Wonderful Japan – Honshu

By | Jul 21, 2017 | Views: 618

a. Intro

(By Tsem Rinpoche and Pastor David)

Japan, called Nihon-koku in its native Japanese, literally means the ‘State of Japan’. It is an East Asian island nation in the fringes of the Pacific Ocean, right on the eastern coast of the Asian mainland and the Korean Peninsular. To the north is the Sea of Okhotsk, and to the southwest is the East China Sea and Taiwan.

Nihon is traditionally written with Chinese characters (kanji), with the word ‘ni’ literally meaning ‘the sun’ and the word ‘hon’ (sometimes read as ‘pon’) meaning ‘origin’. Hence, when placed together, ‘Nihon’ literally means ‘origin of the sun’. In direct reference to this name, Japan is often referred to by its famous epithet, ‘Land of the Rising Sun’.

Click on image to enlarge

Japan is geographically a stratovolcanic archipelago of about 6,852 islands, many of which are tiny islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up to 97 percent of Japan’s landmass. These four major islands are often referred to as home islands.

The island of Hokkaido is the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa is the southernmost. Japan’s population has 127 million people, which is the 11th largest in the world. Ethnically Japanese people make up 98.5 percent of the population, and 9.1 million alone live in Tokyo city, the capital of the nation.

 

Brief History

Japan’s geographical location on the outermost region of Asia has had a profound impact on its history. The country is close enough to the Asian mainland to maintain contact, yet far enough to be independent. Hence, much of Japanese history has been oscillating between openness and closure to the outside world. It is only until recently that Japan has accepted foreign cultural influences in burst and spurts.

Semi-mythical Emperor Jimmu was the progenitor of the Japanese imperial lineage during the 7th Century BCE

Semi-mythical Emperor Jimmu was the progenitor of the Japanese imperial lineage during the 7th Century BCE

The earliest records of Japan date back to the 5th century BCE but archaeological discoveries indicate that the earliest settlement extend even further back to 50,000 years ago. According to Japanese records, the semi-mythical Emperor Jimmu ascended the throne in the 7th century BCE, and started an imperial lineage that extends to this day. Archaeological findings trace the imperial line down to the Kofun Period of the 3rd to 7 centuries CE, which was also the period when the Japanese had its first contact with China and Korea. Later on during the Asuka period, Japan became an increasingly centralised state, and many aspects of Chinese civilisation were absorbed including, Mahayana Buddhism and Confucianism.

The first Japanese state was established with its capital at Nara, a city that was modeled after the Chinese capital of Chang’an. Historians have since called this period the Nara Period and it was during this time that the emperor actually held absolute political power. However, political power was wrested away and fell into the hands of court nobles during the Heian Period, which saw the capital being moved to Kyoto, which was known as Heian-Kyo. The imperial residence was established there and would remain right up to the 19th century. Chinese influence on Japan reached its zenith during the early Heian Period that saw Buddhism becoming widely accepted by the masses.

Heian period royal attire

Heian period royal attire

Then came the Kamakura period, when the samurai gained political power, with Minamoto no Yoritomo as their leader and called Shogun by the emperor. The shogun ruled from his base at Kamakura until the subsequent period, the Muromachi period, which saw the rise of the Ashikaga shogunate that ruled from their base at Ashikaga. Then, in the 15th century, Japan descended into the anarchy of the Warring States period that ended with the unification of Japan by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1600, and founded the Tokugawa shogunate, the feudal state ruled from Edo that is known today as Tokyo. This period is dubbed the Edo Period, characterised by a strict caste system with the samurai sitting on top of the social classes, and social mobility outlawed.

During the Edo Period, the Tokugawa shogunate established stability throughout the country, but their total isolation from the rest of the world engendered stagnation. The Americans pried open the old closed-door policy when US Commodore Matthew Perry’s Black Ships sailed into Yokohama in 1854 and forced the Japanese to sign an unequal treaty. The led to the fall of the shogunate and rise of the Meiji Restoration of 1867, when the imperial capital was moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo.

Meiji period woodblock print art of Sino-japanese war of 1894

Meiji period woodblock print art of Sino-japanese war of 1894

The Japanese keenly observed the Western colonisation of Southeast Asia, and the weakening and division of China by western powers, which Japan had long considered to be the world’s largest superpower. Hence, Japan launched itself into an industrialisation plan to modernise at a frantic pace. Japan adopted modern Western technologies and culture at frenetic pace, transforming Japanese cities with railway networks, brick buildings and factories. Even the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 that leveled much of Tokyo and killed 100,000 people did not transform the Japanese landscape as much.

In an effort to fuel its industrialisation, resource-poor Japan had to look elsewhere for the supplies that it needed. This resulted in a drive to colonise its neighbors, which led to various military campaigns such as the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, in which Japan occupied Taiwan, Korea and parts of Manchuria. Then came the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese war that Japan won, which emboldened and cemented Japan as a military power.

With a totalitarian government, Japan launched a military campaign to invade China via Manchuria in 1931. By 1941, the Japanese military campaigns expanded the borders to include an empire that stretched much of Asia and the Pacific. Then in 1941, Japan attacked the US military base at Pearl Harbor and destroyed much of the US Pacific fleet. This brought America into World War II, and the tide soon turned against Japan. The nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced Japan to surrender, and soon after, Japan was occupied for the first time in its history. The Emperor maintained his throne, but lost his absolute power in the imposed constitution by the Americans. Military conquest had to give way to pacifism with the US taking care of defense; Japan now redirected its energies into the development of consumer technologies and emerged from its postwar poverty to conquer the world once more, this time with the latest cars and consumer electronics, thus attaining the second-largest gross national product in the world.

Post-war Japan emerged as a economic superpower with consumer electronics and cars

Post-war Japan emerged as a economic superpower with consumer electronics and cars

But the frenzied growth could not last forever, after the Nikkei stock index hit the stratospheric heights of 39,000 in 1989, the bubble burst. The 1990s saw the real estate bubble burst, the stock market was halved and there was the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 that flattened great sections of Kobe and killed over 6,000 people. The Japanese economic recession has yet to fully recover, and this has resulted in an increasing polarisation of Japanese society into ‘haves’ with permanent jobs and ‘have-nots’, known as freeters, who drift between temporary jobs. On a larger scale, this cost Japan its position as the world’s second largest economy to the larger emerging economic superpower China. Nevertheless, Japanese continue to have one of the highest standards of living in the world.

 

Japanese Climate

c. Japanese Climate

Japan’s weather is largely temperate, but it defers greatly between north and south. Due to Japan’s vast landmass, the nation is divided into six principal climatic zones of Hokkaido, the Sea of Japan, the Central Highland, the Seto Inland Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and the Ryukyu Islands.

Hokkaido in the north has humid continental weather that has extended cold winters and a range of cool to hot summers. Generally, there is not much precipitation, but the island has heavy snowfall during winter. Along the west coast of Honshu that faces the Sea of Japan, northwestern winter winds deliver heavy snowfall to the region. The summers are cooler than the eastern part of Honshu that faces the Pacific but some summer days may be blazingly hot due to heated winds (foehn) from the mountains.

The Central Highland of Honshu has the usual humid continental weather, with huge differences between summer and winter temperatures, and sometimes a huge variation within the same day. There is light precipitation, but winters are usually with some snowfall. The mountains of the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions shelter the Seto Inland Sea from seasonal winds, resulting in relatively pleasant weather all year-round.

The Pacific coast of Honshu has a humid subtropical climate and relatively mild winters with light snowfall, but the summers are hot and humid because of the southeast seasonal wind. The Ryukyu Islands also have a subtropical weather that brings warm winters and hot summers. Precipitation on the island is very heavy during the rainy season.

Winter in Japan has an average temperature of 5.1 °C or 41.2 °F, and summer temperatures average at 25.2 °C or 77.4 °F. The monsoon rainy season begins in early May at Okinawa, and the monsoon winds gradually push the rain up north until it finally reaches Hokkaido in late July. In most of Honshu Island, the monsoon rainy season begins around the middle of June and usually lasts for about six weeks thereafter. However, in late summer and early autumn, typhoons can deliver heavy downpours in the wake of strong winds.

 

Japanese Language

d. Japanese Language

The greater majority (about 99%) of the population speaks Japanese as their first language. The Japanese language is agglutinative in nature, and it is structured by honorifics that reflect traditional Japanese society that is strictly based on social hierarchy. Hence, the language is full of verbs and sets of vocabulary that indicate the status of both the speaker in relation to the listener. Written Japanese uses ‘kanji’, which are Chinese characters, and two sets of ‘kana’ or syllabary characters that are based on cursive script and modified kanji, along with the Latin alphabet and Arabic numerals.

Aside from Japanese, there are a number of smaller indigenous languages like the Ryukyuan languages of Amami, Kunigami, Okinawan, Miyako, Yaeyama and Yonaguni. These languages form a part of the larger Japonic language family that are mainly spoken in the Ryukyu Island chain. However, very few Japanese are actually able to converse in these indigenous languages, but local governments have sought to increase the usage of these traditional languages in recent years.

For instance, the Ainu language, which has no relationship to Japanese or any other language of the region, is in danger of becoming extinct with only a handful of elderly native speakers remaining in Hokkaido. In public and private schools in Japan require students to take Japanese language classes as well as English language courses.

 

Japanese Cuisine

A Kaiseki spread of delicately prepared dishes

A Kaiseki spread of delicately prepared dishes

Japanese cuisine is world famous for its distinctive presentation, taste, and method of cooking. It generally can be boiled down to the combination of staple foods, such as Japanese rice or noodles, with soup and okazu. Okazu are dishes made with fish, vegetables, tofu, and other ingredients in order to provide flavour to the staple dish. These days, ingredients such as red meats that were not previously widely available in Japan are now commonly used.

Cold Soba Noodles

Cold Soba Noodles

Generally, Japanese cuisine emphasises seasonal food, fresh ingredients, and its presentation. In addition, Japanese cuisine also has large selection of regional specialties that use traditional recipes from a particular region, and local ingredients. The phrase ichijū-sansai or ‘one soup, three sides” refers to the serving of a typical meal that has roots in classic kaiseki, honzen, and yushoku cuisines.

Honzen is a formal banquet style of presenting food to guests in the samurai homes of the feudal Muromachi Period

Honzen is a formal banquet style of presenting food to guests in the samurai homes of the feudal Muromachi Period

Japanese dessert sweets are known as wagashi, which use traditional ingredients such as red bean paste and mochi, or rice cakes. These days, green tea is a very popular flavour in many desserts, even in ice cream. Another type of Japanese dessert is kakigori, a traditional shaved ice dessert that is flavored with syrup and condensed milk, and is a popular at summer festivals in Japan.

