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Colette Kinder Answers the Question, Why KCP?

  • Posted by:
  • September 15, 2014

With all the study abroad programs that offer Japanese language courses, you might wonder what sets KCP apart from the rest. In this informative post, KCP student Colette Kinder answers the question, “Why KCP?”

colette1Often I get asked why I chose to attend KCP rather than a Japanese university, or another language school somewhere else in the country. There was a handful of study abroad options for going to Japan offered at my university, all of them great programs. However, what set KCP apart from the rest of the study abroad options is its direct-method approach and the intensity of the program. When people ask how difficult KCP is, I have a hard time giving an answer because it depends on a variety of factors, including one’s study habits, what level they are placed in, and how adaptable they are to a new environment. Although the program is rather difficult and may appear overwhelming, I believe it is the best way to improve one’s Japanese quickly and efficiently.

Colette Kinder. | KCP Flickr

KCP classes (excluding the American program cultural class) are taught in 99.9% Japanese. The .1% missing there is on the first day, when you are taught basic Japanese greetings, and translations in everyone’s native tongue are provided. After this day, you will no longer receive in-class instruction in English. Using this method, one associates Japanese with the ideas rather than the English, giving them the ability to understand Japanese rather than translate it. In other words, when learning vocabulary and grammar, if you see a picture then hear the Japanese, your brain will start to associate that picture with the Japanese. If you learn the English, then the Japanese, your brain will have to think from English and change into Japanese, which makes for poor, slow conversation and writing skills. By learning Japanese using Japanese, you train your brain to think directly in the language, eliminating need for translation.


I took Japanese for three quarters at my university. I had a very knowledgeable, helpful teacher who taught to the best of his ability. While I am very grateful for his instruction and help, taking Japanese class at an American university is nothing compared to taking it at KCP. About halfway through level one (one quarter) at KCP, I learned more Japanese and improved my skill significantly more than I learned in level one (three quarters) at my university. My results are not particularly amazing or special; everyone who tries their hardest at KCP will improve immensely. With a highly-dedicated staff and teachers, they make sure no hardworking student is ever left behind.

 Class in session. | KCP Flickr

The reason I chose KCP rather than any other school, including Japanese universities, is that I wanted to focus on improving my language skills quickly and efficiently. KCP is not for people who do not like hard work, or for people who are simply trying to fulfil their study abroad requirement for their major. KCP requires a lot of dedication, time, and patience, and I do not believe it should be taken lightly. I have met American students at KCP who struggled because they were not prepared for how difficult it would be. I do not want to discourage anyone who wants to improve, however, from applying. I don’t want to scare anyone off. You get out of life what you put in, so if you’re ready to work hard, step out of your comfort zone, and give it your all, I believe KCP is right for you.

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Japanese study tips: train time to your advantage

  • Posted by:
  • August 30, 2014

When you’re in Tokyo, immersed in Japanese all the time, it’s natural to be swept away on the current of novelty and excitement that surrounds you. But riding the waves on its own won’t bring you the language mastery you’re there for. KCP faculty members are known for their willingness to help you learn and work with any confusion you have; but you need to kick your mind into gear.

The secret is to use your time well. Here is a collection of ideas and suggestions from other KCP students.


time1Your most basic tool is memorization: Japanese involves LOTS of it. But memorization takes time, in small, steady increments, every day. How do you work it in?

  • If you don’t know Japanese yet, wake up your memory muscles by learning basic kana on our kana page. You might try for complete mastering and recall of one practice sheet each day, reviewing the previous sheets as well. This builds stamina.
  • As you memorize each day’s new characters, visualize situations to use them right away, and do so.
  • Make flash cards and study them on the train during your commutes—an excellent way to turn those commutes into productive time.
  • Get a study buddy and test each other.
  • Don’t plan on cramming. Cramming is not a strategy; it’s an avoidance tactic, and it seldom works, especially when memorizing a large amount of material.

Work and Play

  • Build time in to your daily schedule—2 to 4 hours—for homework and study. Probably best to do it at the same time each day.
  • Know your priorities for your current activity, and don’t get sidetracked.
  • time2For best retention of material and best study attitude, break up those 4 hours into two chunks, with an hour or so of lively recreation in between. A walk to (or in) a park or place to eat with friends can make all the difference. Exercise really helps too.
  • Light-hearted fun with friends or host family when not studying, make the study go better. There are several parks near KCP, and many others (and shrines, stores, museums, eateries) in Tokyo alone.

