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  • Happy New Year 2022

    Cheers to a great new year of TIGER! Tiger is a symbol of braveness and we know you are ready for more fantastic experiences and adventures. Let's challenge anything you want this year. It's also an excellent occasion to express your appreciation to your beloved people. Let's celebrate love, friendships, anything extraordinary in your life. It's so exciting to feel what 2022 will bring to you, isn't it? May you have an amazing new year. Instagram:  japantotheworldcom Twitter:   @japan2theworld

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  • Winter Greetings 2021

    Time flies and the end of the year is coming soon. It’s been another tough year but we can see things are getting far better than 2021. We wish you joy, peace and good health this holiday season.  Wish you all beautiful holidays. Stay Happy, Stay Safe. Instagram:  japantotheworldcomTwitter:   @japan2theworld

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  • Autumn Greetings 2021

    The season of beautiful autumn leaves has come to Japan. People are returning to the streets of Tokyo since the state of emergency was lifted. Let’s keep safe and enjoy the second autumn after the COVID pandemic. We will keep posting autumn scenery and daily life in Tokyo for our readers, and please visit our Instagram and Twitter.Instagram:  japantotheworldcom Twitter:   @japan2theworld

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  • Summer Greetings

    The nasty rainy season was over, and summer has come to Japan. Though our summer in 2021 has lots of restrictions due to the current COVID pandemic and is far from fresh and pleasant, we have to enjoy it as much as possible. We will keep posting summer scenery and daily life in Tokyo for those interested in taking a peek, so please visit our Instagram and Twitter.Instagram:  japantotheworldcomTwitter:   @japan2theworld

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STORY

Japanese culture and history

  • GOLDEN WEEK HOLIDAY 2022

    Some people might think that Japan does not have a long holiday and Japanese always work longer. It gives us a kind of impression people in Japan just work all the time without taking any holidays, but that might be wrong. Apart from annual leave, Japan has relatively many national holidays in a year.  “Golden Week Holiday” is the busiest season, starting from 29 April and ending on 5 May. If you take a day off on 2 May and 6 May, you will have ten days off, a long holiday this year. Holidays in Golden Week in 202229 April - Showa Day, the birthday of former Emperor Showa3 May - Constitution Memorial Day / KENPO KINENBI4 May - Greenery Day / MIDORINOHI5 May - Children’s Day / KODOMONOHI, A day to celebrate children’s happiness and wish their healthy growth. It was common for people to take some straight days off by using their paid day-off and companies with the good work-life balance are likely to be closed for the entire holiday period. Usually, sightseeing spots get very crowded and all transport and accommodation in tourist area are fully booked months in advance. Of course, the price goes up over the period. It accounts for most of the annual sales for some companies in the travel and tourism industry. There are four major holiday seasons in Japan, Golden Week Holiday in April and May, OBON Holiday in August, Silver Week Holiday in September, and Year-End & New Year Holiday in December and January. They are not a long vacation like Europe but it shows Japanese are not working all day long without holidays. If you would like to take your time visiting one place, you better avoid Japan during these long holidays. Japantotheworld.com can suggest fantastic ideas of your Japan travel. Please contact us if you have any questions and requests.

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  • SAKURA - Cherry blossoms -

