Wonderful Japan – Kansai

Aug 10, 2017 | Views: 366
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(By Tsem Rinpoche)

The Kansai region is often considered as the historical and cultural heart of Japan. It was the centre of politics, culture, and economy before the capital city was transferred to Tokyo in the 17th century. As a result of its unique history, many historical sites in Kansai are considered as UNESCO World Heritage sites or Japanese national treasures.

Due to its unique history, the residents of Kansai have adopted a dynamic lifestyle from other regions in Japan, such as the commerce of Osaka, the culture of Kyoto, the cosmopolitan standards of living of Kobe. However, this does not mean that Kansai does not have its own unique customs. For example, Osakans are known for their love of delicious food, and the Kansai people in general are known for their easy-going and fun loving nature.

As of 2010, there are about 23 million residents in the Kansai region. The region covers an area of over 27,000 square kilometres (10,000 square miles), and consists of seven prefectures:

No. Prefecture Capital City
1. Osaka Osaka
2. Hyogo Kobe
3. Kyoto Kyoto
4. Mie Tsu
5. Wakayama Wakayama
6. Nara Nara
7. Shiga Otsu

Note: Kyoto and Nara will be excluded from this article since the topic has been covered in another article.

 

Brief History

Bunraku performance in Osaka

Bunraku performance in Osaka

The history of Kansai can be traced back to the ancient times, when it is said that humans have been living in the region for more than 10,000 years. With Japan’s ancient capitals located in Kansai until the 17th century, the region was the country’s centre of economy, culture, and politics for many centuries. As a result, Kansai is the region with the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in Japan. In addition, Kansai is the birthplace of three Japanese performing arts: Bunraku, Noh Theatre, and Kabuki Theatre. Kansai is also the place of origin of other forms of Japanese art, such as flower arrangement, and the tea ceremony.

Kansai is also an important region in the spread of Buddhism. It is noted that the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism and the Jimon Sect of Tendai Buddhism were established in Kansai. The region is also home to the Ise Shrine, the holiest shrine in the Shinto religion.

 

Location

The Kansai region is located in the middle of the Japanese archipelago, between the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Sea of Japan to the north. To the west of the region is the Seto Inland Sea, while to the east lies the Ise Bay.

Kansai region is located in the middle of the Japanese archipelago.

Kansai region is located in the middle of the Japanese archipelago. Click to enlarge

A closer look of Kansai region

A closer look of Kansai region – Click to enlarge

 

Language and Dialect

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Like other parts of Japan, Kansai people speak the Japanese language, although they have several distinct dialects. Kansai dialects tend to be harsher in tone and more melodious than other parts of Japan.

  • The Keihanshin dialect is used in the metropolitan areas like Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka
  • The Kinai dialect is used in Kyoto and Nara
  • The Tajima and Tango dialects are used in the North-western part of Kansai, but are sometimes categorised as Chūgoku dialects, due to being very different from other Kansai dialects
  • Island languages are used in Totsukawa and Owase, but are not considered as Kansai dialects due to significant differences

The Kansai dialect has existed for over one thousand years. The Kinai dialect used to be considered as the de facto standard Japanese language when Nara and Kyoto were the imperial capital of Japan. After the Tokugawa Shogunate moved the Japanese imperial capital to Edo in the 17th century, the Kansai dialect became a provincial dialect. However, since the Kansai region is still the second most populous urban region after the Kanto region, Kansai dialects are still the most widely spoken non-standard Japanese dialect.

 

Culture in Kansai

Kabuki performance was originated from Kansai region

Kabuki – a traditional Japanese theatrical dance and drama performance that involves performers with elaborate makeup

The general stereotype of Kansai and Osaka people are as fun-loving people, unlike their Tokyo counterparts, who are generally considered as straight laced and stressed out. This Kansai stereotype stems from the fact that many successful comedians in Japan came from the Kansai area, and many of these comedians speak the Kansai dialect. In addition, historically, Osaka is known as the commercial and trading centre in Japan. Therefore, people from Osaka tend to have a more relaxed demeanour than their Tokyo counterparts, who are strongly associated with the samurai culture.

Kansai is famous for being a place where many different forms of Japanese art originated from. For example, the famous novel ‘The Tale of Genji’ by Murasaki Shikibu came from this region. Other Japanese traditional art forms from Kansai include:

  • Ikebana is a traditional Japanese fresh flower arrangement, which allows creative expression within certain boundaries of rules
  • Chanoyu is also known as the Way of Tea, a ceremony that involves the preparation and presentation of green tea
  • Bunraku is a traditional Japanese puppet theatre that involves three types of theatre performers: chanters (Tayu), puppeteers (Ningyozukai), and shamisen musicians
  • Kabuki is a traditional Japanese theatrical dance and drama performance that involves performers with elaborate makeup
  • Noh is a traditional Japanese drama that combines music, dance, and acting, with the actors usually wearing light masks made of cypress wood
Ikebana, a traditional Japanese fresh flower arrangement

Ikebana – a traditional Japanese fresh flower arrangement

Chanoyu is a ceremony that involved the preparation and presentation of green tea.

Chanoyu – a ceremony that involves the preparation and presentation of green tea

A traditional Noh performance, one of the theatre art form that originated from Kansai region

Noh – a traditional Japanese drama that combines music, dance, and acting, with the actors usually wearing light masks made of cypress wood

 

Customs in Kansai

Several customs that should be known before visiting Kansai region or Japan in general:

1. Addressing another person with respect

Bowing is an art form in Japan. The inclination and the duration of the bow will depend on the circumstance and the position of the person that you are addressing. A peer or friend may get a quick 30 degree bow, while a superior may get a longer 70 degree bow. For tourists, a simple nod of the head or an attempt to bow at the waist will generally be acceptable.

In addition, addressing someone appropriately is very important. It is common to attach the suffix ‘-san’ or ‘-sama’ behind someone’s last name as a sign of respect. Although in most cases, it is acceptable to call children by their first name. However, you can consider adding the suffix ‘-kun’ for boys and ‘-chan’ for girls.

2. No tipping

Tipping is not acceptable in any situation and can be considered insulting.

3. Boundaries for shoes

Visitors are expected to take off their shoes at the entrance of houses, businesses, and temples. It is a major taboo to step on a tatami mat with your shoes. Many Japanese people bring a pair of indoor slippers to be used as needed. In most places, shoe racks are prepared for guests to store their shoes. If a plastic bag is offered instead of a shoe rack, it means that the guest is expected to carry his or her own shoes.

4. Bathing in public bath

Public bathhouses (sento) or hot springs (onsen) are popular in Japan. Unlike in western countries, public baths in Japan are used after you have washed and rinsed, but would like to soak further.

 

Travel Document Requirements to Enter Japan

Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture

Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture

All foreign visitors who would like to enter Japan should have a passport that is valid throughout the period of their stay in Japan. Citizens of countries that have reciprocal visa agreements with Japan may enter the country within a limited period of time as long as their visit is for sightseeing purposes and not to engage in activities that results in income.

The following is a list of countries that have reciprocal visa agreements with Japan:

For a limited stay of 90 days or less

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay

For a limited stay of 15 days or less

Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia (visitor must have a biometric passport and has been issued a Visa Waiver Registration Certificate)

For other conditions

  • Malaysia, Barbados, Serbia, Lesotho, and Turkey – allowed visa-free visit for up to 90 days, provided visitor has a biometric passport
  • Taiwan – allowed visa-free visit for 90 days, provided visitor’s passport has a personal identification number
  • China – visitors travelling via cruise ships do not need a visa, but must leave on the same cruise ship

For all other nationalities, visitors are required to obtain a temporary visitor’s visa prior to arrival, which will be valid for 90 days. If you are just transiting between international flights at the airport, no visa is required as long as you stay within the secured designated area.

You can visit the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to get more information on visas. For further information, please check with the Japanese embassy in your respective country.

 

What to Wear

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Although it is acceptable for tourists to wear casual clothing, you should adjust your clothing to the weather and the season when you travel to Japan. For example, if you come in the summer, it is better to bring lighter clothing, whereas if you travel during the winter season, it is better to prepare a warm coat and other warmer clothing. Since indoor and outdoor temperatures can be dramatically different, it is better to wear multiple layers of clothing that can be taken off or put on as necessary. It is also recommended to bring an umbrella, raincoats, and shawls.

 

Food

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Food is an important part in the lives of Kansai people, especially those who live in Osaka. There is a Japanese saying, “Kyo no Kidaore, Osaka no Kuidaore”, which translates into “Kyotoites are ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by overspending on food”.

The following are several unique foods from the prefectures of Kansai:

 

Shiga Prefecture

Funazushi

Funazushi

Funazushi is a food delicacy that contains funa (freshwater Carp) from Lake Biwa, invented during the Heian period (795 – 1185). After it has been cleaned, the cook preserves the fish by rubbing salts into its various body parts. After one month, the cook washes the fish from the salt residue, then repeats the preservation process on the fish, before stuffing the fish with cooked rice that has been mixed with sake and salt, and sets this aside for six months to mature. After six months, you can cut off a piece and choose to eat it as it is or with rice and tea. This type of fermented sushi is known as narezushi.

 

Wakayama Prefecture

Koyadofu

Koyadofu

Koyadofu is a freeze-dried tofu that has been around since the ancient Japanese period. The method of freezing the tofu involves removing the water and drying it in order to create a unique texture and taste that is different from other tofu. Koyadofu is a staple diet for Japanese Buddhist priests, and it is said that Koyadofu originated from Mount Koya, the centre of Shingon Buddhism in Wakayama. Koyadofu is very popular amongst Japanese households because it is highly nutritious and easy for digestion. In addition, it is full of flavour because it soaks a lot of soup when boiled.

 

Osaka Prefecture

Takoyaki

Takoyaki

Takoyaki is made from a mixture of octopus, flour, stock, cabbage, onions, and some pickled ginger. The mixture is then made into balls and baked. The resulting balls are crunchy and delicious.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a mixture of flour, mixed vegetables, and fried on a round hotplate. You can add other ingredients if you want too. The end results look like a pancake with rich ingredients.

 

Mie Prefecture

Ise Udon

Ise Udon

Ise Udon is unique because its broth is made from soy sauce and sweet sake.

Tekonezushi

Tekonezushi

Tekonezushi is made up of cut fish meat marinated in soy sauce, and then arranged on top of rice with vinegar.

 

Hyogo Prefecture

Akashiyaki

Akashiyaki

Akashiyaki are round dumplings made from an egg mixture. They were invented in the city of Akashi, and the batter is dipped into dashi stock before being eaten.

 

Wakayama Prefecture

Meharizushi

Meharizushi

Meharizushi – Onigiri rice balls wrapped in pickled mustard leaves

Kue Nabe

Kue Nabe

Kue Nabe – Hotpot long tooth grouper fish dish

 

Fukui Prefecture

Echizen Soba

Echizen Soba

Echizen Soba – Buckwheat soba with grated radish, and one of the most popular foods in the prefecture

 

Climate

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Due to being surrounded by the Sea of Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and the Seto Inland Sea, and with steep mountainous regions to the south and sloping plateaus in the north, the climate in Kansai is very varied depending on the area. The climate in the southern region is relatively mild, but the coast along the Sea of Japan experiences a lot of snow during the winter season. The coast along the Seto Inland Sea has a milder coastal climate, while the inland area experiences milder temperatures.

In general, sunshine is fairly consistent throughout the year. However, the amount of rainfall may vary considerably. The rainfall volume is particularly high from the month of May to September, but rain is usually concentrated in specific areas. In the winter, temperatures can drop to as low as five degree Celsius, while in the summer, temperatures can be near to or in the low thirties.

 

The Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Kansai is during the autumn and cherry blossom seasons in spring, since many of the sites are at their best condition for viewing.

 

20 Great Places to Visit in Kansai

 

Osaka Prefecture

 

1. Osaka Castle (Osaka-jō)

Osaka Castle in autumn

Osaka Castle in autumn

General Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537 - 1598 CE)

General Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537 – 1598 CE)

In 1583, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a 16th century Japanese warrior, built the Osaka Castle to display his power and accomplishment. According to legend, the building of the Osaka Castle involved 100,000 workers. It was the largest castle in Japan when it was first built, and Hideyoshi chose the granite structure because it was considered impregnable. Unfortunately, this was proven to be wrong as Tokugawa Ieyasu and his army destroyed the castle and the Toyotomi lineage less than a century later in 1614.