Japanese sushi

Japanese sushi

One of the most popular Japanese beverages is sake, which is a brewed rice wine that usually has a 15% to 17% alcohol content, and is made with multiple fermentations of rice. Another popular Japanese beverage is beer, which is produced in specific regions, such as the Sapporo Brewery, a historic beer company. Finally, Japan is unique because The Michelin Guide has awarded more restaurants in Japan with Michelin stars than the rest of the world combined. This shows how the Japanese pride themselves in serving only the best.

Ramen noodles

Ramen noodles

Tempura Vegetables

Tempura Vegetables

Udon Noodles

Udon Noodles

 

A traditional Geisha entertainer

A traditional Geisha entertainer

Japanese Culture

Japan has a very distinct traditional culture that was initially heavily influenced by China and Korea, but has evolved over time. These days, contemporary Japanese pop culture, like many other cultures around the world, combines various influences from all over Asia, Europe and North America.

Traditional Japanese arts are broken down into many fields. There are crafts, such as ceramics, woven textiles, lacquerware, swords and dolls. In performances, there are bunraku puppet theatre, kabuki dances and drama, noh classical theatre, traditional regional dances, and rakugo storytelling traditions. There also other renowned Japanese traditions like the tea ceremony, ikebana, martial arts, calligraphy, origami, onsen, Geisha, and games.

Bunraku Puppet Theatre

Bunraku Puppet Theatre

The Japanese government has a developed a system for the protection and promotion of both tangible and intangible Cultural Properties and National Treasures of Japan. In fact, nineteen sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, fifteen of which are of cultural significance.

Ikebana art of flower arrangement

Ikebana art of flower arrangement

Kabuki Theatre

Kabuki Theatre

Noh Theatre

Noh Theatre

 

The Island of Honshu

Island of Honshu

‘Honshu’ literally means ‘main province’, and it is the largest and most populated island in Japan. The island is a long strip of land located north of Shikoku from across the Inland Sea, south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Straits. The island is what separates the Sea of Japan in the north and west from the North Pacific Ocean to the south and east. In terms of landmass, it is the seventh-largest island in the world, and the second largest in terms of population after the Indonesian island of Java.

Honshu’s population is 103 million as of 2005, with most of the population residing in the coastal areas, especially in the Kanto plain, where a quarter of the entire Japanese population currently resides within the Greater Tokyo Area. This city is the capital, and is the center of Japanese culture and political power since the capital was moved there. Honshu island has several historic Japanese capitals of the past, including Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura. In addition, most of the island’s southern cities along the shore form part of Taiheiyō Belt, a megalopolis that spans several of the Japanese islands as well.

Furthermore, most of Japan’s industrial areas are located along the Taiheiyō belt that runs along Honshu’s southern coast, from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya,
Kobe, and Hiroshima. The industries along the northwestern coastline, on the other hand, are mainly agriculture and fishing. Honshu is linked to the other three major Japanese islands by a system of highways, bridges and tunnels.

 

Japanese Visas

Visa-Free

Countries that are allowed visa-free visits for up to 90 days are: EU & EEA member states, Australia, Andorra, Argentina, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Hong Kong, Honduras, Macau, Macedonia, Mauritius, Monaco, Mexico, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, San Marino, Switzerland, Suriname, Tunisia, Uruguay and United States/American Samoa.

  • Brunei – visa-free visits for up to 15 days.
  • United Kingdom, Austria, Ireland, Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein can apply for 6-month extended stay visas with Japan’s Ministry of Justice.
  • Malaysia, Barbados, Serbia, Lesotho, and Turkey are allowed to visit visa-free for up to 90 days, provided they have a biometric passport. For Thailand, it is only 15 days.
  • Taiwan is allowed to visit visa-free for 90 days, provided that the passport has a personal identification number.
  • Indonesian citizens with a biometric passport who have been issued a Visa Waiver Registration Certificate are allowed to visit visa-free for up to 15 days.
  • Chinese citizens who are travelling via cruise ships do not need a visa. However, they must leave on the same cruise ship in order for them to be qualified for this.
  • All other nationalities are required to obtain a “temporary visitor” visa prior to arrival. The temporary visitor visa is valid for 90 days. You can visit The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to get more information on visas.
  • 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.

 

20 Interesting Places on Honshu Island

 

1. Mount Fuji, Fujinomiya

1. Mount Fuji - 1

Japan has many unique iconic places and Mt Fuji, rising 3,776 meters above sea level, is one of them. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, and is an active volcano that last erupted in 1707–08. Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometers or 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, and can be seen from the capital city on a clear day. Appreciation and admiration of this mountain has appeared in early Japanese recorded history from the 8th century. In those days, the volcano was said to spew smoke and thus inspired reverence. In 2013, Mt Fuji was granted World Heritage status, and over 300,000 people have climbed to its summit.

1. Mount-Fuji - 2

The Japanese have a proverb that goes: ‘He who climbs Mt Fuji once is a wise man, he who climbs it twice is a fool’, which seems to have a valid point. Reaching the summit of the mountain is quite a feat and would probably give you a sense of achievement, but be aware that it’s a tough climb that is fraught with danger, and the way up is not particularly scenic. Naturally, climbing season means that climbing routes are packed, and the barren landscape of the mountainside that climbers experience is a far cry from the beauty of the mountain when viewed from afar. The summit crater has a circumference of 4km but a cloud usually covers it.

Climbers ascending Mount Fuji

Climbers ascending Mount Fuji

 

How to get there

While in season (July to September), visitors can take the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the 5th Station along the Fuji Subaru Line. This station is the starting point for the popular summer hike that follows the Yoshida Trail. Bus tickets cost 2,700 yen each way, and the trip takes about 2.5 hours. Out of season, a bus ticket from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station or Fuji-Q Highland (theme park) costs about 1,750 yen (one way), and the journey takes 1 hour and 45 minutes on average.

On the other hand, visitor can take the train from Tokyo to Mount Fuji that is a little more expensive than a bus:

  • JR Limited Express train (Azusa or Kaiji) from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki, then transfer to the Fujikyuko Railway for Kawaguchiko. The journey takes around 2 hours and 20 minutes, and costs between 3,290 to 3,910 yen each way. Prices depend on whether you transfer in Tachikawa station, and whether it is the weekend or weekday.
  • The JR Chuo Special Rapid Service follows the same route, but takes 10-20 minutes longer, but costs only 2,460 yen each way.

Climbing Season: Early July to mid September
Entrance fee: 1,000 Yen during climbing season (July to September)

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Mount Fuji
Address: Japan, 〒401-0501 Yamanashi Prefecture, Minamitsuru District, Yamanakako, Yamanaka, 1360-83
Phone: +81 555-62-2111

2. Backpackers Hostel K’s House Mt. Fuji
Address: 401-0301 Yamanashi, Fujikawaguchiko, Funatsu 6713-108
Phone: +81 555-83-5556

3. Fuji View Hotel Fujiya Hotel Kawaguchiko Annex
Address: 511 Katsuyama, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401-0310
Phone: +81-555-83-2211

 

2. Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo

The grand entrance to Senso-ji temple where the gods of wind and thunder stand guard.

The grand entrance to Senso-ji temple where the gods of wind and thunder stand guard.

Senso-ji is Tokyo’s most visited temple and it enshrines a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. According to legend, two fishermen pulled this statue out of the nearby Sumida-gawa River in AD 628. No matter how many times they returned it to the river, the statue kept miraculously reappearing. The image is enshrined but is never on public display. The present building structure dates back to 1958. The grand entrance to the temple complex is via the fantastic, red Kaminari-mon, or Thunder Gate that overlooks the busy shopping street of Nakamise-dōri.

Upon passing through the gates, the statues of the fearsome Fūjin – the god of wind, and Raijin – the god of thunder, are enshrined as guardians. An intricately carved dragon can be seen from under the giant red lantern at the entrance. Street stalls line Nakamise-dōri just outside the temple entrance, and sell everything from genuine Edo period handicrafts to tourist trinkets. At the end of Nakamise-dōri is the temple entrance itself, while to your left you can spot the 55m-high Five-Storey Pagoda. This pagoda is a 1973 reconstruction of a pagoda originally built by Tokugawa Iemitsu.

To the left of the entrance is the 5-storeyed pagoda, which was originally built by Tokugawa Iemitsu and reconstructed in 1973.

To the left of the entrance is the 5-storeyed pagoda, which was originally built by Tokugawa Iemitsu and reconstructed in 1973.

It is a mystery as to whether the ancient image of Kannon of Senso-ji actually exists or if it is a myth, because it is not on public display. However, this does nothing to stop a stream of worshippers and tourists from visiting the temple. There is a large incense cauldron in front of the temple, and the incense smoke is said to be healing, and so people rub it into their bodies through their clothes.

On the eastern corner of the temple complex stands the Asakusa-jinja shrine that commemorates the brothers who discovered the Kannon statue and also inspired the construction of Sensō-ji. Historically in Japan, Buddhism and Shintoism are interconnected, and it is not unusual to have both shrines co-exist in temples. The current deep red shrine was built in 1649, which is a rare early Edo period architecture. This temple is the epicenter of Sanja Matsuri, one of Tokyo’s most important festivals in the month of May. Due to its popularity, the entire temple complex is always crowded particularly on weekends. It is also a good idea to visit at night as the buildings are beautifully illuminated and there are fewer people.

The main shrine within Senso-ji temple

The main shrine within Senso-ji temple

 

How to get there

Senso-ji Temple is not far from Asakusa Station, which is served by the Ginza Subway Line, Asakusa Subway Line and Tobu Railways.

From Tokyo Station, take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station (2 minutes, 140 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).

From Shinjuku Station, take the orange JR Chuo Line to Kanda Station (10 minutes, 170 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).

Address: Japan, 111-0032 Tokyo, Taito, Asakusa, 2 Chome – 3-1
Opening hours: 06:00 to 17:00 (from 6:30 from October to March) for the main hall
Entrance fee: None

 

Accommodation

1. Super Hotel Asakusa
Address: 2-33-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0032
Phone: +81 3-5806-9000

2. Richmond Hotel Asakusa
Address: 2-7-10 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0032
Phone: +81-3-5806-0255

3. Asakusa View Hotel
Address: 3-17-1 Nishiasakusa Taito Tokyo-to 111-8765
Phone: +81 3-3847-1111

 

3. Shinjuku-Gyoen, Tokyo

3. Shinjuku-gyoen - 1

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a large garden and park that stretches between Shinjuku and Shibuya wards of Tokyo city.