    Cherry blossoms bloom from the end of March to the beginning of April all over Japan. Japanese love cherry blossoms especially Somei Yoshino as the flower beautifully bloom and the petals gracefully fall in a short period of time, which reminds people of the concept of “nothing is permanent” and the aesthetics of “things should end gracefully without regret”. These Japanese cherry blossom trees are cultivated for ornamental use and does not produce any cherries.  Japanese traditionally hold outdoor parties called Hanami (Hana=flowers, Mi=watching) under the cherry blossom trees, celebrating the beautiful sight and enjoying food and drinks with family, friends and colleagues. Some people even stay overnight at the park to get a good spot for cherry blossom viewing.The imbibing of alcohol in public places might be a problem or illegal in some countries, but in Japan it is totally acceptable to enjoy drinking alcohols in the park. In this Hanami season there are more people going out and enjoying drinking under the trees. Oversea guests might be amazed to see such scene with stunning cherry blossoms and joyful people in the park.Japan is a long country and becomes gradually warmer from the south to north when the season changes from winter to spring. Cherry blossoms also bloom from the south to the north. The Japan Metrological Agency is responsible for declaring the official announcement that cherry blossoms have started to bloom. Around the beginning of March right before the season, they issue cherry blossom forecasts every week and people look forward to the blooming. The peak bloom period depends on the place. Your stay will be more priceless if you check the forecast before you visit Japan. Let's enjoy Hanami party together!

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  • WAHUGETSUMEI

    In Japan, months are commonly called 1-12 numbers + Gatsu (means Month), like 一月IchiGatsu (means First Month, January), 二月 NiGatsu (means Second Month,  February), 三月 SanGatsu (means Third Month, March) and so on. Apart from that, there are other beautiful names of twelve months.   Have you heard of WahuGetsuMei?   和 – WA = Japanese 風 – HU = Style 月 – GETSU = Month 名 – MEI = Name   Japan has been using the new calendar based on the solar calendar (Gregorian calendar) since 1873, though they used to use the old calendar by the lunar calendar (old Chinese calendar). WahuGetsuMei was named based on this old lunar calendar.   新暦(太陽暦) - ShinReki ( TaiyoReki ) = New Calendar 旧暦(太陰暦) - KyuReki ( TaiinReki ) = Old Calendar   The old calendar starts around three to seven weeks later than the new calendar, so the names of WahuGetsuMei do not match the current season. It might be easier to understand the words are about one month behind the recent seasons. For example, the name below 弥生(Yayoi) March shows April at present.   There are many things uncertain about WahuGetsuMei, the history behind, when it started, where it came from and how these twelve names remained. It is said that people have been using the current style since the 17th century. Each name has its own origin with various different stories and we will introduce the most common ones as below.   First of all, it might be useful to know how we call a month in Japanese.   月 – Tsuki or Zuki = Month     睦月 – MuTsuki = January A month of harmony, family and people gather around to celebrate the New Year.   如月(衣更着) – Kisaragi = February A month you need to wear many layers as it is cold.   弥生 – Yayoi = March A month of seeds sprouting and flowers blooming, the beginning of spring.   卯月 – Uzuki = April A month of Deutzias blooming   皐月(早月) – SaTsuki = May A month relating agriculture, especially rice-planting.    水無月 - MinaTsuki/MinaZuki = June It literally looks like ‘No Water Month’ as 水無 means ‘No Water’, but it means ‘a month needing water’. A month you need to draw water into paddy fields just after the rainy season.   文月 - FumiZuki/FuZuki = July A month of the ear of rice bending downward for harvesting There is another story that at 七夕Tanabata festival on July 7th people used to hang out books in the sun to dry. It is called Fumi Wo Hiraku (means open books), and has changed to FumiHirogeTsuki and became FumiZuki eventually.   葉月 - HaZuki/HaTsuki = August A month all leaves start falling down   長月 - NagaZuki/NagaTsuki = September A month with long nights   神無月 – KannaZuki = October The origin of the word is ‘a month of the Gods,’ but it is more common for now that no gods around as all deities in Japan go to Izumo 出雲 to meet up at Izumo Shirin 出雲大社 IzumoOoyashiro/IzumoTaisha, one of the oldest and most significant shrines in Japan.   霜月 – ShimoTsuki = November A month of frost   師走 – Shiwasu = December A month teachers and priests run around busily   Even though these names are not used in our daily conversation, they are seen in books, poetry, traditional Japanese flower arrangement, Japanese calligraphy, formal letters and speeches and so on. These names are not only words but a kind of expression for Japanese people to feel seasons.  

