Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kawaii Character News - June, 2016


  1. 7 Facts about Tamagotchi M!X
  2. Tokyo Toy Show 2016 Bandai Booth Photo Gallery
  3. A Kawaii Report from Kiddy Land Harajuku

I think that this Kawaii News has the biggest number of characters as ever. Hope it's exciting for you!!

1: 7 Facts about Tamagotchi M!X
Tamagotchi M!X Section at Tokyo Toy Show 2016
Tamagotchi M!X, the newest tamagotchi, appeared at Tokyo Toy Show 2016! The following are the 7 facts revealed before its release on 16 July.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Real Mt. Fuji INSIDE Tokyo?! - 5 Reasons to Go to Ono Terusaki Shrine

Mt. Fuji is definitely the icon of Japan, but I know that you don't have much time when traveling.
I hear voices as following.
"My travel schedule is so tight that I can't afford to visit Mt. Fuji..." "Mt. Fuji is not a very convenient place, is it? I can't put priority on it."
Don't worry. I have a fantastic solution about this.
Did you know that there is REAL Mt. Fuji in Tokyo?? I admit it's half joking, but still half serious!

Ono Terusaki Shrine is located near Ueno in Tokyo City. It is not counted as a must-see, but it's a cozy shrine.
The point is that there is "Fuji-zuka," a miniature Mt. Fuji!
Mini Mt. Fuji in Ono Terusaki Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
Is it fun to see this??

I can suggest 5 reasons to visit this shrine!

1: Genuine Lava
This Mini Mt. Fuji is made from GENUINE lava carried from real Mt. Fuji! Understand? It is not just a heap of soil to attract people, but a part of real one. And that's why it is registered as an important historical site from the city.
A Sign for important relics

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Article App Giveaway! - Read Tokyo Direct Diary OFFLINE

Giveaway from Tokyo Direct Guide & Blog TDD!

Everyone can download the Article App of A List of 8 + 7 Shopping Centers in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan for free for 3 days!
Never miss this chance!!

Giveaway Discriptions

Free download of A List of 8 + 7 Shopping Centers in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan 

Start: 00:01 on June 11, 2016
End: 23:59 on June 13, 2016
(US West Coast Time)

After clicking on the link, please proceed to download the GPSmyCity app to your iOS device for free. When the app is launched on your device, you will automatically enter the article page. Click the Upgrade button to upgrade FOR FREE during this giveaway.
Once upgraded, the article will be linked to an offline map and GPS navigator so you can use it to visit the points of interest described in the article.

Download A List of 8 + 7 Shopping Centers in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan NOW!

What's an Article App?

It enables you to read the blog article on Tokyo Direct Diary offline. You can also see travel route to the sights that are mentioned in the article.

So, for example, you can...

  • read TDD even on a plane.
  • plan and get prepared for your trip to the sight that you are visiting soon.
  • see the travel guide with the offline map without any worries about WiFi.
  • have the practical travel guide written by TDD in world's most complicated city. 

I started Tokyo Direct Guide to organize the mess of travel information on Tokyo and to show fun & practical guides to you. Now it is so easy to take it to your trip by downloading Article Apps.
Why not try one of the Article Apps?

GIVEAWAY - Go to A List of 8 + 7 Shopping Centers in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Friday, June 3, 2016

Perfect Guide to Kenchoji Temple in Kamakura - Japan's First & Leading Zen Temple

TDD has been featuring Kamakura in May. After Hokokuji Temple and Jomyoji Temple, the biggest zen temple in Kamakura is on this article.
It is Kenchoji Temple, Japan's first Zen temple.
Kenchoji Temple, the leading zen temple in Kamakura, Japan
Kenchoji Temple was built in 1253 by Tokiyori Hojo from powerful Hojo clan at Kamakura samurai government. He is a very well-known politician who is on Japanese history textbook at school.
A honorable priest introduced pure and strict zen culture from China, and today Kenchoji Temple is the biggest of "5 Big Zen Temples in Kamakura" and the leading temple of Rinzai Sect.
The Entrance - "Rinzai Sect, the First of 5 Big Temples, Kenchoji"
Let's start from a casual story. Souvenir Zen T-shirts are available at the entrance.
Zen T-shirts for souvenir (2000 yen - )
Warmed up?
Then, you are ready for solemn stories.

