Today’s topic was a reader request. But to be honest, I’ve been wanting to write about this place for a while. Continue reading What does Sendagaya mean?
This may be the closest you get to experiencing a real daimyo garden in Edo. Continue reading What does Koishikawa mean?
Today’s is a tale of castles, slums, soy sauce, global business, and beautiful gardens. Put down your beer goggles and strap-on and prepare to learn about Morishita!! Continue reading What does Morishita mean?
I’m not even joking when I say I think this name was chosen just because it sounded cool. Continue reading What does Toranomon mean?
At the very end of the Marunouchi Line in Suginami Ward lies an area called Ogikubo. The name, “grassy basin” seems straight forward enough, but might there be a Buddhist connection as well? Continue reading What does Ogikubo mean?
Kondo Isami’s dōjō? The birthplace of the Shinsengumi? Lead poisoning? Shinjuku? WTF??? Continue reading What does Ushigome-Yanagicho mean?
What do a 200 year old whiskey and monkey powered jet packs have to do with each other? Nothing!
Today will dig a little deeper into the seemingly related Meguro and Mejiro. All I can tell you now is that it doesn’t end well. Continue reading What does Mejiro mean?
Yesterday we learned about Iidabashi (and its precursor, Iidamachi). Today we’ll look at Kudanshita, a location whose recent controversial history has somewhat obscured its samurai origins. Continue reading What does Kudanshita mean?
Today’s Tokyo place name is a reader request. The area is decidedly yamanote and was the location of many palatial daimyo residences during the Edo Period, including the lords of Hikone, the Ii clan, including Ii Naosuke, the dude who could have saved the Bakufu. Continue reading What does Yoyogi mean?
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
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
Taiyu-in is the funerary temple of Tokugawa Iemitsu. It’s located in Nikko next to Tosho-gu. It became the standard for all shogun graves. Continue reading Taiyu-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Iemitsu
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
Not much to say on the topic of Toshogu (and to some degree, Taiyuin) because so much has already been said. The real meat of this series will be in the shrines that we can’t see today. Continue reading Tosho-gu・the Grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu
Itabashi is notorious to Shinsengumi lovers. I’ve been there many times for お墓参り, but the name of the town always made me wonder. Was there a bridge? Was there a plank? Today let’s find out what Itabashi means! Continue reading Why is Itabashi called Itabashi?
Just wanted to share 4 more great books about Japanese History that I love! Have an awesome day! Continue reading 4 More Bad Ass Books on Japanese History
年号Nengō (This page was originally published in 5/2013,due to the ever-evolving nature of JapanThis!,it was updated in 7/2015) And I quote… “If your Blog is for begginers as it claims to be.Why do you keep using Emperor years instead of Real … Continue reading Japanese Eras
Nihonbashi! Once the most famous bridge in Japan, now most people are surprised to hear there’s actually a bridge here at all. Continue reading What does Nihonbashi mean?
Kayabacho isn’t the most exciting place in Tokyo and neither is its name. But it is a pretty strange name, so let’s find out why there’s such country sounding place name in the center of one of Tokyo’s busiest business districts! Awwwwwww yeah!
Continue reading What does Kayabacho mean?
Today I continue with Part 2 of “Two Famous Murders in my Neighborhood.” Last time we talked about the assassination of interpreter, Henry Heusken. Today, we’ll talk about the douchiest 志士 shishi (men of high purpose) of the Bakumatsu, Kiyokawa Hachiro who was killed in Azabu-Juban. Continue reading Two Famous Murders in My Neighborhood (part 2)
I live between 2 bridges that became infamous in the Bakumatsu. They were the sites of the murders of a Dutch-American diplomat/interpreter and a douchebag samurai from Yamagata. (part 1) Continue reading Two Famous Murders in My Neighborhood (part 1)
Today we’ll hear the story of a general of the Imperial Army who wanted to kill himself but the emperor wouldn’t let him. But more importantly, we’ll learn about the hill that bares his name. Continue reading What does Nogizaka mean?
Today’s Place Name is a quickie. And a reader suggestion. Is the Ōta Ward connected with Ōta Dōkan? Let’s find out “Why Ōta is called Ōta?” Continue reading What does Ōta mean?
Why is Azabu Juban called Azabu Juban?
Well, the legend goes that…….
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