Kaguya Reisebüro
What is the difference between temples and shrines?

There are many temples and shrines in Japan. Do you know what the differences are?
Simply put, they differ in religion.
Temples are Buddhist institutions, while shrines are Shinto institutions.
There are about 77,000 Buddhist religious organizations and 86,000 Shinto religious organizations.
These figures do not include small, locally managed organizations.

In Japan, Shinto is older than Buddhism.
It is what is called animism, in which the sun, moon, fire, water, and other common objects are the objects of worship.
Prayers for a good harvest are especially important.
At shrines, there are priests wearing white kimonos and blue, purple, or white hakama (old Japanese pants), and miko (female priests’ assistants) wearing white kimonos and red hakama.
Incidentally, the highest-ranking priest is the emperor.

The torii gate at the entrance of a shrine is another sign that it is a shrine.
The method of worship is to bow twice, clap twice, and bow once before the God.
Most shrines use this method of worship, although the method differs in Izumo and other areas.

It is said that Buddhism was introduced to Japan around the 6th century.
At that time, Japan already had Shintoism, so Buddhism was a new religion that came from abroad.
Buddhism is based on the belief in Buddha.
In temples, there are priests wearing black kimonos. Depending on the sect, they may be skinheads.
People often think of Buddhism as “Zen,” but Zen Buddhism is one type of Buddhism.
Buddhism is something much larger.

The manner of worship is to bow in front of the Buddha statue, then join hands, and bow once again.
No Kashiwa-de (clapping hands) are used.

By the way, some Japanese often say that the Japanese are not religious, but there is an interesting statistic.
According to the Japanese government’s 2020 statistics, there are 87,924,087 Shintoists and 83,971,139 Buddhist believers.
The total for both is 171,895,226.
And the population of Japan is about 125,710,000.
The total number of Shinto and Buddhist believers is greater than the population.

Professor Tsunetada Mayumi, from whom I learned Shinto, said, “Shinto is not a religion, but a tradition”.
Shinto has been in Japan for so long that it has become so ingrained in the way of thinking and living that the Japanese themselves are unaware of it.
And it is very natural for Japanese people to believe in Buddhism and Shinto at the same time.

A temple with a beautiful green garden

Kyoto has 17 World Heritage cultural properties, one of which is Saihoji.
The nickname for this temple is “KOKEDERA(Moss Temple)”.
This is because there is a very beautiful moss-covered Japanese garden here.
Visitors come to this temple on the outskirts of Kyoto for its beautiful garden.

KOKEDERA is a Zen temple, and before seeing the garden, visitors first do sutra copying and pray to the Buddha.
And the gardens are beautifully maintained, and people enjoy strolling through them.

Only people with reservations are allowed to visit this beautiful temple.
Making a reservation is difficult, and during the tourist season, it becomes even more difficult.
In the past, this temple could be visited at any time, just like any other temple.
However, too many tourists caused damage to the beautiful garden.
Furthermore, noise is not appropriate for this quiet temple.
And now only those who have made reservations can come here.
However, there are a few days a year when child visits are possible.
In this way, KOKEDERA maintains its elegance.

My small travel agency can help you with reservations and explain the etiquette.
Reservations are difficult to make, but can be challenging.

Concierge for your travel

Demolition is scheduled for next year. The Nakagin Capsule Tower, a famous building

The unique work of the famous architect Kisho Kurokawa, the Nakagin Capsule Tower, still stands in Ginza 8-chome, Tokyo, and can be seen from the Tokyo Metropolitan Highway.
It was decided to demolish the building next year because it is very old and no major repairs have been made since it was built in 1972.
The Nakagin Capsule Tower will only be visible for a short time.

In a capsule of about 10 square meters, the most modern bathrooms, shelves and other necessary items were built into the capsule like a puzzle. There are 140 of them attached to the tower.
The round window is a feature of the building, which was inspired by a tea room.
Each capsule was supposed to be removable, so that when it became obsolete, a new capsule could be inserted or the entire capsule could be transported.
In fact, however, no capsules were removed.

Each capsule has its own owner and there is a management company. There were differing opinions because of the high cost required for repairs.
They had sought sponsors to maintain the site, but were unable to do so due to the Corona pandemic and had to make the difficult decision to sell the property.
The exact schedule for demolition next year has not yet been determined.
So there is still a chance to visit the Nakagin Capsule Tower.

