Thursday, May 17, 2007

Terraced Paddy Field (Tanada)

There is a small flatland in Japan, so our ancestors put their efforts into the expansion of the field. It is “tanada,” terraced paddy field, that they made it possible. Very, very hard work! There were a lot of terraced paddy fields throughout Japan, but it has become difficult to keep rice growing there, because of the decrease of agricultural population and the aging problem.

On the other hand, the beautiful scenery of tanada gives us healing and reminds us of “Japanese spirit.” In recent years some people started to help the rice planting work on terrace voluntarily. I think tanada is one of cultural assets in Japan.

Yesterday I visited terraced paddy fields at Hayama in Miura Peninsula. They are small paddy fields. Five farmers are engaged in those fields.
This is a panoramic view.

This is a picture seen from the bottom.

Three farmers were working in grass cutting before rice planting.

These three farmers were classmates.

The picture below is tanada at Asuka in Nara which I visited in April.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Daiba (or Odaiba)

Daiba meant a battery built along the coast at the end of Edo era in order to defend the nation from foreign attacks. This Shinagawa Odaiba is now an amusement park built on a reclamation site. On holidays a lot of people visit there for recreation. After five, young couples enjoy beautiful night views.

Over there you can see the Rainbow Bridge.

Odaiba seems to be a dog-walking spot.

Is this really Japan? I thought I have come to New York.

This place is still under construction. What do we still need more?

Over there you can see Tokyo Tower.

A crow is telling you the end of a day.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Cherry Blossoms at Kuonji Temple, Yamanashi pref.

Long time!

Kuonji Temple is famous for weeping cherry blossoms.

After going up 287 steep stone stairs, you will be greeted by beautiful weeping cherry blossoms planted in the precincts.

Near Kuonji Temple, there are several temple lodgings (shukubo in Japanese). Each of them also has beautiful cherry trees. You can take a rest there with a hospitality of a cup of hot cherry water.

Kuonji Temple was founded by Nichiren in Kamakura era. His mausoleum was 20-minute walk from the temple. It entrance was decorated by cherry trees.

The nearest JR station is Minobu. The steet in fornt of ths station is called Shonin Street, derived from Nichiren Shonin. At both sides of the street, there were stores, each drawing its own family crest on the wall.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Shonan Beach Walking

“Shonan” is a name of area from Hayama to Ninomiya facing the Sea of Sagami. Shonan is a brand name. Its characteristics are:

  • Ocean view
  • Warm climate
  • Marine sports spots
  • Nice view of Mt. Fuji
  • Some celebrities live and used to live there.

Last month I walked along the shonan beaches. It took five days to finish this Shonan Beach Walking Project. I thought winter is the best season for walking. Differently from summer, they were not crowded and rather quiet; deeply you can feel the ocean wind.

The following was my schedule:
1st day: Chigasaki to Enoshima
2nd day: Enoshima to Kamakura
3rd day: Yuigahama to Hayama
4th day: Chigasaki to Oiso
5th day: Oiso to Mt. Azuma, Ninomiya

(Enoshima Viewing from Inamuragasaki)

(Mt. Fuji Floating in the Sky)

(Rest at Beach, Chigasaki)

(Praying in the Sunset)

For more photos, access to my Web site:

The shonan map is shown below.

1 Isshiki Beach
2 Morito Beach
3 Zushi Beach
4 Zaimokuza Beach
5 Yuigahama Beach
6 Shichirigahama
7 Katase Beach
8 Tsujido Beach
9 Chigasaki Beach
10 Oiso Beach
11 River Nameri
12 River Sagami
13 Mt. Azuma

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Spring started today according to the old calendar; so yesterday was Setsubun which means the end of winter. At major temples around the country, bean-scattering ceremony took place. Men and women of year scatter beans to drive away evil spirits, saying, “Fortune in and demons out.”

I visited Kenchoji Temple in Kamakura. Before bean-scattering ceremony, dance performance was dedicated there. The lion dance and “Kappore” dance were performed by more that sixty men and women. They act to preserve this Edo dance performance. It was interesting to perform Edo dance in Kamakura.

For more information about Setsubun, please access to my Web site:

(Kappore Dance)

(Kappore Dance)

(Bean Scattering Ceremony)

(Bean Scattering Ceremony)

(Lion Dance)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy 2007!

A Happy New Year!

Jan. 1, 2007

(at Biei, Hokkaido)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Thank you, Hikawamaru and Marine Tower

Hikawamaru is an ocean liner that made its maiden voyage in 1930. Marine Tower is an observation tower having a beacon function. These two, being located at or near Yamashita Park, have been the symbol of Port Yokohama since 1961, 100th anniversary of port opening. But they were closed on December 25. In recent years the amusement area was moved to Minato Mirai 21 area and the number of visitors to these two places decreased.

It was Hikawamaru that I visited first when I moved to Yokohama. It'll be sad to say goodbye.

It was decided that Marine Tower was bought by Yokohama City and would be reopened a couple of years later. What become of Hikawamaru?