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    Did you know? Interesting Japanese facts and trivia (324 articles)

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    Japanese lifestyle, architecture, people, interesting facts
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  • 20 Apr 2014: Japanese Itachari 

    Japanese Itachari
    Cars decorated with manga/anime and video game characters first appeared in Japan during the '80s, but after 2000 they became a real phenomenon. They are called itasha, a term that originally meant ... »

    125 comments

    17 Apr 2014: Cross section view of the original Kumamoto castle 

    Cross section view of the original Kumamoto castle
    As you already know, I love the interiors of the Japanese castles. And while visiting the Kumamoto castle, I found this very interesting model, presenting a cross section view of the original ... »

    107 comments

    05 Apr 2014: Japanese traditional architecture, Vermilion gates at Fushimi Inari 

    Japanese traditional architecture, Vermilion gates at Fushimi Inari
    The red color has different, profound meanings in many cultures. In Japan, a particular shade of red, Vermilion - sRGB (227, 66, 52), is so present throughout the Japanese landscape that one can say ... »

    153 comments

    03 Apr 2014: Old Japanese stories, the origin of Sake 

    Old Japanese stories, the origin of Sake
    The first historical recording of sake was in the legend of Kojiki, the oldest Japanese chronicle. It is said that once there was an evil dragon, with 8 heads, who year after year was attacking a ... »

    156 comments

    30 Mar 2014: A shrine for cats, the cutest votive plaque 

    A shrine for cats, the cutest votive plaque
    The cats are by far the most popular and loved pets in Japan. In fact, they are so beloved that several Shinto shrines are dedicated to them... One of these "cat shrines" is located inside the ... »

    87 comments

    15 Mar 2014: Hanami 

    Hanami
    Hanami means "flower viewing" (from hana "flower" and mi "see"), but there's a lot more to this Japanese tradition... On one side, there's meditation and sensitivity to ephemeral beauty... But, on ... »

    122 comments

    13 Mar 2014: Sakura Zensen, the Cherry blossoms front 

    Sakura Zensen, the Cherry blossoms front
    The climate of Japan varies widely from Okinawa to Hokkaido, so the cherry blossoming period begins as early as January in Okinawa, while the blooming period in Hokkaido starts no sooner than ... »

    307 comments

    11 Mar 2014: Old and New Architecture in Tokyo, the new Ginza Kabuki theater 

    Old and New Architecture in Tokyo, the new Ginza Kabuki theater
    After 3 years of reconstruction works, the famous Kabuki-za theater in Ginza, Tokyo, was reopened last year, in April. If you already saw the old building, you will easily recognize the new one, ... »

    108 comments

    10 Mar 2014: About Japan from... manhole covers, Shimonoseki Fugu 

    About Japan from... manhole covers, Shimonoseki Fugu
    While visiting a country, we are always on the lookout for new travel information, so we take at least a look any billboard, map or poster displayed... But in Japan there's a unique place that you ... »

    95 comments

    22 Feb 2014: Japanese superlatives - Spectacles Bridge, the oldest stone arch bridge 

    Japanese superlatives - Spectacles Bridge, the oldest stone arch bridge
    Built in 1634, the Meganebashi [眼鏡橋] "Spectacles Bridge" from Nagasaki is the oldest stone arch bridge in Japan and, even if it suffered some damage over the time, ... »

    95 comments

    20 Feb 2014: Kyoto style litter protection, miniature torii 

    Kyoto style litter protection, miniature torii
    In Japan, everybody knows that a torii gate marks the entrance to a sacred space... and starting from this idea, someone from Kyoto developed a very unusual method to discourage passersby from ... »

    64 comments

    18 Feb 2014: Wakai tokei-dai, the Young Clock Tower 

    Wakai tokei-dai, the Young Clock Tower
    Tarō Okamoto is an artist renowned throughout the world, especially for his Tower of the Sun, the symbol of the Expo '70 World's Fair held in Osaka.A little less know is that one of his ... »

