Shizuoka City, Japan, The World Plastic Model Capital: Shizuoka Hobby Square!

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The Big board introducing the Shizuoka Hobby Square with some of its major models!

Plastic models, from miniatures to figurines and modeling tools, made in Japan have been famous all over the world for countless years and such names as Tamiya, Hasegawa, Bandai are household names at all major events and fan discussions from Great Britain to China, but do many aficionados know that most companies are all based in one single city?
Shizuoka City located halfway between Tokyo and Nagoya, about 80 minutes from the Capital of Japan by Shinkansen bullet train and is famous all over japan for Munt Fuji, green tea and wasabi. A city of nearly 800,000 souls it ships no less than 88% of all plastic models manufactured in Japan! No less than 10 companies are based there either historically, such as Tamiya and Hasegawa or by choice like Bandai which moved from Tokyo for better exposure.

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Jiro Aoshima and his family back in 1924!

Shizuoka City, with its abundant forest resources has always had a thriving wood and bamboo industry back more than 200 years ago. Jiro Aoshima, the first man to build and fly a civil airplane in Shizuoka City and consequently in Japan, established the Aoshima Flight Research Institute in 1924 (the predecessor of the current Aoshima Bunka Kyozai Co., Ltd.). The manufacturing of wooden model airplanes started in 1932, and was the first step toward Shizuoka City becoming the plastic model capital of the World.

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Salvaged parts of Jiro Aoshima’s first airplane are still exhibited inside Shizuoka Hobby Square!

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Models created by artists working full-time in house at Tamiya inc.!

When foreign plastic models started being imported in the late 1950’s, the model trend shifted from wooden to plastic. This created a big impact on the manufacturing process. The know-how for making moulds and handling plastic resin, along with more money and human resources, suddenly became necessary.

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Models not only are faithfully built according to salvaged data but also to incomparable paintings by artists such as the WWII (1941) IJN Aircraft carrier Akagi painted by Noriyoshi Arai before it was re-created by Hasegawa Co., Ltd. Note that the zero fighters on neighboring aircraft carrier are different!

The current model manufacturers used skill, passion and dedication to rise up during these turbulent times. To help its major industry the City Government of Shizuoka (Capital of Shizuoka Prefecture) decided a few years ago to invest in the sole entirely tax-funded exhibition hall of its kind in Japan, namely the Shizuoka Hobby Square! It has since become the main focal point for monthly hobby events and special exhibitions reported by national and international media together with the Shizuoka Hobby Show held every year in May at Twin Messe Shizuoka giant hall in Shizuoka City, the largest exhibition of its kind in Japan where famous domestic makers of plastic models, radio-controlled models and railroad models gather under one single roof to announce their new products both for the benefit of professionals and retailers from Japan and all over the world, as well as for the public (admission free!) coinciding with more hobby-related events all over the city, notably the Granship Train Festa, Tamiya Open House and the Staff Model exhibition!

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Famous manga characters and their fighting vessels are ever present such as the Space Battleship Yamato (also called Space Cruiser Yamato) along with spacecraft from the film conceived by producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki in 1973!

Shizuoka Hobby Square is conveniently located near the South exit of Shizuoka JR Station on the second floor of a large complex owned by a big insurance company sheltering Hotel Century Shizuoka, Fujitsu Co. and the headquarters of many others.

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One of the main Gundam characters created by Bandai Hobby Center!

A rare boon is that anyone is allowed to take as many photos as he or she wants! Although you are not allowed to ouch the life-sized plastic model of one of the major Gundam characters! Actually the place is thoroughly kept clean for obvious reasons and food and drinks, although allowed before the entrance, are prohibited once inside the exhibition rooms!

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Companies will make a point to exhibit all new creations!

The products of six companies are permanently on show inside the Shizuoka Hobby Square:

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The real Harley-Davidson and Honda motorbikes!

TAMIYA Inc.
The top brand in the plastic model. It also has a major shop in Le Mans, France, and has held a yearly show in Nuremberg, Germany, for the last 25 years. Boasts a huge variety of products, from display-purpose scale models such as cars, motorcycles, airplanes, ships and military vehicles, to models you can enjoy racing such as RC cars and Mini 4WD, as well as DIY models, tools and paint backed up by many manuals and specialized books.