My small travel agency can arrange an English speaking tour of the Nakagin Capsule Tower.
We will be able to offer the tour in October 2021, but we are not sure if we can do it in November, so we need confirmation.
If anyone is interested in joining the tour, please contact us as soon as possible.

Nakagin Capsule Tower(Regular Tour every Wednesday)

Nakagin Capsule Tower(Regular Tour every Wednesday)

Nakagin Capsule Tower(Private tour)

Nakagin Capsule Tower(Private tour)

Tokiwaso Manga Museum in Toshima-ku, Tokyo

In Toshima-ku, Tokyo, there used to be a famous residence where famous manga artists such as Osamu Tezuka, Fujiko Fujio Ⓐ, Fujiko F. Fujio, Shotaro Ishinomori and Fujio Akatsuka lived. Unfortunately, the Tokiwa-so was demolished in December 1982 due to age. It was a two-story wooden building constructed in 1952, shortly after World War II.
Today, a small monument stands on the site.

After that, local citizens who loved the Tokiwa-so began to talk about the possibility of restoring it. Many donations were collected, and on July 7, 2020, the restored site was opened as the Tokiwaso Manga Museum of Toshima City. It was originally scheduled to open in March of that year, but the opening was postponed due to the Corona pandemic.

The reconstruction of the Tokiwaso is extremely elaborate, and every detail is reproduced exactly as it was then. It is truly “otaku.” (Here: faithful to the original) The community restrooms and kitchens give the illusion that the young manga masters will come in at any moment. Famous works were created in each room, which served as a place for manga artists to work and live. Even the scenery you see from the windows has been designed to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

By the way, special exhibitions are often held on the second floor of the Tokiwaso Manga Museum. You should not miss these, as there are some valuable manuscripts on display. Until September 5, 2021, the exhibition “Tokiwaso and Tezuka Osamu: The Time of Kimba the White Lion” will be on display. You can see Tezuka Osamu’s precious handwritten manuscripts up close.

Osamu Tezuka, as you know, is a manga master known for many works such as “Astro Boy”, “Kimba the White Lion”, “Black Jack” and “Phoenix”. I believe that almost all manga artists and animators working in Japan respect Tezuka Osamu.

Currently, the Tokiwaso Manga Museum has a system in which reservations have priority.
Reservations can be made through the website.

Toshima City Tokiwaso Manga Museum
https://tokiwasomm.jp/

●In my online Japanese course, you can talk in Japanese about a topic of your choice. Depending on your needs, I can also supplement this with English or German.
https://kaguyaclass.com/

Why are tattoos frowned upon in Japan?

There are many hot springs in Japan and they are very popular with tourists.
But most of the time people with tattoos are not allowed to bathe in the big baths.
Why is that?

Japan has a long history of tattooing.
In ancient times, tattoos were known to be used as amulets in Japan.
And in the Edo period (1603-1868), there were people who had tattoos as fashion statements.
Even in old ukiyo-e paintings, there are pictures of men with tattoos, which are very beautiful.
But tattoos were also used to denote sinners. For this reason, some people rejected tattoos.

Japan used to be a closed country, but it opened up during the Meiji period.
The Japanese government of the Meiji period considered tattoos an international embarrassment and banned them.
But there were also people who got prohibited tattoos.
For example, the Yakuza (the Japanese mafia).
Tattoos thus became the symbol of the Yakuza.

For the operators of a hot spring it is impossible to reject yakuza directly.
For this reason, they decided to ban tattoos.
This is to protect the guests.

Meanwhile, some hot spring facilities welcome tattooed guests.
There are also facilities where small tattoos are not a problem as long as you cover them with a sticker.
If you have a tattoo, you should check beforehand.

My small travel agency can arrange accommodations that meet your needs.
https://kaguyareisebuero.com/contact/

 

●In my online Japanese course, you can talk in Japanese about a topic of your choice. Depending on your needs, I can also supplement this with English or German.
https://kaguyaclass.com/

 

Nagoshi no Harae

Every year at the end of June, a “CHINOWA” is placed at the shrine.
It is a ring made of plants and is large enough for one person to pass through.
The plant is CHIGAYA. It is a tough grass in the Japanese rice family.

The worshippers pass through the CHINOWA once to the left, once to the right, and once again to the left, before proceeding to the shrine.
In this way, the impurities of the past six months are purified.
On June 30th, there is a ritual called “Nagoshi no Oharae” (summer purification ceremony), where the priests offer prayers.
They pray for everyone’s health.