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Muza-chan's Gate to Japan
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine Shimenawa

Shimenawa is a traditional Shinto straw rope used to mark the presence of a sacred place such as a shrine, a tree or a rock. The largest shimenawa in Japan is at the Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, measuring 13.5 meters in length and weighting 4.5 tons.

The rope is made by using rice straws harvested from a surface of 3 hectares. Because it is so large, it is replaced every 6 to 8 years, and not every year as on regular shrines.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 14mm F/2.8D
Focal Length: 14mm
Aperture: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/400s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 640
The Kitchen of Kyoto
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

The Kitchen of Kyoto

The Kitchen of Kyoto

Nishiki Ichiba is the most important food market in Kyoto, established as a fish market more than 400 years ago, at the beginning of the Edo period. A hundred years later, the market expanded to handle fresh fruits and vegetables.

Its location was selected due to the presence of underground water, which even in summer remains cold, under 15 degrees Celsius, helping sellers to preserve the food fresh

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/200s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 3200
Ichikawa Danjuro IX statue
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Ichikawa Danjuro IX statue

Ichikawa Danjuro IX statue

If you visit Senso-ji, you will probably notice this impressive statue in the park behind the temple. It represents one of the greatest kabuki actors of Meiji period, Ichikawa Danjuro IX, playing the role of Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa, from the Shibaraku play.

The play is representative for the style called Aragoto, created by his great-great-great-great-grandfather Ichikawa Danjuro I and perfected by him. The Kumadori makeup, with brightly colored stripes over white and the padded and enlarged costumes, well noticeable in the statue, are elements specific to this kabuki style.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D90
Lens: VR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 32mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
Imperial chrysanthemum emblem at Akama Shrine
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Imperial chrysanthemum emblem at Akama Shrine

Imperial chrysanthemum emblem at Akama Shrine

The Imperial chrysanthemum emblem (kikunogomon) is engraved on the gates of the Akama shrine in Shimonoseki. The Akama shrine is a Kanpei-sha shrine, associated with the Imperial family, dedicated to Emperor Antoku, the 81st emperor of Japan, who died here during the Genpei War at the age of 6.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/1250s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Nakatsu castle, main keep and corner turret
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Nakatsu castle, main keep and corner turret

Nakatsu castle, main keep and corner turret

Rebuilt further inland that its original location, but still connected to a sea water channel, the Nakatsu castle maintained its old characteristic of mizujiro “castle on the sea"…

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/500s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 250
Former Yoshida-ya sake store
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Former Yoshida-ya sake store

Former Yoshida-ya sake store

Yoshida-ya is an old sake store, originally built in 1910. Today, it is an annex of the Shitamachi museum in Ueno, Tokyo. It can be visited in Ueno-sakuragi, a neighborhood nearby the JR Yamanote line Uguisudani Station.

This beautiful building is a rare survivor in Tokyo, representative for the sake stores at the end of the Edo period and beginning of the Meiji period.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D90
Lens: VR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 20mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/160s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Awa Odori, the
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Awa Odori, the “Dance of fools”

Awa Odori, the "Dance of fools"

Started 400 years ago in Tokushima, on the Shikoku Island, the Awa Odori dances are now present in several other places in Japan. I took this photo at the Kagurazaka Awa Odori, a great fun festival taking place in August in Shinjuku, Tokyo, on the streets nearby the Bishamonten Zenkokuji temple.

The dancers are chanting “Odoru aho ni miru aho; onaji aho nara odoranya son son!” - “It’s a fool who dances and a fool who watches; if both are fools, you might as well dance!", so the dance was nicknamed “the dance of fools".

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D90
Lens: VR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 20mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 320
Shinjuku Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Shinjuku Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

Shinjuku Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

The shape of the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, which is the seat of three educational institutions, was selected to symbolize the growth and development of the students learning here. So, the skyscraper features a blue, translucent cocoon shape, with aluminum bands looking like silk threads embroidering the facade.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D90
Lens: VR 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 135mm
Aperture: F/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/640s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Phoenix Hall
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Phoenix Hall