Temple Bells


You might have seen big bells like this in some temples in Japan.


They used to be used to tell time, but today they are only used in special occasions such as ceremonies or New Year’s Eve.

Yukata in a medieval-like style!

This style has three differences from how we do today (like the photos below).

The Rear Collar

First, I didn’t pull the rear collar back.
Today women do it to show their nape beautifully, but it started around the early 17th century (Edo era), when women began doing up their hair.

The Belt

Second, I tied a narrow sash at the front.
Also since the early Edo era, women tie a wide belt at the back. Today women only do this sash style as a night wear in a ryokan, or a Japanese traditional hotel.

The Length

The last one is the length of the kimono though it’s probably not so noticeable in the photo.
Women’s kimonos today are very long and we make a waist tuck; while they wore a kimono of the length of their body in those days.

Did you notice the differences?
Which style would you prefer? 😄

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Easy hairstyle and obi belt style tips for yukata

It’s time for yukata, summer kimono!

In this style, I used a Japanese style string as a hairband.

A lacy sash belt goes really well with a obi belt, don’t you think?

I used this one and tie it like an obi-jime (obi band).

Usually we wear getas (wooden clogs) or zori sandals for yukata, but I prefer “Regetta”, which are really comfortable!

Do you have your own yukatas?
They are more reasonable and easier to put on compared to kimonos.
In some touristic places such as Asakusa and Kyoto, there are many rental kimono and yukata shops, so I recommend you try them when you have a chance! 😉

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Hydrangea Festival and Samurai Experience in Hino

Last Saturday I held a kimono-wearing event in Hino city, known as “hometown of the Shinsengumi, the last samurai corps.

This time we had two special guests:
Obugyo-sama (the samurai on the right in the photo below)
and Orei-san (the kunoichi, or female ninja, on the left).

Takahata-fudo Temple

Takahata-fudo Temple is one of the three greatest fudo-son temples in the Kanto area of Japan. “Fudo-son” is the honorific title of Fudo Myo-oh, also known as “Acala” in Sanskrit, one of the Five Wisdom Kings in Buddhism.

Toshizo Hijikata, the vice-commander of the Shinsengumi, was born and raised in Hino, and this temple is known for being Hijikata clan’s family temple.
Many fans of the Shinsengumi visit here and take photos in front of his statue.
Of course we did, too!

We enjoyed the temple, hydrangeas, and many rarely-known historical stories about Hino area.

 

Then we took a bus to the Hino City Historical Museum for a samurai experience!

The Hino City Historical Museum (Shinsengumi Heritage Museum)

In this museum, you can not only learn about the city but also try Shinsengumi uniforms (both Edo style and Meiji style) with a sword! They have three replica swords: Toshizo Hijikata’s, Hajime Saito’s and Soji Okita’s.

 

 

Some left here and others continued our tour to Hino-juku Honjin.

Hino-juku Honjin

Juku means a posting station, and a honjin, meaning “headquarter”, was an officially designated inn used as a lodging when a feudal lord (大名, daimyo) and government officials traveled between his country and Edo (Tokyo).
We enjoyed a nice atmosphere of an old traditional Japanese mansion and interesting stories an official guide told us.

Hino has so many interesting places to visit, so half a day is too short to enjoy them all! I’ll organize similar events in this area again.

To learn more about the Shinsengumi and Hino city, read this article.

Kimonogumi

This time I held this as a event of “Kimonogumi”. It is a social group which holds various kinds of events related kimono, Japanese traditional clothes, to promote it.
English is available in most events, so if you have a chance to visit Tokyo, check out our events on our Facebook page or Meetup!

Kimonogumi on Facebook
Kimonogumi on Meetup

Musha-dokoro

Obugyo-sama is a local history researcher and director of events and festivals related to Japanese history.
You may see him and his fellows when you visit castles or historical places in Japan! 😁

My new facebook page “Japan Micarie”

Hi there, I just created a new facebook page “Japan Micarie”!

Japan Micarie – Expericence Deep Japan –

I’ll share photos, videos, articles, events about Japan such as:

  • culture
  • language
  • history
  • temples and shrines
  • trip
  • clothes (especially traditional ones like kimonos and hakamas)
  • calligraphy
  • music

If you are interested in any of those topics, click “like” and follow my page! 😄
It would be greatly appreciated if you could share the page with your friends who might like it. ☺

Hino City and the Shinsengumi, Japan’s Last Samurais

If you are interested in samurais or Japanese history, you should know the Shinsengumi, the last samurai corps!

