Ryoanji

Originally a villa of the Tokudaiji family it was taken over by Hosokawa Katsumoto in 1450 and turned into a Zen temple.

The famous rock garden in front of the quarters of the head priest
is a Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty.

The camellia tree that was reportedly praised by Toyotomi Hideyoshi stands by
the fence in the eastern garden of the quarters of the head priest.

In December 1994 this simple yet profound garden of 15 rocks
set on white gravel was listed as a part of the World Heritage.

Near the eastern garden there stands a teahouse Zorokuan.

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What’s Izakaya 

An Izakaya is the Japanese equivalent of a pub.

It’s good place to visitwhen you want a cusual meal, a wide selection of food, a hearty atmosphere and,of course, plenty of beer and sake.

When you enter an Izakaya, you are given the choice of sitting around the counter,at a table or on a tatami floor.

You usually order a bit at a time, choosing from a selection of typical Japanese foods like Yakitori,

Sashimi, and grilled fish, as well as Japanese interpretations of Western foods like french fries.

the Shinkansen

One of the things that many foreign visitors want to do in Japan is to ride the Shinkansen,

otherwise known as the “bullet train” which was lanched in 1964 as the world’s first high speed train.

Many rival trains have been introduced, including TGV and ICE in the meantime and, as of 2008,

the world’s highest speed train record 350km/h is held by Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Rail

(technically assisted by Germany and Japan).

As for the speed, it is difficult for Shinkansen to compete

with them because its routes include many curves and tunnels.

The Shinkansen’s top speed remains at 300km/h.

But the Shinkansen takes pride in being No.1 in its frequency of daily departures from Tokyo station,

which is every five mimutes, and the average delay per day, which in only six seconds.

Mt.Fuji

Mt.Fuji, the highest peak in Japan, is 3,776 meters in height.

It has been worshipped and loved by the Japanese people

since ancient times for its noble and nearly perfect conical shape.

It is classified as an  active volcano whose last eruption took place in 1707.

At that time, three inches of ashes fell on Tokyo (at that time Edo)

about 120 kilometers away from the mountain.

The name “Fuji” meant fire mountain in the aborigines’ language

and it also means  immortality.

Karate was firast introduced from China to Okinawa, where it developed as the art ofself defence when weapons were prohibited.

Figters trained their whole bodies to be used as weapons.

There are two types of Karate matches, Kumite and Kata.

Kumite is a sparring matsh where points are scored when players stop their thrustsand kicks inches from their opponent’s bodies.

In Kata maches, they demonstrate combinations of various technipues.

Spiritual aspects are also stressed in Karate.

What’s Sumo

Sumo is the oldest sport in Japan and was originally practiced as a part of
Shinto rituals for agricultural fertility in ancient times.

Professional wrestlers appeared in Edo period,
and bouts were performed to raise funds to build temples and shrines.

In 1909, Sumo match, two wrestlers wearing only loincloths wrestle
in a 4.5-meter diameter ring until one of them is pushed out or touches
the ground with any part of his body other than the soles of his feet.

There are six tournaments lasting 15 days every year,
three in Tokyo and one in Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, respectively.

What’s  Kendo

Kendo was developed as an essential discipline for Samurai warriors during the Edo period.

 Influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism, it stresses not only the acuisition of technique, but spiritual refinement.

In a kendo match, participants wearing protective gear attack each other with bamboo swords called shinai.

Points are scored by hitting an opponent’s head, trunk, and forearms or charging at the throat with a shinai.