When I visited this temple, my impression was written in 3 letters - Old. Of course, it is a good meaning. There are many temples in Kamakura, and in Tokyo as well, but there is few where we can fell deep traditions lasting from the medieval times.
Jizo Statue at the Main Hall of Kenchoji Temple
Here is a casual story that is NOT on normal travel guidebooks.
In May, the very old wooden temple roof is full of bird families. Parents are going in and out to feed their young. You'll hear hungry kids singing "Pipipipipipipipipi!" all the time.
Young and round birds living in the temple roof
It was so heartwarming that the temple is living with lives in nature.

As a leading zen temple, Kenchoji Temple holds regular zen sessions for common visitors in Hojo Hall. (*)
Hojo Hall, where zen sessions are held.
Not only 17:00 - 18:00 on Friday and Saturday, they sometimes offer zen sessions in English. If interested, check out the schedule here.
Hojo Garden is Japan's first zen garden. If I choose just one must-see in Kenchoji Temple, this is the most iconic.
Hojo Garden, Japan's First Zen Garden
It is a typical zen garden with a pond placed at the center. Simple and quiet. Did you know that famous zen gardens in Japan are originated from this?
(* This "Hojo" means a house of zen temple. It has nothing to do with Hojo samurai clan. The pronunciation is same by accident.)
Hojo Garden from another angle
Zen gardens are beautiful especially in May when fresh green sprout.

I'd like to share one more thing to see at Kenchoji Temple.
It is Hansobo Hall - We can meet the great landscapes of Kamakura there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

5 Things to Do & See at Jomyoji Temple, Kamakura, Japan

Across from Hokokuji Temple with Bamboo Garden, there is another zen temple that was established in 1188.
It is Jomyoji Temple, one of "5 Big Zen Temples in Kamakura" that used to be supported by Ashikaga samurai clan.
Jomyoji Temple, Kamakura, Japan
My point is that it is quite a "local" temple although it used to be counted as an important zen temple in the Middle Age.
This article is about things to do and see there. Plus, I hope to tell you the "local atmospheres" in the temple.

1: Temple Main Hall
When you get off the bus at Jomyoji Temple, you are in a local street and find the gate soon.
Gate of Jomyoji Temple
It is a quiet place - Jomyoji Temple is not counted as a top place to visit in Kamakura, so it is not crowded, either. It's time to feel the nature, listen to birds, and refresh.
Jomyoji Temple with fresh green
By the way, did you know that some maple leaves turn red in spring, not autumn? The contrast was so beautiful.
Red Maple Leaves in May
The main hall is perfectly symmetrical and roofed with copper.
The Main Hall of Jomyoji Temple
Today it is not a central place of anything where too many people gather, but the plain beauty makes me feel the history from Middle Age.

2: Matcha, Stone Garden & REAL Japanese House
Jomyoji Temple has a matcha house as well as Hokokuji Temple. Even if you say, "Again?", I say that it is a must to enter this Kisen-an.
In my opinion, there are 3 things to do and see here.
Way to Kisen-an Matcha House
First, the matcha house offers FRESH Japanese refreshment - Do you remember that I recommend fresh sweets at the matcha house in Tokyo?
Matcha & Fresh Sweet Set at Jomyoji Temple
I have one more thing to emphasize about this. We can have the Japanese sweet made by Misuzu, a famous Japanese confectioner in the town.
When you have a matcha break here, let me say that you should order the fresh sweet set!
If you are not used to sit on the floor, there are many chairs and tables in the house.

Second, we can see a beautiful Japanese garden with having a cup of matcha.
The Stone Garden of Jomyoji Temple
It is a classic Japanese garden of karesansui style, which means gardens with rocks, stones and sand without any ponds. The landscape of mountains and rivers are shown by the rocks in the garden. (Ryoanji Temple is Kyoto is famous for this.)
The Garden is made of Stones and Sand.
But I think the most interesting thing of this house is the house itself.

It is a classic architect of shoin-zukuri that originated from the Middle Ages. It used to be a tea house where so many priests gathered in the 16th century, but Jomyoji Temple had to go through hardships such as disasters after that time. The house had been private for long, but it finally got renovated into a matcha house that is open for temple visitors.

The point is that this house is as it used to be as a traditional Japanese house where people really lived.
Seeing is believing!

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