What is the Shinsengumi?

The Shinsengumi (新選組, meaning “New Selected Group”) was a special police force during Japan’s Bakumatsu period (late 19th century). It was founded to maintain peace and order of Kyoto and to fight against the anti-Shogunate reformists. The founding members were from some sword schools of Edo (the former name of Tokyo).
Actually, most of them were not originally samurais but were farmers or merchants. However, they had strongly wanted to be samurais and respected “Bushido”, or the samurai spirit, so they lived more like “samurais” than many originally-born samurais who just enjoyed their privilege and became corrupt.
The Shinsengumi fought for the samurai’s government until its end, so they are the real “last samurais”.

Their Uniform

In the color of asagi, a vivid light blue, and with the dandara patterns (white mountain stripes) on its sleeves, the Shinsengumi uniform was so distinctive that it was useful to find their fellows and to avoid hurting each other in battle.

誠 (Makoto)

(makoto) is the symbol letter of the Shinsengumi and is written on their flags and armlets.
It has several meanings: loyalty, sincerity, faithfulness, honesty, earnestness, etc.

 What is Hino?

Hino is a city located in the west of Tokyo, about 30 mins away from Shinjuku by train. It is called “a hometown of the Shinsengumi” because some of the main members were from there including the vice commander Toshizo Hijikata, who is one of the most popular samurais in Japanese history.
Hikogoro Sato, a cousin and brother-in-law of Hijikata, owned a swordsmanship training hall (道場, dojo) in Hino, and other Shinsengumi members, such as the commander Isami Kondo and his pupil Soji Okita (the captain of the 1st unit), sometimes visited there to have training together.

Where to visit in Hino

There are several museums and places related to the Shinsengumi in Hino, and some of them are run by their descendants.

Takahata-fudo temple

This temple, famous for being Hijikata’s family temple and his statue, has a museum where you can see several letters, calligraphy and so on related to Hijikata or other important people of the time.

 

🚋 3 mins walk from Takahata-fudo station (Keio Line)
Open: everyday, 9 am – 5 pm (the museum and tower: – 4 pm).

An antique market is held every third Sunday of the month!

The Hino City Historical Museum (Shinsengumi Heritage Museum)

In this museum, run by Hino city, you can not only learn about the city but also try Shinsengumi uniforms (both Edo style and Meiji style) with a sword! They have three replica swords: Toshizo Hijikata’s, Hajime Saito’s and Soji Okita’s.

 

 

🚋 15 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
From Takahata-fudo, take a bus to Hino station.
Open: Tue-Sun, 9:30 am – 5 pm (Last entry: 4:30 pm).

➡ Official website

Hino-juku Honjin

Juku means a posting station, and a honjin, meaning “headquarter”, was an officially designated inn used as a lodging when a feudal lord (大名, daimyo) and government officials traveled between his country and Edo (Tokyo).
Hikogoro Sato was a headman of the village, and His family and Toshizo Hijikata lived and managed this house.
You can enjoy elaborated design of the house and the garden. I like the paintings and calligraphy on the fusumas, or papered sliding doors.

 

🚋 12 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
From Takahata-fudo, take a bus to Hino station.
Open: Tue-Sun, 9:30 am – 5 pm (Last entry: 4:30 pm).
➡ Official website

 Hijikata Toshizo Museum

This museum, run by descendants of Toshizo Hijikata’s sibling, tells us what Hijikata family used to be like in those days.
You can see bamboos which Toshizo planted when he decided to be a samurai. Many kinds of original souvenirs are available.

🚋 2 mins walk from Manganji station (Tama Monorail)
You can take Tama Monorail from Takahata-fudo.
Open: See the calendar on the official site.
(Usually 1st & 3rd Sun, 12 pm – 4 pm)

Sato Hikogoro Museum

Hikogoro is Toshizo Hijikata’s cousin and brother-in-low (his sister’s husband). Hijikata’s parents passed away when he was a child and thereafter he lived with Sato family, so Hikogoro was one of Hijikata’s closest family members. This museum, run by Hikogoro’s descendants, has several letters and precious souvenirs from Hijikata, which indicates how important Sato family was for him.

