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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sakamoto International Cemetery Nagasaki


The Sakamoto International Cemetery in the Urakami area of Nagasaki in Kyushu is located near Sanno Shrine and the Atomic Bomb Museum. Established in 1888, the cemetery consists of two parts divided by a road. The later part was added in 1903.

Sakamoto International Cemetery Nagasaki

The Sakamoto International Cemetery contains the graves of Thomas Glover (1838-1911) and his family. Glover was an influential business man in Nagasaki who backed the domains of Choshu and Satsuma with arms in their successful bid to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate in the late 1860's.

Glover's son Tomisaburo, who was held under house arrest during World War II and committed suicide shortly after the end of the war, is also buried in the family plot. Tomisaburo's Japanese wife, Waka, is also laid to rest here.

Sakamoto International Cemetery Nagasaki, Kyushu, Japan

Sakamoto International Cemetery also includes a Jewish cemetery as well as the tombs of of French soldiers and Vietnamese workers killed in the Boxer Rebellion in China.

The first foreign cemetery in Nagasaki was begun at Goshinji Temple in 1859 for Dutch and Chinese traders with another one established near the Oura foreign settlement in 1861. When land near Oura became scarce, the cemetery at Sakamoto was opened as the number of foreigners living and dying in Nagasaki increased.

Nagai Takashi, the Catholic doctor, who did so much to revive the spirit of Nagasaki through his work and writings after the atomic bombing in 1945 is also buried in Sakamoto International Cemetery.

Tomb of Nagai Takashi, Sakamoto International Cemetery Nagasaki

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Atomic Bomb Damaged Torii Sanno Shrine


The atomic bomb-damaged torii gate at Sanno Shrine (一本柱鳥居) in Nagasaki in Kyushu still stands as a memorial to that fateful August 9th day in 1945.  Sanno Shrine is located just 800m from the hypocenter of the explosion and was severely damaged by the blast.

Atomic Bomb Damaged Torii Sanno Shrine, Nagasaki

Only half of the torii gate still stands while the remainder of it is laid out on the pavement below. One of the pillars came down and the crossbeam was blown about 30 degrees in the opposite direction by the force of the explosion. The stone of the torii gate is also scorched black in places.

Atomic Bomb Damaged Torii Sanno Shrine, Nagasaki

The original stone torii dates from 1924. The memorial standing today has been reinforced for safety reasons.

Two camphor trees in the shrine were also badly burned and stripped of their leaves but have managed to regrow since 1945.

Atomic Bomb Damaged Torii Sanno Shrine, Nagasaki, Kyushu

The one-legged arch is close to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Urakami Road Monument and the Glover Family Grave in Sakamoto International Cemetery.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 31 Rest Day In Kagoshima

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 31
Rest Day in Kagoshima
Wednesday July 31st, 2013

As I had never been to Kagoshima before I decided to take the day off from walking the pilgrimage route and check out some of the sights around the city as well as take a trip over to Sakurajima.

Sakurajima, Kagoshima, Japan

It was also a chance to get some laundry done. There was some fast moving cloud around but it promised to be a mostly sunny day. Just a minute away from my hotel was a stop for the Kagoshima City View Bus, a cheap tourist bus that visits many of the tourist spots around the town. I took it out to the north and started out at Sengan-en, the gardens at the site of the Shimazu Lord's villa.

It was the gardens designed by Sesshu in Masuda that first piqued my interest in Japanese gardens and now I do my best to visit any that I pass near to. Sengan-en is very large, with many different gardens and sites within it. I was particularly taken with the Kyokusui Garden where parties were held and poems composed in the time it takes a sake cup to float down the stream.

The Cat Shrine was also intriguing though nowadays a site leaning more to the kawaii aesthetic that blights so much modern Japanese culture. Next to the gardens was a small museum showcasing the early technological imports from Britain that Satsuma embraced. Nearby the more interesting building built to house the British engineers who installed the machinery.