Spare Time

  • Arrange to see some of Tokyo (and the surrounding region) on your own or with friends. Getting out of town is wonderful for gaining perspective.
  • Choose your friends well. You’re all in this together; if you have friends who share your study priorities, it’s a win-win.
  • Each day, make a point of using the Japanese you just learned to those you deal with in shops, etc.


  • time3If you’re not getting it, or falling behind, tell your teacher or student coordinator. Everyone is very eager to help you.
  • KCP’s small-group sessions outside of class are the perfect places to hone your mastery of what got taught in class or work on your own sticking points.
  • So your brain will perform at its peak, get enough sleep!


If you can make these ideas personal to you and follow them not only will you shift your Japanese into high gear; in learning to sustain your focus, you will have gained a skill that will help you throughout your life.

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Discovering Nikkō

  • Posted by:
  • August 27, 2014

Nikkō (日光市 ) is one of the most picturesque cities in Japan.  Nikkō, which means “sunshine” or “sunlight,” is situated in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture. This popular destination for locals and tourists alike features several places that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikkō.  Nikkō is known for its many hot springs, the mausoleum of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate) and his grandson Iemitsu, the Futarasan shrine (a Shinto shrine founded by Shōdō Shōnin in 767), Rinnō-ji (complex of 15 Buddhist temple buildings), and Nikkō National Park, feautring some of Japan’s breathtaking waterfalls and trails.


Torii and pagoda. | Kageaki Smith

Shōdō Shōnin’s Influence

Shōdō Shōnin  is one of the greatest Buddhist monks of the Heian period.  He crossed the Daiya river and founded Rinnō-ji in 766 and the temple of Chūzen-ji in 784 which houses the thousand armed Kannon. It is believed that Shōdō Shōnin himself carved the statue from a single Katsura tree. The village of Nikkō expanded around these temples.   The completion of Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine, the final resting place of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1617, drew in more visitors to the developing mountain district. And as the number of people visiting Nikkō grew, new roads were made to allow easier access.


Nikkō’s Sacred Bridge. | Kageaki Smith


The Meiji period saw the emergence of mountain resorts in Nikkō, popular for many foreign visitors and locals. The Japanese National Railways recognized the growth in visitors to Nikkō and the company began servicing the route in 1890 with the Nikkō Line. In 1929, the Tobu Railway also expanded to service a Nikkō Line. In 1889, Nikkō was incorporated into a town as part of Kamitsuga District and finally became a city in 1954 after it merged with the village of Okorogawa. In 2006, the city of Imachi, the town of Ashio, the town of Fujihara, and the village of Kuriyama further merged with the city of Nikkō.


Nikkō street scene. | Kageaki Smith

KCP students often experience the spectacular sights of Nikkō as part of their culture trip. It’s a great way to get to know the unique traditions and way of life of the people of Japan.

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Japanese Cold and Cough Home Remedies

  • Posted by:
  • August 24, 2014

It is sometimes unavoidable to have the occasional sniffles or to catch the common cough or cold in your travels. Foreign countries may have different policies on what types of medication you are allowed to bring in. Japan in particular is very stringent on the types of medicines you can bring in whether it be over the counter medication or prescription drugs.  Luckily, there are some wonderful Japanese home remedies that you can try that just might chase away your ailment.

Umeboshi colds1 (pickled plums) was part of a samurai’s field ration because it was said to combat fatigue.  If you feel like you have the flu, umeboshi, when heated in low heat and added to hot tea, can cause you to sweat, thus lowering your temperature. The citric acid found in umeboshi acts as an antibacterial agent and also helps increase the production of saliva which aids in proper digestion.

Honey  is an effective cough suppressant and works similar to the over the counter medication dextromethorphan. Medical studies indicate that honey seems to reduce nighttime coughing as well as improve sleep.

Honey. | Rachel

Daikon  (radish) is rich in Vitamin C that strengthens the immune system and helps the body combat respiratory diseases.  Raw daikon juice also helps dissolve phlegm and mucus.

Renkoncolds2 (lotus root) is used in many cooking techniques: pickled, stir fried, an ingredient for salads, and as a dry snack food in Japan. It is also known to have tannins (a type of biomolecule) and polyphenols that are effective in relieving hay fever.

Renkon. | Jack

Green tea is rich in antioxidant polyphenols and flavonoids, and may also have antiviral properties. Green tea can be an effective way to relieve a sore throat by mixing a strong cup and allowing it to cool for 30 minutes. Instead of drinking it, gargle with it.