In the 1620s, Tokugawa Ieyasu rebuilt and surrounded the castle with over 100 tons of stone as protection. However, this attempt could not protect the castle from natural disaster. In 1665, lightning struck and burnt down the castle tower.

The citizens of Osaka raised funds to rebuild and maintain the castle. In 1931, the current structure of the castle, including the castle tower that was burnt down in the 17th century, was rebuilt. During World War II, the castle miraculously survived the air raids, and in 1997, the castle was extensively refurbished.

Today, the beautiful Osaka Castle is surrounded by parks and deep wide ditches. The castle complex consists of 13 structures that include several 17th century turrets. The eight-floor central observation deck, which was used to observe the area surrounding the castle to detect enemy invasion, has a view range of 360 degrees.

Small figurines of Japanese Samurai warriors displayed at the historical exhibition inside Osaka Castle museum.

Small figurines of Japanese Samurai warriors displayed at the historical exhibition inside Osaka Castle museum.

At night, the castle is lit with floodlights. If you visit the lawn on weekends, you may be able to watch the performance of local musicians on the lawn. An elevator has been installed inside the castle tower to facilitate easier access. Visitors can visit the museum that contains information about Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the castle’s history. In the Nishinomaru Garden, there are 600 cherry trees, a tea house, and the former Osaka Guest House. In addition, visitors can visit a temple dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the castle complex.

The castle and the Nishinomaru Garden are at their most colourful best during the cherry blossom season in early April, and the autumn foliage season in early November to early December.

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Osaka Castle
Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0002, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6941-3044
Website: http://www.osakacastle.net/english/
Entrance fee: ¥600
Opening hours: 9:00 – 5:00 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM)

Nishinomaru Garden
Entrance fee: ¥200 (¥350 during the extended hours of cherry blossom season)
Opening hours: 9:00 – 5:00 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM. The opening hours is extended to 9:00 PM during cherry blossom season)

 

How to Get There

You can take Japan Rail (JR) train to the closest train station to the castle, Osakajokoen Station, which is a 10 minutes train ride from JR Osaka Station. If you plan to enter the castle from the Otemon Gate at the south-western corner of the castle park, the closest station that you should take is the 4-chrome station along the Tanimachi Subway Line or Chuo Subway Line.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Osaka Castle. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Bike & Bed Charin Co HOSTEL OSAKA
Address: 2 Chome-2-9 Yariyamachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0027, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6944-3100

2. Imperial Hotel Osaka
Address: 1-8-50 Kita-ku Temmabashi, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0042, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6881-1111
Website: http://www.imperialhotel.co.jp/e/osaka/

 

2. Momofuku Andō Instant Ramen Museum

Momofuku Andō Instant Ramen Museum

Momofuku Andō Instant Ramen Museum

Momofuku Andō (1910 – 2007 CE)

Momofuku Andō (1910 – 2007 CE)

Momofuku Andō (1910 – 2007 CE) was born in Taiwan in 1910, which was a territory of Japan at the time. After World War II, Japan lost Taiwan, and Andō chose to be a Japanese citizen. At the time, Japan was experiencing a shortage of food, and Andō, who believed that “Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat”, was thinking of ways to invent an economical and easy way to cook food. After he successfully invented the instant noodle, Andō established Nissin Food Products Co. Ltd., which supplied the world with Chikin Ramen in 1958 and Cup Noodles in 1971.

The Momofuku Andō Instant Ramen Museum features the history of how Cup Noodles were made in the shed where Mr Momofuku Andō experimented with various cooking methods, ramen manufacturing machines, topping reproductions, and several TV screens that show commercials of Cup Noodle and Chikin Ramen throughout the years. Visitors can also walk along a tunnel that showcases a half-century of package designs and the various Nissin products. Visitors can borrow an English language audio guide by paying a 2,000yen deposit.

The replica of the shed where Mr. Momofuku Andō experimented with various cooking methods.

The replica of the shed where Mr. Momofuku Andō experimented with various cooking methods.

The museum offers various activities where the visitors can choose to take part. Visitors can challenge themselves with computer history quizzes about instant ramen, or watch the manufacturing of instant noodles in the CUPNOODLES Drama Theatre.

Visitors can also create their own custom-made Cup Noodles and decorate the cup. Firstly, participants must buy a 300yen Styrofoam cup, which they can then decorate as they desire. After that, participants will use the Noodle Shooter machine to fill the cup with dry noodles, and ask staff members to pour their choice of broth flavours, as well as up to 12 toppings such as kimchi, cheese, and corn. The museum staff members then help to seal the cup and package it in an air-cushioned carry bag.

Another activity for visitors is in the Chicken Ramen Factory; however, this activity is not available for individual visitors. The Chicken Ramen Factory allowed the visitors to make their own instant noodle from scratch. The process will take about 90 minutes. The session will cost ¥500 for adults and ¥300 for elementary school students.

A half-century of package design of various Nissin products

A half-century of package design of various Nissin products

Address: 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 563-0041, Japan
Phone: +81 72-752-3484
Website: http://www.instantramen-museum.jp/en/
Entrance fee: N/ A
Opening hours: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM (last admission at 3:30 PM)

 

How to Get There

The nearest train station to the Momofuku Andō Instant Ramen Museum is Ikeda Station, approximately 20 minutes by train from the Hankyu Umeda Station via express train on the Hankyu Takarazuka Line. Visitors can exit via the Masumi-cho Homen Exit, and walk about five minutes to the museum. If visitors choose to charter a private bus, they are recommended to call the reservation line in advance. Visitors can expect long queues to enter the museum on weekends.

 

Accommodation

There are many accommodations in Osaka. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Bike & Bed Charin Co HOSTEL OSAKA
Address: 2 Chome-2-9 Yariyamachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0027, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6944-3100

2. Imperial Hotel Osaka
Address: 1-8-50 Kita-ku Temmabashi, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0042, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6881-1111
Website: http://www.imperialhotel.co.jp/e/osaka/

 

3. Abeno Harukas

Abeno Harukas

Abeno Harukas

Abeno Harukas is the tallest building in Japan at 300m (984ft) and 60 stories. Cesar Pelli, the Argentine-American architect who designed some of the world’s tallest buildings, designed Abeno Harukas. The building construction was completed in March 2014. Abeno Harukas houses Japan’s largest department store (Kintetsu, floors B2–14), the Abeno Harukas Art Museum, a hotel, office spaces, and restaurants.

The observatory on the 16th floor is free, but admission is required for the top-level Harukas 300 Observatory, an observation deck which provides a 360-degree view of the whole Kansai region through windows that run several stories high. Reservations can be made as far as two months in advance. You can buy an entrance ticket to the observation deck at the Family Mart convenience store (at least two days in advance). You can also reserve tickets via the internet (at least three days in advance), however, please note that only Japanese credit cards are accepted for internet reservations. There’s also an open-top atrium in the building. Although Abeno Harukas is Japan’s tallest building, the tallest structure in Japan is the Tokyo Sky Tree, at 634m (2,080ft).

The observatory on the 16th floor

The observatory on the 16th floor

Kintetsu Department Store

Kintetsu Department Store

Harukas 300 Observatory

Harukas 300 Observatory

Address: 1-1-43 Abenosuji, Abeno-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 545-6016, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6624-1111
Website: https://www.abenoharukas-300.jp/en/
Entrance fee: ¥1,500 (entrance fee to Harukas 300 Observatory)
Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM

 

How to Get There

Abeno Haruka is located on top of Kintetsu Osaka-Abenobashi Station, opposite of Tennoji Station. Visitors can take a 15-minute train ride from Osaka Station, or a 15-minute train ride from Umeda Station, and get off at Tennoji Station. Alternatively, you can take a five-minute train ride from JR Namba Station to Tennoji Station.

 

Accommodation

There are many accommodations in Osaka. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Bike & Bed Charin Co HOSTEL OSAKA
Address: 2 Chome-2-9 Yariyamachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0027, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6944-3100

2. Imperial Hotel Osaka
Address: 1-8-50 Kita-ku Temmabashi, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0042, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6881-1111
Website: http://www.imperialhotel.co.jp/e/osaka/

 

4. Dotombori

Dotombori

Dotombori

Dotombori is the most happening nightspot in Osaka. It was named after the 400-year old Dotomborigawa River that runs through the area. There are pedestrian walkways on both sides of the river, and visitors can shop and eat at the various shops and restaurants in the area.

Dotombori is located in Minami, the southern part of Osaka, and is the centre for Kuidaore food culture. Kuidaore literally means ‘to eat oneself to bankruptcy’, which is the term that is often used to describe Osaka residents’ obsession with culinary satisfaction.

There are many restaurants on both sides of Dotomborigawa River. In the past, geisha used to entertain their customers on the northern side, but now the area is filled with small restaurants and bars. The southern part of the river used to be known as the theatre district, and visitors can get a taste of old Osaka by visiting some of the restaurants in Hozenji-Yokocho, one of the backstreets of Dotombori area.

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Kinryu Ramen in Dotombori, Osaka

Kinryu Ramen in Dotombori, Osaka

Address: Dotombori, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan
Website: http://www.dotonbori.or.jp/en/
Entrance fee: N/ A
Opening hours: varied per shop

 

How to Get There

Visitors can take a train on either the Midosuji, Yotsubashi, or Sen’nichimae lines and stop at the Namba Station, which is a short walk away from the west side of Dotombori.

Visitors can also take a train on either the Sen’nichimae or Sakaisuji lines and stop at the Nipponbashi Station, which is a short walk away from the east side of Dotombori.

 

Accommodation

There are many accommodations in Osaka. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Bike & Bed Charin Co HOSTEL OSAKA
Address: 2 Chome-2-9 Yariyamachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0027, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6944-3100

2. Imperial Hotel Osaka
Address: 1-8-50 Kita-ku Temmabashi, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0042, Japan
Phone: +81 6-6881-1111
Website: http://www.imperialhotel.co.jp/e/osaka/

 

Mie Prefecture

 

5. Ise-jingū

Ise-jingū

Ise-jingū

A Shinto shrine established in the 3rd century, Ise-jingū consists of an outer shrine (Gekū) and an inner shrine (Naikū). The distance between the inner and outer shrine is several kilometres and, in accordance with tradition, the shrines require rebuilding every 20 years. The rebuilding efforts should follow the exact specifications of the adjacent sites following ancient building techniques, which means only wooden dowels and interlocking joints are used to connect the structure. The most recent structures were rebuilt in 2013.

After the completion of the buildings, the Sengū No Gi ceremony was performed to welcome the return of the god to the shrine. The woods from the old structures were either used to build the Shrine gate or sent to other shrines in Japan to be used for their rebuilding efforts.

The structure of Ise-jingū is a reflection of pre-Buddhist Japanese architecture. The shrine buildings are completely hidden behind the wooden fences. Only the imperial family members and senior shrine priests have the privilege to enter the building. However, visitors can get a glimpse of the buildings’ upper parts. Visitors can also get a better visualisation of the shrine interior by visiting the Sengūkan Museum or the nearby smaller shrines, which are a smaller scale replica of Ise-jingū.

The Ise-jingū complex consists of 125 Shinto shrines surrounding Naikū and Gekū, and the entire complex is the approximately the same size as Paris in France. Every year, there are approximately 1,500 rituals performed in Ise-jingū to pray for world peace, huge harvests, and the prosperity of the Imperial family.

 

The Inner Shrine (Naikū)

The shrine of the goddess Amaterasu-Ōmikami

The shrine of the goddess Amaterasu-Ōmikami

Naikū, the Inner Shrine, was established in the 3rd century, and is the shrine of the sun goddess, Amaterasu-Ōmikami, the guardian deity of the Japanese nation and the ancestral goddess of the imperial family. Naikū houses one of the three sacred Japanese Imperial regalia, the sacred mirror. The other two sacred regalia are the sacred beads currently stored in the Imperial Palace, and the sacred sword currently placed at Atsuta-jingū in Nagoya.

Just before the shrine’s entrance, visitors can pick up an English language leaflet to get a better understanding of the place. The Uji-bashi Bridge located next to the stall leads the visitors across the Isuze-gawa River. After the main gravel path, there is the Mitarashi River, where pilgrims can purify themselves prior to entering the shrine. The path going towards Goshōden, the main shrine building, is made more beautiful by the towering cryptomeria trees.

