Sumiyoshi Taisha has the First to Fourth Sanctuaries. Each sanctuary is built in the Sumiyoshi-Zukuri style with roofs without any curved surfaces. The Sumiyoshi-Zukuri style is the oldest shrine architecture style. They are all designated as national treasures. In the precincts , a red arched bridge ,called Taiko-bashi, spans over the pond. This bridge appears in a novel entitled "Sori-Bashi" (arched bridge), by Kawabata Yasunari, the first Japanese author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Kasuga Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan. It was established in 768 for the Fujiwara family that dominated the Japanese politics of Heian period. The architectural style of honden (sanctuary) is called Kasuga-zukuri. The shape of its roof is unique. It is famous for its many bronze lanterns that lead up the shrine. The shrine is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara".
The Tower of the Sun is an artwork created by Japanese artist Okamoto Taro as the symbol of Expo '70 . It is located in the Expo Commemoration Park in Suita City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. It is 70 metres in height. The length of tower's arms is 25 metres. The tower has three faces, two faces on the front, and a face in the back.
Baika Festival will be held at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine on February 25. Kitano Tenman-gu enshrined Sugawara no Michizane who was a bureaucrat, scholar and poet in the Heian period. The grounds are filled with Sugawara no Michizane's favorite tree, the red and white ume. Plum blossoms will be offered to the deity on that day. Open-air tea ceremonies are hosted by geiko and maiko from the nearby Kamishichiken.
Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Sumiyoshi Ward ,Osaka City, Japan. It is the main shrine of all the Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan. Sumiyoshi Taisha enshrines Sokotsutsu no Onomikoto, Nakatsutsu no Onomikoto, and Uwatsutsu no Onomikoto . They are called Sumiyoshi Sanjin. The shrine is also dedicated to Okinagatarashihime no Mikoto (Empress Jingu). Empress Jingu was a legendary Japanese empress,the wife of Emperor Chuai. Sumiyoshi Taisha was founded by Tamomi no Sukune in 211 when Empress Jingu visited the coast of the Gokishichido (Present day Shichidou in Sakai Ward ,Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture) after her return from her invasion of Korea(Sankan Seibatsu).
Godairikison ninno’e festival is held on February 23rd every year at Daigo-ji. Monks pray for peace, health and happiness of the country and people. “Mochi age riki hono” has been famous ｒｅcｅｎｔｌｙ. In this event, male participants try to lift a 150 kg piece of rice cake and female visitors try 90 kg. They dedicate power to the deities and pray for their health and happiness.
Maruoka Castle is a Japanese castle, located in Sakai City , Fukui Prefecture. Its donjon is famous to be the oldest in Japan. The castle was built in 1576 by Shibata Katsutoyo, nephew of famous Shibata Katsuie who was a Japanese military commander during the Sengoku Period. The donjon was collapsed by the Fukui Earthquake of 1948, but it was rebuilt using 80% of the original materials in 1955.
The Gakunan Railway Line, operated by Gakunan Railway, is a railway line, between Yoshiwara and Gakunan-Enoo, within Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture. Its line length is 9.2 km. The line has 10 stations (including both terminals). The Gakunan Railway began operations on August 5, 1936 as the Nissan Heavy Industrial Railroad.
Kamigamo Shrine is a Shinto shrine on the banks of the Kamo River in Motoyama-cho, Kamigamo, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City. The shrine is formally called Kamo-wakeikazuchi Shrine. The origin of this shrine is uncertain. However it is one of the oldest shrines in Japan. It had been a Shinto shrine dedicated to a patron god of Kamo clan of the ancient times.
Daian-ji is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect in Nara, Japan. It is a very ancient Buddhist temple ,being traditionally one of the seven great temples of Nara. It was said that the temple was founded by Shotokutaishi as Kumagori shoja in Heguri ,present day Yamato -Koriyama City of Nara Prefecture. Emperor Kinmei moved the temple to the side of the Kudara River in 639 ,renaming Kudara-daiji. The temple was relocated to Asuka in 673 by Emperor Tenmu and was renamed Takechidaiji. .In 677,its name was again changed as Daikandaiji by Emperor Tenmu . The temple was moved to its current location in 716, following the move of the capital from Fujiwara-kyo to Heijo-kyo.
Horin-j i, also called Mii-dera , is a Buddhist temple located in Mii, Ikaruga Town, Nara Prefecture. The temple is located about a kilometer north of Horyu-ji. It was said that the temple was built in 622 by Yamashiro no Oe no O, the eldest son of Prince Shotoku. The temple holds six Buddhist statues designated as important cultural assets.
Ninna-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Ukyo-ku,Kyoto-shi. The temple is the head temple of the Omuro school of the Shingon sect. It was founded in the year 888 by the retired Emperor Uda who was the 59th emperor of Japan. After retiring from his throne, Emperor Uda became the first Monzeki of this temple. Monzeki were Japanese Buddhist priests of aristocratic or imperial lineage. It is part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto", a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Daigo-ji is a Buddhist temple of Shingon sect located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Japan. The temple has a five-story pagoda which is a national treasure of Japan. This pagoda , the oldest building in Kyoto,was built in 951. Daigo-ji was founded in the year 874 by Rigen-daishi. Toyotomi Hideyoshi held a famous Hanami or cherry-blossom-viewing party in 1598 at the Sambo-in sub-temple. It is called "Daigo no Hanami"
Fuefuki Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Fuefuki, Katsuragi City, Nara Prefecture. The official name of the shrine is Katsuragi ni imasu Hono-Ikazuchi Shrine . The shrine is dedicated to two deities, Ho no Ikazuchi no Okami and Ame no Kaguyama no Mikoto. It was said the Fuefuki Shrine was established during the Jinnmu Emperor period. The shrine is the Shikinaisha recorded in the Engishiki、 a Japanese book of laws and regulations which was made in 927 . Within the shrine grounds there are a cannon to commemorate the Russo-Japanese War and an old burial mound beside the main shrine building. Ho no Ikazuchi no Okami is the god of fire and Ame no Kaguyama no Mikoto is the god of music. Many musicians and fire fighters visit the shrine due to these two gods.
