Most viewed - HigashiOmi 東近江市
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San-mon Gate. Built in 1802. 三門347 views
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Inside Hondo temple hall, Eigenji290 views
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Living room of former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Shigeru.282 views
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Gokasho is famous for the grand, old homes of wealthy Omi merchants. Three of them are clustered together for us to visit inside. They are the former residences of Tonomura Uhee (外村 宇兵衛), Tonomura Shigeru (外村 繁), and Nakae Jungoro (中江 279 views
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Located in Higashi-Omi and established in 1361, Eigenji is a temple of the Zen Rinzai Buddhist Sect (Eigenji School) and well-known for fall colors with 3,000 maple trees. Touristy entrance to Eigenji. Map276 views
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Former home of Omi merchant Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎邸).276 views
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Take off. On cue, the people pulling the kite start running and the kite starts to lift off. Also see the video at YouTube.261 views
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Although not part of the Koto Sanzan Temple Trio (all Tendai Buddhist temples), most visitors also visit Eigenji together with the Koto Sanzan temples. Accessible by bus taking 30-40 min. from Yokaichi Station on the Omi Railway Line or from Hyakusaiji. 250 views 4 comments
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Yokaichi giant kite coming up.248 views
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Hillside garden233 views
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Former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Shigeru (外村 繁邸). Map227 viewsTonomura Shigeru (外村 繁), Tonomura Uhee (外村 宇兵衛), and Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎)
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Held on May 4 by Sanposan Shrine in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture, Iba-no-saka-kudashi Matsuri has three portable shrines hauled down a steep mountain (Kinugasa-yama) for about 500 meters. 225 views
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Eigenji Hondo temple hall. Built in 1765.222 views
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No wind. This flight lasted only about 30 sec. We ran about 50 meters, then the kite fell back to Earth. Also see the video at YouTube.217 views
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My YouTube video of the Iba-no-saka-kudashi Matsuri.209 views
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Hina festival dolls. 雛祭りの雛人形196 views
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Sutra Repository 経堂192 views
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Kite train or "rendako." These kites are pretty to watch. 連凧191 views
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Hyakusaiji temple190 views
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About the Iba Goten Palace. 伊庭御殿遺跡185 views
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Entrance Gate. This is where you pay admission. 総門182 views
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Yokaichi Odako giant kite Air borne180 views
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Room with Hina festival dolls and entrance to the Tonomura Shigeru Literature Museum. 雛祭りの雛人形180 views
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Raising the kite. Long bamboo poles are used to prop the huge kite upward to meet the wind.178 views
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Higher and higher...176 viewsIt went up to about ?? meters.
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Echigawa River empties into Lake Biwa.175 views
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Hina festival dolls175 views
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Hina festival dolls. 雛祭りの雛人形171 views
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Festival poster167 views
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During July-Aug. 2007, I helped to make the Yokaichi giant kite at the annex of the Yokaichi Giant Kite Museum.where the giant kite is made. Every three years, the giant kite, flown every May in Higashi-Omi, is replaced by a new kite bearing a new design.167 viewsThe new kite was made during July-Aug. 2007, taking about 30 days. The kite is made by volunteers from the public under the instruction of the Yokaichi Giant Kite Preservation Society. For the first time, I helped make this giant kite which was first flown successsfully on May 25, 2008 at the annual kite festival.
