Wonderful Japan – Honshu

By | Jul 21, 2017 | Views: 440

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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Pastor David Lai
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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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6 Responses to Wonderful Japan – Honshu

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

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

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  1. 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. _/\_

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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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  • Sofi
    Wednesday, Dec 19. 2018 01:30 AM
    Mongols believed 5th Dalai Lama was someone else!

    Interesting! Who and why would the Mongolians believe that the 5th Dalai Lama should be someone else? An insight into the politics of Tibetan Religious Hierarchy and treachery that exists even in Buddhist communities.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/mongols-believed-5th-dalai-lama-was-someone-else.html
  • Sofi
    Wednesday, Dec 19. 2018 01:25 AM
    Powerhouse Pujas in December 2018. Don’t Miss Out!

    Reminder! Pujas by Kechara with monks for powerful blessings. Make your date available to attend with your family. Good welcome for the New Year.

    Powerhouse Pujas in December 2018. Don’t Miss Out!
  • Sofi
    Wednesday, Dec 19. 2018 01:22 AM
    Vows: The Roots of All Attainments

    Have you ever thought of this? Why do Buddhists take Vows? What are the benefits and what vows to take? Are vows binding and restricting us from freedom? Find out more from this comprehensive post.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/vows-the-roots-of-all-attainments.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 10:10 PM
    There are just so many points to prove that the allegation towards Dorje Shugden is a spirit is wrong. Tibetan Buddhism stress on lineage, origins and transmission teaching from the lineage master. How can the lineage master such as Pabongka Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche be wrong in giving Dorje Shugden practise. If it is so, then HH Dalai Lama would be wrong too since he follow the teaching from his Guru, HH Trijang Rinpoche.

    If Dorje Shugden is indeed a spirit, then all the high lamas would have broken their vow and reborn in the lower realms. But many highly attained lamas reincarnate and continue to spread the dharma for example, HH Trijang Rinpoche, HH Zong Rinpoche and many more.

    Therefore it is important for us to understand the ban and the real reason it is initiated by CTA , of which is driven by personal agenda.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/our-lama-vs-the-dalai-lama-the-underlying-reasons-for-the-ban.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 09:49 PM
    Wonderful news and great way to end the 2018. Everyone will have the opportunities to engage in all the powerful pujas in the holy land and with monks from monastery. An opportunity not to be missed. Thank you Rinpoche for organising these pujas.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/powerhouse-pujas-in-december-2018-dont-miss-out.html
  • Yee Yin
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 05:35 PM
    Do you do meditation? Meditation is a very good way to calm ourselves and our mind down and observe our own thinking. In the UK, some of the schools have introduced meditation session to the school children. In some of the prisons in the US, meditation is also introduced to the prisoners to help them calm their mind. Meditation is not a religious practice but a practice that can be carried out by anyone for their wellbeings. Read here to see how people around the world are meditating for a better wellbeing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/etc/6-incredible-global-mass-meditation.html
    [no sender]
  • Chris
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 05:35 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche and the blog team for this amazing article. Panchen Sonam Drakpa, in my opinion, is the most erudite and powerful lama among all other Dorje Shugden’s incarnations. He is the only who served as the Gaden Tripa as well as the Abbot of all three major monasteries of the Gelug traditions

    There are no other lamas in the history that manage to do that. This is how good he is. So, how can a high lama with such calibre or attainments become an evil spirit when he dies? Lamas that have such attainments or accomplishment will be regarded as enlightened due to the nature of their work. Minds that have such level of attainments will not degenerate, unlike normal minds.

    Hence, it is not logical to say that the reincarnation of this very same mind which is Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen will become an evil spirit that will harm Tibet and also His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is just not possible. Anyone that actually knows a little bit about Tibetan Buddhism will be able to know that it is a lie. That is why it is safe for us to conclude that Dorje Shugden is an enlightened protector because before he arose as a Dharma Protector, his mind had already reached enlightenment.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-most-illustrious-panchen-sonam-drakpa.html
  • Yee Yin
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 05:25 PM
    A reincarnated lama will often do things that are similar to what he was doing in his previous lives. For Tsem Rinpoche, his immediate previous life was Kentrul Rinpoche Thubten Lamsang. Kentrul Rinpoche was sent to a remote area in Tibet by his teacher, Trijang Rinpoche to spread Dharma. The place he went to was considered a ‘barbaric’ place because people there did not know Dharma. Similarly, in this life, Tsem Rinpoche was sent by his teacher to Malaysia to spread Dharma. Even though there are many Buddhists in Malaysia but many of us do not really know Dharma, so this is also considered to be a barbaric place. Read the article below and you will find more similarities between these 2 life times.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/autobiography/kentrul-thubten-lamsang.html
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 05:06 PM
    Is being born in a wealthy and comfortable environment a good fortune? Is it a bad fortune if we are born in an environment where there is a lot of hardships? It is not necessarily true. Many people who are born in a wealthy family end up being a spoilt brat who doesn’t achieve much in their lives. People who have gone through much hardship often train themselves to become a better and successful person. In this article, Mr. Sung-Bong Choi has gone through a lot of hardship in his life but he did not become bitter. He works hard for what he wants and he does his best. Do read about his story here:

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/hardship-pushes-us-to-the-top-korea.html
    [no sender]
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 02:27 PM
    Ann Dustin Wilson is an American musician, best known as the lead singer and songwriter of the hard rock band Heart. She was listed as one of the “Top Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time” by Hit Parader magazine. Amazing she has such a powerful soprano vocal range voice for her age. She sang in tribute to Led Zeppelin where every one in the audience were stunned and moved by her songs. She was one of the most legendary and respected female voices in modern rock music.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing of a super talented singer.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/legendary-heart
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 02:26 PM
    Tsawa Pulthok Rinpoche a student of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. He has gone through much hardship, torture and beatings while in detention during the Chinese invasion for 19 long years. Yet he was one nice and respected Lama who kept his monk vows. He has accepted it with no hard feelings against the soldiers who has tortured him. Spending most of his remaining time in meditation, retreats and pujas for the public.
    In life all of us have the right to make decisions and have choices about how we live our life. Making our own choices about the things we do is very important because it gives us the meaning of life to be happy and those around us.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/tsawa-pulthok-rinpoche
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 02:25 PM
    The practice of Dorje Shugden has been passed down within the Sakya lineage for several generations. Dorje Shugden was first practised by the Sakyas in the early 17th century. There were many other great Sakya throneholders who practised and proliferated Dorje Shugden Tanag within the Sakya tradition. This unique form of Dorje Shugden riding on a black horse can found on numerous older Sakya thangkas. We are fortunate able to see now with this new printing as shown in this post.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/sakya-dorje-shugden-tanag
  • Chris
    Tuesday, Dec 18. 2018 12:22 AM
    It is quite shocking to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama to talk about refugee should go back to their own country and Europe belongs to Europeans. This is because the Tibetans have been refugees for over six decades now and they are still staying in India. If His Holiness meant what he says, then all Tibetans should move back to Tibet and develop Tibet instead of hanging around in India because India belongs to Indians.

    Why is it okay for Tibetans to stay in India for over six decades while other refugees need to return to their own country? Why is His Holiness being two-faced when it comes to this issue? Why is it okay for Tibetans to stay in India and be a freeloader for so long while other refugees from another nation need to return to their own country.

    Tibetans have been freeloading in India for over six decades now and India still continues to host them. India’s kindness should not be taken granted for and Tibetans should at least contribute back to Indian’s society. I don’t think they will be going back to Tibet looking at the current government and how they are sabotaging their chance to return to Tibet by irritating China with their actions here and there.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/dalai-lama-says-too-many-refugees-in-europe.html
  • Sofi
    Monday, Dec 17. 2018 11:58 PM
    How to Purify Your Karma in Kechara Forest Retreat?

    Kechara Forest Retreat is so highly blessed that many miracles had been shared by the visitors. Read more here for how you can purify your karma and gain merits too.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/how-to-purify-your-karma-in-kechara-forest-retreat.html
  • Sofi
    Monday, Dec 17. 2018 11:39 PM
    17 Best U.S. Cities for Hippies

    An interesting read of Hippies in America. I think that hippies are unique to America as I had not read of any in other countries

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/17-best-u-s-cities-for-hippies.html

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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!

Tsem Rinpoche

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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

Photos On The Go

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The forward on the book authored by the erudite Panchen Sonam Drakpa is highly unusual but good. The background on this great master is even more interesting. Read here- https://bit.ly/2EzT5Kx
2 days ago
The forward on the book authored by the erudite Panchen Sonam Drakpa is highly unusual but good. The background on this great master is even more interesting. Read here- https://bit.ly/2EzT5Kx
Kechara Saraswati Arts (KSA) offers a comprehensive statue and tsa tsa painting service. We are able to paint both the face and body, using traditional Tibetan techniques and materials.