Mitarashi River

Mitarashi River

 

The Outer Shrine (Gekū)

The Outer Shrine (Gekū)

The Outer Shrine (Gekū)

Gekū, the Outer Shrine, was built in the 5th century. The main deity of this shrine is Toyouke-no-Ōkami, the god of housing, clothing, and food. The deity blesses her followers with abundant harvests, and provides the three essential necessities of human life: food, clothing, and shelter. Every day, the shrine priest makes food offerings to the deity, which was enshrined there around 1,500 years ago based on Amaterasu-Ōmikami’s suggestion. At the entrance of Gekū, there is a stall where visitors can pick up an English language leaflet with information about the shrine. The main building in Gekū is Goshōden. Across the river from Goshōden, there are three smaller shrines that are less crowded.

 

Shogu

Shogu

Shogu

Shogu is the shrine where the image of Amaterasu-Ōmikami is located. The sacred holy mirror is enshrined in the main palace at the innermost courtyard of the main sanctuary. The main palace is enclosed with four rows of wooden fences, and pilgrims usually make their prayers from the third row.

 

Kaguraden

Kaguraden

Kaguraden

A place where visitors can purchase amulets for good fortune. If a person has personal wishes, s/he can also dedicate a prayer by making an offering of kagura (ceremonial music and dance to Amaterasu-Ōmikami).

 

Kodenchi

Kodenchi

Kodenchi

Kodenchi is the place where the new shrines will be built when the next rebuilding process is to commence (Shikinen Sengu).

Ujibashi Bridge

Ujibashi Bridge

Ujibashi Bridge

Ujibashi Bridge is 100m (328.1ft) in length and brings the visitors across the Isuzugawa River at the entrance of Naikū. It is believed that the bridge connects the sacred and mundane realms. The bridge is also rebuilt every 20 years as part of the Shikinen Sengu process.

Address: 1 Ujitachicho, Ise, Mie Prefecture 516-0023, Japan
Phone: +81 596-24-1111
Website: https://www.isejingu.or.jp/en/
Entrance fee: N/ A
Opening hours:

Month Opening Hours
January, February, March, April, and September 5:00 AM – 6:00 PM
May, June, July, and August 5:00 AM – 7:00 PM
October, November, and December 5:00 AM – 5:00 PM

 

How to Get There

Kansai47

You can take a Kintensu Line train and stop at Ise-shi Station. You can walk for about 10 minutes to Gekū or choose to ride a taxi from Ise-shi Station and go straight to Naikū. From Gekū, Naikū is accessible by bus from the bus stop outside Gekū that travels to Naikū-mae stop. Visitors can catch the bus returning from Naikū to Gekū from bus stop 2.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Ise-jingū. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Sanco Inn Ise-Ekimae Shikinoyu
Address: 1-1-1 Miyajiri, Ise, Mie Prefecture 516-0072, Japan
Phone: +81 598 22 1045

2. Ise Guest House Kazami
Address: 1-6-36 Fukiage, Ise, Mie Prefecture 516-0073, Japan
Phone: +81 596-64-8565
Website: http://ise-guesthouse.com/en/

 

6. Meoto Iwa

Meoto Iwa

Meoto Iwa

Meoto Iwa, also known as the Married Couple Rocks, are two small rocks in the ocean off Futami in the Mie Prefecture. The two rocks are joined together by a heavy rope made of rice straw called Shimenawa. The two rocks are considered as sacred objects by the Shinto worshippers at a nearby local shrine, Futami Okitama Shrine. According to a Shinto legend, the two rocks represent the union of the god Izanagi and the goddess Izanami, who were given the task of creating the world, and the gods and goddesses. The rocks, therefore, celebrate the union or marriage between a woman and a man.

The two rocks are considered as sacred objects by the Shinto worshippers at a nearby local shrine, Futami Okitama Shrine.

The two rocks are considered as sacred objects by the Shinto worshippers at a nearby local shrine, Futami Okitama Shrine.

The rope that unites the rocks is over one tone in weight, and it is replaced three times a year in a special Shinto ceremony. The larger rock represents Izanagi, and the smaller rock represents Izanami. Many visitors visit the rocks at dawn in the summer time from May to July) to see the magical views where the sunrise between them, or at dusk between November and January to observe the moon between the two rocks.

The larger rock is approximately 9.14m (30ft) in height and is said to represent Izanagi. The smaller rock is about 3.66m (12ft) in height and represents Izanami.

Futami Okitama Shrine is dedicated to the goddess of imperial food, Miketsu, and Sarutahiko Ōkami, the god patron of martial arts. There are numerous statues of frogs around the shrine because it is believed that frogs are the messengers of god.

Frog statues at Futami Okitama Shrine

Frog statues at Futami Okitama Shrine

Address: 575 Futamichoe, Ise, Mie Prefecture 519-0602, Japan
Phone: +81 596-43-2020
Entrance fee: N/ A
Opening hours: N/ A

 

How to Get There

Visitors who choose to go by the train can take JR Tokai Sangu Line and get off at Futami no Ura Station. From the station, the visitors can reach the Meoto Iwa by walking for approximately 20 minutes.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Meoto Iwa. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Sanco Inn Ise-Ekimae Shikinoyu
Address: 1-1-1 Miyajiri, Ise, Mie Prefecture 516-0072, Japan
Phone: +81 598 22 1045

2. Ise Guest House Kazami
Address: 1-6-36 Fukiage, Ise, Mie Prefecture 516-0073, Japan
Phone: +81 596-64-8565
Website: http://ise-guesthouse.com/en/

 

7. Iga Ueno Castle

Iga Ueno Castle

Iga Ueno Castle

Iga Ueno Castle, also known as White Phoenix Castle (Hakuho), is famous for its beautiful architecture. The construction of Iga Ueno Castle began in 1585 under the instruction of Takigawa Katsutoshi, the vassal of Oda Nobunaga. However, he fell from power, and Tsutsui Sadatsugu, the adopted son of the feudal lord of the Yamato Province and his successor, Tōdō Takatora, continued the construction of this castle.

Tōdō Takatora built 30m (98.4ft) high walls to surround the inner citadel (honmaru) of the castle. The highest tower in the castle complex (tenshu) was destroyed by a strong wind in 1612. In 1935, a local resident sponsored the castle reconstruction using the wood material to preserve its natural beauty.

Some sections of Akira Kurosawa’s award winning movie, Kagemusha was filmed at Iga Ueno Castle, and the castle is considered as a National Historic Site in Ueno Park. Although most parts of the castle are in ruin, the towering honmaru walls still stand. Tourists can visit a museum that houses a collection of artefacts related to the local history, as well as the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum at the edge of Ueno Park, which contains information about the history of ninja and a model ninja village.

Iga-ryu Ninja Museum

Iga-ryu Ninja Museum

Ninja weaponry

Ninja weaponry

Iga Ueno Castle
Address: 106 Iga-Ueno Marunouchi, Iga, Mie Prefecture 518-0873, Japan
Phone: +81 595-21-3148
Entrance fee: ¥500 (castle only) and ¥1,500 (castle, Iga-ryu Ninja Museum, and Danjiri Museum)
Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (last admission at 4:45 PM)

Iga-ryu Ninja Museum
Address: 117-13-1 Ueno Marunouchi, Iga, Mie Prefecture 518-0873, Japan
Phone: +81 595-23-0311
Website: http://www.iganinja.jp/?page_id=837
Entrance fee:

Category Entrance Fee
Adult older than 16 years old ¥432
Children ¥216
Persons with disabilities N/ A

Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM)

 

How to Get There

Visitors can ride on the Kintetsu Iga line and stop at Kintetsu Ueno-Shi Station, the nearest station to Ueno Park. Visitors can also travel here by train from many parts of Japan. It is about two hours from Nagoya and Kyoto, and 90 minutes from Osaka. Transferring from other railway lines to Kintetsu Iga line may be necessary depending on your point of origin.

If you choose to travel by bus, you can use long distance bus services from Osaka (90 minutes), Nagoya Meitetsu Bus Station (90 minutes), or Tokyo (8 hours).

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Iga Ueno Castle. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Route-Inn Grantia Iga Ueno Wakuranoyado
Address: 1-131 Ueno-Marunouchi, Iga Mie Prefecture 518-0873, Japan
Phone: +81 595-26-1011
Website: http://www.hotel-grantia.co.jp/igaueno/

2. Aoyama Garden Resort Rosa Blanca
Address: 721 Terawaki, Iga, Mie Prefecture 518-0222, Japan
Phone: +81 595-52-5586
Website: http://hotel-rosablanca.com/english/

 

Hyogo Prefecture

 

8. Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle is also known as Hakuro-jo or Shirasagi-jo (White Egret Castle or White Heron Castle) due to its brilliant white exterior that resembles a bird that is about to fly. The castle is also one of the first sites in Japan to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. In addition to that, five of the structures within the castle complex are considered as National Treasures.

Himeji Castle consists of 83 buildings, 32 earthen walls, 15 gates, 16 turrets, and 11 corridors with advanced defensive systems from the feudal period. The first structure of the castle was built in 1333 when Akamatsu Norimura (1277 – 1350 CE), a Japanese Samurai, built a fort on Himeyama Hill. A decade later, the fort was rebuilt as Himeyama Castle, and then remodelled as Himeji Castle two centuries later. In 1581 CE, Toyotomi Hideyoshi significantly remodelled the castle by adding a three-story castle tower.

Himeji Castle interior

Himeji Castle interior

Throughout its history, the castle has changed hands several times. Symbols of various feudal aristocratic families were installed throughout the castles as evidence that they had lived in the castle. The castle also survived extensive bombing during World War II and several natural disasters, such as the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. Himeji Castle underwent 5 ½ years of restoration work, and was reopened for public viewing on March 27, 2015.

Visitors to the castle can observe various feudal Japanese defence systems such as the approximately 1,000 circle, triangle, square, and rectangle loopholes that allowed archers or foot soldiers to fire tanegashima, a Japanese matchlock or firearm.

The winding path that connects the different areas of the castle.

The winding path that connects the different areas of the castle.

Another defence system were the outer, central, and inner moats that protected the castle complex. Only parts of the central and inner moats still remain. The moats have an average width of 20m (66ft) with a maximum width of 34.5m (113ft), and the depth of 2.7m (8.9ft).

A third defence system were the mazes leading to the castle’s tower that were designed to confuse the castle’s enemies. The gates, outer walls, and baileys were constructed to confuse the opponent forces and cause them to travel in a spiral pattern. At one time, there were 84 gates, but at present, only 21 gates remain. In some places, the passages were purposely made steep and narrow so intruders could be spotted and fired upon while threading their way to the inner part of the castle complex.

Just like many other old structures, Himeji Castle is associated with ghost stories, such as the Legend of Okiku’s Well. According to the legend, an employee of the castle, Okiku, was falsely accused of losing valuable dishes. As a result, she was killed and thrown into the well. It is said that her ghost continues to haunt the well to this day and could be heard to count dishes.

Himeji Castle is also a popular cherry blossom viewing spot.

Himeji Castle is one of the popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan.

Himeji Castle is also a popular cherry blossom viewing spot.

Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0012, Japan
Phone: +81 79-285-1146
Website: http://www.himejicastle.jp/en/
Entrance fee:

  • ¥1000 (castle only)
  • ¥1040 (castle and the nearby Koko-en Garden)

Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (last admission at 5:00 PM)

 

How to Get There

The closest station to Himeji Castle is Himeji Station. From the station, Himeji Castle can be reached by either a 15-20 minute walk on foot, a five minute bus ride, or by taxi.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Himeji Castle. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Dormy Inn Himeji Natural Hot Spring
Address: 160-2 Toyozawacho, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0964, Japan
Phone: +81 79-286-5489

2. Engakudo
Address: 8-2 Yanagi-cho, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0927, Japan
Phone: +81 90-9717-6763
Website: http://www.engakudou.com/english.html

 

9. Koko-en Garden

Koko-en Garden

Koko-en Garden

Koko-en Garden was built on the former residence of a feudal lord, Nishi-Oyashiki to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Himeji municipality in 1992. The Koko-en Garden complex covers approximately 3.5 hectares, and consists of nine different gardens of various sizes and styles from the Edo Period, such as a tea garden where visitors can enjoy Japanese green tea in a Sojyu-an (Tea Ceremony Room) designed by the Ura School’s tea master, a pine tree garden, a bamboo garden, a flower garden, and the garden of the lord’s residence, which features a waterfall with a pond. The gardens are accessible by wheelchair.

