Wonderful Japan – Kansai

Aug 10, 2017 | Views: 288
Share this article

Kansai01

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

Kansai05

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

Kansai11-1

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

Kansai12

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

Kansai23

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.

Kansai27

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.

Kansai37

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:

  • http://thekyotoproject.org/english/funazushi/
  • http://www.pantheon.org/articles/i/izanagi.html
  • http://willerexpress.com/en/area/mie/ise/spot/index.php?detail=6
  • 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
  • http://www.hikoneshi.com/en/hikone-castle
  • http://www.lbm.go.jp/english/guide-e/index.html
  • http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6605.html
  • https://en.japantravel.com/fukui/echizen-daibutsu-at-shindaiji/19894
  • https://www.jref.com/articles/kansai-travel-guide.148/
  • 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
  • https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/basic-info/tourist-info/visa-information.html
  • 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:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:

If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team

Share this article

4 Responses to Wonderful Japan – Kansai

DISCLAIMER IN RELATION TO COMMENTS OR POSTS GIVEN BY THIRD PARTIES BELOW

Kindly note that the comments or posts given by third parties in the comment section below do not represent the views of the owner and/or host of this Blog, save for responses specifically given by the owner and/or host. All other comments or posts or any other opinions, discussions or views given below under the comment section do not represent our views and should not be regarded as such. We reserve the right to remove any comments/views which we may find offensive but due to the volume of such comments, the non removal and/or non detection of any such comments/views does not mean that we condone the same.

We do hope that the participants of any comments, posts, opinions, discussions or views below will act responsibly and do not engage nor make any statements which are defamatory in nature or which may incite and contempt or ridicule of any party,individual or their beliefs or to contravene any laws.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Blog Chat

BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

Everyone has a different perspective, so this section is for you.

Tsem Rinpoche


SCHEDULED CHAT SESSIONS / 中文聊天室时间表

THURSDAY
10 - 11PM (GMT +8)
5 - 6AM (PST)
星期五
9 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4 - 5AM (PST)
(除了每个月的第一个星期五)
SATURDAY
11AM - 12PM (GMT +8)
FRIDAY 7 - 8PM (PST)
SUNDAY
9:30 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4:30 - 5AM (PST)

UPCOMING TOPICS FOR AUGUST / 八月份讨论主题

Please come and join in the chat for a fun time and support. See you all there.


Blog Chat Etiquette

These are some simple guidelines to make the blog chat room a positive, enjoyable and enlightening experience for everyone. Please note that as this is a chat room, we chat! Do not flood the chat room, or post without interacting with others.

EXPAND
Be friendly

Remember that these are real people you are chatting with. They may have different opinions to you and come from different cultures. Treat them as you would face to face, and respect their opinions, and they will treat you the same.

Be Patient

Give the room a chance to answer you. Patience is a virtue. And if after awhile, people don't respond, perhaps they don't know the answer or they did not see your question. Do ask again or address someone directly. Do not be offended if people do not or are unable to respond to you.

Be Relevant

This is the blog of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Please respect this space. We request that all participants here are respectful of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche and his organisation, Kechara.

Be polite

Avoid the use of language or attitudes which may be offensive to others. If someone is disrespectful to you, ignore them instead of arguing with them.

Please be advised that anyone who contravenes these guidelines may be banned from the chatroom. Banning is at the complete discretion of the administrator of this blog. Should anyone wish to make an appeal or complaint about the behaviour of someone in the chatroom, please copy paste the relevant chat in an email to us at care@kechara.com and state the date and time of the respective conversation.

Please let this be a conducive space for discussions, both light and profound.

KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

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.

Noticeboard

Name: Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Aug 23. 2017 11:57 AM
    What a choice Kenneth Lee made….quit his well-paying job as a lecturer. And now he is teaching in a small school in a remote area of Thailand.He has no regret quitting his job for a journey that comes with many uncertainties and changes to a completely new place.
    All he wanted was to live his life as meaningfully as possible and a good teacher who can contribute positively to a place which can help his students.Even though the work load is slightly more because he could not speck their languages.
    He gave up his comfortable life, his material possessions, and he is now enjoying a greater degree of spiritual happiness and has less worries.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this inspiring post .May more people will be inspired by him.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/he-has-the-best-job-in-the-world.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Aug 23. 2017 11:56 AM
    Very powerful teachings on Bodhicitta which is explains precisely.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this powerful teachings by Lama Yeshe.
    I will keep these in mind ,have deep thoughts and maybe a wake up call for me …….(The dedicated attitude of opening your heart to all universal living beings brings relaxation. )
    Many unusual and auspicious signs happens on the day of 2nd Zong Rinpoche, Zongtrul Tenpa Chopel passing.After opening the cremation hearth they found the skull unburned and completely intact with a Tibetan ‘Ah’ syllable.
    The discovery of these extraordinary signs made everyone feel great peace, reaffirming their faith in their Teacher.
    Thanks again with folded hands.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/great-excerpt.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Aug 23. 2017 11:55 AM
    What%20a%20choice%20Kenneth%20Lee%20made
    [no sender]
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Aug 23. 2017 11:54 AM
    A%20best%20friend%20is%20like%20a%20four%20leaf%20clover%2C%20hard%20to%20find%2C%20lucky%20to%20have.%0AFriendship%20is%20one%20mind%20in%20two%20bodies%20and%20its%20about%20who%20we
    [no sender]
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Aug 23. 2017 11:54 AM
    A best friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find, lucky to have.
    Friendship is one mind in two bodies and its about who we’ve known and who is always there to be with us at all times.That is dorje Shugden who is always with us and will help us nor matter where and times.As long as we have faith and trust in our powerful Protector Dorje Shugden,he will be our great friend.
    Thank you Rinpoche through your kindness,caring,and compassion we are fortunate to meet and know Rinpoche’s great friend.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/a-good-friend-to-have.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Aug 23. 2017 11:52 AM
    A%20best%20friend%20is%20like%20a%20four%20leaf%20clover%2C%20hard%20to%20find%2C%20lucky%20to%20have.%0AFriendship%20is%20one%20mind%20in%20two%20bodies%20and%20its%20about%20who%20we
    [no sender]
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Aug 23. 2017 11:52 AM
    A best friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find, lucky to have.
    Friendship is one mind in two bodies and its about who we’ve known and who is always there to be with us at all times.That is dorje Shugden who is always with us and will help us nor matter where and times.As long as we have faith and trust in our powerful Protector Dorje Shugden,he will be our great friend.
    Thank you Rinpoche through your kindness,caring,and compassion we are fortunate to meet and know Rinpoche’s great friend.


