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Ryōan-ji

Ryōan-ji (龍安寺The Temple of the Dragon at Peace) is a Zen temple located in northwest Kyoto, Japan. The Ryōan-ji garden is considered the finest surviving examples of kare-sansui (“dry landscape”), a refined type of Japanese Zen temple garden design generally featuring distinctive larger rock formations arranged amidst a sweep of smooth pebbles (small, carefully selected polished river rocks) raked into linear patterns that facilitate meditation. The temple and its gardens are listed as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On my Kyoto trip, I visited Ryōan-ji. Ryōan-ji is famous by its garden and one of the finest places for Zen meditation. I am interested in Zen meditation because of Steve Jobs. So I went there and did Zen meditation for 3 hours. It was such a special time for me. Please visit Ryōan-ji, if you are interested in Japanese Zen.

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Reference: Wikipedia

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Enryaku-ji

Enryaku-ji (延暦寺) is a Tendai monastery located on Mount Hiei in Ōtsu, overlooking Kyoto. It was founded during the early Heian period. The temple complex was established by Saichō (767–822), also known as Dengyō Daishi, who introduced the Tendai sect of Mahayana Buddhism to Japan from China. Enryaku-ji is the headquarters of the Tendai sect and one of the most significant monasteries in Japanese history. As such, it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.” The founders of Jōdo-shū, Sōtō Zen, and Nichiren Buddhism all spent time at the monastery. Enryaku-ji is also the home of the “marathon monks.”

On my Kyoto trip, I visited Enryaku-ji. Enryaku-ji is a sacred place and played significant role in Japanese Buddhism. Although it is not famous sightseeing spot for foreigners, Enryaku-ji is quite famous tourist spot among Japanese. Please visit Enryaku-ji as hidden tourist spot for foreigners, when you travel to Kyoto.

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Reference: Wikipedia

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Fushimi Inari-taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometers and takes approximately 2 hours to walk up. In the middle of the mountain, the inner shrine is reachable by a path lined with thousands of torii. The path lined with thousands of torii attracts many visitors.

Yesterday, I visited Fushimi Inari Taisha and trailed up the mountain for 2 hours. The road decollated with torii was so beautiful. I felt eternal like Möbius strip by passing thousands of torii. Surely, Fushimi Inari Taisha is one of the most memorable places for my life. Please visit Fushimi Inari Taisha when you travel to Kyoto.

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Reference: Wikipedia

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Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a large park with an eminent garden in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. It was originally a residence of the Naitō family in the Edo period. It is now a park under the jurisdiction of the national Ministry of the Environment. The garden, which is 58.3 hectares in area with a circumference of 3.5 km, blends three distinct styles: a French Formal and English Landscape in the north and to the south a Japanese traditional. A traditional Japanese tea house can be found within the gardens. The garden is a favourite hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) spot, and large crowds can be present during cherry blossom season.

The garden has more than 20,000 trees, including approximately 1,500 cherry trees which bloom from late March (Shidare or Weeping Cherry), to early April (Somei or Tokyo Cherry), and on to late April (Kanzan Cherry). Other trees found here include the majestic Himalayan cedars, which soar above the rest of the trees in the park, tulip trees, cypresses, and plane trees, which were first planted in Japan in the Imperial Gardens.

The Izakaya tour is held near the Shinjuku Gyoen.

新宿御苑 photo

新宿御苑 photo

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Reference: Wikipedia

Photo by Antonio Tajuelo Photo by ai3310X Photo by t-miki

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Tsukiji fish market

The Tsukiji Market is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. The market is located in Tsukiji area in central Tokyo. While some inner areas have restricted access to visitors, the inner wholesale market, the outer retail market and restaurants are major tourist attraction for both domestic and overseas visitors.

 

The market handles more than 400 different types of seafood from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar, and from tiny Sardine to 300 kg tuna.

There are a lot of excellent Sushi restaurants, for example, Sushi Dai, Daiwa, Sushi Sei …etc.