Kansai60

Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0012, Japan
Phone: +81 79-285-1146
Website: himeji-kanko.jp/en
Entrance fee:

  • ¥300 (garden only)
  • ¥1040 (garden and Himeji Castle)

Opening hours:

Period Opening Hours
April 27 – August 31 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Other Period 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

 

How to Get There

Koko-en Garden is located next to the Himeji Castle complex. It is a short walk away from the castle’s Otemon Gate. From Himeji Station, Himeji Castle can be reached by either a 20-minute walk, five minutes by bus, or by taxi.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Koko-en Garden. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Dormy Inn Himeji Natural Hot Spring
Address: 160-2 Toyozawacho, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0964, Japan
Phone: +81 79-286-5489

2. Engakudo
Address: 8-2 Yanagi-cho, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0927, Japan
Phone: +81 90-9717-6763
Website: http://www.engakudou.com/english.html

 

10. Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen is one of the oldest hot springs in Kita-Ku, Kobe, Japan. According to records, this hot spring has been in existence for over 1,300 years. The first mention of Arima Onsen was in a record from 631 CE, when Emperor Jomei (r. 629 – 641 CE) visited the hot spring. Due to this high profile visit, Arima Onsen was known as the royal onsen (royal hot spring).

Arima Onsen is perfect for those who like to enjoy natural surroundings. Some of the historical figures that have visited and admired the hot springs are the Japanese warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and the charismatic 7th century Buddhist monk, Ninsai. Arima Onsen consists of two types of springs:

  • The Kinsen or gold spring that produces yellow-brown water, due to its salt and iron content. This water is known to have the qualities that cure arthritis and neuralgia. Women like to bathe in this hot spring in order to keep their skin moisturised, and prevent their limbs from cold.
  • The Ginsen or silver spring that produces colourless water, which contains carbonate and radium. Ginsen is known to improve health, boost metabolism, blood circulation, and the immune system, promoting cell activation, eliminate illnesses such as edema and lactic waste, and relieving muscle aches.
Kinsen or gold spring

Kinsen or gold spring

Ginsen or silver spring

Ginsen or silver spring

After the Kobe Port opened about 150 years ago, the popularity of Arima Onsen spread amongst foreigners. It is now considered as one of the most reputable ancient hot springs in Japan.

Prior to the Meiji era, kinsen was the only source of hot springs in Arima Onsen. After World War II, excavations to boost tourism led to the discovery of seven types of hot spring sources, or ‘sengen’ in the Japanese language: Tansan Sengen, Gosho Sengen, Uwanari Sengen, Tenjin Sengen, Gokuraku Sengen, 1st Ariake Sengen, and 2nd Ariake Sengen.

Arima is also known as the place where the first Japanese cider was made, known as Arima Cider. In addition, a Japanese scientist, Ogata Koreyoshi, found that rice crackers made from the carbonated water had health benefits, and the carbonated rice crackers are known as Arima Tansansenbei. Today, Arima Tansansenbei and Arima Cider are recognised as Arima souvenirs.

Visitors to Arima Onsen can also visit beautiful shrines and temples, and a hot spring museum around the area.

Arima Cider (left) and carbonated rice crackers (right)

Arima Cider (left) and carbonated rice crackers (right)

For further inquiry, please contact:

Arima Hot Springs Tourism Association
Address: 790-3 Arima-cho Kita-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 651-1401, Japan
Phone: +81 78 904 0708
Website: http://visit.arima-onsen.com

 

How to Get There

The closest station is Arima Onsen Station, which can be reached via the Arima Line train. Arima Onsen Station is a 30 – 40 minute train ride from Sannomiya Station or Shin Kobe Station. Alternatively, you can choose to take a 35 – 50 minute bus ride from Kobe, or a 60-minute bus ride from Osaka. Visitors can also take a cable car ride via Mount Rokko.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Arima Onsen. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Arima Onsen Tosen Goshobo
Address: 858 Arima-cho Kita-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 651-1401, Japan
Phone: +81 78-904-0551
Website: http://goshoboh.com/en/

2. Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi
Address: 351 Arimacho Kita Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 651-1401, Japan
Phone: +81 78-904-0166
Website: http://www.hanamusubi.co.jp/en/

 

11. Takeda Castle Ruins

Takeda Castle ruins

Takeda Castle ruins

The Takeda Castle ruin is located in Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture. The Takeda Castle ruins are also known as Japan’s Manchu Picchu, or a castle that floats in the sky because in the early autumn morning, the ruins appear to be floating on a sea of clouds. These ruins are located 353m (1,158.1ft) above sea level. Visitors can enjoy the mystical mountain atmosphere from the ruin site.

If you come early in the morning, between 6:00 – 6:30 am between the month of September and November, you may be able to enjoy the sea of clouds from the ruin site, they appears on an average of one out of every three mornings.

Takeda Castle was originally built in 1411 CE. The castle was abandoned after the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, where the castle forces had to fight with the Tokugawa clan. The castle ruins were restored between the 1970s and 1980s, and it was opened as a tourist site. Since its restoration, the castle has been featured in many movies and commercials.

The most popular viewing spot is from Ritsuunkyo. Visitors can park in Ritsuunkyo parking lot and walk along the trail. There are several observation decks along its course. The best spots are viewpoints 1 and 2, which are a 30 – 40 minute climb up the trail.

Kansai66

Kansai67

Address: 169 Wadayamacho Takeda, Asago, Hyogo Prefecture 669-5252, Japan
Phone: +81 79-672-4003
Entrance fee: ¥500
Opening hours:

Period Opening Hours
March – May 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
June – August 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
September – November 4:00 AM – 5:00 PM
December – January 3 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
January 4 – February Closed

 

How to Get There

Takeda Castle is located between the Sea of Japan and Seto Inland Sea. The closest station to the ruin site is Takeda Station. It can be reached from Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo using the Sanyo/Tokaido bullet train and transfer to JR Bantan Line.

From Takeda Station, visitors can choose to reach the castle site on foot using the steep nature trails from the back of the station. The ascent to the castle site can take about 40 minutes. Caution should be applied, especially after rain, as the trail can be slippery.

If a bus ride is preferable, visitors can choose to ride on the Tenku Bus that operates from March to November from Takeda Station and the Takedajo-seki bus stop. Visitors can then walk for about 20 minutes to the castle entrance.

A taxi ride from Takeda station to Takeda Castle will take about 15 minutes. If you opt to visit the castle by car, there are multiple free parking lots around the town. You can ride on Tenku Bus from Yamajiro No Sato parking lot to the trailhead to Takeda Castle. The two parking lots near the trailhead are usually closed to regular cars.

 

Accommodation

There are few accommodations near Takeda Castle ruins. Below is a suggestion based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Takeda Castle Hotel En
Address: West 363 Takeda Kamimachi Wadayama-cho, Asago Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
Phone: +81 796 74 0501

 

Wakayama Prefecture

 

12. Koya Town

UNESCO’s Koyasan the World Heritage Guide Map - click to enlarge

UNESCO’s Koyasan the World Heritage Guide Map – click to enlarge

Monk Kukai or posthumously known as Kobo Daishi (774 – 835 CE)

Monk Kukai or posthumously known as Kobo Daishi (774 – 835 CE)

Koya Town is located on the plateau of Mount Koya in the Ito District. Mount Koya is the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism, and home to over 100 monasteries and temples. Many Buddhist pilgrims and visitors consider Mount Koya as a magical and sacred destination.

In 819 CE, the famous Monk Kukai, posthumously known as Kobo Daishi (774 – 835), the founder of Shingon sect of Buddhism, established Mount Koya as the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism. The opening of Mount Koya as a place of retreat from worldly affairs was marked by a seven-day ritual. Due to financial difficulties, the project was only realised after his death in 835 CE. Today, Mount Koya is considered to be one of the holiest Buddhist places in Japan. Mount Koya can be conveniently accessed from Kyoto or Osaka. It is a good place to visit for Buddhist pilgrims and those interested in history, Buddhism, nature, and traditional culture. In addition to enjoying the serenity of the place, visitors can visit the following places on Mount Koya:

  • Okunoin Cemetery contains the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, and the beautiful Torodo Hall that consists of 10,000 eternally lit lanterns
  • Kongobuji Temple is the headquarters of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism, where inside you can see the story of Kobo Daishi’s journey to China and the establishment of Mount Koya
  • Banryutei Rock Garden is the largest rock garden in Japan, and depicts the image of a pair of dragons emerging from a sea of clouds
  • Danjo Garan is considered to be one of the most sacred sites on Mount Koya, and consists of twenty structures, including Kondo Hall and Konpon Daito Pagoda, where the most important Buddhist ceremonies are performed
  • Reihokan Museum, which houses many cultural and religious treasures of Mount Koya
Okunoin Cemetery

Okunoin Cemetery

Kongobuji Temple

Kongobuji Temple

Banryutei Rock Garden

Banryutei Rock Garden

Saito (Western Stupa) at Danjo Garan Temple on Mount Koya

Saito (Western Stupa) at Danjo Garan Temple on Mount Koya

Reihokan Museum

Reihokan Museum

Visitors to Mount Koya can experience a simple monk lifestyle by staying overnight at one of the temples on Mount Koya, attending morning prayer services, and eating vegetarian food. Over 50 temples offer this service to guests and pilgrims.

For those who are more adventurous and like challenging activities, you can follow the Kohechi trekking route, which is a 70km (43.5mi) trekking route through the mountains to reach Mount Koya. The Kohechi route is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route. If a shorter hike is preferable, you can use the Koyasan Choishi Michi Trail, which is about 23.5km (14.6mi) or 9.5km (5.9mi) depending on the point of origin.

Pilgrims paying homage in front of Kobo Daishi Mausoleum

Pilgrims paying homage in front of Kobo Daishi Mausoleum

For further inquiry, please contact:

Koyasan Tourist Association Central Office
Address: 600 Koyasan, Koya, Ito District, Wakayama Prefecture 648-0211, Japan
Phone: +81 736 56 2616
Website: http://shukubo.net
Entrance fee: N/ A

 

How to Get There

The closest train station to Mount Koya is Gokurakubashi Station. At Gokurakubashi Station, you can transfer to a cable car that travels up to Mount Koya. Then, take a 10-minute bus ride from the top station to the centre of Koya town.

Okunoin Cemetery is located about 10-minute bus ride from the centre of Koya town where most of the temples are located.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations in Koya Town. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin
Address: 657 Koyasan, Koyasan, Wakayama Prefecture 648-0211, Japan
Phone: +81 736-56-2021

2. Shukubo Koya-san Eko-in Temple
Address: 497 Koyasan, Koyasan, Wakayama Prefecture 648-0211, Japan
Phone: +81 736-56-2514
Website: http://www.ekoin.jp/en/

 

13. Hashigui-iwa Rock

Hashigui-iwa Rock

Hashigui-iwa Rock

Hashigui-iwa Rock is a series of rocks around the coast of Oshima. Hashi means ‘bridge’ and Gui means ‘pillar’ in Japanese. According to legends, the rocks were placed by the famous monk Kobo Daishi.

Many centuries ago, the residents of Oshima and Kushimoto were trying to make a bridge that connected the coast of Oshima and Kushimoto. However, the sea monster Amanojaku, appeared from the sea to destroy the bridge. One day when the monk Kobo Daishi passed through the area, the local residents requested him to talk to Amanojaku to let them build the bridge.

Kobo Daishi then met with Amanojaku and asked him to let the people build the bridge. The monster gave made him a deal. If Kobo Daishi could make the bridge by himself without anybody’s help, the monster promised not to break it. The monster then gave Kobo Daishi the strength of 100 horses, but only one day and one night to complete the task, by the time the early hen cried.

In accordance with his promise, the next day, Kobo Daishi got up early, and Amanojaku gave him the strength of 100 horses. Kobo Daishi then proceeded to build the bridge, first by collecting big rocks and placing them in the sea as pillars. Amanojaku, who was convinced that Kobo Daishi would not be able to complete the bridge, was surprised at his speed, and he started to feel worried.

As his anxiety grew, Amanojaku decided to fake the voice of a hen. Kobo Daishi who did not realise that Amanojaku tried to cheat him, stopped working as promised. Therefore, to this day the Hashigui-Iwa rocks only reached the middle of the sea.

