Introducing variety of things about Nagoya and other places to go in Japan

Wakakusayama-Yaki (Nara Pref.) on Jan. 27, 2018

There are so many events in Nara City.

This time, we did not even know this event.

This was a lucky day for us.

We got off the bus and start walking toward Nara
Prefectural Office.

There we saw a big firework and Wakakusayama-Yaki
(Mountain firing in January)


There also was a firework going on.

It is very rare to see such a big firework in winter.

An entire hill is set ablaze in winter.
A New Year event which originated in boundary disputes among temples.

Rising 342 meters above sea level, Mt. Wakakusayama,
also known as Mt. Mikasayama, was formerly a volcano.

Burning up the entire hill is held every year on the
fourth Saturday of January.

The origins of this event are said to lie in a dispute
over the boundaries of Kofuku-ji Temple located in
Nobori Oji-cho, Nara City and Todai-ji Temple,
which is famous for its Great Buddha statue in Zoshi-cho,
also in Nara City.

The boundary dispute got out of control and when an official acted
as mediator in 1760, Mt. Wakakusayama, the very center of the conflict,
was set ablaze.

According to other explanations, the mountain was burned to
drive away wild boars or to exterminate harmful insects.

A torch is lit with sacred fire at Kasuga Taisha Shrine.

This sacred fire is carried down to a small shrine
at the foot of the hill by a parade of Buddhist monks.

First, the hill is ignited with the sacred fire by
members of Kofuku-ji, Todai-ji and Kasuga Taisha.

Then 200 fireworks are launched and the hill continues
to burn for some 30 minutes.

With the fire brigade standing by, there’s no need
to worry about the fire spreading.

This fire spectacle can be seen from the surrounding towns,
but Nara City which faces the hill offers the most beautiful views.

Difference among KIMONO, YUKATA, and NEMAKI

KIMONO is a general term used for anything to ware.

However, when Japanese call KIMONO that usually means
a Japanese traditional formal long gown usually worn
in an occasion like parties and ceremonies.
kimono kimonomen







The fabric of KIMONO can vary. Very expensive
silk to cotton and polyester.

Wearing KIMONO is somewhat difficult, people usually
go to a beauty shop or asks someone who knows
how to ware KIMONO to help you wear it.

You should also need to ware special type of
socks called TABI and shoes called ZORI.

Since KIMONO really means something to ware,
YUKATA and NEMAKI is also KIMONO family.

YUKATA is the term used for a casual style of kimono for summer,
usually unlined, intended to be worn at summer festivals
with a simple obi sash.
yukata yukatamen







They may be made out of cotton or polyester.
Women’s YUKATAs are often very colorful.

But men’s YUKATA tend to be two-tone geometrics,
though other darker colors. And various designs
are common these days.

You do not wear socks (TABI) and, you ware
special shoes called GETA with bare foot.

NEMAKI is the term for a cotton “lounging” kimono,
used like a bathrobe. These are often used
at resort and Onsens (spas) in Japan and they
tend to be simple collars such as blue and
maroon small geometric repeated pattern on the
white back ground.


nemaki1 nemaki7


Usually the belt is the same color as the robe
and narrow.

It is considered as a room ware as well as pajama.

So you do not ware it out side of the house.

However, you may see many people wearing it with
TANZEN (jacket) when you visit ONSEN AREA (Hot Spring Area)。









Currently, to attract young people (especially ladies), many
Spas offer colorful NEMAKI for them to choose.

FUSHIMI-INARI (Head of Shrines)

FUSHIMI-INARI also known as “O-inari-san”,
are the most familiar shrines to Japanese people.










It is very famous for its red Torii arcade as well
as the size of the place.

There are said to be some thirty thousand throughout the
country, frequented by people of all ages.

Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine with which all the others are affiliated.

In the 1300 years since its establishment in 711AD,
people have gathered here to pray for bountiful harvests,
business prosperity, the safety of their home
and family and the fulfillment of all kinds of other wishes.
In recent years, the shrine’s Japanese worshippers have been
joined by overseas visitors coming to tour the shrine.

Fushimi Inari Taisha is now known worldwide as
one of the most iconic sights in Kyoto,
and in Japan as a whole.

The origin of Fushimi Inari Taisha is described in
Yamashirokoku Fudoki, an ancient report on provincial culture,
geography and oral tradition that was presented
to the emperor.

Irogu no Hatanokimi, an ancestor of Hatanonakatsue
no Imiki, is said to have shot a rice cake, which
turned into a swan and flew away.

Eventually the swan landed on a peak of a mountain,
where an auspiciousomen occurred and rice grew.

Inari is named for this miracle (“ina” is Japanese for “rice”).

