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  • Shinto – A General Summary of the Religion




    Shinto is an adopted word from the Chinese meaning "Way of the Gods". It is the indigenous spirituality of the Japanese. Shinto's spirituality was initially recorded in written form of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. The Kojiki is the oldest chronicle and a collection of numerous myths of Japan. The myths concern the origin of the four islands of Japan. These myths are responsible for the inspiration that sparked the religion of Shinto. The written...
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  • Unlimited Travel on JR Railways “Don’t leave home without one”

    If there is one thing I would highly recommend for your travels around Japan, it’s the Japan Rail Pass. While the initial cost may seem high, you will more than save big dollars if your Japan plan is to have a good look around the place. If you intend to travel more than 5-6 hours on a Shinkansen bullet train it will cost you more (probably a lot more!) without a Japan Rail Pass. Let me start with a few facts about the pass then I will get into the practical benefits. Firstly, you have to buy an exchange order for the Rail Pass before you enter Japan. Don’t think you will be able to pick one up if you need it after you get there, it’s too late! You purchase the Japan Rail Pass exchange order in your home country and then after arriving in...
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  • Japanese Year in Sync with the Seasons

    Japanese Year in Sync with the Seasons




    One of the first things I noticed, as a schoolteacher in Japan, is that so many countries start their school year in a different month. I come from Australia, where the school year is the same as the calendar year, and so the students begin their classes in January. Being in the southern hemisphere, Australia's summer holidays start around the 15th of December and finish on January 26th, which is Australia Day. (Summer itself doesn't end until March). The United States also begins their school year after summer vacation, which in North America means that the students start their new school year in September. Japan is different again, with the new school year beginning in April. It doesn't follow summer vacation,...
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  • Capsule Hotels in Japan

    Capsule Hotels in Japan





    What is a capsule hotel?
    A capsule hotel can be described as a hotel system that provides densely populated accommodation which contains rooms of a relatively standardized size based on modular plastic or fibreglass sleeping quarters. Other than your own room, all other facilities are shared.

    History Although capsule hotels are quintessentially Japanese, the first capsule hotel was only built in 1979 by a chap in Osaka by the name of Kisho Kurokawa. The rates were a bit lower back then at about 1,600 yen. Capsule hotels are a uniquely Japanese phenomenon not only because of space restrictions but because Japan is still a relatively safe country and such a facility would be unthinkable in many other...
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  • The Difference between a Hotel and a Ryokan (Traditional Japanese Inn)

    The Difference between a Hotel and a Ryokan (Traditional Japanese Inn)






    A ryokan contrasts a typical hotel in many ways. These traditional Japanese inns were first constructed around the 15th century, alongside the country’s highways. The hotel saw its beginnings in the early 20th century. A ryokan is usually located in the midst of scenic landscapes, contrary to the setting of any typical hotel which favors accessibility to airports, train stations, tourist attractions and other places of importance. A typical hotel differs from a ryokan in its architecture, interiors, facilities and food. An entrance hall, furnished with couches, first greet...
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  • Explore a True Japanese Phenomenon when Cherry Blossoms Bloom in Kyoto

    Explore a True Japanese Phenomenon when Cherry Blossoms Bloom in Kyoto






    Come the hallowed season of spring all off Japan waits with bated breath as one of the country's most stunning natural transformations takes place in plain sight. Beloved and revered for its breathtaking beauty cherry blossoms are no ordinary flowering plants in Japan. In fact since time immemorial, these trees and their delicate pink shaded blossoms have captivated the hearts and minds of the Japanese people who consider the flower to be a national icon of sorts. Even admired by samurai fighters who saw their own fleeting existence reflected...
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