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The Harley-Davidson and Honda motorbikes models by Tamiya Inc.!

The owners of Tamiya Inc. and Honda Co. who have shared the same history and a long friendship in Shizuoka Prefecture (which also hosts such companies as Suzuki, Yamaha, and Koito) have the original particularity of producing both the full-scale motorcycle and its plastic model at exactly the same date!

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Tamiya Inc.’s activity room for all ages!

Tamiya Inc. not only also has its own tools, paints and kits shop inside the Square but also a workshop where fans can build their own models and a circuit (for a very small fee) where customers can compete with their own model cars all day long!

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Ever popular girlie manga characters by Aoshima Bunka Kyozai Co., Ltd.!

Aoshima Buka Kyozai Co., Ltd.
Established by Jiro Aoshima, Shizuoka City’s first private plane pilot. Primarily focused on making models children can play with, Aoshima produces innovative products including scale models, character/figurine models and school science class models.

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: Airplanes of all eras from all over the world by Hasegawa Co., Ltd.!

Hasegawa Co., Ltd.
Founded in 1941 it began production of cypress rods and rubber-powered light planes the same year. Started manufacturing plastic models in 1961. Since most of its products were model panes, fans all over the World came to call it “Hasegawa: Number one for planes”!

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Bandai’s array of Gundam and space fighting characters is almost unending!

Bandai Hobby Center
Originally based in Tokyo it moved a few years ago to Shizuoka City. The production base for plastic models of science fiction manga such as Gundam of Gundam Mobile Suit, a televised anime series produced and animated by Sunrise since 1979 , Bandai prides itself in having gathered the latest technology and skills for making plastic models. Aiming to create plastic models that anyone can enjoy, Bandai continues to evolve and spread its message to the world.

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Ebbro’s very minute car and motorbike models which have parents and children fighting over their possession!

EBBRO
Focusing on domestic made-made and racing vehicles, Ebbro produces intricate toy cars. The details replicated at 1/43 scale are the coolest part of Ebbro’s cars. Some plastic models of F-1 racers and European cars have been developed. Ebbro’s toy cars are fun and even more enjoyable to collect.

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WoodyJoe Co., Ltd. Not only creates ships of all eras from all over the World but also exquisite renditions of historic buildings and Japanese abodes!

WoodyJOE Co., Ltd.
The only wooden sailing ship model kit manufacturer in Japan. Other than sailboats, they also offer precise wooden replicas of historical buildings, European and Japanese. You can take time to experience the “joy of creating”, while feeling the warmth of nature at your fingertips.

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For the true model maniacs: Tamiya Inc.’s Type 10 Tank is not only fully remote-controlled but also features sound and light with a gun turret keeping still on target while the whole body moves under!

The four other companies not represented are:
-Platz ltd. In addition to manufacturing and selling its own products (plastic models, decals, etched parts, etc.), it is also an authorized import agent, selling products from world-famous plastic model makers (airplanes, tanks, figures, etc.).
-Asuka Model Ltd. From advanced military kits to beginners’ kits, Asuka develops products for every level. “Puramozaru” can be easily made by children 6-and-up, so are recommended to beginners.
-SWEET. Specializes in cute palm-sized airplane plastic models (1/144 scale). The boxes and assembly productions include characters designed by Shizuoka cartoonist Yukihisa Fujita and are popular with modelers of all ages.
Shimomura Alec Co., Ltd. The only company in Shizuoka that develops and sells detailed hand tools for making models. They aim to make tools that can reach difficult areas like none other, such as the world’s thinnest handsaw. Several of their products have been certified as Shizuoka Prefecture product innovations.

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A small view of the Tamiya Inc.‘s special tools and accessories shop!

Now Shizuoka Hobby Square is not only an exhibition hall for six of the model manufacturing companies based in Shizuoka, but also as mentioned before a place where you can buy kits, tools, paints and what more to create superb models and also a place where you can acquire books and information about the models you plan to build to help you achieve the most faithful models possible.

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Creations by Yofukashi modelers Club in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture!

It moreover has the particularity to introduce amateur model hobbyists who have their award-winning models exhibited permanently with their names and history and a description of their creations.

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A small sample of Tamiya Inc.’s cake models!