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  • SHICHIFUKUJIN

    There are popular Seven Gods in Japan. They are a highly popular group of deities called “ShichiFukuJin” in Japanese and known as “Seven Lucky Gods”. They came from myths and local beliefs that originated in ancient gods from old China, old India, and Japan. The number of 7 is a favorite number for the Japanese and the concept of the group of Seven Gods was settle down in the 15th century in Kyoto, though the original member was unclear. They travel together on their treasure ship known as “TakaraBune” and bring us good fortune. In the 18th century, the Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage during the New Year (Jan.1 to Jan.7) to wish good luck and sleeping with the drawing of the Seven Gods under the pillow on the night of January 1st became very popular. It is said that the current seven members were standardized around the 18th century.It is believed the Seven Gods bring you good luck and each deity has its special fortune to make people happy.Daikoku Ten 大黒天 = Daikoku God The God of agriculture, farmers, rich harvest, commerce, and trade. He has a happy-looking face, wears a Zukin (a big hat) and carries a treasure sack over his shoulder, holds a magic mallet, stands on bales of rice.Ebisu Ten 恵比寿天= Ebisu God The only God purely originated from Japan, the God of the ocean, fishing, good business. He holds a large red sea bream in his left hand and a fishing rod on the right and wears a tall hat. After the worship was spread to merchants and farmers, Ebisu has become a god of success in business. Some might know a station called Ebis on JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo. One of the largest beverage companies of Japan “Sapporo Holdings” used to have a brewery in this Ebis area and established its popular beer “Yebis” in the late 19th century. As shipments increased, they built a station only for transporting the Yebis beer, afterward opened for passenger service and named it Ebis station. A statue of Ebis God is placed outside of the west gate of the station and there is a Ebis shrine nearby.Benzai Ten 弁財天 = Benzai GodThe Goddess of knowledge, art, music, language, letters, river, water, and marriage. She plays a Biwa (a traditional Japanese lute) and often stays in the lotus.Bisyamon Ten 毘沙門天 = Bisyamon God The God of victory, defense, guardian, business, treasure, and health. He dresses in armor and holds a weapon in one hand and a treasure pagoda in another. Hotei Son 布袋尊  = Hotei God The God of happiness, abundance, good health, and family. He has a cheerful face with a big belly, carries a big cloth sack filled with treasure on his back, and holds a fan in his hands. Jurouzin 寿老人 = Jurouzin God The God of longevity, wisdom, and happiness. He has a long white beard, wears a unique hat, holds a long wooden cane in one hand and often a peach or a handscroll in another, and accompanies by a stag.Fukurokuju 福禄寿 = Fukurokuju GodThe God of longevity, wealth, and happiness. He looks similar to Jurouzin, but Fukurokuju has a bald with an elongated forehead and holds a long wooden cane tied with a handscroll in one hand and accompanies by a crane and a turtle. ShichiFukuJin Meguri 七福神巡り = the Seven Lucky Gods PilgrimageShichiFukuJin Meguri is one of the most popular customs during the New Year. It is to visit the seven gods at shrines or temples and collect stamps on the special notebook called GoshuinCho. Major cities in Japan have some ShichiFukuJin walking courses, for example, Tokyo has more than 20 routes. Yanaka route is the oldest and Nihonbashi is the shortest. Many shrines and temples only offer the memorial Seven Gods' stamps during the New Year, but anybody can visit those shrines and temples anytime.Here is the map of the walking route used for Nihonbashi ShichiFukuJin Meguri this time. Starting from Suitengumae station (Z10) of Hanzomon line or Ningyocho station (H14) of Hibiya line or Ningyocho line (A14) of Asakusa line, around one to two hours' walk from ① to ⑦, except for the New Year's period.If you are interested in ShichiFukuJin tours and would like to know more, please contact Japantotheworld.com. We are willing to help planning it for you.    

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