    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/a-good-friend-to-have.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 10:58 PM
    Danny Bowman’s case is extreme, more of a mental problem instead of a vanity issue. However, many people around us are addicted to taking selfie. Even though it might be just showing off their beauty to gain attention, it should not be dismissed lightly. Because of their excessive love for themselves, they lack the empathy for others. This is the real issue. When someone place all the attention on themselves and expect others to do the same, it is against the practice of Bodhicitta. And if it not corrected at early stage, it will become a habituation and strong imprint that will also affect them in their next life.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/selfie-addiction-is-no-laughing-matter-psychiatrists-say.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 05:59 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this sharing on Dr. Joona Repo’s work. In his book “Phabongka Dechen Nyingpo: His Collected Works and the Guru-Deity-Protector Triad,” Dr. Joona Repo’s impartial recollections of Pabongka Rinpoche serves to debunk certain perception people have towards this erudite master, who was brought into question because of his emphasis on Dorje Shugden and what was deemed as sectarianism practices.

    Through presenting the vastness and diversity of the works by Pabongka Rinpoche and records of his teaching against sectarianism, this book empirically presents a balanced view of Pabongka Rinpoche against those baseless allegations. The fact that Pabongka Rinpoche wrote extensively about Vajrayogini and had visions of Heruka proved that he is no ordinary Lama.

    Pabongka Rinpoche was, in fact, the reincarnation of a well-known scholar Changkya Rolpay Dorje who was the Royal Tutor to the Chinese Emperors. Because of this sensitivity, Pabongka RInpoche was not recognized his lineage by the power of the day. This in itself is a hint that there are more than meet the eyes.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/the-collected-works-of-h-h-pabongka-rinpoche.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:24 PM
    Very inspiring and powerful quotes for us to have a deep thought of it. Which we will need to remember at all times in our spiritual journey.
    I do loves these quotes…
    Remember, if we wish to make an offering to our teacher, no offering is greater than that of our own dharma practice..~Geshe Tsutrim Gyeltsen

    Never abandon your spiritual teacher no matter how many inner obstacles you need to overcome……~Tsem Rinpoche

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing all these powerful quotes which will change our lives and should not be ignored.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/quotes-that-should-not-be-ignored.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:23 PM
    Wow beautiful and meaningful this precious poem wrote by Rinpoche.And the lyrics of the song made from the poem below by Gavin Gooi is fabulous. Could not beliveve it from a poem to a lovely songs. Nice to hear and i love listerning each and every words said….very touching poem from sadness to happiness expressed .Rinpoche’s Guru Devotion and the love for His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing .

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/a-poem-to-my-teacher.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:22 PM
    Its a interesting post with 2 giants countries discussing over movie market. Hollywood producers who are increasingly looking to tap the country’s fast-growing box office into China market.However there is restriction .They hopes China will increase the quota and the share of revenues more in line with international markets. And even has openly criticized China on trade.China is likely to raise the quota of imported films as part of recent trade talks.
    China are trying to protect its growing domestic film industry from Hollywood domination. The most best measure is the strict quota limiting the number.
    Brad Pitt was back in China nearly 20 years after being baned over a film about Tibet .Time has changed China policy on celebrities entering China.
    Thank you Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/china-raises-movie-quota-hollywood-on-best-behavior.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 10:05 AM
    You won’t believe what this former Citibank vice president has to say. One of the most powerful and inspiring speeches you will ever hear in your life! Plse take a few moments to listen to this. It is worth it.-
    https://www.facebook.com/mercyforanimals/videos/10152917764269475/?hc_ref=ARTTZV6szVgZXaepZJFJ_-wCZ1U-SiyFA3jzC20EoNgCNwsOyTV_ELImvK3Lq_IgBBQ
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 09:48 PM


    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these precious pictures. It shows so much about Guru Devotion and a very close Guru and student relationship. The love and care of a Guru to his students are unlimited.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/gurus-love-their-students.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 07:53 PM
    This article reminds me of how, in general, people understand the need to have a strong and fit psychic body but rarely willing to take action to go through the training. Let alone Dharma training of the mind which is much more tougher. Because our habituation has conditioned us to perceive and think a certain way, and the need to unlearn and relearn is not part of our program.

    To me, understanding the need to be trained and having the courage to go through the training is a process in itself. The mind has to be conditioned to understand the need of the training which is to eliminate the “i” and the importance of the training which is to speed up the journey of crossing the ocean of samsara.

    Most importantly, we must recognize it is very rare for us to be in a perfect human condition, meet the dharma and the perfect Guru, therefore, we must not imagine that we have time by thinking there will always be tomorrow. Actually this is the conversation in my mind sometimes… lol.

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/training-shouldnt-be-optional.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

Scroll down within the box to view more messages from Rinpoche. Click on the images to enlarge. Click on 'older messages' to view archived messages. Use 'prev' and 'next' links to navigate between pages

Use this URL to link to this section directly: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/#messages-from-rinpoche

