Japan Visitor: What's happening in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Shimane Japan

Home    Japan Travel Guide     Tokyo Guide     Contact     Auction Service     Japan Shop

Friday, July 31, 2015

Awa Odori Tokushima 2015


Japan's biggest street festa, the Awa Odori Festival in Tokushima, takes place this year over the Obon period of August 12-15.

Awa Odori, Tokushima
It is estimated that over a million people, including both tourists and participants returning to their home city and prefecture, will descend on Tokushima for the festival.

Mass ranks (ren) of dancers, dancing through the streets of the city, are accompanied by music from drums, flutes, shamisen and bells.

The Awa Odori festival dates back to 1587 and the completion of Tokushima Castle, when residents of the town were rewarded with free sake doled out by feudal lord Hachisuka Iemasa (1558-1638) and danced with an unsteady gait through the streets.

A particular verse associated with Awa Odori is: Odoru aho ni (踊る阿呆に), Miru aho Onaji aho nara (見る阿呆, 同じ阿呆なら), Odorana son, son (踊らな損、損) ("The dancing fool and the watching fool are both foolish. So why not get up and dance?").

There are dances during the day called nagashi and more lively dances at night known as zomeki.

The Awa Odori dance steps are fixed and vary for the two sexes. A visit to the Awa Odori Kaikan (Tel: 611 1611) in Tokushima will fill the visitor in on all he or she needs to know about the dance as well as the steps for each dance.

Japan has other Awa Odori festivals including one in Koenji in Tokyo begun by people from Tokushima in 1956.

An Awa Odori Paris version of the famous festival will take place this year in the French capital on October 1-2.

Awa Odori in Tokyo, Japan.

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Etajima to Hiroshima Port Ferry

If you are traveling from Hiroshima to cycle around Etajima or visit the Museum of Naval History on the island chances are you will take the ferry from Hiroshima Port to either Kirikushi Port on the northern tip of Etajima or Koyo Port on the east coast.

The ferry, operated by Seitonaikai Kisen, transports motor vehicles, bicycles and foot passengers on the 20 minute journey.

Koyo to Hiroshima Port Ferry.

High speed boats travel between Hiroshima Port and Koyo Port beginning at 6.21am from Koyo and 6.45am from Hiroshima Port.

The fare is presently 1060 yen or buy a 1 day ferry pass for 3,300 yen enabling visitors to circuit from Hiroshima to Kurahashi and Kure or vice versa.

The last sailings are at 9.53pm from Koyo and 10.25pm from Hiroshima Port.
Tel: 082 254 1701 (Hiroshima); 0823 42 1322 (Koyo)

Slower car ferries from Hiroshima Port to Kirikushi begin at 7.00am with the last boat at 10.25pm. Sailings from Kirikushi begin at 6.20am with the last ferry at 5.45pm.

The one way adult fare is 460 yen with the last two"night" boats costing 930 yen.
Tel: 082 254 1701 (Hiroshima); 0823 43 0102 (Kirikushi)

Koyo to Hiroshima Port Ferry.

Hiroshima Port Ujina Passenger Terminal is a roughly 30 minute tram ride from central Hiroshima. Hiroshima Port Ujina Passenger Terminal has fast and slow ferries to Matsuyama on Shikoku via Kure.

The slower Cruise Ferry (run by Ishizaki Kisen) takes about 2 hours, 40 minutes from Hiroshima to Matsuyama via Kure, while the quicker Super Jet takes just over an hour direct or 1 hour, 20 minutes via Kure. Bicycles can be rented from the ferry company at both Kure and Matsuyama.

There are 22 round ferry trips a day between Hiroshima and Matsuyama. Presently the promotional price for a one way adult fare from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 is 3,800 yen on the Super Jet Hiroshima - Matsuyama (normal fare 7,100 yen) and 3,000 yen Kure-Matsuyama (normal fare 5,550 yen). On the slower Cruise Ferry the promotional price for a one way adult fare is 2,000 yen Hiroshima - Matsuyama (normal fare 3,600 yen) and 1,400 yen Kure-Matsuyama (normal fare 2,6700 yen).

Koyo to Hiroshima Port Ferry.

The short journey is comfortable enough with a TV lounge, vending machines and lots of fine views from the large picture windows on the upper deck.

