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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Church of Resurrection Kyoto


The Church of Resurrection at the junction of Horikawa and Kitaoji in Kyoto is a familiar landmark in the area. The church is an Anglican Episcopal Church (Nippon Seikokai) in the Diocese of Kyoto as is St. Agnes Church on the west side of the Imperial Palace.

The Church of Resurrection Kyoto

The church was constructed in the Gothic style in 1936 and has some pretty stained glass windows. The church was designed by the American missionary and architect, William Merrell Vories (1880-1964). Based mainly in Omi Hachiman in Shiga, where he engaged in missionary work and started a pharmaceutical company, Vories' former house there is now the Vories Commemorative Museum.

The church has a beautiful, wooden kindergarten attached to it.

The Church of Resurrection Kyoto

Murasakino Nishigoshoden-cho, 63
Kyoto 603-1865
Tel: 075 441 6468

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 26 Shibushi to Miyakonojo

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 26
Shibushi to Miyakonojo
Friday July 26th, 2013

The owner of the great guesthouse Suzukaze I stayed in last night was kind enough to drop me off on the main road heading north out of Shibushi towards Miyakonojo still in Miyazaki Prefecture.

Suzukaze Guesthouse Shibushi Kagoshima Kyushu

There is some high cloud so its a little cooler than yesterday, and by the end of the day I will be at a little higher altitude, so that should shave a degree or two of the temperature too. The first thing I notice is that it smells like the countryside! Not like the Japanese countryside, which doesn't really have a noticeable odor, but like the English countryside..... the smell of cow shit is prevalent, but there is no livestock to be seen. All the cows and pigs are indoors, the Japanese way of livestock raising. Seems strange to me, accustomed as I am to seeing cows and sheep out in the sun grazing.

A good percentage of the traffic rushing by is connected to the livestock, either big trucks filled to the brim with cows or pigs, or tankers filled with animal feed - the silos I saw at the port in Shibushi were for animal feed, so it must be the main distribution center for this part of Kyushu.

The road rises gently, and then dips some before rising again, but nothing too strenuous. I am glad I chose this route rather than the more direct route over the mountains. A side road has a large vermillion torii straddling it, signifying that a largish shrine must be down the road.

The road goes downhill, and there is no telling how far the shrine is, but it promises to be a fairly uneventful route today so I head down to investigate. The shrine was mildly interesting, but as I was heading back to the road I spied what looked like a small statues in the corner of the rice paddy down below. Could this be a Tanokami? The God of the Rice Paddy, tanokami, is a fundamental part of traditional Japanese religion, spending the winter on top of the mountain as yamanokami, it descends in the spring to watch over and protect the paddies, before returning to the mountain after harvest.

Tanokami - The God of the Rice Paddy

You don't hear much about the tanokami nowadays, though in the countryside it is still important. I had heard that in parts of southern Kyushu there still existed tanokami statues, and as I scrambled down the embankment I was delighted to discover that that is exactly what it was.

Feeling revved I strode off up the road, but the heat and humidity soon reduced me to a steady slog. Miyakonojo is spread out over a basin, and the room I'd booked for the night was at the far northern end of the town. There seemed little of interest except a rather dilapidated looking auditorium that looked like a big concrete tent held up by a steel frame of girders.

Obviously built in the days when Japan had so much money to spend building expensive architectural wonders that since have fallen into virtual disuse. I later learn that it was designed by the same architect that designed the Kyoto International Conference Center.

I stop in at a couple of shrines and as the sun starts to break through I stop often in spots of shade. I check in to my hotel, and after an hour in the air-conditioning I feel suitable revived to go out and do a little exploring in the golden light of the early evening, the sun having now broken through completely.

Wedding Chapel, Kyushu, Japan

Near the hotel I had seen a very large, monumental torii with its legs astride the road and so I head to the shrine and manage to get some good shots in the perfect light. Nearby I passed a huge wedding chapel. Earlier in the afternoon I had passed a small church.

