Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree

Towering Over Tokyo
The Eastern capital home to neo-traditional culture, trend setting innovations, and internationally acclaimed cuisine is now also home to not one but two symbolic towers.

Tokyo has for a long time been symbolized by a 333 meter (1093 ft) tall steel structure of crimson and white, commonly referred to as the Tokyo Tower. When NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation began first broadcasting television in 1953, they followed through with the construction of their very own transmission tower. This resulted in a frenzy of private broadcasting companies initiating operation. In order to prevent a multitude of private transmission towers from eventually taking over the city, the government decided on building one solitary tower that would be capable of transmitting throughout the Kanto region. Construction of the Tokyo Tower took off in June of 1957, and was completed merely 15 months later, on December 23th, 1958. At the time of its completion, Tokyo Tower was the world’s tallest freestanding tower in the world. However it still managed to weigh 3,000 tons less than its model, the Eiffel Tower, despite the fact that the Eiffel Tower came in 13 meters shorter. The 4,000 ton creation was quick to be accepted into the hearts of many, and since its erection has made countless appearances in movies, dramas, novels, and mangas.

Yet Tokyo Tower may be feeling a little lack of affection now that there is a new contender in the field, TOKYO SKYTREE. Completed almost exactly a year ago on February 29th, 2012, TOKYO SKYTREE was built with the purpose of providing full and complete coverage of digital terrestrial television broadcasting. This was a duty that the Tokyo Tower lacked in height to accomplish ever since the digital television transition finalized in July of 2011. The TOKYO SKYTREE towers over all in sight with its groundbreaking height of 634 meters (2080 ft), also making it the current tallest tower in the world. Creating a world record was an unparalleled feat requiring over 800 million US dollars in funds, 4 years 7 months of preparation, an additional 3 years 7 months of construction, and a total of 580,000 workers. Extensive media coverage throughout its various stages of construction resulted in immense public interest and growing anticipation for its completion. When it was finally opened to the public in May of 2012, the tickets to the observation decks were fully booked for an entire 2 months, and within the first week TOKYO SKYTREE had attracted a total of over 1.6 million visitors. While 1.6 million accounts to a staggering 1/8 the entire population of Tokyo, TOKYO SKYTREE expects to attract 20 times that amount – 32 million visitors – within the first year. And with over 300 entertainment and leisure facilities, cutting edge technology, and delicate attention to detail, 32 million may turn out to be a modest underestimation.

Now that Tokyo is home to not one but two broadcasting towers, and two that completely differ in style at that, the citizens of Tokyo have the choice of choosing their favorite. There may be more diehard Tokyo Tower fans than enthusiasts of TOKYO SKYTREE, or it may in fact be vice versa. However no matter what the popularity consensus may be, there is no denying that both are towers of great significance representing the old and the new straight from the heart of Tokyo.

Did you know…?
Tokyo Tower:
・ There is a Shinto shrine on the second floor (150 m/492 ft) which is the highest located shrine within central Tokyo.
・ Ninety U.S. tanks were recycled to produce 3,000 tons of metal to construct the upper half of the tower.
・ The entire tower was assembled manually, requiring steeplejacks to work in extreme altitudes.
・ Every 5 years a fresh coat of paint is applied using 28,000 liters (7,400 US gal) of paint and taking a whole year to complete.
・ Tokyo Tower was built to withstand winds over 220 km (140 mi) per hour.

・ The height signifies the former name of the region where TOKYO SKYTREE now stands, “Musashi”, with the digits spelling it out (6=“mu”, 3=“sa”, 4=“shi”)
・ The official name was decided after a nationwide online vote, with the second runner up being “Tokyo Edo Tower”.
・ The elevator leading to the lower observatory deck moves at a speed of 600 m (1968 ft) per minute.
・ TOKYO SKYTREE uses all LED lights supplied by Panasonic Corporation allowing for over 16 million different variations of lighting.

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

World Heritage Site and Coffee Shop: View of the town at the Iwami silver mine

The Iwami silver mine in Shimane Prefecture was named a World Heritage Site in 2007. From the late 16th to early 17th century, from Japan’s warring states period to the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1867), this town hosted Japan’s largest silver mine (now defunct). At the mine’s peak, Japan is believed to have accounted for nearly one-third of all the silver produced in the world. At this World Heritage Site in the remote mountains, an Italian coffee producer with a history of over 100 years has set up its Japan headquarters.