Tsukiji photo

寿司大 photo

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Reference: Wikipedia

Photo by Kobetsai Photo by jamesfischer

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Sake

Sake is an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin that is made from fermented rice. Sake is sometimes called “rice wine” but the brewing process is more akin to beer, converting starch to sugar for the fermentation process, by using Aspergillus oryzae.

 

Sake is sometimes referred to in English-speaking countries as rice wine. However, unlike wine, in which alcohol is produced by fermenting sugar that is naturally present in grapes and other fruits, sake is produced by means of a brewing process more like that of beer. To make beer or sake, the sugar needed to produce alcohol must first be converted from starch.

The brewing process for sake differs from the process for beer, in that for beer, the conversion from starch to sugar and from sugar to alcohol occurs in two discrete steps. But when sake is brewed, these conversions occur simultaneously. Furthermore, the alcohol content differs between sake, wine, and beer. Wine generally contains 9%–16% ABV, while most beer contains 3%–9%, and undiluted sake contains 18%–20% (although this is often lowered to about 15% by diluting with water prior to bottling).

Sake

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Source: Wikipedia

Image: Creative Commons

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Kobe beef restaurants in Tokyo

Here are the list of restaurants highly reviewed by local Japanese where you can eat great Kobe beef in Tokyo.










- Teppanyaki Sazanka (Style: Teppanyaki)
http://www.hotelokura.co.jp/tokyo/restaurant/list/sazanka/recommend/

- Yakiniku Kunimoto (Style: Yakiniku)
http://www.8929kunimotoshinkan.com/

- Ningyocho Imahan (Style: Sukiyaki)
http://www.imahan.com/

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Kobe Beef

Kobe beef refers to cuts of beef from the black Tajima-ushi strain of Wagyū cattle, raised according to strict tradition in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. The meat is generally considered to be a delicacy, renowned for its flavor, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture. Kobe beef can be prepared as steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, teppanyaki. and more.

Kobe beef is also called Kobe niku, Kobe-gyu or Kobe-ushi in Japanese.

Kobe beef in Japan is a registered trademark of the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association. It must fulfill all the following conditions:
- Tajima cattle born in Hyōgo Prefecture
- Farm feeding in Hyōgo Prefecture
- Bullock (steer) or castrated bull, to purify the beef
- Processed at slaughterhouses in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa and Himeji in Hyōgo Prefecture.
- Marbling ratio, called BMS,[7] of level 6 and above.
- Meat Quality Score[7] of 4 or 5
- Gross weight of beef from one animal is 470 kg or less.

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Source: Wikipedia

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Soba

Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat. It is synonymous with a type of thin noodle made from buckwheat flour, and in Japan can refer to any thin noodle (in contrast to thick wheat noodles, known as udon). Soba noodles are served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup. It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so it can be harvested four times a year, mainly in spring, summer, and autumn. In Japan, buckwheat is produced mainly in Hokkaido.Soba that is made with newly harvested buckwheat is called “shin-soba”. It is sweeter and more flavorful than regular soba.

In Japan, soba noodles are served in a variety of settings: they are a popular inexpensive fast food at train stations throughout Japan, but are also served by exclusive and expensive specialty restaurants. Markets sell dried noodles and men-tsuyu, or instant noodle broth, to make home preparation easy.

Some establishments, especially cheaper and more casual ones, may serve both soba and udon as they are often served in a similar manner. However, soba is traditionally the noodle of choice for Tokyoites. This tradition originates from the Tokugawa period, when the population of Edo (Tokyo), being considerably wealthier than the rural poor, were more susceptible to beri beri due to their high consumption of white rice, which is low in thiamine. It was discovered that beri beri could be prevented by regularly eating thiamine-rich soba. In the Tokugawa era, every neighborhood had one or two soba establishments, many also serving sake, which functioned much like modern cafes where locals would casually drop by for an informal bite to eat.

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Source: Wikipedia

how-you-order-udon

How you order udon at Marukame-Seimen

1. Order Udon.
2. Wait for Udon cooked. It doesn’t take much time.
3. Get your Udon and move to Tempura corner.
4. Choose Tempura and Umusubi(rice ball) according to your taste.
5. Pay the bill.

This is kind of traditional Udon fast food stores. I believe this is a good experience for you.

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