Ladies and girls will also find their favorite subjects not only with figurines but also cake and confectionery plastic models and even regular classes! They have their own event the second week-end of December in the whole hall!

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Yes! These pristine wooden tanks created ages ago by Tamiya Inc. are still fully operable!

History also holds an important role without which true model fans would not get full satisfaction. For example rare models first created by Tamiya with wood and gum of army tanks which still can move with the help of their own batteries are permanently exhibited.

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Rare copies of old Japanese model/miniature hobby magazines can be admired in a pristine condition!

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For the true aficionados’ information: very rare old models and their original boxes belonging to private owners are also on display!

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Mr. Kimiyuki Yamada will always be found busy making his own models! A French Citroen 2CV in this case!

Foreign visitors should not worry about the barrier language as staff with a reasonable knowledge of English will be on hand such as Mr. Kimiyuki Yamada who is a retired former employee of Tamiya Inc. but still works there as a part-timer out of sheer passion for his work and hobby!

Special Interest items!
Now, like any exhibition halls there are some items worth looking for as they are not only exquisite in concept and details, but because they also help you make discoveries that will become the icing on the cake of your visit!

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Models to help the classes with a fun study of anatomy by Aoshima Bunka Kyozai Co., Ltd.!

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Tamiya Inc. helps you reproduce traditional Japanese shops and food stalls to add to your Japanese landscape! A cute little souvenirs for your kids (and the young at age) back home!

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The highly decorated trucks were much the rage in the 60’s and 70’s in Japan and their models are a reminder of the movies in vogue then with their rogue heroes and vehicles!

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The most famous Japanese cruise ship, the Asuka II by WoodyJOE Co., Ltd.!

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An important detail that everyone consciously to mention is that to welcome visitors for as long as they want, the hall is equipped with modern washrooms not only for both genders, but also for wheel chair users!

SHZUOKA HOBBY SQUARE
Location: 3F South-spot Shizuoka, 18-1 Minami-Cho, Suruga Ku, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, 422-66067, Japan
Tel.: 81+54-289-3033
Fax: 81+54-289-3034
E-mail: hobby01@hobbysquare.jp
HOMEPAGE (English)
Opening hours: Weekdays: 11:00~18:00
Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays: 10:00~18:00
Closed on Mondays
(If Monday is a holiday, closed on Tuesday)
Access: 1 minute walk from the south exit of Shizuoka Station (about 80 minutes by Shinkansen Bullet Train or 3 hours by Tokaido Railway from Tokyo)
About 15 minutes by car from the Tomei expressway Shizuoka Interchange
(Paid parking is available in the area)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Manhole Covers in Shizuoka Prefecture 46: “new” and “old” discoveries in Hamamatsu City!

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The other day I had the opportunity to visit Hamamatsu City for the first time in a long time and discovered and re-discovered manhole covers!
The one above is a new one for access to sewers with the mascot of Hamamatsu City, “Ieyasu Kun”, That is Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu that the City of Hamamatsu more or less stole (like they do with other things…) from Shizuoka City.
They added a piano to his apron because Hamamatsu City is the biggest piano producer in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Unfortunately there quite a few mistakes in the English translation (boohhh… for an international city!):
HAMAMATSU CITY SHUSSEMANHOLE should have been written “HAMAMATSU CITY SHUSSEI MANHOLE”…

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In the end (to make sure that they don’t copy Shizuoka City?) a new cover was created to give Ieyasu Kun a female companion called “Nattora Chan”1 And they also made a point that they too have a castle….

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More interestingly, when I visited the old district of “Sakana Cho” I discovered, or more aptly said re-discovered old covers bearing fish (which is also pronounced “sakana” in Japanese!).
The one above represents two flat fish/soles/halibuts.

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The two fish on that other one are cods, but I’m not too sure!

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On this one, not a manhole cover, but a sewer plaque, the fish is definitely what the British call a “plaice”!

Footnote: Many cities, towns and villages having been recently merged into Hamamatsu City but I keep such reports according to separate areas of this area-wise vast city!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Manhole Covers in Shizuoka Prefecture 45: Ito City!

Ito City is a bit isolated at the eastern extremity of Shizuoka Prefecture just south of Atami City.
More “outsiders” than tourists from Shizuoka Prefecture tend to crowd its narrow streets.
It is a quaint city full of hidden sights and one of them lies at your feet, namely manhole covers!