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

Facebook Fans Youtube Views Blog Views
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.
I pity men who occupy themselves exclusively with the transitory in things and lose themselves in the study of what is perishable, since we are here for this very end- that we may make the perishable imperishable, which we can do only after we have learned how to approach both.~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(This quote is very powerful from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He seems to be a powerful thinker and can think beyond daily and ordinary thoughts. Like I shared, only the study of dharma is going to lead to the imperishable. Any other studies of this world only are temporarily beneficial which is perishable. Of course he is not referring to dharma, but he realized ordinary pursuits leads to perishability. If he knew dharma, he would see the vastness of Buddha\'s omniscience.  Tsem Rinpoche)
2 days ago
I pity men who occupy themselves exclusively with the transitory in things and lose themselves in the study of what is perishable, since we are here for this very end- that we may make the perishable imperishable, which we can do only after we have learned how to approach both.~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (This quote is very powerful from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He seems to be a powerful thinker and can think beyond daily and ordinary thoughts. Like I shared, only the study of dharma is going to lead to the imperishable. Any other studies of this world only are temporarily beneficial which is perishable. Of course he is not referring to dharma, but he realized ordinary pursuits leads to perishability. If he knew dharma, he would see the vastness of Buddha's omniscience. Tsem Rinpoche)
One of the nicest Taras I\'ve seen. I like her shade of green and the lotus on the left which is lower as her hand is lower so it\'s very balanced looking. Her face looks young, motherly, kind and yet regal.
2 days ago
One of the nicest Taras I've seen. I like her shade of green and the lotus on the left which is lower as her hand is lower so it's very balanced looking. Her face looks young, motherly, kind and yet regal.
(1st photo) Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in the centre and Ven Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende on the extreme right. After the unfair ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners was forcibly instituted by Tibetan leadership onto the people and monasteries, the monasteries split. Over 600 monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery left and set up Shar Gaden Monastery. The Tibetan leadership did their best to get the authorities to close Shar Gaden Monastery but Shar Gaden had registered so there was nothing Tibetan leadership can do. It was very sad. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende left Gaden Shartse Monastery to be the abbot of the newly formed Shar Gaden Monastery in South India where they can continue Dorje Shugden practice. Prior to the ban Lati Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende can meet up, share and be close as they all had been very close. After the ban this was not allowed anymore. Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people had to be segregated. They cannot mix. The previous prime minister of the Tibetan exiled government said that Dorje Shugden people and non Dorje Shugden people are like the mustache and the mouth and it has to be separated. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
(1st photo) Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in the centre and Ven Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende on the extreme right. After the unfair ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners was forcibly instituted by Tibetan leadership onto the people and monasteries, the monasteries split. Over 600 monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery left and set up Shar Gaden Monastery. The Tibetan leadership did their best to get the authorities to close Shar Gaden Monastery but Shar Gaden had registered so there was nothing Tibetan leadership can do. It was very sad. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende left Gaden Shartse Monastery to be the abbot of the newly formed Shar Gaden Monastery in South India where they can continue Dorje Shugden practice. Prior to the ban Lati Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende can meet up, share and be close as they all had been very close. After the ban this was not allowed anymore. Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people had to be segregated. They cannot mix. The previous prime minister of the Tibetan exiled government said that Dorje Shugden people and non Dorje Shugden people are like the mustache and the mouth and it has to be separated. Tsem Rinpoche
You can see in this 2nd photo, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche blessing a child and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende standing next to the child. The monasteries were happy, united and had good samaya with each other prior to the ban. The ban destroyed everything and unity and harmony. It is very sad to see this. These pictures are from Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende\'s collection. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
You can see in this 2nd photo, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche blessing a child and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende standing next to the child. The monasteries were happy, united and had good samaya with each other prior to the ban. The ban destroyed everything and unity and harmony. It is very sad to see this. These pictures are from Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende's collection. Tsem Rinpoche
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, His Eminence Lati Rinpoche (next to Zong Rinpoche) and below Lati Rinpoche is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche (sitting below Lati Rinpoche). This is a puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery. A rare and blessed photo and nice to save. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, His Eminence Lati Rinpoche (next to Zong Rinpoche) and below Lati Rinpoche is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche (sitting below Lati Rinpoche). This is a puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery. A rare and blessed photo and nice to save. Tsem Rinpoche
ou can save this rare thangka of 1,000 armed Heruka. I\'ve never seen this thangka or any of this form before and it\'s the first time. You can print out or keep or use. I found this online and it\'s beautiful. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned this Heruka 30 years ago to us and since then I have never seen this in painting or statue at all till now. He has many legs and many faces too. Very special and unique. Seeing Heruka or thinking of Heruka plants the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstream. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
ou can save this rare thangka of 1,000 armed Heruka. I've never seen this thangka or any of this form before and it's the first time. You can print out or keep or use. I found this online and it's beautiful. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned this Heruka 30 years ago to us and since then I have never seen this in painting or statue at all till now. He has many legs and many faces too. Very special and unique. Seeing Heruka or thinking of Heruka plants the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstream. Tsem Rinpoche
