The Timeless Lake Biwa Canal

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Hydroelectricity, a green source of power, is electricity generated by hydropower (the production of electrical power using the gravitational force of flowing water).  It is one of the most widely used forms of global renewable energy. Lake Biwa Canal (琵琶湖疏水) or Biwako Sosui is the canal that supplied Japan with its first ever hydroelectric power generator. Lake Biwa Canal was […]

Staying Connected While in Japan

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Japan is a pioneer in mobile phone technology: they conceptualized incorporating features such as cameras, internet browsers, games, GPS navigation, and music players. Today’s modern world has made it essential to stay connected using our mobile phones and the internet. It’s always important to be able to keep in touch with family and friends whenever travelling […]

Toranomon Hills: Tokyo’s Latest Landmark

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Toranomon means “the gate of the tiger.” The name is derived from one of the outer gates of Edo Castle called Toranogomon. Tokyo is already a mega-city, but it still continues to grow rapidly, especially in preparation for hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games. Toranomon Hills, a high-rise complex tower, is meant to symbolize a Tokyo […]

The Intricate, Stylish Kanzashi and Tsumami Zaiku

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Kanzashi are ornamental hairpins that crown the look of traditional Japanese kimonos. The term kanzashi  is also synonymous to folded cloth flowers that traditionally adorn tsumami kanzashi as well as the technique used in making the cloth flowers. The origins of kanzashi can be traced back to the Jōmon period when people wore them in their hair using a […]

KCP Fall 2015 Students Visit Yamanashi

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Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県) in Chūbu region, Honshu, Japan, is a popular destination for its beautiful scenery. Yamanashi is easily accessible by road and rail. Some of the more popular places to visit in the area are Mount Fuji, the highland resort of Kiyosato, Kōfu city, Senga Falls, the Fuji Five Lakes, the Kuonji Temple in Minobu, […]

The Princess Daruma Dolls of Matsuyama

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Ningyō (人形) are traditional Japanese dolls that come in various forms — from babies and imperial court personalities to warriors and gods. Many of the dolls have a long standing tradition in Japanese culture and history, and each one has a story. Ningyō is made today for shrines, festivals, souvenirs, and gift giving. Daruma dolls are one of […]

Lucky Charms for the New Year

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Superstitious beliefs are a big part of Japan’s culture. Most Japanese folklore has roots that can be traced to local customs and are meant to offer practical advice from lessons learned throughout Japan’s long history. Lucky charms are a huge part of Japanese religion and culture. Engimono are lucky charms often given out at New Year events at […]

Seven Lucky Gods Pilgrimage

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The New Year in Japan begins with Shichifukujin Meguri (七福神めぐり), a traditional pilgrimage to pray for good luck for the whole year. Many Japanese participate in the pilgrimage to visit seven local shrines and temples in honor of the Seven Lucky Gods of Fortune. This can be a daunting task in midwinter, but many welcome […]

Sendai Hatsu-uri: A Shopper’s Paradise

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Who wouldn’t love getting a great buy on sale? In the United States, Thanksgiving is a much anticipated holiday, and not just because of its actual meaning and cultural relevance in American society. It also marks the day-after nationwide sale at most stores across the country. Hordes of people flock to their favorite stores, some lining up the day […]

Shōgatsu: Japanese New Year

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The Japanese New Year or Shōgatsu is probably the most important holiday in Japan. Many businesses close during this time so people can spend time with their families. Shōgatsu is celebrated from the 1st of January to the 3rd of January since it was officially celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar in 1873. The traditional […]