The compound was originally the residence of the Naitō family during the Edo period. The shogun had bestowed this piece of land to Lord Naitō (daimyo) of Tsuruga, who converted the forests into a garden in 1772. Since then, the Daimyo’s home and gardens have been converted into an agricultural center after the Meiji Restoration era. After that, it was converted into a botanical garden, before it finally became an imperial garden in 1879. In 1906, the current garden landscape was completed. Most of the garden was destroyed by air raids during the later stages of World War II in 1945, but was rebuilt to its former glory after the war.

Visitors admiring cherry blossom trees in full bloom

Visitors admiring cherry blossom trees in full bloom

After the war in 1947, the management of the park, known at the time as the Imperial Palace Outer Garden and Kyoto Imperial Garden, was transferred to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which is now a part of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

On May 21, 1949, the garden was officially opened to the public as ‘The National Park Shinjuku Imperial Gardens’. Then in January 2001, the park came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment, and was renamed ‘The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden’. In 1989, Shinjuku Gyoen was selected as the site for the funeral rites of Emperor Shōwa before his remains were interred at the Musashi Imperial Graveyard.

 

How to get there

Shinjuku Gyoen can be access via three gates:

  • Shinjuku Gate is a ten-minute walk eastwards from the ‘New South Exit’ of JR Shinjuku Station, or a five-minute walk from Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line.
  • Okido Gate is also a five-minute walk from Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line.
  • Finally, Sendagaya Gate is a five-minute walk from JR Sendagaya Station on the local Chuo/Sobu Line.

Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014
Phone: +81 3-3350-0151
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 16:30 (last entry at 16:00); Closed on Mondays, and from December 29 to January 3. There are no closing days during the cherry blossom season (late March to late April) and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition (first half of November).
Entrance Fee: 200 Yen

 

Accommodation

1. PA Hotel Shinjuku-gyoen-mae
Address: 2-2-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone: +81 3-5369-3622

2. Hotel Tateshina
Address: 5-8-6 Shinjuku, Shinkuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone: +81 3-3350-5271

3. Tokyu Stay Shinjuku
Address: 160-0022 Tokyo Prefecture, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-7-1
Phone: +81 3-3353-0109

 

4. Harajuku, Tokyo

Takeshita Street Entrance is rigth at the heart of Harajuku District

Takeshita Street Entrance is rigth at the heart of Harajuku District

Harajuku is the general name given to an area that begins at Harajuku Station all the way up to Omotesando within the Shibuya ward. This area also includes a network of smaller backstreets, such as Takeshita Street and Cat Street, which spread out between the Shibuya ward in the south to the Sendagaya ward in the north.

Harajuku is internationally renowned as the epicenter of Japanese youth, pop culture and fashion. The area is famous for the vast amounts of small, Japanese youth-oriented, independent boutiques and cafés. The neighborhood also has a large array of international chains that feature high-end luxury stores along Omotesando.

Little shops that cater to Japanese youth fashion

Little shops that cater to Japanese youth fashion

The Harajuku subway station is along the JR East Yamanote Line, the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, and the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line. This station is also the gateway to other local attractions, such as the Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, and Yoyogi National Gymnasium. The easy subway access allows Harajuku and the neighboring areas to be some of the most popular destinations in Tokyo city amongst local Japanese and foreign International tourists.

 Japanase youth in colorful Harajuku fashion

Japanase youth in colorful Harajuku fashion

 

How to get there

An option by train is via JR Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line is the obvious way to get to Harajuku. The station sits conveniently next to both the entrance to Meiji Jingu and Omote-Sando. Alternatively, Harajuku can be reached within a 25-minute walk from Shinjuku or 15-minute walk from Shibuya.

 

Accommodation

1. Tokyu Stay Aoyama Premier Hotel
Address: 107-0062 Tokyo Prefecture, Minato-ku, Minamiaoyama 2-27-18
Phone: +81 3-3497-0109

2. Dormy Inn PREMIUM Shibuya Jingūmae
Address: 6 Chome− 2 4-4, Shibuya Jingumae, 150-0001 Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-5774-5489

3. Sakura Fleur Aoyama
Address: 150-0002 Tokyo Prefecture, Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 2-14-15, Japan
Phone: 03-5467-3777 (local)

 

5. Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo

The main entrance to the Imperial palace

The main entrance to the Imperial palace

The current Imperial Palace or Kokyo lies on the former site of the old Edo
Castle. The palace has a large park surrounded by a moat and massive stone walls, and the entire complex is right in the heart of Tokyo, which is just a short walk from Tokyo Station. The palace is still being used as the official residence of Japan’s Imperial Family.

The original Edo Castle was the seat of the Tokugawa shogun that ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. Then in 1868, the shogunate was toppled, and the imperial palace and capital in Kyoto was re-established in Tokyo. In 1888, a new imperial palace was built in Tokyo over the site of the old Edo castle. This old palace was destroyed in World War II, but was rebuilt.

5. Tokyo Imperial Palace - 2

Visitors to the palace grounds can view the Nijubashi, the two stone bridges that lead to the main entrance of the inner palace grounds from Kokyo Gaien, the main plaza in front of the imperial palace. The stone bridge is called the Meganebashi or Eyeglass Bridge because of its appearance. The bridge in the back used to be a wooden bridge that had two levels, which is why it is called Nijubashi or Double Bridge.

A favorite attraction among tourists is the garden’s seasonal flowers, such as azaleas and hydrangeas grown on the palace grounds. At the Sannomaru-Shozo-kan, or Museum of the Imperial Collections, Emperor Hirohito’s art collection are exhibited alongside exquisite imperial kimonos and Japanese paintings. In the Kita-no-maru-koen Park on the north side of the palace is the Nippon Budo-kan, a famous venue for concerts by foreign artists, the Science Museum, and the National Museum of Modern Art.

The moat near the park is called Chidori-ga-fuchi, and is a famous spot. In the beginning of April, the entire place is filled with people enjoying the view of cherry blossoms. The National Theater is within easy walking distance from Chidori-ga-fuchi, and is the venue of Japanese classical performing arts such as Kabuki, Noh plays, and Kyogen, traditional short comedies.

5. Tokyo Imperail Palace - 3

 

How to get there

The Otemon entrance to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace is a short walk from Otemachi Station that accessed via Chiyoda, Tozai, Marunouchi, Hanzomon and Mita Subway Lines. The palace can also be reached with a mere 10-15 minute walk from the main Tokyo Station.

Address: Chiyoda, 1-1, 100-8111 Tokyo
Hours: 09:00–17:00 daily. Closed on Mondays.
Phone: +81 3-3213-1111

 

Accommodation

1. Imperial Hotel, Tokyo
Address: 1 Chome− 1-1, Chiyoda, Uchisaiwaicho, 100-8558 Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3504-1111

2. Hotel Monterey Hanzomon
Address: 2 3-1, Chiyoda, Ichibancho, 102-0082 Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3556-7111

3. Sakura Hotel Jimbocho
Address: 2 Chome− 2 1-4, Chiyoda, Kanda Jinbocho, 101-0051 Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3261-3939

 

6. Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo

6. Tokyo National Museum -1

Tokyo National Museum is the best museum to visit for those who have time to spare. In here, you will find the largest collection of Japanese art on display, including ancient pottery, Buddhist images, samurai armour and swords, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, kimonos and more. The museum is huge, and if you only have a few hours to spare, then you should visit the Honkan or Japanese Gallery, and the Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures, which displays masks, scrolls and gilt Buddhas from Hōryū-ji of Nara Prefecture that dates back to 607 CE.

Standing Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva), dated around 1251 CE, Tokyo National Museum

Standing Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva), dated around 1251 CE, Tokyo National Museum

If you can spend the rest of the day, you should explore the three-storied Tōyōkan or the Gallery of Asian Art. This is where an extensive collection of Buddhist statues from across Asia stand alongside delicate Chinese ceramics. The Heiseikan is the Japanese Archaeological Gallery, which has an exhibition of pottery, talismans, and daily utensils from Japan’s prehistoric period, which is accessible via a passage on the 1st floor of the Honkan.

In the gardens, there are several vintage teahouses that are usually opened to the public from mid-March to mid-April, and from late October to early December. On the other hand, the museum regularly hosts temporary and exciting exhibitions.

Ancient samurai armour amongst the many exhibits from feudal Japan

Ancient samurai armour amongst the many exhibits from feudal Japan

 

How to get there

The museum can be reached via the JR Line, which is just 10 minutes from Ueno or Uguisudani Station. On the Ginza or Hibiya Tokyo Metro Line, it is just 15 minutes from Ueno Station. On the Chiyoda Tokyo Metro Line, it is 15 minutes from Nezu Station. On the Keisei Line, it is 15 minutes from Keisei Ueno Station.

Address: 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-8712, Japan
Phone: (03)5777-8600 (local) / +81-(3)-5777-8600 (international calls)
Opening hours: 09:30 – 17:00 (last admission at 16:30)
Entrance Free: Adults 620 yen / University Students: 410 yen

 

Accommodation

1. Candeo Hotels Ueno Koen
Address: 1 Chome-2-13 Negishi, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0003, Japan
Phone: +81 3-5808-6100

2. Hotel Mystays Ueno East
Address: Japan, 110-0015 Tokyo, Taito, Higashiueno, 5 Chome-5-6
Phone: +81 3-5806-2420

3. Red Planet Hotels Asakusa, Tokyo
Address: 1-11-6 Asakusa, Taito-ku Tokyo, Tokyo, 111-0032, Japan
Phone: +81 3-5828-0177

 

7. Kabuki-za, Tokyo

7. Kabukiza - 1

This theatre is an old institution with an elaborate Japanese façade that gives a strong first impression. The main structure was completely rebuilt in 2013 to include a tower block. The striking façade gives an appropriate introduction to the dramatic tradition of kabuki plays. Performance details and booking of tickets are available on its website.

7. Kabukiza - 2

A traditional kabuki performance consists of three or four acts that are usually taken from different plays over an afternoon or an evening, which is typically from 11am to 3.30pm, or 4.30pm to 9pm, and they are usually with long intervals between the acts. A headset is available for rent at 500 yen for explanations in English. It would be good to pack a bentō box meal to snack on during intervals.

Since four-hour plays may be too long for most people, there is the option of 90 seats and 60 standing tickets that are sold on the day for single acts. But expect to be at the back of the auditorium that still has an excellent view of the stage. Some acts are more popular than others, so do some research beforehand and arrive at least an hour and a half before the performance.

7. Kabukiza - 3

 

How to get there

By train, take the Hibiya Line or Asakusa Line to the Higashi Ginza Station. Take Exit 3, which has direct access to the theatre from the subway station. On the Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, or Hibiya Line, stop at Ginza Station. Take exit A6, and Kabuki-za is just a 5-minute walk away. On the JR and SUBWAY, stop at Tokyo Station. It is a 10-minute taxi-ride away.

