Tag Archives: Useful Japanese

Cherry chopsticks & Bamboo cups in Akihabara (Chiyoda, Tokyo)

You can buy elegant Japanese chopsticks made from cherry trees and very light cups made from bamboo at Kukan-kobo Takuya, high-quality shop specialized in wooden products near Akihabara station (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo). Wouldn’t they make great souvenirs or gifts from your travel in Japan?

Shopping photo 1: Reddish chopsticks made using the bark of a cherry tree.
Japanese chopsticks made from a cherry tree, sold in Akihabara (Chiyoda, Tokyo) in May 2014.

Shopping photo 2: Extremely light cups made from bamboo.
Bamboo cups sold in Akihabara (Chiyoda, Tokyo) in May 2014.

Our team found this cosy shop with great smells of wood on Sunday while exploring Akihabara area to prepare tomorrow’s personalized tour. We’d be glad to take you there too if you wish 🙂

Note: All the labels are written in Japanese language.

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USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Kukan-kobo Takuya = 空間工房卓屋.
  • Bamboo = 竹 (Take), Cherry tree = 桜の木 (Sakura-no-ki).
  • Akihabara = 秋葉原, Chiyoda ward = 千代田区 (Chiyoda-ku), Tokyo = 東京.

Find true love at Tokyo-daijingu Shinto shrine with Japanese girls!

Natural and mystic island in a modern district of Tokyo, Tokyo-daijingu is reputedly the shrine where the first Shinto wedding occurred. We arrived there under a blue sky this warm afternoon (15℃) to celebrate Spring (traditionally starting today in Japan) and the Year of the Horse!

Entrance of Tokyo-daijingu Shinto shrine.

Among the trees near the entrance, a pink-blue-green dragon greeted us for the purification ritual, providing holy water to cleanse our hands and mouth. Next, we glanced at the red and purple flags, climbed a few steps then stepped through wooden-golden gates. The wooden roof immediately caught our attention with its characteristic shape and golden ornaments shining over the blue sky.

Japanese girl drinking holy water before Tokyo-daijingu's dragon.

Quietly queueing behind numerous Japanese girls come to pray to find true love, we had the time to examine votive plaques decorated with horses; some beautifully reflected the sunlight!

Horse on a votive plaque at Tokyo-daijingu Shinto shrine.

Approaching the main hall, we could hear coins thrown into wooden boxes as offerings and hand claps preceding or following silent prayers. Our turn came, we glimpsed a few Japanese attending a Shinto ceremony in the hall, bowed, clapped our hands, prayed, clapped and bowed again…

Japanese girls praying to find true love at Tokyo-daijingu.

Afterwards, we joined a crowd of Japanese girls gathered around diverse colourful lucky charms (local speciality: find true love) and fortune slips. Sébastien left Tokyo-daijingu shrine with a light transparent lucky charm featuring a 3D horse; may it protect him well in 2014 🙂

Lucky charms at Tokyo-daijingu Shinto shrine.

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USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Tokyo = 東京, Tokyo-daijingu = 東京大神宮.

Impressions: Wonderful dances at Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014

No doubt, the annual Furusato-matsuri Tokyo held at Tokyo Dome is wonderful to see dances in Japan whether you are a Japanese resident or foreign tourist. No need to speak Japanese, children welcome, cheap tickets (1.000-1.500 yens). If you enjoy Japanese festivals, attend the event this week (end on Sunday) or free time for it in January 2015!

Yesterday, our travel agent Sébastien was charmed by the traditional dances, gorgeous costumes, characteristic songs, numerous drums… The large main stage allowed big groups of Japanese dancers and drummers to perform!

Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014 inside Tokyo Dome

Japanese dancers at Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014

Japanese drummers at Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014

Crowds gathered to admire the holy Iwami-kagura; this most exciting dance from Shimane prefecture involves a warrior fighting giant snakes/dragons. Do not miss a chance to see that dance from the front row because most movements are at ground level! After the performances, the visitors could touch the costumes, get photographed with the dancers and musicians, play Japanese drums, dance with professionals…

Snakes/dragons of Iwami-kagura at Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014

Fight with snakes/dragons of Iwami-kagura at Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014

Besides, Sébastien tasted (for free) many delicious regional foods, green tea, plum liqueur… and discovered high-quality regional products such as sandals of snake skin (interesting to touch), tea pots of many shapes, decorated chopsticks, fabrics used to make toys… Surrounded by fantastic mascots and Japanese girls in uniform promoting different areas of Japan, he could not resist buying a (tee-shirt) souvenir 🙂

Sandals of snake skin at Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014

To finish, a giant float from Chichibu prefecture in front of which many people got a souvenir photo:

Float from Chichibu prefecture at Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014

For practical information, you can read our previous article “Japanese festivals: Furusato-matsuri Tokyo (10-19 January 2014)”.

