese poetry with a long history. Parking infringements are a simple form of criminal behavior, also with quite a long history.

See how the sublime and the dire combine beautifully in the ridiculous. Watch this haiku anthology in the form of an extended narration, on YouTube, crafted by JapanVisitor.com's in-house bard.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kyoto Station Happy Terrace


Ride the escalators up to the 15th floor of Kyoto Station to enjoy the Happy Terrace, a roof garden with excellent views of Kyoto city stretched out below you.

Kyoto Station Happy Terrace

The name in Japanese is a play on words with the "Ha" of happy being the kanji for leaf.

Happy Terrace, Kyoto Station

The 10th floor of Hiroshi Hara's giant edifice is dedicated solely to ramen restaurants so if you have a yearning for noodles on your way up or down to Happy Terrace, your needs are easily fulfilled.

Happy Terrace, Kyoto Station

If it is a fine day, you can wait for your train in a relaxing urban garden and take in the huge scale of Kyoto Station by looking down the escalators you have ridden to the top.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Japan News This Week 22 May 2011


Japan News.Japanese Officials Ignored or Concealed Dangers

New York Times

Tepco President: New Face, Old Blood

Wall Street Journal

Japan PM to take visiting leaders to earthquake zone


New photographs released of tsunami hitting the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Japan


F-35 may be dropped as Japan's next fighter

Japan Times

Japón entra otra vez en recesión

El Pais



Complicity and Victimhood: Director Kamanaka Hitomi's Nuclear Warnings

Japan Focus

Japan withdraw from Copa America

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News


Amount, in USD, of Chinese medicine used by Japan, China, and South Korea in 2010.

Japan: $9,800,000,000
China: $114,000,000,000
South Korea: $1,700,000,000

Source: Asahi Shinbun

The number of foreign visitors to Japan has plummeted in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and ensuing trouble.

Compared with April 2010, the number of visitors dropped 62.5% this April.

The total number of arrivals was 295,8000, which is the first time that figure has dipped below 300,000 since May 2003 during the SARS epidemic.

Source: Yomiuri Shinbun

© JapanVisitor.com

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Titty & Co Tokyo


Titty Japan

Lumine Est is an 8-floor fashion building that is one of the main players in Tokyo's Shinjuku shopping scene.

I was there on the weekend looking for a decent bakery (none to be had there, but some good ones in nearby Takashimaya), and my eye alighted on the above sign advertising the B1 floor shops - drawn to it by the shop called "titty & Co."

Japan is well-known for its zany English, but a women's clothing store with a strip joint name? I'd expect to find something like that over in the red light district of Kabukicho, not here.

Titty & Co. is a clothing store for women selling attire that is not, actually, very "titty" at all. If anything it all looked a bit on the cutey, punky (read "flat-chested") side of fashion. You'd expect a name a little more on target than that from a shop whose parent company is called Precision Co. Ltd.

However, they seem to be doing fine. According to Titty & Co.'s website, there are no less than eleven stores for the brand, in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo.

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sumida River in Tokyo

隅田川 東京

Sumida River Tokyo

The Sumida River starts in Kita ward and flows 27 kilometers (almost 17 miles) through Adachi, Arakawa, Sumida, Taito, Koto and Chuo wards into Tokyo Bay. It is spanned by 26 bridges. The oldest bridge dates from 1693, and was replaced by the Shin Ohashi Bridge in 1976.

The next oldest was built in 1659, replaced by the Ryogoku-bashi Bridge, very near the Kokugikan sumo stadium in Ryogoku.

This famous bridge featured in many paintings by the 18th/19th century ukiyoe artist, Utagawa Hiroshige. The bridges of the modern day Sumida are picturesque in the variety of their designs and the different, often vivid, colors each is painted.

The Sumida River is one of the hundreds of rivers throughout metropolitan Tokyo. The biggest bridges are on the Tama River and Arakawa River, but at the turn of the 20th century the Tokyo section of the Arakawa was diverted at Akabane, in Kita ward, to prevent flooding. The old course of the Arakawa, through seven of Tokyo’s wards, was renamed the Sumida.

