Nowadays, when it comes to practicing sports, though, the tatami used are industrially manufactured mats that, using modern and more affordable materials, mimic the firmness/fluffiness of the original ones. But that doesn’t mean that traditional (a.k.a. ‘real’ tatami) are a thing of the past. Quite the opposite!
The New Year's events are one of the most awaited events in the country. Many people will celebrate it happily with joyous festivities and precious time with family. The meaning of New Year’s Eve is that we shut all the things that we have passed on this year and prepare to face the new things in the coming year.
Due to its position in the far south east of Japan, Miyazaki was largely undeveloped for most of Japan's history and as such is home to some beautiful untouched landscapes and national parks, as well as natural locations that tie into Japan's earliest mythology. Miyazaki City, the prefecture's capital, tends to be a little overlooked when considering what Miyazaki as a whole has to offer.
For anyone visiting Kyoto, here are some locations to excite your inner demons. Japan is recognized for its unique and refined brand of horror and suspense. So, it is no surprise to learn about the strong folktale tradition that helped form today’s spooky pop-culture.
Traditional Japanese sweets (wagashi) come in different shapes, sizes and stories. Typically served with tea, the culture of gifting wagashi was mentioned in historical tales from the Muromachi era. At Toyama City's Matsukawa Teahouse you can learn how to make wagashi (complete with an interpreter), and then take a quiet river cruise.
It is a traditional strategy game that has since been rooted into the culture of not just China and Japan, but also Korea to Tibet over centuries. In recent years, Go has started to make its way across the entire world including Europe and even America as far as competitive sport goes.
When daily news and the outside world get to be too crazy, try Shodō, Japanese calligraphy, to regain inner equilibrium and calm the mind and heart.
In keeping with the ancient custom, Yasukuni Shrine holds the yearly Mitama Festival around July 13-16 as part of the Obon festivities. Mitama refers to the spirit or soul of the dead. During this season, Japanese hang lanterns and place offerings at the altars as prayers for their ancestors’ spirits to be freed of their sufferings. Since 1947, the Mitama Festival has lightened up the Yasukuni Shrine grounds with more than 30,000 glittering lanterns or chochin.