A common sight in both the city and country, earthen storehouses called “kura” are a quintessential part of the Japanese architectural landscape. Continue reading Kura – All About Kura – Japan’s Traditional Storehouses
Follow up to the last article on Kanda & Kanda Shrine. Continue reading What does Kanda mean? (part two)
People have been asking for this one since 2013. I finally did it in 2 parts. Continue reading What does Kanda mean?
I remember when I 0 readers. Thanks for all your support! We’ve made it to 300 articles on #etymology and #JapanHistory. Unbelievable. Continue reading 300th Article Anniversary!
The term “yamanote” is synonymous with “upscale” and both Meguro and Ebisu fit that description. Continue reading Yamanote Line: Meguro and Ebisu
My long overdue exploration of Tōkyō via the Yamanote Line begins here. I hope you’ll stick around for the whole series! Continue reading Yamanote Line Extravaganza (intro)
#Harajuku means a lot of things to many people, but the area was insignificant until the 1920’s and finally prospered in the post-war years. Continue reading What does Harajuku mean?
There’s a new service specializing in tourism for Japanese History. It may include beer! Help me spread the word, guys! Continue reading I Have a Huge Announcement!
Continuing with our 15th installment of exploring Edo-Tōkyō via the Ōedo Line. Continue reading Ōedo Line: Kachidoki
Continuing with our 14th installment of exploring Edo-Tōkyō via the Ōedo Line. Continue reading Ōedo Line: Tsukishima
First installment on my series exploring Edo-Tōkyō via the Ōedo Line. Continue reading Ōedo Line Extravaganza (intro)
Tsukisha and Tsukiji are famous Tokyo neighborhoods. But do you know Tsukuda? Continue reading What is the Tsukishima Area?
Shinagawa Station in History I haven’t updated in a while, so please accept my apologies. I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment but there is an article in the works. That said, an idea came to me while on the shitter thinking about Edo Bay vs. Tōkyō Bay (as one does). So I thought I’d share a bunch of cool pictures of Shinagawa. In the Edo Period, the Shinagawa/Takanawa area was a collection of bustling seaside villages, but compared to castle town of Edo, it was quite rural. It was the literal edge of Edo. The Tōkaidō, … Continue reading Shinagawa Station – Then and Now
The story of the Kanda River is a story as old as Edo itself. It is part and parcel of the evolution of the city. Continue reading The Kanda River
大森貝塚Ōmori Kaizuka (Omori Shell Mound) The other day I wrote about Ōmori and I mentioned that there was a paleolithic trash dump there that was the first archaeological dig in Japan. I had a little free time so I decided to check it out and take some pictures for the site. Actually, it was a lot less interesting than I thought it would be, but I don’t want the pictures to go to waste. Hopefully, there’s some interesting stuff in here for you. Continue reading A Visit to the Omori Kaizuka
Ota Dokan did it! Well, in this case, he probably did. Let’s get it on. Continue reading What does Dokanyama mean?
Sendagi is one of the areas where the spirit of old Japan still lingers. It’s history lovers wet dream! Continue reading What does Sendagi mean?
Today, Roppongi is a party town. For years it’s been popular with foreigners due to its proximity to so many foreign embassies. Because of this proximity, the area is relatively English-friendly which makes it a destination for foreigners visiting Japan and the seedy businesses that often cater to (or try to take advantage of) foreigners. But in the Edo Period, this was home to sprawling mansions of the elite ruling class. Many of the street blocks still correspond to the locations of these residences. Continue reading Why is Roppongi called Roppongi
Nobody ever thinks about the etymology airport names. Be one of the few chosen ones! Continue reading What does Haneda mean?
Most of the train lines in Tōkyō have names based on whatever major area they originated/terminated – or at least stopped at. For example, the Marunouchi Line’s most important stations were in the former Marunouchi (Daimyō Alley) and the Yamanote Line connected centers of the “new Yamanote.[ii]” Some of the more ambitious, longer train lines have names that describe their start/stop points in general terms. This type of name usually reflects the tendency of the Japanese language to make new matches out of existing kanji.
Most of these names are self-evident to the Japanese, especially people who live and/or work in and around Tōkyō. But many of these names may be slightly mysterious to foreigners. Continue reading Tokyo Train Line Names
Asakusa – one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Japan. Continue reading What does Asakusa mean?
牛込 Ushigome (Crowd of Cows) 。 。 牛 ushi cow 込 komi[i] swarming, huddling, amassed, crowded, “in bulk” 。 According to Japanese Wikipedia[ii], in 701, in accordance to the Taihō Code, a livestock ranch was established in this area. In fact, two were established which were sometimes referred to as 牛牧 gyūmaki a cow ranch and 馬牧 umamaki a horse ranch. These two locations came to be referred to as 牛込 Ushigome and 駒込 Komagome. The fact that there was a cattle/dairy ranch here in the Asuka Period is a known fact (it’s documented). The horse ranch is a different … Continue reading What does Ushigome mean?
Summer in Japan means matsuri (festivals), hanabi (fireworks), and fuzoku (prostitution). Today we’ll look at the first two! Continue reading Edo River Fireworks
The shogunate is finished… that’s not sad to me. The sad thing is closing out this chapter on a subject that is so personal to me. I also love Yoshinobu because after a hundred years of 微妙 shoguns, we got a guy who represented his era and his pedigree exceptionally. Until the bitter end, Yoshinobu was an aristocrat, but in a time of crisis he took the challenge and helped to save the shogun family line persist until the present day. Continue reading The Grave of Tokugawa Yoshinobu
We’re at the twilight of Tokugawa power in Japan – the 14th shogun, Tokugawa Iemochi. Continue reading Shomyo-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Iemochi
Onkyo-in is the grave of the 14th shogun Tokugawa Iesada and his wife Atsu-hime. He was incapable when foreigners knocked on Japan’s door. Continue reading Onkyo-in
Tokugawa Ieyoshi was a pretty much a brown paper bag shogun. There is nothing notable about his rule… until the last year. In the last year, Commodore Perry arrived in Japan with his “Black Ships” and demanded that Japan end its isolationist policy. That’s when the shit hit the proverbial fan. Continue reading Shintoku-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ieyoshi
Tokugawa Ienari is my favorite shogun. Dude as a straight up player. Watch and learn, children. Continue reading Bunkyo-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ienari
Tokugawa Ieharu, the lovable but forgettable 10th shogun. Continue reading Shunmei-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ieharu
Today we’ll look at the grave of the 9th shogun, Tokugawa Ieshige — which is basically the grave of the 7th shogun, Ietsugu. Continue reading Junshin-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ieshige