Category Archive for: ‘Shrines & Temples’

How to Avoid Temple Burnout, pt. 2 (The Fine Points)

If you haven’t read the first article in this series (“How to Avoid Temple Burnout, Part 1”), you might want to check it out for some essential background. Click here to read it. Now that we have some tools that will allow us to put what we are seeing into context – that is,  we have a larger view of …

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How to Avoid Temple “Burnout”, part 1

It is probably inevitable that if you visit Japan – it doesn’t matter whether it is major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima or smaller towns and villages in the countryside – you will also visit numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. After the first few temple and shrine visits (your mileage may vary), it is also inevitable that you will …

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Shichi-Go-San (“7 – 5 – 3”): Celebrating little kids becoming big kids

Starting to see lots of beaming children clad in colorful kimono (girls) or hakama (boys), often clutching sticks of red and white candy, wandering around shrines and temples? Is it late October to mid-November? If so, then it must be  “Shichi-Go-San” – a very special time for children and parents in Japan. “Shichi-Go-San” may seem like a coming-of-age ceremony, and …

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Tokyo’s man-made forest: Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine is known in Japan as the most popular shrine for people to do their hatsumoude (first shrine visit of the New Year). Every year about three million people pass through the shrine gates over a three day period starting on New Year’s Eve. It is also a very popular destination for foreign visitors coming to Tokyo, many marveling …

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Cherry blossoms in Ueno: more than 380 years of history and revelry

  After a long, cold winter the sight of the first cherry blossoms are a welcome sign of spring in Tokyo. Soon after the petals open to the sunlight, hordes of people come to camp out under the blossoms and one soon learns that the old saying hana yori dango (lit. “dumplings rather than flowers” – Better fill a man’s …

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Yushima Tenmangu: Shrine for Tokyo’s Students, Pleasure Quarter for Edo

You wouldn’t know it from looking at it, but Yushima Tenmangu (commonly called Yushima Tenjin), a small temple famed for its plum trees and tucked away just a stone’s throw from Ueno Park, was once one of Edo’s liveliest religious and entertainment quarters. Time and weather had taken their toll on the Main Hall built in 1885, so it was …

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