KSA can transform a ‘bare’ or ‘raw’ object of art into a living masterpiece through a variety of painting techniques. There are several ‘finishes’ to choose from. Be it an ‘antique’ look, a fully-painted colourful finish or a simple ‘gold dusted look’, your imagination and heart’s wishes are fulfilled through KSA’s mastery and artistry in action.

Our team have learnt the techniques of traditional statue painting from the finest artists of India, Tibet and Nepal. Through months of intense training and practice, our talented artists have mastered the art of painting both peaceful and wrathful features.
5 days ago
Kechara Saraswati Arts (KSA) offers a comprehensive statue and tsa tsa painting service. We are able to paint both the face and body, using traditional Tibetan techniques and materials. KSA can transform a ‘bare’ or ‘raw’ object of art into a living masterpiece through a variety of painting techniques. There are several ‘finishes’ to choose from. Be it an ‘antique’ look, a fully-painted colourful finish or a simple ‘gold dusted look’, your imagination and heart’s wishes are fulfilled through KSA’s mastery and artistry in action. Our team have learnt the techniques of traditional statue painting from the finest artists of India, Tibet and Nepal. Through months of intense training and practice, our talented artists have mastered the art of painting both peaceful and wrathful features.
Unusual depiction of Lord Manjushri. I like it.
6 days ago
Unusual depiction of Lord Manjushri. I like it.
Stunning!!!
6 days ago
Stunning!!!
If we have eye problems, this is a good practice and it\'s simple- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=180488
6 days ago
If we have eye problems, this is a good practice and it's simple- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=180488
Many times in the morning my Oser girl will go sunbathe. She really enjoys it. Tsem Rinpoche
6 days ago
Many times in the morning my Oser girl will go sunbathe. She really enjoys it. Tsem Rinpoche
My Oser girl is very photogenic. Tsem Rinpoche
6 days ago
My Oser girl is very photogenic. Tsem Rinpoche
Vintage stunning thangka of Lord Tsongkapa with many other enlightened beings.
6 days ago
Vintage stunning thangka of Lord Tsongkapa with many other enlightened beings.
Beautiful antique thangka of Sakya Pandita
6 days ago
Beautiful antique thangka of Sakya Pandita
The last Lama-Ruler of Mongolia was 8th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu. He did not have a good ending as Mongolia \'fell\'. Read about him- https://bit.ly/2UD83oa
1 week ago
The last Lama-Ruler of Mongolia was 8th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu. He did not have a good ending as Mongolia 'fell'. Read about him- https://bit.ly/2UD83oa
Last Queen of Mongolia-Very interesting what happened to her and tragic too- https://bit.ly/2GcfhfF
1 week ago
Last Queen of Mongolia-Very interesting what happened to her and tragic too- https://bit.ly/2GcfhfF
The famous and powerful state oracle of Mongolia- Interesting and must read- 
 https://bit.ly/2Py3QhI
1 week ago
The famous and powerful state oracle of Mongolia- Interesting and must read- https://bit.ly/2Py3QhI
1984 Los Angeles-Left to right: Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, monk assistant to Zong Rinpoche and the 18 year old Tsem Rinpoche prior to ordination. Read more-  https://bit.ly/2C5OM7l
1 week ago
1984 Los Angeles-Left to right: Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, monk assistant to Zong Rinpoche and the 18 year old Tsem Rinpoche prior to ordination. Read more- https://bit.ly/2C5OM7l
Nice to see Blog Chat going on
1 week ago
Nice to see Blog Chat going on
In the middle of the metropolitan city of Bangkok near the upmarket shopping district is a chapel dedicated to Tara right in the centre of town. Lovely. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
In the middle of the metropolitan city of Bangkok near the upmarket shopping district is a chapel dedicated to Tara right in the centre of town. Lovely. Tsem Rinpoche
Cheeky and cute little He Wei is telling you to get a Dorje Shugden pamphlet now!!!
1 week ago
Cheeky and cute little He Wei is telling you to get a Dorje Shugden pamphlet now!!!
My little cute Oser girl doggie is always nearby. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
My little cute Oser girl doggie is always nearby. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche\'s father with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The little girl is his brother\'s daughter. Her name is Tara.
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche's father with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The little girl is his brother's daughter. Her name is Tara.
Our Gyenze Chapel in Kechara Forest Retreat is visited by people from all over Malaysia now. Many have had their wishes fulfilled.
1 week ago
Our Gyenze Chapel in Kechara Forest Retreat is visited by people from all over Malaysia now. Many have had their wishes fulfilled.
Very nice class going on in Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia. Learning Dharma is the key to overcoming our mind that is unsettled. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Very nice class going on in Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia. Learning Dharma is the key to overcoming our mind that is unsettled. Tsem Rinpoche
Left to right: 103rd Gaden Tripa Lobsang Tenzin, Gaden Shartse Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche.
1 week ago
Left to right: 103rd Gaden Tripa Lobsang Tenzin, Gaden Shartse Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche.
Tsem Rinpoche holding the young incarnation of Zong Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Monastery.
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche holding the young incarnation of Zong Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Monastery.
In Gaden Monastery.

