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Cultural Heritage

Temples are one of the most recognizable and ubiquitous sites in Japan, but did you know that big temple complexes have smaller sub-temples?  Just as you’d guess, a sub-temple is a smaller temple on a larger temple ground. In fact, some temple complexes do not have a main temple, but rather are a group of sub-temples on temple grounds. This is actually quite common for many of the larger temples, such as Daitoku-ji Temple....

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The Meiji Restoration Period of Japan (1868 – 1912) was the first major step away from the tradition and culture of Old World Japan. Japan had achieved tremendous accomplishments at the price of several crippling drawbacks. Embracing their Western contemporaries, Japan had great economic, militaristic, and technological growth as well as many Japanese immigrating to America in the late 1800’s, where my ancestry in America began. The...

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When you set foot in the Land of the Rising Sun, you’ll notice the ubiquity of temples. Temples, temples, temples everywhere; from the heart of Urban Tokyo to the depths of Kyushu’s jungles, from the rustic country side to the scenic mountains, temples are everywhere. These historic monuments are all unique and rich with history and culture, but each one tells a different story— what’s your favorite?   Tofuku-ji’s story starts in...

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You’re probably wondering what could be so controversial about a Zen temple, just like I was. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ryoan-ji Temple (Temple of the Peaceful Dragon) is home to one of the most famous “Karesansui,” or Zen rock gardens; the origin and meaning of this garden are still contested by historians. The garden still remains today; the only plant life being the moss around the rocks. Sitting on an...

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Hiraizumi Chusonji 2016 is a commemorative year for Chusonji Temple and Hiraizumi; it has been nearly 5 years since this location was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Established by the Fujiwara clan, rulers of northern Japan during the Heian Period (794 – 1185), Hiraizumi is Tohoku’s first World Heritage Site. Before the establishment of Chusonji Temple, there is no historical or archaeological evidence of...

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Being an all-time favorite among tourists, a typical weekend view in Asakusa is people smiling and taking photos in front of the Kaminarimon, the famous entrance gate with a large red lantern. Sensoji is located in the heart of the traditional old town Asakusa. After walking through the Kaminarimon, an 800 feet long shopping street Nakamise Dori entertains you on your way to the temple.   Established in the Edo Era, Nakamise Dori...

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