Though there are relatively few Christians in Japan it is not uncommon to find a small church in most towns. Often wooden, with a small cross on the roof, they are not at all ostentatious, but these wedding chapels are often really over the top, based on renaissance or Gothic European cathedrals, they are now the preferred site for many Japanese to hold their ridiculously expensive wedding ceremonies. There is a pilgrimage temple in the town, the reason I came here, but it is on the road towards tomorrow's destination, so I will visit it then.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 25

Monday, February 24, 2014

Kagoshima Trams


Kagoshima like other big cities in Kyushu such as Nagasaki and Kumamoto has a streetcar (tram) network. Just as with Nagasaki's tram network there are four streetcar lines in Kagoshima.

Kagoshima Trams, Kyushu, Japan

The four lines are the Dai-Ikki-Line (第一期線) from Takenohashi to Kagoshima-Ekimae, the Dai-Niki-Line (第二期線) from Takamibaba to Kagoshima-Chuo-Ekimae, the Taniyama Line (谷山線) from Takenohashi to Taniyama and the Toso Line (唐湊線) from Kagoshima-Chuo-Ekimae to Korimoto.

These lines run on two routes. Route 1 (blue) runs from Kagoshima-Ekimae to Takamibaba to Takenohashi to Korimoto to Taniyama and Route 2 (red) from Kagoshime-Ekimae to Takamibaba to Kagoshima-Chuo-Ekimae to Korimoto.

Kagoshima Trams, Kyushu, Japan

Trams run from 6am until around 11pm at night. Check the individual stops for precise times. Enter through the rear door and exit from the front door next to the driver.

The basic fare is presently 160 yen. The Rapica IC card can be used on Kagoshima's trams and buses. A one-day pass for trams and buses in Kagoshima is 600 yen and offers reductions on entrance to a number of museums and other attractions in the city including the ferry ride to Sakurajima, Sengan-en Garden, Kagoshima City Art Museum and Kagoshima City Aquarium.

Kagoshima Trams, Japan

Kagoshima Trams
Tel: 099 257 2116

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Japan News This Week 23 February 2014


Japan News.
A Debate in New York Over the Name of a Sea Between Japan and the Koreas New York Times

This Tokyo speed sketcher is taking Instagram to the next level
Global Post

Anne Frank's Diary vandalised in Japan libraries

A More-Muscular Japan, Personified
Wall Street Journal

With friends likes these … Shinzo Abe's tactless colleagues cause consternation

Wartime labor case brews in South Korea
Japan Times

Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the Politics of Uncertainty Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Fruit and vegetable consumption by country (grams/day/person) in 2009.

1. Italy: 426 (fruit), 430 (vegetables): 856 total
2. Canada: 366 (fruit), 309 (vegetables): 675 total
3. USA: 303 (fruit), 337 (vegetables): 640 total
4. United Kingdom: 343 (fruit), 245 (vegetables): 588 total
5. France: 314 (fruit), 255 (vegetables): 569 total
6. Russia: 171 (fruit), 340 (vegetables): 511 total
7. Germany: 228 (fruit), 254 (vegetables): 482 total
8. Thailand: 293 (fruit), 129 (vegetables): 422 total
9. Japan: 144 (fruit), 278 (vegetables): 422 total

Cost of 1 kg of apples, oranges in US dollars:

1. Japan: 4.22 (apples), 3.66 (oranges)
2. Italy: 3.24 (apples), 3.28 (oranges)
3. USA: 3.12 (apples), 3.15 (oranges)
4. United Kingdom: 2.74 (apples), 2.98 (oranges)

Source: Asahi Shinbun

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Akechi Mitsuhide's Grave Kyoto


Not far from Shoren-in Temple, located on a quiet back street just south of the Okazaki district of Kyoto is the grave of Akechi Mitsuhide (1528-1582).

Akechi Mitsuhide's Grave Kyoto, Japan

Born near Akechi village in what is now Gifu Prefecture, Akechi was a general in the armies of warlord Oda Nobunaga, until he turned traitor against his patron and attacked and killed him at Honnoji Temple in Kyoto.

Akechi had risen to be one of Nobunaga's most trusted men, serving in the destruction of the Tendai monks at Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei in 1571 and in Oda's most recent campaigns against the Mori clan in the west.

