Discovering the Thousand Year Old Mōtsū-ji Temple


In the smallest municipality of Iwate Prefecture in Japan, surrounded by the Katami Mountains and nestled in a basin, lies the picturesque town of  Hiraizumi. The historic town was a part of ancient Mutsu Province and was the home of the Hiraizumi Fujiwaras (a Japanese noble family who ruled the Tōhoku region) for some one hundred years in […]

KCP Summer Short-term 2015 Students Tour Hosei University


Hosei University was initially Tōkyō Hōgakusha (Tokyo association of law), established in 1880. It was renamed Tōkyō Hōgakkō (Tokyo school of law) a year later. Dr. Gustave Émile Boissonade de Fontarabie (1825–1910) was a French legal scholar credited for drafting most of Japan’s civil code during the Meiji Era. He was honored as one of the founders […]

Yatsuhashi: The Eight–Planked Bridge of Japanese Gardens


Some Japanese gardens have an intriguing type of bridge made from eight narrow wooden planks forming a zigzag pattern. These unique bridges are called yatsuhashi, meaning “eight bridges.” They are commonly used to cross shallow marshes or ponds with beautiful iris flowers. The yatsuhashi bridge’s name comes from the Heian period collection of poems and narratives, […]

More Japanese Street Foods to Enjoy!


Many countries boast of their unique kinds of street food. Sampling various street food from a particular place will give you a taste of their authentic traditional cuisine. Street food is usually ready to eat food sold in a street or public area by a hawker or a vendor from a booth or food cart that can […]

Motonosumi Inari shrine and its magnificent 123 torii


Nagato City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, was only founded on 31 March 1954. It includes the smaller towns of Fukawa, Misumi, Yuya, Heki, Senzaki, and Kayoi, as well as Omijima island. Nagato City has an estimated population of 37,998.  Nagato remains peaceful and quaint as if it exists in an era long gone. Within this […]

Amazing Japanese Toilets


Your derriere will sure know pampering with the elaborate toilets found in Japan. The bidet toilet installed in at least 72% of Japanese households is the current state of the art Western-style toilet. Bidets are often called washlets (a brand name of Toto Ltd.), and common features include bidet and anus washing, seat warming, and […]

Nengō: The Japanese Era Name


The Japanese calendar scheme is identified by two elements: the first is nengō or gengō (the Japanese era name) and the second is a number that indicates the number of years since an era began. The nengō system was derived from the Chinese Imperial practice that dates back to 140 B.C.E. and was also common practice in […]

Washi: traditional Japanese paper


Washi, a type of paper unique to Japan and one of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage objects, is made of fibers from the barks of mulberry (kozo) and gampi  trees and the mitsumata shrub. Hemp, bamboo, rice, and wheat are also used to make washi. There are some areas in Japan where you can see how washi is made. […]

Learn More About the Wonders of Hokkaido


Hokkaido, which means “Northern Sea Circuit,” is Japan’s second largest island and the northernmost of all the 47 prefectures. The island of Hokkaido is separated from Honshu by the Tsugaru Strait, but the underwater railway, Seikan Tunnel, connects the two. Hokkaido was initially the home of indigenous ethnic groups such as the Nivkh, Orok, and Ainu around 20,000 years ago. […]

Kyaraben: Cute and Delicious Character Bento Boxes


Bentos (Japanese boxed lunch) are popular among Japanese for a fast and easy way to grab a meal. They are single portion meals that can either be prepared at home, as takeout from restaurants, or pre-packed at convenience stores. It’s an economical, healthful, and delicious meal-in-one that is readily available almost anywhere around Japan. The […]