Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oji Shrine

Ouji Jinja-HDR
Oji Shrine in the Kita ward is one of the most important shrine in Tokyo. Designated as one of the ten main Shrines in Tokyo by the emperor Meiji in 1868. The foundation date is unknown; in 1322, warlord Toyoshima renamed the shrine to its current name Oji Jinja.

Oji Shrine is located on top of a small hill, next to the otonashi shinsui park, accessible by climbing a few stone steps or by entrance on route 455. The current building was reconstructed after the second world war.

The Shrine annual festival “dengaku”, celebrated in October, has been designated as an important intangible cultural asset by the Kita ward.

On the same compound, there is a rare subordinated shrine dedicated to the hair, the shrine has many followers on the Wig industry and with tokoyama or Japanese traditional hairdresser.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Kyu Asakura House a period house in Dainkayama

Kyu Asakura HDR
A short walk from Dainkayama station and a few meters from a busy intersection on the Kyu Yamate Street, the kyu Asakura house is hard to find as is concealed behind a small shopping center. The house is so difficult to find that even though I lived just two blocks from the house for more than five years I knew of its existence only recently.

The Kyu Asakura house house was built in sarugakucho, Shibuya city in 1919 by Torajiro Asakura, who served as Chairman of the Tokyo prefectural Assembly, and the Assembly of the city of Shibuya, taking advantage of the slopes of South east sarugakucho. the house was designated an important cultural property on 2004.

The house consist on several structures. The main structure at the north, a storage at the west, a garage and the gardens, the main building is a two-story wooden, tile roofing structure magnificently preserved. The first floor was used as a place for daily life for the family and employees, and the second floor as office and for meetings by Mr. Asakura.

The house gardens are a valuable remain of the Japanese house gardens of the period. With three gardens: A front one at the front part of the mansion. An internal with a small pond and a stone lantern, and the main one overlooking the Fuji Mountain and the Meguro River at the south of the premises, following a cliff line in the design of its paths, , with stone lanterns, landscape rocks, and small waterfall characteristics of the period.

Representative of the architecture of the Taisho period, and the beauty of the Japanese house gardens, the house offers an extraordinarily opportunity to appreciate the period lifestyle.

View Kyu Asakura House in a larger map


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Shopping and fashion at Dainkayama

Dainkanyamacho or simply Dainkanyama is a district of the Shibuya ward known for its fashion boutiques, restaurants and open cafes.

The area is very similar to the Aoyama district. The back streets are filled with old houses converted to fashion shops, a large number of this designers are graduates from harajuku (ura-hara), a step before the more expensive Aoyama.

The open cafes usually full on weekends, are recently seen a decrease on the number of customers, perhaps due to the number of foreigners that left the country after the eartquake.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sakura season

Cherry tree blossom season has started, flowers are at full bloom, coloring the streets and parks with a beautiful pink tone, public areas are full of people enjoying the cherry trees “sakura”, even on weekdays.

Some of the cherry trees have passed full bloom and the falling petals create an effect of falling snow every time the wind blows, carpeting the ground with the pink petals, it is unmatchable experience to walk under the “pink snow”.

I did my cherry tree blossom viewing this time at ToshiNogyou park, or city agricultural park in the adachi prefecture, the park has four different types of sakuras a greenhouse and a large number of seasonal flowers. There is also an old house at the premises, marked as an important cultural property by the Adachi ward; unfortunately, access is closed as a security measure due to the earthquake and the aftershocks.

Although the rolling blackouts are suspended more of the public cherry tree viewing festivals have been cancelled to save energy and water, nevertheless you still are allowed to organize your personal viewing gathering.