Address: Ginza 4-12-15, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Phone: +81 (0)3-3545-6800
Website & e-ticket sales: https://www.kabukiweb.net/theatres/kabukiza/
Ticket sales: 4,000 to 22,000 yen, depending on the seating

 

Accommodation

1. The Prime Pod Ginza Tokyo
Address: Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061 Ginza 5 Chome -13
Phone: +81 3-5550-0147

2. Tokyu Stay Ginza
Address: Japan, 104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza, 4 Chome- 10-5
Phone: +81 3-3541-0109

3. Millennium mitsui garden hotel
Address: Japan, 104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza, 5 Chome- 11-1
Phone: +81 3-3549-3331

 

8. Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

8. Kinkakuji - 1

This is Kyoto’s most famous Kinkaku-ji or the ‘Golden Pavilion’, which is also one of Japan’s most iconic temples. The outer walls of the main prayer hall are layered in bright gold leaf, and this creates a truly spectacular sight above the placid pond. This temple is packed all year round because of its popularity, so it would be best to go early in the morning, or just before closing on a weekday to avoid the throngs of tourists.

8. Kinkakuji - 2

The original structure of the temple was built in 1397, initially as a retirement villa for the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Later, his son converted it into a temple. In 1950, a young monk acted out his obsession with the temple by razing it to the ground. The story of this monk was incorporated into Mishima Yukio’s novel The Golden Pavilion. In 1955, the temple was reconstructed following the original plans, with additional gold-foil extended to cover the lower floor.

8. Kinkakuji - 3

 

How to get there

The temple can reached via bus #101 or #205 from Kyoto station in about 40 minutes, for tickets starting at 230 yen. The fastest route to the temple is via Karasuma line train to Kitaoji, a 13-minute train ride for 260 yen. Then take bus #101, 102, 204, or 205 to Kinkaku-ji, which is 10 minutes away for 230 yen.

Address: 603-8361 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Kita Ward, Kinkakujicho, 1
Phone: +81 75-461-0013
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 daily
Entrance fee: 400 Yen (adult) / 300 Yen (junior high and elementary school students)

 

Accommodation

1. Coto Kyoto Kinkakuji
Address: 603-83038-46, Murasakino Junibocho, Kita Ward, Kyoto
Phone: +81 3-6427-2960

2. Hananobou Kinkakuji-michi
Address: 603-8305 Kyoto, Kita-ku Murasakino Minamihananobocho 41-3
Phone: +81 75-468-1028

3. Your Pavilion near Kinkakuji
Address: 603-8206 Kyoto Prefecture, Kita Ward, Shichiku Seinancho, 37-13
Phone: +81 80-8866-9157

 

9. Gion District, Kyoto

9. Gion District - 1

The famous Gion District is the old entertainment quarter of Kyoto famous for their geisha. Situated on the eastern bank of the Kamo-gawa River, Gion was originally renowned for its teahouses that offered refuge to travellers and pilgrims on their journey to the nearby Yasaka-jinja shrine. However, the mid-18th century saw the transformation of the area into Kyoto’s largest entertainment district. The best way to experience Gion today is to take an evening stroll around the atmospheric streets lined with 17th century-styled restaurants and old teahouses that are lit with paper lanterns. The journey begins with a walk down the Hanami-kōji main street and into Shijō-dōri Street.

9. Gion District - 2

Towards the southern stretch of Hanami-kōji, most of the old restaurants and teahouses are exclusive establishments renowned for their geishas. Right at the southern end is the Gion Corner and the traditional Gion Kōbu Kaburen-jō Theatre. While strolling from Shijō-dōri along the northern stretch of the Hanami-kōji, a third left turn leads you to Shimbashi or Shirakawa Minami-dōri, which are widely known to be Kyoto’s most beautiful streets, especially in the evening and during the cherry-blossom season. A little up north is the Shinmonzen-dōri and Furumonzen-dōri that runs east to west. These streets are packed with quaint and old Japanese houses, art galleries and antique shops.

9. Gion District - 3

 

How to get there

The Gion district bus stop is accessed from Kyoto Station via bus #100 or #206, a 20-minute ride for 230 yen. Alternatively, the closest train stations are Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line, and Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line.

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Sasarindou
Address: 605-0074 Kyoto, Higashiyama-ku Gionmachi Minamigawa 570-102
Phone: +81 75-541-7177

2. Kinoe
Address: 4-44-8, Bishamoncho, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0812
Phone: +81-75-561-1230

3. APA Hotel Tokyo Gion Excellent
Address: 605-0074 Kyoto, Kyoto, Higashiyama-ku Gion Minamigawa 555
Phone: +81 75-551-2111

 

10. Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kyoto

10. Kyoto Imperial Palace - 1

The walled complex of Kyoto Imperial Palace, or Gosho in Japanese, is situated right in the middle of a landscaped compound of the Palace Park. Although it no longer serves as the official residence of the Japanese emperor, it is still elegant. Visitors to the palace can wander freely around the officially marked route where there are English signs that tell the history of the palace buildings. The entrance to the palace is through the main Seishomon Gate where a map of the palace grounds is provided.

10. Kyoto Imperial Palace - 2

The original imperial palace was constructed in 794 CE, but was rebuilt a few times after it was destroyed by fire. The present structure was rebuilt in 1885 on a different site than the former palace, and was built on a smaller scale as well. To this day, the official enthronement of a new emperor and state ceremonies are still held here, so the palace may be closed during such events. The palace grounds are covered in gravel, so it is advised to wear appropriate shoes.

10. Kyoto Imperial Palace - 3

 

How to get there

Kyoto Imperial Palace is just a short train ride from Kyoto Station along the Karasuma Subway Line and stop at Marutamachi, which is 7 minutes away at 260 yen, or at Imadegawa Station, which is a 10 minutes away at 260 yen. Imadegawa Station is closer to the entrance gate of the Imperial Palace than Marutamachi Station.

Address: 602-0881 Kyoto Prefecture, Kamigyo Ward, Kyotogyoen, 3
Phone: +81 75-211-1215
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (April to August) ; 09:00 – 16:30 (September and March) ; 09:00 – 16:00 (October to February)

 

Accommodation

1. Kyoto Brighton Hotel
Address: Nakadachiuri, Shinmachi-Dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8071
Phone: +81 75 441 4411

2. The Palace Side Hotel
Address: 602-8011 Kyoto, Kyoto, Kamigyo-ku Karasumadori Shimodachiuri Agaru Okakuen-cho 380
Phone: +81 75-415-8887

3. Kyoto Garden Palace
Address: 602-0912 Kyoto, Kyoto, Kamigyo-ku Karasuma-dori Shimochojya-machi-agaru Tatsumae 605
Phone: +81 75-411-0111

 

11. Nijo Castle, Kyoto

11. Nijo Castle - 1

The military might of the Tokugawa shoguns is reflected in the imposing stone walls and rampart of Nijo Castle. The Nijō-jō dominates a large part of northwest Kyoto. Hidden behind stone walls, it is an elegant palace surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. This is another tourist hotspot, so to avoid the crowds, it is advised to visit just after opening or shortly before closing hours.

11. Nijo Castle - 2

This stone castle was built in 1603 CE as the official residence of the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu in Kyoto. The flamboyant architecture was intended to be a demonstration of Ieyasu’s power and prestige, but inadvertently symbolised the decline of the emperor’s power. In an attempt to avert treachery, the palace’s corridors were fitted with ‘nightingale’ floors that ‘chirped’ as people walked on them along with secret rooms that held bodyguards.

The entrance to palace grounds is through the grand Kara-mon gate as you enter Ninomaru Palace, which is a five building complex with many chambers. The Ōhiroma Yon-no-Ma, or Fourth Chamber, is particularly renowned for its stunning painted screens. When visiting the castle, the Ninomaru Palace Garden is not to be missed, as it designed by renowned landscape architect and tea master Kobori Enshū.

11. Nijo Castle - 3

 

How to get there

Nijo Castle is just a short stroll from Nijojo-mae Station, a stop along the Tozai Subway Line. From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Karasuma-Oike Station and transfer to the Tozai Line to Nijojo-mae Station. The train ride takes about 15 minutes and costs 260 yen.

On the other hand, buses numbers 9, 50 or 101 (every 15-20 minutes for 230 yen) from Kyoto city go to the castle or from Shijo-Kawaramachi by Kyoto City Bus number 12 (every 15 minutes, 230 yen one way).

Address: 604-8301 Kyoto Prefecture, Nakagyo Ward, Nijojocho, 541
Phone: +81 75-841-0096
Opening hours: 08:45 to 17:00 (last entry at 16:00); entry to Ninomaru from 09:00 to 16:00
Entrance fee: 600 Yen

 

Accommodation

1. Taberu Tomaru Nijo Castle
Address: 604-0051, 270-1 Nijoaburanokojicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto Prefecture 604-0051
Phone: +81 75-746-6208

2. Guest House Rinn Nijo Castle
Address: 604-8324 Kyoto Prefecture, Nakagyo Ward, Aneinokumacho, 324
Phone: +81 75-801-8200

3. Fukuya Stay Nijo Castle
Address: 24-21 Jurakumawarihigaisimachi, Kyoto city, 604-8404
Phone: +81 75-203-9865

 

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest -1

Upon entering this green bamboo grove, one feels as if you have entered into another realm. The thick green bamboo stalks give the illusion that the forest goes on endlessly in every direction, and the light that filters through has an ethereal quality. It is hard not to take a few pictures in this fantastic location, but photos are unable to capture the mystical feeling of the place. The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove begins just outside the northern gate of the Tenryū-ji temple all the way to just below Ōkōchi Sansō villa.

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest -2

12. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest -3

 

How to get there

The quickest route from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama is via the JR Sagano Train Line, which is also known as JR Sanin Line. The one-way ride to Saga-Arashiyama Station takes 15 minutes and costs 240 yen. From Saga-Arashiyama Station, central Arashiyama can be reached in a 5-10 minute walk.

 

Accommodation

1. Arashiyama Bamboo Guest House
Address: 616-8373, 4-16 Sagatenryuji Kurumamichicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8373, Japan
Phone: +44 (0)1775 843417

2. Hotel Binario Saga-Arashiyama
Address: Japan, 616-8372 Kyoto Prefecture, Ukyo Ward, Sagatenryuji Hiromichicho, 3-4
Phone: +81 75-871-9711

3. Togetsutei
Address: 54-4 Arashiyama Nakaoshita-cho, Nishikyo-ku, 616-0004, Kyoto Prefecture
Phone: +81 75-871-1310

 

13. Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Hiroshima

13. Hiroshima Peace Memorial - 1

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum has a collection of items that was taken from the aftermath of the atomic bomb that befell the city. With displays such as torn clothes from victims, melted lunch boxes, a watch that stopped precisely at 8.15am, and photographs from the aftermath of the atomic bomb, the exhibition is poignant and a little disturbing. However, the museum is a must-visit when one is in Hiroshima.