However, Akechi's mother had been killed by enemies of Nobunaga in 1579 and when Nobunaga began to slight his trusted subordinate in public, it seems Akechi set his mind to revenge on his erstwhile master.

In 1582, Akechi saw his chance and surrounded Honnoji, where Oda was staying with just a few followers, and either Oda was killed in the fighting or took his own life. Oda's son, Hidetada, was also hunted down and killed close to Nijo Castle.

Akechi Mitsuhide's Grave Kyoto, Japan

Oda's glittering castle palace at Azuchi on the shores of Lake Biwa, north of the capital, was also destroyed and looted by Akechi's men.

Oda Nobunaga's murder was avenged by another of his generals, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who along with the Christian daimyo Ukon Takayama, confronted Akechi's army at the Battle of Yamazaki in present-day Kyoto Prefecture, south west of Fushimi. Akechi - "the 13-day shogun" - fled the battlefield but was killed in unclear circumstances later in the day.

Bridge and stream near Area near Akechi Mitsuhide's Grave in Kyoto

The plaque at the small shrine states that Akechi's head was brought here by his followers. The severed head had first been presented at Oda's grave by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, in a symbolic gesture that revenge was complete.

Akechi Mitsuhide's grave is marked on public maps of the area erected outside notable temples and places of interest.

Akechi was the father of Hosokawa Gracia, a famous Christian convert of the times.

Google map of Akechi Mitsuhide's Grave

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, February 21, 2014

Trams in Nagasaki


Nagasaki has four streetcar (tram) lines operated by Nagasaki Electric Tramway: Line 1 (blue) from Akasako (Ohato) to Shokakuji-shita, Line 3 (red) Akasako (sakura-machi) to Hotarujaya, Line 4 (yellow) Shokakuji-shita (Nishihamano-machi) to Hotarujaya and Line 5 (green) Ishibashi (Nishihamano-machi) to Hotarujaya.

Trams in Nagasaki, Kyushu

The main interchange stops for the Nagasaki trams are Nagasaki JR Station, (Nagasaki Eki-mae), Tsukimachi and Suwajinja-mae.

The basic fare is 120 yen or a one-day pass for 500 yen is available at the Tourist Office at Nagasaki Station. You can also pay using a Nagasaki Smart Card.

Trams run from 6am until around 11pm at night. Check the individual stops for precise times. Enter through the rear door and exit from the front door next to the driver.

Trams in Nagasaki, Kyushu, Japan

A transfer ticket is issued at Tsukimachi.

The street cars in Nagasaki afford easy access to the majority of attractions in Nagasaki including Glover Garden, the Nagasaki Peace Park, Dejima and Sofukuji Temple.

Nagasaki's trams have been in constant operation since 1915. There is a monument to those people killed on the trams on the day of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Taiga Dramas on Location

The NHK Taiga Drama sometimes shows a short travelogue at the end of each episode (if the local Los Angeles cable station opts to broadcast it - aaarrrghh!)

Taiga Dramas on Location, Japan

The narrator provides interesting details concerning the historic locations presented in the drama and how to find the sites. This is good for tourism, of course, and I am not immune to these intriguing travel pieces.

The Taiga dramas, specifically "Aoi Tokugawa," are what first attracted me to Japan. This year the program tells the story of Kuroda Kanbei, samurai and military tactician. And my daughter and I are planning a trip to Fukuoka!

Taiga Dramas on Location, Japan

If you enjoy Japanese history, the Taiga Drama is a good jumping off place. When "Gou" was broadcast in 2011 my daughter and I traveled to Shiga Prefecture to learn about this youngest Azai sister and her life as the wife of the second shogun, Hidetada.

Three special pavilions had been created in honor of the drama, and a bus was assigned to take visitors between locations. We had a lot of fun watching renactments, seeing costumes from the show, having our picture taken, and checking out the related merchandise. We also took a guided tour of the Odani Castle Ruins - I was wearing only sandals - but a concerned employee gave me a pair of shoes to wear while hiking the mountain!

Taiga Dramas on Location, Japan

Visiting the area where a Taiga drama has been filmed has been very interesting. There is always some kind of special exhibition. Sometimes if you visit a historic attraction all that remains of a years ago Taiga drama is a signed photo of the lead actor.

