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Cool Japan Guide / Fukusa (袱紗)


(Fukusa)

Fukusa is a silk square cloth used to cover a gift during a formal presentation. Originally, it was put on the box containing a precious gift to prevent it from getting dusty. Today, however, it is an indispensable item on a formal gift-giving occasion.

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Cool Japan Guide / Japan's Famous Hot Springs Chubu - Tokai - Hokuriku (No, 1)

Yudanaka-onsen Hot Spring / Nagano

Address: Yudanaka-onsen, Yamanouchi-machi, Simotakai-gun, Nagano
Directions: 45 min ride from JR Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station (Nagano Electric Railway) by Limited-stop Express.

(Yudanaka-onsen)

Yudanaka-onsen, loved by Kobayashi Issa (regarded as the greatest haiku poet), has a long history of approximately 1350 years. It is a unique hot spring village that has springs close to the ground surface, which can be found everywhere in town. Many shrines are also spotted here, and each one preserves and treasures "stones" demonstrating the ancient history of Japan. After taking a bath, you can relax your soul and body while strolling through the village.
Visit the Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/rest/onsen/onsen_p3.html

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Cool Japan Guide / Arima hot springs (有馬温泉)


(Arima Hot Springs / 有馬温泉)

Arima is the oldest spa area in Japan. Arima hot springs are natural ones that have been used since ancient times when people had no skills of digging in the ground. Presently the digging skills are highly-developed, however, they are also providing us with hot water full of natural blessings or active ingredients from near the surface (within 300 meters in depth) in the earth.
Visit and enjoy the Link: http://www.arima-onsen.com/eng/spa.html

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Cool Japan Guide / Chichibu Meisen (秩父銘仙)


(Chichibu Meisen)

Chichibu Meisen is the silk fabric made from Chichibu silk that has been manufactured since ancient time in Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture.
The origin of Chichibu Meisen dates back as early as the Emperor Sujin era (BC149~BC29) when Chichibuhiko-no-mikoto taught the technology of sericulture and the weaving to local people.

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Cool Japan Guide / Niigata Lacquer Ware (新潟漆器 / Niigata-shikki)


(Niigata Lacquer Ware)

Niigata lacquer ware is a traditional handicraft in the cities of Niigata and Kamo in Niigata Prefecture. It is a nationally designated Traditional Craft Product. As a port used by Kitamae ships in the Edo period (1603-1868), various cultures were brought into this town both by land and sea, which contributed to the development of various craft techniques in this area.

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Cool Japan Guide / Japan's Famous Hot Springs Kanto Region / Kanagawa & Shizuoka

Kanagawa / Hakone-onsen Hot Spring

Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Directions: Take Hakone Tozan Railway from Hakone-Yumoto Station (Odakyu Line).

(Kanagawa / Hakone-onsen Hot Spring)

Hakone-onsen is a generic name for several hot springs located around Mt. Hakone-yama, situated in the center of Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. This hot spring was very popular during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as an important site located on Tokaido Street. Each hot spring has a different atmosphere and spring quality, and many variations of Japanese hot springs can be enjoyed here. Also, there are a number of sightseeing points such as the range of mountains from Mt. Kami-yama (the highest elevation in Hakone) to Mt. Komagatake over the central cone, Lake Ashino-ko (a caldera formation) on the crater basin, sacred Mt. Fuji in the west, and the magnificent scenery of Suruga-wan and Sagami-wan bays in the southeast. It takes only 90 minutes from Shinjuku (Tokyo) to visit this hot spring, one of the most popular in Japan.
Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/rest/onsen/onsen_p2.html

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Cool Japan Guide / One-day trip / Mt. Takao-san


(Mt. Takao-san)

Mt. Takao-san is 599 m high and located in western Tokyo. It is blessed with Nature's rich bounty and is designated as a national park.
About an hour from the center of Tokyo, it is a popular spot for mountain hiking.
The autumn leaves of November and the plum blossom season in February are particularly beautiful, attracting many people to the mountain.
There is a famous temple near the peak.

Traveling: Go to Takao-san-guchi Station on the Limited Express from Shinjuku Station on the Keio Line. It takes 45 minutes by Limited Express.
Fare: 370 yen

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Cool Japan Guide / Jetstar eyes Kansai as second hub

Jetstar eyes Kansai as second hub
Japan Times - Aug 25, 2012

New budget carrier Jetstar Japan Co. plans to use Kansai International Airport in Osaka as its second base following Narita airport near Tokyo from October, its President Miyuki Suzuki said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Link: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20120825a7.html

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Cool Japan Guide / One-day trip / Nagoya


Enjoy the linear motor car, Toyota Automobile Museum and the best observatory facility in Japan in the town that has made its place in history with a castle from the age of the samurai warrior.

