SHODO means Japanese calligraphy.SHODO is a kind of Japanese traditional art and also the way of writing Chinese characters (KANJI) and Japanese characters (HIRAGANA). SHODO needs special writing tools; brushes (FUDE), ink or an ink stick (SUMI), an ink well (SUZURI), special Japanese paper (HANSHI), a felt mat for the paper and a paper weight (BUNCHIN). These tools have been used for writing since the 5th century.First people need to rub an ink stick (SUMI) on an ink well (SUZURI) and concentrate on writing on the paper. They need to focus on the color tone and shading of the ink, also how they handle and move a brush (FUDE) in the creation. Great calligraphy impresses people by its beauty as well as it can express the creator’s character and emotion.Calligraphy came from China around Tang Dynasty (618-907) and Japanese calligraphy was affected by many great Chinese calligraphers such as Wáng Xīzhī (王羲之). In those days, the high skill of SHODO was essential for those in upper class including Samurai.Nowadays, most of students in Japan learn how to write calligraphy and SHODO is a typical homework during a long holiday and eventually displayed on the wall of the class at school. Some people use a brush (FUDE) to write the seasons’ greeting card and some write their name in the list by FUDE at formal occasions such as wedding parties or funerals. SHODO is not just an art but is an important skill to communicate with people in their daily lives.KAKIZOME, calligraphy for the first time in the year, is a Japanese traditional writing ceremony held on the 2nd of January. People usually write down their New Year’s resolutions.There is a traditional fire event called DONDOYAKI or SAGICHOU on the 15th of January at shrines and temples. It means the end of the new year and is believed the new year spirits go home with the smoke and the fire. People burn the New year’s decorations together with the paper they wrote at KAKIZOME, hoping to improve the writing skills and to make their wishes.SHODO has taken a part in a traditional part of Japanese culture for many years.
The town called Kumano is in a small basin surrounded by mountains, located at Aki, Hiroshima prefecture (the southern part of Japan).Kumano has been producing brushes for over 180 years. In the Edo period (around the late 18 century) people in Kumano started purchasing brushes and ink from Nara (a former capital between 710 and 792) and resold them for their living during the agricultural off-season. Since then, under the Hiroshima local government support, they learned and improved the special skills of handling brushes, and consequently, Kumano became a famous place for brush making. All the steps to produce one brush are manually proceeded. The tips of Kumano brushes are intentionally uneven producing an extremely soft touch. It is said that it takes over 10 years to handle animal hairs properly. All the materials such as natural animal hairs and wooden handles are imported from outside of Kumano and Kumano is the place for finishing brushes by highly skilled and officially authorized craftsmen.Therefore, the skilled makeup artists and celebrities in and outside of Japan are obsessed to use Kumano brushes. Our Kumano Fude Makeup Brushes are created by the officially authorized and oldest members with over 100 years of history in the Kumano area. We offer the finest range of high-quality brushes. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. You can access us by + Contact on this web site+ E-mail -> email@example.com+ Twitter -> @japan2theworld
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.
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.
The folding screen painting “Wind God and Thunder God Screens” of Kyoto National Museum is called Fujin (wind god) and Raijin (thunder god) Zu (paint) and is registered as a national treasure. The wind god (Fujin at right) blows the wind out of the tare bringing storms and heavy rain to the human world. The thunder god (Raijin at left) plays the drums and produces thunder and lightning.The design of the wind gods was already used for coins at Kushan dynasty (AD 1-3 century) in India and the mural of the wind and thunder gods existed in Dunhuang, China. The wooden statue of the wind and thunder gods was built at Kamakura dynasty (1185-1333) in Japan too and it was placed as a national treasure at a temple called in Higashiyama, Kyoto. A famous painter Tawaraya Sotatsu modeled Fujin Raijin Zu (Wind God and Thunder God Screens) on the folding screen after this wooden statue. When talking about Fujin Raijin in Japan, most of the people are reminded of the one painted by Tawaraya Sotatsu, though few people do remember of his name together.After Tawaraya Sotatsu, Ogata Korin replicated the painting of the gods (approx. 1711) which was also reproduced by Sakai Hoitsu again (approx. 1821). It is said that Suzuki Kiitsu (a disciple of Sakai Hoitsu) also replicated it afterwards (approx.1830).The motif of Fujin Raijin spread over Japan by these multiple paintings therefore we can see Fujin Raijin in many paints or statues at temples and shrines even now. Fuji Raijin represents the gods for huge harvest and has lived forever in people’s mind for a long time.<Temples and Shrines>Here is the places you can see Fujin Raijin.+ Tokizan Jikouji (都幾山慈光寺観音堂) at Saitama + Sensouji Kaminarimon (浅草寺・雷門) at Tokyo+ Rinnouji Taiyuuinn (輪王寺大猷院 二天門) at Tochigi+ (妙福寺志貴毘沙門天) at Aichi+ Kongouji (金剛寺/紅葉寺） at TokyoThe commemorative 500-yen coin for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics features Fujin (wind gods) and the coin for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics features Raijin (thunder gods).We design and produce various products featuring Fuji Raiji. OEM products also available. Please feel free to contact us if you have any requests or questions on the products.
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;
* 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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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, email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Have you heard
和 – WA =
風 – HU =
月 – GETSU =
名 – MEI =
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 =
A month of Deutzias
皐月(早月) – SaTsuki = May
A month relating
agriculture, especially rice-planting.
水無月 - MinaTsuki/MinaZuki
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
文月 - FumiZuki/FuZuki =
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 =
A month all leaves
start falling down
長月 - NagaZuki/NagaTsuki
A month with long
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.
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.
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!
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.