Setonaikaikisen Co., Ltd.
1-12-23, Ujinakaigan, Minami-ku,
Hiroshima City 734-8515
Tel: 082 253 1212

JapanVisitorさん(@japanvisitor)が投稿した動画 -

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 70 Imari to Arita

A Walk Around Kyushu
Day 70, Imari to Arita
Saturday March 22nd, 2014

The last two days have been long ones with somewhere between 30 and 40 kilometers of walking each day. Today will be much shorter, only 15 kilometers of pilgrimage, which should take me up to late morning, but then I plan to spend the rest of the day exploring Arita and the surrounding area.

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 70 Imari to Arita.

I head off from Imari under clear skies but as the morning progresses scattered clouds build up. I am basically heading south along the Arita River. At times I am able to get off the main road and cross to a smaller road on the other bank. Off to the east are some steep mountains that I think I will be going into tomorrow. I find the pilgrimage temple I am looking for up a side road not far from the river. Hoko-in, temple 70, is a small rural temple with a statues of Kannon in the courtyard.

Inside the main hall was fine statue of Fudo Myo, and the priest's wife who was flitting about gave me some fruit and a can of tea to take with me as o-settai. Not long after the temple I stopped in at a small shrine and saw something that I had also seen at another small shrine earlier in the day.

While both were very clearly shrines and not temples, the object of worship at both were Buddhist statues, something that would not have been too unusual 150 years ago, but which supposedly was outlawed by the separation of Buddhas and kami in the Meiji Period. A mystery.

Soon I am in Arita and walking past the chimneys and buildings of potteries. For the rest of the day I am a tourist not a pilgrim. First stop is the Kyushu Ceramics Museum which has displays not just on the porcelain and ceramics of the Arita area but from all over Kyushu.

I do not have a particular interest in ceramics, but I'm going to have to write up a guide to Arita so it was duty. Next I head south out of town. I check the timetables at a bus stop but there is no bus due for a couple of hours so a walk it is.

Arita Porcelain Park.

What I'm heading to is the Arita Porcelain Park, a small theme park based around, no surprises, porcelain. They have chosen to go with a primarily German theme with a fake German village and a truly outrageous structure, a replica of the Zwinger Palace in Dresden. Finding a full size Rococo palace in the middle of the Japanese countryside might surprise some, but not me.

The park also has a sake brewery, working kilns, some museums, and a workshop for visitors to decorate their own plates. As I am about to head off on the long walk back into town a small bus pulls in. I check with the driver and he informs me its a special tourist bus that only runs twice a day on weekends and national holidays and he will be heading back to Arita in half an hour.

By taking the bus I am back in Arita by late afternoon and there is still time to explore the historical part of Arita which I had planned to do first thing tomorrow. The long street heads up towards Kamiarita and a surprisingly large number of buildings are Edo or Meiji Period.

Not sure why, but I have come to appreciate this architectural style. Many of them are ceramics galleries. In the back lanes behind the main road are more potteries and the alleys are lined with walls made out of old firebricks. Tozan Shrine is really interesting. It enshrines the Korean potter who discovered the clay in the area for making porcelain and founded Japan's first porcelain production.

Ceramic stores, Kamiarita, Kyushu.

He was one of thousands of Koreans kidnapped and brought back to Japan by Hideyoshi's retreating army. The shrine has a porcelain torii and some unusual porcelain komainu. At the top of the street is Kamiarita station so I hop on a train back to Sasebo.

Back at my hotel I get an email from Tony Gibb, an Australian who is cycling the same pilgrimage route that I am walking. He has arrived in Sasebo and we meet up for a meal in a genuine Tex Mex place that caters to the large contingent of Americans who live in Sasebo because of the U.S. Navy base.

It's taken me 70 days of walking to get here, but for Tony just 26 days. I admit to a little twinge of disappointment that he will be the first non-Japanese to complete this pilgrimage.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 69

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 71 Mimasaka

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Japan News This Week 26 July 2015


Japan News.
Japan Scraps Olympic Stadium Plan Over $2 Billion Price Tag
New York Times

Japan sharpens censure of China disputed sea activity

Financial Times sold to Japanese media group Nikkei for £844m

Japan urges Russian prime minister not to visit disputed isles
Japan Times

Introduction: The Experts Report and the Future of Okinawa
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Prime Minister' Abe's approval numbers are in steep decline.

Various news outlets released approval ratings this week. The figure in parentheses is for the previous month.