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Sutra Repository 経堂165 views
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The Big One. The size is equivalent to 100 tatami mats or about 12 meters x 13 meters (156 square meters).164 views
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Notogawa Station on JR Tokaido/Biwako Line. Beautifully designed station resembling a water wheel, the symbol of the town. East Exit. 能登川駅162 views
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The kite flew quite high for about 3 min. 35 sec. Also see my YouTube video here.161 views
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Eigenji Dam158 views
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After the flight, we could see the kite up close. A sacred sakaki tree branch adorned the back of the kite. Also many paper stickers with people's wishes were pasted on the back.153 views
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Located in Higashi-Omi and established by Shotoku Taishi in 609, Hyakusaiji temple is Shiga Prefecture's oldest temple and one of Japan's oldest. It belongs to the Tendai Buddhist Sect. Map152 viewsThe temple's terraced slope had many temple residences for hundreds of monks training here. National Historic Site
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Inside Hondo temple hall151 views
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I saw the Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival (Odako Matsuri) for the first time on May 23, 2004. The site is alongside the Echigawa River near the Yachiyo Bridge. A free shuttle bus from Yokaichi Station is provided, taking about 10 min. 150 views
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Hyakusaiji's Main temple hall (hondo). Important Cultural Property.150 views
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2nd floor with Hina festival dolls150 views
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Mini kite contest. Kite contestants show off their kite designs at their tents.149 views
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Former residence of Omi merchant Fujii Hikoshiro (1876-1956) (藤井 彦四郎邸). Now a history museum.149 views
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Notogawa giant water wheel in Higashi-Omi, Shiga. Map148 views
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And lift off...146 views
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On May 25, 2008 at the Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival, the new giant kite was flown for the first time. The wind conditions was good.144 views
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It had rained the night before and in the morning. The ground would've been muddy, but they spread a layer of rocks to make the ground dry. It must have been hard to pull the kite and run on these rocks.143 views
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Tarobo-gu is a shrine complex on a small mountain, featuring grand views of Yokaichi and a pair of Wedded Rocks. It is 1.1 km from Tarobogu-mae Station on the Ohmi Railway Line. The shrine's real name is Aga Jinja 阿賀神社. [url=http://goo.gl/map142 viewsMap of Tarobo-gu. You can drive up halfway up the mountain (called Mitsukuriyama 箕作山) which is 350 meters high. If you don't have a car, climb over 700 steps to reach the shrine's main hall.
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OK, RUN NOW!! This is the most exciting part when we start running with the rope. It was like a stampede, and I let go after a few seconds to avoid getting runned over by the mob behind me.141 views
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Statue of Omi merchant peddler carrying his trademark "tenbin" pole.139 views
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Garden and former home of Omi merchant Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎邸).138 views
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100 kite pullers134 views
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Echibashi Bridge over Echi River. Nice views of the river can be had from this bridge.134 views
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Giant Kite sake. The food and souvenir booths sold a variety of merchandise including this locally-brewed sake, complete with a label showing this year's kite design.131 views
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Notogawa Station, West Exit, also designed as a water wheel. This is one of Shiga's best-designed train stations. Beautifully designed station resembling a water wheel, the symbol of the town.130 views
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Yokaichi Giant Kite Preservation Society. This is the group responsible for producing, maintaining, and flying the giant kite. 大凧保存会128 views
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Symbol of Notogawa128 views
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Sagamihara kite team invited. Sagamihara city in Kanagawa Prefecture also has a giant kite festival, and they were invited to fly a smaller version of their kite at Yokaichi. (Yokaichi was also invited to Sagamihara's kite festival in April.)127 views
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Inside Hondo temple hall127 views
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Cycling path map in Notogawa, Higashi-Omi.126 views
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From the Ohmi Railways' Gokasho Station, you can walk to the Fujii Hikoshiro House (藤井 彦四郎邸), which is also a history museum, and to the modern Ohmi Merchant Museum (近江商人博物館).125 viewsOhmi Railways Gokasho Station 近江鉄道五箇所駅
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Ready for flight123 views
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Autumn foilage greets you in Nov.123 views
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Bell tower and offertory box. In front of the temple hall. 鐘楼123 views
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Inside hondo, Hyakusaiji123 views
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Namako wall120 views
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Bell tower 鐘楼119 views
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Entrance to former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Shigeru (外村 繁邸).118 views
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Gokasho was home to many Omi merchants who plied up and down Japan during the Edo Period to sell and trade their wares. They became quite successful selling medicines, lacquerware, sake, etc.117 viewsWall of former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Shigeru (1902-1961) (外村 繁邸).