🚋 8 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
Open: See the calendar on the official site.
(Usually 1st & 3rd Sun, 11 am – 4 pm)

Inoue Genzaburo Museum

Genzaburo Inoue, commonly known as “Gen-san“, was the captain of the 6th unit of the Shinsengumi. He was also from Hino and his descendants run a museum about him, Inoue family and the Shinsengumi.

 

🚋 7 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
Open: See the calendar on the official site.
(Usually 1st & 3rd Sun, 12 pm – 4 pm)

Yasaka shrine

Not just a local shrine in Hino, it has a historically important wood plate which reads some important people of Tennen Rishin school of swordplay, to which Kondo and Okita belonged. It is shown only on special occasions, like during festivals.

 

🚋 2 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
Open: Anytime

Hino-juku Koryu-kan

Several kinds of souvenirs are available.
Open: Tue-Sun, 9 am – 5 pm.
➡Official website

❗NB: This is the information as of May 12th, 2017.
Visit each official website for the latest info or inquiry.

The Shinsengumi in stories

The Shinsengumi is so popular that there are many movies, dramas, animes, mangas (comics) and games featuring them, such as Hakuoki, Gintama and Ruroni Kenshin.

Hino Shinsengumi Festival 2017 (report)

The 20th Hino Shinsengumi Festival was fantastic!
I went with a friend from the US and both of us really enjoyed it.


➡ What are Shinsengumi and Hino?

Briefly, it was a festival featuring the “last samurais” called “Shinsengumi”, who lived late Edo period (late 19th century).
There was a big parade and many performances such as martial arts, swordplay, comedy and dance.

The main members in the parade (the captains and some other important people of the time) were elected at the contest held on the first day of the festival every year.
⬇ This year’s Toshizo Hijikata, the vice commander of Shinsengumi, and the commander Kondo Isami.

⬇ Heisuke Todo, the captain of the 8th unit, and Obugyo (the man in black armour in the last photo), who conducted the parade.

⬇ My favourite member of the year was Sanosuke Harada, the captain of the 10th unit.
His appearance and performance were fantastic!!

⬇ Beautiful sword performances by Ideal.

⬆ With beautiful performers from Ideal.☺

⬇ Amazing performance by Ichinotachi.
This scene was very serious, but their play was so comedic and made the audience laugh a lot! 😆

⬆ With the main members of Ichinotachi. They came all the way from Niigata prefecture!

⬇ You can watch several videos and photos of this festival on “Maltester in Japan” on Facebook.

Even kids and animals were in Shinsengumi’s uniforms or in armours!

 

You can try these Shinsengumi styles at Shinsengumi’s Hometown Museum (available throughout the year).
➡ Official website

⬇ Kago experience carried by strong guys from Hino rugby team!😁
People in the past traveled on a kago like this (or probably a larger one with walls).
(Of course there were horse-drawn carriages, but they were only for very rich people.)

 

⬇ At the end of the parade. each group reported their return to the statue of Toshizo Hijikata at Takahata-fudo temple.

This temple is very beautiful and photogenic, so I recommend you visit there when you come to Hino city. 😊

Shinsengumi Contest 2017

You can watch the full movie of the contest here:

More photos and movies of the festival

For more photos and movies of the festival, check out “#ひの新選組まつり” on Twitter.

Shinsengumi (Samurai) Festival in Tokyo

If you are interested either in samurais, Edo period or Japanese traditional culture, you can’t miss this event!

Hino Shinsengumi Festival

  • Held on: 13th and 14th of May, 2017
  • Place: Around Hino station (JR Chuo Line) and Takahata-fudo station (Keio Line)
  • Time: 10 am – 5 pm (JST)

There’ll be so many programs around these areas such as a big samurai parade and martial arts performances.
They say that the parade and some of other programs are going to be broadcast on these apps below. Perhaps they are only available in Japanese, but I think it’s worth trying if you’re interested. 😉

Here is an official page of this event in English. Unfortunately it is not about this year, but I hope you can grasp some atmosphere of the event.
➡Hino Shinsengumi Festival

What is Shinsengumi?

Shinsengumi (新選組, meaning “New Selected Group”) was a special police force during Japan’s Bakumatsu period (late 19th century). It was founded to maintain peace and order of Kyoto and to fight against the anti-Shogunate reformists. The founding members were from some sword schools of Edo (the former name of Tokyo).
Actually, most of them were not originally samurais but were farmers or merchants. However, they had strongly wanted to be samurais and respected “Bushido”, or the samurai spirit, so they lived more like “samurais” than many originally-born samurais who just enjoyed their privilege and became corrupt.
Shinsengumi fought for the samurai’s government until its end, so they are the real “last samurais”.