Kansai77

For further inquiry, please contact:

Kushimoto Town Tourism Association
Address: Hashigui, Kushimoto Town, Wakayama Prefecture 649-3500, Japan
Phone: +81 735 62 3171
Website: http://www.kankou-kushimoto.jp/english/sub01.html
Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: open all the time

 

How to Get There

The closest train station to Hashigui-iwa Rocks is Kushimoto Train Station, which can be reached using either local trains or express trains on the JR Kisei Line. Community buses provide access from Kushimoto Station to Hashigui-iwa Rocks.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Hashigui-iwa Rock. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Kushimoto Royal Hotel
Address: 1184-10 Sangodai, Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture 649-3510, Japan
Phone: +81 735-62-7771
Website: http://www.daiwaresort.jp.e.zr.hp.transer.com/kushimoto/

2. Fukurou
Address: 826-1 Shionomisaki, Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture 649-3502, Japan
Phone: +81 73-423-4126

 

14. Shionomisaki Lighthouse

Shionomisaki Lighthouse

Shionomisaki Lighthouse

The Shionomisaki Lighthouse was designed by Richard Henry Brunton, who was known as the ‘Father of Japanese Lighthouses’. He was employed as a foreign advisor to the Meiji government to primarily to build lighthouses. Shionomisaki Lighthouse was lit for the first time on September 15, 1873.

Visitors to this historical lighthouse can also visit the museum inside, which contains information about the local history and the lighthouse. Visitors can also climb to the top of the lighthouse.

Kansai79

Address: 28 Shionomisaki, Kushimoto, Higashimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-3502, Japan
Phone: +81 735-62-0141
Website:
Entrance fee:

  • Adult: ¥300
  • Children: ¥100

Opening hours: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

 

How to Get There

The closest train station to Shionomisaki Lighthouse is Kushimoto train station, which can be reached using either local trains or express trains on JR Kisei Line. Community buses provide access from Kushimoto Station to Shionomisaki Lighthouse.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Shionomisaki Lighthouse. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Kushimoto Royal Hotel
Address: 1184-10 Sangodai, Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture 649-3510, Japan
Phone: +81 735-62-7771
Website: http://www.daiwaresort.jp.e.zr.hp.transer.com/kushimoto/

2. Fukurou
Address: 826-1 Shionomisaki, Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture 649-3502, Japan
Phone: +81 73-423-4126

 

Shiga Prefecture

 

15. Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle is considered as a National Treasure by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture. It is also known as the Water Castle since it stands beside Lake Biwa, where the castle waterways were used to transport goods to town. In 1603, Li Naokatsu (1590 – 1662 CE), a Japanese aristocrat, ordered the construction of Hikone Castle. Many parts of this castle were originally parts of other castles. For example, the tower was part of Otsu Castle, and the other parts of the castle originated from Nagahama Castle. The castle construction was completed in 1622.

In 1868, the emperor instructed that Hikone Castle was to be kept intact although many other castles were to be dismantled during that period. Today, Hikone Castle is one of the oldest original castle structures in Japan. Several parts of the castle were considered as National Cultural Assets, including the Stable (Umaya), Balance Scale Turret (Tenbin Yagura), Drum Gate Turret (Taikomon Yagura), and West Bailey Three-story Turret (Nishinomaru Sanju Yagura).

Reconstructed palace buildings in Hikone Castle Museum

Reconstructed palace buildings in Hikone Castle complex

Three different types of gables are incorporated into the castle keeps exterior

Three different types of gables are incorporated into the castle keep’s exterior

Hikone Castle
Address: 1-1 Konki-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Phone: +81 749 22 2742
Website: http://www.hikoneshi.com/en/castle/
Entrance fee:

  • Castle and garden: ¥600
  • Castle, garden, and museum: ¥1,000

Opening hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Hikone Castle Museum

Entrance fee: ¥500 (museum only)
Opening hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM)

 

How to Get There

Visitors can take the train and get off at Hikone Station on the JR Tokaido Main Line. The castle is located at about a 15-minute walk from the station.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Hikone Castle. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Hikone Castle Resort & Spa
Address: 1-8 Sawa-cho, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0075, Japan
Phone: +81 749-21-2001

2. Honmachi Juku
Address: 3-3-55 Honmachi, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0064, Japan
Phone: +81 749 30 9932

 

16. Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa is believed to have been formed approximately 4 million years ago, and is considered as one of the oldest lakes in the world. The Agency of Cultural Affairs designated Lake Biwa as a Japanese Heritage in 2015. Lake Biwa covers 416 square km (259 square mi), and is the largest lake in Japan. It is relied on as a water supply for 14 million people, and is home to over 595 animal species and approximately 490 plant species.

Some of these species, like the freshwater pearl mussel, are not found anywhere else in the world, and preservation of scenery around Lake Biwa is an on-going concern. The Japanese government considers the lake as Important Cultural Property, and Lake Biwa is also a wetland protected by the Ramsar Convention. Other than enjoying the beautiful scenery of Lake Biwa, visitors can do the following activities:

  • Ride a boat on the Omi Hachiman Waterway and enjoy the beautiful scenery
  • Visit the Lake Biwa Museum and learn about the nature and culture of Lake Biwa
  • Cruise around Lake Biwa, operated by Biwako Kisen, with a point of origination in Otsu Port
Omi Hachiman Waterway

Omi Hachiman Waterway

Omi Hachiman Waterway

Omi Hachiman Waterway

Lake Biwa Museum

Lake Biwa Museum

Waterways of Omi-Hachiman

For further inquiry please contact Omihachiman Tourism Association:
Address: Inside Omi-Hachiman City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Phone: +81 748 32 7003
Website: http://www.omi8.com/annai/around_hachiman.html
Lake Biwa Museum

Address: 1091 Oroshimocho, Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture 525-0001, Japan
Phone: +81 77 568 4811
Website: http://www.lbm.go.jp/english/
Entrance fee:

Category Individual Group (20 or more individuals)
Adult ¥750 ¥600
University/ High School Students ¥400 ¥320
Elementary/ Junior High School Students Free Free
Residents of Shiga Prefecture 65 years old or older Free Free
Persons with disabilities Free Free

Opening hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

 

How to Get There

To visit Omi-Hachiman Waterway, you can get off the train at Omi-Hachiman Station on JR Biwako Line, and take a 10-minute bus ride to your destination. To visit the museum, you can take the JR Biwako Line and get off at Kusatsu Station. From the station, you can take a bus with the destination sign to Lake Biwa Museum or Biwako Museum (Biwako-haku-butsu-kan). Another option is to take a 20-minute taxi ride from Kusatsu Station.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Lake Biwa. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Hikone Castle Resort & Spa
Address: 1-8 Sawa-cho, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0075, Japan
Phone: +81 749-21-2001

2. Honmachi Juku
Address: 3-3-55 Honmachi, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0064, Japan
Phone: +81 749 30 9932

 

17. Mii-dera Temple (Onjo-ji Temple)

Mii-dera Temple

Mii-dera Temple

Mii-dera Temple, originally known as Onjo-Ji Temple, was established in 764 CE. It is the headquarters of the Jimon sect of Tendai Buddhism, and is the 14th place on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage Map. The temple complex consists of numerous buildings, including Kondo. Kondo is considered as a national treasure, and its main deity image is Miroku-Bosatsu, a Bodhisattva that would appear in the future as Buddha’s successor.

The famous bell of Mii-dera Temple

The famous bell of Mii-dera Temple

Mii-dera Temple was designated as a Japan Heritage Site, and it houses over 100 important cultural properties and national treasures, including the Nio-mon Gate, a gate that contains the image of Deva kings on both sides, the three-storied pagoda Issaikyozo, a scripture house, and Akaiya Spring.

Throughout its history, Mii-dera Temple has survived many disasters, such as fire, wars, and conflicts with another temple, Enryakuji. Visitors can see images that depict these conflicts on a stone wall in front of the Niomon Gate.

The sound of the bell of the Mii-dera temple has been admired for its beauty in various pieces of literature. The bell was offered to the temple in the Nara period. There is a famous story about the bell called ‘Benkei and the Bell He Dragged Along’. A long time ago, Benkei, a warrior monk, stole the bell of Mii-dera Temple which he dragged to Hieizan Mountain. However, when he was about to destroy the bell, the bell started to make a sound that sounded like “take me back”. Benkei was scared and threw the bell down into the valley.

The 1,500 cherry trees within the Mii-dera Temple complex has made the temple complex a popular cherry blossom viewing spot.

Mii-dera Temple is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot

Mii-dera Temple is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot

Mii-dera Temple Pagoda

Mii-dera Temple Pagoda

The courtyard of Mii-dera Temple

The courtyard of Mii-dera Temple

Address: 246 Onjoji-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Phone: +81 77 522 2238
Website: http://www.shiga-miidera.or.jp/translation/eng.html
Entrance fee: ¥600

  • Adult: ¥600
  • Primary school – high school students: ¥300
  • Younger than primary school students: ¥200

Opening hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

 

How to Get There

To visit Mii-dera Temple, visitors can take a train and get off at Midera Station, where the temple is about a 10-minute walk from. Alternatively, you can take a 15-minute bus ride from JR Otsu Station and then take a 5-minute walk to the temple.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Mii-dera Temple. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Hikone Castle Resort & Spa
Address: 1-8 Sawa-cho, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0075, Japan
Phone: +81 749-21-2001

2. Honmachi Juku
Address: 3-3-55 Honmachi, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0064, Japan
Phone: +81 749 30 9932

 

18. Koka Ninja Village

Koka Ninja Village

Koka Ninja Village

The Koka Ninja Village is one of the city’s main attractions. The village features a collection of old houses in the Suzuka Sanroku Forest. The village staff give regular demonstrations about the various hidden compartments and trapdoor functions in one of the houses. Visitors can try various devices used by ninja such as throwing a shuriken (throwing star) in the shuriken practice hall, walking on water, or scale walls. Other attractions in Koka Ninja Village include:

  • Koka Ninja Museum – a museum at the village that contains information about tools, weapons, and ninja secret books (Bansenshukan) that have been used by Koka Ninja in the past
  • Shinobi-jinja Shrine – a shrine dedicated to a nameless ninja
  • Karakuri Ninja Mansion – The home of real ninjas’ descendants, the Fujibayashi family, the mansion contains many devices and traps for intruders and ways to escape when necessary

Visitors can also rent ninja costumes in the village to get a fuller experience of Ninja lifestyle.

Koka Ninja Museum

Koka Ninja Museum

Karakuri Ninja Mansion

Karakuri Ninja Mansion

The entrance to a secret tunnel

The entrance to a secret tunnel

Address: 394 Kokacho Oki, Koka, Shiga Prefecture 520-3405, Japan
Phone: +81 748-88-5000
Entrance fee:

  • Adult: ¥1,030
  • Children: ¥610

Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

 

How to Get There

To visit Koka Ninja Village, visitors can take a train and get off at Koka Station. Koka Ninja Village is about a 30-minute walk from the station. Visitors can also ride a free shuttle bus that is usually waiting at the north entrance of Koka Station to take visitors to Koka Ninja Village. If the bus is not there, you can call +81 748-88-5000 to request for a pickup. An alternative for visitors is to take a ten-minute taxi ride to the Ninja Village.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Koka Ninja Village. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Hikone Castle Resort & Spa
Address: 1-8 Sawa-cho, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0075, Japan
Phone: +81 749 21 2001

2. Honmachi Juku
Address: 3-3-55 Honmachi, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0064, Japan
Phone: +81 749 30 9932

 

Fukui Prefecture

 

19. Maruoka Castle

Maruoka Castle

Maruoka Castle

In 1576, Shibata Katsutoyo (1556 – 1583 CE), a 16th century samurai commander, ordered the building of Maruoka Castle. According to legend, whenever an enemy approached the castle, a thick mist would come and hide the castle from view. Due to this legend, Maruoka Castle is also known as Kasumi-ga-jo (Mist Castle). In 1948, the Great Fukui Earthquake destroyed the castle, but since then it has been reconstructed using 80% of the original materials.

Today, Maruoka Castle is the stage of Koshiro Matsuri (Old Castle Festival) that is held annually every October. The castle complex is also a popular place to enjoy the cherry blossom festival, with 400 cherry blossom trees on the castle complex and autumn leaves. Visitors can also visit a small museum at the castle park that contains household items, arms, and armours that belonged to the former lords of the castle.

