All posts by Traveling Rockhopper

Japan – Shinto & Buddhism

Kyoto, Japan

There are two main religions in Japan (Shinto and Buddhism) that coexist together and complement each other.

Buddhism was introduced in Japan in the 6th century, but Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people. At the beginning, there were many conflicts between both religions. These days, it doesn’t seem to be a problem any longer; what’s more, some ceremonies (e.g., weddings) are often held in Shinto style, the others (e.g., funerals) in Buddhist style.

Apparently, Shinto is more popular in Japan. However, it looks to me like Shinto and Buddhism are “mixed” and people don’t really follow any of these two religious, but rather “follow the traditions”.

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Japan – Kimono

Kyoto, Japan

Kimono (literally a thing to wear) is a traditional Japanese outfit, for women and men.
Kimono is rather a very formal clothing for special occasions, so you won’t see Japanese people wearing it everyday.

I was lucky to be in Japan during holidays, when many Japanese were wearing kimono. It was also great to observe weddings with all of these beautiful, traditional clothes. Moreover, I met a person fascinated with a Japanese culture who let us try kimono on; of course without her help I wouldn’t be able to “tied” it correctly (it’s like an art…).
I heard, there are also stores that offer renting a kimono, dressing you up with all make-up; I guess it also can be funny.

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Japan – Sakura

Himeji, Japan

Sakura is the name of a Japanese cherry blossom. Of course, beautiful spring flowers can be seen in many places around the world, but in Japan, watching them, painting, etc., it’s part of the culture.

The most spectacular trees you’ll see somewhere in March, however, even in December it’s possible to spot cherry blossom (depending on the region).
I was visiting Japan in winter and still had a chance to see “a few” flowers in different cities. Today’s picture was taken in Himeji, close to the great castle.

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Japan – Parks & Gardens

Okayama, Japan

Japan is a modern and high tech country. However, the tradition (in total) still plays an important role in everyday life (at least it’s my impression…). What’s more, in fancy cities there are always nice parks and gardens, so people have places to relax and enjoy nature while still being in a city.

Today’s picture was taken nearby the Okayama Castle, but easily could be taken in any other Japanese town. I think it’s very important (and positive) to keep “a small piece of nature” in cities. 🙂

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Japan – Itsukushima

Miyajima, Japan

Miyajima is the name usually used while referring to this small island. However, its official name is Itsukushima.

Besides the beautiful giant torii gate you can find there many cute deer. 😉 And many other attractions. Of course, while being in Itsukushima island you should also visit the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And simply take a walk exploring this small romantic island. 🙂

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Japan – Miyajima

Miyajima, Japan

If you travel to Hiroshima, don’t forget to visit Miyajima. It’s a small island outside Hiroshima.
Its iconic red giant torii gate you see in today’s picture.

And tomorrow, I’ll tell you something more about this island. 🙂

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Japan – Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle, Japan

In Hiroshima you can also see places not connected with the war. One of them is Hiroshima Castle (Hiroshima-jō). Well, the 16th century castle was actually destroyed by the atomic bomb, but it was reconstructed in 1958; and today it looks very beautiful.

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Japan – Hiroshima

A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima, Japan

The city of Hiroshima is probably the best known as the first city in history that was attacked with an atomic bomb. You’ll find in Hiroshima many monuments, memorials or buildings that remind us about this horror.

Visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima to learn a bit more about that tragic day.

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Japan – Nobeyama Radio Observatory

Nobeyama Radio Observatory, Japan

I already wrote a few posts about my profession. I’m an astrophysicist and had a chance to visit astronomical observatories in many places in the world. One of them is Nobeyama Radio Observatory in Japan. Today, you see two Japanese antennas in a winter scenery.

I believe it’s not really a touristic destination, however I just want to mention that Nobeyama Observatory is a place with a huge number of telescopes and the biggest radio telescope has a diameter of 45m.

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Japan – Japanese Macaque

Macaque, Japan

The Japanese macaque is a native to Japan monkey species.
People call them as snow monkeys, because they can be found in the north part, where it snows every year.

It’s also possible to see macaques bathing in hot springs – you can find some pictures in internet; that looks super funny.

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