Sightseeing

Kyoto’s Sanjusangendo: Temple of 1001 Buddhist Statues is an Antidote to Instagram Travel Culture

2018-02-22 05:41

Due to its high concentration of historical and traditional places, Kyoto is the go-to town for tourists on the search for that cultural fix while in Japan. For those who have a particular interest in Buddhism and Buddhist art, the temple ‘Sanjusangendo’ is already a must visit. But the most refreshing and surprising part is that in a town full of tourists snapping away, no one is taking even one single photo of the beautiful sight within the main hall. Source: (C) Grape Japan This temple’s main hall is home to 1001 statues of the Buddhist goddess of mercy, Kannon. One gigantic seated statue is placed in the centre of…


Nara’s Famous Roaming Deer Are Biting Back As Unruly Tourists Increase

2018-02-21 12:52

The famous free-roaming deer of Nara Park in Nara, Japan (said to contain at least 1,500 wild deer) sometimes seem to be just as big an attraction as the nearby Nara Daibutsu, the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While sometimes regarded as messengers of Shinto deities, the deer have become emblematic of the surrounding area and are a top tourist attraction for visitors who lure them with locally purchased shika senbei (deer crackers) to take cute selfies or gain affection. Now it appears that recently the popular deer aren’t reciprocating to more aggressive tactics. よしながななみさん(@nanamiw)がシェアした投稿 – 2月 19, 2018 at 5:30午前 PST…


30,000 Girls’ Day Dolls Displayed At Japan’s Original “Big Hinamatsuri” in Tokushima

2018-02-21 12:15

In the days leading up to March 3rd, known as Hinamatsuri ひな祭り, or Girls Day, many Japanese families display special ornamental dolls which have been passed down through generations. A tradition said to have existed since the Heian Period (794-1185), displaying these hina-ningyo dolls, representing the Emperor, Empress, and their attendants and musicians in traditional court dress, is meant to celebrate girls and express wishes for their happiness and healthy upbringing. Source: Sumire / © PIXA Although hina-ningyo displays at home are usually limited to seven tiers, there are public festivals throughout Japan where more impressive displays can be enjoyed. One of these is the “Big Hinamatsuri” event in Katsuura…


Gachapon Heaven at Gachapon Kaikan, the Akihabara Store That is Floor to Ceiling Capsule Toy Machines

2018-02-20 05:09

Akihabara is a paradise for collectors of anime, manga and video game merchandise. Although trawling through second hand shops looking for rare items and deals is one aspect of this, there’s another way to acquire goods that has captured the imagination of Akihabara’s patrons. Source: © grape Japan ‘Gachapon’, or capsule toy machines, may usually be seen as something for children, but in Japan they are a popular with all ages. The main draw lies in the excitement of not knowing what you will get. Rather than the usual simple transaction involved in buying merchandise, the thrill of getting of the one you wanted out of sheer luck (or the…


Green Tea Curry Udon and Other Creations by Traditional Kyoto Tea Shop Itohkyuemon

2018-02-19 06:19

The matcha craze sweeping overseas has made green tea incarnations of every type a success with tourists in Japan. Matcha Kit Kats, Matcha Frappucinos, we can’t get enough of these Japan-only products that expertly mix bitter green tea with sweet treats. But a tea house named Itohkyuemon, located in the historical city of Uji in Kyoto, is offering a green tea concoction which could be a bridge too far. Source At Press Specialising in Uji tea, which is mainly grown in that area, the historical teashop proports to give a Japanese tea culture experience. Who knew this would entail the intriguing combination of Uji green tea and Curry Udon. It…


Plan Your Sakura-Viewing in Japan With This Blooming Forecast

2018-02-16 01:59

If you’re planning to visit Japan in Spring to enjoy the cherry blossoms, you’ll surely be interested in knowing where and when the best conditions will be. Thankfully, the Japan Meteorological Corporation updates a “Cherry Blossom Forecast” listing the dates when cherry blossoms will start to flower and then, when they will reach full bloom. The best time to enjoy sakura, the period usually lasts for about a week in each location. According to their most recent update on February 15th, the cherry blossoms are expected to begin flowering (abbreviated as “BF” below) on March 26th and reach full bloom (abbreviated as “FB” below) on April 3rd in Kyoto, on…


Stay Warm And Entertained In Winter Aboard The Yomeishu Kotatsu Train

2018-02-15 05:02

The Sanriku Kaigan is a beautiful coastline extending along the Pacific Ocean from southern Aomori prefecture, through Iwate prefecture and northern Miyagi prefecture. Popular for scenic spots, seafood, diving and hiking trails, it unfortunately suffered heavily from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, like many other places in the Tohoku Area. Mamusi Taka [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons The Sanriku Railway, the lifeline of the coast for residents as well as tourists, was badly hit, with over 5.8 kilometers of tracks washed away. However, with the exception of one segment between the towns of Miyako and Kamaishi expected to reopen later this year, service…