Café Cagliari, according to its Web site, was founded in Modena, Italy in 1909. The coffee blend developed by its founder, Ambrogio Cagliari, and its “distinctive flavor and aroma” has been praised as “Cagliari family magic,” capable of captivating “not only gourmands, but people who had not previously consumed coffee.” From its Japan headquarters at Iwami, the company does mail order business throughout Japan and visitors can also taste the wares for a very reasonable price of 350 yen ($3.38) per cup. Its president, Masayuki Ono, says, “I was told by Café Cagliari’s president ‘Coffee is something that is imbibed while relaxing. So to enable people to relax while drinking it, you can’t make the price too expensive.’ This is why we chose a location that’s rich in nature, and where rents are low.”

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

The great torii gate at the Itsukushima Shrine

The Itsukushima Shrine, located at Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture, is one of the three scenic beauties in Japan and also a World Heritage Site. Many deer wander the grounds here, and as they’ve become accustomed to humans, they approach to beg for food. Many of the deer will consume paper or vinyl containers and drink practically anything, which negatively affects their health. The shrines have requested visitors not to feed the deer, but at another World Heritage Site in Nara City, the tourists are able to purchase special “deer crackers” specially offered for feeding the many deer at those places.

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

Tokyo Station: Reverting to a Century-old Appearance

Tokyo Station: Reverting to a Century-old Appearance

Last October, restoration of the red-brick western façade of Tokyo Central Station was completed. The project, to restore it to its original appearance, required five years and a budget of 50 billion yen ($500 million). A portion of the station was damaged by fire in an air raid during the Second World War, but remained in use after undergoing partial repairs. To commemorate the building’s centenary, the Tokyo metropolitan government decided to restore the station to its original appearance. The building is 335 meters long, about 20 meters wide and its domed roofs on the south and north ends of the building are about 45 meters high. The station’s distinctive “retro” appearance has made it one of Tokyo’s new sightseeing spots, and many visitors can be seen standing beneath the elegant domes, taking photos of the baroque ceilings with their cell phone cameras.

While numerous suggestions and proposals were advanced to replace the old station building with a modern high-rise, many people were in favor of retaining the original landmark, and in 1999 the decision was made to proceed with its restoration.

The building incorporates a newly refurbished Tokyo Station Hotel, and also operates a new Travel Service Center offering assistance in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Tokyo Central Station is one of the major rail hubs in the capital, with more than one million commuters and intercity travelers each day passing through aboard Japan Railway Co. and several subway lines. One hundred years from now, will this famous old station still stand out as one of the “familiar faces of Japan”?

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

Kyoto in Winter

Enjoy Kyoto Winters

As the busiest travel season in the year comes to a close, one begins to feel the coolness of winter in the air, and the season where one can even more fully savor trips to Kyoto begins. As there are fewer tourists, one can more carefully observe temples and shrines, and the cold of winter bestows delicious cuisine unlike any other season. This month we will report on the pleasures of Kyoto winters.

As for topics in December, we will begin with “Arashiyama Hanatoro.” The entire area of Arashiyama, with fall colors still lingering, is colored by various illuminations. The paths and alleyways from the Togetsukyo Bridge, passing through the Sagano Bamboo Grove, to the area around the Nison-in Temple are illuminated by paper lanterns which create a deeply Japanese atmosphere, and the bamboo thicket is illuminated in a romantic, wondrous way. The grandeur of the mountains and natural scenery are lit up around the Togetsukyo Bridge, which seems to be floating in its surroundings, and with flower arrangements placed along the pathways, one can enjoy the entirety of Arashiyama in a collaboration of illumination. Temples that are usually closed in the evening have special openings, and the illuminated compounds produce a completely different atmosphere than in the daytime. If you get a little chilly, one can enjoy walking around and trying various hot food and drinks along the way. Arashiyama Hanatoro is held from December 8th (Sat.) to 17th (Mon.) from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM.