Mainichi Shinbun: Approve 35% (42%), Disapprove 51% (43%)
Kyodo: Approve 37.7% (47.4%), Disapprove 51.6% (43%)
Asahi Shinbun: Approve 37% (39%), Disapprove 46% (42%)
Sankei Shinbun: Approve 39.3% (46.1%), Disapprove 52.6% (42.4%)

Source: Business Journal

© JapanVisitor.com

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Costco Japan


Costco, the American wholesale retailer, has a growing number of stores and related businesses in Japan.

Costco Japan, Tokoname, near Nagoya.

There are Costco stores in Sapporo in Hokkaido, Iruma, Kanazawa, Maebashi, Makuhari, Chiba New Town, Tsukuba, Kawasaki, Shinmisato, Tamasakai, Zama and Hitachinaka in Kanto, Chubu Airport near Tokoname in Chubu, Amagasaki, Kyoto Iwata, Kobe and Izumi in Kinki, Hiroshima in Chugoku, and Hisayama and Kitakyushu in Kyushu.

Shoppers must sign up for membership which is presently 3,500 yen a year for Business membership or 4,000 yen for Gold Star Membership.

Costco Japan, Tokoname store.

Costco stocks food and drinks including beer, wines and spirits, pharmacy products, household electronics, health and beauty, fashion items and household goods. Most Costco stores also have their own gas stations.

Costco Japan

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 69 Hiradoguchi to Imari

A Walk Around Kyushu
Day 69, Hiradoguchi to Imari
Friday March 21st, 2014

Today's lengthy leg of my walk from Hirado to Imari will include just one temple and other than that I have no idea of what I will see or encounter. Sometimes there are things marked on the maps that I know I will want to check out, but there are no tourist sites of any kind in this section.

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 69, Hirado to Imari.

The road is a standard, rural, two lane road not choked with traffic but not quiet. I stop in at a few roadside shrines to see if there is anything to see. Before I started walking pilgrimage routes I used to walk around the countryside visiting shrines. I guess in the truest sense of the word that was pilgrimage, but now when I walk the Buddhist pilgrimages it is still the shrines I pass along the way that interest me most.

The road reached the coast and passes by numerous small coves. As I approach Matsuura I look down on a huge power station. Like many, it is fueled by coal, and even though Kyushu has reserves of coal in the ground, the domestic coal industry was closed down in the middle of the last century in favor of cheap oil imports.

Now the coal is mostly imported from Australia, and there are acres and acres of laid out here in neat piles with conveyor belts and automatic chutes. A little further towards the town I check for the local manholes. I make it a habit to checkout the manhole covers in places I am visiting. They often have designs that feature things of local importance. Here in Matsuura the design features kangaroos, koalas, and the Australian flag.

Matsuura is twinned with Mackay in Queensland, where the coal for the power station comes from. I get off the main road which bypasses the town and take the main road through the town. Like most rural towns it appears halfway to being a ghost town with half the commercial properties closed up. After Matsuura the road goes round a headland and there are great views out to a scattering of islands. On the the outskirts of the village of Imafuku I get off the main road and head towards today's only pilgrimage temple.

I pass a torii with steps leading up the hill, and as the temple is on the other side of the hill I presume that there will be a path from the shrine to the temple. There usually is as you often find a shrine and a temple right next to each because they used to be just one place. Sure enough, the path up to the shrine and then the path from the shrine to the temple are lined with red-bibbed Buddhist statues. The shrine itself is just a simple wooden building with almost no ornamentation, more of a shed really, but the view over the rooftops of the village out to sea was worth the climb.

Temple 79, Zenpukuji, is a small, village temple, and there are a constant stream of people arriving and leaving. I suddenly remember that today is the spring equinox, a national holiday in Japan. The 7 days centering on the equinox is called higan, or Ohigan, and like Obon in the summer is a time for visiting the graves of your ancestors and for other acts of memorialization.

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 69, Hirado to Imari.

The priest's wife is busy flitting between the visitors and tidying up around the grounds so we just exchange polite greetings. The ceiling of the main hall has been repainted in the not too distant past. Each of small wooden squares is painted with different flowers. I head off down the coast which now veers towards the south. After a half hour of walking I pass back into Saga Prefecture.

