Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




One of the best sightseeing places in Okinawa | Okinawa World



The Okinawa World (the size of three Tokyo Domes) in Nanjo City is representative tourist spot in the southern part of the main island of Okinawa. Gyokusendo Cave opened in 1972, and the area on the ground was reconstructed and opened in 1996.  


The Gyokusendo Cave is one of the largest caves in Japan, which has more than one million stalactites and a total length of 5000 meters. Only 890 meters of them are currently open to the public. However, when I walked in the cave, it was quite a long and worth seeing. The Gyokusendo Cave has created by nature over three hundred thousand years since ages ago before Homo sapiens was born in Africa.


In the Okinawa World, there are studios of Okinawan glass, pottery and traditional dyeing etc. and you can make them. Also, craft beer and highball with habu's extract by Nanto Brewery there was intriguing. And, Eisa dance performed four times a day is must see. It is exciting and fun, so I highly recommend it. I think that the admission 1,240 yen is a good deal because you can enjoy seeing both the Gyokusendo Cave and the Eisa dance. (H.S)


There were hibiscuses near the entrance of the Okinawa World. Tropical flowers lift up my spirits.


Going deep into the Gyokusendo Cave


Illuminated "Blue Grotto" in the Gyokusendo Cave


BiBi Beach Itoman is near the center of Itoman City. There were no people in the sea, but actually behind me, a beach party was in full swing under a roofed space.


There was a milky tea-colored cat in a shop on Ukishima Street near Kokusai-dori Street. In fact, it is a homeless cat.


A shot of when it started with a fish toy


When I visit Okinawa, I always eat sea grapes (seaweed) and jimami (peanuts) tofu. The Okinawan glass dishes look cool.


A train of "Yui Rail" (Okinawa City Monorail) is entering Omoromachi Station. There are the nation's southernmost and westernmost stations on the Yui Rail Line.


Here is a video of a song called "Shimauta", which was performed at an izakaya "Hatomajima" on the Kokusai-dori Street.

Shurijo Castle | A World Heritage site in Okinawa Prefecture



Last weekend, I went to the main island of Okinawa and stayed in Naha City. Speaking of tourist spots in Naha, the Shurjijo Castle is a must.


This was my third visiting the castle but still it is my favorite place. When I come to the castle, I always feel, "I came to Okinawa!" It is said that the Shurijo Castle is the strongest spiritual spot and a sanctuary in Okinawan feng shui. No wonder I feel full of energy when I visit there.


Although the castle was destroyed by fire in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa, it was restored as a government-managed park in 1992 in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan. And, the existing castle ruin was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.


By the way, the key differences between the Shurijo Castle and ones in mainland Japan are that it has no castle tower and its stone wall is curved. In other words, the Shurijo Castle was one to entertain diplomatic missions from China rather than a fortress. (H.S)


Photo taken from the window of the plane before landing at Naha Airport


Shureimon gate 


Seiden, a symbol of the Shurijo Castle
It is said that the building was modeled on the Forbidden City in China.


The King's Throne, the most popular photo spot inside the castle


The whole castle from the back viewed from the observation area


The town of Shuri viewed from another direction of the observation area


The T-shirt shop on the Kokusai-dori Street is just like Okinawa.


Okinawan folk song live show in a bar "Utahime" on the Kokusai-dori Street
This is an Okinawan folk song called "Tanchame" at my request.

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine and plum blossoms



The other day, I went to Fukuoka City for the first time in many years.
And, in my spare time, I went out to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine located in Dazaifu City.


Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine was built on the grave of Michizane Sugawara, who is called the "God of learning", and enshrines Michizane. Michizane Sugawara was born in Kyoto in 845, but he was exiled to Dazaifu because of an innocent sin. He finished his life at the age of 59 there.


A tanka (a 31-syllable Japanese poem) composed by Michizane when he left Kyoto is well known.


The tanka says:
When the wind is in the east, I want it to blow the scent of Japanese plum flowers to me;
even if I disappear from here, you, Japanese plum flowers, do not forget spring.


Although it has passed the peak of plum blossoms, I could see many blossoms and I offered a prayer while thinking of the tanka. (H.S)


Curtains with plum flower crest were installed at Dazaifu Station.


From the busy shrine path to the precinct


Even though it was unfortunately raining that day, there were many tourists mainly from Asia.


The shrine is one of the most beautiful plum blossoms viewing sites in Japan. The rose plum blossoms were bright.


How to use washing water


The Taiko Bridge is a popular spot in the precinct.


"Goshuin" (stamp given at shrines or temples) of the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine


You can go to Kyushu National Museum through the precinct. The museum introduces rich history of cultural exchange between Kyushu and neighboring China and Korea.


Starbucks Dazaifu Omote Sando Shop is another popular spot.


Kengo Kuma, an architect, designed the shop that features the timberwork.

Travel journal of 26 years ago



The other day, I was handed a sheaf of papers by a longtime friend, saying "Do you want to read this?" In fact, the copy over 40 pages was a travel journal about when I went to London 26 years ago with her.


She likes writing and has literary talent. She wrote a very detailed journal about our entire trip of the time. Of course, I can remember I went to London, but I have only a vague memory of what the hotel was like and the detailed itinerary.


Back in those days, the Internet was not spread, so I had only guidebooks to rely on. The photos that I took were analog ones of course.


When I started to read it with my heart thumping a little, it brought back my dim memories and as if they are updated vividly and I was moved. I feel like having a treasure, cannot be replaced by anything. If I take a long trip one day, I would definitely like to write a travel journal.


She also wrote a novel that a girl travels back to a sword training yard of samurai in the end of the Edo Period in Kyoto. I read it before and it brought tears to my eyes. I want the novel to be turned into a book, but she has no interest in publication because she said she wrote it merely for her pleasure. (H.S)


The purpose of the trip to London was visiting here, where is the residence of Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991. In the film "Bohemian Rhapsody", there was a similar scene to the appearance of the house in this photo.


Messages from fans were written all over on the brick wall of Freddie's house. We visited here again two days later and left flowers and letters.


A page of the travel journal

Michi-no-Eki KOBE Fruit & Flower Park Ozo in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture



Michi-no-Eki KOBE Fruit & Flower Park Ozo
Michi-no-Eki KOBE Fruit & Flower Park Ozo

I visited “Michi-no-Eki KOBE Fruits & Flower Park Ozo

(you can change the language in the website) for a company trip.



Michi-no-Eki KOBE Fruit & Flower Park Ozo
Michi-no-Eki KOBE Fruit & Flower Park Ozo

At the park, there’s a café, restaurant, amusement park, farmer’s market, etc.,

so the visitors can relax and enjoy all day.



A monkey, Koume-chan at Michi-no-Eki KOBE Fruit & Flower Park Ozo
A monkey, Koume-chan at Michi-no-Eki KOBE Fruit & Flower Park Ozo

As I walked into the park, there was an adorable monkey with a cute costume and it was showing the visitors amazing performance. The name of the monkey is “Koume-chan”

(a small plum in Japanese), it’s a 'girl' and she has been performing at the park for about

one year. Her performance was so good that it seemed she has performed more than

one year. She ran up and down the stairs, and she put her hand up as she heard a sign.



If you have a chance to visit Kobe, how about visiting

“Michi-no-eki Kobe Fruit & Flower Park Ozo” as well?