Inui-Dori Street within the Imperial Palace is specially open to the public now.
Many visitors including foreign tourists enjoy the autumn foliage peaks in the unusual atmosphere. The walking route take us to the sophisticated “Kokyo Higashi Gyoen (the East Garden of the Imperial Palace) which is normally open to the public,
Asakusa is a well-known sightseeing spot in Tokyo, which is reminiscent of the old Japan .Kaminarimon or “Thunder Gate” is very famous as a landmark of its huge red lantern. On either side, there are two large statues, Fujin and Raijin or “Wind and Thunder deities.
There is Nakamise Shppping Street between Kaminarimon and Sensoji Temple where we can buy lots of interesting souvenirs.
The Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world is 20 minute walk from the Kaminarimon.
Kurashiki (Okayma) was the Edo Shogunate’s (Government ‘s) demesne in the Edo period. There are many merchant Kuras (or warehouses) with white walls reserved around the Kurashiki River. The area is designated as Kurashiki Bikan Chiku (Kurashiki beautiful sight area) by the government.
Sakatsu-Yaki was started,by Suekichi Okamoto, one of the richest merchants, using local good clay in the early Meiji Era here.
Onta-Yaki is produced at Hita City in Oita prefecture. The Onta Village is one of the most unique villages in many ways, consisting ten (10) potter’s families only. Surprisingly, no modern machinery is used in the pottery making process.
Once we walk into the village, we notice nostalgically rhythmical sounds from a device called “Karausu” or (Chinese mortar) powered by water of the river here and there. This is used to pound and to make fine clay for pottery.
The Onta-Yaki was started in the mid Edo Shogunate, by an assistance of Koishiwara-Yaki’s potters and handed down within the limited potters.
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
Onta-Yaki is a quite unique pottery production village in terms of tradition and location. Only 10 potters’ family have handed the know-how of an art down from generation to generation within the family for more than 300 years. In addition, the village have kept un-modernized, meaning that they are still using water-powered mills (Karausu, or mortar) for clay making and pine for firing in climbing kilns. We feel the scenery between mountains at home.
The pottery made here are in folk craft styles, decorated with “Tobikanna”, or jumping marks, “Uchihakeme”, or tapping brush marks and the like, and applied with traditional straw ash-, iron- and celadon glazes..
Ouchi-juku was an old posting station located in South Aizu area, along the Aizu West Kaido (Highway) which was connecting Aizu and Nikko. Ouchi-juku is famous for the numerous traditional thatched buildings, where the village lead their daily life. Many buildings have been preserved as they were before the Meiji restoration. The area has been designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Tourists can take a trip back in time to Edo period.
A producing center of Aizuhongo-Yaki is situated nearby.
A Happy New Year !!
Japanese people visit shrine or temple nearby for “Hatsumode”, their first wishes of the new year on the first, second or third day of the year. So, the well-known shrines and temples are very crowed on the days. They generally buy a written oracle and new charms wishing “Good Luck” there. The written oracle will be tied onto a tree on the shrine grounds after reading and the old charms are returned to the shrine so they can be burned
There are many street vendors selling various foods and mascots along the front approach to the shrine and temple.
Sirakawa-Go (literally “White River District”) is one of Japan World Heritage Sites. The area is very popular among foreign tourists as well as Japanese ones because of its tender atmosphere with the old-fashioned houses. The houses are known as Gassho-zukuri, “prayer-hands construction” style which used to be typical style at the snowy area in Japan.
In general, the region including Sirakawa-Go is called Hida Takayama where many craftworks and historical heritage are well-known. Koito-Yaki and Shibukusa-Yaki are typical examples for pottery making.