Mixing honey and daikon also makes a great natural cough and cold remedy. Next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather, try a more healthful, more natural approach.

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Celebrate August Festivals in Japan

  • Posted by:
  • August 20, 2014

Many spectacular Japanese festivals or matsuri (祭) usher in the month of August. Here are August exciting festivals to celebrate:

Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuriaugfest1 (August 5–7) in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture, is a relatively new festival, first celebrated in 1964. It attracts over a million spectators each year and is one of the major festivals of the Tohoku area (Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Aomori, Yamagata, and Akita prefectures). Traditional taiko drummers, elaborately decorated floats, and over 10,000 dancers in traditional Japanese costumes parade through the streets of Yamagata city.

Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri. | f_a_r_e_w_e_l_l

Gujo Odori Dance Festival in Gujo City, Gifu Prefecture, is one of the three most celebrated dance festivals in Japan. The Japanese government has designated it a Significant Intangible Cultural Folk Asset.  The Gujo Odori Dance Festival dates back 400 years and became widely popular during the Edo period as a way to promote harmonious ties between rival classes—farmers, artisans, tradesmen, and warriors. Tetsuya Odori (August 13–16) is the highlight of the festivities. It runs for four nights and people dance all night long from evening until morning.

Sendai Tanabata Matsuri augfest2 in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is held each year on the 7th day of the 7th month of the year depending on either the solar or lunar calendar and the area in Japan. In some places the festival is celebrated in July; in others, August.  It is one of the largest, most famous celebrations in Japan.

Sendai Tanabata Matsuri. | Yuichi Shiraishi

Yamaga Toro Matsuri in Yamaga City, Kumamoto Prefecture, is held at Omiya-Shrine and is one of the greatest fire festivals in Japan. Kumamoto is also known as the “Land of Fire.” Other fire festivals are also celebrated in August in Kumamoto, such as the Kikusui-machi Kofun Matsuri (Kikusui-machi Burial Mounds Festival) in early August and  Hi-no-Kuni Matsuri (Land of Fire Festival) in mid-August. The origin of the festivals goes back to the ancient Japanese legend where the Emperor and his entourage could not travel any farther because of a thick fog. He was received by the villagers who held pine torches to light his path. Sennin Toro Odori is a re-enactment of the old legend and is truly a sight to behold.

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Finding Beauty and Tranquility in Yamadera

  • Posted by:
  • August 18, 2014

Yamadera (山寺) is a Japanese temple located in the northeast mountains of Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture. The picturesque temple is built on a steep mountainside that allows you a spectacular view of the valley below.  Yamadera, literally meaning “mountain temple” in Japanese, is only a 20-minute train ride from the Senzan Line, and the mountain base leading to the temple is a short walk from the station with dozens of shops and restaurants lining the streets.  Its magnificent view, history, and cultural relevance have made Yamadera one of Japan’s nationally-designated Places of Scenic Beauty and Historic Sites.


Yamadera. | Kwong Yee Cheng


Yamadera was founded in 860 by the priest Ennin (Jikaku Daishi, 794–864 CE) of the Tendai sect and was officially called Risshakuji.  During the time Ennin was in China, Emperor Wuzong of Tang was responsible for the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution of 842–846 that led to the deportation of Ennin to Japan in 847. Ennin became the third abbot of the Tendai sect at Enryakuji near Kyoto, where he built buildings to store the collection of written works and other religious articles he brought back from China. His dedication to Buddhism and the study of the Tendai school and its monastic complex gave the sect recognition in Japan. The main contributions of Ennin were the strengthening of the Tendai tantric Buddhist tradition and the nenbutsu (Pure Land recitation practices) and laying the foundation for the Pure Land movements during the Kamakura Period (1185–1333).

Statue of Ennin. | Jnn

yamadera3Most of Yamadera was destroyed during the warring states period in the early 16th century but was rebuilt in 1543, headed by the Buddhist monk Enkai. The Edo Period (1600–1868) saw a solid institution in Yamadera with a fiefdom producing 1,420 koku (equal to one cubic meter of rice).

Yamadera’s main hall (Konpon-chūdō) was built during the Muromachi Period (1333–1568) by the then lord of Yamagata, Shiba Kanetori. Made of beech wood, it is considered a cultural asset of Japan. The ritual fires that still light the temple were brought from Enryakiji and have been burning for centuries as an eternal flame. One must climb a thousand steps lined with thick cedar trees to get to the mountaintop where the temple awaits. All these make Yamadera truly a sight to behold. There are few places that leave such an imprint in an otherwise modern and busy world.