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USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Furusato-matsuri Tokyo = ふるさと祭り東京, Japanese festival = 祭り (matsuri).
  • Tokyo Dome = 東京ドーム (Tokyo domu).
  • Iwami-kagura = 石見神楽, Shimane prefecture = 島根県 (Shimane-ken).
  • Chichibu prefecture = 秩父県 (Chichibu-ken).

Japanese festivals: Furusato-matsuri Tokyo (10-19 January 2014)

Event: 6th Furusato-matsuri Tokyo
Date: 10-19 January 2014
Location: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan.
Ticket price: 1.500 yens (week-end or public holiday), 1.200 yens (weekday), 1.000 yens (evening).

Closest hotel: Tokyo Dome Hotel.
Closest stations: Kasuga (Toei Mita line or Toei Oedo line), Korakuen (Marunouchi line or Namboku line), Suidobashi (JR Chuo Main line or Toei Mita line).

The annual event Furusato-matsuri Tokyo is the occasion to see beautiful Japanese traditional costumes and dances, hear traditional songs and music (Japanese drums, flutes…), smell and savour great Japanese food, touch diverse products and buy uncommon souvenirs. You can see an impressive float and performances of diverse regional Japanese festivals!

Normally used for baseball games and concerts, Tokyo Dome provides much space for shops and booths. Plan at least 3 hours on site and favour weekdays to avoid big crowds. Everything is in Japanese but that is not a problem for foreign tourists 🙂

If you are a tourism professional on business trip, you can get travel news, try regional food from all over Japan, meet shopkeepers and exchange business cards. Our travel agency being near Tokyo Dome, one of our travel agents will definitely attend this cool event!

You too, have fun at Furusato-matsuri Tokyo 2014!

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USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Furusato-matsuri Tokyo = ふるさと祭り東京, Japanese festival = 祭り (matsuri).
  • Tokyo Dome = 東京ドーム (Tokyo domu).
  • Tokyo = 東京, Kasuga station = 春日駅 (Kasuga-eki), Korakuen station = 後楽園駅 (Korakuen-eki), Suidobashi station = 水道橋駅 (Suidobashi-eki).

Japanese Shinto shrines at night: Kanda-myojin in Tokyo

Have you ever visited a Shinto shrine at night in Japan? Except for special celebrations (e.g. New Year), Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples typically end their service around 17:00 and provide little or no light afterwards so tourists cannot see much at night even if the gates remain open…

Shinto shrine near Ochanomizu station in Tokyo, Kanda-myojin is an exception: you can admire its beautiful lanterns and illuminated statues every night until 23:00! Our photos (19 December 2013) show you its main hall, outdoor lanterns and a statue of the god Daikoku.

Kanda-myojin at night: main hall.

Kanda-myojin at night: outdoor lanterns.

Kanda-myojin at night: statue of the god Daikoku.

Because the night falls early and is safe in Japan, we recommend you to visit a lit-up shrine before dinner if you appreciate the Japanese culture, traditional architecture or Asian religions. Some Japanese people will tell you to beware of monsters at shrines during the night but, if you are not afraid, you can bring back a pleasant unique memory, special holiday photos and another feeling about Japanese spirituality 🙂

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USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Shinto shrine = 神社 (jinja), Buddhist temple = お寺 (otera).
  • Kanda shrine = 神田明神 (Kanda-myojin), Daikoku = 大黒 = 大黒天 (Daikoku-ten).
  • Tokyo = 東京, Ochanomizu station = 御茶ノ水駅 (Ochanomizu-eki).

Greetings from Tokyo!

Greetings! From today, our travel agency in Tokyo Travel Stand Japan offers services in English to foreigners visiting Japan 🙂 We started offering travel services in English after meeting many foreign tourists lacking information and missing great experiences in Japan…

Travel Stand Japan is usually open on weekdays from 10:00 to 18:00, and the team looks forward to meeting you! Accessible via Suidobashi station, our agency is near Hotel Niwa Tokyo in Chiyoda ward:
[MAP] http://is.gd/travelstandjapan

Enjoy your stay in Japan!

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Travel Stand Japan = トラベルスタンドジャパン (Torabelu-Sutando-Japan).
  • Hotel Niwa Tokyo = 庭のホテル東京 (Niwa-no-hotelu-Tokyo).
  • Tokyo = 東京, Tokyo metropolis = 東京都 (Tokyo-to), Chiyoda ward = 千代田区 (Chiyoda-ku).
  • Suidobashi station = 水道橋駅 (Suidobashi-eki).