The bay gradually narrows until Imari. Imari, like Arita is famous for ceramics, specifically porcelain, and on the main street leading to the station are a couple of huge porcelain figures. The sun is setting when I reach the station but I find I have a little wait until my train to Sasebo so I wander near the station but there is little of interest other than a huge wedding chapel built in European style.

The last two days have been long but at least by basing myself in Sasebo I have been able to leave my heavy pack there and just use a day pack. I'm sure that carrying a full pack I would not have been able to cover the distance I have.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 68 Part 2

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 70

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travel Insurance For Japan

Travel insurance is essential for any visit or vacation in Japan. Whether you are here for just a few days or planning a longer stay as an exchange student, visiting academic or business executive be sure to take out a reputable insurance policy before you arrive.

Why, you may ask, is travel insurance a necessity for Japan? Japan certainly doesn't rank as one of the most dangerous places to travel in the world, and the chance of volcanic eruption, earthquakes and related seismic events are an extremely low (albeit ever present) risk for most travelers who confine their visit to the Golden Triangle of Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima.

Personal crime and theft (especially involving foreign visitors) is extremely low. It is still possible to leave even expensive articles on public transport such as cameras and audio equipment and track them down, safe and sound, a few hours later at the lost property office of the railway, taxi or bus company you were traveling on.

And although there are bears, boars, giant hornets and even poisonous snakes among Japan's wildlife, again the chance of the average foreign visitor encountering one of these potentially lethal creatures is extremely low indeed.

So why the absolute necessity to take out a comprehensive travel insurance package before you step foot in Japan?

Travel Insurance For Japan.

While medical costs at hospitals and clinics are not outrageous in Japan and are in most cases cheaper than in the US, they are not negligible by any means and if you require an operation during your visit to Japan you may be looking at a bill of thousands of dollars.

Also Japanese hospitals tend to keep patients for recuperation much longer than their western counterparts. A minor operation for say repairing a tendon or setting a broken limb, would normally require only one night in hospital in the west and subsequent outpatient treatment. In Japan it may extend to a month or more of expensive hospital care.

The crux of the problem for the uninsured in Japan is that most hospitals and doctors will simply refuse to treat you without some physical evidence of insurance. Nearly all Japanese residents belong to the national insurance scheme and when you arrive at a hospital or clinic your national insurance card is the first thing reception asks to see before you can be treated.

Sadly it is not rare for the uninsured foreign visitor to be turned away at the point of treatment, even those with potentially life-threatening illnesses. There are horror stories of the sick being shuttled from place to place in a taxi and not being admitted due to lack of cover.

So make sure your insurance policy is valid for Japan, covers hotel and travel cancellations, and includes coverage for lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal property.

Increasingly visitors are coming to Japan to ski, hike, scuba dive and even mountain climb so make sure your insurance includes coverage if you plan to undertake a more risky adventure holiday than the usual sightseeing and gourmet indulgence.

Finally make sure you have a document you can show on arrival at a clinic or hospital (and keep a copy just in case). The English original should be fine but a Japanese translation would be ideal. Secure full peace of mind with adequate insurance then relax and enjoy your stay in Japan.

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus

Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus, Hiroshima Station.

The Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus (Hiroshima meipuru-pu) is an excellent way for tourists to get around Hiroshima, especially if you have a Japan Rail Pass.

The distinctive, red Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus leaves from Hiroshima Station's Shinkansen-guchi exit outside the Hotel Granvia Hiroshima and passes eight major tourist attractions in the city including Hiroshima Castle, the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Park.

A one-day pass for the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus is 400 yen or use your Japan Rail Pass. One ride is 200 yen.

Buses depart every 30 minutes from 9am-5.30pm and the bus takes around 50 minutes to complete the circuit.

Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus, Hiroshima Station.

There are two routes: the Orange Route and the Green Route. The Orange Route is as follows: Hiroshima Station, Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien), Hiroshima Castle, Hiroshima Museum of Art, Kamiya-cho, Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, Hatchobori and Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Green Route is as follows: Hiroshima Station, Hatchobori, Kamiya-cho, Peace Memorial Park, Okonomi-mura, Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien), Futabanosato Historical Walking Trail and Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine.

Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus website (Chugoku JR Bus Company)

Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus, Hiroshima Station.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, July 20, 2015

Celtic Irish Pub

If you are looking for some excellent fish and chips in a woody interior, try Celtic in Hiroshima, a friendly Irish pub set in a pleasant square near the Memorial Cathedral of World Peace.

