Nokogiriyama – stepping it up on Sawtooth Mountain

Old stone quarries are fascinating places to explore.  They are full of man-made shapes and angles that nature is working to reclaim.  At Nokogiriyama (lit. Sawtooth Mountain) in Chiba--a perfect distance a day trip from Tokyo--, part of the mountain was quarried away over several decades, leaving lots of fun nooks and crannies to explore, … Continue reading Nokogiriyama – stepping it up on Sawtooth Mountain

Hashigo-nori (ladder-top acrobatics) at Ikegami Honmonji

Old Edo was a firetrap. One and two-story structures, made mostly of wood, straw and paper, standing cheek-by-jowl with the neighbors, with everyone cooking and heating with open fires or charcoal braziers. Any little fire quickly got out of control and equally quickly spread to neighboring structures. Major fires were so common in the Edo … Continue reading Hashigo-nori (ladder-top acrobatics) at Ikegami Honmonji

The seven lucky gods of Minato: A different perspective on a well-known Tokyo district

This article takes readers on a walk to visit Japan's seven lucky gods at shrines and temples in the Minato neighborhood of Tokyo.  Such walks are a popular new year's activity, said to bring luck and fortune to participants. This walk can only be done for that purpose between New Year's Day and Coming of … Continue reading The seven lucky gods of Minato: A different perspective on a well-known Tokyo district

Good fortune is child’s play at the Asakusa Hagoita Ichi

In traditional Japan there are many rituals observed relating to seeing out the old year and successfully bringing in the new one.  Sometimes these rituals, most of which occur in December, also involve acquiring “lucky charms” of various sorts. Asakusa, a venerable Tokyo neighbourhood known for its efforts to preserve traditions, is a particularly good … Continue reading Good fortune is child’s play at the Asakusa Hagoita Ichi