Maruoka Castle interior

Maruoka Castle interior

Kansai98

Address: 59 Kasumi-Cho, Icho-me, Maruoka-Cho, Sakai City, Fukui Prefecture 910-0231 Japan
Phone: +81 776 50 3152
Entrance fee: ¥300
Opening hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

 

How to Get There

Visitors can take a train and get off at either Fukui Station or Awara-Onsen Station, and then take a Keifuku bus to Maruoka Castle, which is a 5 to 10 minute walk from Honmaruoka bus stop. You can also choose to rent a car to visit the castle from Fukui Station, which is a 30-minute drive from the Station. There is a free parking spot next to the castle.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Maruoka Castle. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Centurion Hotel Villa Suite Fukui Ekimae
Address: 2-2-3 Hinode, Fukui, Fukui Prefecture 910-0859, Japan
Phone:+81 776 63 5835

2. Fukui Manten Hotel Ekimae
Address: 1-11-1 Chuo, Fukui, Fukui 910-0006, Japan
Phone: +81 776 20 0100

 

20. Echizen Daibutsu

Echizen Daibutsu

Echizen Daibutsu

Echizen Daibutsu compared to an ordinary human size

Echizen Daibutsu compared to an ordinary human size

Echizen Daibutsu is the tallest sitting Buddha statue in Japan at the height of 17m (55.8ft). Echizen Daibutsu is located in the Great Buddha Hall of Shindaiji Temple, in Katsuyama, Fukui. The great Buddha statue was built in 1987 through the sponsorship of a local businessman.

In addition to the four Buddha statues placed on both sides of Echizen Daibutsu, there are 1,281 smaller Buddha statues placed in the wall around the hall. Shindaiji Temple Complex also features a 75m five-story pagoda and a beautiful Japanese Garden.

Shindaiji Temple where Echizen Daibutsu is enshrined

Shindaiji Temple where Echizen Daibutsu is enshrined

Another picture of Shindaiji Temple

Another picture of Shindaiji Temple

Address: 50-1-1 Katase-cho, Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture, Japan
Phone: +81 779 87 3300
Entrance fee:

  • Adult: ¥500
  • Minor under 18 years old: ¥300

Opening hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

 

How to Get There

Visitors can take a train and get off at Katsuyama Station. From the station, you can take a bus to the temple and stop at Jibasangyo Centre Mae.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodations near Shindaiji Temple. Below are two suggestions based on good reviews. However, we recommend that you do further research to find the right accommodation that suits your requirements.

1. Centurion Hotel Villa Suite Fukui Ekimae
Address: 2-2-3 Hinode, Fukui, Fukui Prefecture 910-0859, Japan
Phone:+81 776 63 5835

2. Fukui Manten Hotel Ekimae
Address: 1-11-1 Chuo, Fukui, Fukui 910-0006, Japan
Phone: +81 776 20 0100

 

Travel Books on Kansai

Book Cover Description
Kansai103 1. Kansai Cool by Christal Whelan

This book sheds light on how the old and new cultures interact in Kansai through a collection of 25 essays that provide insights about how art, faith, science, and history influence the traditional and modern Japanese culture in Kansai.

Kansai104 2. The Rough Guide Snapshot to Kansai (includes Osaka, the Kumano Kodo, and Kobe)

An informative travel guide to the Kansai region, this book contains information and maps about the region’s worldly attractions, such as Osaka’s nightlife, the Arima Onsen, and the pilgrimage places such as Mount Koya. The book also contains practical information that any traveller would need to make the most out of their travel experience in the region, including survival guides on culture and etiquette.

 
Sources:

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  • Murase, Miyeko. The Written Image: Japanese Calligraphy and Painting from the Sylvan Barnet and William Burto Collection. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013. http://books.google.com
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  • https://matadornetwork.com/abroad/10-japanese-customs-you-must-know-before-a-trip-to-japan/
  • http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/press/related/about.html
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  • http://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-travel/kansai-guide
  • https://triplelights.com/blog/10-foodsmust-tryosaka-91
  • http://www.kansai.gr.jp/en/attraction/history/post-2.html
  • http://favy-jp.com/topics/601
  • https://matcha-jp.com/en/2008
  • https://en.climate-data.org/location/602274/
  • http://www.kansai.gr.jp/en/attraction/nature/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansai_dialect
  • http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/kansai/osaka/introduction
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/osaka/attractions/osaka-jo/a/poi-sig/423395/356704
  • https://en.japantravel.com/osaka/momofuku-ando-instant-ramen-museum/4363
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/osaka/attractions/abeno-harukas/a/poi-sig/1504488/356704
  • http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/osaka/attractions/dotombori/a/poi-sig/1318652/356704
  • http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/facilities/cat37/post_275.html
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/ise-shima/attractions/ise-jingu/a/poi-sig/1509328/356692
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/ise-shima/attractions/naiku/a/poi-sig/1507655/356692
  • https://www.isejingu.or.jp/en/about/index.html
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/ise-shima/attractions/geku/a/poi-sig/1232069/356692
  • https://www.isejingu.or.jp/en/about/index.html
  • https://www.japanhoppers.com/en/kansai/ise/kanko/1748/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iga_Ueno_Castle
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4352.html
  • https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/castles/igauenojo.html
  • http://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-city-guides/japanese-castles/iga-ueno-castle
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himeji_Castle
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3501.html
  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/661
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arima_Onsen
  • http://visit.arima-onsen.com/things-to-do/miraculous-hot-spring/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koko-en_Garden
  • http://www.eok.jp/travel/attraction/garden/kokoen
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3502.html
  • https://wow-j.com/en/Allguides/osaka/sightseeing/00307_en/
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3592.html
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/list/e1229.html
  • http://boutiquejapan.com/mount-koya/
  • http://www.vogue.com/article/sacred-mountain-koyasan-japan-shukubo-temple-lodging
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4900.html
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4904.html
  • https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/shritemp/kongobuji.html
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_012.html
  • http://www.kankou-kushimoto.jp/english/sub01.html
  • https://en.visitwakayama.jp/venues/venue_29/
  • http://www.kankou-kushimoto.jp/english/sub01.html
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4957.html
  • https://www.japanhoppers.com/en/kansai/kushimoto_nachi/kanko/1125/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiga_Prefecture
  • http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/ecoregions/lake_biwa.cfm
  • http://www.lbm.go.jp/english/guide-e/
  • http://en.biwako-visitors.jp/spot/detail/84
  • http://www.taleofgenji.org/onjoji.html
  • https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/shritemp/miidera.html
  • https://www.welcomekansai.com/shiga/otsu/miidera-temple/overview
  • https://www.japanhoppers.com/en/kansai/shigaraki_koga/kanko/1098/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maruoka_Castle
  • https://en.japantravel.com/fukui/maruoka-castle/3078
  • https://www.thekanert.com/writing/japan-travel/maruoka-castle/
  • https://www.amazon.com/Colloquial-Kansai-Japanese-Dialects-Phrasebook/dp/0804837236
  • https://www.amazon.com/Kansai-Rough-Guides-Snapshot-Japan-ebook/dp/B00NIA2CHI/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500957207&sr=1-4&keywords=kansai
  • http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7028.html

 
For more interesting information:

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5 Responses to Wonderful Japan – Kansai

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  1. Cc on Sep 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Japan is a place that i will visit again and again and again. Love the culture, people , food and technology. They are dedicated and detail in very expect.One can just backpack and walk alone without worries. People there are very helpful.

  2. wan wai meng on Aug 17, 2017 at 12:46 am

    The Japanese has many art forms and so many are beautiful and attractive to the senses. The culture of the Japanese is such that they try their best to do to the best of their abilities, they make that extra effort that sets them apart from other cultures.

    The Japanese have much to be proud of on the world stage, due to their work ethics and their dedication to doing the best they can. in this sense the pride of the Japanese has served them very well.

  3. Samfoonheei on Aug 11, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Kansai is the undiscovered Japan whereby it the journey to the very top and the experience was definitely exciting and wonderful. The surrounding region is often considered as the historical and cultural heart of Japan. Within the Kansai area, lies the famous and popular tourists spots of beautiful ancient castles, temples, shrines and hot springs to name afew. One of the oldest lakes in the world which about 4 million years ago…..Lake Biwa is also another place to offer to locals and touriest.There is a varities of good foods too for all .
    Its a UNESCO World Heritage sites with a a unique and long beautiful history.I love to visit some day such a beautiful place.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these beautiful informative article for us to travel more easier.

  4. CindyH on Aug 10, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you for such a well-researched and informative piece about the Kansai region. After reading this latest installment and also the other travel related articles from this blog for some time now, (apart from the delights from the rather extensive information which are definitely useful for trip planning), it is still amazing and interesting to be presented with reflections of how universally appealing and versatile Buddhism is.

    When Buddhism “enters” a country or a culture, it acquires another style of Buddhism and yet retaining the core and essence of Buddha’s enlightened teachings. The explanations, expressions and representations of Buddha and His teachings may differ from one country or culture to another but what Dharma stands for remains universally consistent and relevant. Bottom line is, regardless of the differences, people generally can, at the very least appreciate or relate to the universal values emphasised in Dharma.

    In a way, I suppose its “typical” of Buddhism. After all, it is the nature, if not the goal, for the teachings be assimilated into one’s manner of thinking, beliefs and also way of life. Buddhism is not fixated in maintaining its “identity” but places more importance towards its application in one’s life. Thus, as long as it does not deviate from Buddha’s core teachings, Buddhism has no issues or qualms in accommodating the psychology and social cultures of the relevant society it seeks to reach out to for their benefit. Another reminder of how blessed I am to currently encounter and have Dharma in my life.

  5. Fong on Aug 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Sounds like another interesting destination. Japan is a very fascinating place with its unique and fine culture. Even the food is fine and beautifully presented, a matter of feeding the senses as well as the body.

    Reading this article makes one wish to visit Kansai.

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The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.

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  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:04 AM
    Wow …such a unique island called Socotra which i did not know before or come across . Everything from trees to flowers looks so unique. A place home to a panoply of strange plants and animals uniquely which adapted to the hot, harsh, windswept island. The landscape of this remote Socotra Island looks as if it comes from a sci-fi film.
    From what I see through the pictures this Socotra Island, looks more like Alien place. It’s truly unlike any place on earth and is also called the ‘Lost World ‘ to some of the tourist. I did some research on this island .
    It seem over millions of years, the isolated island in the Arabian Sea has cultivated a unique biodiversity unlike anywhere else on Earth. Twisted dragon’s blood trees and bulbous bottle trees have made Socotra a place of legends, feared by sailors throughout history and believed by some to be the site of the original Garden of Eden.
    Now it seem to be a tourist attraction in Yemen after when UNESCO named it as World Natural Heritage Site in 2006. Its wonderful news as UNESCO recognizes the importance of preserving the island.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these unique island with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/socotra-island.html#comment-753145
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:03 AM
    Beautiful sacred painting by Rinpoche. Amazing to know RInpoche as a small kid is so talented in drawing and painting . Yet after so many years the painting still looks good condition. Such a beautiful White Tara painting and now Rinpoche still paints.
    Wow interesting stories behind the scared painting of the powerful white Tara. When we have trust and faith that’s how these powerful Tara will help us.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/sacred-painting.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:02 AM
    The two beautiful Yeti painting comes a long way from Nepal with love to Malaysia .Specially for Rinpoche……such a beautiful gift and unique .. Knowing Rinpoche like Bigfoot so much. Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection. It is not the gift but the thought that counts.
    Rejoice for Mitra Poudel and Khom Thapa
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these beautiful paintings.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/yeti-bigfoot-sasquatch/from-nepal.html
  • Jason
    Wednesday, Oct 18. 2017 11:14 PM
    This is a great news to animals. Gucci, a leading fashion company going to stop fur clothing now. I just watched a video about the people peel off the fox skin. So cruelty.
    Even though we own any fur clothing, we shouldn’t wear it because this will create a desire cause to others to buy more fur clothing .
    Human beings are very intelligent but we shouldn’t take away animals rights to live in this planet.
    Thanks Rinpoche sharing.