You may see the picture of Ogata Naoto as Oda Nobunaga (1992's "King of Zipangu") in Gifu, and in Gifu Castle the kimono worn by Kikuchi Momoko as No-hime can be admired.

The city of Kochi decided to hold on to the sets from 2010's "Ryomaden," the story of their native son Sakamoto Ryoma. This is a very entertaining place to visit at the Kochi Tourist Information Center.

The guides were extremely welcoming to my daughter and me, and they provided detailed explanations of all that we saw - albeit in Japanese - my daughter had to translate. They also assisted us in dressing up as Sakamoto Ryoma and his wife Oryo. I looked, of course, like a tourist in costume, but check out Amanda: pretty good, huh?

Taiga Dramas on Location, Japan

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, February 17, 2014

Green Hotel Chiran Fukuzumi


Chiran, located in the middle of the Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima, is a small town known mostly for its museum dedicated to the kamikaze pilots of WWII, but also has a nice samurai district noted for its gardens.

Green Hotel Chiran Fukuzumi, Kagoshima

There are few accommodation options, but the best is the Green Hotel, a business hotel right in the middle of the town, about half way between the two attractions.

The rooms have the full complement of amenities: en-suite, TV, kettle, refrigerator, etc plus internet connection, and a small coin laundry on the first floor.

I paid 5,200 yen for a single room that included a fairly decent buffet breakfast.

There is a free car park and check-in is earlier than many places at 2pm.

Green Hotel Chiran Fukuzumi, Kagoshima

Green Hotel Chiran Fukuzumi
4810-24 Chirancho Kori
Kagoshima 897-0302
Tel: 0993 58 7800

© JapanVisitor.com

More Snow in Tokyo

東京 雪

Two years ago we reported on snow in Tokyo - enough of a rarity to warrant a blog. The time has come, two winters later, for Part 2: More Snow in Tokyo.

February this year began unseasonably warm. In fact, the apple tree on our balcony got tricked into blooming.

Then suddenly, it turned bitterly cold. Then the day before Valentine's Day got snow - which lifted on the Day itself - but was back in white fury the next day.

Temperatures have been ranging between about minus 1 and plus 10 Celsius. The snowfall this morning was about 15cm deep, and the snowflakes are very moisture-laden, making for snow that quickly turns to freezing cold slush.

Tokyoites love their snowmen as much as anyone else, and you can't go more than a couple of minutes through the streets without seeing a snowman or two somewhere. While not as common as snowmen, there is also no shortage of snowcaves that kids have also built on the sides of the streets.

A bitterly cold winter is the last thing Japan needs now in terms of energy resources, because with the closure of the nation's nuclear power reactors after the Fukushima disaster, all fuel for electricity generation is being imported, exacerbating Japan's already gargantuan national debt.

All that can be done in the meantime is wrap up warm, make more snowmen, and dream of spring.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Japan News This Week 16 February 2014


Japan News.
China's Television War on Japan New York Times

'How to date Japanese women who haven’t been exposed to radiation'
Global Post

China and Japan: Seven decades of bitterness

Unaffordable cities: Tokyo wages create an army of bargain hunters

Hanyu wins Japan’s first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics
Japan Times

Al-Jazeera America on the Fukushima Triple Disaster, Three Years On Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


2014 rankings, by country, of press freedom:

1 Finland
2 Netherlands
3 Norway
4 Luxembourg
5 Andorra
6 Liechtenstein
7 Denmark
8 Iceland
9 New Zealand
10 Sweden
11 Estonia
12 Austria
13 Czech Republic
14 Germany
15 Switzerland
16 Ireland
17 Jamaica
18 Canada
19 Poland
20 Slovakia
21 Costa Rica
22 Namibia
23 Belgium
24 Cape Verde
25 Cyprus
26 Uruguay
27 Ghana
28 Australia
29 Belize
30 Portugal
33 United Kingdom
46 USA

57 South Korea (dropped 7 places from 2013)

59 Japan (dropped 6 places)

175 China (dropped 2 places)

180 (lowest) Eritrea


Reporters Without Borders

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 25 Yowara to Shibushi

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 25
Yowara to Shibushi
Thursday July 25th, 2013

I am neither a mad dog, nor an Englishman, but the next leg of my walk around Kyushu will certainly include a lot of being out in the noonday sun.