February 14 is Saint Valentine's Day. In Japan, there is the custom that only women give chocolates to men on that day, unlike western countries. Many women feel obliged to give chocolates to male co-workers, especially to their bosses although they don’t want to. This bad custom is called giri- choko . Giri means "obligation" and choko means "chocolate."
Yakushi-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Nishinokyo-cho, Nara City. The temple is the headquarters of the Hosso school. The main image of this temple is Yakushi Nyorai , also known as the Medicine Buddha. The Yakushi-ji was originally built in Fujiwara-kyo, the Imperial capital of Japan between 694 and 710. It was located in Yamato Province, The temple was moved to Nara eight years after the move of the capital to Heijo-kyo, present day Nara.
Shin-Yakushiji is a Buddhist temple of the Kegon sect located in Takabatake-cho, Nara City. The temple was founded in 747 by Empress Komyo, the wife of emperor Shomu . However, almost structures date back to the Kamakura period. Only the main hall survived from the 8th century. Shin-Yakushiji owns the statue of Yakushi Nyorai and eleven statues of the Twelve Heavenly Generals which were designated as National Treasures.
National Foundation Day is a national holiday in Japan It is celebrated annually on February 11. On that day, Emperor Jimmu established the first capital in Japan at Kashiwara ,the present day Nara Prefecture.
Kofuku-ji is a Buddhist temple the Hosso school located in the city of Nara, in Nara prefecture. It is the headquarters of the Hosso school in Japan. The temple was established in 669 by Kagami-no-Okimi. She was the wife of Fujiwara no Kamatari. The five storied pagoda of this temple was originally constructed by the Empress Komyo in 725. The current building ,designated as a National treasure,is a restoration completed in 1426.
Enryaku-ji is a Buddhist temple of Tendai sect located on Mt. Hiei, north of Kyoto. The temple was founded during the early Heian period by Saicho, also known as Dengyo Daishi. Enryaku-ji is the headquarters of the Tendai sect. The temple is famous for the home of the "marathon monks,"who are known for their physical endurance in running around in the mountains. It is known as Sennichikaiho.
Memorial ceremony for used sewing needles(Hari-kuyo) will be held at Horinji Temple on February 8. Hari-kuyo lays to rest broken needles and pins broken the previous year in blocks of tofu or daikon radishes. The temple deity is worshipped as the god of hand-sewing. Horinji Temple is located in Kokuzoyama-cho, Arashiyama, Nishikyo-ku,Kyoto-shi.
Ryoan-ji is a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect located in Kyoto, Japan. The temple is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for its karesansui or rock garden. In the Karesansui style gardens, white sands expresses water while giant rocks represent islands. It is thought to have been built in the late 1400s. The garden consists of raked gravel and fifteen moss-covered rocks. They are placed so that only fourteen of the rocks are visible at one time , when looking at the garden from any angle .
A life-size model of Tetsujin 28-go stands in Wakamatsu Koen Park in Nagata Ward,Kobe City. The 18-meter, 50-ton statue was erected as a symbol of the city's recovery from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
Gansenji is a Buddhism temple of the Shingon –ritsu sect located Kamo -cho,Kizugawa-shi,Kyoto. It is well known for the hydrangea flowers (ajisai) on its grounds,and so it is referred to as “Ajisaidera,” or Hydrangea Temple. The temple was said to be founded by the monk Gyoki in the year 729. The temple deity is Amida . The main hall of the temple houses a large statue of Amida which was built in 946.
Mibu Kyogen performance, procession, goma prayer-stick burning fire and prayer will be held at Mibudera Temple of Kyoto between February 2nd and 4th. Visitors write names of them and their family members on a clay plate and wish for good fortune. The Mibu Kyogen, also known as Nenbutsu Kyogen, is a kind of Japanese traditional drama based on the pantomime to inspire of the teachings of the Buddhism.
Setsubun is the day before the beginning of each season. Setsubun celebrated on February 3. A special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year is held on that day. This special ritual is called mamemaki (bean scattering). Mamemaki is usually performed by the toshi-otoko of the household. Roasted soybeans are thrown either out the door or at a member of the family wearing an Oni mask. The toshi-otoko chants "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!"
Setsubun Festival will be held at Yoshida-jinja in Kyoto between February 2nd and 4th. Setsubun Festival is the annual bean-scattering ceremony celebrating the coming of spring. The Karosai Festival is held on February 3rd. Visitors burn the old amulets, papers and other personal possessions that they bring from home in the precincts of the shrine. It is believed to be able to ward off misfortune.
Hatsu Uma Festival will be held on February 1st at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine in Kyoto. The festival is based on the legend that shrine deity, Inari , descended from heaven to the top of Mt. Inari behind the shrine on this day( the day of Hatsuuma) in 711. Hatsuuma is the first "day of the horse" in February as determined by the Japanese zodiacal traditions. Inari is the kami of agriculture, industry and worldly success. Visitors pray for good business.