The 16th Konosu Fireworks Display !!

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One of Japanese traditional arts, fireworks displays are held all over the Japan
at this time of the year. We enjoyed amazing sizes and numbers of fireworks at the Konosu Fireworks Display on the dark sky October 8, 2017. One of the biggest fireworks was “4 Shaku Dama (or Ball)”, about 1 feet or 120cm in Diameter. It was about 800 meters across when it explodes.

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Unique Mumyoi-Yaki pottery at Sado !!

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Mumyoi-Yaki is unique pottery formed with Mumyoi red clay, which is produced at only Sado gold mine and fired at high temperature. A the Ed period, it was said that the clay was used as blood-forming medicine because of its iron-rich content. Only potters living in the Sado Iskand are eligible to use the red clay.

The Aikawa area has many sightseeing spots such as remains of the gold mine and gold refinery, a magistrate’s office and so on. Long time ago, the Sado Island was isolated and accommodated many criminals for gold mining.

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Little Edo / Kawagoe with landmark buildings and temples !!

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Koedo (Little Edo) –Kawagoe (Saitama) is a sight-seeing town with the culture and aroma of Edo era, situated at only less than one hour train ride from Tokyo. There are many historical merchant houses and buildings which are still actively in use.
The main zone for tourists to visit will be “Old storehouse zone” where many old storehouse merchant houses are lined up and selling various goods in them, and “Toki no Kane” (or Tower of Time Bell) which still tells time in Kawagoe. Another area is “Kashiya Yokocho” (or Penny Candy Alley) with 22 traditional style Japanese candy stores with nostalgic taste of days gone by.

Photos : Old Storehouse Marchant House Zone, Tower of Time Bell, Penny Cndy Alley

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Unique pottery, Tsuboya-Yaki in Okinawa !!

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Tsuboya-Yaki is unique pottery of Okinawa prefecture, the southernmost prefecture. The traditional technique is not different from that of the mainland of Japan but the decorations and colors are uniquely outstanding.
Tsuboya-Yaki is originated in the 17th century, by the former Ryukyu Kingdom under influence of the Satsuma clan. At the time, the Kingdom integrated the local production centers into Tsuboya (current Naha city) to increase roofing tile. This is the reason why Tsuboya-Yaki is being produced at Yachimun (pottery in Okinawa dialect) Dori (street) near a center of Naha for 300years and more.
Due to emitted smoke in firing pottery, Jiro Kinjo, a living national treasure moved to Yomitan-son, the center area of the mainland of Okinawa in 1972. Then, many potters followed and developed a new pottery village, Yachimun No Sato (village). Here are Yomitan Tsuboya-Yaki and Yomitanzan-Yaki now.
Photos : Yachimun Dori guide map, typical Tsuboya-Yaki shop, A climbing kiln at Yachimun No Sato

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Amazing display of Hina Dolls !

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March 3rd is Hina Matsuri, or the Doll’s Festival for girls. We display a set of dolls and pray for the sound growth of girls in the family.
Our Konosu-City is famous for a major Hina-dolls’ production center from the Edo Shogunate period. About 1,830 dolls are displayed on the 31 Hina-dan ( or stairs) in a pyramid, which is 7m (about 23 ft) high at this time of the year. It is amazing display!!

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Miyagi Kura (storehouse) Ceramic Festival !

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Many ceramic work festivals are held all over Japan all the year around. They are very joyful especially for pottery and porcelain lovers.
Here is “Miyagi Kura (storehouse) Ceramic Festival” held at Murata-town, Miyagi Prefecture October 14th to 16th . Potters from the northern mainland (Tohoku and Kanto) display and sell their proud works at the unused merchant storehouses, which were built in the end of Edo era. We can enjoy striking works and chats with potters under the nostalgic atmosphere.

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Summer Festival in Kumagaya !!

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In the summer, there are historical festivals at many places in Japan. Kumagaya close to my place is not exception. It is called as “Uchiwa (fan) mature (festival)” because many stores and companys here give their originally fans away to audience attending the festival. Historically, it dates back to the 18th century to celebrate Kumagaya Yasaka Shrine which is a subordinate shrine of the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto.
We enjoy the 12 floats decorated with ornaments and flowers and dolls and loaded with people (Children in many cases) beating drums and other instruments.

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Karatsu-Yaki full of variety !!

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One of the famed pottery is Karatsu-Yaki in Kyushu area. On the end of 16th century, many Korean potters came over to Japan, which was epoch-making event for development of Japanese pottery and porcelain. Karatsu-Yaki was not exception in this case. There are many unique decoration styles, Chosen (Korean) Karatsu, E (Picture) Karatsu, Madara (Spotted) Karatsu, Dakatsu(Snake skin) Karatsu, Mishima(Inlayed decoration) and so on.
Tea ceremony was another factor to develop Karatsu-Yaki technology- and production-wise. In the world of tea, it was said that preferable tea bowl would be “Ichi Raku (No.1 was Kyo-Yaki), Ni Hagi (No.2 was Hagi-Yaki) and San Karatsu (No.3 was Karatsu-Yaki).
We can enjoy other traditional culture like the Karatsu Kunchi Festival and sight-seeing spots like the Karatsu castle in additon to the pottery in Karatsu city.

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