This building was the only structure left standing after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It is commonly called the Genbaku ("A-Bomb") Dome and it serves as a memorial to the thousands of people who perished during the atomic explosion.

This building was the only structure left standing after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It is commonly called the Genbaku (“A-Bomb”) Dome and it serves as a memorial to the thousands of people who perished during the atomic explosion.

The eastern building presents an exhibition of the history of Hiroshima, and showcases the development and the destructive properties of nuclear weapons. Upon exiting the museum, the video accounts of victims are not to be missed. This is alongside the guest book signed by world-leaders, including the first visit by a US President, Barack Obama in 2016, who placed origami paper cranes to symbolise peace.

The main building of the museum is currently undergoing major renovation, and will be closed in February 2017 until 2018 when it will be reopened to the public again. During the closure, some exhibits from the main building have been relocated to the east building.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is dedicated to documenting the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is dedicated to documenting the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II

 

How to get there

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park can be reached by tram from Hiroshima Station at the terminal just in front of the station’s southern exit. Take tram #2 or 6 to the Ganbaku Domu-mae stop. The trip takes about 15 minutes and costs 150 yen.

Address: 730-0811 Hiroshima Prefecture, Naka Ward, Nakajimacho, 1-2
Phone: +81 82-241-4004
Opening hours: 08:30 – 18:00 (until 19:00 in August, until 17:00 from December to February); last entry 30 minutes before closing
Entrance fee: 200 yen

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Sunroute Hiroshima
Address: 730-0051 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Otemachi, 3 Chome- 3-1
Phone: +81 82-249-3600

2. Mitsui Garden hotel Hiroshima
Address: 730-0037 Hiroshima Prefecture, Naka Ward, Nakamachi, 9-12
Phone: +81 82-240-1131

3. Hotel Hokke Club Hiroshima
Address: 730-0037 Hiroshima Prefecture, Naka Ward, Nakamachi, 7-7
Phone: +81 82-248-3371

 

14. Himeji Castle

Grand Entrance

Grand Entrance

Himeji Castle is widely believed to be Japan’s most magnificent castle, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a national treasure and one of only a handful of original Japanese castles still standing, as most others are modern concrete replicas.

This castle has been given the nickname of Shirasagi-jō, or ‘White Egret Castle’, in reference to its white-washed exterior walls and its elegant structure towering high on a hill. The castle has a five-storey central keep or tenshū and three smaller subsidiary ones, surrounded by a moat and outer defense walls that have rectangular, circular, and triangular openings for firearms and arrows.

14 Himeji Castle - 2

The walls of the main keep has little holes called ishiotoshi that are meant for defenders of the castle to pour boiling water or oil onto invaders trying to scale the walls as another line of defense. The castle had fortifications built in 1333, but the main structure of the castle was built in 1580 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and renovated by Ikeda Terumasa 30 years later. Ikeda was bestowed the castle by Tokugawa Ieyasu when his army defeated Toyotomi’s armies in a historic battle. In the ensuing centuries, the castle became home to 48 successive lords. In 2014, the castle was reopened to the public after a five-year renovation.

A tour of the castle takes about 1½ hours while following the guided route around the castle. Final entry of the castle is an hour before closing time.

14. Himeji Castle -3

 

How to get there

Himeji Castle stands one kilometer from Himeji Station. From the station’s north exit, the castle can be reached in a 15-20 minute walk or five-minute ride by bus (100 yen one way) or taxi (about 650 yen one way).

Address: Japan, 670-0012 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Honmachi, 68
Phone: 079-285-1146
Hours: 09:00 – 16:00 daily
Entrance Fee: 1000 yen (castle only) ; 1040 yen (castle and nearby Kokoen Garden)

 

Accommodation

1. Himeji Castle Grandvrio Hotel
Address: 670-0940 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Sanzaemon Borinishinomachi, 210
Phone: +81 50-5847-7770

2. Hotel Wing International Himeji
Address: 670-0921 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Watamachi, 132
Phone: +81 79-287-2111

3. Comfort Hotel Himeji
Address: 670-0935 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Hojoguchi, 1 Chome−50-3
Phone: +81 79-286-8511

 

15. Todaiji, Nara

15. Todaiji -1

The ancient capital of Nara is most famous for the huge Daibutsu or Great Buddha statue. The statue is enshrined within the grand old temple Todaiji, and dates back to 728 CE. The Daibutsu statue is the largest bronze figures in Japan, and one of the largest in the world. It was casted back in 746 CE, but the present statue is actually a recast during the Edo period. It stands over 16 meters in height and is cast out of 437 tons of bronze and 130kgs of gold. It is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Daibutsu is enshrined within the Tōdai-ji’s Daibutsu-den, or the Great Buddha Hall, which incidentally is the largest wooden structure in the world. The present building was rebuilt in 1709, but is a mere two-thirds of the original. Aside for the Daibutsu-den, most of Tōdai-ji’s grounds have no cover charge.

This Daibutsu is actually Dainichi Nyorai or Vairocana Buddha and it is the largest bronze figures in Japan, and one of the largest in the world.

This Daibutsu is actually Dainichi Nyorai or Vairocana Buddha and it is the largest bronze figures in Japan, and one of the largest in the world.

The Daibutsu is in the form Dainichi Nyorai, or Vairocana Buddha; the cosmic Buddha believed to give rise to all sacred realms and Buddhas within them. Historians state that Emperor Shōmu decreed the construction of the Buddha to ward off an epidemic of smallpox that ravaged medieval Japan. Unfortunately, earthquakes and fires damaged the statue over the centuries and the head was severely damaged a few times. Hence, the head today has a slight difference in hue to the rest of the body of the statue.

Behind the statue is huge wooden column with a hole through its base. Japanese folk belief maintains that those who manage to squeeze through the hole, which is said to be the size of the Great Buddha’s nostrils, will be ensured of eventual enlightenment. These days, there is always a line of children waiting to crawl through the hole with eager parents taking pictures of them. For bigger ‘kids’, it would be advisable to have your hands outstretched and have someone pull you through on the other end.

Naturally, Tōdai-ji is always packed with tourists and children from all over Japan, and fortunately it is big enough to accommodate crowds, and is a must visit for all visiting Nara.

The smaller statue next to the Daibutsu is of Kokuzo Bosatsu or Akasagarbha Bodhisattva

The smaller statue next to the Daibutsu is of Kokuzo Bosatsu or Akasagarbha Bodhisattva

 

How to get there

Todaiji is about a 30-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station or 45-minute walk from JR Nara Station. The temple can also be reached by bus from either station. Get off at Todaiji Daibutsuden stop, and it is just a 5-10-minute walk to Todaiji’s main prayer hall.

Address: Japan, 630-8211 Nara Prefecture, Zoshicho, 406-1
Phone: +81 742-22-5511
Opening hours: 8:00 to 16:30 (November to February) ; 8:00 to 17:00 (March) ; 7:30 to 17:30 (April to September) ; 7:30 to 17:00 (October)
Entrance fee: 500 yen

 

Accommodation

1. New Wakasa Ryokan Nara
Address: 630-8274 Nara, Kitahanda Higashimachi 1
Phone: +81 742-23-5858

2. Comfort Hotel Nara
Address: Japan, 630-8244 Nara Prefecture, Sanjocho, 321-3
Phone: +81 742-25-3211

3. Hotel Nikko Nara
Address: Japan, 630-8122 Nara Prefecture, Nara, Sanjohonmachi, 8-1
Phone: +81 742-35-8831

 

16. Hōryū-ji, Nara

16. Horyuji - 1

In 607 CE, Prince Shōtoku, considered to be a great patron of Japanese Buddhism, founded the ancient Hōryū-ji temple. Hōryū-ji is widely renowned to be the oldest temple in Japan, and has a veritable treasure trove of antiquities. Several of the temple’s hardy wooden buildings managed to withstand centuries of earthquakes and fires to become the oldest wooden structures in the world. Many of Hōryū-ji treasures are now exhibited at the Tokyo National Museum.

The temple consists of two main buildings – Sai-in or the Western Temple, and Tō-in or the Eastern Temple. Visitors can pick up a detailed map and guidebook in English at the entrance. The main path from the entrance is an avenue lined with trees and through the Nandai-mon and Chū-mon gates before entering the Sai-in compound. Upon entering the compound, the main prayer hall or Kondō is on the right, and an old pagoda stands on your left.

This is Yumedono (Hall of Visions), where Prince Shōtoku is believed to have meditated and received visions of golden apparitions helping him with his study of the Sutras.

This is Yumedono (Hall of Visions), where Prince Shōtoku is believed to have meditated and received visions of golden apparitions helping him with his study of the Sutras.

Several treasures are enshrined in the Kondō including the trinity of Buddha Sakyamuni waited by two attendant bodhisattvas. The pagoda contains clay images that depict scenes from the life of Buddha, but they may not be as visible due to poor lighting conditions.

On east side of Sai-in are where two concrete buildings of the Daihōzō-in (Great Treasure Hall) stand, containing many priceless treasures from Hōryū-ji’s long and illustrious past. As one heads east, they will pass through the Tōdai-mon and into Tō-in, where Prince Shōtoku is believed to have meditated and received visions of golden apparitions helping him with his study of the Sutras at the Yumedono, the Hall of Dreams.

Due to the cost of admission and commuting time from central Nara, it is recommended to have at least half a day set aside for touring the temple. In order to get there, one can take the JR Kansai line from JR Nara Station to Hōryū-ji Station (220 yen, 11 minutes). At the station, Bus 72 shuttles passengers to and from Hōryū-ji Monmae (180 yen, eight minutes). Alternatively, one can also take bus 52 or 97 from either JR Nara Station Kintetsu Nara Station and then get off at the Hōryū-ji-mae stop (760 yen, one hour). From the bus station, walk west for about 50m and cross the road and the tree-line entrance to the temple is visible.

The main prayer hall enshrines the trinity of Buddha Sakyamuni waited by two attendant bodhisattvas along with other Buddha and bodhisattva figures from the 7th century CE.

The main prayer hall enshrines the trinity of Buddha Sakyamuni waited by two attendant bodhisattvas along with other Buddha and bodhisattva figures from the 7th century CE.