Steps to Yamadera. | Kwong Yee Cheng

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Kutani Ware: Japanese Ceramic Style

  • Posted by:
  • August 14, 2014

Kutani ware (九谷焼 Kutani-yaki) is a style of Japanese Gotō Saijirō porcelain known for its colorful, vibrant painted designs.  Kutani ware was established by Gotō Saijirō of the Maeda Clan.  He was responsible for setting up a kiln in the village of Kutani, now part of the city of Kaga, under the orders of Maeda Toshiharu, head of the Kaga domain.

kutani2Kutani ware (from the Kutani/nine valleys Village) was first documented in 1655, in the first year of the Myoreki epoch. The Kutani mine belonging to the Daishoji Clan had ideal stones to create porcelain. Lord Maeda Toshiharu then instructed Gotō Saijirō to travel to Arita Village and learn the art of making porcelain.

Old kutani furnace (left)/Stone monument of Gotō Saijirō (right) | Namazu-tron

The history of Kutani Ware can be divided into three periods.

Ko-Kutani, meaning old Kutani, are ceramics produced during the first 50 years. These ceramics usually consist of five colors: red, yellow, purple, blue, and green.  The traditional Ko-Kutani making process was passed down from one generation to the next, but its continuity halted sometime in the 1800s. Some reasons for the decline were the lack of patronage from the Daishoji clan and the rising popularity of the Arita Ware style, an Imari Iroe porcelain.

kutani3Saiko Kutani, meaning the revival of Kutani, originates from the Kasugayama Kiln in Kanazawa 100 years after Ko-Kutani. Many kilns with varying styles competed with one another. One of the more prominent techniques at the time was Kinrade that featured red and gold designs.

The last Kutani period emerged at the beginning of the Meiji era sometime in the 1860s. At the same time, Kutani Ware was introduced in Europe. The more popular design at the time was “Saishoku-Kinrande,” a technique involving the use of modern paint and Western materials combined with old Kutani methods.

Kutani cup. | Virginia Hill

Over the years, Japanese master potters developed other techniques such as the use of gold leaf and other colors that come out with proper firing and also transform the material into glass. Kutani come in a broad range of designs and colors, from simple to elaborate gold leaf mainly produced in Kanazawa. The “Yuri-Kinsai” technique, a glazed gold leaf over the surface of a piece, was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property in 2001. A memorial to Gotō has also been erected near an old Kutani ware kiln in the city of Kaga.

Check out this video from the factory of Konami Choemon:


Click image or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cbb3AhW4xo

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Applying for a Yakkan Shoumei, by KCP student Steven Trapani

  • Posted by:
  • August 11, 2014

Before leaving for your study abroad adventure in Japan, keep in mind that there are policies when it comes to bringing in medication. Steven Trapani, a Fall 2014 KCP student, discusses in detail how to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei (import certificate) and provides excellent tips on how to make it a smooth process. Thanks for sharing, Steven!

yakkan1Studying abroad really takes a lot of planning. After a lot of research on what happens when I arrive in Tokyo, I discovered that with prescription  medications, you are only allowed to bring in one month’s supply. I am unfortunately on some medications due to allergy issues. I will be in Japan for a total of 80 days so I would like to have the full supply of medication that I need.

Medicine. | Taki Steve

Applying for a Yakkan Shoumei

I found that I need to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei Certificate. This goes for anything that you will be bringing into Japan that requires more than a month’s supply. Even over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or eye drops.

1. Please read this entire site: http://www.uctsc.org/YakkanShomei.html. KCP students meet at Narita airport so that is the link you click on. They have PDF/Word documents and sample forms as well. You can print them all out.

2. Go to your doctor and ask for prescriptions. I was able to get 3 months’ supply with my insurance. Before you get your prescription filled, make a copy of it.

yakkan23. Once you get your medication filled, you will see a sheet with details such as manufacturer, side effects, and appearance. Hold onto that sheet.

Note: When you apply for the Yakkan Shoumei, you will need to have your flight arranged already.

4. Scan your air flight itinerary into a PDF file. (I booked my flight early due to the Yakkan Shoumei.)

Shinjuku. | KCP Flickr

5. Prepare a letter explaining why you are requesting the certificate, what medications you will be bringing in, and where you are studying and for how long. Save this along with your flight details. Make sure the letter contains your email address. Also make sure to state in the letter that the medications are for your own personal use.