Learn more about Shinsengumi

What is Hino?

Hino is a city located in the west of Tokyo, about 30 mins away from Shinjuku by train. It is called “a hometown of Shinsengumi” because some of the main members were from there including the vice commander Toshizo Hijikata, who is one of the most popular samurais in Japanese history.
Hikogoro Sato, a cousin and brother-in-law of Hijikata, owned a swordsmanship training hall (道場, dojo) in Hino, and other Shinsengumi members, such as the commander Isami Kondo and his pupil Soji Okita (the captain of the 1st unit), sometimes visited there to have training together.

Where to visit in Hino

There are several museums and places related to Shinsengumi in Hino, and some of them are run by their descendants.

Takahata-fudo temple

This temple, famous for being Hijikata’s family temple and his statue, has a museum where you can see several letters, calligraphy and so on related to Hijikata or other important people of the time.

 

🚋 3 mins walk from Takahata-fudo station (Keio Line)
Open: everyday, 9 am – 5pm (the museum and tower: – 4 pm).

An antique market is held every third Sunday of the month!

Shinsengumi’s Hometown Museum

In this museum, run by Hino city, you can not only learn about the city but also try Shinsengumi uniforms (both Edo style and Meiji style) with a sword! They have three replica swords: Toshizo Hijikata’s, Hajime Saito’s and Soji Okita’s.

 

 

🚋 15 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
From Takahata-fudo, take a bus to Hino station.
Open: Tue-Sun, 9:30 am – 5pm (Last entry: 4:30 pm).

➡ Official website

Hino-juku Honjin

Juku means a posting station, and honjin was an officially designated inn used as a lodging when a feudal lord (大名, daimyo) traveled between his country and Edo.
Hikogoro Sato was a headman of the village, and His family and Toshizo Hijikata lived and managed this house.
You can enjoy elaborated design of the house and the garden. I like the paintings and calligraphy on the fusumas, or papered sliding doors.

 

🚋 12 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
From Takahata-fudo, take a bus to Hino station.
Open: Tue-Sun, 9:30 am – 5pm (Last entry: 4:30 pm).
➡ Official website

 Hijikata Toshizo Museum

This museum, run by descendants of Toshizo Hijikata’s sibling, tells us what Hijikata family used to be like in those days.
You can see bamboos which Toshizo planted when he decided to be a samurai. Many kinds of original souvenirs are available.

🚋 2 mins walk from Manganji station (Tama Monorail)
You can take Tama Monorail from Takahata-fudo.
Open: See the calendar on the official site.
(Usually 1st & 3rd Sun, 12 pm – 4 pm)

Sato Hikogoro Museum

Hikogoro is Toshizo Hijikata’s cousin and brother-in-low (his sister’s husband). Hijikata’s parents passed away when he was a child and thereafter he lived with Sato family, so Hikogoro was one of Hijikata’s closest family members. This museum, run by Hikogoro’s descendants, has several letters and precious souvenirs from Hijikata, which indicates how important Sato family was for him.

🚋 8 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
Open: See the calendar on the official site.
(Usually 1st & 3rd Sun, 11 am – 4 pm)

Inoue Genzaburo Museum

Genzaburo Inoue, commonly known as “Gen-san“, was the captain of the 6th unit of Shinsengumi. He was also from Hino and his descendants run a museum about him, Inoue family and Shinsengumi.

 

🚋 7 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
Open: See the calendar on the official site.
(Usually 1st & 3rd Sun, 12 pm – 4 pm)

Yasaka shrine

Not just a local shrine in Hino, it has a historically important wood plate which reads some important people of Tennen Rishin school of swordplay, to which Kondo and Okita belonged. It is shown only on special occasions, like during this festival!

 

🚋 2 mins walk from Hino station (JR Chuo Line)
Open: Anytime

Hino-juku Koryu-kan

Several kinds of souvenirs are available.
Open: Tue-Sun, 9 am – 5 pm.
➡Official website

NB: This is the information as of May 12th, 2017.
Visit each official website for the latest info or inquiry.

