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  • 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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  • TOKYO SANPO

    Do you know where Tokyo is actually located in Japan? Tokyo, the capital of Japan, consists of 23 special wards, the Tama area, and some islands. The impression of the political and economic center, cosmopolitan with about 14 million citizens probably come from the image of the 23 wards where 70% of people live.General idea about Tokyo might be something like;+ the center of politics, economy, finance, education, culture, and anything in Japan.+ extremely crowded in a small area (most populated of Japan)+ skyscraper+ high cost of living+ global and diversity+ busy and noisyTokyo is not only a megacity surrounded by lots of concrete. If you visit Tokyo, you might be amazed to find Tokyo has lots of greens and nature. Visiting many famous sightseeing spots quickly is one way, but it is also great to wander around the city on foot. Japantotheworld.com introduces some carefully selected walking routes to assist overseas visitors to enjoy the stay.Let’s look at Japantotheworld.com’s first recommended walking route.<Walking Route>   Shibuya 渋谷 – Harajuku 原宿 – Omotesando 表参道First, let's start from Shibuya station. Shibuya station is one of the busiest commuter rail stations in Japan along with Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Ikebukuro, and Tokyo. It is operated jointly with JR East, Keio, Tokyu, and the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, the Hanzomon Line, the Fukutoshin Line, so it will be easy to come to Shibuya station wherever from your accommodation.West Side of Shibuya station - Hachiko ExitThe statue of Hachiko is a popular meeting spot. Hachi is the name of the Japanese Akita dog remembered for his loyalty to his owner, waiting for years after his owner’s death which story was made into several movies. The Scramble Crossing located in front of the station is a popular shooting spot in Tokyo. There is a police station nearby, so you can ask them if you need any help. Don’t worry they speak English at least. If you feel thirsty, you can start the day with a cup of coffee at an extremely crowded Starbucks across the street. After taking some pictures at Hachiko Exit, let’s move to the other side of the station.East Side of Shibuya station - Chuo Higashi ExitThis surrounding area is always under construction like forever and changes its scenery every day. As of the end of November 2020, it is still a maze with massive constructions underway. You would look up the giant screen of Shibuya Scramble Square. Let’s cross the street to Big Camera and start to walk along Meiji street (明治通りMeiji Dori). Walk straight along Meiji street, you can find Rayard Miyashita Park where shops and restaurants are gathered around. The special outside-restaurant area with many Japanese Izakaya would give you a great experience of typical Japanese nightlife. Let’s get back here at night and keep walking straight for now. Yoyogi Park 代々木公園, Meiji Shirin 明治神宮, Harajuku 原宿 Keep walking along Meiji Street, you will reach Gingumae Crossing where big shopping buildings are around, the area called Harajuku, the place of the mecca of Japanese pop culture. You can find many Kawaii cute things at small shops on back allies.If you turn to the left at the corner of Gingumae Crossing, keep going straight the street, you will reach Meiji Shrine (明治神宮Meiji Jingu) at the end.Let’s visit the shrine and appreciate the Japanese solemn atmosphere surrounded by lush green nature. You will need 30 minutes at least to walk around this area. If you want to relax more, there is Yoyogi Park next to the shrine. It is like Central Park in NY, a big oasis in a big city, featuring fresh greens, ponds, wide lawns, and a jogging course. Many people enjoy gathering and picnicking every weekend. It is also the best place for Hanami (cherry blossom party) and Momijigari (red autumn leaves). If you want to visit Yoyogi Park, go out of the shrine once and go right along the street, and you will find the entrance of this urban park.After you recharge the power, let’s move on walking again toward Harajuku Station. The station is renewed in 2020 and some shops newly opened. There is also a world-famous Uniqlo. You can get one if you need some urgently needed clothes, which sometimes happens when traveling.There is a street called Takeshita Street where some Tokyo guide books are likely to introduce as a go-to-spot, but it is not as lively as before, so we will choose another route. If someone interesting in Takeshita Street, go straight toward Harajuku Station Takeshita Exit and you can find the street in front. Omotesando 表参道Omotesando is the name of a station as well as the name of the main street connecting Harajuku Station (Meiji Jingumae Station) and Omotesando Station. OMOTE means front and SANDO an approach to a shrine.It is absolutely pleasant to stroll through the street lined with beautiful zelkova trees, enjoying the seasonal scenery, fresh green air in spring, lushly green in summer, glorious red leaves in autumn, romantic Christmas illumination in winter. The fantastic street might remind you of the Champs Élysées in Paris. The area contains flagship stores of famous fashion brands, fantastic modern architectural buildings, such a very open space with luxurious atmospheres gives you the impression of Tokyo’s sophisticated aspect.You cannot miss must-go-to shops for buying souvenirs for your loved one back home. Two major shops are located in the middle of the street; Oriental Bazaar and Kiddy Land. Before you enter Oriental Bazaar, take a look in the shop window for a moment where some attractive traditional Japanese stuff, such as Samurai armor set, seasonal Ikebana (flowers and plants arranged in a vase), old Japanese antique furniture is displayed. Once you go into the shop, you are surrounded by Japan, enjoy your shopping on spacious floors. On the other hand, Kiddy Land sells typical modern Japanese Kawaii products. It is great fun to see toys, figurines, stationeries, miscellaneous character-themed items, you would forget all about the time.If you feel thirsty, you can find vending machines, convenience stores, coffee shops everywhere. Many fancy restaurants are also available, so take your time and enjoy strolling around.When you arrive at Omotesando crossing, you have some options to spend the rest of your day.Option1) Omotesando –> Shibuya, going back to Shibuya station through Aoyama street via Miyamasuzaka, about 30 minutes' walk.Option2) Omotesando –> JinguGaien, continuing walking through Aoyama street to another fantastic line of ginkgo trees, close to the National Stadium of Tokyo2020 Olympic and Paralympic, about 30 minutes' walk.Option3) Omotesando –> Ginza, going to the Ginza area, about 15 minutes by the Tokyo Metro Ginza line.Option4) Omotesando –> Asakusa, the Ginza line is such a convenient metro to take you to many Japanese sightseeing spots, about 30 minutes by the Ginza line.※This useful map is available at some Information centers in Shibuya. Enjoy your time in Tokyo Walking!