It has also been described in other ancient texts,
which state that priests such as Hatauji have held
spring and autumn festivals at the shrine
ever since the deity Inari Okami was enshrined
on a plateau in the Inari Mitsugamine area during the
Wado era (708-715).

An ancient shrine text also says that Irogu no Hatanokimi,
a respected figure in what is now the Fukakusa area of Kyoto,
received an imperial order from Empress Genmei to enshrine
three deities in three mountains on the first Day of the Horse
of the second month of 711.

That year, the farmers were blessed with great harvests of grains and much silk from their silkworms.

This shows that Fushimi Inari Taisha and the Fukakusa area are
closely connected to Hatauji, and that our deity has been
enshrined since the first Day of the Horse in the second month of 711.

But there is reason to believe that our faith dates back even further than this.

Yasaka-Jinja (shrine) , the HQ of shrines

Yasaka-shrine is to headquarter of many shrines.
It respects Susanoo-no-mikoto, Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto,
and Yahashira-no-mikogami (highest-kami≒Gods).


























It is located in Kyoto (tourists favorite place)


Susanoo-no-mikoto is a great god in Japanese mythology,
known for his defeat of Yamata-no-orochi (a large serpent
with eight heads: a symbol of many disasters), redemption of
Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto, and produced the ground
great-discernment on the earth.

According to the legend of the shrine, its history may
go back as far as AC656. Along with the development of the
capital, adoration to the shrine spread widely all over Japan.

Today, approximately 3,000 satellite shrines exist in
various parts of Japan.


The name of the shrine was changed to Yasaka-jinja when
shrines and Buddhist temples were separated at
the time of the Meiji Restoration.

Sanko Inari Shrine (Inuyama City)

Inuyama City is a bed town of Nagoya.

Sanko Inari

Is approximately 25 minutes from Nagoya Station,
and the shrine is 20-minute walk from Inuyama Station.

The shrine was constructed in Shogun Nobunaga Oda’s Era.








Shrine became very famous because for its
“Heart Shaped EMA”*
A word “RIM” is written in the middle
The “EMA” is heart shaped and pink color.
Watching thousands of EMA is amazing and beautiful.

The EMA is a heart shape board to write your wish
and tie it to the place provided to hang them.

You are supposed to come back if the wish comes true
for appreciation.

Inari Shrine







Inari means fox.
There are many shrines to enshrine fox in Japan.

Originally it is God of grain and agriculture, but now it is also believed as a god of commerce and industry.

The shrine that enshrines Inari Shrine is called Inari Shrine,
and Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto is the main shrine of Shinto shrine.

Because it is equated with Ukonomitama, the God responsible
for the grains, many Inari shrines have made “Ukonomitama”
the main god.

It was also enshrined at the Buddhist temple because
“Ukonomitama” was also identified as Buddhist goddess
Zhao Nin Tian.

One interest thing about Japanese Culture is that
many people accept various religions.

You may see a Shintoism Shrine next to a Buddhism Temple
next to a Christian Church.

We do not feel strange at all.

In this shrine, it is also believed that if you wash
your money with a fountain’s water, double amount is
believed to come back to you.

Street in Front of the Shrine
There are many interesting souvenir and food shops
on the street in front of the shrine.

It is interesting to watch around these shops.

Near-by Attractions

Meiji Mura, Inuyama Castle


This “HEART SHAPED EMA” is believed to bring you LOVE (of course)
like couple harmony and matchmaking as well as house security,
business prosperity, land house purification ceremony,
safety drive, and family health, etc.

Beppu Prefecture Kifune Castle (Gold Snake)





Kifune Castle  is from the legend that Genji Tsui who was
active in the late Heian era (794AC-1185AC) built a fort
in this place.

The most important and famous thing here is
a GOLD SNAKE called “Kimbai White Dragon King”, enshrined
as the guardian god of the castle.Snakes are said to be
the use of Benzaiten, the god of a river born in
ancient India.

Since Benzaiten is both a god of agriculture and
a god of goods, tradition of obtaining benefits
by worshiping the snake remains from long time ago.

You will see many people who visit the temple and
touch the snake to be rich.

The interesting thing is the snake is quite warm (not cold).

Did I touch the snake? Ofcause yes. Me too want to be rich 🙂


JAPANESE POPULAR STANCILS ( Sakura Coupy Pencils and Pilot Friction Pen)

I would like to introduce 2 very popular Japanese stencils.

1. Sakura Coupy Pencil
2. Pilot Flection Ball Point Pen and Line Marker

Sakura Coupy Pencils
This is like a hybrid of crayon and color pencil.
It is woodless but does not melt easily like crayon. It uses a combination of pure pigment and polythene wax. These pencils are strong and break resistant, making them ideal for use by not only younger children but many designer, artists and architects use them for drafting.