This is Venerable Lhakpa Tsering from Tibet. He has passed away a few years back of natural causes and as he was older. He was one of the high ranking and official oracle of Dorje Shugden, Namka Barzin, Kache Marpo and several other high protectors. He was famous in Tibet for his correct trance of Dorje Shugden and extremely powerful clairvoyance advice of Dorje Shguden. He has been taking trance since Tibet. In 1959 he left Tibet for India and settled in Kalimpong. He continued to take trance in Kalimpong of Dorje Shugden for government officials, local persons, high lamas, monasteries, nuns, monks and even foreigners. For over 40 years his wonderful oracular ability to take trance and give advice and prophecies has benefited so many people. He was trained and blessed as an oracle by the previous Dromo Geshe Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery. I\'ve had a chance to stay at his house, meet him and see him in trance. It was a great blessing and amazing experience. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is Venerable Lhakpa Tsering from Tibet. He has passed away a few years back of natural causes and as he was older. He was one of the high ranking and official oracle of Dorje Shugden, Namka Barzin, Kache Marpo and several other high protectors. He was famous in Tibet for his correct trance of Dorje Shugden and extremely powerful clairvoyance advice of Dorje Shguden. He has been taking trance since Tibet. In 1959 he left Tibet for India and settled in Kalimpong. He continued to take trance in Kalimpong of Dorje Shugden for government officials, local persons, high lamas, monasteries, nuns, monks and even foreigners. For over 40 years his wonderful oracular ability to take trance and give advice and prophecies has benefited so many people. He was trained and blessed as an oracle by the previous Dromo Geshe Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery. I've had a chance to stay at his house, meet him and see him in trance. It was a great blessing and amazing experience. Tsem Rinpoche
Why seek anything else when you have the illustrious practice of Vajra Yogini from the lineage of the Crazy Wisdom Mahasiddha Naropa? Nothing in samsara created by ordinary men can surpass the practice of Vajra Yogini elucidated to us by the Buddha. Nothing in samsara’s knowledge no matter how incredible can surpass the knowledge embodied in the dharma by the Buddha. Samsara knowledge is limited. When we study Buddha’s knowledge (Dharma) it guarantees our future with no limitations. Spend more time studying dharma than samsaric knowledge. Why even compare? Surrender samsara as death and loss are it’s only results and engage in Dharma practice all the way. Vajra Yogini is dharma and dharma is Vajra Yogini. Give everything for Vajra Yogini’s practice. Start now as a preliminary practice even without initiation (blog article: Starting on Vajra Yogini Now- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4395). Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Why seek anything else when you have the illustrious practice of Vajra Yogini from the lineage of the Crazy Wisdom Mahasiddha Naropa? Nothing in samsara created by ordinary men can surpass the practice of Vajra Yogini elucidated to us by the Buddha. Nothing in samsara’s knowledge no matter how incredible can surpass the knowledge embodied in the dharma by the Buddha. Samsara knowledge is limited. When we study Buddha’s knowledge (Dharma) it guarantees our future with no limitations. Spend more time studying dharma than samsaric knowledge. Why even compare? Surrender samsara as death and loss are it’s only results and engage in Dharma practice all the way. Vajra Yogini is dharma and dharma is Vajra Yogini. Give everything for Vajra Yogini’s practice. Start now as a preliminary practice even without initiation (blog article: Starting on Vajra Yogini Now- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4395). Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sada Andreyev. She visited him in Los Angeles. Taken in Tsem Rinpoche\'s room in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre.
3 weeks ago
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sada Andreyev. She visited him in Los Angeles. Taken in Tsem Rinpoche's room in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre.
Young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sonia Waskin. She visited him in Los Angeles, California.
3 weeks ago
Young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sonia Waskin. She visited him in Los Angeles, California.
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Taken outside of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre where Tsem Rinpoche was living. Los Angeles, California, USA
3 weeks ago
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Taken outside of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre where Tsem Rinpoche was living. Los Angeles, California, USA
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Los Angeles, California, USA
3 weeks ago
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Los Angeles, California, USA
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his parents Boris and Dana Bugayeff. And on the extreme right is Tsem Rinpoche\'s cousin Toktun Gugajew. This was in Howell, New Jersey, USA
3 weeks ago
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his parents Boris and Dana Bugayeff. And on the extreme right is Tsem Rinpoche's cousin Toktun Gugajew. This was in Howell, New Jersey, USA
Tsem Rinpoche attending the wedding of Carmen Kichikov\'s brother. Tsem Rinpoche is 2nd from the right and in his adolescence. Howell, New Jersey, USA
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche attending the wedding of Carmen Kichikov's brother. Tsem Rinpoche is 2nd from the right and in his adolescence. Howell, New Jersey, USA
When my adorable Dharma boy came home to me. I love you Dharma boy. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
When my adorable Dharma boy came home to me. I love you Dharma boy. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche in Taiwan as a baby where he was born
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche in Taiwan as a baby where he was born
Tsem Rinpoche as a baby holding an umbrella
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche as a baby holding an umbrella
Think about this...
3 weeks ago
Think about this...
Our frustrations have meaning when it\'s for others and a greater cause.
3 weeks ago
Our frustrations have meaning when it's for others and a greater cause.
It is much better to be doing good things for others than just for ourselves.
3 weeks ago
It is much better to be doing good things for others than just for ourselves.
Contemplate this please...
3 weeks ago
Contemplate this please...
Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E. Continue reading here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=37831
3 weeks ago
Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E. Continue reading here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=37831
It was a great honour for myself and Kechara to have His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende visiting us. He is a courageous and extremely brave abbot emeritus of the monastery during it\'s most difficult time.~Tsem Rinpoche - Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132602
4 weeks ago
It was a great honour for myself and Kechara to have His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende visiting us. He is a courageous and extremely brave abbot emeritus of the monastery during it's most difficult time.~Tsem Rinpoche - Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132602
This is a powerful picture of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and the current incarnation of Trijang Rinpoche meeting together in the year 2000 when Trijang Rinpoche was 18. All three lamas are Dorje Shugden practitioners. In fact Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen was the one that first encouraged my practice of Dorje Shugden when I was 16 years old when I joined his beautiful Thubten Dhargye Ling centre in Los Angeles. I lived with Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen for 8 years before proceeding to Gaden Monastery in South India. Later Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to our Los Angeles centre and granted sogtae (permission ceremony) to practice Dorje Shugden for life as requested by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen had tremendous faith in Trijang Rinpoche. 

Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was innovative, dedicated and very much focused on bringing dharma to many. He had tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden as I had the honour to meet him many times. He would seek advice from Dorje Shugden many times via the oracle of Gaden Monastery. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche have since passed away while the current Trijang Rinpoche is a perfect lineage holder and practitioner of Dharma while he keeps Dorje Shugden as his personal protector as he has done so for many lifetimes. 

This is a powerful and beautiful picture of three great lamas of Buddha’s lineage and also of Gaden Monastery. ~Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
This is a powerful picture of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and the current incarnation of Trijang Rinpoche meeting together in the year 2000 when Trijang Rinpoche was 18. All three lamas are Dorje Shugden practitioners. In fact Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen was the one that first encouraged my practice of Dorje Shugden when I was 16 years old when I joined his beautiful Thubten Dhargye Ling centre in Los Angeles. I lived with Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen for 8 years before proceeding to Gaden Monastery in South India. Later Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to our Los Angeles centre and granted sogtae (permission ceremony) to practice Dorje Shugden for life as requested by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen had tremendous faith in Trijang Rinpoche. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was innovative, dedicated and very much focused on bringing dharma to many. He had tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden as I had the honour to meet him many times. He would seek advice from Dorje Shugden many times via the oracle of Gaden Monastery. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche have since passed away while the current Trijang Rinpoche is a perfect lineage holder and practitioner of Dharma while he keeps Dorje Shugden as his personal protector as he has done so for many lifetimes. This is a powerful and beautiful picture of three great lamas of Buddha’s lineage and also of Gaden Monastery. ~Tsem Rinpoche
A beautiful photograph of a path walking down from Manjushri Hill in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
1 month ago
A beautiful photograph of a path walking down from Manjushri Hill in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
This picture is of KB lovingly holding Mumu while he tries to stand up. I was in the room with them and someone else took this picture. It is a very sad and poignant picture because just a short while after this picture was taken, Mumu passed away with all of us present. This was the last picture of my little Mumu alive. We immediately did puja for Mumu and he is sorely missed by many as he touched our lives deeply. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This picture is of KB lovingly holding Mumu while he tries to stand up. I was in the room with them and someone else took this picture. It is a very sad and poignant picture because just a short while after this picture was taken, Mumu passed away with all of us present. This was the last picture of my little Mumu alive. We immediately did puja for Mumu and he is sorely missed by many as he touched our lives deeply. Tsem Rinpoche
For years I have been doing this everywhere I go, no matter where or what country I am in. Always be kind to animals.
1 month ago
For years I have been doing this everywhere I go, no matter where or what country I am in. Always be kind to animals.
Practising makes you better at something. If you keep practising in laziness, that is what you will become good in. If you keep practising generosity, that is what you will develop. Keep practising in what you want to become good at.
1 month ago
Practising makes you better at something. If you keep practising in laziness, that is what you will become good in. If you keep practising generosity, that is what you will develop. Keep practising in what you want to become good at.
Real spirituality is kindness.
1 month ago
Real spirituality is kindness.
Our time on this earth in this lifetime is short. It\'s our choice what will look back on when we are in our final moments.
1 month ago
Our time on this earth in this lifetime is short. It's our choice what will look back on when we are in our final moments.
Materialism, desire and greed never result in happiness.
1 month ago
Materialism, desire and greed never result in happiness.
Never ever eat our friends. Go vegetarian.
1 month ago
Never ever eat our friends. Go vegetarian.
It is a privilege to serve the Dharma and to serve others. Real freedom comes in serving others.
1 month ago
It is a privilege to serve the Dharma and to serve others. Real freedom comes in serving others.
Compared to humans and all other sentient beings, animals have just as much right to happiness and freedom.
1 month ago
Compared to humans and all other sentient beings, animals have just as much right to happiness and freedom.
Dharma is not something I engage in as something separate from me. Dharma has been me since young.
1 month ago
Dharma is not something I engage in as something separate from me. Dharma has been me since young.
How much we are willing to suffer is how compassionate we are.
1 month ago
How much we are willing to suffer is how compassionate we are.
Dharma is the medicine of the mind prescribed by the Buddha.
1 month ago
Dharma is the medicine of the mind prescribed by the Buddha.
How much effort we are willing to put into our practice, is how much results we will get.
1 month ago
How much effort we are willing to put into our practice, is how much results we will get.
What do you worship on your altar, meat or compassion? One develops coldness and encourages lack of empathy, and one choice encourages attainments.
1 month ago
What do you worship on your altar, meat or compassion? One develops coldness and encourages lack of empathy, and one choice encourages attainments.
Where does patience come from? Think about it closely
1 month ago
Where does patience come from? Think about it closely
Indian sadhus and mendicants also very happy to receive Bhagwan Dorje Shugden
1 month ago
Indian sadhus and mendicants also very happy to receive Bhagwan Dorje Shugden
Tsem Rinpoche with the great Geshe Namgyal Wangchen of Drepung Loseling Monastery. Read more: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132495
2 months ago
Tsem Rinpoche with the great Geshe Namgyal Wangchen of Drepung Loseling Monastery. Read more: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132495
Some of my favorite people
(1st row) Alexandra David-Neel, Nicholas Roerich, Helena Roerich, Anagarika Govinda
(2nd row) Walter Evans-Wentz, John Blofeld, Bill Porter (Red Pine), Ekai Kawaguchi
2 months ago
Some of my favorite people (1st row) Alexandra David-Neel, Nicholas Roerich, Helena Roerich, Anagarika Govinda (2nd row) Walter Evans-Wentz, John Blofeld, Bill Porter (Red Pine), Ekai Kawaguchi
Do share this message and create more awareness. Thank you
2 months ago
Do share this message and create more awareness. Thank you
All that we want in samsara is just fleeting and illusionary and we are tired of chasing something that is so short lived, Lady Buddha Dakini Vajra Yogini, please embrace me as you did Naropa with great affection and lift me to your Kechara Paradise in my rainbow body. ~Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