    41 comments

    16 Feb 2014: Cute five-toe socks 

    Cute five-toe socks
    The traditional Japanese footwear was designed to be worn with tabi, a type of socks with separate big toe which are still very popular, being an important part of the traditional attire.But if ... »

    68 comments

    15 Feb 2014: Tsukubai 

    Tsukubai
    In front of the Japanese tea houses, almost on the ground level, you will find a small basin with running water, a tsukubai. This small but always beautiful washbasin is customary used before the tea ... »

    46 comments

    13 Feb 2014: On Valentine's Day, a giant heart from Kyoto 

    On Valentine's Day, a giant heart from Kyoto
    The Valentine's Day celebration was first introduced to Japan in 1936, but about 60 years ago was enriched with a Japanese specific custom: on Valentine’s Day, the women are giving chocolate gifts to ... »

    87 comments

    08 Feb 2014: Japanese superlatives, the longest wooden structure 

    Japanese superlatives, the longest wooden structure
    As the name says (san-jū-san-ken means thirty-three ken), the Sanjūsangen-dō hall from Kyoto is a very long building... In fact, with a length of 120 meters, it holds the record of the ... »

    63 comments

    28 Jan 2014: The Kyoto style gas lamp 

    The Kyoto style gas lamp
    Before gas lighting was introduced to Japan at the beginning of the Meiji Period, the public illumination in Japan was provided by oil burning lanterns made of bamboo and covered by paper. Of ... »

    82 comments

    22 Jan 2014: Inside the tallest statue from Japan, the Lotus Sanctuary hall 

    Inside the tallest statue from Japan, the Lotus Sanctuary hall
    The giant Buddhist statues are always an impressive sight, but some of them are equally impressive on the inside, as I discovered some time ago when I visited the giant Daikannon statue from ... »

    46 comments

    14 Jan 2014: Tokyo, the largest megacity in the world 

    Tokyo, the largest megacity in the world
    According to various statistics, there are between 25 and 31 megacities in the world - metropolitan areas with a population larger than 10 million people. But in all the versions, the largest ... »

    59 comments

    11 Jan 2014: Japanese Companies, Yoshinoya 

    Japanese Companies, Yoshinoya
    115 years ago, in 1899, about 20 years before the opening of the first American fast food restaurant chain (A&W Restaurants), a man named Eikichi Matsuda was establishing a restaurant near the ... »

    48 comments

    07 Jan 2014: A vending machine per 23 people 

    A vending machine per 23 people
    Visiting Japan, one thing that everyone notices right away is the large number of vending machines... Of course, the most common are those selling soft drinks, coffee, beer, ice cream or snacks, but ... »

    55 comments

    09 Dec 2013: Traditional Japanese men hairstyle, Chonmage 

    Traditional Japanese men hairstyle, Chonmage
    In the medieval Japan, strict rules were set for the hairstyle, for both men and women, depending on the social status and age. Generally, the hair was long, a short hair being the associated with ... »

    35 comments

    06 Dec 2013: Juni-shi Ema 

    Juni-shi Ema
    Before 1873, when the solar Gregorian calendar was adopted in Japan, several calendars were used, based on lunar calendars imported from China and Korea. A remnant of those times is Juni-shi, derived ... »

    31 comments

    02 Nov 2013: Japanese superlatives, the largest lake 

    Japanese superlatives,  the largest lake
    With a surface of 670.33 km˛, the Lake Biwa from the Shiga Prefecture is the largest lake in Japan. Because of its size, in the past it was also named Chikatsu Awaumi, which means the "freshwater sea ... »

    28 comments

    31 Oct 2013: Traditional Japanese clothing, Taiko-musubi knots 

    Traditional Japanese clothing, Taiko-musubi knots
    Amongst the hundreds of obi knots created by the Japanese kimono makers, some were lost over time, but others are still in use today. That's the case of taiko-musubi, a knot for women invented about ... »

