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Chasen: Handcrafted Japanese Tea Whisks

Handcraft Chasen [caption id="attachment_28806" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo Credit: http://voicecream.jp/[/caption] Chasen are Japanese tea whisks used to create delicious, frothy matcha tea. The whisks are used during Japanese tea Ceremony (Sado), which focuses on careful mindfulness when enjoying tea. The ceremony focuses on the tradition and culture of...

Beautiful weather and colorful leaves for the 2016 Chagenkyo Matsuri in Wazuka, Kyoto.

Welcome to the Chagenkyo Matsuri: Wazuka’s Teatopia Festival

What is Chagenkyo? Celebrating the long history of tea cultivation in Kyoto, the Chagenkyo Matsuri is a festival that has taken place annually for over 30 years. Located in the town of Wazuka, visitors can enjoy great tea and cultural education in a scenic location.Wazuka was one...

September 29th is Maneki Neko Day! 

Photo credit: http://www.hoshinoresorts-magazine.com/

5 Facts About Japan’s Famous “Maneki Neko,” the Lucky Cat

Happy Maneki Nekko Day! Japan sets aside one day every year to celebrate on of their most iconic characters, maneki nekko! Today, September 29th, is Maneki Neko Day! [caption id="attachment_28572" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Maneki neko at Gotokuji Temple.Photo credit: www.tofugu.com[/caption] This adorable little cat is usually placed at the...

Murakami

5 Places from Murakami’s Japan

Haruki Murakami Murakami became a literary legend with his 1987 novel Norwegian Wood. Since then, he has stolen the hearts of readers with his quirky, slightly fantastic, yet somehow realistic worlds. His main characters are accessible yet not quite typical. Shibuya, Tokyo 【After Dark】 While the precise location...

Kakishibu is a traditional Japanese dye created from persimmon juice.

Kakishibu: Natural Color for a Natural Life

[caption id="attachment_28527" align="alignright" width="200"] Kakeshibu Handbag, by Kyoto-based dye works company Maeda Senko[/caption] What is Kakishibu? Kakishibu is a natural dye derived from juicing unripe persimmons. The juice is then fermented to create the final product, a tannin which can be used in many domestic situations. This...

Kimono

Kimono and Yukata Rental Shops in Kyoto

What’s the difference between Yukawa and Kimono? [caption id="attachment_28495" align="alignnone" width="860"] Formal Japanese KimonoPhoto credit: http://art-educ4kids.weebly.com/[/caption] The primary difference between yukata and kimono are the fabrics used to make the garments. Yukata are typically made from a light cotton material as they are worn throughout the summer...

Wazuka

A Home for Art on a Hill in Wazuka

What is Wazuka? Wazuka is a town in Kyoto Prefecture famous for its high quality tea. The farming families in Wazuka have been producing Ujicha for over 800 years. Today around 300 farming families still live in Wazuka. [caption id="attachment_28466" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A tea processing factory sits...

Yakushima

Visit Yakushima the Inspiration for Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke

Check out tea from Yakushima! Visit Yakushima's Ancient Forests Home to ancient trees and moss covered rocks, Yakushima is a lush green forest located off Kyushu island in western Japan. The forest became Japan’s first UNESCO World  heritage site in 1991. However the site is best known...

tsukimi

Tsukimi: Japanese Harvest Moon Festival

Tsukimi Did you celebrate the harvest moon this week? Here in Osaka, it was too cloudy to fully appreciate the full moon. However, tsukimi (moon viewing) is a holiday and, despite the cloudy weather, many people around Japan, and throughout Asia, celebrated. https://www.instagram.com/p/BKXlyi7AIoN/?tagged=tsukimi&hl=en What is Tsukimi? Tsukimi literally means...

Lanterns light up a staircase during the festival.

Bamboo Lanterns Light Up Kyushu

Experience Kyushuu's Bamboo Lantern Festivals Throughout Oita Prefecture, there are various bamboo lantern festivals. These festivals were started, in part, to help maintain the surrounding bamboo forests. Today Oita Prefecture is the largest producer of madake bamboo in Japan! All of the bamboo lanterns are handmade and...

Traditional Japanese treats include seasonal fruits and nuts.

Wagashi: Traditional Japanese Sweets

Wagashi and Tea Wagashi (和菓子) are beautifully decorated, traditional Japanese sweets. Rice cakes (mochi), red bean sweets (anko bean paste), and some fruits are all common types of wagashi. https://www.instagram.com/p/BKQXFh0j3eJ/?tagged=wagashi&hl=en A Short History of Wagashi The word "wa-gashi" is literally means "Japanese snacks." The first character "和" read "wa"...