Sanno Matsuri festival will be held from June 9-16 at Hie-jinja Shrine. The festival is held every 2 years. It is one the three most famous festivals including the Sanja festival and Kanda festival.
The festival consists of a parade which goes for 20km and lasts for 9 hours. It starts and ends at Hie Shrine.
The festival is a great way to experience traditional Japanese culture with displays of Ikebana (flower arranging) and Cha-do (tea ceremony). At the shrine you will see a large straw ring which people pass through. Passing through the ring is said to absolve people of their sins from the past 6 months.
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If you’re looking for a great city break but are tired of visiting the same old European capitals and have a yearning to journey a little further afield, Tokyo could be the perfect destination for you.
Tokyo is a very lively, metropolitan city that retains the essence of Japanese culture and customs. It is a place of bright lights and skyscrapers, but wander away from the city life and you will find beautiful parks where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle. Take a trip further off the beaten track and you’ll discover local neighbourhoods, where there might be a little bakery, a traditional craft shop or a tiny but picturesque park to sit and eat a pastry.
On your bike
The easiest way to get around Tokyo is by bike. The pavements and terrain are ideal for cycling and this is how local people travel from A to B. There are probably more bicycles than cars here and when you wander into some of the smaller neighbourhoods you can see why. The roads outside the main city centres get much narrower, sometimes only wide enough for one car. A number of businesses have bikes available to rent and you can also find a tour guide who can take you on a bike ride through the city.
Hiking versus biking
Tokyo is a great base from which to take adventure tours into the mountains. You can explore Mount Fuji, which is about 60 miles from Tokyo and a train ride of around 60 minutes will take you into a quiet mountain location where you can take a hike. You’ll find a range of hikes that are as easy or as difficult as you like and many can be completed within a day, so you can return to city life refreshed and ready to try a great Japanese night out.
Food and culture
Tokyo has an astonishingly diverse culture, including world-famous art galleries and a thriving music scene. Whether your tastes are classical, pop, rock or techno, you’ll find a gig to suit you. If you are visiting Tokyo on one of your family vacations and want to see something a little more traditional and family friendly, there’s Kabuki theatre, a Japanese dance drama, where the performers wear elaborate make up and act or dance out a particular story.
For eating out, there are several reasonably priced traditional Japanese restaurants dotted around Tokyo and its suburbs. An izakaya, a type of establishment where food is sold to accompany the drinks, caters for groups of people and the dishes are shared, rather like Spanish tapas. The food served is not limited to one particular style, so the menu is quite varied. Prices are pocket friendly too, with a selection of 8 dishes costing around £14.
Ramen is a traditional Japanese dish of noodles and soup served together and there is something of a ramen trend happening in Tokyo recently, with ramen bars opening up all over the city. There is a whole range of ramen here, from traditional flavours like shoyu (soy), shio (salt) and miso, to wilder flavours like squid ink or lobster.
There’s also tsukemen, which is a bowl of noodles and a separate bowl of soup so that you can dip the noodles yourself. Both are extremely satisfying and tasty and are relatively cheap, at around £4 per dish. Japanese eateries tend to be very family focused and are therefore ideal for those on family vacations in Tokyo.
With a bustling city centre, thriving traditional and modern culture, great night-life and fantastic food, Tokyo is a perfect holiday destination for all the family. It can make memories that will last a lifetime.
Ramona Wilding is a retired travel consultant who specialised in adventure tours. She now writes on travel for a range of publications, websites and blogs.
Tokyo has been accepted as one of three cities to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, joining Madrid and Istanbul.
“It is a great pleasure and true honor that Tokyo has been accepted as a candidate city,” Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, chairman of the Tokyo 2020 bid committee, said at a news conference Thursday.
The final decision will be made in September 2013. Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964 and they made a failed bid for the 2016 Olympics.
The world’s tallest tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree Tower opened yesterday to the public. Around 200,000 people were expected to visit the tower on the first day alone.
About 8000 lucky people who had advance reservations were able to go up the tower to the observation decks.
“I left my house at 5 a.m. to get on the first shinkansen of the day,” said Norio Sone, a 77-year-old visitor from Niigata Prefecture, while waiting in a long line for an elevator up to the observation deck.