Celtic Irish Pub, Hiroshima.

On the Friday night we visited there were no other foreigners in evidence, possibly put off by the somewhat higher prices or drawn by the TV screens showing sport at Molly Malone's - another popular Irish pub in town.

Celtic Irish Pub, Hiroshima.

Celtic offers delicious food (fish and chips, pizza, pasta), a range of beers (Guinness, Bass Pale Ale, Belle Vue Kriek, Sapporo), Irish and Scotch whiskeys and a quiet atmosphere - ideal to unwind after a busy day of sight-seeing or work.

Celtic Irish Pub, Hiroshima.

Noborimachi 12-6
Naka-ku, Hiroshima
Tel: 082 221 1055

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Japan News This Week 19 July 2015


Japan News.
With Ban on Exports Lifted, Japan Arms Makers Cautiously Market Wares Abroad
New York Times

Protests as Japan paves way for self-defence law change

Japan accused of falsifying whaling data

Mitsubishi Materials to apologize for U.S. forced labor, 70 years later
Japan Times

Should “Gunkanjima” Be a World Heritage site? - The forgotten scars of Korean forced labor
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


On July 15, two nights before Kyoto's Gion Festival, 240,000 revelers turned out for Yoiyoiyama. During Yoiyama - the three nights prior to the festival day (July 14 is Yoiyoiyoiyama, the 15th is Yoiyoiyama, and the 16th is Yoiyama) - the famed movable shrines are put on display in central Kyoto. Vehicle traffic is restricted from 6 - 12 pm, and people pour into the center of town to stroll and drink beer and ogle girls in summer yukata robes.

Source: Kyoto Shinbun

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kasumigaura Furiai Land


Kasumigaura Furiai Land is located in Namegata right at the far end of Kasumigaura Bridge and is a popular spot especially at weekends as it is an easy drive from both Tsuchiura and Tsukuba.

Kasumigaura Furiai Land, Ibaraki.
Kasumigaura Furiai Land
Motorists, road cyclists and bikers pull up to enjoy the views of the bridge and Lake Kasumigaura, the second largest in Japan after Lake Biwa in Kansai, eat at some of the restaurants here, shop for local products especially the delicious pickles and visit the Water Science Museum. The site also includes a small aquarium and Shinsui Park on the edge of the lake.

Rainbow Tower. Kasumigaura Lake, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Rainbow Tower
There are excellent views of Lake Kasumigaura from the observation deck of the 60m-tall Rainbow Tower.

Kasumigaura Furiai Land and Rainbow Tower are open daily (except Monday) from 9am-4.30pm. The entrance fee for all the facilities is 600 yen.

Kasumigaura Bridge, Ibaraki.
Kasumigaura Bridge
© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tsuchiura Station


Tsuchiura Station in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture is located close to the shores of Lake Kasumigaura. Tsuchiura Station is on the Joban Line running south into Tokyo and north to Mito and then Iwanuma in Miyagi Prefecture and then on to Sendai on the Tohoku Main Line.

Tsuchiura Station, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Tsuichiura Station is built within a large department store with shops, cafes and restaurants. Tsuchiura's Tourist Information is just on your left as you exit the ticket gates next to a bank of coin lockers.

Joban Line train at Tsuchiura Station.

Outside the West Exit of the station is the bus station with buses to outlying areas of Tsuchiura and a bus to Tsukuba that takes around 30 minutes depending on traffic. Take this exit for the 15 minute walk to Tsuchiura Castle.

Tsuchiura Station ticket gates.

There are a number of hotels close to Tsuchiura Station including Bell's Inn Tsuchiura and Business Hotel Kohoku. Chisun Inn Tsuchiuraami is closer to JR Arakawaoki Station.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 68 Part II

A Walk Around Kyushu
Day 68, Yoshii to Hirado Part 2
Thursday March 20th, 2014

Hirado is quite a big island spreading north to south, but fortunately the two sites I am here to visit are both here at the northern tip where the bridge crosses over from the mainland. I have spent a few days on Hirado some years ago so I will not need to take many detours to explore what there is to see.

Saikyo-ji Temple.

I'm soon in sight of the harbor and town with the castle keep overlooking it. My first stop is on the edge of town, Saikyo-ji, temple number 77. Saikyo-ji is quite an old and major temple. Apparently Kukai performed a ceremony at this spot on his return from China. There are a lot of old onigawara. Demon tiles that function as gargoyles, set around the grounds.