Sumida River in Tokyo
Sumida River, looking north at Maya-bashi Bridge (green) in foreground, Komagata-bashi Bridge (blue), Azuma-bashi Bridge (red), Tobu Isesaki train line bridge (gray truss bridge), Itotoi-bashi Bridge (blue); Asahi Beer headquarters at right (gold).

There are several different river cruises on the Sumida available as a tourist attraction, between Asakusa and Hinode or Odaiba. They are expanding in number rapidly thanks to the completion of the Tokyo Skytree which makes for a major riverside attraction, both during the day and at night, when illuminated.

Each cruise offers the Tokyo visitor a fascinating cross-section of east-end Tokyo as revealed by life on the banks of the mighty Sumida. The Sumida River is also plied constantly by barges and ships of all kinds carrying oil, gravel and other products and commodities. Seabirds hover over and feed from the river well inland from Tokyo Bay.

© JapanVisitor.com

Japan Visas

Japanese Castles

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Green Tokyo

緑 東京

As a metropolis, Tokyo is all about superlatives. With a daytime population of almost 15 million it is one of the world’s biggest cities, and the minimally regulated state of its construction makes for a more jumbled look architecturally than most Western cities. The streets are crammed with shops and residences, and the spacious properties that the middle class takes for granted in most surburban settings overseas are an almost impossible luxury here.

As a concrete jungle, Japan’s capital is partly redeemed by the number of parks and gardens in Tokyo, but even more so by the passion its inhabitants maintain for greenery.

A remarkable feature of Tokyo is the number of potted plants kept in front, and on the roofs, of shops and houses, and even on apartment balconies. However tight the alley and grim the streetscape, the points of cultured greenery always give it something of a lift and add, literally, touches of life.

I wandered around my neighborhood with my camera last weekend. I live in the Asakusabashi district of Tokyo's Taito ward (near the electronic mecca of Akihabara; the tourist center of east end Tokyo, Asakusa; and that mix of high and low culture, Ueno). My aim was to document some of the greenery that relieves the monotony of this rather unlovely part of the city.

The slideshow here is the result: a random medley of just a few examples of the effort Tokyoites put into keeping their city green. Enjoy!

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kansai International Airport to Kyoto Trains


JR Haruka now has competition.

Haruka, which runs from Kansai International Airport to Kyoto Station, now will have to compete against a much less expensive option that, with one change, takes visitors right into the center of downtown.

Haruka costs 3490 yen and takes 75 minutes to Kyoto Station, from which it is a subway or bus ride to the center of town.

A limousine bus costs 2500 yen and takes roughly 90 minutes.

The new service - Nankai Line from the airport, subway in Osaka, and then along Hankyu tracks to Kyoto - will cost just 1200 yen and take one hour and 37 minutes to Kawaramachi Station.

At Tengachaya Station, passengers will need to change trains.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, May 16, 2011

Burmese Water Festival in Hibiya Park

水祭り ミャンマー

Burmese Water Festival in Hibiya Park, Tokyo

Tokyo's Hibiya Park was the scene of the Thingyan, or Water Festival, for the city’s Burmese population. The Water Festival marks the start of the Burmese New Year. After a wet week, the sun came out on the day, making for a pleasant enough afternoon in the park.

The festival was clearly on the oppositional side of Myanmar’s political fence, with several posters expressing support for Aung San Suu Kyi, and a speaker on the stage, too, appealing for the overthrow of the present military regime.

Burmese people had to pay to attend, but it was free to non-Burmese, of which there were a few. The festival was not packed, but enough were there to make for a buzz to the air (ignoring that other buzz that tried to pass for music from the stage: tuneless shouting by two girls dressed like they were going to church to the accompaniment of dully drummed and badly played heavy metal-like sounds.)

The din from the stage was replaced at times by Burmese dancing, which was a little easier to take in.

Burmese Water Festival Hibiya Park, Tokyo

There were several food stalls. It was Burmese fare, but pretty uninspiring, and overpriced at a flat 500 yen.

Maybe I just got there too late or left too early, but the most disappointing thing of all was the lack of the water dousing that is supposed to be the whole point of the Thingyan.