    47 comments

    30 Oct 2013: The inverted pillar of Toshougu 

    The inverted pillar of Toshougu
    All the pillars of the Yomeimon Gate from Toshougu, Nikko, are decorated with a motif called gori (or gurin), a stylization of the young bracken fronds. But there is one standing out, because the ... »

    35 comments

    29 Oct 2013: Traditional Japanese house, Marumado window 

    Traditional Japanese house, Marumado window
    The rounded windows are amongst the most beautiful elements of traditional Japanese architecture. Besides the katomado "flower head" windows, which are specific to the Zen Buddhist temples, the ... »

    35 comments

    26 Oct 2013: To-ji, the only surviving Kyoto Imperial Temple 

    To-ji, the only surviving Kyoto Imperial Temple
    Long, long time ago, when the capital of Japan was moved from Nara to Heian-kyō (today's Kyoto), Emperor Kammu issued a law allowing only two temples in the new capital city (except for the one ... »

    112 comments

    11 Oct 2013: Japanese superlatives, the oldest TV tower in Japan 

    Japanese superlatives, the oldest TV tower in Japan
    Built in 1954, the tower from the photo was the first TV tower in Japan. By then, Nagoya was in full reconstruction after the war, without any taller buildings, so the 180 meters-tall tower was  ... »

    36 comments

    08 Oct 2013: Traditional Japanese clothing, Chocho-musubi knots 

    Traditional Japanese clothing,  Chocho-musubi knots
    The impressive sash used today to tie the kimono or the yukata (called obi in Japanese) evolved from a narrow, less than 10 centimeters-wide belt which was similar for men and women. Today, the obi ... »

    49 comments

    05 Oct 2013: Japanese superlatives, the oldest Zen gate in Japan 

    Japanese superlatives, the oldest Zen gate in Japan
    Introduced in Japan during the Kamakura period (1185–1333), the Zen Buddhism developed its own style of architecture but very few of the original buildings survived until today. One of the very ... »

    46 comments

    29 Sep 2013: Kale in Japan, from ornament to drink 

    Kale in Japan, from ornament to drink
    Cultivated for food in Europe since antiquity, the kale arrived in Japan during the Edo Period, brought to the Nagasaki port by the commercial exchanges with the Portuguese. In Japan, kale was ... »

    38 comments

    21 Sep 2013: Daikokuten Magical Hammer 

    Daikokuten Magical Hammer
    One of the distinctive signs of Daikokuten, the god of wealth, commerce and trade and one of the Seven Gods of Luck (Shichi-Fukujin), is the hammer held in the right hand... Daikokuten is a ... »

    33 comments

    18 Sep 2013: Jimotsu, the Water Jar and the Wish Granting Jewel 

    Jimotsu, the Water Jar and the Wish Granting Jewel
    In the Buddhist iconography, the hand gesture known as mudra and the ritual objects (jimotsu or jibutsu) held by the deities are all associated with a spiritual meaning and, just by looking at these ... »

    33 comments

    05 Sep 2013: Ryounkaku, the tower soaring above the clouds 

    Ryounkaku,  the tower soaring above the clouds
    In 1964, the tallest building in Japan, the New Otani Hotel, was only 72 meters tall, insignificant compared to Empire State Building, which then was the tallest building in the world.But long ... »

    59 comments

    22 Aug 2013: Sugidama, the Sake indicator 

    Sugidama, the Sake indicator
    Visiting the traditional areas, in front of some shops, you may notice unusual spheres made of a wood-like material, sometimes over half a meter wide. At the first glance you may think these are some ... »

    71 comments

    09 Aug 2013: Japanese spirituality, the Great Buddha of Kamakura meditation mudra 

    Japanese spirituality, the Great Buddha of Kamakura meditation mudra
    In the Buddhist iconography, the deities are represented in specific positions, with their hands placed in symbolic spiritual gestures (mudrā in Sanskrit). One of the best known Japanese ... »

    36 comments

    07 Aug 2013: Osaka bird's-eye night view 

    Osaka bird's-eye night view
    The two tallest buildings from Osaka are located at great distance from each other, but from the considerable height of their observatories you can easily see one from the other. Until the next ... »