    Jason
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/do-you-know-what-gucci-did.html
  • Alice Tay
    Wednesday, Oct 18. 2017 05:51 PM
    藏传佛教格鲁派第十世班禅喇嘛被视为阿弥陀佛的化身,并且是继达赖尊者后拥有最高权威的佛法大师。第十世班禅喇嘛是一名颇有影响力的大师,每当他给予公开开示时,数以千计的人都会前去听法。
    第十世班禅喇嘛和达赖尊者的关系可以追溯到第五世达赖尊者时期。在当时,第五世达赖尊者的上师,同时也是杜固扎巴坚赞(多杰雄登前世之一)的上师是第四世班禅喇嘛。为了感激上师,达赖尊者赐予上师“班禅大师”头衔,并对班禅大师的三任前世加以追封。此外,达赖尊者也将扎什伦布寺赐为其上师的驻锡地。而此扎什伦布寺内还安设一间供奉多杰雄登的护法殿至今,并且还成为著名的旅游胜地。
    由此可见,如果多杰雄登就如藏人行政中央所说的修持多杰雄登会伤害西藏事业,那么当时的第五世达赖尊者为何要赠送设有多杰雄登的护法殿的扎什伦布寺予第四世班禅喇?如果多杰雄登真的会伤害西藏事业,那么第十世班禅喇嘛为何要费尽心思来撰写这篇约30至40页的的“妙音怙主(宗喀巴)佛教护法天王金刚具力五部威猛尊酬供仪轨”的祈愿文?难道第十世班禅喇嘛铁了心肠不再理会或是存心要危害西藏人民?这一切的一切,让我们不得不深入的思考。

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/panchen-lama-sungbum-chinese.html
  • Lin Mun
    Wednesday, Oct 18. 2017 05:22 PM
    It is very worrying that there are such high percentage of plastic fibres found in our tap water. Even developed country such as UK, Germany and France has 72% of their tap water contaminated with plastic fibres. I guess this is the price we have to pay. With improve technologies and new science inventions we keep coming out with new products that uses various types of plastics and chemicals to bring down the production cost. But unfortunately, nothing comes free as human who will have to suffer the implication of these plastics fibres in the form of water and air, and it is alarming to our health. I think the only way is to create awareness to people telling them how harmful it can bring to us and we should avoid using the products that contribute the pollution and use alternative.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/do-you-know-what-you-are-drinking.html
  • Lin Mun
    Wednesday, Oct 18. 2017 05:04 PM
    It is good news that Tibetan MP Venerable Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. Why would a democratic country listen to an oracle to seek advise for the country governance and administration? It just puzzled me. If Nechung is right, why isn’t the country and people progressing but divided further with the Dorje Shugden ban? What more Nechung is an not enlightened dharma protector. It was proven that so many Nechung’s prophecies was wrong but none would question and CTA would still follow the wrong advice. The CTA leaders continue to segregate, discriminate and remove all the human rights against Dorje Shugden practitioners such as education, medical, religion and etc. This is so illegal.

    In this age, we should be able to think and fight for our rights. I hope more people like Venerable Tenpa Yarphel will speak up against the unfair Tibetan leadership towards their people. Everyone should be treated equally and especially for a Buddhism country.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/tibetan-mp-tenpa-yarphel-speaks-up-against-nechung.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Oct 18. 2017 11:29 AM
    Shocking to read and hear this, happening in our own country. Even though this post is old , feeling sad for those cats starving been kept at two pet boarding premises which they called pets hotel. Pets owner discovered that those pets were left abandoned and starved . They also found dead cats and many were in a sad condition. Our local newspapers reported that about 200 cats and a dog were rescued from that premise alone .Another location about 100 cats were found and rescued. These episode was highlighted in news national wide. It such a shameful act .How can the owner of the premises do it for their own selfishness just because of celebrations.
    It is good that the authorities took a stern legal action against the owners of the centre.
    Animals are ignorant and do not deserve to be treated so badly. Be kind and caring to all sentient beings. Have empathy.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/300-starved-and-13-died-petknode.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Oct 18. 2017 11:28 AM
    A beautiful approach by the British MPs has recommended that people reduce the amount of meat they eat to help prevent food shortages in Britain . Even though it is political approach yet still happy as less animals will be killed for foods on the table.
    The massive increase in meat consumption in recent decades has led to the price of grain increase which used for animal feed. Its also lead to widespread deforestation and pressure on agricultural land. The MP are trying to tackle food wastage as half the food bought from UK supermarkets goes in the bin. The UK population are encouraged to eat less meat in long run.
    Thank you for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/british-mps-says-eat-less-meat.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Oct 18. 2017 11:27 AM
    So touching ….watching this beautiful videos , could not controlled my tears too. Its such a warm moment when the two of them met again after a long search nearly 25 years of a hopless search . Mitchell Shigemoto has never forgotten how James Pearson saved his life. In foreign places, and the way Shigemoto’s relationship with James Pearson training together and fighting ,along side in the war ,they became best friends.
    James Pearson is truly a selfless ,kind and friendly person, nor matter what happen stands by Mitchell Shigemoto.
    Thank you Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing this inspiring post.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/mitchell-shigemoto-and-james-pearson-best-friends-in-war.html
  • Alice Tay
    Wednesday, Oct 18. 2017 12:42 AM
    Venerable Tenpa Yarphel showed great courage to voice up and pointed out that if the Tibetan Government-in-Exile is really practice democracy, basically no one will be discriminated and segregated regardless of ethnic group, gender, religious and etc. The people should work together for the growth of the state instead of just listened or seek advice from Nechung and ultimate decisions are still come from HH the Dalai Lama in spite of his retirement from politics.
    Miraculously, Tibetan community continues to believe the Nechung although they have experienced the false prophecies given by Nechung with the possible reason that no one can fully understand the language that Nechung speaks.

    Hope there are more people like Ven. Tenpa Yarphel stand firm and continue to speak up for truth just to benefit and bring no harm to the people.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/tibetan-mp-tenpa-yarphel-speaks-up-against-nechung.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Oct 17. 2017 11:08 AM
    So sad and heart breaking watching this video ,did not able to watch that part when our best friend was put into the boiling pot. Disgusting and cruel indeed. How can they do it and later sold as meat in restaurants…..so inhuman and shocking. My heart sink for a moment to see what happening to those poor dogs. They were tortured, abused before death. Dog meat trade should stop in this modern civilization , where dog deserved much better to live ,love, like us. They are our men best friends after all. They are one of us ,accompany us ,guard our house and keeps us happy. Please do not hurt them i plea.
    Hope the government or people concerned stop the dog meat trade industries. Go on vegetarian is the right healthy choice.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing .

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/dog-meat-trade.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Oct 17. 2017 11:07 AM
    Unseen beings do exists . We human cannot see but our best friends do sense the unseen being existing around and are sensitive too. Animals do behave unusually .
    There must be some kind or unhappy event happened long time ago. A fire or someone killed ?? The unseen being are trapped ,maybe which we won’t know. They need the couple to set them free from sufferings and pain. Whatever it is , its up to the couple after they have investigated of what happen. Hope the haunted house with unseen being have a happy ending.
    Thank you for sharing, interesting videos .

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/film-tv-music/the-haunted-terror-at-maple-dale-farm.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Oct 17. 2017 11:06 AM
    Very weird and strange creatures which i have not come across before .The first sight looks scary to me but interesting to know the true facts of it which came from different countries across the globe. There might be more strange creatures around which the researchers have not found them yet. Well it is best to leave them alone or else those weird creatures will be extinct in the near future. Give them a chance and they deserve to live in the wild or sea or anywhere they belong and call home.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Oct 16. 2017 10:46 PM
    I have just heard about the 9th year theory few weeks ago. It seems to bring bad luck or omen. Never really believe in such thing but I guess everyone will have their ups and down, and I believe all this is due to our karma ripening. I for example was born on Friday the 13th, of which a very unlucky number for westerners. But so far life have been good. We are all very fortunate to have Rinpoche to give us Dorje Shugden teachings. When we have full trust on Dorje Shugden the dharma protector, we should not be afraid of the 9th year or even 13th theory.
    Thank you Datuk May for your sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/a-blind-corner-at-each-decade.html

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Messages from Rinpoche

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CREDITS

Concept: Tsem Rinpoche
Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
Content: Tsem Rinpoche, Justin Ripley, Pastor Shin Tan, Sarah Yap
Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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Animal Care Fund
  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
October 2017, His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal graciously reading our Kechara album and updates as presented by Beng Kooi and Martin. He was very pleased with our progress and offers his blessings. Tsem Rinpoche
3 hours ago
October 2017, His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal graciously reading our Kechara album and updates as presented by Beng Kooi and Martin. He was very pleased with our progress and offers his blessings. Tsem Rinpoche
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche grants audience to Beng Kooi and Martin in France.  Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
5 hours ago
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche grants audience to Beng Kooi and Martin in France. Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
Recently Beng Kooi and Martin on behalf of myself and Kechara was lucky to have audience with His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He lives in around Paris, France. His Holiness is 91 years old and very healthy and alert. He was the 101st throne holder for Tsongkapa and was the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism and was very successful during his tenure. He is a strong practitioner of both Sutra and Tantra of Je Tsongkapa\'s tradition and a master of all Buddhist knowledge. He holds steadfast to his protector Dorje Shugden very strongly. So we can see even the highest throneholders who are masters of Sutra and Tantra also practices Dorje Shugden knowing the benefits.

Beng Kooi and Martin brought photo albums of Kechara Forest Retreat/Kechara and updates on Kechara and our works. His Holiness was very pleased to listen and offered some gifts back. 

This is a beautiful picture and the great blessings bestowed on us from His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.

Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche 
Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
5 hours ago
Recently Beng Kooi and Martin on behalf of myself and Kechara was lucky to have audience with His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He lives in around Paris, France. His Holiness is 91 years old and very healthy and alert. He was the 101st throne holder for Tsongkapa and was the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism and was very successful during his tenure. He is a strong practitioner of both Sutra and Tantra of Je Tsongkapa's tradition and a master of all Buddhist knowledge. He holds steadfast to his protector Dorje Shugden very strongly. So we can see even the highest throneholders who are masters of Sutra and Tantra also practices Dorje Shugden knowing the benefits. Beng Kooi and Martin brought photo albums of Kechara Forest Retreat/Kechara and updates on Kechara and our works. His Holiness was very pleased to listen and offered some gifts back. This is a beautiful picture and the great blessings bestowed on us from His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp
*****and****
My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li