 

How to get there

To get to the temple by train, take the Yamatoji Line at JR Nara Station to Horyuji Station (12-minute train ride for 220 yen). From the station, it is a 20-minute walk or short bus ride by bus #72 to the temple (190 yen, departures every 20 minutes). Get off at the Horyujimon-mae bus stop.

Address: Japan, 636-0115 Nara Prefecture, Ikoma District, Ikaruga, Horyuji Sannai, 1-1
Phone: +81 745-75-2555
Hours: 8:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 from early November to late February)
Entrance fee: 1,500 yen

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Nikko Nara
Address: 630-8122 Nara Prefecture, Nara, Sanjohonmachi, 8-1
Phone: +81 742-35-8831

2. View Lohas JR Nara Station Super Hotel
Address: 630-8122 Nara Prefecture, Nara, Sanjohonmachi, 1-2
Phone: +81 742-27-9000

3. Nara Washington Hotel Plaza
Address: 630-8236 Nara, Nara, Shimosanjo-cho 31-1
Phone: +81 742-27-0410

 

17. Kotokuin, Kamakura

17. Kotokuin Temple - 1

The Daibutsu, or Great Buddha of Kamakura, is one of Japan’s most iconic statues. This Buddha is an 11.4 meters high bronze statue of Amida Buddha or Amitabha Buddha and lies in the courtyard of Kōtoku-in temple, which belongs to the Jōdo sect. The construction of the statue was inspired by Shogun Minamoto Yoritomo’s visit to Nara, home of Japan’s largest Daibutsu after the Minamoto clan’s victory over the Taira clan.

The Shogun wished to construct a monumental Buddha statue in Kamakura, but passed away before his wish could be fulfilled. However, one of his court ladies by the name of Inada no Tsubone (Lady Inada) pledged to fulfill the late Shogun’s wish, and so, a huge wooden Buddha statue was sculpted, and then completed in 1243 CE after ten years of intense labor. The funds was raised by Lady Inada and the Buddhist priest Jōkō of Tōtōmi.

17. Kotokuin Temple - 2

Unfortunately, that wooden statue was damaged by a freak storm in 1248 CE and the hall that housed the statue was also destroyed. So Jōkō suggested making another statue of bronze to replace it, and the amount of funds needed for casting the statue and for a new hall was raised.

The statue was probably casted by Ōno Gorōemon or Tanji Hisatomo, both being the best casters of the time, and that statue was completed in 1252 CE. It seems that at one time, the statue was gilded. There are still traces of gold leaf near the statue’s ears. Although the statue was once enshrined in a huge hall, today it sits in the open as the hall had been washed away by a tsunami in 1498 CE. For a 20 yen fee, visitors are allowed inside the statue to see how the ancient sculptors piece the 850-tonne statue together.

17. Kotokuin Temple - 3

 

How to get there

The Kotokuin temple is located at a 5-10 minute walk from Hase Station, the third station from Kamakura city along the Enoden railway line. From Kamakura Station, all buses from stops 1 and 6 at the east exit shuttle to Daibutsu-mae stop for 190 yen. Alternatively, one can take the Enoden Enoshima line to Hase Station and walk north for about eight minutes before arriving at the entrance of the temple. The Enoden line is a streetcar-like train that connects Kamakura with Enoshima and Fujisawa. Its station in Kamakura is located just next of JR Kamakura Station.

Address: 4-2-28, Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0016, Japan
Phone: 0467 22 0703
Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:30 (April–September) ; 08:00 – 17:00 (October- March) ; Last entry 15 minutes before closing
Entrance fee: 200 yen (Adults & Students aged 13-18) ; 150 yen (Students aged 6-12) ; 20 yen per person who want to enter inside the Buddha

 

Accommodation

1. Kamakura Guest House & Bar
Address: 248-0021 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Sakanoshita, 11-7
Phone: +81 467-33-5118

2. Kamakura Park Hotel
Address: 248-0021 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Sakanoshita, 33-6
Phone: +81 467-25-5121

3. Kamakura Prince Hotel
Address: 1 Chome-2-18 Shichirigahamahigashi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0025
Phone: +81 467-32-1111

 

18. Ofuna Kannonji Temple, Kamakura

18. Ofuna Kannonji Temple -1

Ōfuna Kannon Temple is one of the ‘newer’ Buddhist temples in Kamakura. The highlight of this temple is a 25-meter (82-feet) tall, 1900-ton reinforced concrete bust of the bodhisattva Kannon, which is the Japanese derivative of Kuan Yin.

In dedication to peace, this stone lamp on the temple grounds holds the flame that originated from the atomic fires of Hiroshima.

In dedication to peace, this stone lamp on the temple grounds holds the flame that originated from the atomic fires of Hiroshima.

The temple was built in 1929, and it adheres to the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism. The rough profile of the bust was completed in 1934 but work was stopped at the start of the Pacific War. It was not until 1954 that the Ofuna Kannon Society resumed construction, and the temple was finally completed in 1960. The statue was fashioned out of poured concrete into a mould, and this was done entirely by hand. There were no concrete trucks used, and the surface of the statue was painted white.

As the temple is dedicated to peace, the casting of the Kannon bust included stones that were taken from ground zero of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cities that were hit by the atomic bombs. Furthermore, the temple hosts a long-burning flame that originated from the atomic fires in Hiroshima. The statue itself has a small museum and shrine for the public to pay homage to.

18. Ofuna Kannonji Temple -2

 

How to get there

Ōfuna Kannon Temple is close to the Ōfuna Station and is about a 5-minute walk from the station.

Address: 1-5-3, Okamoto, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken, 247-0072,
Phone: 81-467-43-1561
Entrance Fee: 300 yen (adults) ; 100 yen (elementary and junior high school students) ; 200 yen (per pax in groups with more than 20 persons)

 

Accommodation

1. Hotel Mets Kamakura Ofuna
Address: 247-0056 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Ofuna, 1 Chome-2-1
Phone: +81 467-40-1192

2. Fresa Hotel, Ofuna
Address: 247-0056 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Ofuna, 1-2 6-5
Phone: +81 467-42-2031

3. Sotetsu Fresa Yokohama Totsuka
Address: 244-0003 Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama, Totsuka Ward, Totsukacho, 16-8
Phone: +81 45-860-2031

 

19. Chuson-ji, Hiraizumi

19. Chusonji - 1

This ancient temple was built in the style typical of Hiraizumi architecture that was prevalent around the middle of the 9th century CE. Chuson-ji temple is ranked amongst some of the most important Buddhist temples in Japan.

The temple was built during a period when Hiraizumi was the northern capital of Japan and was even more prosperous than Kyoto. During this period, the temple was at the heart of the ancient capital, and there was a glorious culture of using gold and silver in ornamentation, also known as the Golden Culture of Hiraizumi. This extravagance has come to symbolise the glory and power of the Fujiwara clan that ruled Japan at that time.

19. Chusonji - 2

In this temple, there is a treasure hall known as Sankon-zo, and this hall houses an extensive collection of over 3,000 National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. The Konjiki-do is a hall covered in gold and silver as it enshrines the mummified remains of several generations of chiefs of the Fujiwara clan.

19. Chusonji - 3

 

How to get there

By train, Chusonji temple can be reached by ten-minute bus ride along the Hiraizumi Loop Bus, or by a 20-30 minute walk from Hiraizumi Station.

Address: 029-4102 Iwate Prefecture, Nishiiwai District, Hiraizumi, Koromonoseki-202
Phone: +81 191-46-2211
Opening hours: 08:30 – 17:00 (1 March – 3 November) ; 08:30 – 16:30 (4 November – End of February)
Entrance fee: 800 Yen

 

Accommodation

1. Chisun Inn Iwate Ichinoseki IC
Address: Japan, 021-0041 Iwate Prefecture, Ichinoseki, Akoogi, Tsukimachi−188−2
Phone: +81 191-25-6911

2. Hotel Route-Inn Ichinoseki Inter
Address: 021-0041 Iwate, Ichinoseki, Akogi Azatsurumaki 33-1, Japan
Phone: +81 191-33-2011

3. Toyoko INN Ichinoseki Station
Address: Japan, 021-0882 Iwate Prefecture, Ichinoseki, Kamiotsukikoji, 2−33
Phone: +81 191-31-1045

 

20. Zenko-ji, Nagano

20. Zenkoji -1

An ancient temple founded in the 7th century CE. Today, Zenko-ji is a national treasure, and home to the revered statue Ikkō-Sanzon, reputed to be the first Buddhist image to arrive in Japan (circa AD 552). However, it has been kept hidden in the temple, and not even 37 generations of emperors have seen this image.

20. Zenkoji -2

Although millions of pilgrims and visitors flock to view a replica of the statue every seven years during the Gokaichō Matsuri celebration, the original statue is never shown. Zenkō-ji’s incredible popularity is also due to the fact that the temple welcomes everyone regardless of gender, creed, or religious belief. Its chief officiates are both a priest and a priestess. The current building dates from 1707 CE.

20. Zenkoji -3

 

How to get there

Any bus from bus stop 1 in front of JR Nagano Station’s Zenkō-ji exit will get you to the temple (It costs 100 yen for a journey of 10 minutes). Just get off at the Daimon bus stop.

Address: 380-0851 Nagano Prefecture, Nagano, Motoyoshicho-491
Phone: +81 26-234-3591
Opening hours: An hour before sunrise to 16:30 ; Until 16:00 (from December to February) ; Until 16:15 in March and November) ; 09:00 to 16:00 (History Museum)
Entrance fee: 500 yen

 

Accommodation

1. Takayama Hostel Zenkoji Temple Guesthouse
Address: 506-0025 Gifu-ken Takayama-shi, Tenman-cho 4-3
Phone: +81-577-32-8470

2. 1166 Backpackers
Address: 380-0842 Nagano, Nishimachi 1048
Phone: +81 26-217-2816

3. Toyoko INN Nagano
Address: Nagano Prefecture, Minaminagano, Minamiishidocho− 1315-8
Phone: +81 26-228-1045

 

Travel Books on Japan

 

Lonely Planet Japan (Travel Guide)

20a Lonely Planet Japan

Lonely Planet Japan is your gateway to the best places and attractions in Japan. Shop and dine in futuristic Tokyo, discover Kyoto’s ancient temples and gardens, or hike up the beautiful Japan Alps with your trusted guidebook. Travel right to the heart of Japan and let your adventure begin!

 

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan

eyewitnessjapan

This is the Winner of the Top Guidebook Series in the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2017. The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan delivers you straight to the best place and best things to do in the Japanese isles. You could go exploring traditional and futuristic Tokyo, ancient temples at Kyoto, majestic Mount Fuji, and so forth. The accessible Travel Guide provides the most relevant information on all the major attractions at these places to make the best of your trip.