All that we want in samsara is just fleeting and illusionary and we are tired of chasing something that is so short lived, Lady Buddha Dakini Vajra Yogini, please embrace me as you did Naropa with great affection and lift me to your Kechara Paradise in my rainbow body. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Lady Buddha Diamond Dakini Vajra Yogini, you appear in so many forms, guises and methods out of great compasion to bring me to your paradise of Kechara heaven. Bless me to waste no more time and engage in my spirituality thoroughly and may I see your coral visage soon. Bless me that I surrender all my games, attachments, projections and endless chasing of all that is futile in samsara now.... Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Lady Buddha Diamond Dakini Vajra Yogini, you appear in so many forms, guises and methods out of great compasion to bring me to your paradise of Kechara heaven. Bless me to waste no more time and engage in my spirituality thoroughly and may I see your coral visage soon. Bless me that I surrender all my games, attachments, projections and endless chasing of all that is futile in samsara now.... Tsem Rinpoche
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. There is so much to explore. I have compiled 20 MUST VISIT places for you to see in Sri Lanka. Enjoy the post and the great pictures! Enjoy: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=127234
3 months ago
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. There is so much to explore. I have compiled 20 MUST VISIT places for you to see in Sri Lanka. Enjoy the post and the great pictures! Enjoy: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=127234
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/chat-pictures/chat-8yzmaqog68754.jpg Sacred and holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini being escorted from the Vajra Yogini temple on the streets on festival day to bless the masses. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/chat-pictures/chat-8yzmaqog68754.jpg Sacred and holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini being escorted from the Vajra Yogini temple on the streets on festival day to bless the masses. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Norma Jean
    3 days ago
    Norma Jean
    These are the heartbreaking scenes we see over and over again, that we share in the hopes of telling the stories of those who otherwise would have suffered and vanished from this earth without a trace. This is Norma Jean. Free for a little over five months, she knew more happiness than millions of her sisters ever will. But she couldn’t escape the fate genetically programmed into her as an egg producing machine. She seemed more lethargic than usual this morning, so we brought her inside to administer fluids and antibiotics in the hopes of pulling her through until we could get her in to see our vet. She couldn’t hang on. She died this evening shortly after this video was taken, severely infected from the rotting egg yolk adhered to various organs throughout her abdominal cavity. Like virtually every single one of her sisters, caged or free range, rescued or not, she paid the ultimate price for eggs (from FB)
  • If you want to change the world, start of by making your bed
    6 days ago
    If you want to change the world, start of by making your bed
    If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart
  • Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits a Hindu mandir (temple)
    1 week ago
    Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits a Hindu mandir (temple)
    While on a visit to a Hindu mandir (temple), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks on diversity as Canada's strength.
  • Amazing account of how the passengers survived the plane incident.
    2 weeks ago
    Amazing account of how the passengers survived the plane incident.
  • DHARMA BOY CAN TALK!!!
    2 weeks ago
    DHARMA BOY CAN TALK!!!
  • Interesting story from Thailand
    2 weeks ago
    Interesting story from Thailand
  • Holy Words of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
    3 weeks ago
    Holy Words of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
    Over 30 years ago, I made my choice that His Holiness Zong Rinpoche is my root guru and I have never wavered from it since or had second thoughts or doubted. There can never be a flaw or negative quality in anything that comes from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kyabje-zong-rinpoches-advice-on-dorje-shugdens-practice.html
  • Kyabje Zong Rinpoche's Holy Words
    3 weeks ago
    Kyabje Zong Rinpoche's Holy Words
    It has been more than 30 years since I last saw His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche but my faith today is just as firm as the first time I met him or, dare I say, even more firm today. I will never, ever abandon any teachings, practices, advice or instructions given to me by Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kyabje-zong-rinpoches-advice-on-dorje-shugdens-practice.html
  • I bow to the feet of my glorious Kyabje Zong Rinpoche!
    3 weeks ago
    I bow to the feet of my glorious Kyabje Zong Rinpoche!
    To hear the holy lama's voice, to be in his presence or even to see his form requires us to have the merits. To implement the teachings of the lama is not easy but not implementing the teachings only leads to more difficulties. I was fortunate to be in the presence of my lama and have kept my samaya clean all these years. To see, hear and remember your holy voice and teachings I feel grateful. I only hope by keeping my samaya clean with you now my lama, I may meet you in future lives again without distraction by samsara. I wish my stay in samsara to be shorter and it is possible by your teachings. May I practice and bring your teachings to many tirelessly as many need it desperately. May I not be disappointed by their unruly behaviour towards me and at times I lose strength, but I think of you. For in samsara everything has disappointed me and will continue to as everything in samsara is a forced illusion. I bow to the feet of my glorious Kyabje Zong Rinpoche! ~Tsem Rinpoche
  • My beautiful and cute Dharma boy comes home.
    3 weeks ago
    My beautiful and cute Dharma boy comes home.
  • Fish are sentient beings capable of feeling pain just like we do.
    3 weeks ago
    Fish are sentient beings capable of feeling pain just like we do.
  • These heroes in Kenya have been doing this for 40 years!
    3 weeks ago
    These heroes in Kenya have been doing this for 40 years!
  • Angela Lee Duckworth, a teacher turned psychologist
    3 weeks ago
    Angela Lee Duckworth, a teacher turned psychologist
    Angela Lee Duckworth, a teacher turned psychologist, reveals what factor determines whether a student will succeed or fail. This applies to adults too.
  • Lions eat meat and we should too?
    3 weeks ago
    Lions eat meat and we should too?
  • Why use bells in prayers and rituals
    3 weeks ago
    Why use bells in prayers and rituals
  • Making candle offerings safely
    3 weeks ago
    Making candle offerings safely
  • This school replaced detention with meditation, and the results were incredible.
    4 weeks ago
    This school replaced detention with meditation, and the results were incredible.
  • 15-year-old activist Zoe Rosenberg-INCREDIBLE!
    4 weeks ago
    15-year-old activist Zoe Rosenberg-INCREDIBLE!

