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  • Featured
JREF
Updated
5 min read
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665
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2
Ikegami Honmonji, officially known as Chōeizan Daihonzan Honmonji (長栄山大本山本門寺) is the head temple of the Nichiren sect in Ikegami, Ōta Ward, Tōkyō. The temple, simply called Ikegami Honmonji (池上本門寺) since ancient times, is one of the fourteen sacred temples of the Nichiren sect and revered as the...
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History Matsudaira Clan
JREF
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36 min read
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The Matsudaira (松平氏 Matsudaira-shi) were a samurai family (武家 buke) from the Matsudaira area in Mikawa Province (modern-day Aichi Prefecture). Although its exact origins are unclear, the clan claimed descent from the medieval Seiwa Genji (清和源氏) branch of the Minamoto. Its founder was said to be...
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JREF
3 min read
Views
989
Jindaiji Motomachi (深大寺元町) is a peaceful neighbourhood in western Tōkyō: tranquil, lush with greenery and trickling streams, and rich in local history, it lends itself to those who want to escape the bustling city to enjoy sightseeing, culture, and traditional Japanese goodies. It takes about...
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Shrine Haneda Shrine
JREF
2 min read
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1,112
Haneda Shrine (羽田神社 Haneda-jinja) is a Shintō shrine located in Honhaneda, in the Ota Ward of Tōkyō. History: The shrine was originally part of a temple that was founded in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333) by Namekata Yojirō (行方与次郎), a feudal lord of Hanedaura and local naval commander. It...
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JREF
4 min read
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1,826
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Onsenji Temple (温泉寺), formally known as Bekkaku Motoyama Matsudaisan Onsenji (別格本山末代山温泉寺), is a Buddhist temple of the Koyasan Shingon sect located on Daishiyama in Kinosaki, Toyooka City, Hyōgo Prefecture. Its principal deity is the Eleven-Faced Kannon Bodhisattva. Onsenji is the guardian...
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Travel Yushima Seido
JREF
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4 min read
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1,538
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Yushima Seidō (湯島聖堂) is the only Confucian temple (聖堂 seidō, "sacred hall' or "cathedral") in Japan. It is located in Bunkyō Ward, Tōkyō, just across Kanda Myōjin. In Japan, Confucian temples are also known as taiseiden (大成殿). The origins of Yushima Seidō can be traced to the Kōbun-in (弘文 院)...
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tokyopaul360
1 min read
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine, founded in 1661, is situated in Tokyo's Koto Ward in the quiet downtown district known as the Shitamachi (traditional area). The shrine is an important part of local life, and if you're lucky enough, you could witness a Japanese wedding ceremony or the blessings of...
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JREF
Updated
25 min read
Views
2,785
Sake (also spelt saké) is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice that has been polished to remove the bran. Despite the name, Japanese rice wine, sake, and indeed any East Asian rice wine (such as huangjiu and cheongju), is produced by a brewing process more akin to that of beer, where...
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JREF
Updated
7 min read
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2,603
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Gokuraku-ji (極楽寺, "Temple of Paradise"), officially known as Ryōjusen Kan'nō-in Gokurakuji (霊鷲山感応院極楽律寺), is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon Risshū sect (真言律宗) located in Gokurakuji, adjacent to the station by the same name along Enoden Line. It is the only temple of the Shingon school in...
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Literature Natsume Soseki
JREF
Updated
6 min read
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6,310
Natsume Sōseki (夏目漱石, 9 February 1867 - 9 December 1916), born Natsume Kinnosuke (夏目 金之助), was a novelist and a scholar of English literature whose works focused on the transformation of Japan from a backward country to a modern nation by scrutinising its civilisation and society and describing...
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JREF
4 min read
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2,979
Takeda Shingen (1521-1573), also known as the "The Tiger of Kai" (甲斐の虎), was one of the foremost daimyō of the Sengoku Period (1467-1568) and the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600). After deposing his father, he conquered his neighbours' territories and established control over the provinces of...
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JREF
2 min read
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1,504
The coast of Jōgasaki (城ヶ崎海岸 Jōgasaki Kaigan) is located on the eastern shore of Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture, just south of the city of Itō. The rugged and picturesque coast was formed some 4,000 years ago when Ōmuroyama volcano erupted, and its lava flowed into Sagami Bay, creating new...
