Posts Tagged Under: koi travel

  • BLOG

You may recall a stone garden when you hear a word “Japanese garden”. Yes, it is one type of Japanese garden out of three types. Let’s see what types of traditional gardens you can enjoy in Japan.

1) chisen teien (pond garden)
It is a type of Japanese garden with a pond in the center and most often observed in many regions of Japan. Usually it is large and you are supposed to enjoy the garden by walking around the pond. Its origin dates back to gardens of nobility in 7th century and established during Edo period (1603-1867). The ones made during this period have several view spots which imitated famous landscapes in all over Japan. Often there are small tea houses or arbors in the garden to rest.

The famous gardens Read More

  • BLOG


Tourists who are inked should be aware that, in general, Japan has a negative attitude about tattoos that make accessing certain facilities more challenging. Although tattoos are quite commonplace in most western countries, and are becoming popular with younger demographics here, many older Japanese view them as explicitly crime-related. Fans of Japanese cinema and video games will easily recognize the ornate, full-body tattoos worn by the Yakuza. Additionally, similar to the public shaming described in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the Tokugawa Shogunate used to punish convicted criminals with forehead tattoos detailing their various offenses.

Although the public shaming of criminals in this way has been long since abandoned, tattoos are still very popular among members of Japan’s underworld. Japanese often view Read More

  • BLOG

Those who live in other metropolitan areas around the globe may be surprised to learn that Japanese subways and commuter trains do not run 24 hours a day. While the time of the last train varies depending on the line, it’s usually between about 12:00 and 12:30AM. The earliest trains the following day will run intermittently starting from about 5:30AM.

As Tokyo is a city with no lack of nightlife, many may wonder why it does not have public transportation to match. If you ask a Japanese person, most will tell you that it’s a cleverly disguised trick to force salarymen to leave the office for the night. Working hours can be grueling, and suspending service for early morning hours functions the same as last call in a bar. Hardworking businesspeople Read More

  • BLOG

ginza line

Japanese culture is well known for its rules and formality. Whether it’s table manners, business introductions, or after-hours drinking parties, there are unspoken rules for every situation. Riding on the train is no different! Let’s take a look at how the locals are supposed “not” to do.

No talking on the phone
The cardinal rule of Japanese train etiquette is to avoid talking on the phone while onboard. Many new to Japan may be shocked at just how quiet the public transportation is. The fact that the vast majority of passengers respect the phone rule is the major reason. Feel free to speak with your traveling companions, but don’t take or make calls while on board.

Don’t carry backpacks on your back
Read More

  • BLOG
Osaka, Dotonbori

Osaka, Dotonbori

While it may not be apparent to short-time visitors, Tokyo and Osaka are very different cities with very different cultures. Tokyoites are known for being reserved, serious, polite, and tend to keep to themselves. Osakans are the opposite – gregarious folks sometimes bordering on raucous. Osaka is the home of many famous Japanese comedians, and the people there are known for their sense of humor. Locals in Osaka are far more likely to start a conversation with you than people in Tokyo.

Beyond this, another curious difference exists between the two cities. In Tokyo and most other Japanese cities, people stand on the left of the escalator and pass on the right. In Osaka and the surrounding region, Read More

  • BLOG
hina dolls

two sets of hina dolls and a kimono

So far, we have seen some visual and historical differences between Shinto and Buddhism. Now let me explain how naturally both Shinto and Buddhism affect on our daily lives and seasonal ceremonies.

At the night of New Year’s Eve, December 31, we usually go to temple to appreciate the lucks of previous year and worship for coming good year. Next morning, on January 1, we go to shrine wishing for a good new year. You may feel this is something very unprincipled. But this is the way Japanese have been. Other religious ceremonies both from Shinto and Buddhism can be observed every season. March 3 is girls’ day, which families with girls Read More

  • BLOG

The basic actions you have to take in either shrine or temple are similar. First of all, keep in your mind that it is a holly place that you have to show resect. Then as follows.

Step1. Enter the site walking under the gate. Inside the site is regarded as holy.

Step2. Wash your hands and mouth at a place for ritual cleansing. Hold the ladle with your right hand and pour water on your left hand. Do the same with your left hand to clean your right hand. Then hold the ladle with right hand again to wash your mouth.

Only in Temples; After washing hands, you would find an incense burner. Wave your hands over the smoke to clean yourself with Read More

  • BLOG

Now you understand very basics of Shinto and Buddhism. But as a tourist, how shall you distinguish shrines and temples?

The easiest way is to check the entrance. If it has a gate made from either wood or stone, it should be a shrine. Originally the gate was the entrance of a spiritual zone which separate human world and holy zone.

Stone shrine gate

If it has an incense burner (jokoro), it is a sign of a temple. At the incent burner, people clean themselves with the smoke and its aroma before moving forward. Also, if you find grave stones inside or around, that place is a temple.

[caption id="attachment_603" align="alignnone" Read More
  • BLOG
a gate of shrine, called torii

A red wooden gate of shrine

When you come to Japan, you would visit at least one temple or shrine. There are 76 thousands temples and 88 thousands shrines in Japan. Actually there are more temples and shrines than convenience stores whose number is around 50 thousand.

But what are the differences? First of all, shrine is for Shinto and temple is for Buddhism. Shinto is the oldest religion in Japan and relatively primitive. Its unique characteristic is polytheism believing in many gods and spirits. People believe there are as many as 8 million gods and spirits- people find gods and spirits everywhere, from behind a leave, under a stone, to top of a mountain.

Buddhism Read More

  • BLOG

What are “itadaki-masu” and “gochiso-sama” in Japanese? If you a fan of Japanese anime, you should have heard the word “itadaki-masu” before a meal and “gochiso-sama” after meal. At home, we Japanese are educated to say those phrases before and after meals and if the children miss to say them, parents would let them say.
Both phrases are originally from religious concept. Itadaku, as a verb, literally means receive in polite expression. Japanese say itadaki-masu before meals to appreciate two things. The first appreciation is for all the people who relate to the cooking- not only cooks themselves but also others such as farmers and clerks of supermarkets. The second appreciation is for lives of all food, not only livestock Read More