There are 12, 18, 24 as well as 36 colors package.
Each package includes Coupy Pencil and eraser as well as Pencil sharpener.

kupi3 kupi2 kupi4










Pilot Friction Ball Point Pen and Line Markers

fliction1 fliction4







They are very popular now in Japan.
This can be erased in spite of the ballpoint pen.
The secret of these pens are that the chemicals they use. They use three different chemicals, and they become color less when heated by rubber eraser. Therefore, when the document is in the cold place like a refrigerator, words appear again.
Therefore, they cannot be used for formal documentation.

It is used by business people as well as many students since there are varieties of colors.
(1, 2, 3, 4 colors)

Refills are offered for all colors, so they are eco-friendly.

Once you start using them, you cannot leave it.

Hello Kitty – Sanrio

“Hello Kitty” was created in 1975.
It has been 40 years since its birth.








【by wikimedia】

Hello Kitty has been popular among all generations.

The most well-known goods are “Area Limited Hello Kitty Key Chain”
Every Prefecture as well as Popular Tourist sites have their own Hello Kitty Key Chain

Hello Kitty is a character created by the company called SANRIO.
They have other characters but they did not become as
popular as Hello Kitty.

Hello Kitty corroborates with many companies cheap to
luxurious such as “Daiso”, 100 yen shop, to Reebok and Swarovski.

In the Kitty Land (Hello Kitty Limited Shops), you may see
Hello Kitty Swarovski Pendant Neckless for over 1,000 US dollars.







by musium. or. jp                                    by

-Platinum Kitty and Diamond Kitty, both over US$ 10 million
On the other hand you may also see tissues and knickknacks in DAISO for 100yen.
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Hello Kitty is very famous worldwide. My British and French friends request me to bring something that has Hello Kitty on it.

The secret for popularity of Hello Kitty was said by Brand Specialist that Hello Kitty does not have a mouth and it also does not show any emotion. This means your emotion is reflected on Hello Kitty. Mmmm, that is interesting. And I did not even notice about her mouth. I thought that I just like Hello Kitty.

Anyways Hello Kitty is popular among three generations now.
High school kids in 1970s who loved Hello Kitty are now grandmothers.

I myself have socks, card holder, stuffed Kitty, as well as many are limited key holders.
I cannot count how many. I have too many.

Here shows the Kitty Land at Centrea (Nagoya) Airport.



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Kasuga Taisha Shrine ‘s CYUGEN-MANTORO” (can only be seen twice a year “World Natural Heritage) is fantastic and too beautiful

“KASUGA TAISYA SHRINE” is registered as a World Heritage Site.
The Kasuga Taisha Shrine (Kasugaisha) is a shrine in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, founded in 768 (Nara Era) to worship the gods of Fujiwara family.
It is the headquarter of about 1000 Kasuga Shrine branches nationwide.
Red corridors and lanterns are very beautiful at night.
This atmosphere makes you feel departing from the real world for a while.

















“CYUGEN-MANTORO”, the event that the million lights are lit up only 2 days in the Bon festival.
(On August 14th and August 15th, the event will be held.)

Because the “RAIJIN” (One of Kami) came with a white deer, deer are considered sacred. So you see many freed deer around the shrine



















KASUGATAISYA is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of “cultural properties of Ancient Nara”.

Orange light in a lantern is not something like “burning to the eyes” but rather “gentle light” like “melt into eyelids”.


Modern way of waring KIMONO 2

Another way of wearing Japanese KIMONO in a modern way is to
make the bottom part cut off, and ware it like a loose jacket.

KIMONOs that the bottom parts are cut off and lines taken










There usually the lining on KIMONO.  So it is warmer than
how it looks.

You can take the lining off, or leave it. KIMONO is usually
longer than you think because it is folded whenputting
“OBI”(hard wide belt made by fabric).

Therefore, if you are to ware like the picture, it is recommended
to purchase smaller sized one.

Otherwise you end up dragging it. KIMONO’s length is usually
5’ to 5’2”.

Japanese women’s average height is about 5’4”.
So if you would like to ware it as a long court like picture below,
it is recommended to purchase M size or even S size if you are
about 5’6”to 5’8”.

If you would like to ware it as a half court in summer or spring,
it is better to purchase YUKATA (Summer (Casual) KIMONO)
since it does not havethe lining to start with.

YUKATA NEMAKI ←Can be used as a pajama
It is easier to chop the bottom part off.

Only weakness of using YUKATA is since it is usually made of cotton,
it is very easy to be wrinkled, whereas KIMONO is usually made by
silk or polyester and not so easy to get wrinkled.