Month: Last updated Jun 24, 2017

Hina Doll Shops in Asakusabashi

Asakusabashi’s doll shops are one of those, not worth a special trip, but worth a visit if you’re in the area attractions. If you’re in Ryogoku or Akihabara and have a bit of extra energy, you might want to hop on the train for one stop or walk about 15 minutes to take them in. These shops sell dolls for the Girl’s Day celebration of Hina Matsuri on March third, and Musha Ningyo for the Boy’s Day celebration on May 5. Hina matsuri comes from a Chinese custom in which people believed that they were transferring their sins and misfortune to dolls, and then floated the dolls down rivers to get rid of them. It came to Japan during the Heian period (794-1191), and was known as joushi no sekku to wish good health of the people. The dolls were originally made of paper, but in the Edo period (1603-1867), people started making the dolls out of porcelain or other ceramics.The dolls are dressed as Heain courtiers. This set of dolls was the most expensive in the shop and cost 2.7 million yen (about $US 25,000). The kimonos of Heain period courtiers had as many as 16 layers! Asakusabashi is on the JR Sobu Line or Asakusa subway line. The shops are near the East Exit of the JR station or exit A3 of the subway station. Just go...

Read More

Ueno Apartment Building

Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

Read More

Kobudo (Traditional Martial Arts) at the Meiji Shrine Culture Day Festival

Every year on November third, thousands of martial artists gather on the grounds of the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo to give demonstrations of their techniques. There’s karate, aikido, kyudo, and jujutsu, but also some very unusual arts such as yabusame (horseback archery), and nawa-jutsu (rope fighting). The day culminates with a demonstration of samurai firearms called hinawaju. If you like photography, you’re sure to get some great shots of martial artists in action. Here are some other photos of the festival: http://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/kobudo-at-meiji-shrine-culture-day-festival/ http://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/horseback-archery/ http://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/nawajutsu/ http://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/kyudo-demonstration-at-the-meiji-shrine/ http://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/samurai-reenactors-2/ http://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/12/24/kyudo-demonstration-at-the-meiji-shrine-2/ Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

Read More

Sunaburo Sand bath

Actually, being buried in hot sand is a lot more pleasant than it sounds. You wear a sleeping robe, and then the ladies shovel hot sand over you. It’s incredibly relaxing. This sunaburo is in Beppu, on the island of Kyushu. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

Read More

Hari Kuyo Pin Festival

I’ve been sort of curious about the hari kuyo festival ever since I came to Japan. It’s a ceremony where people bring their old sewing needles and pins to a temple to show their appreciation for their service. It’s been around for centuries, and originally originated in China. This is the beginning of the New Year on the old Chinese Lunar Calendar, and was traditionally a time when people didn’t work, so they would go to the temple or shrine to dispose of their old pins from the last year. The festival was very small and friendly, and the costumes were beautiful. Apparently the tradition is slowly dying out, but the organizers think it’s important to keep it going, not because they necessarily still believe that pins have a spirit, but to remind people to take care of and value the small, everyday objects around them. The festival is held on Feb. 8 every year. See the contact information below for more information. All the people who were touching the pins wore these masks. At most temples, the pins are stuck into tofu (apparently because it’s soft so the pins will feel comfortable), but here, they were just thrown in this bin. The president of a pin company praying. These offerings were thrown into the air at various times during the ceremony. Name: Hari-kuyo (Shojuin Temple) Date: 2009.2.8(Sun)~2009.2.8(Sun) Location:...

Read More