    35 comments

    19 Jul 2013: Jouka-machi, the Japanese castle town 

    Jouka-machi, the Japanese castle town
    The advent of the castles as we know them today, during the Sengoku Period, lead to the development of jouka-machi, the "town below the castle". Inhabited mostly by samurai, but also by craftsmen and ... »

    35 comments

    10 Jul 2013: The non-golden floor of the golden Kinkaku-ji 

    The non-golden floor of the golden Kinkaku-ji
    Because of its world-famous golden pavilion, the Rokuon-ji Temple from Kyoto is known as Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Together with the garden and the pond surrounding it, ... »

    49 comments

    08 Jul 2013: Japanese architecture, Nippon Budokan 

    Japanese architecture, Nippon Budokan
    In 1964, the inauguration of two buildings designed by the Japanese architect Mamoru Yamada have sparked a lot of controversy... If the lighthouse shape of the Kyoto Tower was criticized by being ... »

    30 comments

    04 Jul 2013: Japanese samurai armor, Kabuto 

    Japanese samurai armor, Kabuto
    Although designed for protection in battle, the Japanese samurai armor was made without neglecting the aesthetic value. The overall appearance, the quality of the materials, the model and the ... »

    59 comments

    03 Jul 2013: Heron, symbol of Buddhist meditation 

    Heron, symbol of Buddhist meditation
    Almost every Japanese garden pond is inhabited by Japanese carps (koi) and turtles... both species well beloved by the Japanese people, the koi being a symbol of courage and perseverance while the ... »

    34 comments

    02 Jul 2013: Japanese kite, Aizu Tojin 

    Japanese kite, Aizu Tojin
    The kite (tako in Japanese) is so popular in Japan that there are festivals and popular celebrations related to kite flying and even kite museums. Painted in bright colors, usually with the ... »

    34 comments

    28 Jun 2013: Japanese traditional architecture, Kurazukuri fireproof house 

    Japanese traditional architecture, Kurazukuri fireproof house
    The traditional Japanese house is built of wood, which makes it earthquake resistant but very dangerous when it comes to fire. Because of the fire threat, the valuables and the food reserves were ... »

    47 comments

    26 Jun 2013: Tsubaki 

    Tsubaki
    It is well known that the samurai loved the sakura flowers. For them, the sakura that wither slowly, petal by petal, then floating gently in the wind, was the symbol of ephemeral, of life passing by, ... »

    63 comments

    24 Jun 2013: The place with the highest commercial land price, Ginza Meidi-ya 

    The place with the highest commercial land price, Ginza Meidi-ya
    It is common knowledge that the price of land in Japan is extremely high, but have you ever wondered how much can the price go up? The most expensive land parcel in Tokyo goes to the astronomical ... »

    36 comments

    23 Jun 2013: The largest tomb in Tokyo 

    The largest tomb in Tokyo
    Close to the Tokyo Tower, between the Daitoku-in Mausoleum Somon Gate and the Prince Park Tower Hotel, there's a green park, completely covered by trees.Although it impossible to clearly see it, ... »

    46 comments

    22 Jun 2013: A one-of-a-kind construction, Otenmon, replica of a 1200 years old gate 

    A one-of-a-kind construction, Otenmon, replica of a  1200 years old gate
    From an architectural point of view, the Heian Jingu from Kyoto is a one-of-a-kind construction, because its buildings are not using the traditional Shinto architecture. Instead, they were designed ... »

    28 comments

    19 Jun 2013: A Japanese company with an unlikely name, Lotteria 

    A Japanese company with an unlikely name, Lotteria
    Although the name is somehow misleading, Lotteria is a Japanese company and it's not related to any lottery. It is, in fact, a... fast-food restaurants chain. The parent company is called Lotte ... »

    30 comments

    14 Jun 2013: Japanese traditional architecture, Tsukiagedo 

    Japanese traditional architecture, Tsukiagedo
    Unlike the Western houses, which were using glass windows since the 17th century, the traditional Japanese houses were built with windows covered with semi-opaque washi paper, which let the light ... »

