A Yukata Stroll around Kawagoe

Kawagoe City in Saitama Prefecture is also called “Koedo” or “little Edo” from its resemblance to Edo as Tokyo was known as before the Meiji period. The streets are lined with ancient merchant warehouses giving the city the atmosphere of Tokugawa period Japan. Even so the warehouses are interspersed with smart cafés and chic boutiques to make your walk even more interesting. In Kawagoe, you can rent a yukata, footwear and other gear and there is even a service that will help you to put them on. Thus even if you come unprepared, you can easily and quickly slip into more time-appropriate wear to enjoy the sites.   A short…

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25th Fuku-Kuru Manekineko Festival

Ise Shrine & 25th Maneki-neko Festival – 2/2

On September 29th, from 9:29 in the morning, it will be the day when 929 Kicchou Shofuku Bells (auspicious good luck charm bell) that received purification by the local Ujigami (guardian god) will be distributed to the first 929 people who arrive. After I had Akafuku rice cake and barley tea for breakfast at the Akafuku main store, I arrived at the distribution site for the good luck charm bells at the entrance of Oharai-machi street before 9 o’clock. A considerable number of people were already lined up. I could hardly see the end of the winding line of people. The place I finally reached was near the west exit…

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Ise Shrine & 25th Maneki-neko Festival – 1/2

On September 28th (Saturday) and 29th (Sunday), I visited the Maneki-Neko Festival (Beckoning Cat and Lucky Cat Festival) held in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, where Ise Shrine is located. This is the 25th time this year!! It was 9.29 (September 29), which can be read as kuru-fuku in Japanese, which means happiness is coming.

Short trip to Oku-Noto, Ishikawa: Heike family descendants & Jizo

This autumn, my wife and daughter made a trip around Oku-noto, Ishikawa Prefecture. Until a few decades ago, Oku-Noto was a remote and somewhat mysterious area that people from outside the prefecture rarely visited. Now travel agencies taking advantage of the recent nationwide tourist boom offer a wide variety of tours to Noto Peninsula, which have led to an influx of a great many tourists, both Japanese and overseas visitors. The large number of visitors to the area contrasts greatly with the scarcity of the local population. My wife found it surprising that the personnel working at souvenir shops were the only local people she met. Depopulation seems to have…

On a sunny Autumn day – 1

On a sunny Autumn day, I made an impromptu visit to Gotokuji (豪徳寺) which is said to be the Birthplace of Manekineko (beckoning cat). During the Edo era, there was a priest of a run-down temple named Koutokuin (the predecessor of Gotokuji) who was precarious about a cat and fed it some of his own portions. One day he mumbled to himself wouldn’t it be nice if this cat could usher in good fortunes.

On a sunny Autumn day – 2

While I stared out the window on the train, I was quietly pondering that I never had time to visit Gotokuji even though I’ve been blessed by the Manekineko more than my fair share. The train had just arrived at Gotokuji station. I got off the train hastily and took an escalator from the 2nd floor of the station to the 1st floor exit. Exiting the station, I turned left toward the Gotokuji shopping street where a relaxed atmosphere waited the commuters. Walking along the street, my eye’s caught Manekinekos in many locations.

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In June 11, 2016, TripAdvisor announced its Top 30 Spots in Japan of Year 2015. There are some unexpected spots ranked. Do you know “Akiba Fukurou”? Take a look at the site below.

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  1. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine (Kyoto city, Kyoto)
  2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park) (Hiroshima City, Hiroshima)
  3. Miyajima (Itsukushima) (Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima)
  4. Todaiji Temple (Nara City, Nara)
  5. Samurai Kembu Theater (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
  6. Shinjuku-Gyoen (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo)
  7. Nara Park (Nara City, Nara)
  8. Rokuonji (Kinkakuji) (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
  9. Akiba Fukurou (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
  10. Kiyomizu dera Temple (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
  11. Hakone Open-Air Museum (Hakonemachi, Kanagawa)
  12. Koyasan Okunoin (Koya-cho, Wakayama)
  13. Zenrinji Eikando (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
  14. Sanjusangendo (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
  15. Ritsurin Garden (Takamatsu City, Kagawa)
  16. Shirataniunsuikyo (Yakushima-cho, Kagoshima)
  17. Naritasan Shinshoji (Narita City, Chiba)
  18. Asaku (Taito-ku, Tokyo)
  19. Daihonzan Daishoin (Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima)
  20. Kenrokuen (Kanazawa City, Ishikawa)
  21. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Motobu-cho, Okinawa)
  22. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Tateyama-cho, Toyama)
  23. Kawakuchiko (Fujikawaguchiko-matchi)
  24. Misen (Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima)
  25. Meiji Jingu (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
  26. Kyoto Station Building (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
  27. Samurai Museum (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo)
  28. “GEAR” ART COMPLEX 1928 (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
  29. Kinosaki Hotspring (Toyooka City, Hyogo)
  30. Shirakawa-go (Shirakawa-mura, Gifu)