 

For more interesting information:

 

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About Pastor David Lai

David is a lay Buddhist pastor of Kechara and a longtime student of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Initially a reluctant writer, he now finds himself writing for a living and has published four books including his autobiography, There's No Way But Up and Conversations in Love.

David is a lover of Buddhist art and whenever he can, he shares his knowledge of the Dharma with everyone, giving frequent teachings and writing on his blog www.davidlai.me.
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7 Responses to Wonderful Japan – Honshu

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  1. S.Prathap on Jul 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Good and beautiful article about Honshu .Japan geographical location on the outermost region of Asia has a profound impact on its history.
    Japan cuisine is world famous for its presentation,taste and the way of cooking .There are a lot of interesting place to visit and the most famous is Mount Fuji. It is the highest mountain in Japan.
    Thank you very much for this informative write up which will be useful and guide to tourist who plan to visit here.

  2. Anne Ong on Aug 12, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Love this beautiful and interesting article on Honshu. I love japanese food, and the food in the pictures look so tempting! Lol!!! 🙂 Especially Sushi. The scenery are so beautiful! Some of the pictures that caught my interest and attention are…16. Hōryū-ji, Nara. 18. Ofuna Kannonji Temple, Kamakura. 1. Mount Fuji, Fujinomiya.3. Shinjuku-Gyoen, Tokyo.15. Todaiji, Nara. Wish i have a chance to visit this place one day. Thank you Pastor David and blog team for this interesting article. _/\_

  3. Datuk May on Aug 3, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    A visit to Japan is always memorable. The contrast between “Old Traditions” and “Modernity” is very apparent in Japan.

    You will see the younger generation all hip hopping around the newer areas of Tokyo and yet almost like in the same neighbourhood, you find traditional tea houses and even traditional hotels whereby you sleep on tatami mats instead of normal beds. And guess what, the bathtubs in these traditional hotels are really wooden tubs where you have to climb in and bathe in a sitting position.

    Huge heavy industrial factories are also within the same neighbourhood of exquisite traditional handicraft cottage industries.

    Japan is contrasting and exciting.

    Thank you Pastor David for this very well documented tourist guide for any visitors to Honshu, Japan.

  4. Wan Wai Meng on Jul 30, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    One of the things that struck me about this article is that Japan has the most number of Michelin stars compared to other countries around the world. It is an insight into the Japanese soul, that they really push the boundaries of their art and skills to a whole new level. That is the secret of the Japanese success on the world stage.

  5. Stella Cheang on Jul 28, 2017 at 12:28 am

    The castles and buildings in Honshu look grand and elaborated, a good showing of the glorious past of Nihon dynasties. The Great Buddha of Kamakura, Ofuna Kannonji Temple, Zenko-ji and the majestic castles are the attraction of Honshu to me. Therefore, making the colorful Harajuku a stark contrast. Thank you, Pastor David, for this informative article on Honshu, Japan.

  6. Lin Mun on Jul 22, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Japan is such a beautiful and clean place. There are many big and beautiful shrines. I would love to visit Great Buddha of Kamakura and Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto. It is always good to learn about other countries culture and how Buddhism grow in other parts of the world.

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing this informative article.

  7. Samfoonheei on Jul 22, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Amazing …..thank you Pastor David Lai, very informatives and beautiful post.Japan is a beautiful country to visit with so many ancient temples ,cultural ,traditional cities for us to explore .And of course the famous Mount Fiji,the icon of Japan where everyone know about it Japan has a colourful history back centuries ago Its the first ancient of human habitation in the Japanese archipelago Amazing .
    The Daibutsu, or Great Buddha of Kamakura and Mount Fuji are the two places which i would like to visit to discover myself the beauty of it.
    Thanks again for sharing.

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  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Jun 4. 2020 02:18 PM
    Pemayangtse Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim and the most famous monastery in West Sikkim. It’s a spiritual retreat for every tourist the whole year through as it offers a meditative environment quietly set amidst woods. Wow…This monastery is about 300 years old, which also offers the reflection of the rich architecture the ancient manuscripts and scriptures to tourist . I would love to see this legendary monastery with such an interesting history behind it. Recording to the British explorer and the Professor of Tibetan, description of Dorje Shugden found at Pemayangtse Monastery in Sikkim is rare and significant. Interesting read.
    Thank you for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-in-nyingma-pemayangtse-monastery-sikkim.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Jun 4. 2020 02:14 PM
    A bird-friendly garden can be exactly many people would love to have. I am one of them I loved spotting and watching birds especially when the birds chirping sounds can be heard. Sitting under a tree , listening to birds chirping while reading a good book is priceless. The nature of the enduring happiness which the love of birds gives makes my day. Birds are some of the most wonderful manifestations of nature. Feeding them with foods is a wonderful sight to see too. Its Rinpoche ‘s kindness and compassion that had inspired all of us to be kind , caring to all animals nor matter what they are.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Seng Piow for sharing this post.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/fulfillment-in-my-garden.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Jun 4. 2020 02:13 PM
    A profound teachings about the mind and reincarnation. We are fortunate with Rinpoche ‘s teaching online and videos we could learn some knowledge from it. Many people have benefited from all these wonderful teachings especially how reincarnation works and how is the emptiness related to karma as well. With simplicity, comprehensive and logical explanations of our mind for all to understand. After watching those teachings from the videos , it opened my thoughts , to how reincarnation works. Still learning. Thank you Rinpoche for this profound teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-mind-and-how-it-reincarnates.html
  • sarassitham
    Thursday, Jun 4. 2020 12:01 AM
    Today there are more people turning to be a vegetarian. Vegetarians are usually more conscious about the earth and their overall health. People should consider becoming vegetarian because it has health benefits, reduces animal abuse, and helps reduce the risk of some diseases.

    Vegetarian diet has become mostly accepted in many cultures for its limitless benefits. It will be a healthy option if we choose to adopted to be a vegetarian with well balance diet. Of course going green definitely keeps immunity higher.

    Thank you for the knowledgeable sharing article, It is important for people around the world to understand the importance of being vegetarian.
  • S.Prathap
    Wednesday, Jun 3. 2020 11:20 PM
    It is very beautiful. The house you wish for in Colorado is a dream which is waiting to be fulfilled into reality but this one is real. You will find you won’t have any problems going for retreats when you feel you want to have a change of environments or to get away.
    A perfect place for prayers, meditation and retreats.Thank you very much for the good article with nice pictures.


    https://bit.ly/2Y3s8qe
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 3. 2020 01:41 PM
    Nearly everyone has had weird, scary experiences, things that happen in life that seem to defy any sort of rational explanation. Unexplained at times. For me I am not scare as long as I do not disturb them. In fact feel sad for them, will dedicate my prayers to them now since prayers can help them. Ghost and spirit haunting always seem to be up to mischief at times. Watched those videos……interesting when the mysterious and unexplained happens such as the ‘moving pint’ incident at the pub. Interesting sharing of ghost footage taken in different pubs around the world.
    Thank you for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/ghosts-in-the-pub.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 3. 2020 01:40 PM
    Andy Mattia a friend of our Lama…Tsem Rinpoche lost and found after 24 years . Rinpoche had not forgotten about him and recollected some of the finest moments of life with him. Its not too late , at least for a moment Rinpoche knew of his passing and had a picture of him after all these long years. A friend like Andy whom Rinpoche do not want to lose as he was kind and generous ,helping Rinpoche during the most difficult times at Los Angeles, California. Interesting read of how the writers managed to search and search without giving up and found it at last .Interesting video too.
    Thank you for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/andy-mattia-the-long-lost-friend.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 3. 2020 01:37 PM
    Everyone in the world has the right to practice what one ‘s own religion, and beliefs. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Its their choice and no one are above the law saying one should or should not pray to this and that. Our lama Rinpoche had been targeted all this years just because Rinpoche chose to continue practicing Dorje Shugden. Rinpoche had been abused online with all sorts of ugly words or so. Dorje Shugden ‘s practitioners been discriminated is really sad, just because one religious beliefs. NOT only that Rinpoche’s student too targeted using nasty words as well. Dorje Shugden is accused to be a evil spirit, they should checked and read the history and origin before commenting. Recently i did received nasty and disgusting comments too on my postings in FB. Who are they to comment , such a nonsense . Well they will soon have to swallow their own words.
    Those Dorje Shugden practitioners are not allowed to participate in many events , denied service and so forth. Reading all the untrue and nonsense comments , felt sickening and shocking. As Buddhist we should respect each other and make peace , harmony not ‘war’.
    Thank you for this sharing ,hopefully more are aware of what the ban on Dorje Shugden has caused. Enough is enough , may the ban soon be history.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/will-the-dalai-lama-agree-with-this.html
  • S.Prathap
    Tuesday, Jun 2. 2020 05:00 PM
    Truly a great teacher and after years of wandering, the first monastery in the Ajahn Chah tradition was found followed by many monasteries and continues to flourish.He left the world a legacy of a GREAT TEACHER of his teachings,and realizations of the Buddha dharma.
    Despite all this, Ajahn Chah attracted an increasing number of followers who wanted to become his disciples. Thank you very much for the good sharing.

    https://bit.ly/2U2hJtx
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jun 2. 2020 01:18 PM
    For more than a thousand years, artists have played a key role in the cultural life in Asia. At Tibet, Kashmir, and Nepal their arts flourished as its equally important part of their culture, architecture and their way of living to the outer world. The artist using art to express their knowledge, skills . The art painting reveal the way of lifestyle and strong belief they have in Buddhism. From the book ‘Arts from the Rooftop of Asia , Chinese has influence in the Tibetan paintings of thangkas and many art paintings in the region. Religious influence on Nepalese handicrafts. Interesting book revealing the history of arts with rare and precious pictures.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/arts-from-the-rooftop-of-asia-tibet-nepal-and-kashmir.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jun 2. 2020 01:15 PM
    Very touching watching the short video, how affection and love the cat . The dead owner must have treated well and gave a lot of love to this cat . Well the lovely cat hugs and leaning its face against the video screen. Animals cannot tell us their feelings and thoughts, but they can use touch and body language to communicate. Animals do express emotion, such as grief and joy, just like one of us. They can be very loyal and protective. Do not hurt them , give them care and love.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/a-touching-hug
  • S.Prathap
    Monday, Jun 1. 2020 03:45 PM
    Helena Roerich , a multi-talented Russian writer, artist, theosophist, intrepid explorer, healer and philosopher, was a great inspiration to her husband Nicholas throughout their lives.
    I wonder what kind of karma she had or the life she had lived before this life for her to be spiritual since young.Thank you for the inspiring article.