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JREF
Updated
3 min read
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3,595
The Kawazu Seven Falls (河津七瀑 Kawazu nanadaru) are a series of waterfalls along Hontani River, a tributary of Kawazu River in the south of Izu Peninsula. The river carved its bed into spectacular basalt rock formations formed after volcanic eruptions some 25,000 years ago. Odaru Fall (大瀑), the...
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JREF
2 min read
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2,580
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Matsuyama Castle (松山城 Matsuyama-jō) is a hirayamajiro (平山城, flatland mountain castle) located in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture. It was constructed between 1603 and 1614 by Katō Yoshiaki (加藤嘉明, 1563-1631) and was built on the 132-metre tall Mount Katsuyama. It is also known as Katsuyama...
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JREF
Updated
4 min read
5.00 star(s) 1 ratings
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2,403
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Chigasaki Castle was a Sengoku-era fortress located in the present-day Chigasaki Castle Ruins Park (茅ヶ崎城址公園 Chigasaki jōshikōen) in Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama. Apart from the stone foundations of several buildings, very few remnants survived the centuries. Still, the outline of the former castle along...
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Biographies Iwakura Tomomi
JREF
Updated
3 min read
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4,318
Iwakura Tomomi (岩倉具視, 1825-1883) was a courtier and statesman who played a vital role in the Meiji Restoration. The only court noble in the early Meiji government, he was described as shrewd and cunning, but instrumental in mediating between Satsuma and Chōshū and with a strong influence on...
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History Iwakura Mission
JREF
Updated
8 min read
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5,714
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The lwakura Mission (岩倉使節団 Iwakura Shisetsudan, 1871-1873) was an eighteen-month embassy to the United States and Europe by leading members of the early Meiji government and one of the most remarkable journeys in world history. It was commissioned by Emperor Meiji and was said to have cost one...
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イェンス
1 min read
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2,754
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Biwako Terrace is located in Biwako Valley, a mountain resort in Ōtsu City, Shiga Prefecture. The terrace café lies in the Hira Mountains (比良山地), on Mount Uchimi at an altitude of 1,103 metres and offers a spectacular view over Lake Biwa. Visitors can access Biwako Valley by taking a...
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Biographies Shibusawa Eichii
JREF
Updated
4 min read
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2,961
The Father of Japanese CapitalismEntrepreneur and business leader during the Meiji and Taishō periods Shibusawa Eichii (渋沢 栄一, 1840-1931) was born in the village of Chiaraijima in modern-day Saitama Prefecture. Although Shibusawa's family were small farmers with only a few hectares of land his...
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JREF
Updated
5 min read
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4,686
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2
Eihei-ji (永平寺), the "Temple of Eternal Peace", officially known as Daihonzan Eihei-ji (大本山永平寺), is located in Fukui Prefecture, about 15 km east of Fukui City. It is one of the two main temples (大本山 daihonzan) of the Sōtō School (曹洞宗 Sōtō-shū) of Zen Buddhism. The other head temple is Sōji-ji...
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JREF
Updated
4 min read
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4,168
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Amanohashidate (天橋立, "Bridge to Heaven") is a sand spit at the northern tip of Kyoto Prefecture. It is located in Miyazu in the western part of Wakasa Bay and, with Matsushima north of Sendai and Miyajima near Hiroshima, one of the three top scenic views of Japan. Amanohashidate is part of...
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Artie
2 min read
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1,980
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Gōtokuji (豪徳寺), officially Daikeizan Gōtokuji, is a Sōtō Zen Buddhist temple located in Setagaya in western Tōkyō. It is the ancestral temple of the Ii family; some 300 of their clan members, including Ii Naosuke, are buried there. Legend has it that Gōtokuji is also the alleged birthplace of...
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Museum Miho Museum
イェンス
3 min read
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The Miho Museum (ミホ ミュージアム) is located near Shigaraki City in the mountainous hills of southern Shiga Prefecture. It was designed by star architect I.M. Pei and holds the private collection of artworks accumulated by Mihoko Koyama and her daughter Hiroko. In 1970, Mihoko Koyama founded Shinji...