6. Next, scan in your first prescription. On the script, put your email address. Make sure the script has everything filled out on it: Name, address, birth date.

yakkan37. The next step is to fill out your first sheet IMPORT REPORT OF MEDICATION. For every script you have, you need to fill out one of these sheets. If you have 5 scripts, then you need 5 sheets. On the top right, put year-month-date. Make sure on the top (in parentheses) you write the word “medication.” Next, write your name in print, and include signature, address, phone number, and email. Make sure you write “U.S.A” by the address. Next box down is name and size of import products. This means your medication and the milligrams. To the right of that box is the quantity (for me it’s 90#). Next box down circle “FOR PERSONAL USE.” (I also wrote for personal use next to it.) Next is Name of Manufacturer and Country of Origin for which my medication was IVAX PHARM USA . You can find the manufacturer on the paper that came with your medication or on the bottle. Underneath is the date that you will arrive. Next box to the right is Flight. (Mine is : “UNITED AIRLINE FLIGHT 79- 1:55 p.m.” Next box to the right is arrival place, TOKYO NARITA AIRPORT. Once you’re done filling out this paper, scan it into your PDF file.

Narita Airport. | i nao

8. The next sheet says EXPLANATION OF PRODUCTS and the first box is name of product (mine is Famotidine.) Next box is name of manufacturer (mine is IVAX PHARM USA.) Next box down is chemical name. I called my pharmacy who told me that the chemical name for Famotidine is “Famotidine.” I wrote that in. (It’s not always the case that the product name and chemical name are the same.) Next is ingredients and quantity. For me it was 40mg and 90#. Next box is Efficacy, For mine, I wrote: Treat and prevent ulcers, treat and prevent heart burn. Next box is specifications. I wrote, “Take one tablet at bedtime. Pill is in bottle with label.” When you’re done filling out that sheet of paper, scan it into a PDF file.

9. Next, scan your pharmacy medication info sheet. My sheet says CVS CAREMARK MEDICATION INFO FOR STEVEN TRAPANI. If your medication happens to be generic, please also write that in so they know it is generic. Or if it states that it is generic, on your info sheet highlight it.

intro1To recap, what you need:

A. Flight Itinerary
B. Letter explaining what you are asking for and why. Include all the necessary information: Email, name, where you are studying, medications you are bringing in, date of arrival and departure.
C. Prescription.
D. Sheet that says: Import Report of Medication.
E. Sheet that says: Explanation of Products.
F. Medication information sheet.

Tokyo. | KCP Flickr


  • Keep in mind: with every prescription you have you need to fill out the two forms. So you may need to make copies of them before you start filling them out.
  • I take several medications, so I had a large PDF file. What I did was scan everything and separated them into several emails. When emailing Japan, there is a limit on file size, so it is in your best interest to break it down. I had 3 separate emails. I asked for a read receipt. I also flagged my email as high priority. My email subject was Yakkan Shoumei number 1 of 3, next email subject was Yakkan Shoumei number 2 of 3 … you get the picture.
  • Here is the good news. They DO accept everything through email, despite what it states on the web site. Once they received my emails and checked everything out, I received my certificates in about a week.
  • You will receive your copy of the certificate, stamped of every prescription that you applied for. So if you applied for 5 , you will receive 5 that are stamped.
  • Whatever you scanned in, hold onto it and staple it together because you will need to bring it to the airport along with your certificates. Keep everything together.
  • Yakkan Shoumei email address: 外国人 薬監相談(yakkan-shomei)   yakkan-shomei@mhlw.go.jp
  • Add their email address (see above) to your email contacts so the certificates they send you do not end up in your spam or junk folder.
  • Very important: once you get your certificate, you will need to use the pill bottles that you referred to for your trip to Japan. The reason for this is because whatever you wrote down on the papers is what you need to bring in. Sometimes manufacturers change. You want to bring in exactly what you applied for.
  • If you need to bring more than the restricted quantity of medication into Japan for personal use, and you plan to arrive at one of the following airports, please contact the following Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare during business hours.

( Monday to Friday, 09 : 30 to 17: 45 ) :
Tokyo (Narita) International Airport (Kantou-Shinetsu office)
Phone : +81-48-740-0800
Fax : +81-48-601-1336

This is the info for Narita airport. I did call them with some questions, and they were very helpful.

  • Apply for your certificate early. I am glad I have mine already; it’s one less thing to do. Put all your paperwork together for all your medications. A folder or gallon size zip-lock bag would be good. Best to keep it with your medication in your carry-on or backpack. It all stays with you on your flight.