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

  • August 22, 2017 01:55
    jason asked: what is the significance of a solar eclipse in terms of sadhana practice besides multiplying merit
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Jason, Thank you for your question. It is good to see you here. As you have rightly pointed out, during solar eclipses the merit from engaging in virtuous actions are greatly multiplied. Therefore there are many prescribed practices one can do during these times to generate a lot of merit, such as engaging in prayers, making abundant offerings, animal liberation, taking precepts for the day, etc. In terms of sadhana practice, the main benefit here would be the multiplication of merits generated. However on a tantric level, since the movements of the planets are linked to the movement of energy within the universe, and therefore one’s body, there would be subtle changes in the psychic winds within the body as well. On the whole, the patterns of the universe are mirrored within the psychic winds in the body as well. The tantric system that deals with these movements in the most detail is the Kalachakra Tantra, which you can read more about here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/introduction-to-tibetan-astrology.html In the Kalachakra Tantra it is said that when a solar eclipse occurs, merit is either multiplied a thousand, ten-thousand times, or a hundred-thousand times. The sun and the moon are linked with the psychic winds, channels and drops with tantric practice. According to the Kalachakra Tantra everyone breathes 21,600 time every day and our minds are said to ride on the winds within our bodies. The majority of the winds within out body are karmic winds, in that they come about and are affected by karmic tendencies. During an eclipse however, more wisdom winds are said to prevail in the body. As these circulate in the body, doing Dharma practice, especially tantric practices in which you use these winds, one can achieve spiritual attainments at a speed that would not normally be possible. In traditional mythology, there is a celestial body known as Rahu. This isn’t actually a physical planet, but a node on the orbit of the moon. When Rahu appears, he is said to swallow the sun for some time, this is the ancient explanation of a solar eclipse. Rahu is also known as the “dragon’s head”. Within the Kalachakra Tantra, practitioners use Rahu to bring the sun and the moon under control. As the sun is associated with psychic channels on the right side of the body, and the moon with psychic channels on the left side of the body, what this means is that the practitioner controls these energies and brings them into the central psychic channel instead. Thereby the solar eclipse is said to mirror a tantric yogi’s ability to bring the psychic energies of the left and right side into the central channel. Once in the central channel the yogi can engage in the higher psychic energy meditations in order to gain spiritual attainments and even enlightenment. For an everyday practitioner therefore, the main benefit of practicing during a solar eclipse is the multiplication of merit. For a tantric practitioner however, it is a time that they can make use of the energies of nature to boost their practices. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 18, 2017 01:27
    Todd asked: Does Rinpoche have any information on the deity Rakta Yamari, who is believed to be an emanation of Manjushri?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Todd, Thank you for your interesting question. Rakta Yamari is indeed a wrathful emanation of Manjushri, in the form of a yidam or meditational deity belonging to the Anuttarayoga, or highest tantra, class of deities. The practice has been incorporated into all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism: the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug. Generally speaking some of the wrathful forms of Manjushri can be classified into three groupings, the Rakta (blood-red), Krishna (blue-black), and Vajrabhairava (adamantine terrifying). Since Rakta Yamari is therefore a classification of deities, it would be hard to give information here on all of them. The specific forms of Rakta Yamari differ in how the main figure appears and the number of other deities in the mandala. Of particular note, is that each of these forms and their practices has their own lineage of practice as well. Whilst there are forms of all three classifications within the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, certain lineages place more emphasis on a particular form than others. For example, within the Gelug lineage emphasis is placed on Vajrabhairava Yamantaka, of which there are two forms in particular that are practiced: 13-deity Yamantaka, and Solitary Hero Yamantaka. In fact Vajrabhairava Yamantaka is one of the three main Anuttarayoga Tantra deities practiced in the Gelug lineage, which we follow, alongside the Akshobhyavajra variant of Guhyasamaja and Chakrasamvara. There are two important lineages of Rakta Yamari practice: the 13-deity Rakta Yamari, and the 5-deity Rakta Yamari practice. Both of these practices can be traced back to an important lineage holder, the Indian Mahasiddha Virupa. In the case of the 5-deity Rakta Yamari lineage, he was taught the practice by a wisdom dakini. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 17, 2017 19:26
    Aldric Wilson DuXing asked: How can the alleged "DiSanShr" "Dorje Chang Fo" Yi Yun Gao be the actual incarnation of Buddha Dipankara Buddha?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Aldric Wilson DuXing, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I do not know much about Yi Yun Gao to be able to comment on this. However, within Buddhism we do believe that the Buddhas, out of their compassion appear in human form to help sentient beings in whatever way they can. Within Tibetan Buddhism there is a long history of recognising great masters as the physical body emanations (also known as tulkus) of the Buddhas. The logic behind this is that the Buddhas are all compassionate and so help sentient beings in any and all means that they can. This would obviously include taking the physical form of a human. To say that the Buddhas cannot or do not do this, would be limiting the abilities of the enlightened beings, which goes against the scriptures. In fact, in the scriptures it states that Buddhas can emanate out in countless different forms at the same time. This includes animate beings, such as humans, animals, etc., and also inanimate objects such as bridges, or other things. These emanations, or incarnations if in human form, can be recognised by those who have the ability to perceive the enlightened beings, such as highly attained masters or other emanations themselves. That is why you see only the highest masters within the Tibetan Buddhist traditions recognise others as incarnations of the Buddhas. Other methods of confirming this can include checking with an enlightened Dharma protector, such as Dorje Shugden, when in trance of a qualified oracle. Those who really are emanations of the enlightened beings do not actually need to be recognised as such, as they will always help others no matter if they are recognised or not. However the recognition of such beings is more for us, as practitioners to gain merit by helping them achieve their goal of helping other sentient beings. But as I mentioned earlier, these beings do not self-proclaim themselves but are recognised as such by other highly attained masters who are trustworthy and really work for the cause of helping others by upholding and practicing the holy teachings of Lord Buddha. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 16, 2017 00:47
    Anonymous asked: Sorry about the link not working. They can be found at dharmawheel.net and then looked under Tibetan Buddhism and then under topics which are under all the other lineage topics. Since this is recent, the title "Crazy Scandal somewhat related to Gelug hitting Taiwan" should come up. But anyway, here are the sources in that case: https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/mary-jin-gebis/ https://maisonneuve.org/article/2013/06/18/when-monks-come-town/ https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/bw-dorje-shugden/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ad355FqDQuo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzvPhv_eldk http://www.blisswisdom.org/statement/1854-1006 https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/dalai-lama-speaks-to-chinese-devotees-about-bliss-and-wisdom/
    No reply yet
  • August 15, 2017 01:43
    Anonymous asked: Hi, although this is not a question, I would like to bring awareness towards a particular cult in China and Taiwan that has been having scandals with their leader, Mary Jin. The cult has been defaming the Dalai Lama and has begun supporting Shugden here even though that's not really bad. However, I would like to bring attention so they may not begin corrupting the Buddhists here. Even though I used a dharmawheel website, it has links to its sources: https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=40
    pastor answered: Dear Anonymous, Thank you for bringing this to our attention, however the link you provided does not work. I do not know anything about this particular person or their organisation, so I really can’t say much. However, there are some people out there who use religion for their personal gain, and twist the teachings to suit their greed. These sorts of people are often embroiled in scandals and the like and often have views that go against common sense. That is why it is very important to check that a teacher is qualified, is practicing, and is teaching the Dharma as it should be according to the scriptures. All students are encouraged do to so and this in mentioned clearly in the scriptures themselves. The actions of a teacher should be in line with actions laid out in the scriptures and their views should match the logic laid out in the scriptures as well. Once we see a teacher’s qualities, and we have made sure that what they practice is real and genuine, we can devote ourselves to that person fully. We at Kechara, following the teachings of His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, think very highly of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as he is the emanation of the Buddha of compassion, Chenrezig. Similarly, we also believe that Dorje Shugden is the emanation of the Buddha of wisdom, Manjushri. For us, both are enlightened beings, and many practitioners all around world follow this belief as well. We are saddened to see or hear when others talk badly about either, since both are enlightened beings capable of benefiting the world tremendously. Thank you.
View All Questions