Fantastic Reads!!
yesterday
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp *****and**** My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li Fantastic Reads!!
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp
*****and****
My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li
yesterday
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp *****and**** My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li
This is so powerful. It is a must read and must share.
2 days ago
This is so powerful. It is a must read and must share.
Beng Kooi meeting with the scholar and teacher Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen has been very active and you can see his youtubes in Tibetan speaking about the benefits of Dorje Shugden practice. He is a direct student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche.
2 days ago
Beng Kooi meeting with the scholar and teacher Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen has been very active and you can see his youtubes in Tibetan speaking about the benefits of Dorje Shugden practice. He is a direct student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche.
Martin meeting with Gen Tashi. Gen Tashi is a very devoted and committed activist of Dorje Shugden\'s cause. He is tireless in speaking for the truth. They enjoyed sharing some time together.
2 days ago
Martin meeting with Gen Tashi. Gen Tashi is a very devoted and committed activist of Dorje Shugden's cause. He is tireless in speaking for the truth. They enjoyed sharing some time together.
Martin meeting with the well known strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist and scholar Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe lak was very happy to meet Martin and shared so much wonderful information. Beautiful meeting.
2 days ago
Martin meeting with the well known strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist and scholar Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe lak was very happy to meet Martin and shared so much wonderful information. Beautiful meeting.
Beng Kooi meeting with friend and strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist Gen Tashi
2 days ago
Beng Kooi meeting with friend and strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist Gen Tashi
Another stunning digital print art of Dorje Shugden from an artist in Peru. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Another stunning digital print art of Dorje Shugden from an artist in Peru. Tsem Rinpoche
This beautiful Dorje Shugden is from an artist in the Ukraine. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
This beautiful Dorje Shugden is from an artist in the Ukraine. Tsem Rinpoche
Please never get tired of speaking for those who do not have a voice. If we can alleviate their pain or try our best, why not? Thank you all so much. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Please never get tired of speaking for those who do not have a voice. If we can alleviate their pain or try our best, why not? Thank you all so much. Tsem Rinpoche
Pastor Antoinette of Kechara arranged a Malaysian artist to paint this special Dorje Shugden painting conceptualized by myself. She oversaw the process and completed it. Wonderful beautiful Dorje Shugden Malaysian style by Malaysian artist. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Pastor Antoinette of Kechara arranged a Malaysian artist to paint this special Dorje Shugden painting conceptualized by myself. She oversaw the process and completed it. Wonderful beautiful Dorje Shugden Malaysian style by Malaysian artist. Tsem Rinpoche
Sometimes after my prayers, reading on sasquatch is relaxing. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Sometimes after my prayers, reading on sasquatch is relaxing. Tsem Rinpoche
This gorgeous outdoor bronze Buddha is in Korea. Would be lovely to pay homage to Him there.
2 weeks ago
This gorgeous outdoor bronze Buddha is in Korea. Would be lovely to pay homage to Him there.
Beautiful old vintage photo of Kamakura Buddha in Japan. I had the good fortune to visit this holy Buddha a few years back. I do hope I can go again with some students. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Beautiful old vintage photo of Kamakura Buddha in Japan. I had the good fortune to visit this holy Buddha a few years back. I do hope I can go again with some students. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche with Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Medicine Buddha festival.
2 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche with Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Medicine Buddha festival.
This is a unique thangka of Pelden Hlamo with Dorje Shugden and Setrap and Nechung. Of course they all get along unlike what Tibetan leadership likes to say they don\'t get along. All enlightened beings get along with other enlightened beings and unenlightened beings. Enlightened beings have no karma to not get along with others. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is a unique thangka of Pelden Hlamo with Dorje Shugden and Setrap and Nechung. Of course they all get along unlike what Tibetan leadership likes to say they don't get along. All enlightened beings get along with other enlightened beings and unenlightened beings. Enlightened beings have no karma to not get along with others. Tsem Rinpoche
I love this picture. I wish it will all settle down soon.
2 weeks ago
I love this picture. I wish it will all settle down soon.
 I love this picture of Mumu peeking through the screen and window to see what is going on. He is always been very busy body and active. He has to know what is going on. I love you Mumu.
2 weeks ago
I love this picture of Mumu peeking through the screen and window to see what is going on. He is always been very busy body and active. He has to know what is going on. I love you Mumu.
How would you like to get one piece of this beautiful piece of art?
2 weeks ago
How would you like to get one piece of this beautiful piece of art?
First time PM Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. It has created a huge stir. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144220
3 weeks ago
First time PM Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. It has created a huge stir. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144220
I always like my rooms to smell clean, fresh, woodsy and a bit like the forest. my favorite types of essential oils to burn daily or as an offering to the Buddhas are Juniper, Cypress, Black Spruce, Peppermint and sometimes Rosemary. I like the smell of the forest, woods and wooded areas very much. I\'ve been using essential oils in my rooms for years. I don\'t necessarily purchase the brand you see in the picture as I buy any brand as long as it\'s made naturally. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
I always like my rooms to smell clean, fresh, woodsy and a bit like the forest. my favorite types of essential oils to burn daily or as an offering to the Buddhas are Juniper, Cypress, Black Spruce, Peppermint and sometimes Rosemary. I like the smell of the forest, woods and wooded areas very much. I've been using essential oils in my rooms for years. I don't necessarily purchase the brand you see in the picture as I buy any brand as long as it's made naturally. Tsem Rinpoche
In the bitter coldness of Yachen Gar, Tibet, several nuns are practicing meditation. You can see many small single \'huts\' in the background. They do this yearly and throughout the year. It is very inspiring to see people practice even under extreme conditions because they realize how samsara is so full of deceptions. Praise to the Dharma that liberates us with truth and practice. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
In the bitter coldness of Yachen Gar, Tibet, several nuns are practicing meditation. You can see many small single 'huts' in the background. They do this yearly and throughout the year. It is very inspiring to see people practice even under extreme conditions because they realize how samsara is so full of deceptions. Praise to the Dharma that liberates us with truth and practice. Tsem Rinpoche
More than you have....
3 weeks ago
More than you have....
The holiest place for the spiritual seeker is where our guru abides. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
The holiest place for the spiritual seeker is where our guru abides. Tsem Rinpoche
Beautiful flowers offered on my shrine to Sacred Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Beautiful flowers offered on my shrine to Sacred Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
This is my favorite image of Lord Manjusri. I had this exact same image as a kid in the 1980\'s and treasured it very much. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is my favorite image of Lord Manjusri. I had this exact same image as a kid in the 1980's and treasured it very much. Tsem Rinpoche
I love this idyllic painting of a beautiful Buddhist temple in a small town with foliage, natural, blue skies and country living. I can definitely live in this type of environment any time. I love living near nature. I wish I can go inside this picture to start living there now. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
I love this idyllic painting of a beautiful Buddhist temple in a small town with foliage, natural, blue skies and country living. I can definitely live in this type of environment any time. I love living near nature. I wish I can go inside this picture to start living there now. Tsem Rinpoche
Another gorgeous Byzantine style painting. As the crowd is lead to the hill of light, atop the hill is St. Dorje Shugden ready to give rest to the weary. And hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Another gorgeous Byzantine style painting. As the crowd is lead to the hill of light, atop the hill is St. Dorje Shugden ready to give rest to the weary. And hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. Tsem Rinpoche
Ms Gerbrick was a very special person in my childhood. When I finally found her again, I had lost her - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144296
4 weeks ago
Ms Gerbrick was a very special person in my childhood. When I finally found her again, I had lost her - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144296
I just did another one. See how it\'s done-
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144259
4 weeks ago
I just did another one. See how it's done- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144259
I like this sketch I just did. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
I like this sketch I just did. Tsem Rinpoche
One of my sketches just finished. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
One of my sketches just finished. Tsem Rinpoche
More of my drawings.  Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
More of my drawings. Tsem Rinpoche
See what Linus has to say to Charlie Brown: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/dorje-shugden
4 weeks ago
Plse click on this and read and share. Important thoughts regarding our teacher. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Plse click on this and read and share. Important thoughts regarding our teacher. Tsem Rinpoche
The stupa dedicated to the great Changkya Rolpai Dorje in 5 peaks of Manjushri - China. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was one of the previous life of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche. In that life, he was the imperial tutor to the Emperor of China.  Photo from Karen Chong
1 month ago
The stupa dedicated to the great Changkya Rolpai Dorje in 5 peaks of Manjushri - China. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was one of the previous life of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche. In that life, he was the imperial tutor to the Emperor of China. Photo from Karen Chong
Please click on this picture and see what the adorable boy is doing.
1 month ago
Please click on this picture and see what the adorable boy is doing.
Learn a new word and see what Fauvism means here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143633
1 month ago
Learn a new word and see what Fauvism means here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143633
Please click on this picture to enlarge and read. It is important and share with others. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Please click on this picture to enlarge and read. It is important and share with others. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
The handprint of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche Jetsun Dechen Nyingpo
1 month ago
The handprint of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche Jetsun Dechen Nyingpo
Dear friends, For the first time in art history you will see a Tibetan divinity in Byzantine art form. Just published! Please be amazed and see the whole artwork here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143348
1 month ago
Dear friends, For the first time in art history you will see a Tibetan divinity in Byzantine art form. Just published! Please be amazed and see the whole artwork here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143348
我这里有一副最庄严印度风格法力强大护法的画作。点击这里观赏与下载: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142950
1 month ago
我这里有一副最庄严印度风格法力强大护法的画作。点击这里观赏与下载: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142950
A separate Tibetan state? 

Should this group of Tibetans have their own autonomous state?
In a world full of trials and tribulations, this group of Tibetans continues to defy all odds against a difficult leadership. Should they have their own state, their own country to live free and in harmony? Read and decide-Part 1: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142741 and Part 2: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142868
1 month ago
A separate Tibetan state? Should this group of Tibetans have their own autonomous state? In a world full of trials and tribulations, this group of Tibetans continues to defy all odds against a difficult leadership. Should they have their own state, their own country to live free and in harmony? Read and decide-Part 1: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142741 and Part 2: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142868
When I first arrived in Gaden Monastery in January 1988, I lived in this small room: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=100092
1 month ago
When I first arrived in Gaden Monastery in January 1988, I lived in this small room: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=100092
This is Mahakala of the Tent (Gonpo Kur) and this particular sacred and very alive image is in Sakya temple in Tibet. It is so beautiful, ferocious and at the same time frightening. He frightens our self absorbed ego into submission to dharma.-Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This is Mahakala of the Tent (Gonpo Kur) and this particular sacred and very alive image is in Sakya temple in Tibet. It is so beautiful, ferocious and at the same time frightening. He frightens our self absorbed ego into submission to dharma.-Tsem Rinpoche
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
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    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
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    7 days ago
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CHAT PICTURES

Halloween is around the corner at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Halloween is around the corner at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
Art section during Kechara Sunday Dharma School, Sunday morning. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Art section during Kechara Sunday Dharma School, Sunday morning. Stella Cheang
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students at Kechara Ghompa learning together. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students at Kechara Ghompa learning together. Stella Cheang
Teacher Laura and Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 4-6 years old. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Teacher Laura and Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 4-6 years old. Stella Cheang
Kechara Sunday Dharma School in Kechara House, SunwayMas every Sunday morning. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School in Kechara House, SunwayMas every Sunday morning. Stella Cheang
Sharing with others may bring happiness to everyone. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
Sharing with others may bring happiness to everyone. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teamwork and work in harmony is important for a success event. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
Teamwork and work in harmony is important for a success event. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Callista guided the class to recite the dedication before the class ended. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Callista guided the class to recite the dedication before the class ended. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Julie showed  the sample drawing of Nagomi Art to the students. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Julie showed the sample drawing of Nagomi Art to the students. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS students are happy to show their own creation of Nagomi art. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
KSDS students are happy to show their own creation of Nagomi art. Alice Tay, KSDS
Ideal for a family trip! Visit Kechara Forest Retreat and meet our birds at the aviary! Open daily from 10am to 5pm, Bentong, Chamang Road.
5 days ago
Ideal for a family trip! Visit Kechara Forest Retreat and meet our birds at the aviary! Open daily from 10am to 5pm, Bentong, Chamang Road.
Thank you to the Wine Bar for sending over the empty wine bottles and carton boxes at Kechara Soup Kitchen site. KEP-SERENA
5 days ago
Thank you to the Wine Bar for sending over the empty wine bottles and carton boxes at Kechara Soup Kitchen site. KEP-SERENA
Teacher Alice explaining Rinpoche's bio to students in the galley. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Alice explaining Rinpoche's bio to students in the galley. Lin Mun KSDS
Children were so excited listening to teacher Grace instruction in making Halloween's cookies. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Children were so excited listening to teacher Grace instruction in making Halloween's cookies. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Julie giving briefing on Nagomi Art. It's an art to express to inner feeling. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Julie giving briefing on Nagomi Art. It's an art to express to inner feeling. Lin Mun KSDS
We love our 'fingers' ! Halloween cookies done by the children during dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
We love our 'fingers' ! Halloween cookies done by the children during dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Jayce leading the completion dedication after Sunday dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Jayce leading the completion dedication after Sunday dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Thank you for the wonderful books!
7 days ago
Thank you for the wonderful books!
His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche is the advocate of true love, compassion and kindness. Pastor Adeline
1 week ago
His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche is the advocate of true love, compassion and kindness. Pastor Adeline
Longevity Bun and cup cake as dessert ~ Guat Hee
1 week ago
Longevity Bun and cup cake as dessert ~ Guat Hee
沙茶酱炒素虾 ~ kecharaoasis.com ~ Guat Hee
1 week ago
沙茶酱炒素虾 ~ kecharaoasis.com ~ Guat Hee
Stir fried Cambodian-style with lemon and mint leaves ~ kecharaoasis.com ~ Guat Hee
1 week ago
Stir fried Cambodian-style with lemon and mint leaves ~ kecharaoasis.com ~ Guat Hee
Briefing #task #service #food #team ~ Guat Hee
1 week ago
Briefing #task #service #food #team ~ Guat Hee
Mid Autumn Festival #charity #dinner #vegetarian ~ Guat Hee
1 week ago
Mid Autumn Festival #charity #dinner #vegetarian ~ Guat Hee
Before the function day.. #Planning #turnover #allocate #task #service #customer #happy #wedding #bless #team ~ Guat Hee
1 week ago
Before the function day.. #Planning #turnover #allocate #task #service #customer #happy #wedding #bless #team ~ Guat Hee
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