Saikyo-ji Temple has a small museum but I had been there before so did not bother again. A winding lane lined with red-bibbed statues heads up to the hill behind where there are some newer halls and a big three story pagoda. It is one of the biggest, not in height but in base area.

I head off through the town along the edge of the harbor passing the "Dutch" bridge and the reconstruction of the Dutch Factory which recently opened. The original is believed to be the oldest western style building in Japan. The road out of town climbs steeply. For the next few hours it will be up and down, up and down, but thankfully there is little traffic. I stop in at what was marked on the map as a new church, but it was still under construction so I couldn't go in. At one point the island narrows to a few hundred meters in width and I can see both coasts in one glance.

Scenery on Hirado Island, Nagasaki.

At the far northern tip of the island I see a sandy beach down below where the next temple is. It's a steep road down and I do not look forward to the climb back up. When I get down to the beach there is not exactly a lot to see. Temple 78, Kaigenji, is just a roof in front front of a monument, its importance being that this is the spot that Kukai set sail for China in 804, and the teachings he brought back became the Shingon sect of Buddhism, and this being a Shingon pilgrimage its not surprising that the site is included.

Up on the hillside to the left of the beach appears to be a large statue. I would guess it is of Kukai, but I can't be bothered to check it out as I am tired and still have to walk back to town. The steep climb back up to the main road that I have been dreading is much easier than I feared. This is something I have noticed recently. When I first started doing a lot of walking in Japan I used to hate the constant climbing, but either my aging body has gotten a lot stronger or else my expectations of how difficult the climb will be are exaggerated. I strongly suspect it is the latter.

Walking back the way I had just walked is rarely interesting and I just put my head down and plodded on. Back in town I head to the tourist information office, a portakabin in the middle of a major redevelopment of the harbor side. Inside there is free tea and I sit and chat with the friendly lady in charge. When she learns that I am walking a pilgrimage she digs out a heft pamphlet on Hirado's own pilgrimage, one I had not heard about.

It traverses the whole island and is mostly shrines and temples with a few monuments thrown in, but it is just the kind of pilgrimage I look for and so now have one more to add to my bucket list. I had planned to take the ferry from here back to the mainland where there is a station I can catch a train back to Sasebo from, but the lady informs me that in 20 minutes there is a bus that goes to Sasebo and that would mean not having to do any more walking so that is my choice.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 68 Part 1

A View Around Kyushu Day 69

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Japan News This Week 12 July 2015


Japan News.
The Bicycle Thief
New York Times

Japan's Honda recalls more cars with Takata airbags

Sakari Momoi, the world's oldest man, dies in Japan aged 112

Japan should re-examine the idea of marriage to help spur a baby boom
Japan Times

'Do we have peace now?' poem by Okinawa teen Chinen Masaru 今は平和でしょうか」 高校三年知念捷の詩
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Kyoto was named the "world's best city for the second consecutive year by the readers of Travel and Leisure."

Top Ten:

1. Kyoto
2. Charleston
3. Siem Reap
4. Florence
5. Rome
6. Bangkok
7. Kraków
8. Barcelona
9. Cape Town
10. Jerusalem

Source: Travel & Leisure

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, July 10, 2015

Music Festivals in Japan 2015

Here is a listing of this year's music festivals in Japan for the summer of 2015.

Rock and Electronic

Fuji Rock Festival

July 24-26, Naeba Ski Resort, Nagano Prefecture featuring Foo Fighters, Motorhead, High Flying Birds, Ride, Ash, Scoobie Doo, Happy Mondays, The Bohicas. For the full line-up and ticket details see the website below.
www.fujirockfestival.com (3-day ticket 39,800 yen)

Music Festivals in Japan 2015.

Rock in Japan

August 1-2 & 8-9, Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki with Acidman, Dragon Ash, Ul, Man With A Mission, White Ash, Bump of Chicken, Good4Nothing, Scandal. See the website for the full line-up and ticket information.

Rising Sun Festival (RSR)

August 14-15, Ishikari, Hokkaido with domestic Japanese bands including Man With A Mission, P'ez and Ogre Your Asshole. Tickets 18,500 yen for the 2 days.


August 14, Makuhari Messe (Chiba) featuring The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, Krewella and Boys Noize. 10,500 yen.