Coincidentally, though, on the way home, far from Hibiya Park, down a backstreet of Akihabara I saw three Japanese boys squirting each other in the street with a giant garish water gun - so that kind of put the icing on the somewhat disappointing Thingyan cake.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Japan News This Week 15 May 2011


Japan News.Japan’s Nuclear Future in the Balance

New York Times

Tepco Rescue Plan Could Hit Investors, Banks

Wall Street Journal

Japan's government approves Tepco compensation scheme


Plan to flood Fukushima reactor could cause new blast, experts warn


Robbers score record ¥604 million haul in Tachikawa

Japan Times

El Gobierno japonés ayudará a Tepco a pagar las indemnizaciones por Fukushima

El Pais



Japan, Europe and The Dangerous Fantasy of American Leadership

Japan Focus

Costa Rica denies Copa America participation amid speculation that Japan is to withdraw

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News


All Renewables Index November 2010, by Country

1) China
2) USA
3) Germany
4) India
5) UK
6) Italy
7) France
8) Spain
9) Canada
10) Portugal

15) Japan

Source: Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices

Average Age at Time of Loss of Virginity

India: 19.8
Vietnam: 19.6

China: 18.3

Poland: 17.7

France: 17,2
Japan: 17.2

USA: 16.9

UK: 16.6

Iceland: 15.6

Global Average 17.3

Source: Durex 2005 Sex Survey

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chozuya Water Feature At Japanese Shrines


Chozuya are the water butts in front of every Japanese shrine. Here you purify your hands and mouth before entering the shrine proper. This chozuya is at Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya.

Find shrines including Momotaro Shrine in Inuyama, Toyokawa Inari Shrine, Tagata Shrine and its phallic festival in March, the Naked Festival and Shin Otoko at Konomiya Shrine and the Horse Festival at Tado Shrine in Mie Prefecture.

Nagoya's most important shrine is Atsuta Jinja.

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

Anpanman Museum Kochi

The Anpanman Museum in Kochi on Shikoku is celebrating its 15th anniversary.

Anpanman Museum Kochi

The museum is dedicated to the life and adventures of the children's anime, who was created by Kochi-born Yanase Takashi. Made of bread and stuffed with bean paste, Anpanman appeals mainly to the under 5s. Kindergarten buses often carry his image in Japan. Anpanman duels with Baikin-man (Bacteria Man) and can lose his power if he gets wet. However, Jam Ojisan, can re-bake him.


Ride a JR train to Tosa-Yamada from Kochi Station, then bus bound in the direction of Odochi. Alight at Anpanman Myujiamu-mae (25 mins).

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Sumida River Tokyo

隅田川, 東京

The Sumida River is one of the hundreds of rivers throughout Tokyo. The biggest are the Tama River and Arakawa River, but at the turn of the 20th century the Tokyo section of the Arakawa was diverted at Akabane, in Kita ward, to prevent flooding. The old course of the Arakawa, through seven of Tokyo's wards, was renamed the Sumida.

The Sumida River starts in Kita ward and flows 27 kilometers (almost 17 miles) through Adachi, Arakawa, Sumida, Taito, Koto and Chuo wards into Tokyo Bay. It is spanned by 26 bridges. The oldest bridge dates from 1693, and was replaced by the Shin Ohashi Bridge in 1976. The next oldest was built in 1659, replaced by the Ryōgoku-bashi Bridge, very near the Kokugikan sumo stadium in Ryogoku. This bridge featured in many paintings by the 18th/19th century ukiyoe artist, Utagawa Hiroshige. The bridges of the modern day Sumida are picturesque in the variety of their designs and the different, often vivid, colors each is painted.

Sumida River, looking north at Maya-bashi Bridge (green) in foreground, Komagata-bashi Bridge (blue), Azuma-bashi Bridge (red), Tobu Isesaki train line bridge (gray truss bridge), Itotoi-bashi Bridge (blue); Asahi Beer headquarters at right (gold).