Remember, there are certain medications that they DO NOT allow in Japan.

Good luck! I hope I will meet many of you if you are attending KCP Fall of 2014 on our study abroad experience!


Related links:

Bringing Medication for Personal Use Into Japan

Information on importing medicine from overseas at www.mhlw.go.jp


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Reliving the Past in Nara

  • Posted by:
  • August 7, 2014

Heijō-kyō (平城京), also known as Nara no miyako, was the capital city of Japan during the Nara period (710–794 CE). During this time, Heijō-kyō was the country’s political and cultural center and was modeled  after the most prosperous capital city of China during the Tang Dynasty, Chang’an. Heijō-kyō, or Nara, was 2,500 hectares and measured 5.9 kilometers east to west, and 4.8 kilometers north to south. The former capital was considered to be a vast and very advanced city in Asia.

nara2Nara’s main street, Suzaku Avenue, proudly stretched all the way from Heijo Palace in the north to the Suzakumon Gate in the southernmost entrance of the capital. Roads were constructed in a grid pattern leading left and right, a revolutionary achievement at the time.

The imperial palace in Heijō-kyō is considered one of Japan’s Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Heijo-kyu History Museum, the Heijo Palace Site Museum, and the Excavation Site Exhibition Hall house all the artifacts of an era long gone and have influenced the rich culture and history of the Japanese people.

Heijō palace. | Tamago Moffle

nara3Heijō-kyō was made the capital city of Japan in 708 CE by Empress Gemmei. The city was a bustling metropolis full of merchants from neighboring countries, especially China, India, and Korea. These merchants introduced their unique cultures along the Silk Road.  This allowed Heijō-kyō to become a prosperous capital that became Japan’s first international and political hub during that era. Its population grew to an all time peak of 100,000.

Bronze Buddha at Tōdai-ji temple, Nara. | Fabien

naradeerToday, Nara is no longer the capital city, but it still is the site of several historical temples and the home of the Nara Daibutsu, a 15-meter tall bronze Buddha. More surprisingly, as of late, Nara has become popular for its deer population. Nara Park, a 500-hectare area is home to over a thousand deer. Most of the time, the deer are able to stray out of the park and walk along the streets of Nara. The residents don’t seem to mind sharing their city with the deer. For many of the visitors, the deer are an added bonus to all the amazing sights of the historical city.

Nara deer. | Kageaki Smith

Check out the deer population at Nara (YouTube video clip by BLUEBELL S9999):








Click image or here: http://youtu.be/gSxzTNcVezU


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The Beautiful Island of Enoshima

  • Posted by:
  • August 4, 2014

Enoshima (江の島) is an island portion of mainland Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. The small island is at the mouth of Katase River where it flows into Sagami Bay, and it’s close to Tokyo, where some of the most beautiful beaches accessible from the city are found. The entire island of Enoshima is dedicated to the goddess of music and entertainment, Benzaiten. Japanese folk legends tell us that the Goddess Benzaiten caused the island to rise from the bottom of the sea sometime in the sixth century. Enoshima was also the setting for the written work Enoshima Engi by the Buddhist monk Kōkei, which documents the history of shrines on the island. Samuel Cocking, a British merchant, also obtained an area of Enoshima and turned it into botanical garden that attracts many visitors even today.


View of Enoshima. | KCP Flickr

There are beautiful places to see in Enoshima. Some of these are:

Enoshima Aquarium – a large modern aquarium along the beach across the bridge of Enoshima. The aquarium displays a rich assortment of aquatic life found only in Sagami Bay.

enoshima2Iwaya Caves – along the southern cliffs of Enoshima’s coast. One cave houses Buddhist statues, and the other is dedicated to the legendary dragon that old Japanese stories say used to terrorize the area.

Samuel Cocking Garden –  a botanical garden that dates back to 1880. The garden features gorgeous camellia trees and a 200-ft.-tall lookout tower that allows you to see the spectacular view of Mount Fuji on a clear day.

KCP students admire the view. | KCP Flickr


Enoshima Daishi – a modern Buddhist temple belonging to the Shingon Sect that houses a huge statue of Fudomyo, the protector of Buddhism.

Enoshima Shrine – is comprised of three different shrines in different areas around the island. The main complex is an octagonal building that houses three of the most venerated statue of the Goddess Benzaiten, the patron goddess of the island.

Shrine entrance. | KCP Flickr

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