A Visit to Nakamise Shopping Street (Part 1)

A Visit to Nakamise Shopping Street (Part 1)

Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji, is also one of my favorites. The massive Kaminarimon, or Thunder Gate, is one of Asakusa’s best-known landmarks: and visitors often take photos with the gate’s massive chochin, which weighs almost 1,500 pounds. But a visit to Senso-ji is not complete without a stroll down Nakamise Shopping Street – the vibrant line of shops and stalls that lines the approach to the temple. Traditionally, vendors’ stalls or shops line the approach to Japanese shrines and temples. The goods on display can vary, but they usually include a variety of tasty local specialties, like these small cakes

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A Visit to Nezu Jinja, Part 2

A Visit to Nezu Jinja, Part 2

(To read Part 1, click here.) Like many Shintō shrines in Japan, Nezu Jinja features a subshrine dedicated to Inari Ōkami, the kami (god) of foxes, rice, sake, fertility, swordsmiths, merchants, agriculture, and worldly success (among other things). There are over 10,000 Inari shrines across Japan — and with good reason, given Japan’s historical dependence upon rice as a primary source of food (and, at one time, as the measure of wealth as well).

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A Visit to Nezu Jinja (Shrine), Part 1

A Visit to Nezu Jinja (Shrine), Part 1

Nezu Jinja lies in Tokyo’s Bunkyō ward, and has since Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi ordered the shine moved to its current location in 1705. The shrine is perhaps best known for its extensive azalea garden, which erupt in color every April (there’s even an azalea festival at the shrine each spring), but I visited for the first time last December and can attest it’s worth a visit in any season.

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The Joy of Tokyo’s Festival Foods

The Joy of Tokyo’s Festival Foods

Last weekend, I went to the hagoita-ichi matsuri (festival) at Sensōji, in Tokyo. I love shrine and temple festivals for many reasons – and festival food is high on the list. On normal days, the wide pathways in Japanese shrine and temple yards offer visitors plenty of space to walk and meditate. At festivals, vendors line the paths. selling a wide assortment of treats.

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The Gift of Grapes

The Gift of Grapes

Fresh fruits and vegetables are popular in Japan–as everywhere–but fruit in particular holds pride of place. It’s more expensive here than in the United States, and often larger, too. The most unique way Japanese fruit diverges from its U.S. counterpart (at least in my opinion) is the presence of gift stores selling specially-packaged fruit. The shops sell only fruit and a small assortment of fruit jellies (both the spreadable kind and the kind that has the texture of Jell-o and comes in small plastic containers). Each piece of fruit is perfect, large and unblemished, and individually packaged in plastic or paper designed

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Christmastime in Tokyo

Christmastime in Tokyo

Last Friday, my son and I arrived in Tokyo for business trips. He has a job interview for a permanent position here in Tokyo, and I needed to meet with my immigration representative about my visa application for the 100 SUMMITS project, which I’m hoping to start in early May of 2018. (I originally planned to start even earlier, but now I’ll need to finish my cancer treatment before I move.) 

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