A Walk Around Kyushu, Yowara to Shibushi

I am in the hottest part of Japan, southern Kyushu, in the hottest part of the year, late July and August.

It's worth mentioning that I have walked thousands of miles across the deserts of Arizona, often in temperatures higher than what they get here in Japan, so I am well aware of the perils and symptoms of heatstroke and sunstroke, and it's also worth mentioning that in my home here in Japan we do not have any air-conditioning, so to a certain extent my body has been allowed to adapt to high temperatures, but there is no getting round the fact that the high humidity is going to make it tough.

The next temple on the pilgrimage is in Miyakonojo, far inland in a wide basin between mountains.

The most direct route would involve going up and over a range of mountains so I opt instead for a longer, gentler route, down and around the coast and then up a gentler slope to Miyakonojo.

On my way down to Yowara by train from Miyazaki I took a brief pause in the town of Obi to do a bit of exploring, so it's already 10am by the time I start to walk. There is a slight drizzle but that doesn't make much difference as since 8am my clothes have been soaking wet with sweat.

For the next ten days it will be as if I have just got out of a shower fully clothed. My route takes me downstream along the river to the coast at Kushima. By lunchtime I reach the outskirts and the heat forces me to adopt my mountain climbing strategy..... I set a target of when I will allow myself to stop and take a rest.... maybe time.... 20 minutes.... 30 minutes..... though that is difficult as I own neither a watch nor a cellphone. Maybe distance..... 500 paces.... 1,000 paces...., maybe by sight.... the next bend of the road.... the big tree I can see in the distance..... the convenience store whose sign I can see.

At one of my rests sitting on a bench outside a supermarket I am approached by a young man and I fear he is someone who wants to practice his English, but after realizing I speak Japanese he switches to his own tongue and tells me about his experiences hitch-hiking around Japan when he was younger.

A Walk Around Kyushu, Yowara to Shibushi

At the coast the river is at low tide and someone is out digging shellfish from the mud. He is wearing more protection against the sun than most nuclear power workers get to wear. It's taking all my concentration just to keep plodding on and so have not done much exploring, but just before I hit the coast proper I spy what looks like stone nio at the entrance to a small temple so I do decide to investigate and find a picturesque but run-down temple with some nice statuary.

The coast road passes right by some pleasant beaches but there are few people on them. By late afternoon my breaks are getting more frequent and longer and all I can think about is taking off my pack, removing my boots, and having a nice cool shower followed by some cold beers.

I see the silos of Shibushi Port along the coast and after a couple of hours walking along the convoluted coast road I am in the center of town. My lodgings for the night are still 6km further west, but as that is technically a detour off my pilgrimage route I give them a call and have them come and pick me up. I've survived the first day and it can't get any worse.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 24

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Shimakaze Premium Express Luxury Train


If you wish to experience riding a luxury train in Japan, the Kintetsu Shimakaze Premium Express runs once daily from both Nagoya Kintetsu Station and Osaka Namba Station.

Shimakaze Premium Express Luxury Train at Nagoya Station

The Shimakaze calls at Ise, Uji Yamada, Toba and Ugata from both Nagoya and Osaka. From Nagoya the Shimakaze also stops at Yokkaichi in Mie.

From Namba there are stops at Uehommachi, Tsuruhashi and Yamatoyagi. Foreign visitors can use their Kintetsu Rail Pass or Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide on the train. Check with your travel agent where you bought your ticket or your local JTB office.

This lovely train purrs on the rails to Kashikojima Station (賢島駅) in Shima, Mie Prefecture.

The Shimakaze went into operation in March 2013 and the luxury train service has leather reclining seats with a massage function, luggage lockers, a cafe and party rooms. The service at your seat includes coffee, snacks and craft beer.

