Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kururi Castle ruins

Kururi Castle in Chiba
The Kururi castle in Kimitsu Chiba prefecture, was built in 1540 during the Muromachi period by Mariyatsu Takeda. The castle was used as a modern fortress until the Meiji restoration period in the late 18th century, when it was destroyed.

Kururi Castle
The remains are now a park. In 1975 the observation tower of the castle was reconstructed out of concrete and is used now as an exhibition center, it is however significantly different from the original.

Official Site (Japanese)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Ikebukuro, in the Toshima ward, in the northwest of Tokyo, is the second of the three Tokyo sub cities and like the other two, Shinjuku and Shibuya, has a great concentration of large department and specialty stores around the station.

Ikebukuro east exit

The Ikebukuro station is one of the main commuter’s hubs, the station’s daily average of passengers is 2.8 million people,

Ikebukuro sunshine road
The North area has a large entertainment district that attracts a daily average of 1 million customers. Above, sunshine road, leading to sunshine city building complex.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wish plaques Ema

Wish plaques "ema"
Ema plaques are used by temple worshippers to write wishes.

ema plaques
On the Nara period it was believed that the god shinme rode a horse, according to this belif, horses were given to the temple as offering to shinme. Due to the prohibitive cost of a horse, some worshipers offered paper and wood horses figures. Later on the Heian period wooden plaques with a horse’s picture on it replaced the figures.

ema at Tokyo daibutsu
Recently ema plaques display a variety of pictures representing the visited temple gods and protection.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jizo do in Kamakura

Jizo at Kamakura
Jizo do in Hase temple, Kamakura is the hall dedicated to Fukuju Jizo.

Jizo staues
Surrounding the hall there are thousands of small Jizo, statutes, each one is dedicated by parents to the comfort of the soul of their unborn child
Jizo do
official site


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hase Temple


Hase temple founded on year 736 AD, according to the tradition in the year 721 AD, the Reverend Tokudo-Shonin made two statues of the goddess kannon from a holy tree. The statue made form the tree lower part was enshrined in Yamato (present Nara), while the statue made form the upper part where thrown into the sea with a prayer that it will reappear to save the people. The statue drifted to Nagai beach sixteen years later and was moved to current location, where the rev. Tokudo-shonin was invited to construct a temple to enshrine the statue.

Hasedera temple

The temple has a fantastic view of the Kamakura bay, a garden of a variety of flora to keep the temple with flowers all year round.
Other halls on the precincts: Halls dedicated to two of seven lucky gods Benzaiten on the Benten ketsu cave, and daikokuten on the dailoku-dou hall.

Mizuko Jizo statues at Kamakura
There is also a Jizo-dou hall dedicated to the soul of unborn children.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seven gods of fortune

Seven gods of fortune
The seven gods of fortune are the seven lucky gods of the Japanese mythology.
The gods are: Jurojin (god of wisdom), Fukurokuju (God of longevity), Benzaiten (goddess of art and beauty), Bishamontei (god of warriors), Hotei (god of abundance and good health), Daikokuten (god of commerce and trade), and Ebisu (god of fishers and merchants).
All the gods are based on China’s eight immortals, with the exception of Ebisu.
There is a hike in Ogose, Saitama that visits temples dedicated to each of the seven gods.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tokyo Big Buddha

Jorenji temple

Is not widely known that the Tokyo big Buddha in Jorenji is Japan's third largest, after Nara and Kamakura
Jorenji temple is an historical site visited by the Tokugawa Shoguns , relocated from Nakajuku on 1971 to current location on Akatsuka.

Jorenji Daibutsu
The Big Buddha with 13 meters of height and a weight of 32 tons, was build on 1977 to pray for protection for Tokyo against disasters, official site (Japanese).


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tanabata in Shibuya

Shibuya tanabata
On a previous post I wrote about tanabata, originally the festival was held on the Japanese lunisolar calendar, around a month behind the current calendar, due to this some festivals are held on July 7th, and others are held around August.

Tanabata in Shibuya
Shibuya is celebrating tanabata in the month of August. Tanabata star ornaments decorate center gai, and the surrounding areas.

Tanabata decoration in Shibuya


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tokyo Odaiba

Sunset at Odaiba
Originally, Odaiba designated the small fortress islands constructed to protect Edo from attack by sea. The name now represents a large artificial island in the port of Tokyo. One of the original islands has been restored and is open to the public now as 'the metropolitan Daiba Park'.

Fuji TV building in Odaiba
Odaiba has many distinctive buildings like the Fuji TV studios, where studio related activities are open to the public making it a popular destination for the TV studio program’s fans.

Nightshot at Odaiba
The shopping areas Decks, aqua city and palette town also draw large number of visitors. The area facing the Tokyo waterfront with his panoramic view of The Rainbow bridge, and its dramatic sunset views receive also a great number of visitors including passengers on yakatabune boats than visit the area every night.