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  • SHIGARAKI TANUKI

    Have you ever seen a creature standing at the entrance of Japanese shops? It is a fortune TANUKI called “Shigaraki Tanuki”. Shigaraki area in Shiga prefecture is one of the six old kilns in Japan and produces fine stoneware pottery. It is said that the first “Shigaraki Tanuki” was made in the late 19th century by a famous pottery Fujiwara Tetsuzo who saw(!) a raccoon enjoying playing music by making a sound by drumming his belly on a full moon night. Tanuki means a raccoon in English and also implies “TA = others” “NUKI = surpass”. Therefore, people who run a business are willing to place this imaginary animal at the entrance to get lucky.Japan six ancient kilns (Nihon RokuKo Yo named by Koyama Fujio in 1948) are defined as a category developed from the 12th century till now and added a Japan Heritage list in 2017.1) Seto Yaki: Seto in Aichi prefecture 2) Tokoname Yaki: Tokoname in Aichi prefecture 3) Echizen Yaki: Echizen in Fukui prefecture 4) Tamba Tachikui Yaki: Tachikui and Sasayama in Hyogo prefecture 5) Bizen Yaki: Ibe in Okayama prefecture 6) Shigaraki Yaki: Shigaraki in Shiga prefecture Yaki = ware  Interestingly, both Mino Yaki with the lion’s share in this market and popular Iga Yaki are not included.Back to the story of Shigaraki Tanuki, after the famous pottery Fujiwara Tetsuzo finished the training, he moved to Shigaraki area and started to produce a life-size Tanuki figurine. Its good quality clay containing feldspar of Shigaraki area is the only suitable for producing large works such as jars, flower vases, deep dishes, bottles, figurines, etc.In 1951 the Emperor Showa went to Shigaraki, many Tanukis holding Japanese flags were placed on the street to welcome his visit. The Emperor impressed and read Tanka, a Japanese poem, about his visit and the Tanuki. Since then, Shigaraki Tanuki grab people’s attention and spread as a fortune item in the nation. The adorable outlook is also loved and it ended the current style with eight fortunes. Except for Tanuki at the entrance of shops, the Black Sun of the Tower of the Sun by Okamoto Taro and the roof of the National Diet Building are also made of Shigaraki ware. You will see Tanuki welcoming your visit when you enter stores in Japan and they will guarantee your stay with full of fortunes.Please contact us when you have any questions about Japan or things of Japan, Japantotheowrld.com will help your Japan stay perfect.