As December approaches, and the hustle and bustle of the city of Kyoto marches on, the “Nishiki Market” which is known as Kyoto’s Kitchen becomes even livelier. Assembled in this market are foodstuffs that people cannot go without in their daily lives such as fish, vegetables, processed foods, and pickles. In the season of intense cold the fish retain their fat and become increasingly delicious. Vegetables which can only be procured in Kyoto, known as “Kyo-yasai (Kyoto Vegetables),” vary from regular vegetables in their coloring and nutritional content. Tofu, which can be found anywhere in Japan, is said to be especially delicious when made in Kyoto, and the food made from tofu skin, made from the same soya beans as tofu, are special products of Kyoto. Also, there are tsukemono pickles made from Kyoto Vegetables, and there are many varieties unique to Kyoto at the Nishiki Market. We will guide you through such products that allow one to enjoy the taste of winter.

One is Our Tour “Sushi Making & Nishiki Market Tour.” It is a plan where participants can try their hand at making their own sushi, the representative food of Japan. Using fish in season become a self-made sushi chef and enjoy the taste of sushi you made yourself. After the sushi making course, there will be a tour of the Nishiki Market. There is a guide who explains things in detail, so you can enjoy discovering and knowing intimately food you have never seen before.

Another recommendation is the Experience Kansai “Kyoto Cuisine Awata Sanso” package. Awata Sanso is an architectural masterpiece built sparing no expense, and the buildings and garden are arranged in harmony on the expansive grounds, bringing about a calming atmosphere. In Kyoto kaiseki cuisine, dishes are brought one at time, and while savoring the appearance and scent of the dishes, one can truly experience the art of eating. In order to make it easier for foreigners to dine, there are set menus with prices indicated beforehand.

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

Edo Kiriko: Japanese Cut Glasses Crafts

Sumida Edo Kiriko-kan:

The cutting edge of a traditional craft

Sumida Edo Kiriko-kan occupies the corner of a busy intersection in the historically rich shitamachi (old downtown) part of Tokyo. In 1899, Tatsuo Hirota’s grandfather started his glassmaking workshop in this area and the family business producing household glassware continues until today. However, in 2004, Hirota decided to open the Sumida Edo Kiriko-kan to pay homage to the exquisite traditional craft of Edo Kiriko cut glass. Alongside a small showroom, Sumida Kiriko-kan also allows visitors the opportunity to try and make their own cut glass. 

In 1824, a master glass craftsman Kyubei Kagaya in Edo (former name of Tokyo) began experimenting with cutting designs into glass. Other craftspeople began to embrace this technique and by the Meiji period (mid-19th century), Western tools were introduced allowing more products to be made, turning this into a cottage industry that allowed the rising middle-class to indulge in fine dining ware. In 1985, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government designated Edo Kiriko a traditional craft because it dates back over a century, uses traditional materials and requires expert manual skills. Today, it is a small industry with 89 companies and 165 skilled workers.

Edo Kiriko begins with a glassblower creating a two-layer structure – a clear glass inside with a paper-thin layer of colored glass on the outside. By cutting patterns into the outside surface, a vivid contrast is created between the colored glass and the transparent glass.

Tatsuo Hirota explains how Edo Kiriko was cut
in the Meiji period using a wooden machine
with a pedal to spin the stone wheel.

While the colored glass is most representative of Edo Kiriko, there is another style where using clear glass to etch designs by hand.  At Sumida Kiriko-kan, there are exquisite pieces of artwork with various landmarks of Tokyo or seasonal flowers on display.

“Department stores only carry a limited line of Edo Kiriko, the lower priced products which sell easily. I wanted to celebrate the entire culture of Edo Kiriko and show people a wide range of products,” Hirota explained his rationale for starting his showroom.

At Sumida Kiriko-kan, they specialize in the Otomo family style which has a history dating back four generations. While some traditional crafts are dying off, Hirota is committed to not letting traditional Japanese glasswork end with a whimper. “We must take responsibility for training a younger generation of craftsman who know all the traditional techniques. Yet they have to create new frontiers that meet the needs of current society,” says Hirota.

Some innovations at Sumida include using Edo Kiriko as lampshades. There are also glass mugs capable of holding hot beverages. An intriguing type of tumbler originating at Sumida is the 11-sided glass – something only made possible by hand. The uneven number of sides allows for light and color to reflect through the glass in a more spectacular way. Another innovation here is a prism etched with the Tokyo Sky Tree in it. Another Sky Tree motif is the series of tumblers designed with a vertical lattice symbolizing the structure of the new landmark tower nearby standing 634 meters tall.