Cat Shrine, Sengan-en, Kagoshima, Kyushu

I have come to enjoy these type of buildings, built in what at first appears to be European or American colonial style, but which on closer examination reveal Japanese elements.

From here I cut down to the small coast road and head towards the ferry terminal, stopping in at a couple of shrines. I pass a small white sanded beach with a lifeguard tower, but only a handful of bathers. After visiting another shrine I come upon a surprise, three stone bridges from the Edo Period reconstructed in a park.

Quite large and substantial, they would seem to be more western in design than the more commonly seen Chinese style. When I reach the ferry terminal I don't have to wait long for a ferry, they are very frequent. To tell the truth there is not actually a lot to see on Sakurajima. I visit the one small shrine of note, but otherwise there are a few onsens, which hold no great appeal for me, and a visitor center.

I guess the attraction of Sakurajima is the island itself, though technically no longer an island, and the active volcanoes that disappointingly are not spewing smoke and steam today. I am in time to catch a little mini tour bus which does a loop around the western side of the island. It stops at the Yunohira Observation Point partway up the mountainside and from here there are much closer views of the jagged peaks.

Back at the ferry port it's mid afternoon so I head back over to the mainland and wander through the city center towards my hotel.

My final stop is the St Xavier Church, a modern building built near the site of an older one commemorating the first visit by Xavier to Japanese soil in 1549. I had tried to visit early this morning while waiting for the bus but there was a funeral going on. Now its deserted and with the late afternoon sun streaming in through the large stained glass it is really quite beautiful.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 30

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Japan News This Week 27 April 2014


Japan News.
Obama Suffers Setbacks in Japan and the Mideast New York Times

Did Japanese lawmakers intend to provoke Obama by honoring war criminals?
Global Post

Avril Lavigne denies new video Hello Kitty is racist

Barack Obama set to back Japan in islands dispute as Asia tour begins

In Seoul, Obama urges Japan to settle ‘terrible’ sex slave issue
Japan Times

The Bumble Bee and the Chrysanthemum: Comparing Sweden and Japan’s Responses to Financial Crisis Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Countries where drinking is considered "morally acceptable" (percentage polled that answered "yes":

1. Japan: 66%
2. Czech Republic: 47%
3. Germany: 41%
4. Britain: 38%
5. Poland: 37%
6. Venezuela: 36%
7. Australia: 36%
8. Philippines: 34%
9. South Korea: 34%
10. United States: 32%


Global Post

© JapanVisitor

Thursday, April 24, 2014

President Obama Visits Japan

I was cycling from the Pokemon Center Tokyo last night, where I had purchased some Darkrai movie tickets for a customer of GoodsFromJapan.com. Heading north up Sotobori-dori, the crowds suddenly got thicker as I approached Ginza. Sukiyabashi intersection was not only jam-packed, but police with ropes were controlling the crowd, parting to let everyone cross when the lights changed.

I realized on looking at today’s news that what looked like half of Tokyo was out in force for a glimpse of President Obama, who was dining with Prime Minister Abe at the Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant.

A walk through Tokyo’s government district, Nagatacho, at lunchtime today revealed Japanese and American flags flying from the lampposts, and a very strong police presence. Loudspeakers surrounding the Kokkai-toshokan-mae Intersection (Exits 1 & 2 of Nagatacho subway station) were playing unworldly, nasal, hiccuppy sounds echoing at full volume around the vicinity: in what I first thought was some weird protest chant, but which turned out to have been set up by police and were simply being tested. (Some security precaution? For shouting “Duck!” through? For commanding the milling hordes of curious bureaucrats from the surrounding government departments to stand back?)

President Obama is over here in Japan mainly to try and get Japan to agree to be a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but in spite of Japan dragging its heels, Obama his performing his next most important task: to assure Japan that the United States will be by Japan’s side in any stand-off with China over the disputed Senkaku Islands.