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  • MANEKI NEKO - Happy Cats -

    As you can see on the internet, it is a global fact that cats are beloved icons all over the world without any exception. People just love cats, no matter what, cats are one of the most adorable creatures in this world. Hope you all agree with it.Since ancient times, cats are preferable animals as they get rid of mice. Here in Japan, there is a special cat called “MANEKI NEKO” in a waving pose. This special cat is called Happy Cats, Good Luck Cats, or Beckoning Cats. It is believed that MANEKI NEKO raising the right paw brings money and the left paw people (customers). Some say both paws raising brings both money and people, but some say it is too greedy. These cats are widely known as a lucky charm in Japan.Many old legends in Japan came from other countries such as China, India, but MANEKI NEKO is said the story was originally from Japan, especially from the place use to be called EDO (the place currently called Tokyo), though some insist it was from Kyoto.There are many myths on MANEKI NEKO. The most popular is the story of GOTOKU temple. In the Edo period around the 17th century, a poor monk lived in a temple with a cat. He took great care of the cat and shared his meals with the cat. One day Lord II NAOTAKA took shelter from rain under a big tree near the temple. The cat of the temple suddenly beckoned to him with its paw. Right after he came close to the cat, a lightning struck the tree and he was saved his life by the cat. He was so delightful, made a great donation for the temple. After that, the temple became prospered. When the cat was dead, a statue of MANEKI NEKO was made to commemorate this miracle lucky cat. GOUTOKU temple is also called Lucky Cat temple. It is located at GOTOKUJI station in Setagaya, Tokyo.Another popular story is origin from ASAKUSA shrine. Again, in the Edo period, an old lady had to let go of her loved cat. One day the cat appeared in her dream and said if you made a figurine of her car, fortune would come. The lady made a ceramic cat figurine and sold at ASAKUSA shrine in Tokyo. The cat figurine became popular, sold very well, and brought her fortune. ASAKUSA shrine is also known as SANJASAMA among the local people and the festival (SANJA festival) is one of the three major Tokyo festivals. ASAKUSA shrine is located just next to SENSOU temple, one of the most famous temples in Tokyo, and both are located at ASAKUSA, an undoubtedly well-known sightseeing spot in Tokyo.Back to the Edo period in the 17th century, people used cats drawn on paper as a lucky charm and put it at the entrance of their stores wishing more customers come and praying for good business.The style of MANEKI NEKO has changed with the time. They usually stand on their two hind feet, raise their forefoot or forefeet, and feature a collar with a bell sometimes written FUKU (Fortune). You might see some holding a KOBAN (Japanese old coin) in their paws. The coin is written a unit of Japanese old money used in the Edo period such as 1,000 RYO, 10,000 RYO, etc. RYO is considered as a quite fortune. Traditionally the colors used for MANEKI NEKO are white, black, and red. Nowadays, there are more color variations based on your wish.The 29th of September is Lucky Cat Day established in 1995 by Association for MANEKINEKO Japan. It is a day to be thankful to MANEKI NEKO. It is also called KURU FUKU NO HI in Japanese, means “Fortune Coming Day”.In September, there are some festivals related MANEKI NEKO at AICHI and MIE prefectures where are famous for its production.MANEKI NEKO is one the popular icons representing traditional Japan. It is interesting to visit those MANEKI NEKO related sites when you come to Japan.Japantotheworld.com is ready to introduce more Japan oriented stories, please inform us if you have any specific themes you would like to know.

