One of the largest temples in eastern Japan, Soji-ji is a major temple belonging to the Soto-sect of Zen Buddhism. It was established in 1321 in Noto Province by Jokin Keizan (1268-1325), but after a disastrous fire, it was relocated to Tsurumi in 1911. Both the statue of Miroku Bosatsu, which dates to 1276, and the bell (cast in 1269) have been named important cultural properties. Along with Eihei-ji (in Fukui prefecture) in 1615, Soji-ji was named a major Zen center by the Tokugawa government. The public is welcome to participate in meditation sessions at this very active Zen temple.
Minato Mirai 21 Yokohama Pavilion was originally constructed for the 1989 Yokohama Exotic Showcase or YES Expo, which unveiled the details for the Minato Mirai 21 project. An estimated 13 million people visited the pavilion during 1989 YES Expo. The central feature was Gulliver Land, a model of what Minato Mirai 21 and the Yokohama Waterfront will look like in the 21st century. Gulliver Land contains scale models of over 3,500 buildings with 20,000 people walking through this futuristic vision. The lighting in Gulliver Land changes to simulate day and night. And, of course, the models illuminate in the darkness to create an image of a magnificent "City of Light". Admission is absolutely free.
Kirin Yokohama Beer Village is a complex that includes a Kirin Beer Factory, a beer hall and a restaurant. Japanese people love museums, and it seems that almost anything can serve as an excuse to create a museum. That includes food and drink. Take for example the Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum, basically a museum honoring ramen noodles, and the McDonalds Hamburger Museum, honoring McDonalds hamburgers. Well, Kirin Yokohama Beer Village can be added to the list. Kirin Yokohama Beer Village features the Kirin beer museum, including a tour of the Kirin Beer factory at work. There is also some free sampling of the brew. And knowing that touring the Kirin Beer factory is likely to create make folks thirsty, Kirin has thoughtfully provided a beer hall and restaurant where you explore the Kirin experience in depth. The restaurant is open from 10a to 7.30p daily, closed on Mondays. Kirin Yokohama Beer Village is a ten-minute walk from Namamugi Station on the JR Keihin Kyuko Line. Admission to Kirin Yokohama Beer Village is free.
The Osanbashi Pier stands at the entrance to the Port of Yokohama from the greater Tokyo Bay. Osanbashi means "Big Wharf," and big it was. What we know today as the Osanbashi Pier was completed in 1894 and was known in its day as the Yokohama Harbor Pier. At the time it was biggest wharf in entire Japan. The Osanbashi Pier became the center of the booming port, and all the large ships were docked here. Consequently, it became the entrance to Yokohama for many visiting foreigners. Today the Pier still stands at the entrance to the Port of Yokohama and greets ships of all kinds from around the world.
Amid the urban din of southern Yokohama lies a serene, picturesque sanctum. Based on an ingenious design conceptualized by Tomito Hara, this traditional, Japanese-style garden is riddled with trickling rivers and winding trails. Tomitaro Hara began by acquiring several buildings including tea houses, a farmer's house, a pagoda and various villas, and then placed them on his property amidst ponds, wooded slopes and landscaped gardens; these were later opened to the public in 1906. The picturesque, undulating landscape of the park is dotted with a troupe of iconic buildings which are as striking to look at as they are historically significant. Sankei-en also features lovely tea houses which further augment its allure. Although there are sixteen separate buildings, the Rinshukaku villa, with paintings by Kano-school masters, is particularly noteworthy. In addition, the famed pagoda, Tenzui-ji Juto, Gekka-den, Tenju-in, Choshu-kaku, Shunso-ro, Tokei-ji, the Yanohara House and the main hall of Tomyo-ji have been designated significant cultural properties, too.
Dedicated to the Minamoto family's guardian, the god of war, this shrine is believed to date to 1063. Noted for its striking vermilion embellished and lacquered torii arch, the shrine is very different from the Zen temples usually associated with Kamakura. Legend tells us that at one time only the shogun could walk on the Drum Bridge (Taikobashi), the original of which dates to 1182. Other attractions are the very old ginkgo tree near the dancing platform and the lotus-lilied ponds, which rest on former rice fields. It is recommended that visitors acquaint themselves with certain manners particular to Shinto before entering. Another famous sight in Kamakura, the Daibutsu (giant statue of Buddha), is easily accessible from this shrine.
This museum provides an overview of local folklore, history and archeology relating to an area famous for a shell mound identified by Edward Sylvester Morse. Ota Ward faces Tokyo Bay and at one time it was the major source of laver, a common Japanese food. The cultivation of this product is well documented in the museum displays. Clay figures (haniwa), implements made of bone, and ancient tools which were excavated nearby, are on view.
In a city where high fashion meets urban culture, the Dior Omotesando Buildling embodies the ideal of chic ingenuity. The architects, Sejima and Nishizawa, formed the exterior of the building with glass and acrylic, letting the shifting play of sunlight bring out the building's architectural beauty as the day winds down. At night, the building glows softly on the skyline. Interested in fashion or not, locals and tourists alike pause to appreciate the sight.
Azabu-juban is an upscale neighborhood of Tokyo in the Minato-ku. Which is why here one can find mega sized residential buildings, hotels, trendy restaurants, schools and universities as well as eminent embassies of various countries. This municipality is also home to various retail stores, services shops, gourmet shops as well as household stores. With a handful of attractions to explore, Azabu-juban has its own share of history and has gone on to become an integral part of Japan's rich tourism sector. The entire neighborhood comes to life when events like the February Setsubun and the Flower Festival kick-off.
Founded in 2008 and located in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo metropolis, Totem Pole Photo Gallery is a refined center for display of contemporary photography. The spacious facility of the center serves as a platform for talented amateur artists and provides various elements like aluminum and wooded frames, adequate lights and LCD projectors to make the exhibition successful. A perfect place to view skillful photography display by professional artists from time to time. Call or visit their website for more information.
The term art has come to mean a lot of things other than the cliched painting and music. Song, music, dance, visual art, graphic designing and sculpture are a few of the other art forms which have become popular over the years. ASK? Art Space Kimura promotes various forms of art and culture in the city of Tokyo. To know more about the events and the place, do visit their website.
Some believe that medieval times were barbaric, with all kinds of torture and marauding taking place. Well at Castle Tintagel you can experience the more chivalrous aspects of those times of yore. Learn the knightly virtues of prowess, courage, honesty, loyalty, and courtesy. Take lessons in the broad sword and shield, the dagger, spear and pole axe. Attend Knight School, the Academy of Chivalry, and learn renaissance dance and calligraphy or join an authentic outdoor battle reenactment. Castle Tintagel boasts the most authentic medieval combat education in Asia. Attend theme parties or get married in the style of the period. As a regular member or a one-time visitor, Castle Tintagel is an experience for the whole family like no other. -Stephen Lebovits