On the one hand, Russia and China have long been the bogeymen in Japan’s geopolitics—a fact that is probably more responsible for anything else for maintaining the solid relationship between Japan and the United States: two countries which have very little else to bond them but matters of mutual defense. On the other, the TPP is being touted by the US as a counterbalance to China's enormous market clout, but Japan's rice lobby seems to be too strong to readily let Japan participate.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Adoption in Japan


Adoption is called yohshi-engumi in Japanese, and has a long history. Provisions for adoption are found in the Taiho Code of 702, influenced by the practice of adoption in China, where it was used to ensure a male heir.

 Until the Meiji era of Japanese history, adoption was a much-used device of mainly the aristocracy to ensure—as in China—the succession of the family’s wealth, power and status. Adoption was freely used by ancient Japanese nobles to cement their lineage, and could lead to quite complex relationships between those involved, with even cases such as a childless elder brother adopting a younger brother as his heir.

 As the lower classes began to prosper, adoption was extended to them as well. In this case, too, adoption was solely for the benefit of the family. Adoption for the benefit of the child, i.e., to provide an orphan with a loving home, is a relatively recent innovation, in both the East and the West, and only became fully enshrined in law in Japan in 1988 (although it had been possible since 1946 under laws revised according to the new Constitution).

 In Japan, the decision to be adopted can be made independently by anyone 15 years or older. The only stricture besides that on who can adopt who is that of relative age: the adoptee must be younger than the adopter.

 Adoption in Japan is still used mainly for reasons of family continuity. A bride’s parents will often adopt her husband in a practice known as muko-yohshi (“husband adoption”), thus making the husband a legitimate child and heir presumptive. It is also quite common for grandparents to adopt a grandchild in order to avoid the grandchild having to pay the higher inheritance tax that grandchildren are burdened with compared to that for children. Adoption is also used in cases of surrogate birth but, because the child is under 15, it takes the form of what is called special adoption (tokubetsu yohshi-engumi), performed by court order rather than as a contract.

 Another common instance of adoption in Japan is as an alternative to same-sex marriage—a device that was often used in Europe, too, before the advent of same-sex civil unions and same-sex marriage there. Adoption is the closest you can legally get to same-sex marriage in Japan, and is a solution where the rights of a couple to shared property would otherwise not be recognized, especially in regard to inheritance claims.

Applying for adoption in Japan is a very simple process involving just a single form, personal identification (such as driver’s licence or zairyu card), and two witnesses. Adoption happens at the offices of the local authority, such as a city hall or ward office, and takes about half an hour—most of which is waiting time while the paperwork is completed. Both parties must be Japanese citizens.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, April 21, 2014

Club Cheers Sendai

Cheers is an English language school during the day and a night club and event space in the evening.

Club Cheers Sendai

Check out Club Cheers' Facebook page for the latest events and international parties.

A good old-fashioned division of work and play.

Club Cheers Sendai
2-chome 7-9
6th floor
宮城県仙台市青葉区一番丁7-9 第七丸昌興業ビル6F

Club Cheers Sendai

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Japan News This Week 20 April 2014


Japan News.
What Germany Can Teach Japan New York Times

How Japan is once again angering environmentalists with its whale hunting program
Global Post

Japan to launch reduced Pacific whale hunt next week

Japan's consumer inflation set to reach five-year high

Murakami’s new book hits shelves amid fan frenzy; more ordered
Japan Times

Japan in the public culture of South Korea, 1945–2000s:The making and remaking of colonial sites and memories Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Ranking of country by the Social Progress Index according to different social and civil indices:

1. New Zealand
2. Switzerland
3. Iceland
4. Netherlands
5. Norway
6. Sweden
7. Canada
8. Finland
9. Denmark
10. Australia
11. Austria
12. Germany
13. United Kingdom
14. Japan
15. Ireland
16. United States

28. South Korea

90. China


Social Progress Index

© JapanVisitor

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 30 Across Kagoshima City

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 30
Across Kagoshima City
Tuesday July 30th, 2013

I am going to be based here in Kagoshima for another two nights, so for today's completely urban section of the walk I can leave my heavy backpack in my room.