“I wanted to climb up the world’s tallest building,” Sone said, but he added that he was disappointed by the cloudy weather.
The tower is expected to bring in 32 million visitors in the first year of operation, bringing an economic boost to surrounding area.
Tokyo has breathed a sigh of relief as an escaped penguin has now been found swimming in Tokyo Bay. The penguin scaled a 13 foot wall and squeezed through a barbed wire fence to escape Tokyo Zoo.
“You can see it’s got the same ring around its flipper and identical facial patterns,” said Kazuhiro Sakamoto, deputy director of the Tokyo Sea Life Park, when shown footage of the tubby escapee taken by Japan’s Coast Guard.
“It didn’t look like it has gotten thinner over the past two months, or been without food. It doesn’t seem to be any weaker. So it looks as if it’s been living quite happily in the middle of Tokyo Bay.”
Read more here.
penguin, Tokyo, zoo
The Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower, is set to open in just 4 days on May 22. The 634 meter tower is double the height of the Eiffel Tower and 2nd highest structure in the world behind Burj Khalifa .
The tower is set to become a new tourist attraction in itself with more than 300 shops and restaurants, a planetarium and an aquarium. The tower will be used as a radio/television broadcast and communications tower.
“People will use the Tobu line to go to Tokyo Skytree and they will shop in Tobu shops when they get there,” said Masayuki Kubota, who oversees the equivalent of $2 billion in assets in Tokyo at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. “It’s a very good investment.” He doesn’t own Tobu shares, he said in this article by Bloomberg.
Built in one of the most earthquake prone places in the world, the tower stands on three legs with a central column, typical of a tripod.
The tower stands over the Asakusa district in Tokyo. It is one station away on the Tobu Skytree Line. The tower has its own station aptly named “Tokyo Skytree Station”.
Here is the official site for the Tokyo Skytree tower.
Our first post on the Tokyo Skytree in 2009.
Since Obama’s announcement that he supported same-sex marriage, gay couples around the world have started planning wedding ceremonies, whether it is legal in their country or not. It is likely to be a long time before same-sex marriages become legal in Japan, but it hasn’t stopped one lesbian couple from making plans to hold a “commitment ceremony” at Tokyo Disneyland.
“My partner and I just love going to Disneyland, so when we saw a pamphlet advertising wedding receptions by the Cinderella Castle in Tokyo Disneyland we called and asked if we could hold our wedding there,” Higashi told Reuters in a telephone interview.
But Higashi is openly lesbian and her upcoming commitment ceremony is being characterised in the media as the first “gay wedding” to be held at Japan’s Magic Kingdom.
When Higashi gave them details of her plans, the hotel initially had one request.
“When I explained it would be with my female partner they hesitated and asked that one of us wear a tuxedo as the sight of two people with the same wedding dress would make other visitors to the park uncomfortable,” Higashi said.
After she questioned this, the resort promised to check things out and get back to her. A week later, Higashi was told she and her partner would be allowed to both wear wedding dresses, or both tuxedos, if so inclined.
The Sanja Matsuri festival will be held this weekend from Friday May 18 to Sunday May 20. It is one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals with around 1,000 people participating in a parade down Nakamis-dori Street to Asakusa Shrine. The parade will go around 1-2 pm.
On the 19th at noon around 100 mikoshi or Japanese style floats will be paraded around Asakusa.
The festival is lively and a great way to experience Japanese culture first hand.
Lady Gaga posted a photo to her Twitter account on Monday of her wearing an outfit of cuts of beef while in Tokyo on the Asian leg of her “Born This Way Ball” tour.
Lada Gaga appeared in sell out concerts on May 10, 12 and 13 at the Saitama Super Arena. You can see more pictures and information on the event’s website: http://www.ladygagajapan2012.com/
Donald “Duck” Dunn, the bassist who helped create the gritty Memphis soul sound at Stax Records in the 1960s as part of the legendary group Booker T. and the MGs and contributed to such classics as “In the Midnight Hour,” ”Hold On, I’m Coming” and “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” died Sunday at 70.
Dunn, whose legacy as one of the most respected session musicians in the business also included work with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers as well as with Levon Helm, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, died while on tour in Tokyo.