Meiji Shrine: grounds to ring in the year

Dec 24, 2015

Meiji Shrine: grounds to ring in the year

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As a relatively new place of worship, established less than a century ago in 1920, Meiji Shrine was originally based around the concept of wakonyōsai — a belief that treasured the Japanese "soul," while still embracing influences from the West. Its unusual omikuji, therefore, ...

Getting the year's first prayer in

Dec 24, 2015

Getting the year's first prayer in

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Whether we are Buddhists, followers of Shintoism or atheists, the first thing many Japanese do on ganjitsu (New Year’s Day) is go to their local shrine or temple for hatsumōde, a symbolic first visit of the year. If it’s not done on Jan. 1, ...

New Year's: perfect for snapshots

Dec 24, 2015

New Year's: perfect for snapshots

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Meiji Shrine is one of the most famous places of worship in Japan, partly because it is also one of the most photogenic. As the number of tourists is expected to rise before the Olympics, you may want to get your Shinto selfies off ...

Crafty ways to have fun without mess

| Dec 12, 2015

Crafty ways to have fun without mess

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For some parents (or maybe it’s just me), there is one particular festive word that causes instant anxiety: “craft.” The seemingly innocuous “c” word conjures instant images of The Ideal Parents, sitting down patiently with their children, sprinkling glitter on freshly gathered pine cones ...

Outdoor hobby takes love of trees to new heights

Dec 12, 2015

Outdoor hobby takes love of trees to new heights

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Nature lovers are scaling new heights with a hobby that provides a sense of adventure while promoting forest conservation. “Tree climbing” is becoming increasingly popular in Japan as a form of outdoor recreation that not only offers excitement but also rest and relaxation for ...

There's no time like the Christmas present

Nov 21, 2015

There's no time like the Christmas present

It may not be a traditional custom in Japan, but Christmas gift-giving is always played up by shopping malls here. If you’re finding it all a bit overwhelming but still looking for something special, our writers are here to help with a few ideas ...