Left to right: Tenzin Trinley Rinpoche, Kari Kentrul Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche, Gyalkhangtse Rinpoche, Kating Rinpoche and Genpa Rinpoche. Extreme right is the senior Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Monastery, Choyang Dulzin Kuten.
1 week ago
In Gaden Monastery. Left to right: Tenzin Trinley Rinpoche, Kari Kentrul Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche, Gyalkhangtse Rinpoche, Kating Rinpoche and Genpa Rinpoche. Extreme right is the senior Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Monastery, Choyang Dulzin Kuten.
Tsem Rinpoche with the Abbots of Gaden Jangtse Monastery and Gaden Shartse Monastery escorting a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is in the main prayer hall of Gaden Monastery.
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche with the Abbots of Gaden Jangtse Monastery and Gaden Shartse Monastery escorting a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is in the main prayer hall of Gaden Monastery.
Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Monastery
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Monastery
My father Mr. Lobsang Gyatso and myself. He came to Gaden Monastery to visit me. While he was alive he lived in Taiwan. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
My father Mr. Lobsang Gyatso and myself. He came to Gaden Monastery to visit me. While he was alive he lived in Taiwan. Tsem Rinpoche
The most precious Buddha Shakyamuni of Tibet. He is called Jowo Rinpoche and He is in the central Cathedral of Lhasa, Tibet. All the crowns, earrings, necklaces and jewels were constructed and offered by Je Tsongkapa onto this Buddha 600 years ago. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
The most precious Buddha Shakyamuni of Tibet. He is called Jowo Rinpoche and He is in the central Cathedral of Lhasa, Tibet. All the crowns, earrings, necklaces and jewels were constructed and offered by Je Tsongkapa onto this Buddha 600 years ago. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge, I have something to share.
1 week ago
Click on picture to enlarge, I have something to share.
This is how you can practice Tantric Buddhas without initiation or commitment- https://bit.ly/2PstN28
1 week ago
This is how you can practice Tantric Buddhas without initiation or commitment- https://bit.ly/2PstN28
Many great lamas are pictured here together. I have met many of them and they are very learned and holy. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Many great lamas are pictured here together. I have met many of them and they are very learned and holy. Tsem Rinpoche
Do share this picture message with friends.
1 week ago
Do share this picture message with friends.
Faster, Faster!!! Can\'t you go any faster! We are late for our puja! Read on- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179695
1 week ago
Faster, Faster!!! Can't you go any faster! We are late for our puja! Read on- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179695
Has Pastor David achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree?
1 week ago
Has Pastor David achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree?
Very nice. Pastor Seng Piow\'s beautiful Kalarupa statue has finally arrived.
1 week ago
Very nice. Pastor Seng Piow's beautiful Kalarupa statue has finally arrived.
Animals are made to suffer so much. We should never add to their sufferings. We should never beat, abuse, use, kill or eat them. We should be loving with them or just leave them to live their lives.~Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Animals are made to suffer so much. We should never add to their sufferings. We should never beat, abuse, use, kill or eat them. We should be loving with them or just leave them to live their lives.~Tsem Rinpoche
It will break your heart, but you need to see this- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179733



Thank you, Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
It will break your heart, but you need to see this- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179733 Thank you, Tsem Rinpoche
Find out what happened to this baby- https://bit.ly/2RdxM4o
1 week ago
Find out what happened to this baby- https://bit.ly/2RdxM4o
A very sad true story