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The first you will feet is that of a colorful rendition of a “matoi”/firefighters festival pole, which reminds you of the importance of keeping a vigilant eye all year round as fires were and still are the scourge of Japanese cities!

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Cito City has two distinct “official” manhole cover designs, one showing the rugged shore, its light house and a suspended bridge over the sea!

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The other one is a rendition of the famous tub race festival being held every summer down the local river!

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Some local citizens went as far as painting some for better a better exposure!

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Note the official Ito City design on plainer covers!

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And if you look carefully, you will find plenty more covering all the valves needed for a city famous for its hot springs!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Nabe shrine (那部神社) in Yaizu City!

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Nabe Shrine/那部神社 is located quite a long way on foot from Yaizu JR Station but it is worth the log walk even by a scorching summer day.
It is located in Hamatome 3 Chome at the foot of a hill overlooking the sea past a steep cliff.
The reason it is located from the center is that it had always been a major shrine for local fishermen.

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There are no less than three stone torii gates along the way leading to the shrine.

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The oldest of three torii!

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It has its own roofed stone hand washing basin, although it is not regularly filled with water.

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But is is still worth having a look at!

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Dragon water spout!
Don’t steal it! (Unfortunately this happened recently in our Prefecture!)

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Many stone lanterns have been donated through the ages!

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An old lantern with a new pedestal!

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Apparently it had a different name a long time ago, unless it had two distinctive names as it is the abode of not one, but of two deities!

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You will discover a rare combination of two statues of lion guards and deities each!

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The left hand side komainu/lion guard with its maw closed!

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And its left hand side companion with its maw opened!

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The deity on the left is Ebisu/恵比寿, the God of fishermen in particular!

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The other deity is Daikokuten/大黒天, the God of prosperity among other attributes!

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The “haiden/wosrhipers’ hall!

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Complete with the usual paraphernalia!

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Nabe Shrine/那閉神社 in the old writing!

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The wooden money offerings box!

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Decorated with a beautiful”mon/Japanese crest”!

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A couple more smaller but probably older shrines!

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An outside view of the “honden/God’s hall closed to outsiders!

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An old anchor donated by local fishermen!

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More smaller shrines!

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The beautiful pinion of the haiden!

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Yet another smaller shrine!

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Another side view of the honden!

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A back view of the alley!

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Good-bye, Nabe Shrine!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Kisa Shrine (岐佐神社) in Bentenjima, Hamamatsu City!

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If you happen to walk along the Old Tokaido Road between Bentenjima and Maisaka in Hamamatsu City you will eventually discover a fairly large Shinto Shrine on your righ hand side: Kisa Shrine/岐佐神社!

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It is fairly ancient and has been rebuilt many a time as demonstrated by this goblin pinion which has been preciously preserved after one reconstruction!

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You realize it is still very much venerated when you find that the roofed stone hand-washing basin has still a placard demonstrating the proper way to cleanse yourself!

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Complete with a dragon water spout!

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As on many other ancient sites you will notice many a small shrine!

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Stone stairs leading to the main building!

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Lined up with many donated stone lanterns!

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Take your time to climb up the stairs!

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The “haiden/worshipers hall”!

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You can also reach it along a paves side way!

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in spite of the new roof you know an old shrine!

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The “komainu/lion guard” with its maw closed on the left!

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And its companion on the right with its maw closed!

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More lion guards on the roof!

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This highly venerated stone is called “Red wild boar stone”!

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Another old votive stone!

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Venerable pine trees all around!

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It was a short visit, so it is good-bye to Kisa Shrine for a while!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Sengen Shrine (浅間神社) and Kumano Shrine (熊野神社) in Mochimune, Shizuoka City!

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Sengen Shrine/浅間神社 and Kumano Shrine/熊野神社 were ercted in Mochimune, Shizuoka City at a time when the ocean/sea reached the slopes bordering the JR Railway Line.
Now you have to find a way across the same railway line to be able to reach them in Shiroyama Cho!

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Once past the fairly modern concrete “torii”/sacred gates you will encounter the first stone lanterns/”ishidoroo”!

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The stone lanterns bear the common carvings of clouds and deer.

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As well as that of mountains!