    https://bit.ly/2XIkcKI
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, May 31. 2020 11:45 AM
    H. E.the 12th Dagom Rinpoche was recognized as reincarnate lama, the by His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. He was known for teaching the Buddha Dharma and providing spiritual advice to thousands around the world. He was one of the lamas who openly fought the ban on Dorje Shugden’s practice by the Tibetan leadership. He paid a heavy price for his devotion to his gurus and commitment on the practice of Dorje Shugden. He was well known as a loving prolific teacher, scholar, writer, yogi and a great tantric master. That was before the ban , sadly all his student turned against him as such he moved to Nepal . He worked tirelessly to spread Dharma till he entered parinirvana.
    H E the 13th Dagom Rinpoche is back, with at least 20,000 people in attendance of Tibetans watched as the young reincarnation was enthroned as per tradition. The over respond attendance of the enthronement is an auspicious omen for things to come having a lama taking rebirth inside Tibet. A reincarnation of a great lama is back as proof that those who rely on Dorje Shugden as a Dharma protector do not take rebirth in the three lower realms as claims by the Tibetan leadership. Looking at those rare, precious pictures of the grand enthronement paints a thousand words. Thousands came in droves to welcome the young incarnation.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/enthroning-a-dharma-king-the-13th-dagom-rinpoche.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, May 31. 2020 11:42 AM
    Zaya Pandita Luvsanperenlei a prolific writer was a reincarnation of one of Buddha Shakyamuni’s disciples and also a key disciple of Drepung Monastery’s Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen. He had composed books, wrote numerous texts and prayers. Even translated other works, Buddhist texts from Tibetan language to Oirat language while still serving the religious needs of the Oirat tribes in Dzungaria, Mongolia . Zaya Pandita spread Tibetan Buddhism to the Oirats, the Khalkha and even the Kalmyk people as far as in Russia. Zaya Pandita developed the Clear Script. He also wrote a biography of the First Khalkha Jetsundampa Zanabazar. Interesting read.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Seow Choong Liang for this sharing.\\

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/zaya-pandita-luvsanperenlei-1642-1708.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, May 30. 2020 02:54 PM
    Stunning Lady Vajrayogini looks so beautiful with all these ornament offerings. Fortunate able to see such a beautiful Lady Vajrayogini. Its take a lot of time and hard work for the team . Rejoice to all. It is indeed very meritorious offering beautiful things to the Buddhas.
    A good teachings from Rinpoche explaining of why its important for us to offer beautiful ornaments to the Buddhas.
    Thank you Rinpoche .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dont-miss-this-offering-onto-vajra-yogini.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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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!

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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

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According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn\'t this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
4 months ago
According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn't this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden\'s blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
4 months ago
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden's blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
4 months ago
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat\'s doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
4 months ago
One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat's doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
4 months ago
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
5 months ago
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
5 months ago
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
It\'s very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it\'s very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
5 months ago
It's very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it's very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
5 months ago
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
5 months ago
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
10 months ago
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
10 months ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
10 months ago
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
11 months ago
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
11 months ago
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
11 months ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
12 months ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
12 months ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
12 months ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
12 months ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
12 months ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
12 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
1 years ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
1 years ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
1 years ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
1 years ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
1 years ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
1 years ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
1 years ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
1 years ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

First Sri Lankan Buddhist temple opened in Dubai!!!
1 years ago
This is pretty amazing! First Sri Lankan Buddhist temple opened in Dubai!!!
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
1 years ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
1 years ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
1 years ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
1 years ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
1 years ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
1 years ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
1 years ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
1 years ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
1 years ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
1 years ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
1 years ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
1 years ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
1 years ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
1 years ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
1 years ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
1 years ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
1 years ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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CHAT PICTURES

More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
5 days ago
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
7 days ago
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
3 weeks ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
3 weeks ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
4 weeks ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
3 months ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
3 months ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
3 months ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Over 100 Kecharians & their loved ones spent the Sunday evening immersed in this obstacle pacifying puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Over 100 Kecharians & their loved ones spent the Sunday evening immersed in this obstacle pacifying puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Dakpa and Geshe Janchup Gyaltsen Lama inspecting the offering substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Dakpa and Geshe Janchup Gyaltsen Lama inspecting the offering substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Rinpoche & Geshe Janchup making last minute checks before the commencement of the Jinsek or Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Rinpoche & Geshe Janchup making last minute checks before the commencement of the Jinsek or Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The arrival of the Sangha conducting this sacred puja accompanied by Changtso Beng Kooi and Pastor Niral Patel - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The arrival of the Sangha conducting this sacred puja accompanied by Changtso Beng Kooi and Pastor Niral Patel - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The site of the Peaceful Fire Puja the calls upon the pacifying energies of Shize Shugden. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The site of the Peaceful Fire Puja the calls upon the pacifying energies of Shize Shugden. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: A close-up of the ladle. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: A close-up of the ladle. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Substances such as sticks, melted butter, kusha grass, lentils and barley were traditionally offered during the prayers to create the causes for merits, long life and to pacify obstacles. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Substances such as sticks, melted butter, kusha grass, lentils and barley were traditionally offered during the prayers to create the causes for merits, long life and to pacify obstacles. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Beautifully handcrafted torma or food offering to the Buddha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Beautifully handcrafted torma or food offering to the Buddha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Some of the many offering items & substances used during this highly blessed Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Some of the many offering items & substances used during this highly blessed Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja in Kechara Forest Retreat: A special mandala at the base where the fire puja ritual was conducted. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja in Kechara Forest Retreat: A special mandala at the base where the fire puja ritual was conducted. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Kechara Earth Project (KEP) 8/3/2020
3 months ago
Kechara Earth Project (KEP) 8/3/2020
Dear Kecharians and friends, We are pleased to announce that as part of the preparations for H.E. Tsem Rinpoche's reliquary stupas and incarnation chapel, mantra rolling sessions have begun in Kechara Forest Retreat. We are calling for volunteers to join us in this holy activity. DATE Daily starting 5th March 2020 until further notice TIME (1) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday - 10am to 10pm (2) Thursday & Sunday - 10am to 6pm VENUE Art Studio (Kechara Saraswati Arts) Kechara Forest Retreat If you're interested, kindly contact: Wong Yew Kien 012-3717896 or Karen Chong 012-7710289 We look forward to seeing you soon!
3 months ago
Dear Kecharians and friends, We are pleased to announce that as part of the preparations for H.E. Tsem Rinpoche's reliquary stupas and incarnation chapel, mantra rolling sessions have begun in Kechara Forest Retreat. We are calling for volunteers to join us in this holy activity. DATE Daily starting 5th March 2020 until further notice TIME (1) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday - 10am to 10pm (2) Thursday & Sunday - 10am to 6pm VENUE Art Studio (Kechara Saraswati Arts) Kechara Forest Retreat If you're interested, kindly contact: Wong Yew Kien 012-3717896 or Karen Chong 012-7710289 We look forward to seeing you soon!
Join us for a Peaceful Fire Puja based on Dorje Shugden’s pacifying form. This blessed puja will be conducted at the future site of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s outdoor reliquary stupa to pacify obstacles and for the success of the project. EVENT DETAILS • Date: Sunday, 8 March 2020 • Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm • Venue: Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong Admission is free, all are welcome. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS AND ATTENDEES • Healing from illness and disease • Overcoming obstacles • Purifying past negative deeds and negative karma • Calming the environment, natural disasters and calamities • Helping the deceased to take a good rebirth • Accumulation of merits for spiritual realisations and attainments
3 months ago
Join us for a Peaceful Fire Puja based on Dorje Shugden’s pacifying form. This blessed puja will be conducted at the future site of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s outdoor reliquary stupa to pacify obstacles and for the success of the project. EVENT DETAILS • Date: Sunday, 8 March 2020 • Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm • Venue: Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong Admission is free, all are welcome. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS AND ATTENDEES • Healing from illness and disease • Overcoming obstacles • Purifying past negative deeds and negative karma • Calming the environment, natural disasters and calamities • Helping the deceased to take a good rebirth • Accumulation of merits for spiritual realisations and attainments
Join us this weekend for Spiritual Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat! SATURDAY, 7 MARCH 9.30 am: Polish Gyenze's wish-fulfilling lamps 11.15 am: Introduction to Ayurveda 1.00 pm: Lunch INTERESTED? WhatsApp us at +6017 672 0757 to RSVP your place (and your meal!) See all March activities: bit.ly/2vAGpjF
3 months ago
Join us this weekend for Spiritual Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat! SATURDAY, 7 MARCH 9.30 am: Polish Gyenze's wish-fulfilling lamps 11.15 am: Introduction to Ayurveda 1.00 pm: Lunch INTERESTED? WhatsApp us at +6017 672 0757 to RSVP your place (and your meal!) See all March activities: bit.ly/2vAGpjF
Kechara Earth Project- new site at Damansara
3 months ago
Kechara Earth Project- new site at Damansara
For those who did not manage to join in for our Loma Gyonma mantra recitation, here's the prayer that you can do daily at home as a preventive measure to ward off unwanted infections and illnesses, especially contagious diseases such as Coronavirus & H1N1. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
4 months ago
For those who did not manage to join in for our Loma Gyonma mantra recitation, here's the prayer that you can do daily at home as a preventive measure to ward off unwanted infections and illnesses, especially contagious diseases such as Coronavirus & H1N1. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. To receive the blessings of Loma Gyonma, the Goddess of Healing and Epidemic Diseases, and to pray for all who are at risk from the novel coronavirus to be healed and protected. -photo credit Cynthia Ng - shared by Pastor Antoinette
4 months ago
Special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. To receive the blessings of Loma Gyonma, the Goddess of Healing and Epidemic Diseases, and to pray for all who are at risk from the novel coronavirus to be healed and protected. -photo credit Cynthia Ng - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Back during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Rinpoche advised everyone to quickly accumulate 25,000 recitations of Loma Gyonma’s essence mantra ASAP, combined with daily recitation of both Loma Gyonma and Shize’s mantra. In view of the current situation with the global spread of the novel coronavirus, you are invited to a special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. DATE: Saturday, 15 February 2020 TIME: 3.00pm - 6.30pm VENUE: Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat
4 months ago
Back during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Rinpoche advised everyone to quickly accumulate 25,000 recitations of Loma Gyonma’s essence mantra ASAP, combined with daily recitation of both Loma Gyonma and Shize’s mantra. In view of the current situation with the global spread of the novel coronavirus, you are invited to a special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. DATE: Saturday, 15 February 2020 TIME: 3.00pm - 6.30pm VENUE: Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat
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Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....