There are several different river cruises on the Sumida available as a tourist attraction, between Asakusa and Hinode or Odaiba. They offer the visitor a fascinating cross-section of east-end Tokyo as revealed by life on the banks of the Sumida. The river is also plied constantly by barges and ships carrying oil and other products and commodities. Seabirds hover over and feed from it well inland from Tokyo Bay.

© JapanVisitor.com

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Doctor Yellow Shinkansen


The Doctor Yellow Shinkansen is an iconic bullet train due to its color - bright, shiny yellow as opposed to the usual white color for normal, in-service passenger-carrying shinkansen trains.

Doctor Yellow trains monitor the condition of the bullet train track and overhead wire using hi-tech on board equipment, running at similar speeds to normal shinkansen such as the N700 series.

This Doctor Yellow Shinkansen is on display at the SCMaglev & Railway Park Museum in Nagoya.

© JapanVisitor.com

Shinkansen Train Nagoya Japanese Train

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Karakuri Exhibition Room Inuyama


The Karakuri Exhibition Room in Inuyama is just across the street from the Inuyama Artifacts Museum on the approach road to Inuyama Castle. Visitors can enter all three places on the same 600 yen ticket.

Karakuri Exhibition Room

The Karakuri Exhibition Room is dedicated to Karakuri - mechanical puppets, automatons or proto-robots if you like, that are part of the annual Inuyama Festival held on the first week of April.

Karakuri Exhibition Room Inuyama

Visitors can operate some puppets, watch demonstrations by a puppet master operating and making puppets and look at the collection of amazing Japanese puppets on display.

The Karakuri Exhibition Room is a short stroll from either Inuyama Station or Inuyama-Yuen Station.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, May 09, 2011

Nara National Museum

Nara National Museum, Nara, Japan.奈良国立博物館

In the middle of Nara Park  in Nara city is the Nara National Museum.

It was originally called the Imperial Nara Museum, and opened in April 1895.

It is home primarily to works of art and archaeological artifacts related to Buddhist art, which is appropriate considering the location.

The building itself speaks of an earlier age. It is elegant and stately, and a short walk from the Prefectural Government Building, Todaiji Temple, and Kasuga Grand Shrine.


Nara National Museum
50 Noborioji-cho, Nara 630-8213 Japan

9:30 AM - 5:00 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM)

500 yen for adults

Extended Museum Hours
9:30 AM - 7:00 PM (last admission at 6:30 PM)
Fridays (from the end of April to end of October) as well as the following dates:
the forth Saturday of January (January 22, 2011), February 3, March 12, August 15, and December 17

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Japan News This Week 8 May 2011


Japan News.Japan — Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis (2011)

New York Times

Japan to Shut a Second Plant

Wall Street Journal

Near field communication transforms travel in Japan


Featured photojournalist: Kimimasa Mayama


Police launch raids over fatal 'yakiniku' poisonings

Japan Times

Japón para la central nuclear de Hamaoka, en plena zona sísmica

El Pais



What Caused the High Cl-38 Radioactivity in the Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #1?

Japan Focus

Japan's Kagawa returns to Dortmund training

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News


Cancer rates by country, per 100,000 people:

1) Denmark: 326
2) Ireland: 317
3) Australia: 314
4) New Zealand: 309
5) Belgium: 306
6) France: 300.4
7) USA: 300.2
8) Norway: 299
9) Canada: 296
10) Czech Republic: 295

22) UK: 266

51) Japan: 247

Source: Guardian

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, May 07, 2011



The Tokaido (lit. "East Sea Road") is Japan's most famous highway and historically links the ancient capital of Kyoto with Edo (present-day Tokyo) along the Pacific coast via Nagoya. The Tokaido officially started in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo and finished at Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto.

During the Edo Period (1603-1868) the Tokaido inspired the many artists and poets who walked along its route. These included the ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige (1797-1858) who painted the 53 post stations where travelers rested after their day's journey.

Guide books to the various places along the Tokaido were also popular during the period. Some of the original post stations retain fragments of their historical past including Arimatsu and Okazaki in Aichi Prefecture, Futagawa-juku in Toyohashi, a former inn, Horai Bridge in Shizuoka, the world's longest wooden bridge and Kuwana in Mie.