This Full-Sized Unicorn Gundam Statue Is A Must-See Tokyo Attraction

2018-02-14 01:08

By now, many visitors to Tokyo and anime fans have heard of the full-sized Gundam statue in the Odaiba area of Tokyo. While the previous RX-78-2 Gundam was already impressive, it was replaced last September by an even bigger and better Unicorn Gundam with special transformation abilities. Standing at 19.7 meters tall in front of the Diver City shopping complex, this RX-0 Unicorn Gundam is built on a one-to-one scale, features a movable head, and transforms between Unicorn Mode and Destroy Mode (complete with flashing lights and epic anime soundtrack) throughout the day at scheduled times. Source: © grape Japan Source: © grape Japan The statue is equally impressive seen…


Get Back on Track at Tokyo’s Model Train Bar Ginza Panorama

2018-02-13 03:59

The healing properties of model railway sets are well documented. Especially if they run around a tiny model village full of tiny model people. In these tumultuous times, it’s nice to know these trains will keep running with certainty along their prescribed track. Source: (C) Grape Japan At Bar Ginza Panorama in Shibuya, you can enjoy a quiet drink surrounded by the soothing clacking of model trains going about their evening. The counter table surrounds an impressive replica of Shibuya complete with iconic crossing and Shibuya 109 department store. Various model trains rush around, replicating the bustle of the real deal. If you’re into this sort of thing, you can…


Tokyo Ghost Hunting: Visiting Oiwa’s Haunted Shrine in Yotsuya

2018-02-09 05:23

Tokyo is known as a neon metropolis with a beautiful traditional culture preserved within it, but like any other place it has its share of ghost stories, traditional and modern. So where can you go to get a taste for haunted Tokyo? Yotsuya Ghost Story is a grisly tale based on a member of the Tamiya family in the 17th century named Oiwa. The Tamiya Inari shrine in Yotsuya is said to be where Oiwa herself worshipped and is even maintained by the Tamiya family to this day. Source: (C) Grape Japan Like any good ghost story, there’s many different versions. Loosely, the story goes like this: Oiwa was poisoned…


Chibanian: Discovery Site of Stratum Set To Be Namesake of A Geological Time Period

2018-02-06 04:55

Chibanian! Despite its similarity to the name of a certain cat-ghost from the anime Yo-Kai Watch, Chibanian is a serious academic matter and an issue of pride for Japanese people, particularly those living in Chiba Prefecture. Along the banks of the Yoro River in a quiet part of the countryside in the Boso Peninsula, there is a cliff where Japanese geologists discovered a stratum providing evidence of the geological time period, from 770,000 to 126,000 years ago, when the most recent reversal of the Earth’s magnetic fields occurred. In a first screening process, Chibanian, the proposed name of the age assigned in honor of the Prefecture where the stratum was…


Japan’s Most Beloved Bear Makes This Tokyo Bar Easy To Enter, Hard To Leave

2018-02-06 12:43

Japan has several different types of drinking establishments that include traditional bars and izakaya (Japanese-style pubs), but one of the most uniquely Japanese types is called a “snack”. At snack bars, aside from enjoying a variety of types of alcohol, patrons can test their karaoke skills in an open setting, as well as banter with bartenders and owners who act and feel less like staff and more like fellow customers. At Snack Bar “Kuma-chan” in Tokyo, the same offerings are on the table, but with a little twist. Located in what would otherwise be a nondescript basement floor of a building in Tokyo, you can’t really tell what’s going on…


Go Glamping Japanese Style With This Traditional Japanese Hotel Room On Wheels

2018-02-02 09:24

Most tourists who visit Japan want to spend at least one night in a traditional Japanese hotel and eat at a traditional Japanese restaurant to enjoy authentic surroundings. Tatami-matted rooms, sliding doors and lamps made with delicate Japanese paper, panels beautifully decorated with traditional motifs such as Mount Fuji, decorative woodwork accents, low tables with sunken floors to rest your feet, and futon to sleep on. These are some of the things which create the charm of a Japanese hotel. As much as you’d love to stay at a Japanese hotel whenever you please, they can be expensive, and in popular tourist areas, they are often booked and unavailable. But…


Chocolate Sampler Has World’s Most Intense Matcha Chocolates At 24% Concentration

2018-01-31 08:19

Ah, matcha, that concentrated essence of green tea, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Healthy, invigorating, satisfying, and so good with desserts… Source: © PR Times / © d-matcha Matcha mania is still in full swing. We’ve heard about double-concentrated matcha Kit Kats, and the world’s most concentrated green tea ice cream at the gelato shop Nanaya. Now, from the D-Matcha company in Kyoto, comes a new contender to satisfy the most demanding of matcha maniacs. Source: © PR Times / © d-matcha Perfect for the Valentine’s Day season, this sampler of matcha chocolates called “Matcha Choco Tabekurabe Set” contains not one, but five different varieties running the spectrum of…


Roll Up Roll Up and Get Out If You Can! Escape Room Games at Tokyo Mystery Circus

2018-01-31 04:18

To arrive at the correct location, you must first find the right exit out of Shinjuku station, a feat which many people view as an escape game in itself. Tokyo Mystery Circus is a shiny new building dedicated to escape game rooms, located in Kabukicho by the east exit of the station. Despite the installation of a cinema and other family friendly attractions, the once infamous Kabukicho red light district’s rebranding hasn’t quite took off. There’s just enough of a seedy atmosphere left to set the scene before you enter Tokyo Mystery Circus. Source: (C) Grape Japan The entrance hall is decked out like a circus, true to its name,…


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