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  • UCHIWA -Handy Fan-

    UCHIWA, a flat rounded fan, is a small accessory made from bamboo framework and paper. It is exported from China over a thousand years ago and used to keep yourself cool or to kindle a fire. The framework consists of 20-30 straight and round shaped bamboo ribs and is covered with Japanese traditional paper called WASHI (Wa=Japanese, Shi=paper). The drawings on the paper are mainly something related to the cooler and refreshing images in summer such as seasonal flowers, animals, bugs and nature.  It has been a traditionally popular article in the hot and humid summer in Japan for a long time. There is a similar accessory called SENSU, a holding fan. It is also called a Japanese fan as it is originated in Japan. Japantotheworld.com produces OEM Uchiwa as per your requested motif. If you are interested in Japanese Uchiwa, please contact us, info@japantotheworld.com.

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  • Japanese TOWEL

    Apart from traditional Japanese TENUGUI, how many people know that Japan can also produce one of the best quality of towels in the world? What we want in towels might be something like; * Fluffy  * Good absorbent * Easy handling / Easy to wash * Quick drying  * Durable and long lasting * Cleanliness / Antibacterial * Appropriate pricing It is not difficult to find the towels with those requests. Most of the towels you can find at stores in Japan have such advantage.In Japan, there are some famous areas producing towels and three best-known are;* IMABARI towel : IMABARI in EHIME prefecture* SENSHU towel : SENSHU in OSAKA prefecture* OBORO towel : OBORO in MIE prefectureThese towels are made with excellent craftsmanship under uncompromising quality control. Each has its own distinct characteristic.IMABARI towelIt is the best known authentic Japanese towel made at IMABARI area of the largest towel origin EHIME prefecture. IMABARI towel is bleached before weaving. They bleach and dye thread first, so they can produce jacquard wavering towel as well as plain colored towel. This prebleaching process is called MAEZARASHI in Japanese.All towels they produce need to pass twelve tests and you would be especially impressed by their unique Five-Second Rule, placing a towel in water and the towel sunk within five seconds can only pass to get a title of IMABARI brand name officially provided by the Shikoku Towel Association. IMABARI has managed to build their strong brand image to the public as trusted high-quality towel for years. Their registered IMABARI trademark created by one of the famous designers in Japan and their marketing strategy always meets the latest market trends.SENSHU towelSENSHU towel has a longer history than IMABARI. The towel is manufactured by another traditional method called the post bleaching process ATOZARASHI. They bleach towels and clean impurity of cotton such as the fat, glue, and lint after weaving. Therefore, the towel is hygienic and has excellent absorbent from day 1. It also features shrink resistance after washing. Less well-known comparing to IMABARI but the quality is almost same with excellent cost performance. You might meet SENSHU towel at hotels and other facilities in Japan.OBORO towelExtremely light touch as it is made of thin strings, but strong enough to wash many times in your daily life. Less popular than other two towels but still good quality and easy to use.Japantotheworld.com offers those fine towels at reasonable prices. Please contact us if you are interested in our fantastic towels. We will show you more details.Now, hereunder, Japantotheworld.com would like to introduce a very fascinating literally high-quality towel for those concerning the current hygiene situation triggered by the coronavirus.Antibacterial towelUnder this new-lifestyle brought by the coronavirus, people are gaining a better understanding how to avoid virus and maintain the cleanness state. Antimicrobial material is the latest trends of towel industry, too. Some companies have already succeeded to provide antibacterial towel and so as Japantotheworld.com. We offer scientifically proven anti-bacteria growing towels at a reasonable price. It goes through a special process to suppress increases in gems. Therefore, bacteria do not easily grow even after you use it. The special towel finished by IBX keeps clean and less smell after used, comparing to another normal towel. In addition, it is officially proved that the effectiveness lasts after 100 time washing and the tests required have been verified with higher score of JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards, a most reliable standard in Japan). This special towel has been developed this year in 2020 so it is completely brand-new in the market. Anyone who is interesting in this fine product, please contact us directly, info@japantotheworld.com. You need towels for 24 hours 365 days in your life. When you wash your face or hands, you wipe them with a towel. You wipe a table with a towel before you eat lunch. You wash your body with a towel in the bathroom and wipe your body with a towel after showering. You even use a towel blanket when you sleep. Find good towels and it makes you happier and your life even perfect.