    36 comments

    12 Jun 2013: Japanese traditional architecture, the last tower of Tsuruga Castle 

    Japanese traditional architecture, the last tower of Tsuruga Castle
    After it was conquered by the Imperial Army at the end of the Boshin War, Tsuruga-jo, the castle from Aizu-Wakamatsu was demolished by the order of the Emperor in 1874. But one of the castle's ... »

    48 comments

    07 Jun 2013: Japanese castle architecture, Honmaru 

    Japanese castle architecture, Honmaru
    Although not always visible today, the Japanese castles were originally surrounded by defense walls, very much like the European castles. However, today only gates or parts of the inner walls are ... »

    41 comments

    05 Jun 2013: Tokyo architecture, Tochomae Station Stargate Ring 

    Tokyo architecture, Tochomae Station Stargate Ring
    Tochōmae is a station on the Toei Subway Ōedo Line, located in the skyscraper district of Nishi-Shinjuku, under the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, also known as Tochō (hence ... »

    30 comments

    22 May 2013: Japanese traditional architecture - Gatou roof tiles 

    Japanese traditional architecture - Gatou roof tiles
    Visiting Japan, you will surely notice the traditional Japanese roofs, using very specific decorations, like the prominent Oni-gawara roof tiles.A little less outstanding but with a great visual ... »

    39 comments

    21 May 2013: The first modern bronze statue in Japan 

    The first modern bronze statue in Japan
    The first bronze statue in Japan was erected in 1880 inside the Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa, to honor the samurai fallen during the Satsuma Rebellion against the Imperial government. The statue ... »

    34 comments

    18 May 2013: Shinto Shrines, Suzu 

    Shinto Shrines, Suzu
    As you know very well, I love taking photos, but I rarely record videos. I feel that the best way to express myself is through photos... But I was always passionate about music and sounds... and ... »

    28 comments

    15 May 2013: An American street in Tokyo 

    An American street in Tokyo
    At the end of the Edo period, Ginza was just like any other Japanese street: with narrow streets and wooden buildings (take a look at the photos from the Ginza Official history page).The first ... »

    39 comments

    12 May 2013: Japanese spirituality, the boat of stones from Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto 

    Japanese spirituality, the boat of stones from Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto
    The well known complex which includes the golden pavilion and the surrounding garden from Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto was designed to symbolically represent the paradise of Amida Buddha, so each element has ... »

    42 comments

    11 May 2013: Traditional Japanese scenery, the Cherry tree and the Orange tree 

    Traditional Japanese scenery, the Cherry tree and the Orange tree
    The set of dolls for Hina Matsuri, even in its most simple version (with only two dolls, Emperor and Empress), features two trees (or their respective symbols): the orange tree, always placed on the ... »

    32 comments

    28 Apr 2013: Bonbori, Japanese traditional lighting equipment 

    Bonbori, Japanese traditional lighting equipment
    One of the most typical and traditional models of Japanese paper lanterns is the bonbori: the paper is applied on a hexagonal wooden frame, with the top left open.Unlike the better known ... »

    30 comments

    04 Apr 2013: Japanese gardens, the Lying down Dragon Bridge 

    Japanese gardens, the Lying down Dragon Bridge
    The Japanese gardens featuring ponds are always including at least one bridge and some of them are extremely beautiful (search "Japanese+garden+bridge"). But besides the common "bridge" concept, some ... »

    51 comments

    28 Mar 2013: Inside the traditional Japanese house, Doma 

    Inside the traditional Japanese house, Doma
    Visiting the inside of a traditional Japanese farmhouse, you will find two distinct zones: one with a wooden floor, raised from the ground to accommodate the irori fireplace, and one covered only by ... »

    30 comments

    27 Mar 2013: Masterpieces of Japanese traditional architecture, Nijiriguchi 

    Masterpieces of Japanese traditional architecture, Nijiriguchi
    Chashitsu, the Japanese traditional tea-houses, are made with two entrances: one is a regular door, while the other is an incredibly small panel, about 65 centimeters tall and 60 centimeters ... »