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History Haniwa
JREF
4 min read
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43,357
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2
Haniwa (埴輪) is a collective term for the unglazed earthenware cylinders and hollow sculptures that decorated the surface of the great mounded tombs (kofun) built for the Japanese elite during the fourth to seventh centuries. Haniwa (埴輪) statues were as tall as 1.5 metres and were made in a...
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Biographies Taira Masakado
JREF
Updated
6 min read
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6,154
Taira no Masakado, a member of the Kanmu Taira clan, was the son of Taira no Yoshimasa, a provincial lord in the Kantō region. In 939, Masakado organised a rebellion and attacked the government post of Hitachi (modern-day Ibaraki Prefecture), capturing the governor of the province. In the same...
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History Kamakura Period
JREF
6 min read
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8,960
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The Kamakura Period (鎌倉時代 Kamakura jidai, 1185-1333) is the historical period that corresponds to the rule of the Kamakura shōgun. It is named after the city of Kamakura where the shogunal government was located. While 1333 - the year in which the Kamakura shogunate was destroyed - is the...
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JREF
14 min read
Views
9,718
The Ashikaga Shogunate The Muromachi shogunate (1338-1573), was the second of Japan's three military regimes (幕府 bakufu), between the Kamakura shogunate (1192-1333) and the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867). Established by Ashikaga Takauji (足利尊氏, 1305-1358), its name derives from the Muromachi...
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History The Late Hojo
JREF
Updated
8 min read
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The Late Hōjō clan (後北条氏 Go-Hōjō-shi) were powerful regional lords at the end of the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) and in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600) and must not be confused with the warrior family by the same name who were hereditary regents (執権 shikken) of the Kamakura shogunate in...
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JREF
Updated
6 min read
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4,546
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Terje Solum is the author of the series "Saga of the Samurai". Over the past 14 years, he has published six volumes on the Kai Takeda clan. In late autumn, he will release his next volume dedicated to the Ōmi Gamō. We interviewed Terje in August 2017. Q: Tell us a bit more about your...
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JREF
Updated
6 min read
Views
2,613
Fukui Prefecture (福井県 Fukui-ken) is located on the Sea of Japan in central Honshū and bounded by Ishikawa Prefecture on the north, Gifu Prefecture on the east, Shiga and Kyōto prefectures on the south, and the Sea of Japan on the west. It is geographically divided into the northern districts...
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JREF
3 min read
Views
3,499
Toyooka (豊岡市) is located in northern Hyōgo Prefecture in the centre of the San'in Kaigan Geopark (山陰海岸ジオパーク). While the city stretches over 700 square kilometres after its merger with the surrounding towns of Hidaka, Izushi, Kinosaki, Takeno, and Tantō in 2005, the actual town centre is quite...
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JREF
3 min read
Views
2,039
Tōjinbō (東尋坊) is a scenic spot in Fukui Prefecture along the Sea of Japan coast known for its pillarlike joints of pyroxene andesite thrust up twenty-five metres high from the sea. It is part of the Echizen-Kaga Kaigan Quasi-National Park (越前加賀海岸国定公園 Echizen-Kaga Kaigan Kokutei Kōen). The...
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JREF
3 min read
Views
3,246
Located in northern Hyōgo Prefecture, Izushi (出石) is also known as the "Little Kyōto of Tajima". The small castle town - merged into Toyooka in 2005 - is famous for its nostalgic atmosphere, its traditional Japanese architecture, and its very own kind of buckwheat noodles: Izushi-soba...
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JREF
4 min read
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3,834
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Maruoka Castle (丸岡城 Maruoka-jō) is a hilltop castle located in Sakai City, Fukui Prefecture. It is famous for its wooden main keep, one of the oldest original castle towers in Japan. When Oda Nobunaga captured the nearby temple of Hakusan Hougenji in 1575 to thwart further uprisings of the...
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Travel Lake Miyagase
JREF
3 min read
Views
3,155
Lake Miyagase (宮ヶ瀬湖 Miyagase-ko) is a water reservoir located in Kanagawa Prefecture, west of Machida and Atsugi and north of the Tanzawa Mountains. It is not only a human-made lake that provides Tokyo and Yokohama with drinking water but also a popular tourist destination for one-day trips from...
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