Sample of Cinderella’s glass slipper custom
ordered by a famouse amusement park

 While there are affordable glasses perfect for souvenirs and home use available, the showroom attracts visitors who can gaze at the more unique items – such as Cinderella’s glass slipper. Indeed, Hirota Glass had the honor to make a glass slippery for a display at Tokyo Disneyland. Using the Edo Kiriko style, a decorative piece straight out of a fairy tale was created here.

Right now, their master glass cutters are working with designers to create an original line for a five-star hotel’s gift shop. Kozo Kawai, a 20- year veteran and one of the nine master glass cutters here, says developing new work is very exciting. “Of course, as an artisan, I take pride in giving 100% in everything I make,” he says. After high school, through his uncle, Kawai had the opportunity to apprentice as a glass cutter. “It’s not a world where people can easily enter and that made me curious,” he says. A child who loves using his hands, Kawai says that he never used a pencil sharpener – always a knife. The company he first worked for had a policy of letting newcomers learn the trade from the onset unlike some traditional crafts where apprentices are allowed only to clean up and prepare materials for some years.

The showroom is also the workplace of master
cutters such as Kozo Kawai.

While the image of an Edo traditional craftsman is someone who works diligently and do not socialize much, because they are asked to teach workshops constantly, at Sumida Edo Kiriko-kan, someone like Kawai also takes pride in communicating with visitors. He gives succinct instructions and offers practical advice about choosing appropriate patterns for beginners. What’s most impressive is his dedication to checking people’s work to ensure everyone goes home with the best possible creation. His commitment as a master craftsman to promote his trade to every visitor is perhaps the best reflection of an Edo artisan’s spirit. 

Process of Making Edo Kiriko Glass:

Various glasses for beginners to choose from
  • Choose your glass. There will always be several types of glasses to choose from. The blue color provides the greatest contrast when the glass is cut, but it is also the most difficult to see the lines when you are working. A fluted glass is more delicate and suitable for thin lines whereas a tumbler looks striking using a wider cutter.
The various stages (blue), common patterns
(red), cutting stones (top)
  • The next step is to decide on the pattern to engrave. There are samples to choose from. The instructor will help you pick out something realistic from amateurs yet still retains the Edo Kiriko look. Then you draw your pattern on the glass with a washable ink pen.
Kawai demonstrates what to do to beginners
  • Before you work on your own glass, there are sample glasses where you can practice your cutting techniques. It is highly recommended to use this time wisely. There are two diamond cutters, one which cuts thin, delicate lines and the other deeper, wider lines.
  • The cutting stone rotates at a high speed. By placing the glass onto the stone, it engraves a line into it. How long and how thick the line becomes is dependent on how hard and long you press the glass onto the stone. You cut according to the lines you have drawn. Because it is difficult to figure out the exact amount of pressure each time, for a beginner, each set of lines end up looking different from the next. From certain angles, it is difficult to see the lines you have drawn onto the glass. Cutting glass is not an easy task. 
  • After the cutting is finished, you take a washcloth to wipe off the marker lines and admire your piece of artwork.

Of all the traditional crafts I have tried, Edo Kiriko is probably one of the most enjoyable activities. The reason is because most places offer an easy option for people to do – such as a cardholder using material to make a Hina doll or else the master mostly does the work for you like making Edo wind chimes. With Edo Kiriko, you do the work, make mistakes and your creation look nothing like that of a master. Still it is extremely rewarding to have the chance to experience firsthand how such an exquisite work of art is created. It is a difficult task but if you concentrate a few hours on, you can create a really unique and beautiful drinking glass. Most visitors go out the door thinking about what design they would challenge themselves next. This is a highly recommended activity.

Sumida Edo Kiriko-kan

Cost: From 4,000 yen ($50) to cut your own glass/tumbler

Time: Approximately 90 minutes.

Reservation necessary (Groups of up to four at a time)

2-10-9 Taira, Sumida, Tokyo (six minute-walk from Kinshicho Station on JR or subway line)

Ph/Fax: 03-3623-4148

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

5 Ninja Spots in Tokyo, Japan

Ninja Spots in Tokyo

※ Ninja were specially trained warriors who in medieval Japan practiced an ancient martial art and espionage called ninjutsu, which is usually translated into English as “the art of stealth.”

