Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Holiday

Shiniobazu pond at ueno
Families and couples enjoying a boat ride at the Shinobazu pond at Ueno Park, a popular family spot.
Summer holiday has started in Japan. Schools are off, rainy season is almost over and the heat has started to raise. Time to enjoy the outdoors.

Fountain at Shiokase park
Kids cooling off the heat at Shiokase park. The park has became tremendously popular due to the Gundam ‘green Tokyo’ event held there.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Gundam in Odaiba

Gundam is a popular Japanese robot animation and movie series, originated in 1979 as a TV series called ‘Mobile Suit Gundam. Gundams are bipedal vehicles controlled by a human pilot on a cockpit located on the robot torso.

Gundam night shot
A full scale size Gundam has been created for the "Green Tokyo" eco event in Odaiba Tokyo. The robot lights up, moves head and rockets and release launch-like steam several times per hour, the show is especially impressive at night time.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Shinjuku Street
Shinjuku, the largest of the three Tokyo sub cities, representing the main Japanese business districts (the other two are Shibuya and Ikebukuro). About 300,000 people live in Shinjuku and one in ten residents is from another country, making it the area with the highest percentage of foreign residents in Tokyo.

Shinjuku east exit
The Shinjuku station is the busiest station in the world with an estimated 3.64 million passengers every day. On the Nishi Shinjuku area at the east is Tokyo’s largest skyscraper area. Two of the most famous buildings there are the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and the Park Hyatt at Park Tower (made famous by the movie “Lost in translation”). Other interesting Shinjuku location is the magnificent Shinjuku Gyoen National garden in the southern area.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tosho-gu shrine at Ueno

Tosho-gu shrine entrance
Tosho-gu shrines are dedicated to Japan’s last Shogun, Tokugawa Oeyasu, around 500 shrines were built in the edo period, and currently there are around 130. The most widely know are the Nikko and the Ueno shrines.

Tosho-gu shrine (under repairs)
The Ueno shrine is lined with stone and copper lantern, these lanterns purpose is not to illuminate the path to the shrine but to purify it.

Stone Shishi lion dog
The shrine is currently under renovation until next year, and the main temple is closed to the public.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds

Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds
The “Kofun” megalithic tombs are the Japanese equivalent of pyramids. Constructed between the 3rd and early 7th century as burial mounds for emperors and military rulers.
Currently Imperial household Agency has designated 740 “kofun” as tombs of ancient imperial family and relatives and are not open to the public, including archeologists.

Ancient Burial Mounds
The Sakitama burial mounds consist on nine mounds, where important object where excavated, like the Inariyama Sword, an iron sword with gold inlay inscriptions excavated from the Inariyama “kofun”, that is now designated as one of the national treasures of Japan

haniwa figures
Terracotta figures “Haniwa”
“Haniwa” figures were found above and in the mounds surroundings and is believed that were set to to delimit and protect the sacred area


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Old Endo residential houses

Old “Endo house"
Edo residential houses started to be used in Japan in the Meiji era on the second part of the 19th century, wooden structures, Thatched roof, tatami flooring, and usually with a second level for sericulture. These houses were common on the Yamagata area and have been designated as significant cultural assets in Japan.

Interior of old “Endo house”
It was common for the Japanese houses to be sparse and modest, with little or no furniture. The area at the front is where the household managed his state, note the abacus on the left side.

Old “Endo house” Kitchen
Hearth with “Kama” cauldron, were widely used in Japan until the 50’s when the electric rice cookers made them obsolete.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tanabata Japanese star festival

Tanabata is the stat festival that is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar moon.

tanabata kusudama
The celebration is based on the legend of the stars Hikoboshi (Alter) and Orihime (Vega). Princess Orihime wove clothes for her father the King Tentei with great dedication, The King arranged the wedding of his daughter to cow herder Hikoboshi, who lived at the other side of the milky way (amanogawa lit. heaven’s river), they where so happy and in love that after marriage they neglected weaving and cow herding work, King tentei was so Angry by this that he separate the lovers on opposite sides of the milky way, and allowed them to meet only once a year on July 7th, when magpies flock to make a bridge so Orihime can cross and meet Hikobishi. It is also said when it rains the magpies cannot come and the lover have to wait another year to meet.

tanabata paper strip
During the festival people write wishes on pieces of paper and hang them from sprigs of bamboo.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ancient lotus in Gyoda city

home of the ancient lotus
In 1971 a new pond was created in gyoda city, two years later around 15 lotus plants started growing naturally on the new pond, it has now been confirmed that the new plants were from 1400 to 3000 year old lotus bulb, awaken from the sleep by the new pond.

lotus field in gyoda city
Around July and August, over 10 thousand lotus flower bloom on 3 sections of this park in gyoda city.

Lotus opens and closes every day, normally from 6 to 10 AM, waking up early is a must to admire a lotus field.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tokyo Midtown

Tokyo Midtown
Tokyo Midtown is a large commercial, residential, Museum and office space in the Tokyo’s Roppongi area. The Midtown Tower at 248 meters is the tallest building in Tokyo, and the fourth in Japan.

Break at Tokyo Midtown
The Midtown garden is a natural art gallery, on the “gardenside” area there is also the Suntory Museum of art.

Tokyo Midtown shops area
The five floor retail galleria offers a wide variety of shops and restaurants.