    100 comments

    21 Mar 2013: Omamori, Japanese good luck charms 

    Omamori, Japanese good luck charms
    One of the most popular Japanese customs, common to both Shinto and Buddhist traditions, is the use of good luck charms, omamori. Sold at both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, omamori are so ... »

    58 comments

    18 Mar 2013: Shinto Shrine, Gohei 

    Shinto Shrine, Gohei
    Besides the torii gates, one of the most recognizable shapes of the Shinto religion is the zigzag shaped paper streamer called shide. Most often, they can be seen tied to a braided rice straw rope ... »

    38 comments

    17 Mar 2013: Hundreds of Kamon stamps 

    Hundreds of Kamon stamps
    Unlike the European heraldry blazons, made with multiple colors, the Japanese kamon (crest) is monochromatic. This makes them suitable for stamps and a huge amount of kamon stamps were made over ... »

    30 comments

    28 Feb 2013: Traditional Japanese clothing, Miko red hakama 

    Traditional Japanese clothing, Miko red hakama
    While visiting the Shinto shrines, you can't help but notice the girls dressed in white shirts and bright red hakama. They are miko - shrine maidens - and their uniform is one of the few cases when ... »

    57 comments

    14 Feb 2013: Kilometre Zero of Japan's Railways 

    Kilometre Zero of Japan's Railways
    The marking of the Kilometre Zero is popular in many countries and Japan is no exception. I found two such markers in Japan: one is the KM 0 for the roads, located on the Nihonbashi bridge in Tokyo, ... »

    38 comments

    13 Feb 2013: Traditional Japanese Renjishi Dolls 

    Traditional Japanese Renjishi Dolls
    There's a wide variety of traditional Japanese dolls, sometimes classified by how they are made, other times by what they represent. Most of them are easy to identify: geisha, noble ladies or ... »

    68 comments

    08 Feb 2013: World's longest suspended monorail 

    World's longest suspended monorail
    With 10 currently operating monorail systems and many other experiments and discontinued lines, Japan is probably the country with the highest density of monorails in the world. Among them, three ... »

    50 comments

    07 Feb 2013: Hama-rikyu, Japanese garden with seawater 

    Hama-rikyu, Japanese garden with seawater
    Over 400 years ago, the area south-east of today's Shiodome, Tokyo, was covered by a swamp (Shiodome means "keep out the tide"). The marshland was drained in 1603 by the order of Shogun Tokugawa ... »

    39 comments

    03 Feb 2013: Traditional Japanese clothing, Hakama and its meanings 

    Traditional Japanese clothing, Hakama and its meanings
    Originally, the samurai were wearing hakama only when riding the horse, because it was meant to protect their legs, like the chaps worn by the cowboys. But in time, the hakama became a symbol of the ... »

    54 comments

    15 Jan 2013: Hundreds of statues with hats 

    Hundreds of statues with hats
    In many Japanese Buddhist temples, you will notice rows of dozens or even hundreds of cute stone statues, "dressed" with bibs, various hats and beads... Usually the garments are red, because in the ... »

    43 comments

    14 Jan 2013: Seijin no hi, girls dressed in furisode 

    Seijin no hi, girls dressed in furisode
    In the second Monday of January, Japan celebrates the Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi), a ceremony for the young adults reaching the age of 20 during the current school year. 20 years is the age of ... »

    60 comments

    22 Dec 2012: Japanese traditional house, Shoji 

    Japanese traditional house, Shoji
    One of the most striking elements of the Japanese house is shoji, the traditional screen. Made from a wooden frame covered by washi (Japanese traditional paper), the shoji can be used as a sliding ... »

    41 comments

    20 Dec 2012: Shinto Shrine, Kagami 

    Shinto Shrine, Kagami
    According to The Chronicles of Japan (Nihon Shoki), the goddess Amaterasu Omikami gave her nephew Ninigi-no-mikoto three celestial gifts, known as the three Sacred Imperial treasures (the Imperial ... »