Summer Sonic

August 15-16, Tokyo and Osaka with The Chemical Brothers, Pharrell Williams, Krewella, Baby Metal. 28,500 yen for the two days.

MTV Zushi Fes

August 7-9, Riviera Zushi Marina, Kanagawa, AK-69, Cream, Doberman Infinity, Minmi, Block B, Tempura Kidz. Tickets 21,600 yen for 3 days.


Sept 19-21, Naeba Greenland, Niigata. Quality techno festival in the hills of Niigata.

Ringo Fes

August 26-27, Matsumoto. Ogre Your Asshole, Root Soul, OL Killer, Tofubeats

Other Festivals

Sapporo City Jazz

July-August, Sapporo

Pacific Music Festival (classical)

July-August, Sapporo

Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (classical)

August 9-September 15, Matsumoto, Nagano

Hadyn, Bartok, Berlioz.

Monterey Jazz Festival

July 25, Noto, Ishikawa. Tickets 5,000 yen.

Tokyo Jazz Festival

Sept 4-6, Tokyo

Herbie Hancock, Karriem Riggins, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyoto Jazz Sextet

Tokyo Idol Festival

August 1-2, Diver City Tokyo, Odaiba. Alice In Alice, HKT 48, Caramel, Cupitron, Chubbiness etc. Tickets 9,800 yen for 2 days.

World Music & Dance Festival

August 5-10, Motomachi Park, Hakodate, Hokkaido

Earth Celebration

August 21-23, Ogi, Sado Island with Kodo

Earth Celebration on Sado Island.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, July 06, 2015

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 68 Yoshii to Hirado

A Walk Around Kyushu
Day 68, Yoshii to Hirado Part 1
Thursday March 20th, 2014

So I am back in Sasebo to begin the final leg of my walk around Kyushu following an 88 temple pilgrimage around the island. On this leg I will finish with Nagasaki Prefecture, then dip back into Saga Prefecture, before heading into Fukuoka and to the final destination at Munakata.

Ohashikannon-ji Great Bridge.
Ohashikannon-ji Great Bridge
I started on Christmas Day about 15 months ago and have walked during each of the seasons. As I have began each leg of the walk I have been excited, but starting this final leg the excitement is mixed with other feelings including relief but also regret that it will soon be finished. Not to worry I have my next pilgrimage already lined up.

I take an early train out of Sasebo up to Yoshii where I finished a few weeks ago. I can see the temple on the hillside but with fresh legs am not bothered by the climb. On the hillside in front of the temple is a large children's playground. The main building of Ohashikannon-ji is made of concrete but its proportions, low and wide with a flared roof, make it quite elegant.

Draped across the front of the building is a wide curtain in the five colors of Buddhism, purple, white, red, yellow, & green, and with two lanterns either side of the steps it also contributes to its simple elegance. Inside the hall, which is comparatively light compared to most temples, an older lady is busy setting out offerings and arranging things.

The colored banner hung on the building suggests to me that a festival is to take place later so I do not pester here with questions. On the main altar is a fine statue of Fudo Myo, and off to one side a "shinto" altar flanked by two fox statues. In the middle is a small statue of a coiled snake of a type I often see connected to Benzaiten.

Behind the main hall is a smaller, wooden hall and the priest's house and from here a stone path lined with statues leads up the mountain to where the namesake of the temple lies. Ohashi means "Great Bridge," and a short way behind the temple is a huge natural bridge spanning an opening in the cliff. Soaring about 60 meters above, the sandstone bridge is split into two for most of its span. I would guess it to be close to 100 meters wide. Down below numerous statues and altars are set into the cliff face.

Fudo Myo of course makes an appearance. I have a long distance I want to cover today and its overcast and cool so I should be able to make a good pace so I head back down the hill and start to head up the main road towards Hirado to the north.

Tabira Church stained glass windows.
Tabira Church
It's a two lane road, sometimes with sidewalk, sometimes not. It goes up and down in places but more down as it heads to the sea at Emukae. After Emukae the road starts to climb away from the coast. There is nothing of interest, or rather nothing to cause me to detour and explore, and I am glad when I can get off the main road and head towards Tabira Church.

