In the Edo Period, this area was ocean. Today it’s skyscrapers! Continue reading What does Kōnan 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
Easiest place name ever. Continue reading What does Keyakizaka mean?
A rich guy, a castle and a nature preserve walk into a bar… Continue reading What does Shirokane mean?
Before the Scientific Method arrived, scholars and common folk grouped animals in according to a traditional Sino-Japanese methodology. Today’s place name bears evidence to that grouping methodology.
Continue reading What does Mamiana-cho mean?
10 Quick Questions From Readers!
(Still took 2 days to write… lol) Continue reading 10 Random Quickies – Japan This Lite
We’ve come to the 7th shogun. His funerary temple was one of the architectural gems of Edo-Tokyo. Sadly, it was the last of these fine structures. From here on out we will only have group enshrinements. It’s the end of an era. Continue reading Yusho-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ietsugu
The second greatest funerary complex at Zojo-ji was Bunshoin, the mortuary temple of the 6th shogun, Tokugawa Ienobu.
Almost nothing remains of the site, but I hope to walk you through it today as best as I can. Continue reading Bunsho-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ienobu
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
Taking a break from the Toshima Clan’s lands, we’ll move back into solidly Tokugawa territory. This will set up a 16 part series that will begin next week. So let’s find out what “Shiba” means in Japanese. Continue reading What does Shiba mean?
Ota Dokan again?
Yes. Since I talked about Shakujii and Nerima last week, this week I’ve decided to hit the next most closely related topics; Toshima, Kita, and Itabashi. By Wednesday… and with the help of a simple map, you’ll probably see what’s going on here clearly. Continue reading What does Toshima mean?
Torīzaka is one of the steepest hills in Tokyo. The word Torī would make you think there was a big shrine in the area, but there isn’t. So where did this name come from?
Let’s find out what Torīzaka means! Continue reading Why is Toriizaka called Toriizaka?
What do you get when you mix a monorail with skyscapers, a stunning view of the bay, an old train station and edo period gardens? Shiodome! Let’s find out about the mysterious origins of the place name and dramatic history of the area. Continue reading Why is Shiodome called Shiodome?
Yesterday we talked about Akasaka. Today we’ll talk about Akasaka-mitsuke, a much more “samurai sounding” place name. Enjoy! Continue reading What does Akasaka-Mitsuke mean?
In the Edo Period it was famous as the home of some of the most powerful daimyo. Today it’s famous for politics and commerce. For all of its history it’s been famous for being red. Let’s find out why Akasaka is called the Red Hill. Continue reading Why is Akasaka called Akasaka?
Today’s place name sounds like it comes from a beautiful green mountain, but actually it’s the name of a prominent samurai family from the Sengoku Period. Why is is Aoyama called Aoyama? Continue reading What does Aoyama mean?
What has a whale tail gate, an old shitamachi town, and one of Sony’s major offices, and a shinkasen station? That’s right, Shinagawa! Let’s take the Konan Exit today! Continue reading Why is Konan called Konan?
Takeshita Street in Harajuku is one of the most famous fashion centers in the world. But what does Takeshita Street mean? I bet you’ll be shocked to learn that Takeshita Street means “Giant Octopus Boner” in Japanese. Continue reading Why is Takeshita Street called Takeshita Street?
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)
Today we’re talking about Mita! Home of Tokyo Tower, Shiba Park, Keio University and tons of celebrities. See you there! Continue reading What does Mita mean?
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?
Was there a connection between the place names for Shinagawa and Takanawa? Let’s find out today. (btw – today’s place names will require a pretty reasonable familiarity with kanji). Continue reading Why are Shinagawa and Takanawa called Shinagawa and Takanawa?
Why is Azabu Juban called Azabu Juban?
Well, the legend goes that…….