Priest at temple in Kagoshima

By now the oppressive summer heat has become bearable and today's clearing skies offer a slight reduction in humidity. The plan is to head back out to the northern edge of the city and walk across it visiting the two pilgrimage temples here and head south out of the city as far as I can.

Hemmed in between the mountains and the sea, Kagoshima is not very wide, but very long. I find the first temple tucked away in a quiet neighborhood. Not much to speak of and there is no-one around.

Most pilgrims carry a nokyocho, a book for collecting stamps and calligraphy from each temple, but at 300 yen a pop I don't carry one so I don't have to disturb anyone at the temple.

With 108 temples on this pilgrimage, times 300 yen, that would buy me 8 or 9 nights accommodation, much more important on my limited budget. An hour later I reach the next temple, closer to downtown. It's a modern concrete building raised off the ground to provide parking spaces under the building. As I climb up the steps to the main hall the priest comes out and invites me in for a tea and a chat.

He asks if I would like some prayers for the rest of the journey and so we go outside and stand in front of the Kannon statue while he chants for me. As I make to leave he hands me a can of coffee and some fruit, o-settai, gifts given to pilgrims.

On the Shikoku pilgrimage o-settai is fairly common, often from strangers. Here in Kyushu I have had some, but most of them have been given by priests or their wives at the pilgrimage temples.

I carry on south through the anonymous, urban environment. The names of the banks may change, but so many of the stores and businesses are national chains. I make a detour to the campus of the Kagoshima University where there is a new auditorium designed by the famous architect Tadao Ando.

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 30 Across Kagoshima City

The sun breaks through when I arrive which allows me to take advantage of the shadow for some nice photos of it. It's interesting enough, and I appreciate Ando's work the more I see of it, but like too many pieces of modern architectural design the surrounding buildings, power lines, and such, don't allow the design to show itself off.

Another couple of hours and I reach the southernmost station of the city tram, so call it a day. Being high summer there is till a lot of daylight left so I head to the aquarium to see what it has to offer.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 29

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yatsushiro Grand Hotel


The Grand Hotel in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto, is a full service hotel offering wedding and banquet services, but has rooms priced less than a budget business hotel.

Yatsushiro Grand Hotel, Kyushu, Japan

Yatsushiro is the terminus of the privately owned Hisatsu Orange Railway Line which runs down the coast to Satsumasendai, the JR Hisatsu Line which runs up the Kumagawa River to Hitoyoshi, the JR Kagoshima Line which runs up to Kumamoto and beyond, and Shin Yatsushiro Station on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line.

Yatsushiro Grand Hotel Room

The hotel is situated on the main road less than 1km from JR Yatsushiro station and 1.5km from Yatsushiro Castle.

The Yatsushiro Grand Hotel has free parking, 24 hour reception, coin operated laundry, wi-fi in the lobby, and a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The rooms are standard, with ensuite bathroom and toilet, TV, fridge, kettle, and internet connection.

For a room with no meals I paid a mere 3,400 yen, a remarkable bargain.

Yatsushiro Grand Hotel, Kyushu

Yatsushiro Grand Hotel
Chodori, Asahi 10-1, Yatsushiro
Kumamoto 866-0844
Tel: 0965 32 2111

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Back where we belong" in Japanese: yori o modosu


"getting back together," "turning the clock back," "starting over" are sentiments of one-time friends, partners and lovers  the world over.

A common way of expressing this feeling in Japanese is the phrase yori o modosu よりを戻す.

To those who know a little Japanese, the yori might seem unintuitive as it is usually encountered with the meaning of "more than," e.g. Kocha yori kohi ga suki (I like coffee more than tea.)

But actually yori/yoru  has all sorts of meanings, backed by various different kanji.

For example, there's yoru 寄る that's all about drawing near, coming/bringing together; e.g. washed up seaweed, i.e. seaweed that has been drawn to shore, is called yorimo 寄り藻.

