Over the top in Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka

When I am visiting a bigger city in Japan for the first time, I really like to use observation decks in high-rise buildings for exploring the area. From the top you will get a real feeling of the density of buildings in cities like Tokyo, Osaka or Yokohama. It is like an ocean of concrete till the horizon.
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Engyo-ji Temple at Mount Shosha – fascinating place

When I arrived by rope way on top of Mount Shosha I felt immediately in love with the place. At the observation deck it was even possible to spot Himeji Castle, the most beautiful and most visited castle in Japan, in the distance.
After a short walk through a densely forested area I finally arrived at the Shoshazan Engyo-ji Temple complex.
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Cherry Blossom season in Kyoto – A once in your lifetime experience

I always had the plan to visit Kyoto, my favourite place in Japan, during the cherry blossom season.
It takes usually 2 weeks and this spectacle is gone.
This year (2016) was my 3rd time in the city and finally I could enjoy the sakura season there.
For 1 week in the beginning of April I deeply enjoyed the amazing scenery.
The parks were crowded with people sitting under the cherry trees celebrating this special time of the year. Continue reading Cherry Blossom season in Kyoto – A once in your lifetime experience

Yabusame or the fascinating art of Japanese Horseback Archery

Before I dive into the history of Yabusame, I would like to recommend you a link to an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show. He is an amazing guy and he will show you what it means to learn the skill set for the Japanese Horseback Archery in a very short amount of time. Enjoy the ride here.

Yabusame is a special type of mounted archery in traditional Japanese archery where an archer on a running horse shoots three wooden targets with three turnip-headed arrows. The history of this archery can be traced back to the Kamakura Period when Minamoto no Yorimoto organized it as a way for his samurai to practice archery. Today, Yabusame is practiced at Shimogano Shrine in Kyoto during the Aoi Matsuri (early May) and Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu in Kamakura. It is also practiced in Zushi at the beach and in Samikawa, among other areas in Japan. Generally, Yabusame is held near Shinto Shrines throughout the year.

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Aoi Matsuri / Festival in Kyoto

My favourite city in Japan is Kyoto. This city has so many things to offer (good food, sightseeing spots, festivals) . One of the highlights are the summer festivals. The festival with the longest history is  the Aoi Matsuri. It is also known as the Hollyhock festival or the Kamo festival. Aoi Matsuri is one of the three major annual festivals alongside the Jidai Matsuri and Gion Matsuri held in Kyoto, Japan. It is a festival for the Kamo shrines, the Shimogamo shrine and the Kamigamo shrine.
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Gion Matsuri / Festival in Kyoto

The month of July is full of amazing summer festivals in Kyoto.
The Gion Matsuri or otherwise known as the Gion festival or the festival of the Yasaka Shrine is one of Japan’s biggest and most famous festivals held annually in Kyoto. It’s an event that is partly a street event and also bears a religious attachment to the people of Kyoto. As a visitor to Japan, you surely wouldn’t want to miss on such a great occasion.
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