Fun and Frolic at Kasai Rinkai Park

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Kasai Rinkai Park (葛西臨海公園), one of the newer parks in Japan, opened officially June 1, 1989, and is located in Edogawa, Tokyo. It is the largest park in central Tokyo, just across the Edogawa River from Tokyo Disney Resort. Path at Kasai Rinkai Park. | Kageaki Smith Kasai Rinkai Park was built on reclaimed land in […]

Open Sesame!

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If you’ve heard of the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, you’ve come across the magic words “Open Sesame!” These two words open the mouth of the cave that held treasures beyond anyone’s imagination. which brings us to the magic seeds called sesame . . . Sesame is the oldest oilseed crop in all […]

The Tragedy of the Byakkotai Samurai

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Today, Aizu is the westernmost region of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan.  The Aizu clan fought in the  Boshin War, a civil war in Japan from 1868 to 1869 between the Tokugawa Shogunate forces and those opposed to their rule. The war finally ended the military regime of the Tokugawa Shogunate and returned political power to the […]

Zenkō-ji Gokaicho: A Once Every 7 Years Event

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Zenkō-ji, a Buddhist temple in Nagano, Japan, was initially built in the 7th century. Nagano City was built around it. It is significant in Japanese history for serving as one of the bases of operation of Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen, two of the most influential and powerful daimyos of the Sengoku period in the 16th […]

The Story of Hoichi the Earless

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Hundreds of years ago, there was an epic sea battle in Dan-no-ura that took many lives. The battle took place in the Straits of Shimonoseki, off the southern tip of Honshū, between the Heike (Taira clan) and the Genji (Minamoto clan).  After half a day of battle, the Genji defeated the Heike, and many perished in […]

The Japanese Minka Homes

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Typical examples of Japanese architecture are wooden structures slightly elevated from the ground with either tiled or thatched roofing. Thin sliding doors were used instead of walls to adapt the interior space for different occasions. People would usually sit on the floor or on cushions; chairs and tables were not commonly used until the 20th century’s […]

Chonmage, Shimada, and Other Traditional Japanese Hairstyles

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Popular celebrities like Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington, Leonardo di Caprio, and Jared Leto have sported long hair tied in a knot, also known as man buns. Men have been wearing their hair long for centuries; it seems man buns are here to stay. In Japan, the chonmage (丁髷) is a type of Japanese men’s haircut that was […]

Great Shopping Spots In Tokyo

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It’s always fun to go shopping when traveling in a new place. Japan’s capital, Tokyo, is a fun and exciting place to visit. But Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and not knowing where to find great bargains can cost you a pretty penny. Here are some places to shop when […]

Fascinating Samurai in Japan’s History

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Samurai were a fascinating part of Japan’s history. Their strict adherence to their code of honor (bushidō) is awe-inspiring. Their cunning skills in swordsmanship and warfare tactics truly made them exceptional military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan. Here are two notable samurai: Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長)  1534 – 1582, was a powerful samurai daimyo warlord of the late […]

Battle of Kōan: The Second Mongol Invasion

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The Battle of Kōan (弘安の役)  is also known as the Second Battle of Hakata Bay. The first was a failed attempt seven years earlier in the Battle of Bun’ei, when by divine providence the Japanese were aided by a storm they refer to as kamikaze (divine wind), a name that was later used in World War II for […]