Please sign to help end animal experimentation:
https://www.change.org/p/tell-neutrogena-to-stop-all-animal-testing
1 week ago
A very sad true story Please sign to help end animal experimentation: https://www.change.org/p/tell-neutrogena-to-stop-all-animal-testing
My grandaunt Nirgidma whom I have never met but learning more about her now. She lived and died in France. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
My grandaunt Nirgidma whom I have never met but learning more about her now. She lived and died in France. Tsem Rinpoche
Did you know we can grow vegetables under water contrary to need the bright sun, earth and on the surface? Very interesting- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179595
1 week ago
Did you know we can grow vegetables under water contrary to need the bright sun, earth and on the surface? Very interesting- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179595
A very rare Buddha hardly seen. He is said to help us overcome laziness. Understand more- https://bit.ly/2EaEtk3
2 weeks ago
A very rare Buddha hardly seen. He is said to help us overcome laziness. Understand more- https://bit.ly/2EaEtk3
 
 
When you are sleeping, do you get disturbed by supernatural entities or re-occurring dreams that are frightening? Do you sometimes feel a presence in the room with you when sleeping? I have something here that might help you as I have been asked many times about these occurrences. - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179116
2 weeks ago
When you are sleeping, do you get disturbed by supernatural entities or re-occurring dreams that are frightening? Do you sometimes feel a presence in the room with you when sleeping? I have something here that might help you as I have been asked many times about these occurrences. - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179116
Foretelling the future in the Tibetan tradition- https://bit.ly/2AKzSl8
2 weeks ago
Foretelling the future in the Tibetan tradition- https://bit.ly/2AKzSl8
Malaysian Brickfields Chief Monk Sri Dhammaratana Fosters Harmony with Tibetan Buddhism- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=178837
2 weeks ago
Malaysian Brickfields Chief Monk Sri Dhammaratana Fosters Harmony with Tibetan Buddhism- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=178837
马来西亚十五碑锡兰佛寺达摩拉达纳长老与藏传佛教界建交- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179077
2 weeks ago
马来西亚十五碑锡兰佛寺达摩拉达纳长老与藏传佛教界建交- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=179077
For high resolution download of this beautiful artwork of Dorje Shugden, please click here: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 weeks ago
For high resolution download of this beautiful artwork of Dorje Shugden, please click here: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
A stupa built dedicated to Dorje Shugden in Tibet.
2 weeks ago
A stupa built dedicated to Dorje Shugden in Tibet.
Repetitive Bad Dreams Disturbing Your Sleep?This might help you- https://bit.ly/2TTp8tw
3 weeks ago
Repetitive Bad Dreams Disturbing Your Sleep?This might help you- https://bit.ly/2TTp8tw
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Nice cups from Kechara!!
    2 days ago
    Nice cups from Kechara!!
    Dorje Shugden people's lives matter!
  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    4 days ago
    Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Chirping birds and other forest animals create a joyful melody at the Vajrayogini stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat (Bentong, Malaysia).
  • His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    6 days ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    Trijang Rinpoche never gave up his devotion to Dorje Shugden no matter how much Tibetan government in exile pressured him to give up. He stayed loyal inspiring so many of us.
  • Very rare video of His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche the 10th, the all knowing and compassionate one. I pay deep respects to this attained being who has taken many rebirths since the time of Lord Buddha to be of benefit to sentient beings tirelessly. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 week ago
    Very rare video of His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche the 10th, the all knowing and compassionate one. I pay deep respects to this attained being who has taken many rebirths since the time of Lord Buddha to be of benefit to sentient beings tirelessly. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This bigfoot researcher gives good reasonings on bigfoot. Interesting short video.
    1 week ago
    This bigfoot researcher gives good reasonings on bigfoot. Interesting short video.
  • His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery was one of the teachers of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Here in this beautiful video is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso showing his centre to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, then proceeding to sit down to receive teachings. For more information- https://bit.ly/2QNac1u
    1 week ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery was one of the teachers of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Here in this beautiful video is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso showing his centre to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, then proceeding to sit down to receive teachings. For more information- https://bit.ly/2QNac1u