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Sagamihara kite in flight. Due to a lack of wind, this flight didn't last long.115 views
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Launch pad. The kite is carried to the take off point and pointed toward the wind, which unfortunately very weak this day.113 views
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Omi merchant statue.113 views
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May 27, 2007 was a bad day for giant kite flying in Yokaichi, as the giant kite crashes head-first into a bamboo grove on its first and last flight during the Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival.113 views
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Notogawa in Higashi-Omi is famous for its giant water wheel. Bike path to Notogawa, another area in Shiga with a good and scenic bike path.112 views
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Carved paper108 views
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Garden and pond. This house has a nice garden.108 views
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Mini kite flying contest103 views
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Kite corner101 views
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Best to see my Shotoku Matsuri Youtube video to hear the songs and see the dance.101 viewsHeld near Yokaichi Station in summer, the Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri is a bon dance featuring Shiga's native Goshu Ondo folk song. 八日市聖徳まつり・江州音頭総おどり
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Stringing the kite99 views
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Mini kite flying contest. The flying portion of the kite contest is held.98 views
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Mt. Kinugasa (Kannonji)98 views
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Entrance to former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Shigeru.97 views
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Snapped part being repaired.96 views
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Banzai from Sagamihara. After the kite's flight, the Sagamihara team give a few banzais to themselves and to Yokaichi.96 views
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San-mon Gate96 views
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Kite pullers wanted. This booth, next to the giant kite, is where you can apply to pull the kite. Anybody can apply to pull the giant kite. I applied and got a little kite pin and a pair of gloves.95 views
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Ready for another flight94 views
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Crowds93 views
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Visit a Koto Sanzan Temple at Hyakusaiji.93 views
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People's fortune stickers on the kite. 願い札92 views
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Garden92 views
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Hina festival dolls. 雛祭りの雛人形91 views
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Cycling and pedestrian path in Notogawa, Higashi-Omi.90 views
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The two main areas are the hillside garden and the main worship hall. Most people visit the garden before climbing up the stone steps to the main worship hall. This is the long route to the temple. The tour buses go up to a closer gate.90 views
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The Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Festival (Higashi-Omi Odako Matsuri) is held on the last Sunday of May at Fureai Undo Park (ふれあい運動公園) in Notogawa, HigashiOmi, Shiga. The main highlight is the giant kite, flying at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm.90 viewsMy video of the Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Festival on May 26, 2013. Note that this kite festival has been suspended since 2016 due to a tragic accident in 2015. It will not be held in 2017 either.
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Poster for dragon canoe race in June89 views
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Uses a water wheel to grind rice.89 views
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Cycling path in Notogawa, Higashi-Omi.88 views
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Tokonoma alcove and scroll88 views
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Cycling and pedestrian path in red in Notogawa, Higashi-Omi.87 views
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At slightly past noon with medium-force winds, the giant kite is launched. The kite immediately went straight up. The giant kite is 13 meters high and 12 meters wide, and weighs 700 kg.85 views
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Woman's hairdressing room.83 views
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Cycling and pedestrian path in Notogawa, Higashi-Omi.81 views
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Hina festival dolls. 雛祭りの雛人形81 views
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View from 2nd floor81 views
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Canoe Land80 views
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2nd floor room79 views
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Road to Mt. Kinugasa.79 views
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Inside the bus for Notogawa Station, about 15 min. ride.78 views
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Iki-ikikan-mae bus stop for JR Notogawa Station.78 views
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Almost finished. This paper cutting step took 3 days to complete.78 views
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Cycling path in Notogawa, Higashi-Omi.77 views
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View from 2nd floor balcony77 views
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Former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Uhee (1777-1820) (外村 宇兵衛邸).77 views
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Attic76 views
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External view of house76 views
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Tokonoma alcove with scroll.76 views
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Hyakusaiji's Niomon Gate with giant straw sandals75 views
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Stone lantern in garden74 views
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Tonomura Shigeru Literature Museum (Bungakukan). Shigeru had a passion for writing, so he entrusted the family business to his younger brother. 外村 繁文学館73 views
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Furo bath wirth wooden barrel (heated by firewood)73 views
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The hillside garden gives a good view of Lake Biwa. The main temple hall worships an 11-faced Kannon statue carved by Shotoku Taishi. Admission 500 yen.72 views
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Old Yokaichi Station. My first picture of Yokaichi, before this old station was torn down in 1997. I had to change trains at Yokaichi Station on the Omi Railway Line and had time to step out and take this picture. 旧八日市駅71 viewsIt was a small station, but the wooden building looked quite charming. There was nothing in front of the station, just a large paved area. A far cry from what it looks like today. Power/telephone lines are also underground, making the streets look clean and attractive. A dramatic change since the last time I passed through in 1991.
