Bodhidharma: The Original Daruma

Daruma are an interesting tradition in Japan, and their roots in Zen Buddhism are not to be overlooked. Since my original post on the Daruma Festival, I’ve been reading more and more about the doll, its tradition, symbolism, and connection to the figure Bodhidharma and decided that another post to sort out my thoughts was […]

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Fushimi Inari

When you see those glorious orange tori gates Japan is famous for, one site stands out among the rest for its sheer number: Fushimi Inari, just south of Kyoto proper. There’s a lot of history and culture packed upon this mountain shrine, ready to be unpacked by the willing traveler.

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Kiyomizudera: Waters and Blessings

Let’s be real: Kyoto can really be overwhelming with the number of shrines and historic places nestled within its boundaries. There are just so many to see that in order to draw in pilgrims, visitors, and those lucrative tourist moneys, each shrine or temple needs to have something to draw people in. It isn’t necessarily […]

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Pocky Day in Japan

11/11, November 11th, is Pocky Day here in Japan. It’s pretty low-key; you won’t really find it unless you really look for it. The consumer-based holiday isn’t really all that old or revered, but it did come about from a bitter rivalry with a certain country across the Sea of Japan, or the East Sea, […]

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Nagoya Castle

Japan has no shortage of castles sprinkled about the country. While visiting Nagoya for a conference, I was able to stop by the local castle, as it was only about a 15-minute walk from my hotel. Each castle seems to have its own unique attribute that pulls in tourists, and for Nagoya, it definitely was […]

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