I am much more comfortable walking these back roads. They wind around small hills and cross small valleys, offering different views with almost every turn. There is also almost no traffic. Getting closer to the church I pass by the Tabira Insect Museum which does not look as if it ever gets busy. Tabira Church is a large red brick structure designed by Tetsukawa Yosuke, like many of the churches in this area, and was completed in 1917. On an overcast day like today it does not look special, but inside it is bright and airy with lots of stained glass.

Bridge to Hirado.
Bridge to Hirado
The island of Hirado, visible across the straits, is home to many churches as it was historically one of the places the Japanese Christians hid out during the period of Christianity's suppression from the 17th to 19th centuries. From the church it's just a half hour walk to the big red bridge that crosses over to Hirado where the next two temples of the pilgrimage are located.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 67

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 68 Part II

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Japan News This Week 5 July 2015


Japan News.
Shinzo Abe Faces Growing Wrath of Okinawans Over U.S. Base
New York Times

Japan 2-1 England

Two people dead in Japan bullet train fire after man set himself alight

Could Hamp’s detention reinforce prejudice?
Japan Times

Hanaoka Monogatari: The Massacre of Chinese Forced Laborers, Summer 1945 花岡ものがたり 1945年夏、中国人強制労働者虐殺
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Family Satisfaction

Top Five:

1. Iceland (95.1%)
2. Switzerland (92.6%)
3. Mexico (91.1%)
4. Great Britain (90.9%)
5. Poland (90.4%)

Bottom Five:

1. France (83.4%)
2. Czech Republic (78.3%)
3. Slovakia (76.4%)
4. Japan (75.9)
5. South Korea (65.3%)

Source: The Times of London

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Blunders and Bloops in Japanese

失敗 間違い 誤り

Betty Boop - blunders and bloops in the Japanese language.
"Whoops" (from picgifs.com)

The recent failure of the latest SpaceX rocket launch. The ongoing Takata airbag recall and NHTSA problem. Not everything goes according to plan. (How's that for a wakarikitta koto 分かりきったこと, or truism?)

Things go wrong, and if English has plenty of words for things going wrong, you can be sure that Japanese, in its lexical richness, has at least as many.

machigai 間違い is the most basic word for a mistake in Japanese, and is a term familiar even to beginners. The verb is machigau "to make a mistake, to be mistaken"   and is usually encountered in its past or progressive forms: machigatta or machigatte iru (more commonly elided to machigatteru).
Kare no iken wa matigatte iru 彼の意見はまちがっている His opinion is mistaken/wrong.
Sore wa machigatta iken desu それは間違った意見だ That's a mistaken opinion.
An iimachigai (the ii coming from the verb iu, to say) is a politician's favorite mistake: a slip of the tongue.

shippai 失敗 also means mistake, but in a different sense from machigai. While machigai is something that you (rightly or wrongly) consider mistaken, and is therefore largely subjective, shippai has a more objective sense of ‘failure in the course of trying to achieve something.’
DJ ga renzoku ni shippai o shite, setto ga dame ni natta. DJが連続に失敗をしてセットがだめになった。The DJ made a series of mistakes and spoiled his set.
 Using the word machigai in this sentence wouldn't raise any Japanese eyebrows, but shippai more fully expresses the sense of hands-on "blunder" or "mishap" as opposed to the more general "mistake."

ayamari 誤り is very close in meaning to shippai, and in many cases can be used interchangeably without any problem; but whereas a shippai is typically an unintentional act done by  a human, an ayamari can be more disembodied. For example, ayamari is used in software terminology to describe an error, such as chimeiteki ayamari 致命的誤り a fatal error, which may well be due to human error, but is somewhat removed from human hands.
Reshipii ni ayamari ga atte, kekkyoku shippai shita. レシピーに誤りがあって結局失敗した。
“There was a mistake in the recipe, so in the end I failed."

This illustrates the subtle difference between ayamari and shippai, with ayamari being something wrong with the text involved (i.e., a “system error”), and shippai being something wrong with the physical result. The aborted cake, bread or cookies of the last example sentence could be called shippaisaku 失敗作 meaning a failed creative work, a flop, a dud–the saku meaning a "work" as in "work of art."

Incidentally, ayamari can also mean an apology, but it uses a different kanji, 謝り.
Ayamari to ayamari o machigawanaide ne   誤りと謝りを間違わないでね。 Don't make mistakes with ayamari and ayamari, OK?

Follow JapanVisitor on Google+ New Japan content daily!

© JapanVisitor.com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...