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s dog, Oser girl always sits on Rinpoche’s chair. When Rinpoche’s other dog, Dharma tries to get into the chair, he is chased away. Oser is the boss. She is possessive. Cute.
    2 weeks ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s dog, Oser girl always sits on Rinpoche’s chair. When Rinpoche’s other dog, Dharma tries to get into the chair, he is chased away. Oser is the boss. She is possessive. Cute.
  • Lama Yeshe talks about how to practice at the beginning and at the end of each day during teachings given in London during the Lamas’ first European teaching tour in 1975. Lama Yeshe was a brilliant teacher and I wanted to share this with everyone so his teachings can reach more people. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 weeks ago
    Lama Yeshe talks about how to practice at the beginning and at the end of each day during teachings given in London during the Lamas’ first European teaching tour in 1975. Lama Yeshe was a brilliant teacher and I wanted to share this with everyone so his teachings can reach more people. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Our beautiful Dorje Shugden shop in the busiest part of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many tourists visit our store and this area.
    3 weeks ago
    Our beautiful Dorje Shugden shop in the busiest part of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many tourists visit our store and this area.
  • Living off the grid in Australia
    3 weeks ago
    Living off the grid in Australia
    A Jill Redwood is a jack of all trades, Jill built her own house on her property and lives entirely off the grid with no mains power or town water, mobile reception or television. Living on around $80 a week, Jill has over sixty animals to keep her company and an abundant garden that out serves as an organic supermarket right at her doorstep. Her main expenses are animal feed and the rates on her property. Watch this incredible three minute video and be inspired to live differently.
  • Kyabje Dagom Choktrul Rinpoche offering gold on a 350 year-old Dorje Shugden statue in his chapel in Lhasa. This is how Tibetans show homage and pay respect to a holy image. This chapel and statue of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa dedicated to Dorje Shugden was built by the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 weeks ago
    Kyabje Dagom Choktrul Rinpoche offering gold on a 350 year-old Dorje Shugden statue in his chapel in Lhasa. This is how Tibetans show homage and pay respect to a holy image. This chapel and statue of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa dedicated to Dorje Shugden was built by the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche
  • My sweet little Oser girl is so photogenic and adorable. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 weeks ago
    My sweet little Oser girl is so photogenic and adorable. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Heart Sutra sang by a monk for the modern crowd. Very interesting and beautiful. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 weeks ago
    Heart Sutra sang by a monk for the modern crowd. Very interesting and beautiful. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Submerging powerful mantra stones in water at Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
    4 weeks ago
    Submerging powerful mantra stones in water at Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
  • Wylfred explains in Chinese the benefits of mantra stones at Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia   |  黄明川以华语解释在马来西亚克切拉禅修林的玛尼堆(刻有心咒的石头)的利益
    4 weeks ago
    Wylfred explains in Chinese the benefits of mantra stones at Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia | 黄明川以华语解释在马来西亚克切拉禅修林的玛尼堆(刻有心咒的石头)的利益
  • My Oser girl and Dharma boy love the verandah where they can see the greens. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 weeks ago
    My Oser girl and Dharma boy love the verandah where they can see the greens. Tsem Rinpoche
  • If there were more schools like this, then our kids would grow up with more caring awareness and kind emotions towards our environment and the people around them. They would grow up knowing that chasing materialism is not going to bring any happiness. I hope very much more schools like this would materialise. I hope in my future life I can attend a school like this. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
    If there were more schools like this, then our kids would grow up with more caring awareness and kind emotions towards our environment and the people around them. They would grow up knowing that chasing materialism is not going to bring any happiness. I hope very much more schools like this would materialise. I hope in my future life I can attend a school like this. Tsem Rinpoche
  • My Oser girl and Dharma boy in their cosy little bedroom next to me sleeping away. Cute.
    2 months ago
    My Oser girl and Dharma boy in their cosy little bedroom next to me sleeping away. Cute.