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Hina festival dolls. 雛祭りの雛人形69 views
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Entrance to former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Uhee.67 views
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Cycling and pedestrian path in Notogawa, Higashi-Omi.66 views
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Autumn leaves. In its heyday, Hyakusaiji was home to 1,300 priests, before the temple was burned by Oda Nobunaga.66 views
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2nd floor balcony (Watch your head).66 views
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Niomon Gate65 views
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Picture of Tonomura Shigeru in the Literature Museum (Bungakukan). 外村 繁文学館65 views
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Bonsai plum and pine trees65 views
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Hyakusaiji temple Garden63 views
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See the paper flaps pasted over the edge.63 views
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2nd floor with more Hina dolls.62 views
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Shopfront with shopkeeper's desk.62 views
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Former home of Omi merchant Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎邸).62 views
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Entrance for tour bus passengers and car owners. This is the short-cut way to the temple.61 views
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More steps61 views
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2nd floor balcony61 views
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Kitchen area61 views
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View from top. Hazy weather made it difficult to see the scenery.60 views
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Hinamatsuri dolls60 views
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Kitchen area with dirt floor.60 views
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Landmarks seen from hilltop (on clear days)59 views
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Hina festival dolls in alcove.59 views
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Obata doll museum59 views
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2nd floor room looking toward the balcony.58 views
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Path to next Omi merchant home.58 views
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Entrance to the shrine.58 views
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View from Tarobogu.58 views
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The new kite design was then announced. Called Han-jimon (判じもん), the design expresses a certain theme using word play with a pair of animals and one or two kanji characters. 八日市大凧は3年に一度図柄を変える。58 views
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You can hike up the hillside garden.57 views
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2nd floor room with Hina festival dolls. 雛祭りの雛人形57 views
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Former home of Omi merchant Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎邸).57 views
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Turn left there.56 views
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Inside former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Uhee. 玄関56 views
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Living room56 views
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Bonsai56 views
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Garden56 views
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Window56 views
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Inside former home of Omi merchant Tonomura Uhee.55 views
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It flew very high, up to about 150 meters, then veered to the right, over our heads.54 views
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Steps to main temple53 views
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Changing room next to bath.52 views
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Shopkeeper's desk.52 views
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Old mail box.52 views
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Bonsai plum trees51 views
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Way to the third Omi merchant house.51 views
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Ohmi Railways Yokaichi Station. A modern ferro-concrete building was completed in June 1998 to replace the old wooden building.51 views
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The top kanji is "yorokobu" (joyfulness) which can also be read as "ki." The pair of hawks 鷹 can be read as "yo." And the bottom kanji is "sei" (living). It's "Kyosei."51 views
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Attic, mainly for storage.50 views
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Entrance to home of Omi merchant Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎邸).50 views
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Stairway50 views
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External view49 views
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Garden49 views
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External view48 views
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Rickshaws48 views
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Stairs to 2nd floor.48 views
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Dolls48 views
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Omi Obata Deko dolls48 views
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The giant kite was swallowed whole by the bamboo trees. No one was hurt. Also see my YouTube video here. 大凧が竹やぶに落下48 views
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Shopkeeper's record book.47 views
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Showcase47 views
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Then it suddenly dove straight down and crashed head-first into the bamboo grove. Ironically, the blue banner on the left says, "Ganbatte" (Do your best).47 views
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A closer look at the accident scene. The kite suffered significant damage, and it took about 20 days to repair.47 views
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Bonsai46 views
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They introduced the three best designs. 最優秀作品はなく、3点の優秀賞作品を参考に保存会が決めた。46 views
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As I predicted again, they started disassembling the kite so they could roll (crumple) it up and carry it out. The kite was not flown again for this festival. It was to be its final flight since it will be replaced next year.45 views
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How they do it: First they cut along the outline of the picture leaving ample space. Then they cut it perpendicular to the edge to make paper flaps.45 views
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