Traveling: Nagoya Station > (25 minutes by subway, 290 yen) > Fujigaoka Station > (8 minutes by Linimo, 280 yen) > Geidai-dori Station > (5-minute walk) > Toyota Automobile Museum > (Linimo/subway, 570 yen) > City office > (5-minute walk) > Nagoya Castle/Meijo Park > City office > (40-minute walk) > White wall area > Tokugawa Art Museum > (20 minutes by bus, 200 yen) > Noritake-no-Mori > (10-minute walk) > Midland Square, JR Central Towers

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CooL Japan Guide / One-day trip / Fukuoka, Kyushu


(The Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall)

Visiting the most crowded festival in Japan 'Hakata Dontaku' and the God of learning in the town that has fostered history and culture since ancient times.

Traveling: Hakata Station > (7 minutes by subway) > Gion Station > (5-minute walk) > Kushida-jinja Shrine > Hakata-machiya Furusatokan Hall > (10-minute walk) > Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station (20 minutes by Limited Express/local train) > Nishitetsu Dazaifu Station > (5-minute walk) > Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine > (3-minute walk) > Kyushu National Museum > (5-minute walk) > Komyozen-ji Temple > (8-minute walk) > Nishitetsu Dazaifu Station > (20 minutes by train) > Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station > Subway Tenjin Station > (5 minutes by subway) > Ohori Park > (3 minutes by subway) > Nishijin Station > (10 minutes by bus) > Fukuoka Tower
Visit the Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/routes/g_route/golden_fukuoka.html

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Cool Japan Guide / Traditional Annual Events in September

Owara Kaze-no-Bon Festival

A festival praying for protection against wind damage and for an abundant autumn harvest.
Dates: September 1st-3rd
City: Yatsuo-machi, Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture

(Owara Kaze-no-Bon Festival)

This is a traditional folk event to appease the wind and pray for a bountiful crop, and is held every year for three days from September 1st. It corresponds to the 210th day from the first day of spring according to the traditional Japanese calendar and is considered a day often beset by calamities when farmers are frequently struck by typhoons. Although there are many explanations about its origins, it is generally believed that the Bon ritual of paying homage to ancestors merged with a festival praying for a rich harvest.
Full story to be checked via Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/event/traditionalevents/a50_fes_bon.html

(Owara Kaze-no-Bon Festival)

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Cool Japan Guide / Japan's Famous Hot Springs Hokkaido - Tohoku

Yamagata - Zao-onsen Hot Spring

Address: Zao-onsen, Yamagata
Directions: Take a bus for Zao-onsen from JR Yamagata Station (Yamagata Shinkansen Line) to Zao-onsen Bus Terminal.

(Yamagata - Zao-onsen Hot Spring)

Zao-onsen is a hot spring village founded approximately 1900 years ago, located at the foot of the Zao Mountain Range over Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures. Adjacent skiing areas welcome a number of visitors, since its high altitude assures enough snow for skiing even during warm winters. With the special water supplied by the acidic sulfur spring, which has a unique smell, you can't make any soap bubbles. However, the water is very popular among people as "water to nurture the health in children" and "water for making skin light, smooth and beautiful."
Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/rest/onsen/onsen_p1.html

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Cool Japan Guide / Japan's Famous Hot Springs Kanto Region / Gunma

Ikaho-onsen Hot Spring

Address: Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa, Gunma
Directions: 25 min ride by bus for Ikaho-onsen from JR Shibukawa Station (Joetsu Line) to the final bus stop, Ikaho-onsen.

(Ikaho-onsen Hot Spring)

Ikaho-onsen is a hot spring town that has been popular among people since the period of Manyo in the first half of the 8th century. People of cultural eminence, such as Yumeji Takehisa and Roka Tokutomi, also embraced this place with its stone steps that symbolize the town. After walking up 360 stone steps, through a number of inns and souvenir shops, you can find Ikaho-jinja Shrine. Further along, you will see hot water escaping from the dome-shaped glass at the spring. The water is a brownish-red color, unique to Ikaho, and is directly taken from the spring. It works for neuralgic pains and for backaches, and is famous as "the water to be blessed by children." Some say that Onsen-manju (hot spring cake) was first made in this town.
Visit the Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/rest/onsen/onsen_p2.html

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Cool Japan Guide / Japan's Famous Hot Springs Kanto Region / Tochigi

Nasu-onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village

Address: Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi
Directions: 50 min ride from JR Nasu-Shiobara Station (Tohoku Shinkansen Line) by bus for Nasu-Yumoto.

