Japan III – Yokohama China Town and the Senkeien Garden
My work has brought me to Yokohama this year, 2013. It is a large harbor city located on Tokyo Bay. In my free time I managed to explore parts of Yokohama on the sea. But from the rest of the city I have seen only nice Yokohama Park.
So I and my colleague went to the Yokohama China Town (Yokohama Chukagaii). It is the largest Chinese district in Japan. You can get there through one of four entrance gates. The district is full of various Chinese stalls selling whatever you can imagine. You can buy there clothes, shoes, bead necklaces, semi-precious stones, figures, teas or teaware. We had bought some tea in a shop with a pleasant shop assistant. She let us taste several tea flavors.
There is number of restaurants and vendors in the street. You can buy there specialties such as manju (something like filled dumplings), ramen (noodle soup) and many other delicacies. We had some manju and it was delicious.
In China Town, there are two Buddhist temples, we had seen both from outside and we visited one of them inside. The temple is called Ma Zhu Miao, the entrance fee is 100 yens. The temple is dedicated to the heavenly mother (Ma Zhu), that really lived in China as our guide told us.
The temple’s landlord took care of us for the whole time. He took us in, described statues of gods we saw, then he said we should pray while we there. He told us how to do it. We had to start praying to the main god who was located in the center of the shrine. We had to kneel on a stool, bow three times, said our name and something else. When we had finished with our prayers to the main god, we moved right where was the goddess of fertility, and after that to the left, where we prayed to two gods who should give us happy marriage and education. The shrine landlord allowed us to take pictures of the shrine from outside, but eventually we were able to take pictures of the inside through a window.
A little bit further from our Japanese office there are the zahrada Sankeien Garden. It is a beautiful, vast garden with many historical buildings inside, many nice nooks, trees and lakes. The garden has its name after its founder, Sankei Hara. It covers approximate 175 thousand square meters. Its construction began in 1902 and it took 20 years.
The garden consists of two parts – inner and outside. Inner side operates as a private sector for the Hara’s family. In this part there are many historical building that were moved here from various parts of Japan such as Kamakura or Kyoto. I was interested in a building called Rinshunkaku that was built in 1649, during the Edo era. But it is impossible to gat inside, however, you can see most parts of interior. So, you can see for example nice paintings hanging on walls.
In the inner garden there are fewer buildings but more greenery. This part was opened to the public already in 1906. A pagoda with three floors dominates it. It was built in 1457 and they moved to Sankeien in 1914.
Although we haven’t visited Sankeien in spring, in the time when all flowers blossom, it was magical. Our walk there took us about three hours and we saw a lot. This truly fulfilled my image of real Japanese garden.
Text/photo: Kristýna Bartůňková
When I traveled to Japan, as my work required me to do, I didn’t have enough time to see landmarks. However, I had one day to explore the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
How the Friday and Saturday night life looks like in Tokyo? Completely different than in the daytime. It could be said that this is a completely different city.The streets are lit up, signs and billboards come to life through colourful neon glow lamps. Girls dress skirts about ten to fifteen numbers shorter than normally, use the strong layer of makeup, glue the false eyelashes and going to clubs.
We stay on the other side of our planet this week. We will see another monumental Japanese castle.
For the third time, we go visit Japan and one of its largest castles. In Matsumoto, Nagano prefecture, the castle which is called Crow Castle is located. Unusually though, it doesn’t stand on a hill, isn’t surrounded with rivers, instead it is on a flat land. It was built in the middle of the 16th century, the era when Osaka catle was built. Hideoshi Toyotomi also played an important role in its history.
The capital of Japan seems endless. And it is sort of true- it is not just one city but it is seamless megalopolis in the Kanto region. Around 40 million people live there. Still, it is very easy to feel there like in a small town.
Nagoya is the third largest city in Japan. Many forget to visit it, unfortunately. There are many interesting places and should you have enough time, spend there a day and night at least. You won't regret.
It was Japanese capital for centuries. Today, it is far from the size of Tokyo yet it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Should we recommend you but one place where to go, Kyoto it would be.
Former Japanese capital of Kyoto has about two thousand shrines. Mostly these are Buddhist, about quarter of them is shinto. Sometimes these are vast compounds, in other cases only small shrines hidden in the streets. Let's see some of them.
Most of the visitors to Kyoto remain in downtown and they often forget there are many beautiful places around the city. Daigo-ji, a shrine compound, is such a place. The half-an-hour ride by subway is sure worth it.
When I got to Japan during my work travel, I haven’t too much time to explore it. I lived in Yokohama but I couldn’t miss near capital, Tokyo.
Some of us think that the Japanese somehow mask their feelings, they lock them somewhere deep inside. That they just keeps bowing and smiling, they behave artificially. They are "programmed" to well and worked hard for your business, family, and for Japan. And that might not even have any feelings. On it there is only one answer.
Tokio. City where are living side by side school children in the old-fashioned uniforms, fashion ladies, who spend the morning by shopping in stores, in the parks and all sorts of corners of the city slacking youth skaters with coloured hair, girls with false eyelashes and twenty centimetres high heels, the dogs wears in mini kimons and of course ubiquitous businessmen.
Once I got an opportunity in my work to travel to a dream land, to Japan. Dream land because it has been already eleven years since I started practicing aikido and thus learning about its culture. And it fascinates me.
My work brought me to Yokohama, the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, about 30 kilometers from Tokyo on the west coast of Tokyo Bay. The place of my work duties was located in Red Brick Wirehouse (Yokohama Akarenga Sōko), a beautiful historical building on a shore right next to the harbor.
There are things, for those the Japanese are extremely proud. Because Japan for a long time its history did not maintain almost any contact with the mainland and developed in such seclusion, there also developed, except a specific Japanese culture, customs and language and kind of sense of their own uniqueness.
When travelling around Japan, tourist became easily witness of many strange or comical situations. Among the most classic, that everyone known could be - getting lost, of course, waiting for the train on the platform that is cancelled, or disillusionment over public toilets.
Tokyo metro, intercity trains, Shinkansens. Warren of stops and tunnels, hundreds of stations and thousands of Japanese who were swarming among the turnstiles, platforms and trains. When tourists imagine this, they are not ready for singing.
What is the main difference between Japan and the Czech Republic? Surprisingly, this is one of the most common questions that I can hear. As if there wasn’t any answer. As I like to say, in Japan, everything is different. Even the air there is different than the one which we are accustomed. And it's not just a different air, what Japanese nature offers us.
Perhaps every tourist, who in Japan goes into the souvenir shop, must try a lot to don’t buy all goods that shop offers. Tourists are attracted by coloured fans, ceramics, kimonos, traditional Japanese woodcuts reproduction, thousands of objects with cute formulas, and of course the ubiquitous Hello Kitty.
Japanese history is not very discussed topic. De facto people don’t talk about it much. If you try to speak about history, most people think of the events of World War II. The rest remember samurais, bold warrior with katana, samurai sword, and geishas, who are still in the subconscious of people subsumed as prostitutes unfortunately.
What do you imagine when you hear words - Japanese food? I know of someone who would have imagined raw fish and rice. Many people mistakenly believe that the Japanese were nothing more than these two foods don’t eat. And the idea of spending weeks on raw fish and rice is then often forces to bring on a trip to Japan packaged with salami.
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