Shimakaze Premium Express Luxury Train, Nagoya

The Shimakaze leaves Osaka Namba at 10.40am on weekdays and 10.20am on weekends arriving in Kashikojima at 12.59pm and 12.46pm respectively.

The Nagoya Shimakaze service leaves at 10.25am throughout the week, arriving in Kashikojima at 12.25pm.

Shimakaze Premium Express Luxury Train

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, February 10, 2014

Minshuku Imayoshi-so


Between the two population centers of Makurazaki to the west and Ibusuki in the east, the southern coast of Kagoshima has few accommodation options.

Minshuku Imayoshi-so, Kagoshima

There are a few resort type hotels, but they were outside of my price range, so I was happy to discover Imayoshi-so. It's located in the village of Ei, 20km from Makurazaki , 21km from Ibusuki, and 8km north of Kaimondake, the biggest "attraction" in the area, so perfectly placed for a night's stay as I walked the coast.

Imayoshi-so was a fairly standard minshuku, with large tatami rooms, TV, kettle & green tea etc. They have a large banquet room so are a good option for groups. Wifi was also available but the strength of the signal varies by room. I was the only guest the night I stayed so it was a little eerie.

Minshuku Imayoshi-so, Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan

There is a small restaurant/dining room on the ground floor, but I stayed sudomari, without meals, and paid 4,500 yen for the night. Imayoshi-so is located a few hundred meters from Nishiei station on the JR Ibusuki Makurazaki Line, the southernmost rail line in Japan. 

1425 Eichokori, Minamikyushu, Kagoshima 891-0701
Tel: 0993 36 0062

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Japan News This Week 9 February 2014


Japan News.
2 Former Premiers Try to Use Tokyo Election to Rally Public Against Nuclear Power New York Times

China tests the waters with coastguard ships near Japan-controlled islands
Global Post

Japan snowfall disrupts air, rail and road transport

Tokyo women call for 'sex strike' over sexist gubernatorial candidate

U.S. vows to defend Japan if conflict erupts in East China Sea
Japan Times

Are You Coming to the Matsuri?: Tsunami Recovery and Folk Performance Culture on Iwate’s Rikuchū Coast Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


2013 rankings, by country, of press freedom:

1 Finland
2 Netherlands
3 Norway
4 Luxembourg
5 Andorra
6 Denmark
7 Liechtenstein
8 New Zealand
9 Iceland
10 Sweden
11 Estonia
12 Austria
13 Jamaica
14 Switzerland
15 Ireland
16 Czech Republic
17 Germany
18 Costa Rica
19 Namibia
20 Canada
21 Belgium
22 Poland
23 Slovakia
24 Cyprus
25 Cape Verde
26 Australia
27 Uruguay
28 Portugal
29 United Kingdom
30 Ghana

50 South Korea

53 Japan

173 China

179 (lowest) Eritrea


Reporters Without Borders

© JapanVisitor

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Hakone Kowakien Yunessun

Hakone Kowakien Yunessun in Hakone is a great way to escape the cold of winter and equally the heat of summer.

Green Tea Bath, Yunessun Onsen, Hakone

Combining a family-style water amusement park, Yunessun Spa Resort, with a more traditional onsen, Mori No Yu, Hakone Kowakien Yunessun is very popular with visitors from nearby Tokyo. Swimsuits are a must at Yunessun Spa Resort to enjoy its water slides and novelty baths such as a green tea bath, a sake bath, a wine bath and the The God's Aegean Sea spa (pictured below).

Yunessun Onsen, Hakone, Japan

Mori no Yu is described as "a relaxing naked space" and is a traditional Japanese hot spring bath divided into men's and women's sections with a rotemburo outdoor bath, cypress wood baths and a sauna.

Sake Bath, Yunessun Onsen, Hakone

Rounding out the complex is Mio Mall with a variety of shops, restaurants and a massage parlor. You can hire a swimsuit here if you arrive without one. To visit both bathing areas costs 4,000 yen.