How to say “that” in Japanese correctly 2: あの or その?

This is a sequel to my previous post, where I explained the basic usage of the Japanese demonstrative adjectives この(kono), その(sono) and あの(ano).

In this post, I’ll show you exceptional usages of the Japanese demonstrative adjective あの.
Usually you should use その to refer to something that has already been mentioned in the conversation, but あの is also used in the following cases.

You can use あの for what’s already been mentioned when:

  • you are visualizing the thing/person/scene in your mind and mention it, rather than referring to what’s told by the conversation partner(s).
  • you want to put an emphasis on it and show your surprise.

Remember, あの is used for something/someone you, and usually the listener(s) also, know or have seen. Therefore, you must be able to picture it/her/him in your mind.

写真 2016-06-21 21 57 31

Example 1

Ben 「Mr. Aのことを知っていますか?」
(Do you know Mr. A?)
Dan「うーん・・・。あぁ、あの人!」
(Hmm… Oh yeah, that person!)
☝️Dan uses あの because he’s just remembered (visualized) Mr. A’s face in his mind.

写真 2016-06-21 16 51 05

Example 2

Ben: 「Mr Aが昨日、激怒していました。」
(Mr. A was furious yesterday.)
Dan「えぇっ、あの人が?!」
(That person?! Really?)
☝️Dan uses あの because he’s showing his surprise, recalling Mr. A’s gentle face in his mind.

写真 2016-06-21 16 51 10

Example 3

ハリー「ロンがテストで満点を取ったって、聞いた?!」
(Harry: Did you hear that Ron got full marks on the exam?!)

Possible response 1「その話を聞いたときは、びっくりした!」
(I was astonished to hear that!)
☝️その話 (that story) is what Harry has just told.

Possible response 2「あの話を聞いたときは、びっくりした!」
☝️He’s emphasizing the word or visualizing the scene when he first heard that.


Is Everything clear? 🙂

How to say “that” in Japanese correctly 1: この, あの or その?

Many Japanese learners have trouble using the demonstrative adjectives あの(ano) and その(sono).
In many cases, they use あの more widely than it actually covers, where その should be used.

Are you also struggling with them?
Or maybe you’re not sure if you are correct?

Okay, let’s start with the basic usage of the Japanese demonstrative adjectives.

When you mention something / someone you can see

It’s very simple and easy.
In this picture, there are three boxes in different distances.

kono-sono-ano1

  • [この(kono) + noun] is used for something close enough for you to reach, like the box A.
  • [その(sono) + noun] is for something a bit far, like the box B.
    This would be the distance where you can’t reach but maybe someone next to you can touch.
  • [あの(ano) + noun] is for something far, like the box C.
    You can see it but need to walk a bit (or maybe much!) to reach it.

Box A: この箱(箱:はこ=box)
Box B: その箱
Box C: あの箱

In this case, I think この is somewhat equivalent to Spanish “este”, その is to “ese” and あの is to “aquel”.

Is everything clear so far?
Here is the second situation:

When you mention something or someone you can’t see

In this case, your choice is either あの or その.
Make sure that you understand that あの is not the Japanese equivalent of the English word “that”.
Many Japanese learners overuse あの where その should be used.

  • Rule 1) Use あの when you, and usually the listener(s) also, know or have seen that person/thing.
    It/she/he should be something/someone you can picture in your mind.
  • Rule 2) Use その when you don’t know or haven’t seen that person/thing.
    その is used to refer to something/someone that has already been mentioned in the conversation, so you don’t have to know it/her/him.

Example:

Ann「去年のBobさんの誕生日会は楽しかったですね」
Bob’s birthday party last year was fun, wasn’t it?

Bob「はい。あのはたくさんの人が来てくれて本当にうれしかったです。」
Yeah, I was really happy that many people came at THAT time.
☝️Bob uses あの時 because he was there then.

Tom「そのにDanさんは来ましたか?」
Did Dan come at THAT time?
☝️Tom uses その時 (that time) because he was not there.

Bob「彼はあの体調が悪くて、来ませんでした。あのはよく風邪をひきますよね」
He didn’t because he was sick on THAT day. THAT guy often gets a cold, doesn’t he?
☝️Bob uses あの日(that day) because he was there then, and あの人(that person) because he, and also the others, knows D.

 

These are the basic rules.
In the next post I’ll write about some exceptions.
Stay tuned!!  😉