(Nasu-onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village)

It is believed that a deer was witnessed healing its wounds in this hot spring about 1400 years ago. Seven hot springs are spotted on the slope of Nasu-dake Valley. Its main hot spring, Nasu-Yumoto-onsen, includes a historical spot called "Sessho-seki," a stone that is believed to be the transformation of a legendary fox with nine tails, while a communal bath called "Shika-no-yu (deer's bath)" still maintains the atmosphere of a traditional therapeutic bath. Santogoya-onsen is a secluded hot spring in a deep mountain area that you can reach only on foot. Yahata-onsen is a popular sightseeing spot especially in mid-May to early June, when the azaleas bloom.
Visit the Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/rest/onsen/onsen_p2.html

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Cool Japan Guide / One-day trip / Mt. Koya-san (World Heritage Site)


(Koya-san Image Map)

Mt. Koya-san, 900 m high, is where the Shingon Buddhist sect was introduced 1200 years ago by the priest Kukai (774-835) (also known as Kobo Daishi).
If you have extra time, you are welcome to stay at one of the temple's accommodation facilities called shukubo and experience the ascetic training of this sect.
Visit the Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/routes/g_route/golden_07.html

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Cool Japan Guide / Japan throws in practice for its cops and cobbers


On any ordinary occasion scrapping with a cop would result in cuffs, a paddy wagon, a cell and probably worse. Yet, that is exactly what Australian Jake Andrewartha has been doing before his Olympic debut at London's ExCel arena this week.
Surrounded by armoured trucks, water cannon and automatic weapons, he sharpened up for the fight of his life in Fukuoka, Japan, measuring himself against the hardened, professional martial arts warriors that are the city's riot police.

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Cool Japan Guide / Japan's Famous Hot Springs Hokkaido - Tohoku

Iwate - Hanamaki-onsen Hot Spring

Address: Hanamaki, Iwate
Directions: 20 min ride by Iwate-ken Kotsu Bus from JR Hanamaki Station (Tohoku Line).

(Iwate - Hanamaki-onsen Hot Spring)

Hanamaki-onsen, representing Iwate Prefecture, is the generic name for several hot springs including Dai-onsen, Hanamaki-onsen, Shidotaira-onsen (along the Toyosawa-gawa River) and Hanamaki-minami-onsen-kyo Village, which consists of eight different hot springs like Osawa-onsen. This location has developed as a popular travel destination over the years and is well known as a hot spring and therapeutic bath resort area for people living in Hanamaki. A number of famous literaries such as Kenji Miyazawa and Kotaro Takamura have immensely enjoyed this hot spring. Nearby, you can find the "Hanamaki-onsen Rose & Herb Garden" built at the remains of Nansha-kadan Garden designed by Kenji Miyazawa, who spent his entire life in Hanamaki.
Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/rest/onsen/onsen_p1.html

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Cool Japan Guide / The Gyokuon-hoso (玉音放送)

File:Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War2.jpg

Today is the 67th Aniversary Day regarding the Termination of the World War II in 1945.
We, Japanese, hope and expect "World Peace" and also all the war or war like operation including civil war in Syria or so to be terminated very very soonest.
To remember the tragedy of World War II in Japan, today taking up herewith "The Gyokuon-hoso (玉音放送)".

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Cool Japan Guide / Japan's Famous Hot Springs Hokkaido - Tohoku

Hokkaido - Jozankei-onsen Hot Spring

Address: Jozankei-onsen, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Directions: 1h10min ride by Jotetsu Bus (Jozankei Line) from JR Sapporo Station to Jozankei.

(Jozankei Onsen / 定山渓温泉)

Jozankei-onsen is a hot spring village found in a green valley, located in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. ... There, you can enjoy forest bathing and a stroll on the promenade along the Toyohira-gawa River, which has hot water springing from its bottom, to the suspension bridge of Futami-koen Park and Kappa-fuchi Abyss known for the story of a legendary creature, kappa. Its Na-Cl Spring, which contains clear and colorless water of a mild salty taste, is one of the most popular qualities of any of the hot springs in Japan.
Full Story to be checked via Link: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/rest/onsen/onsen_p1.html

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Cool Japan Guide / How not to climb Mount Fuji

How not to climb Mount Fuji
Japan Times - Aug. 5, 2012
News photo
(Once in a lifetime: Your rashly intrepid correspondent (on the left in both photos) poses with
panache in comfortable conditions on the lower slopes of Japan's highest mountain (left).
By the time the summit was reached in freezing mist, it was all she could do to "grin like
one demented" for a photo (below right).)

If you're considering trekking Mount Fuji this year, look sharp — just four weeks remain of the official open season. But if you're making last-minute plans for an ascent of those conical 3,776 meters, think carefully about what you're taking on. Unless, that is, you've always pictured yourself summiting on all fours during a white-out, drenched to the skin. As I did.
Full Story to be checked via Link: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fv20120805a1.html

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