There's, admittedly, the not so common 選る or 択る meaning to select, pick out, choose (according to a purpose or criterion).

There's the 因る (also able to be written 由る, 依る, or 拠る, but nearly always rendered in hiragana) that is the second kanji in gen'in 原因, or "cause, origin":  It is probably more familiarly encountered as よって、i.e., to be based on or "according to" or "from" or "by," as in Kare no hanashi ni yotte midori da (According to what he says, it's green.), or Chiiki ni yotte hatsuon ga kawaru (The pronunciation differs by district).

But getting back to the yori of the title, this yori is based on "yoru" 撚る, meaning "to twist." Written as 撚り, it becomes the noun "twisting." modosu means "to restore," so to "restore the twisting" is a thread-based metaphor in which strands that have become untwisted are retwisted back into a single thread.

So "restoring the twisting," "getting re-entwined," "reopening dialog," "wrapping yourselves around each other again" - however you want to envision it - yori o modosu is all about reliving the good old times with someone.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Japan News This Week 13 April 2014


Japan News.
In a Test of Wills With China, U.S. Sticks Up for Japan New York Times

Japan’s biggest pop star right now is a fetishized hologram
Global Post

Play on Japan's Singaporean legacy

Massive scale of Toyota recall down to increase in common car parts

Activists sue over Abe’s ‘unconstitutional’ Yasukuni visit
Japan Times

Japan’s Energy Policy Impasse 日本のエネルギー政策、行き詰まる Japan Focus

Japan’s Foreign Minister Says Apologies to Wartime Victims Will Be Upheld New York Times

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Ranking of country according to different environmental indices:

1. Switzerland
2. Luxembourg
3. Australia
4. Singapore
5. Czech Republic
6. Germany
7. Spain
8. Austria
9. Sweden
10. Norway

12. UK

26. Japan

33. USA

43. South Korea

118. China


Environmental Performance Index

© JapanVisitor

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ibusuki Sand Baths


Ibusuki in Kagoshima Prefecture is known for its volcanic sand baths (砂むし).

About 10 minutes walk south from Ibusuki Station, the Saraku Sand Bath Hall or Sunamushi Kaikan Saraku is the biggest sand bath facility in the area. Here the sand on the beach is infused with hot water from deep underground.

Yamakawa Sand bath, Kagoshima, Kyushu

After taking off all your clothes and donning a yukata, you are buried in the sand by an attendant. 10 minutes is the recommended limit before you push yourself out and walk back to the Saraku Sand Bath Hall to shower and take a water hot bath and sauna if you so desire.

Ibusuki Sand Bath, Kagoshima, Kyushu

The sand bath in central Ibusuki is not the only one in the area. There is another smaller sand bath, Yamakawa Sand Bath on the beach near the large Healthy Land spa and Flower Park Kagoshima.

Ibusuki Sand Bath, Kagoshima

The procedure is the same but this sand bath had some delicious onsen tamago and onsen-steamed potatoes to enjoy after your sand burial.

Yamakawa Sand bath, Kagoshima

Climbing up the cliffs behind Yamakawa Onsen are good views along the coast to Kaimondake (Satsuma Fuji.)

Sand baths are supposedly more effectively than normal onsen in the healing process. Sand baths are said to be good for rheumatism, lumbago and neuralgia.

Sunamushi Kaikan Saraku
Tel: 0993 23 3900
Yunohama 5-25-18, Ibusuki, Kagoshima 891-0406

Yamakawa Sand Bath
Tel: 0993 35 2669

Hot spa boiled eggs

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Aichi Loop Line


The 45km long, north-south Aichi Loop Line connects Kozoji Station in Kasugai with Okazaki via Toyota in Aichi Prefecture near Nagoya. Despite its name the line does not perform a loop but runs roughly north from Okazaki to Kozoji which is north east of central Nagoya.