  • It is incredible how smart Oser girl is. She can steal the treat away from Dharma boy and so casually. Wow. She is so smart. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    It is incredible how smart Oser girl is. She can steal the treat away from Dharma boy and so casually. Wow. She is so smart. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Kechara Forest Retreat Dogs. Dharma boy is tiny and trying to scare off big boy Johnny. Johnny is so patient and just ignores Dharma. They are both cute and both live in Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    Kechara Forest Retreat Dogs. Dharma boy is tiny and trying to scare off big boy Johnny. Johnny is so patient and just ignores Dharma. They are both cute and both live in Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia. Tsem Rinpoche
  • BREAKING EYEWITNESS FOOTAGE: Workers violently punched, kicked, cussed out, & left sheep to die on dozens of Scottish farms 💔 Sheep bled after rough shearing & were stitched up without painkillers.–From Peta2
    2 months ago
    BREAKING EYEWITNESS FOOTAGE: Workers violently punched, kicked, cussed out, & left sheep to die on dozens of Scottish farms 💔 Sheep bled after rough shearing & were stitched up without painkillers.–From Peta2
  • Super cute seal and so gentle. Must watch this video and realize we are all one. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    Super cute seal and so gentle. Must watch this video and realize we are all one. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Legendary Heart sings “Stairway to Heaven” in tribute to Led Zeppelin. Incredible tribute and rendition. Everyone is blown away. TR
    2 months ago
    Legendary Heart sings “Stairway to Heaven” in tribute to Led Zeppelin. Incredible tribute and rendition. Everyone is blown away. TR
  • In a low-income neighbourhood, this man is growing his own organic produce, and giving extras away for free to neighbours who can’t afford fresh ingredients from the store. Must watch!
    2 months ago
    In a low-income neighbourhood, this man is growing his own organic produce, and giving extras away for free to neighbours who can’t afford fresh ingredients from the store. Must watch!
  • Neat little video
    2 months ago
    Neat little video
  • It is nice to see sangha release animals into the wild. Gen Kunchok Palden and Chodrak contributed to releasing of frogs back into the wild. This is wonderful. Compassion is the mainstay of all spirituality. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    It is nice to see sangha release animals into the wild. Gen Kunchok Palden and Chodrak contributed to releasing of frogs back into the wild. This is wonderful. Compassion is the mainstay of all spirituality. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is a special ‘carpet’ for dogs that you hide their snacks and they have to go digging for it. It is challenging and fun where they use their nose, paws and all to dig and find the snacks in between. This dog play carpet is ordered online. You can see little Zopa baby who is a Kechara resident doggie looking for the snacks in this cute video. She is kept busy and entertained! Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    This is a special ‘carpet’ for dogs that you hide their snacks and they have to go digging for it. It is challenging and fun where they use their nose, paws and all to dig and find the snacks in between. This dog play carpet is ordered online. You can see little Zopa baby who is a Kechara resident doggie looking for the snacks in this cute video. She is kept busy and entertained! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong, Malaysia’s dog Pema is super adorable and cute. Everyone loves her. She is wearing a Manjushri blessing pendant.
    3 months ago
    Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong, Malaysia’s dog Pema is super adorable and cute. Everyone loves her. She is wearing a Manjushri blessing pendant.
  • Spontaneous trance in Tibet by powerful healing Protector Dorje Shugden of a monk who usually takes trance.
    3 months ago
    Spontaneous trance in Tibet by powerful healing Protector Dorje Shugden of a monk who usually takes trance.
  • 喀切玛波向詹杜固仁波切献供养
    3 months ago
    喀切玛波向詹杜固仁波切献供养
    喀切玛波护法降神,向詹杜固仁波切献供曼扎及身语意之供养,同时也加持马来西亚克切拉禅修林道场。喀切玛波护法乃古时候的紫玛护法,他是藏地首座佛教寺院桑耶寺的护法神
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    1 years ago
    This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    This video is thought-provoking and very interesting. Watch! Thanks so much to our friends at LIVEKINDLY.
  • Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
    1 years ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
  • BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
    1 years ago
    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
    1 years ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
  • Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
    1 years ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    1 years ago
    This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    she received “one last visit from an old friend” 💔💔
  • Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
    1 years ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    1 years ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    1 years ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    1 years ago
    Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    1 years ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    1 years ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    1 years ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.