The Hanzomon Gate

Hanzomon Gate at Imperial Palace, Tokyo

On the west side of what used to be the inner walls of Edo Castle, situated right in the heart of Tokyo, is a splendid-looking gate that straddles a wide moat ringed by high inner and outer walls. It’s referred to as the Hanzo-bori (Hanzo moat) and the gate is called Hanzo-mon (Hanzo gate). The name is believed to have been originated from Hattori Hanzo, who was a head of the Iga school of Ninja (based in what is now Mie Prefecture), and who was a close retainer to Tokugawa Ieyasu, (1543-1616),  the first Shogun and founder of the Tokugawa dynasty, whose reign  coincided with what is called the Edo period (1603-1867).

Hanzo Moat

Hattori Hanzo’s residence stood close to the Hanzomon gate of Edo Castle, and Hanzo was said to be entrusted with defense of the gate. The same gate is the starting point of a thoroughfare called Koshu Kaido (also known as National Highway 20) that extends through the western parts of Tokyo to the neighboring province of Kai (or Koshu), in Yamanashi Prefecture near Mt. Fuji. While guarding the castle from potential enemies from the west, the road also served as an evacuation route that would have enabled Tokugawa forces to fight a rear-guard action to safety in the mountains. The name Hanzomon remains in use as a modern-day subway line and station on the Tokyo Metro.

Sainen-ji temple

 Grave of Hattori Hanzo

 Monument of Tokugawa Nobuyasu

About 2.5 kilometers to the west of the Hanzomon Gate is the Sainen-ji temple, constructed by Hattori Hanzo in 1593 to consecrate Tokugawa Nobuyasu, eldest son of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hattori Hanzo, who passed away in 1596 at age 56, is also interred here. His grave can be found to the side of the main hall, close to the monument to Nobuyasu. The temple has been designated a historical site by the City of Shinjuku. Hanzo was known in his time as “Hanzo the Lancer” because of his proficiency with the yari (Japanese spear), and the temple serves as a repository for his spear.

Hyakunin-bansho Guardhouse

Remnants of Edo Castle

The bansho, or guardhouse shown here was the biggest, situated just inside one of the main gates leading to Edo Castle. Its purpose was to screen arriving visitors during the Edo period. One hundred samurai guardsmen with ninja skills, chosen from among loyal retainers of each of four main branches of the Tokugawa clan, such as Iga or Koka, had their quarters there and worked in shifts that alternated day and night. The Edo castle remnants are on the east of the present-day Imperial Palace and are open to the public five days a week.

The Kaichu Inari Shrine

This area, named Hyakunin-cho, got its name from the troop of 100 musketeers from Iga serving the Tokugawa government who were based at this location, now in Tokyo’s bustling Shinjuku district. In olden times, when it was used as a practice range for muskets, but some soldiers who put their hearts and souls into practice were still deficient in marksmanship. After they prayed at the shrine, they showed spectacular improvement.

The shrine retains the torii (gate), purification trough, stone lanterns and other fixtures dedicated by the troop of 100, evoking images of the olden times. The five brigades of musketeers from Iga, Negoro, Koga and others were stationed around Edo Castle.

Ninja Restaurant

For those who wish to dine in a ninja-like atmosphere, this restaurant in Tokyo’s Akasaka district features décor and meals with a ninja theme. Now in its 10th year of operation, it is popular with foreign visitors.


投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

Making Your Original Souvenir at the Airport

Making Your Original Souvenir at the Airport

Scented Bag, Washi Box, Doll, Fan…

In the middle of Narita Airport vibrant shopping arcade, there is a little gift store that gives travelers the opportunity to bring home a handmade souvenir. Kyoto Craft Mart specializes in stylish yet affordable “Made in Japan” trinkets. What sets this shop apart is that visitors can sit down and make a variety of small crafts, some requiring only about 20 minutes. Shop manager Teruno Fujii says that they enjoy offering this unique service at the airport which their flagship store in Kyoto has been conducting for many years. The crafts offered reflect the geisha culture which of course is an integral part of Kyoto traditions.

There are six crafts to choose from. Some like the cloisonné key holder, the scented bag and the spinning top require a level of dexterity while others like the washi box, the doll and the Japanese fan need painting finesse and a dash of creativity. I decided to make a Japanese fan which is often seen in maiko (young apprentice geisha) dances and the spinning top which is used when geisha entertain their guests.