Aichi Loop Line train at Shin-Toyota Station

The Aichi Loop Line (Aikan) serves as a commuter line for workers at the car plants at Mikawa Toyota.

The main intersection stations are Okazaki Station in Okazaki on the JR Tokaido Line, Naka-Okazaki on the Meitetsu Nagoya Line, Shin-Toyota, a short walk from Toyota-shi Station in Toyota-shi on the Meitetsu Mikawa Line, Yakusa on the Linimo, Setoshi close to Shin-Seto on the Meitetsu Seto Line and Kozoji Station on the Chuo Main Line.

The complete list of stations on the Aichi Loop Line is: Okazaki, Mutsuna, Naka-Okazaki, Daimon Kitano-Masuzuka, Mikawa-Kamigo, Ekaku, Suenohara, Mikawa-Toyota, Shin-Uwagoromo, Shin-Toyota, Aikan-Umetsubo, Shigo, Kaizu, Homi, Sasabara, Yakusa, Yamaguchi, Setoguchi, Setoshi, Nakamizuno and Kozoji.

Aikan train at Shin-Toyota Station

Visitors to Toyota Kaikan should alight at Mikawa Toyota. For Kaisho Forest the nearest station is Yamaguchi.


© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, April 07, 2014

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 29 Hayato to Kagoshima City

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 29
Hayato to Kagoshima City
Monday July 29th, 2013

It's an overcast and showery day as I make my way to temple #43, Hojo-in. Several times I open my umbrella for short showers as I stop in at a few shrines before reaching the temple. It's a fairly small urban temple with not much to see, though I do notice some glass wind bells with prayers/wishes written on paper hanging from the clapper. I don't remember ever having seen such things before.

Hojo-in, Kagoshima

After a short walk I reach the concrete shoreline of Kagoshima Bay. From here the main road hugs the coast all the way down to Kagoshima city. Ever since I first studied the maps of the route of the pilgrimage I have been looking forward to this section, mountain to one side, water on the other, and views of Sakurajima all the way. I follow the feeder road and am then confronted with an extremely busy road with no sidewalk!!

Of course, roads without sidewalks are commonplace, but they will often have a white line with a meter or more of shoulder that is ostensibly for pedestrians, but here the shoulder is about 15cms, and with the spray coming from the speeding trucks and cars it is really dangerous and impossible to walk. I am livid!

Sakurajima, Kagoshima

Pedestrians, outside of many city centers, are simply ignored by road planners. There is no way I can safely walk down this road without causing the traffic to slow right down to pass me. I check my maps and see that the only other route would be to head inland and go through the mountains which would mean doubling the distance and involve a lot of climbing. There is simply no provision for anyone to walk to Kagoshima. And why should there be? Pedestrians do not contribute to the economy and are therefore a waste of space. The only solution is to backtrack a few kilometers to the last station and take a local train down the coast and hope to find a place where the road has a sidewalk. The train line and road run right next to each other and looking out the window about half-way down the coast I see where the sidewalk begins so alight at the next station.

The sidewalk is wide... at least three meters... and I slowly start to lose my anger at the road builders. At one point the road divides and in the space between is a small shrine built around a rock outcropping. An oasis of stillness between the rushing traffic. The rain seems to have stopped but the clouds that roll overhead are dark and swift. Sakurajima pierces the clouds so I can't tell if it is spewing smoke like it does so often, and then it happens again..... the bloody sidewalk ends!!!!

The gap between the white line and the guardrail is only centimeters, but this time I am not going to walk back 4 or 5 kilometers to the station and take a train, I am going to walk and to hell with the traffic. I stride off as fast as I can. Behind me is the hiss of air brakes as trucks slow right down to pass me. I am sure the traffic is backing up and I am being cursed by drivers for whom time is money, but I am a human being and this is not an expressway off limits to humans... dammit I have as much right to travel this road as the vehicles.