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  • CHICHINOHI - Father's Day -

    CHICHI means a father in Japanese. The 3rd Sunday of June is called CHICHI NO HI, Father’s Day, in Japan.People celebrate the day to send a thank-you-message, a gift, and sometimes yellow flowers to their father to show appreciation. It is also a day to reunite the family, especially with the father by spending time together.This Father’s Day was brought from the United States, started to be recognized around 1950 in Japan and it needs some time to become an annual event till 1980. As is often the case in the world, it is said that this tradition has expanded as one of the marketing tools for department stores to increase sales.Typical gifts on Father’s Day in Japan are alcohol, high-class food, something to wear like glasses, ties, belts, clothes, bags, grooming sets, and technical gaskets also popular nowadays.However, a recent statistic shows Father’s Day is less popular than Mother’s Day and people spend less on Father’s Day than Mother’s Day in Japan as well as in the world. Hope it does not mean mothers are more important than fathers, but fathers might be thought that they are less contribute to the home life under the modern society, which the value of Japan's traditional patriarchy has been almost fading away. Both Mother’s and Father’s Days are to show how much you care, appreciate and love not only your mother and father but also all mothers and fathers in the world. Such evens surely give us a nice excuse to get family together and realize again how important to thank your parents and someone you love.The lock-down has been finally lifted, so it might be a good chance to visit your father and say “thank you” on the coming 3rd Sunday of June this year.Japantotheworld.com is ready to introduce more Japan-oriented stories, please inform us if you have any specific themes you would like to know.

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  • HAHANOHI - Mother's Day -

    The second Sunday of May is called HAHA NO HI, Mother’s Day. HAHA means a mother in Japanese and comparing Father’s Day it is a much larger event in Japan.The concept was brought from the United States in 1913 and first stared in 1931 to celebrate the birthday of Empress KOJUN (the mother of Emperor HEISEI, the one before the current Emperor REIWA) on the 6th of Mach. During the Second World War the country prohibited the western culture, so this custom was faded out for a while. After the war ended, Mother’s Day changed to the second Sunday of May following the United States and became popular widely across Japan. It is very common to send flowers such as carnations, hydrangeas and roses with a message and gifts. It is said one of the busiest seasons in a year for flower shops.Apparently, it has a great commercial aspect, so most of the department stores and shopping districts make a precise marketing plan for this day and work very hard to sell their products as gifts.Both Mother’s and Father’s Days are to show how much you care, appreciate and love not only to your mother and father but also mothers and fathers in the world. Such evens surely give us a nice excuse to get family together and realize again how important to thank your parents and someone you love.Japantotheworld.com is ready to introduce more Japan oriented stories, please inform us if you have any specific themes you would like to know.