The Japanese Fan

The Japanese folding fan is perhaps best known for its importance in the dances of the maiko. The most famous fan dance may be the Kamogawa Odori, an elaborate performance about the romantic triangle of a handsome fan maker, his lovely fiancee and a jealous snow goddess. Since the steps are slow, deliberate and very suggestive, the fan can accent sensuality and create drama by opening and closing. Because of its vibrant colors, the fan accentuates the elaborate kimono, hair styles and bold make-up of the dancers. 

Besides its prominent role in maiko dancing, the fan also has a wide range of symbolic meaning in Japan. It represents friendship, respect and good wishes so it makes a very appropriate gift. Although fans were influenced by China, the folding style was invented in Japan between the 6th and 9th century. Historically, it played an integral role in the social activities of the ancient courts. At one point, the number of wood strips signified a person’s societal rank. For ornamental purposes, they are still used in the elaborate formal costumes of the Emperor and Empress. The fan also had practical purposes such as being used by shoguns to signal secret orders on battlefields and the metal-edged fan was a disguised weapon for ninja. It is still used a stage prop not only for dancers but kabuki (traditional Japanese theater) actors and rakugo comedians as well. On a popular level, fans are still very common for Japanese people to cool themselves with in the summer heat.

How to make the fan:

The materials for making the fan
  • The clerk will provide you with a plain, white paper fan which is not attached at the bottom so it becomes flat and easier to paint on. It is pinned on a large piece of white paper to ensure it does not move around.  
  • With a pencil, you draw the design you want on it. The shop has several examples for you to get inspirations from. They also have a book with drawings of flowers and other images to copy from.
Paint and palette
  • Then you can begin water coloring with the palette they prepare.
  • After the paint is dried, you can fold up the fan and hammer a metal peg to hold it together.
  • Your fan can now be used to cool you down or be displayed as well.

The Japanese Spinning Top

The Japanese spinning top “koma” also has a rich and long background. Children used to indulge themselves by spinning the colorful tops. Kyoto-based tops are traditionally made from wood, painted colorfully and varnished with a clear lacquer. Produced with fine craftsmanship, despite its ornamental nature, the koma must also spin evenly and for a long time. These types of “ornamental tops” (kazari koma) are sometimes given to a newborn baby boy on his first New Year celebration. The koma usually has a strong bamboo peg to symbolize the wish for the child to have internal strength. The practice of “spinning” can refer to money “going around” which indicate monetary luck for the upcoming year. 

How to make the top:
The materials needed to make the koma
  • The parts consist of a wooden peg to hold and spin the koma and lacquered paper already wrapped around the peg to create a solid core. There are also four strips of colored paper and a red felt cushion for displaying the koma.
  • After placing about 1 to 2 cm of glue on the edge of the paper, you start wrapping the core with a paper strip the color of your choice. There are plenty of papers, so you can determine how much of each color to use.
Begin wrapping around the center
  • When you want to change colors, you cut and glue the end of the paper strip. Then you start wrapping with the new colored paper. The key to making a successful koma depends on how tightly and straight you can wrap.
  • When you have finished wrapping the core, push down on the core and slowly pull the sides up to expand the roll. How much vertical depth you want your koma to have is personal preference. The flatter it is, the easier it is to balance and spin.
Painting varnish on
  • Finally, you paint the entire koma with a coat of lacquer. Let dry for 20 minutes.
  • You can now spin and play with it. (The balance will depend on how evenly and tightly you have wrapped it.) Display on its cushion when you’re not playing with it.

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

What is Toro?

A toro is a traditional lantern often made of stones, woods, or metals. It is believed to be originated in China. Toro were originally used only in Buddhist temples, where they lined and illuminated paths. During the Heian period (794-1185), however, they started being used also in Shinto shrines and private homes. As a Buddhist ceremony, there is a practice called “to- ro- nagashi” which guides the spirits of the departed back to the other world by floating paper lanterns down the river.

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時:

What is Tokonoma?

Tokonoma, a kind of decorative alcove in a Japanese-style guest room, normally incorporates raised flooring, one or more hanging scrolls, called kakejiku or kakemono, on the back wall, and a seasonal flower arrangement on the floor. But because fewer new houses nowadays are built with tokonoma, they are becoming unfamiliar to younger Japanese.

投稿者:Ryoji 投稿日時: