Yutoku-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Yoshimune

Tokugawa Yoshimune is considered one of the greatest shoguns of Edo Bakufu. He initiated financial reforms that most likely made writing the rest of this series on Tokugawa shogun graves infinitely easier. Just as they re-used existing sites, I can re-use existing blogs. Awwwww yeah. Continue reading Yutoku-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Yoshimune

Joken-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi

Last time, I wrote about the 4th shogun, Tokugawa Ietsuna. Today let’s look at the grave of his younger brother, the much more famous Tokugawa Tsunayoshi – the so-called Dog Shogun. If you’ve been to Ueno Park, you may have seen the gate to his tomb. It’s much better preserved that Ietsuna’s and a little more centrally located… kinda. Continue reading Joken-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi

daitoku-in model at zojo-ji

Daitoku-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Hidetada

Are you ready for this article? Maybe not.
Tokugawa Iemitsu is famous for building Tōshōgū in Nikkō, but he built another masterpiece in Edo for his father. Daitokuin was considered the most beautiful funerary complex at Zōjō-ji. Unfortunately, almost none of it is standing today. So, I’ll attempt to resurrect Daitokuin today. Continue reading Daitoku-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Hidetada

Tokugawa Funerary Temples

Today I’m starting a 16 part series describing the graves of all 15 Tokugawa shoguns. If you’re planning to travel to Japan, and Tokyo in particular, you might want to consider visiting these spots. Unfortunately, there isn’t much left to see in Tokyo, but what is remaining is intriguing! Continue reading Tokugawa Funerary Temples

What does Kasuga mean?

Kasuga no Tsubone, or Lady Kasuga, was a certified card carrying bad ass of the Muromachi Period and Edo Period. She instituted and managed the shogun’s harem. She had an income equal to that of a feudal lord. She pulled the strings of shogunal succession that guaranteed the ascendancy of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the first peace-time Tokugawa shogun. Tokyo remembers her with a street and train station. lol

Why is Kasuga Street called Kasuga Street? Continue reading What does Kasuga mean?

Free Wifi for Travelers in Japan

So you’re planning a trip to Japan. You have a smartphone or PC and you’re worried about only having wifi in your hotel room. Flets will give you access to their hotspots around Tokyo (and some other cities). It might not be perfect, but it’s better than nothing. And it’s FREE! Continue reading Free Wifi for Travelers in Japan

Japanese Manners (part 1)

Going to Japan for the first time? There are a lot of manners and commonsensical behaviors that people do here and just take for granted that everyone knows. But the fact is that if you’re visiting Japan for the first time, you probably don’t know most (or maybe any) of the local customs. If I had a 1 yen coin for every time I saw a foreigner doing something “wrong,” I’d have a fuckload of 1 yen coins. They get in the way, mess up everyone’s routine, or just do things that will annoy everyone around them. None of these things is the end of the … Continue reading Japanese Manners (part 1)

Tour of an Edo Period House in Kyoto

This came to my attention via Japan Probe, and as a lover of Japanese history, it immediately caught my attention. The Japan of the past that we might see in movies and read about in books is quickly disappearing. Here in Tokyo it sometimes seems like only the shrines and temples have survived the earthquakes, fires, carpet bombings and construction booms over the centuries. The Tokyo of today would be utterly unrecognizable to an inhabitant of the Edo Period (we’re talking as late as 1868, folks). Kyoto was luckily spared most of destruction of the American bombings during WWII and … Continue reading Tour of an Edo Period House in Kyoto

Japanese New Year

OK. This is gonna be loooooooooooooooooooooong. I promise to try my best to be concise, but I’m also trying to include as much as possible for people interested in life in Japan. Japanese New Year is the most important holiday of the year. It’s a big family holiday, much like Christmas, but a bit more solemn. All the companies and schools shut down and people return to their hometowns for a week and kick it old school with the fam. (I included a list New Year’s related vocab at the bottom if you want to see the kanji for any … Continue reading Japanese New Year

Need a Cheap Place to Stay in Tokyo?

If you or any of your friends are thinking of coming to Tōkyō on a budget, I can recommend a new, clean, super cheap guesthouse! At about $30 a night, it beats any regular hotel in the Tōkyō area. This is the same price as a “capsule hotel” which is no way to travel.  Plus, you’ll be staying in one of the coolest, most historical areas still left in the city where you can get in touch with “Old Japan.” when a new business opens in japan, other local businesses and supporters send signs and gifts like this My friend … Continue reading Need a Cheap Place to Stay in Tokyo?