    55 comments

    13 Dec 2012: Japanese waterproof technique, Namako wall 

    Japanese waterproof technique, Namako wall
    Because the traditional Japanese house, built from wood and paper, was completely unprotected against fire, the supplies and valuables were kept in a storehouse (kura in Japanese). Kura was also made ... »

    59 comments

    09 Dec 2012: Kanda Myojin tethered horse 

    Kanda Myojin tethered horse
    I was writing half a year ago about how to identify Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples and about the exceptions from the gate-torii rule. One remarkable exception is the Kanda Myojin Shrine from ... »

    42 comments

    08 Dec 2012: Japanese thatched roofs 

    Japanese thatched roofs
    The traditional Japanese house is made from natural materials only: the walls are made of wood and paper, while the tatami mats are made of rice straw. And the roof is no exception, being made of ... »

    34 comments

    02 Dec 2012: Shinto Shrines, Onusa 

    Shinto Shrines, Onusa
    Because the Shinto religion is specific to Japan and cannot be found anywhere else in the world, it is quite hard for a foreigner to find information about the items seen inside a shrine. That's why, ... »

    48 comments

    22 Nov 2012: Japanese architecture, the Kyoto Tower controversy 

    Japanese architecture, the Kyoto Tower controversy
    I was writing a month ago about the Tokyo skyscraper history, mentioning the Building Standard Law, a law which was in effect in Tokyo until 1963, forbidding the construction of commercial buildings ... »

    40 comments

    14 Nov 2012: Shinboku, the sacred tree 

    Shinboku, the sacred tree
    Besides man-made structures like buildings, statues and torii, another important element of a Shinto shrine is always a tree. Called shinboku 「神木」, "sacred tree", you can ... »

    35 comments

    11 Nov 2012: Tsukimi turret, how to see the moon three times 

    Tsukimi turret, how to see the moon three times
    One of the special features of the Matsumoto Castle is its Tsukimi "Moon-viewing" turret. This is a one floor tower with a single room, with large windows, wide-open in three directions (north, south ... »

    47 comments

    10 Nov 2012: Hachiko's anniversary 

    Hachiko's anniversary
    There are 6 native Japanese dog breeds: Akita, Kai Ken, Shikoku, Kishu, Hokkaidō and Shiba Inu. Otosan, a Hokkaidō dog who appeared in numerous SoftBank commercials over the last years, is ... »

    37 comments

    09 Nov 2012: Shinto architecture, Tamagaki 

    Shinto architecture, Tamagaki
    One thing you will surely notice while visiting the Japanese Shinto shrines will be the enclosures surrounding the sacred areas. Called tamagaki, these wooden, stone or concrete fences are part of ... »

    43 comments

    07 Nov 2012: Unusual Japanese traditional architecture, Inu-yarai 

    Unusual Japanese traditional architecture, Inu-yarai
    Visiting the old districts from Kyoto, while admiring the beautiful traditional Japanese streets, one of the most unusual features you will notice is that many houses have some sort of... skirts. ... »

    55 comments

    05 Nov 2012: Japanese castle walls, Uchikomihagi 

    Japanese castle walls, Uchikomihagi
    Important elements of the Japanese castle's defensive systems, the curtain walls were built by using several different methods, classified today according to the stone work or by the way the wall was ... »

    39 comments

    03 Nov 2012: Kiyomizu-dera gates 

    Kiyomizu-dera gates
    The entrance to the Japanese Buddhist temples is usually marked by one or more gates and an interesting fact is that every gate has a name. These names are given according to various, but rigorous ... »

    42 comments

    01 Nov 2012: The frogs from Meoto Iwa 

    The frogs from Meoto Iwa
    On the beach of the city of Ise, right near the Meoto Iwa "wedded rocks", there is a little shrine featuring a large number of statues representing... frogs. This unusual shrine is dedicated to ... »

    42 comments

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