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  • HONJO NANA FUSHIGI

    Like there are many ‘the seven wonders of --- ‘ in the world, Tokyo also has several mysterious stories. Today, we will introduce some famous ghost stories of the Shitamachi area called ‘the Seven Wonders of Honjo.’ 本所 – HONJO = HONJO七 – NANA = Seven 不思議 – FUSHIGI = WondersFirst of all, let’s have a look at Honjo Area. In the Edo period (1603-1868), Honjo was developed as a new residential area along with Fukagawa. You might have heard the Japanese word of ‘Shitamachi 下町,’ which means the downtown areas with a unique and nostalgic atmosphere in the Eastern part of Tokyo, generally represents Asakusa 浅草, Shitaya 下谷, Honjo 本所, Fukagawa 深川.The Seven Wonders of Honjo was set in the area between Ryogoku 両国 and Kinshicho 錦糸町 in Sumida Ward 墨田区.As is often the case with this kind of folktales, the Seven Wonders of Honjo has more than seven stories, and there are many opinions on how to group them. The following seven stories are officially announced as the Seven Wonders of Honjo by the Sumida City Office.1)  OitekeBori 2)  OkuriChochin 3)  AkarinashiSoba / KiezunoAndon 4)  TanukiBayashi / BakaBayashi 5)  TsugarunoTaiko 6)  OchibanakiShii 7)  KatabanoAshiNow, let’s look at each story. OitekeBori 置いてけ堀 There used to be an old pond at the area presently called Kinshicho in Sumida ward. When people were about to go home after fishing, they heard a spooky voice whispering “Oiteke, Oiteke” (means “leave it behind and go away!”). Surprised and run away, they eventually found no fish left in the fish basket when arrived home. Some people believed the voice was Kappa making fun of fisher. Kappa is a human-like specter living in a pond, canals and river. It has Sara (a plate) on its head that needs to retain water, loves cucumbers and Sumo (sumo wrestling).   OkuriChochin 送り提灯 Walking on the alley in the night without a lantern, they saw a dim light in the distance. When they tried to come closer, it suddenly disappeared and shown up again even further away. They never could catch up with the light. OkuriHyoushigi 送り拍子木 Night patrol went around the village hitting wooden clappers to warn people living in the area to watch out for fire. They heard the same clapping sound following, but no one was there behind when they looked back. AkarinashiSoba 燈無蕎麦 / KiezunoAndon 消えずの行灯 There used to be some Soba noodle stalls along a drainage channel called HonjoMinamiWarigesui (present Hokusai Avenue). One of the stalls, for some reason, always had light-off and nobody was working. It was said that in case someone turned on the light out of kindness, something terrible would occur to this person afterward. Even if someone only dropped by out of curiosity, the person would be cursed. Quite the opposite, we have another similar story called KiezunoAndon. It is a story about a spooky Soba noodle stand with never going-off light. If someone tried to put it out, the person would get misfortune.  AshiAraiYashiki 足洗邸 Every night at a manor of Hatamoto (an upper-class Samurai), a dirty hairy giant foot broke through the ceiling and appeared, shouting ‘Wash my foot, wash my foot.’ After being washed, the foot went back to the roof and disappeared. It repeated every night. Once they did not clean it, the foot got furious and rampaged around in the house. The Hatamoto did not know what to do and asked for help from his colleague. The colleague was very curious about the story and offered to swape manors with him. However, no such mysterious phenomenon occurred after the colleague moved in. TanukiBayashi 狸囃子 / BakaBayashi 馬鹿囃子 People heard the sound of the Taiko drums at night. They tried to find from where the sound came, but they could not find anything. TsugarunoTaiko 津軽の太鼓 A Daimyo’s mansion (the house of Tsugaru) had a Taiko drum at the fire observation tower instead of Bangi (a piece of wood). When they found a fire, they boomed the Taiko drum to alarm it instead of striking the Bangi wooden piece. (This would be surely the least-scary story out of seven.) OchibanakiShii 落葉なき椎 A magnificent old chinkapin tree was planted in the garden of a Daimyo’s mansion (the house of Matsuura). The leaves grew thickly like forest and hung over the wall. Strangely no one saw any single piece of leaves dropped. They felt very creepy and said that the leaves of the tree haunted would never fell. KatabanoAshi 片葉の葦 A beautiful girl was living in this area. One knavish living nearby fell in love with her and turned into a stalker, but she ignored and turned away. He got angry and waited in ambush for her at Komadome bridge and killed her. He pruned off her one leg and one arm, then thrown her into the river. Since then, the reeds had grown at this riverside had the leaves with one side only.   It is possible to visit all nine places above in a day. For example, if you start the tour at 10:00, walking from Kinshicho to Ryogoku, you could finish the trip around 16:00. Here is our recommended route for your reference.   Lastly, let us introduce another fun spot for this wondering. YamadaYa 山田屋 is a well-known sweets shop selling tasty Japanese Ningyoyaki 人形焼き in 70 years. Their wrapping paper tells you more about the stories. The shop is just a few minutes’ walk from Kinshicho station.   If you have any questions about Honjo Nana Fushigi 本所七不思議, contact us at japantotheworld.com any time.  

