Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




“Yasakafront” Room in Kyoto


Kyoto and Nara

When I went to Kyoto last month,
I checked in at a hotel and opened the window curtains,
suddenly Yasaka Shrine came into sight.
Although it was just an average business hotel,
I was able to feel gorgeous just because of the view.
In Kyoto, such rooms which you can see Yasaka Shrine in front of you
may be like oceanfront ones at beach resorts.

By the way, Yasaka Shrine is located at the end of Gion
and kind of a mark of Kyoto sightseeing.
As a matter of fact, The Gion Festival with an over 1000 year history
is held by this Yasaka Shrine.
And, on New Year’s Eve, they offer sacred fire and the visitors ignite a match cord
with the sacred fire carry back home spinning its tip around.
The sight on the night of New Year’s Eve is found only in Kyoto. (H.S)

This photo was taken through the window so it showed a shadow.

Snowing in March?! Crazy weather!


Life in Fukui

In Japan, we all think that it usually becomes warm in March.

However, on March 1st, we have just had snow in Fukui City and it has been freezing.


As I mentioned in our previous staff blog that which one do we think it will be effecting this year,

http://www.genjapan.com/en/blog/content/846 (The blog from 1/18/2016)


El Nino phenomenon?


The years end with 6?


The year end with 6 has been shown strong effect so far.

This means that we will have a long rainy season and a cool summer.


Let’s be ready for it!



"Oikemono”, Shinto Ritual (part 3) In a natural way


“Uenomiya” is the remains of an old shrine located in the mountain, 200 meters from the shrine office. Supposedly, the god of the mountain lives there so it is a sacred place.


Visitors pray once more at this place after praying at “Honden” (main sanctuary).

After praying at Uenomiya, people shout “Hyakumangoku!” (million bushels) and they scatter “Hana mochi” ( small pieces of rice cakes which are considered as one of the lucky charms in Japan) for visitors.



They have “Yumi uchi” (shooting an arrow) for the second time after praying at Uenomiya.

People gather around the sacred tree and dig out the maino bako (box)

which was buried a year ago, from the root of the tree.


Oikemono is always held on Januray 16th of the lunar calender (old calendar).

The date of the event has been set by the date, not by the day of the week,

so the day of the week for the event keeps changing every year on the present calendar.

It surprises me that there are big differences of the dates in February and March

between the old calendar and the present calendar.


They do not change the date of the event to Sunday or any other holidays for tourist convenience. This year, it was held on Tuesday. Even it was a weekday in the morning,

many children who should had been in the school came to this event.

Actually, their teachers always bring students to this event from school every year.


As I was watching people of all ages gathering around, I thought that Oikemono

will be inherited in a natural way like this as over the past 1,000 years.


I talked with one of the people who was in charge of this event.

He said that Oikemono is the most important festival for the people there.

Even so, it is also a simple festival because there are no street booths or banners.

The sight wasn't a show for visitors at all, which made me feel that it was the
true spirit of Shinto ritual.



“Goshuin” (stamp given at shrines or temples) collecting


Charms of Japan

First of all, “Goshuin” is a stamp that is given to the visitors at shrines or temples.
In addition, monks in charge write with a brush dynamically the name of the temple
and the date of visit.
The price is only 300 yen.
The more you get “Goshuin”, the more you have fun to look back at them.
Also, it would be a good record of travels.
There are differences in the designs and brushwork depending on temples or shrines,
so each individuality is interesting.
Recently, “Goshuin Girls” have increased but some people are critical of the boom.
However, I think that this boom actually made me realize unexpected pleasures such as
an attraction of calligraphy as art and shrines or temples, fun of collecting something etc.
On the other hand, at shrines, Shinto priests in charge are looking forward to
talking with visitors who come to get “Goshuin”, I guess. (H.S)

“Goshuin” of Shariden/The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

“Goshuin” of Kinpukuji Temple related to Basho MATSUO in Kyoto

Original Goshuin Note of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto, which has a quite girlish design