What are Koma-inu?
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                Imagine you are going out to dinner at your favorite Chinese or Japanese restaurant. What is the first thing you see as you approach the entrance? Most commonly, you’ll find a pair of statues flanking each side of … Read More

What are Torii Gates?
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              In front of every Japanese Shinto shrine there lay a gate made of two vertical posts connected by two posts on top. These gates are called “torii gates” and they are one of the defining characteristics of a Shinto … Read More

Hirakawa Tenmangu(shrine)
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  Out of all of the Tenmangu Shrines, the Hirakawa Tenmangu lies closest to the Imperial Palace. Its location helps it to attract many visitors, especially people who came to visit the palace and gardens. It is extremely common for people … Read More

Atagojinja(Shrine)
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   One of the strongest factors that attract foreigners to shrines is the beautiful locations where they sit. Thanks to their historical value and the pure fact that they have sat in the same place for hundreds of years, shrines take … Read More

Myozenji(temple)
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   Conveniently located across the street from the famous Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi Hills, the Myozenji Temple has attracted quite a lot of attention from those who were able to find it. This temple is definitely well camouflaged in the … Read More

Sakuradajinja(Shrine)
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            Roppongi, Tokyo is an area of Japan famous for extravagant shopping and eccentric nightclubs. Due to Roppongi’s reputation, it is the last place in Tokyo that people would think of for visiting shrines. However, … Read More

Interview with Kozo Yamamoto
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  Interview with Kozo Yamamoto The following interview is between Kozo Yamamoto, MBA, Member of House of Representatives of Japan, and Michelle Alleman, Intern at JTAST, Junior at University of Central Florida. The interview took place at 16:00, June 13, … Read More

What are Omikuji and Ema?
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                   On a patron’s first visit to a temple or shrine of the year, called the “hatsumode,” many people purchase an omikuji. An omikuji is a little strip of paper that tells the patron their fortune for the year. Omikuji … Read More

Tsukiji Hongwanji(Temple)
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     Located in the same district as the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, the Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple is a Buddhist temple that falls under the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha denomination of Buddhism. The Honzan, or “mother temple,” of this denomination lies in Kyoto. … Read More

Namiyoke Inari Jinja(Shrine)
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   I often ask people what they think of when I mention Japan, and the most common response I receive is “sushi.” A big staple in Japanese culture is this delicious cuisine, and the best place to try it is at … Read More

The Difference Between Rinzai and Soto Zen
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This past week I had the opportunity to attempt zazen meditation at both a Rinzai-zen school and a Soto-zen school. Since the differences between these two schools is highly debated, I will explain only what I, an English-speaking foreigner, could … Read More

Sojiji(Temple)
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  Every time I visit a temple or shrine in Japan, I always find myself thinking, “This is it. This is the most amazing shrine/temple in Japan.” With thousands upon thousands of shrines and temples, it is hard to pick a … Read More

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