Konnichiwa! Today, the 7th of December, is Mandy's and my nineteenth wedding anniversary. Most of those nineteen years have been spent in Japan (in addition to some years spent here before we got married). So this month, I'd like to post some random personal photos from our time here, that show some of the adventures we have been on during our almost-two-decades in 'the land of the rising sun'. I hope you find them interesting, and if they raise any questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments section. Any feedback is also most welcome. Enjoy the rest of your year, and best wishes to you. Warmest regards, Chris
This first picture is of us in front of Osaka castle, circa 1993, where the movie "Shogun" was filmed.
In the coastal town of Shimizu, in Shizuoka, we checked out the famous tall ship, the Santa Maria...
We tried our hand at skiing for the first time in our lives in the mountains in Gifu prefecture.
When World Cup Soccer came to Japan, we were lucky to get tickets to see a game in Shizuoka prefecture.
One of our great experiences in Shizuoka was playing in a live band at a local jazz cafe in Fukuroi...
Of course a must-see in Shizuoka (or alternatively in Yamanashi) is Mt. Fuji, aka Fuji-san. We climbed to the top of Fuji-san (3,776m) in the summer at the turn of the millennium. It's something we'll never forget. In fact you can read about it in a previous post on my Japan blog here:
The Tokaido-sen was the once widely-used road between Tokyo and Kyoto in feudal times. One of the places we checked out on that route was this old, historic, traditional school in Fukuroi, Shizuoka.
When we lived in Toyota city in Aichi prefecture, we just had to visit the famous automobile museum there.
We also attended Toyota city's famous traditional festival, held at the local shrine each year.
And we had to support our country's soccer team when they played at Toyota football stadium of course.
While traveling down south, near Hiroshima, we toured the beautiful island, Miyajima, with its 'floating shrine' and massive torii gate (which you can walk out to at low tide). Miyajima is a 'must see' in Japan.
Near Hiroshima is a place called Iwakuni, home to the famous 'Kintai-kyo' bridge...
Going a bit further south, we visited the fabulous islands of Okinawa. The photo below shows a popular beach on the island of Miyako. We swam in amongst the spectacular coral, visible just below the surface.
While on Miyako, we were able to meet one of the local, traditional 'san-shin' players after a performance.
Later we checked out the picturesque Kabira Bay on Ishigaki Island. Many boats come here to take tourists out to the coral reef for sightseeing (using glass bottom boats) or snorkeling and scuba diving.
Back on the mainland, we decided to have some fun in Kyoto, at Eiga-mura, a traditional Japanese amusement park whose main theme is Samurai-movies and Ninja-movies, among others. Yep, that's us!
We met some other 'samurai' while we were there. (A shame we weren't still in costume! LOL).
Ise Shrine, in Ise, Mie, is one of Japan's oldest and most sacred Shinto shrines.
When we were in Shiga prefecture, our good Japanese friends took us to Hikone Castle.
Closer to home, we visited the impressive Todai-ji, in Nara, which houses a massive bronze Buddha statue.
I'll leave you with some 'self-explanatory' photos of us in Mie Prefecture, most taken in our mountain village of Mori, just above Matsusaka city. And as this is my last post for 2015 (on my Japan Blog), let me wish you all a very Happy New Year, and here's hoping that 2016 is a wonderful year. Cheers, Chris
Japan’s Traditional Sport
Sumo is Japan’s traditional national sport and is one of the most popular spectator sports in the country. Sumo has its roots in ancient Shinto religious rites to ensure good harvests. It is believed to be at least 1500 years old. For me it is the traditional aspects and rituals of this ancient sport that really appeal. I will briefly explain about some of the more common traditions and rituals in this post.
See More by John Asano
John Asano is a web developer and freelance writer living in Gifu, Japan. Originally from Melbourne Australia, he writes for Japan Australia, a blog dedicated to Japan travel, culture, traditions and modern life in Japan as well as Japan Travel Advice, a website dedicated to travel in Japan.