About 500 meters along I come to a small lay-by with a bus stop and checking the timetable I learn that a bus should be along in ten minutes so I sit and wait. I know that on Shikoku where there are many walking pilgrims, complaints by them about the dangerous lack of sidewalks has led to the construction of new sidewalks in many places, but as far as I can tell I am only the second person to walk this Kyushu Pilgrimage, it's designed for car pilgrims, so it would do me no good to complain. The bus comes as promised, and I head into Kagoshima and my hotel, the Cent Inn. I am a few hours earlier than I expected so head out to explore. Tomorrow I will go back to the north of the city and walk across it.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 28

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Japan News This Week 6 April 2014


Japan News.
A Passion to Pitch: Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka Epitomizes the Japanese Approach to Baseball New York Times

Japan was ordered to stop hunting whales in the Antarctic
Global Post

Japanese mafia launch website

'Comfort women' deserve a memorial: their ordeal must not be forgotten

Fukushima-linked cancer surge unlikely: U.N.
Japan Times

Critical New Stage in Japan’s Textbook Controversy 歴史教科書の引き続く受難 Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog

Japan Ends Decades-Long Ban on Export of Weapons New York Times


Victims of child porn in Japan hit a record in 2013.

According to the National Police Agency, victims of child porn came to 642, which was 22% higher than the highest previous record. Statistics have been kept since 2000.


Jiji Press

The number of crime syndicate members - made men in the Japanese yakuza - fell below 60,000 last year. That is the first time the number has fallen below that figure since 1958, when statistics first started being kept.

A record low 22,861 gangsters were charged by the police last year.


Jiji Press

© JapanVisitor

Friday, April 04, 2014

Ryugu Shrine & Cape Nagasakibana


Ryugu Shrine is situated at Cape Nagasakibana (長﨑鼻) on the southern tip of the Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Ryugu Shrine, Kagoshima Prefecture

Ryugu Shrine is a modern construction built to cash in on the legend of Urashima Taro, who is said to have come from this area. The fairy story of Urashima Taro involves a fisherman saving a small turtle from being terrorized by kids. In return, the turtle (or in some versions a larger turtle that appears the following day) invites Taro to Ryugu Palace at the bottom of the sea, where he meets Otohime (Princess Toyotama), a beautiful incarnation of the small turtle Taro had saved.

Ryugu Shrine, Kagoshima, Kyushu

After staying at Ryugu Palace for three days, Taro wishes to return to see his aging mother. Otohime gives him a box called tamatebako, which she says will protect him from harm but which he is not to open.

When Taro returns to his village no-one recognizes him and his mother is gone. In fact, 300 years have passed since Taro left. In panic, Taro opens the tamatebako from which white smoke comes out and ages Taro 300 years.

The shrine buildings seen today date from 2011. Turtles still come to lay their eggs in the area but it was rather strange to see stuffed ones for sale in the souvenirs on the road down to the shrine and the light house at the cape.

Cape Nagasakibana

Ryugu Shrine
Kagoshima 891-0513
Tel: 0993 22 3252

There are Kagoshima Kotsu buses from Yamagawa Station on the JR Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line. Nearby is the impressive Flower Park garden with thousands of variety of flowers and the nearer Nagasakibana Parking Garden (1200 yen; 8am-5pm) with tropical plants, parrots and monkeys.

© JapanVisitor.com

Inside Track Japan For Kindle Devices

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Ryumon Falls Kagoshima


Ryumon Falls close to Kagoshima Airport in Kagoshima Prefecture is a pleasant place to linger if you are returning a car rental to the airport.

Ryumon Falls Kagoshima Kyushu

The waterfall is on a walking trail that also includes the nearby Kinzan Bridge and Ryumonji-yaki, an ancient kiln set up by Korean potters kidnapped by the feudal lord of Satsuma during Hideyoshi's campaigns in Korea at the end of the 16th century.

Ryumon Falls Kagoshima Kyushu Japan

Ryumoni-taki is located on the Amikakegawa River and is 46m high and 43m wide and is noted as one of the "100 famous waterfalls in Japan."

© JapanVisitor.com

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