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Rituals at Shinto shrine in Kawagoe, just north of Tokyo

  Every year in early July, visitors to the lovely "Little Edo" city Kawagoe (population a bit over 353,000) just a half hour north of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture, can experience Chinowa Kuguri. This Shinto ritual, held at Kawagoe Hachimangu Shrine, began in the early Edo period (1603-1867) with the intention of warding off plagues and promoting disease-free breathing. A perfect event for an era with Covid, the liturgy, also known as Nagoshi no Harae ("summer passing purification…

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2 great Japanese evening "light-up" events in autumn 2021

In Japan's Nikko and Kinugawa-onsen areas, two hours north of Tokyo along the Tobu Railway Nikko and Kinugawa lines, special moon-viewing festivities with light-ups are being held from September through November. There is a Japanese expression, "aki no yonaga," which means "long autumn night." This year, despite the pandemic, two popular celebratory light-up events held annually are illuminating the autumn evenings in the Nikko-Kinugawa region, along Tobu Railway's Nikko and Kinugawa lines.…

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Practicing Zen and Zazen north of Tokyo

In these times of stress and uncertainty, it is relieving to know that once we can travel again, there are places in the world that offer the healing qualities of reflection, tranquility and mindfulness. Japan is one of those places. In Japan, the school of Zen involves practicing Zazen (meditation) and mindfulness, which can be achieved by the act of Shakyo (hand copying of Buddhist sutras. Both Zazen and Shakyo may help calm the mind and reduce anxiety. In under two hours north of Tokyo,…

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  • I remember when visiting Japan many years ago our tour group was treated to a greatly abridged version of the traditional "way of tea" ceremony, which normally can last hours. On its website the Japanese tourism board has a concise description of what goes on and what the ceremony's background is: https://www.japan.travel/en/guide/tea-ceremony/
    Japanese Tea Ceremony | Guide | Travel Japan (Japan National Tourism Organization)
    Originating in China, the tea ceremony has become part of Japanese culture. The ritual elevates hospitality to an art, with its roots in Zen Buddhism.
  • Just read a pretty interesting article from the BBC about the phrase that makes everything better in Japan: yoroshiku onegaishimasu, meant to convey respect and appreciation. Learn more here: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20180821-is-this-phrase-the-swiss-...

  • New on our Tripatini blog: useful Travel Tips for Tokyo from a recent visitor. Let's not forget to encourage tourism to Japan to help them out during a difficult time!
  • What do the Japanese mean by "ganbatte!" Find out this week on our blog.
  • My Japanese is so rusty these days but it's nice to be back in a group with folks talking Japanese. I studied it at high school and university in Australia and then worked in it for 10 yeatrs, but not the last 5 so really forgetting the nuances. Anyway, thanks. Um, trying to think of something witty to say in japanese now and memory failing. Damnit. Yosh...arigatou gozaimasu! Mata, ato de ne...
  • Here's this week's Top Tune From Around the World, "Hiiroo (Hero)" from Tokyo's Funky Monkey Babys:

    You can find the lyrics in romaji and kanji at: http://www.jpopasia.com/play/24831/funky-monkey-babys/hero.html
    - YouTube
    Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.
  • That sounds REALLY cool, Sarah! Please get him to come on here and let us know more about it!
  • That sounds REALLY cool, Sarah! Please get him to come on here and let us know more about it!
  • That sounds REALLY cool, Sarah! Please get him to come on here and let us know more about it!
  • Ohaiyoo gozaimasu......if anyone is interested in getting a great story on adventure sports in Japan, my big brother runs his own outdoor adventure company in the mountains about 3 hours inland from Tokyo on the border of Niigata, Nagano and Gunma.....rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, snow mobiling, back-country skiiing/snowboarding, caving and a monthly full moon party thrown into the mix during the summer season - amazing place!
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