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you will find on your left a simple, rustic stone hand wash basin with a small roof.

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You will also notice another red torii ans small shrines on your left!

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Past the stone hand was basin you will discover a tiny shrine spanning over what used to be a small pond!

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Many more stone lanterns beside the stairs!

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Sengen Shrine “haiden”/worshiping building.

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More stone lanterns!

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The shrine is guarded by two “komainu”/lion guards, the one of the left with its maw closed!

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Its right paw resting on the back of a smaller lion.
I’m still investigating the meaning of this smaller lion sometimes found in other shrines!

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The lion guard on the right with its maw open!

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Its left paw resting on a sphere!

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A closer view of the “haiden” with its praying bell rope!

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“Sengen Shrine/浅間神社”, one of the more than 1,300 shrines affiliated to the main Sengen Shrine at the foot of Mount Fuji in Fujinomiya City!

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Let’s have a look at Kumano Shrine/熊野神社 on the left!

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Guarded by two very ancient lion guards!

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Always two of them!

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From there we can have a look at the “honden”/House of the god of Sengen Shrine closed to the public!

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The side access to Kumano Shrine lined up with stone lanterns!

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Actually it is more an association of small shrines, some of them with their own money offfering boxes!

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All under big old trees!

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Although the torii plaque states “Sengen Shrine”, the stone is carved with the name of “kumano shrine”!

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Dominated as usual by enormous trees which have seen a lot of puny humans along the years!

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This anchor is the very proof that the site is dedicated to local mariners and fishermen!

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Good-bye, Sengen Sengen Shrine! Good-bye, Kumano Shrine!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Gion Festival in Yoshiwara, Fuji City (2016) 6): The O-Mikoshi/Portable Shrines!

Every year on the second week-end of June a very old Japanese Festival is held in Yoshiwara/吉原 in Fuji City/富士市 called Yoshiwara Gion Festival/吉原祇園祭り.
Although it is a well-known festival in Our Prefecture, it seems they welcome more visitors from Tokyo than from Shizuoka City!
A great pity indeed!
I was able at last to witness it, that is part of it as I had to unfortunately come back early in the evening missing the floats parade.
I still manage quite a few pictures to give a good idea of what to enjoy next year!
As there are too many photos for a single report I divided them according to their genre or subject.
This sixth one is about the O-Mikoshi!

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Small O-Mikoshi, probably for children to carry along!

O-Mikoshi/御神輿 is an integral part of Japanese Festivals as the latter are usually related to the Shinto religion. They can be roughly translated as portable shrines and they are usually stored inside Shinto Shrines all year long to be taken out on the day of the Shrine Festivals or on other Festivals.

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These can be relatively small or near enormous.
The one used during the Yoshiwara Gion Festival needs at least 20 strong men to carry along the streets of Yoshiwara!

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In other Festivals you will sometimes notice ladies helping with carrying, but in Yoshiwara only men are allowed to!

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The reason to carry and shake an O-Mikoshi around is to wake up the deity inside and make him/her happy enough to dispense his/her benevolence onto worshipers!

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The carrying around of the O-Mikoshi will take all afternoon as all the 21 Districts will take care of it in turns!

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The worshipers bowing in love and respect before carrying their deity around!

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The men may do the carrying but the ladies are always near wit water and sake!

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Smiling under the stress!

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Starting to feel the strain!

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But certainly not giving up!

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The next District team bow to the O-Mikoshi while the Kannushi/神主/Shinto priest goes through his rituals to bless the portable shrine and his bearers!

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Each district will contribute its own gifts and sake! Bear in mind that “sake”‘s original meaning is “Food of the Gods”!

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Very serious about it!

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Sake is then poured onto the shrine!
The “sasa/笹/a kind of bamboo tied to the shrine in the Yoshiwara fashion will be taken off branch by branch by the carriers to stay in their home until the next Festival for luck and prosperity!

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Of late foreigners take part in such festivals and Yoshiwara Gion Festival is no exception. There no less than three of them for this particular district!

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But all the shouting was done in Japanese!

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The bare-chested carriers belong to the local judo club. Others wear shirts mimicking the tattoos of bearers of old!

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Another expat sweating along!

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Grimacing under the effort!

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The last spurt!

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See you again next year!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

The Hidden Gems of Japan!