CHAT PICTURES

Dorje Shugden Puja in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat. You can order a Puja through Kechara House or www.vajrasecrets.com
yesterday
Dorje Shugden Puja in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat. You can order a Puja through Kechara House or http://www.vajrasecrets.com
Kayene, 5 years old, from Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Kayene, 5 years old, from Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
Chern Chern, 4 years old, from Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Chern Chern, 4 years old, from Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
Charmaine, Zi Xuan and Hulbert are practicing a dance performance during Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Charmaine, Zi Xuan and Hulbert are practicing a dance performance during Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
All students of Kechara Sunday Dharma School gather together to do performance practice for the upcoming Mooncake Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
All students of Kechara Sunday Dharma School gather together to do performance practice for the upcoming Mooncake Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
Dechen and Lip Yew are good friends in Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
2 days ago
Dechen and Lip Yew are good friends in Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Stella Cheang
Many visitors today are blessed by Dorje Shugden in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat!
3 days ago
Many visitors today are blessed by Dorje Shugden in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat!
Beautiful statue of wrathful Manjushri at Kechara Forest Retreat. Nice to see people praying to him. ~H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
3 days ago
Beautiful statue of wrathful Manjushri at Kechara Forest Retreat. Nice to see people praying to him. ~H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
Special self defence session for KSDS students. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Special self defence session for KSDS students. Lin Mun KSDS
So glad that KSDS students has the opportunity to join he animal liberation in front of Kechara House. Great way to cultivate compassion. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
So glad that KSDS students has the opportunity to join he animal liberation in front of Kechara House. Great way to cultivate compassion. Lin Mun KSDS
Special session wth teacher Julie to learn Nagomi Art. Good way to bring out our inner expression. Lin mun KSDS
3 days ago
Special session wth teacher Julie to learn Nagomi Art. Good way to bring out our inner expression. Lin mun KSDS
Throwback - KSDS students, parents & teachers outing to Kechara Soup Kitchen. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Throwback - KSDS students, parents & teachers outing to Kechara Soup Kitchen. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback- completion of the KSDS Graduation 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Throwback- completion of the KSDS Graduation 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
Performance by students from Bentong school during Grand Dorje Shugden Puja. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Performance by students from Bentong school during Grand Dorje Shugden Puja. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Laura guided the students did short prayer before the class started. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
Teacher Laura guided the students did short prayer before the class started. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Jayce and Teacher Lin Mun guided the children to do an experiment with mixing colours that represents life experiences. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
Teacher Jayce and Teacher Lin Mun guided the children to do an experiment with mixing colours that represents life experiences. Alice Tay, KSDS
The students worked together to find the answer. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
The students worked together to find the answer. Alice Tay, KSDS
These students are well behaved and give support to those are participated in the competition. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
These students are well behaved and give support to those are participated in the competition. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS students gathered together for the song practice. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
KSDS students gathered together for the song practice. Alice Tay, KSDS
Pastor Yek Yee led weekly Thursday Dorje Shugden puja ( Chinese) at Bentong Puja House. Lucy Yap
4 days ago
Pastor Yek Yee led weekly Thursday Dorje Shugden puja ( Chinese) at Bentong Puja House. Lucy Yap
Weekly Puja in Puja House Bentong on Thursdays at 8pm. Please join!
5 days ago
Weekly Puja in Puja House Bentong on Thursdays at 8pm. Please join!
Looking for Vegetarian Lunch around PJ, visit us at Kechara Oasis Jaya One Outlet ~ Guat Hee
6 days ago
Looking for Vegetarian Lunch around PJ, visit us at Kechara Oasis Jaya One Outlet ~ Guat Hee
Remember who there are.... Malaysia actor and actress #gathering #lunch #memory #vegetarian ~ kecharaoasis.com ~ Guat hee
6 days ago
Remember who there are.... Malaysia actor and actress #gathering #lunch #memory #vegetarian ~ kecharaoasis.com ~ Guat hee
Replenish the table numbering for the out coming event ~ kecharaoasis.com ~ Guat Hee
6 days ago
Replenish the table numbering for the out coming event ~ kecharaoasis.com ~ Guat Hee
Waiting for the dinner to server #birthday #vegetarian #family #banquet ~ Guat Hee
6 days ago
Waiting for the dinner to server #birthday #vegetarian #family #banquet ~ Guat Hee
The Promise
  These books will change your life
  Tsem Rinpoche's Long Life Prayer by H.H. Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche
  Support Blog Team
Lamps For Life
  Robe Offerings
  Vajrayogini Stupa Fund
  White Tara Mantra Bank Project
  Rinpoche's Medical Fund
  Dana Offerings
  Soup Kitchen Project
 
Zong Rinpoche

Archives

YOUR FEEDBACK

Page Views By Country
Malaysia 3,054,864
United States 2,258,775
Singapore 579,458
India 521,106
United Kingdom 439,730
Canada 397,883
Australia 352,786
Nepal 270,147
Philippines 220,764
Indonesia 148,368
Bhutan 144,975
Germany 117,352
Portugal 112,536
Mongolia 92,640
Thailand 89,546
France 87,958
Italy 79,652
Spain 78,630
Brazil 78,335
Netherlands 73,535
New Zealand 55,506
Hong Kong 55,392
Romania 55,213
Taiwan 53,436
South Africa 53,181
Switzerland 49,122
Mexico 40,161
United Arab Emirates 36,508
Russia 35,431
Ireland 34,916
Japan 34,073
Sweden 32,622
Vietnam 30,682
Greece 29,270
Poland 27,505
Belgium 26,829
Sri Lanka 25,886
Turkey 24,433
Hungary 23,407
Total Pageviews: 10,574,584

Login

Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....