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CHAT PICTURES

Thanks, Astro team for volunteering with us. They delivered monthly provisions to urban poor families. Join us if you’re interested by dropping us a WhatsApp message at 010-3333260. ❤️ #Kechara #foodbank #urbanpoor - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
15 hours ago
Thanks, Astro team for volunteering with us. They delivered monthly provisions to urban poor families. Join us if you’re interested by dropping us a WhatsApp message at 010-3333260. ❤️ #Kechara #foodbank #urbanpoor - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
This is the first time Mr Raymond Chew attend our Chinese DS puja in Ipoh. Yee Mun (KISG)
2 days ago
This is the first time Mr Raymond Chew attend our Chinese DS puja in Ipoh. Yee Mun (KISG)
Nice to see people committed to attend our monthly Chinese Dorje Shugden puja. Yee Mun (KISG)
2 days ago
Nice to see people committed to attend our monthly Chinese Dorje Shugden puja. Yee Mun (KISG)
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Registration counter getting ready to register for parents attending the event. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Registration counter getting ready to register for parents attending the event. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Nice arrangement from Louise. Glad that we collaborate with gift team for KSDS event. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Nice arrangement from Louise. Glad that we collaborate with gift team for KSDS event. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Long time no see and it’s great time to catch up. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Long time no see and it’s great time to catch up. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Great technical team who gave us nice music and slide show. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Great technical team who gave us nice music and slide show. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Teacher Asyley having a light moment with children before performance. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Teacher Asyley having a light moment with children before performance. Lin Mun KSDS
So glad to see family members involve in dharma work together. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
So glad to see family members involve in dharma work together. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Let’s go team, together we will do a great show :) , Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Throwback KSDS Graduation 2018 - Let’s go team, together we will do a great show :) , Lin Mun KSDS
Mr. Cheah Fook Wan offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa & all Buddhas before the prayer session started. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Mr. Cheah Fook Wan offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa & all Buddhas before the prayer session started. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Glian Sim has offered a cup of tea to Rinpoche’s shrine on behalf of KISG. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Glian Sim has offered a cup of tea to Rinpoche’s shrine on behalf of KISG. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG has completed a session of prayer recitations to Mother Tara in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
KISG has completed a session of prayer recitations to Mother Tara in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Wow! JB Kechara office is receiving 5 desktop computers from our sponsors. Now the urban poor children can learn to use computers. Now the passionate volunteers can burn the mid night oil in the office planning, coordinating and review events. Thanks to our sponsors, Style Vision, Meadow IT, KS IT, Grex Multimedia, New Century, Ascentouch, Softcom, E cube, Via Global, Edmond, Nelly, Jasmine, Bill Kee, DML Beauty, Goh and Team for providing us with such an awesome convenience and cool facilities. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 days ago
Wow! JB Kechara office is receiving 5 desktop computers from our sponsors. Now the urban poor children can learn to use computers. Now the passionate volunteers can burn the mid night oil in the office planning, coordinating and review events. Thanks to our sponsors, Style Vision, Meadow IT, KS IT, Grex Multimedia, New Century, Ascentouch, Softcom, E cube, Via Global, Edmond, Nelly, Jasmine, Bill Kee, DML Beauty, Goh and Team for providing us with such an awesome convenience and cool facilities. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 days ago
1984 Los Angeles- Left to right: Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, monk assistant to Zong Rinpoche and the 18 year old Tsem Rinpoche prior to ordination.
1 week ago
1984 Los Angeles- Left to right: Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, monk assistant to Zong Rinpoche and the 18 year old Tsem Rinpoche prior to ordination.
Very nice class going on in Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia. Learning Dharma is the key to overcoming our mind that is unsettled. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Very nice class going on in Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia. Learning Dharma is the key to overcoming our mind that is unsettled. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche holding the young incarnation of Zong Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Monastery.
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche holding the young incarnation of Zong Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Monastery.
Left to right: 103rd Gaden Tripa Lobsang Tenzin, Gaden Shartse Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche.
1 week ago
Left to right: 103rd Gaden Tripa Lobsang Tenzin, Gaden Shartse Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche.
In Gaden Monastery. Left to right: Tenzin Trinley Rinpoche, Kari Kentrul Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche, Gyalkhangtse Rinpoche, Kating Rinpoche and Genpa Rinpoche. Extreme right is the senior Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Monastery, Choyang Dulzin Kuten.
1 week ago
In Gaden Monastery. Left to right: Tenzin Trinley Rinpoche, Kari Kentrul Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche, Gyalkhangtse Rinpoche, Kating Rinpoche and Genpa Rinpoche. Extreme right is the senior Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Monastery, Choyang Dulzin Kuten.
Tsem Rinpoche with the Abbots of Gaden Jangtse Monastery and Gaden Shartse Monastery escorting a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is in the main prayer hall of Gaden Monastery.
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche with the Abbots of Gaden Jangtse Monastery and Gaden Shartse Monastery escorting a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is in the main prayer hall of Gaden Monastery.
Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Monastery.
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Monastery.
Tsem Rinpoche's father Mr. Lobsang Gyatso and Rinpoche. He came to Gaden Monastery to visit Rinpoche. While he was alive he lived in Taiwan.
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche's father Mr. Lobsang Gyatso and Rinpoche. He came to Gaden Monastery to visit Rinpoche. While he was alive he lived in Taiwan.
Tsem Rinpoche's father with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The little girl is Rinpoche's brother's daughter. Her name is Tara.
1 week ago
Tsem Rinpoche's father with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The little girl is Rinpoche's brother's daughter. Her name is Tara.
1 week ago
The Promise
  These books will change your life
  Tsem Rinpoche's Long Life Prayer by H.H. Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche
  Support Blog Team
Lamps For Life
  Robe Offerings
  Vajrayogini Stupa Fund
  White Tara Mantra Bank Project
  Rinpoche's Medical Fund
  Dana Offerings
  Soup Kitchen Project
 
Zong Rinpoche

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Dorje Shugden
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