Yunessun Onsen, Hakone

Hakone Kowakien Yunessun
1297 Ninotaira Hakone-mach
Tel: 0460 82 4126
The main access station is Hakoneyumoto Station on the Hakone Tozan Line from Odawara and the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station, from where there is a bus to Yunessun (30 minutes). There are also buses from Hakone Yumoto Station.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Sapporo Snow Festival 2014


The Sapporo Snow Festival starts today and will run until 11th February this year.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2014, Hokkaido

This is the 65th Sapporo Snow Festival, which has its origins in six snow and ice sculptures made by local high school students in Odori Park back in 1950. In 1955, the Japanese Self Defense Forces helped to make the large sculptures seen to this day.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2010

The main places to see the ice and snow sculptures are: Odori Park, Tsudome Community Dome and Susukino - the main entertainment and commercial area of Sapporo, south of Sapporo Station.

Among this year's over 200 ice sculptures are a replica of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in KL, Malaysia, a snow and ice version of the Mausoleum of Itmad-Ud-Daulah in India and statues of Japan's Winter Olympics athletes who will compete in Sochi, Russia.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2010

As well as the amazing ice sculptures, other entertainments include an "Ice Queen" contest in Susukino, snow slides, ice mazes and lots of great Hokkaido food and drink such as hot potatoes, seafood and Sapporo ramen.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2014
Tel: 011 211 2376

Sapporo Snow Festival 2010
© JapanVisitor

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Monday, February 03, 2014

The crab in Japanese

Crab is kani in Japanese, and is both a culinary delicacy and an element of numerous metaphors. English has its "crabby" to express grouchiness and spite, and the verb "crab" to express oblique sideways movement. Japanese has even more. Here's a few of them.

"Crab prayer" (kani no nenbutsu)
Mumbling on at length - after the way a crab bubbles at the mouth

"A crab digs a hole like its own shell" (Kani wa kohra ni nisete ana o horu)
To each his/her own; different strokes for different folks

"Like a crab with its claws torn off" (Kani no tsume ga mogareta yoh)
Utterly helpless

"A flustered crab doesn't make it to its hole" (Urotaeru kani ana ni hairazu)
Even crabs, well known for secreting themselves in holes, lose their way to their hole if flustered. In other words, "keep your cool."

"A crab's death grip" (Kani no shinibasami)
Once a crab grips something, it never let's go, even if its claws are pulled off. A phrase used to express extreme desire and tenacity.

"The crab that comes after gets the rice cake" (Ato hau kani ga mochi o hiroh)
Luck comes even to those who don't frenetically seek success.

"A crab's sidewise skitter" (Kani no yokobai)
A way of doing things that might seem odd to others, but is right for the doer.

 Read more about the Japanese language

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Inside Track Japan For Kindle Readers

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Mayday Cafe & Bar Kyoto

Mayday Cafe & Bar on Kitaoji Dori in north Kyoto is an exciting new music venue offering live bands along with decent food and drink.

Mayday Cafe & Bar Kyoto, Japan

Mayday is close to Kitaoji Station on the Karasuma Line of the Kyoto subway and is close to Daitokuji Temple and Imamiya Shrine.

If you have a bar or cafe in Japan and would like to list your business on JapanVisitor.com please contact us.

Mayday Cafe & Bar Kyoto
Murasakino Unrinincho 47-2
Kyoto, Japan 603-8214
Tel: 075 354 6162

Mayday Cafe & Bar Kyoto

© JapanVisitor.com

Japan News This Week 2 February 2014


Japan News.
In a City on Okinawa, Mayor’s Re-election Deals a Blow to Marine Base Relocation Plan New York Times

China is playing chicken with the US military in the South China Sea
Global Post

Core stories of Shinto

Simple way to make stem cells in half an hour hailed as major discovery

Foreign workers in Japan hit record 717,504
Japan Times

The Front Line in the Struggle for Democracy in Japan – Nago City, Okinawa Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Cannabis use as a percentage of population in 20 countries:

1) USA: 42.4%
2) New Zealand: 41.9%
3) Netherlands: 19.8%
4) France: 19.0%
5) Germany: 17.5%
6) Spain: 15.9%
7) Israel: 11.5%
8) Colombia: 10.8%
9) Belgium: 10.4%
10) South Africa: 8.4%
19) Japan: 1.3%
20) China: 0.3%


Plos Medicine

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