Castles were often built along the Tokaido to control the possible movement of hostile forces, such as Kakegawa Castle in Shizuoka.

The present-day Tokaido is largely followed by National Highway 1 and the name lives on in the Tokaido shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka.

© JapanVisitor.com


Friday, May 06, 2011

Namba Parks


Namba Parks is a shopping and office development in the Namba area of Osaka. Namba Parks boasts a series of roof-top gardens on its exterior and inside there are floors dedicated to restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, an 11-screen cinema and various shopping outlets.

Namba Parks Osaka Japan

Namba Parks was developed by Jon Jerde, the American architect responsible for Canal City in Fukuoka. The shops at Namba Parks are open daily from 11am-9pm and the restaurants from 11am-11pm.

Namba Parks Osaka Japan

Namba Parks
Naniwa-ku, Namba 2-10-70
Tel: 06 6644 7100

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Original Japanese Castles


There are only about a dozen completely original Japanese castles still in existence.

Matsue Castle

These castles remain more or less in their original state and are not reconstructions after castles were destroyed either at the beginning of the Meiji Period or during World War II.

Japan's twelve original castles include Hirosaki Castle in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, Matsumoto Castle, Inuyama Castle, Himeji Castle in Hyogo, Bitchu-Matsuyama Castle, Hikone Castle, Matsuyama Castle, Uwajima Castle, Matsue Castle, Maruoka Castle, Kochi Castle in Shikoku and Marugame Castle.

Nijo Castle in Kyoto is not considered original as the present buildings date from the late 19th century as the castle buildings were burnt down a number of times in its history.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Apple blossom


Apple blossom

The cherry blossom season that marks early spring in Japan is famous for its white or pale pink cherry (sakura) blossoms, followed by its dark pink plum (ume) blossom. However, being spring there is much more blossoming than just cherries.

We have a small apple tree (ringo in Japanese) just outside our front door that has blossomed this spring like never before. Its immaculate white flowers blossom almost as profusely as cherry blossom, and are quite similar in shape.

Yes, it's spring, and today is cloudy and drizzly, and half the apple blossoms have come off now - so how about a little haiku to celebrate?

White apple tree
Windswept flowers
Dot the wet doorway

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Public Bath Sento Sign Kyoto

sento neon京都銭湯

In north Kyoto, we found this illuminated sign for a local public bath.

The symbol is the hiragana ゆ (yu), which is how 湯 (hot water) is read.

Thus, the symbol is a beacon in the night for a warm wonderful bath and relaxation period.

For 410 yen (about $4.50 USD), you can soak and wash, soak and wash, for as long as you like.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, May 02, 2011

Gion Kyoto Side Street

Gion Kyoto祇園

Kyoto is rolling many of its proverbial dice on the tourist trade.

This is neither surprising nor news.

Japan's industry has been struggling since the 1990s, and neighbors - in particular China - are storming ahead.

As a result, certain parts of Kyoto are tentatively being returned to their former state.

One such area is Gion - home of course to Maiko and Geisha - which managed to avoid much of the destruction the rest of the city suffered from the 1960s onward.

With the drop in tourism as a result of the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation, Gion is now fairly empty.

With the exception of the telephone wires overhead, the cityscape here is as good as it gets in Kyoto. In places, the wires have been buried.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Japan News This Week 1 May 2011


Japan News.Japan’s Prime Minister Defends Handling of Crisis

New York Times

Japan Calls Nuclear Adviser's Exit a 'Misunderstanding'

Wall Street Journal

Japan government announces disaster relief budget


Japan royal couple visit tsunami-hit town


Worker found overexposed to radiation

Japan Times

Japón aprueba un presupuesto de emergencia de 32.000 millones de euros

El Pais



Dying for TEPCO? Fukushima’s Nuclear Contract Workers

Japan Focus

Japan’s Ando wins world skating title, Americans win gold in ice dance

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News


Divorce rate per 1000 couples by country:

Japan: 2.2
Germany: 2.4
France: 1.9
Italy: 0.7
UK: 2.6
Sweden: 2.4

Source: DivorceRate.com

© JapanVisitor

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