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  • The Year of COVID

    2020 is the year of the Rat. The Rat is the first animal of the repeating 12-year cycle in the Chinese and Japanese zodiac. It is said that the Rat year is the year of chaos with many changes, which actually occurred. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our general lifestyle. We needed to adjust both our minds and lives themselves. Let’s see what happened in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan, together with some Japanese annual events.2020 = The Second Year of Reiwa EraJanuary1 – 3  OSHOUGATSU = Japanese New Year Holiday13  SEIJIN NO HI = Coming of Age Day, when all those turning 20 celebrated being new adults.https://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20191223Happy New Year in Japan. We had beautiful days during our new year’s holiday. Many people started to work in 2020 on Monday, the 6th of January. The rumor about this strange flu-like disease was started spreading around this time.February       3  SETSUBUN = The day to celebrate the coming of spring by throwing roasted beans11  KENKOKU KINEN BI = National Foundation Day23  The REIWA Emperor’s Birthdayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200203Masks, toilet paper, thermometers, even rice started to be gone at stores, people making long queues to get them. March  3  HINA MATSURI = Dolls’ Festival / Girls’ Festival20  SHUNBUN NO HI = Spring Equinox Dayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200302Some travelers still found in Tokyo, even people newly entered from overseas, including China. Most people in Japan knew about the Coronavirus but did not seem to take it seriously. AprilEnd of April to Beginning of May = Golden Week Holidayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20191109The Japanese government officially announced that we stay home, Japan going into a mild-lockdown nationwide. Many shops, stores, restaurants, schools closed but transport.May   3  KENPOU KINEN BI = Constitution Day   4  MIDORI NO HI = Greenery Day   5  KODOMO NO HI = Children’s Day10  HAHA NO HI = Mother’s Day  https://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200522Japan started a long holiday together with the annual long golden week holiday and kept telling us to stay home. It is the time that the Blue Impulse Japan Air Self-Defense Force Acrobatic Team flew over central Tokyo’s blue sky to show respect and appreciation to all medical workers fighting against the Covid19.June21  CHICHI NO HI = Father’s Dayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200620Gradually people were back to the cities. Some schools, shops, and stores were still closed.July  7  TANABATA = Star Festival23  UMI NO HI = Marine Day24  SUPORTS NO HI = Sport’s dayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20190930The 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo was planned to begin on July 24, but as everybody knew, it had to be rescheduled for 2021 July.The government announced starting a GOTO travel campaign under limited conditions. They encouraged people to go travel to spend money in the market. It was a month with lots of rain. AugustMiddle August  Obon seasonhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200803Less people moved to visit the graves during Obon season this year. Needed careful consideration of the joyful family reunion event this summer. The 2020 Olympics were supposed to close on 23 and start the 2020 Paralympics on 25. Many local festivals, such as BONODORI (dancing), MATSURI (festivals), and HANABI (fireworks) needed to stop due to the virus. The hot summer came as usual, and Tokyo seemed to be recovering day by day.September21  KEIROU NO HI = The day to show respect for the elderly 22  SYUUBUN NO HI = Autumn Equinox Dayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200829Typhoon season arrived as happens every year. People tired of self-restraint so started to go out gradually. Sadly, this month’s long holiday triggered the 2nd crisis of COVID19.OctoberOctober is the only month that does not have significant holidays and national events. No national holidays in October as usual, very sad.Followed by the GOTO travel campaign, the government started a GOTO eat campaign, while the number of patients began to increase again. Halloween event was downsized in the nation.November  3  BUNKA NO HI = Cultural Day 15  SHICHI GO SAN = Child Festival to celebrate their growth 23  KINRO KANSYA NO HI = Labor Thanksgiving Day The number of patients kept increasing this month too. The nation was experiencing a kind of lockdown burnout.December31  OOMISOKA = New Year’s EveThe COVID-19 is at a critical stage, even may call a new emergency stage, but people seem to carry on with their everyday lives. We all are waiting for vaccines and finding the cures as of Dec 5. It is said that the impact of the Coronavirus was minimal compared to other countries, but it was not obviously small at all, as it has affected the economy, politics, people’s daily lives seriously. The year of 2020 undoubtedly swayed by the crisis of Covid19, but “everything that has a beginning has an ending.” Keep your hopes up.https://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20201016Japantotheworld.com wishes you all happiness, good luck, and normal lives in 2021!!2021 MO Japantotheworld.com WO YOROSHIKU NE. YOI OTOSHI WO.  

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  • TENUGUI - Japanese traditional towel -

    Do you know TENUGUI?It is a Japanese traditional towel commonly made of thin cotton. The size is approximately 100 x 35cm, depending on the purpose. One of the unique characters of TENUGUI is that it does not have the hem. Because the ends are not stitched, it dries quickly, avoid accumulating bacterium, and convenient to handle. It can be frayed but it settles down after you wash it several times. TENUGI is said to have begun to be used in Japanese daily lives around the 12th century called KAMAKURA period and have widely spread in the country around the 15th century called EDO period when cotton started to be planted in the nation. TENUGUI can be used as a hand towel to wipe your hands, a washcloth to wipe dishes and tables, for wrapping items such as bottles, for Japanese traditional martial arts such as KENDO, for festivals to wear around your head, etc. Japanese have been used TENUGI for a long time in their daily lives, though western towels have been taking over its many functions recently.TENUGUI is used as a headband and a belt at festivals. Each town usually has their own pattern of TENUGUI and wear it around the head. There are some TENUGI shops in Japan and it might be interesting to visit there to see real Japanese traditional TENUGUI. We are sure TENUGUI will be a great souvenir of your Japan trip.    Japantotheworld.com is ready to introduce more Japan oriented stories, please inform us if you have any specific themes you would like to know.

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  • KIRIKO - Cut Glass -

    There is a unique traditional glassware called KIRIKO in Japan. Putting colors onto transparent surface of glass and scrape the surface to create special patterns. Finally, it is covered by caved surface of glass with extremely beautiful radiance. It is cutting glass but sandblast. There are two famous KIRIKO made by skilled glassware craftsman in Japan, which are EDO KIRIKO and SATSUMA KIRIKO.It is said that EDO KIRIKO was first introduced in the Edo period (1834) by a glassware craftsman, KAGAYA KYUBEI. He carved on glass surface by using emery and made beautiful glassware. There is a story that EDO KIRIKO was presented as a gift to Commodore Matthew C. Perry when he came to Japan by the Black Ships at the end of Edo period (1853) and he was fascinated by its beauty. After the opening of a country late 19th century, new glass-cutting technique from Europe and the Japanese traditional technique were combined together, developed further and established the current style of EDO KIRIKO. Nowadays, to protect the traditional high quality of products, it is only allowed to use the name of EDO KIRIKO under the definitions stated by EDO KIRIKO cooperative association. + must be glassware+ must be handmade by skilled craftsman+ must be produced at designated areas in Japan by the association+ must be mainly used and produced by special KIRIKO machines+ must join the associationIn 1985 EDO KIRIKO was designated as a traditional handcraft industry of Tokyo and in 2020 it also became designated as a traditional craft by the Minister for Economy in Japan.At the same time of EDO KIRIKO was developing, the area of the southern part of Japan called SATSUMA also produced KIRIKO glassware. Unfortunately, the production of SATSUMA KIRIKO was stopped during many upheavals in the 19th century. However, the technique was taken over by EDO KIRIKO and merged together. In 1985, they were recreated and started the production again.SATSUMA KIRIKO features its color after cutting glass. The colored part of EDO KIRIKO is smaller and the boundary lines between color and transparent become sharper and more remarkable than the one in SATSUMA KIRIKO. On the other hand, SATSUMA KIRIKO can create ambiguous borderline with gradation effect.Japantotheworld.com provides fine EDO KIRIKO products. Please contact us if you have any questions and request.

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