Most viewed - MIYAGI 宮城県
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Held annually during Aug. 6-8, the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri is Japan's largest, grandest, and most famous Tanabata Festival. Commonly called the Star Festival, Tanabata Matsuri features large colorful, streamer decorations (called take-kazari).536 views
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Matsushima is a 30-40 min. train ride from Sendai on the JR Senseki Line.396 views
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JR Sendai Station on the west side (Nishi-guchi). This is the main side. There is a tourist information office inside the station where you can pick up maps and pamphlets, maybe in English too.304 views
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You could write a wish on the paper and hang it on the bamboo branch. I wrote "Live long and prosper."249 views
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City of trees on a main road in Sendai.226 views
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In the Shimin Hiroba was also this space.213 views
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My YouTube video of Sendai Tanabata featuring the festival eve on Aug. 5, 2009 when they had fireworks and the morning of Aug. 6 when they were setting up the Tanabata decorations. 191 views
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Hip hop190 views
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Even the pointer markings where the train doors will open have a photo.188 views
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Street lamp186 views
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Matsushima Kaigan Station174 views
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Hirose River, teeming with wildlife.169 views
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My YouTube video of Sendai Tanabata featuring Tanabata decorations and seeing the evening entertainment (Awa Odori, Tanabata dancers, etc.) on Jozenji-dori during 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. 146 views
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Many girls (and kids) dressed in yukata (cotton kimono) came to see the Tanabata Festival. Her facial reaction was typical.135 views
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Sendai Castle's Waki-yagura turret at the site of Otemon Gate. Reconstructed in 1965. We cannot enter it. 脇櫓128 views
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Statue of Lord Date Masamune at Sendai Castle's Honmaru. 120 views
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Waki-yagura turret at Sendai Castle.119 views
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The take-kazari bamboo decorations were marvelous. A myriad of designs and variety. Paper was the main material used to make all these decorations, unlike the predominant plastic found at other Tamabata Festivals in Japan.114 views
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On the morning of Aug. 6, the first day of Sendai Tanabata, shop owners started to set up their tanabata bamboo decorations from around 8 am to 9 am.112 views
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Map of Matsushima near Matsushima Kaigan Station. Places of interest include Ojima island, Matsushima boat cruise, Godaido island, Fukuura island, and Zuiganji temple.101 views
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I show you photos of the boat cruise first. There are many boats coming and going in Matsushima Bay. You have to decide which cruise to go on.101 views
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Tiny origami paper cranes. Guess how many paper cranes there are? Over 1 million.99 views
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View from Sendai Castle's Honmaru. Sendai has over a million people. On clear days, you can also see the Pacific Ocean.98 views
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Eye-catching trio of yukata-clad girls.97 views
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If you look closely, you can that see one of his eyes is blind.97 views
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Statue of Lord Date Masamune at Sendai Castle's Honmaru. One of the most popular and famous samurai of all time.96 views
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The festival is said to have originated from a Star Festival in China. According to Chinese legend, east of the Milky Way there was a Heavenly King whose daughter worked as a weaver. However, when she married a herdsman, she quit weaving. 91 views
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This was my second time to see Sendai Tanabata. The first time was quite some time ago. I had high expectations, and I was not disappointed.82 views
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Lucky Alex...79 views
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Many of the Tanabata streamers are quite commercial, with sponsors prominently displayed on the streamers.77 views
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Route of the Sendai Loop bus. Get off at Sendai-joshi to see Sendai Castle. The bus will take you all the way to the top of the hill where the castle is. Much easier than walking up.77 views
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A short walk from Jozenji-dori is the Shimin Hiroba (Citizens' Square) where there was a stage for more entertaining performances by numerous groups. The program started at 6 pm and ended at 8:45 pm.76 views
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Inside Sendai Station's west side. A great greeting for visitors to Sendai during Tanabata Matsuri.75 views
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The yukata has become quite modern. You no longer have to put your hair up when wearing one.74 views
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Shrine on Ojima74 views
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Torii to a shrine on Ojima island, Matsushima74 views
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Entrance to Tsutsujigaoka Park in Sendai, Miyagi. The park is near Tsutsujigaoka Station on the JR Senseki Line, one stop from Sendai Station.74 views
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This angered her father who banished the herdsman to the other side of the Milky Way. He allowed the two to meet only once a year on the evening of the seventh day of the seventh month (according to the lunar calendar). 73 views
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In Sendai, famous daimyo Date Masamune had the warrior and merchant classes observe the Star Festival. 72 views
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On Aug. 4, two days before the start of Tanabata Festival, the shopping arcades already had these bamboo poles with ropes set up.72 views
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Map of Sendai Castle site. It's quite a large site, with museums and other facilities occupying the former castle site. The Honmaru (partially hidden) is on the right of the map.72 views
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I arrived in Sendai on Aug. 4, 2009, two days before the festival, and Sendai Station here was already decorated with these huge tanabata streamers. Very impressive.71 views
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The pedestrian overpass connected to Sendai Station is also decorated.70 views
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Sendai International Center69 views
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Miyagi-ken Gokoku Shrine in Sendai Castle. Emperor Hirohito as well as Crown Prince Akihito (current emperor) visited this shrine to pay their respects. 宮城縣護國神社67 views
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People who wear yukata know how to enjoy each of Japan's seasons.66 views
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Kanejima66 views
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Attaching the ball to the body of the decoration.65 views
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Matsushima Pier. There are boats which go around the Matsushima islands and return to Matsushima. Others go to Shiogama (toward Sendai) or a longer route toward Oku Matsushima.65 views
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Waki-yagura turret at the site of Otemon Gate.65 views
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Small museum in Honmaru showing results of excavation work and stone wall reconstruction. 64 views
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Korean performers.62 views
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Pieces of bamboo hung from the ropes on bamboo poles.61 views
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Subway train in Sendai.61 views
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This decoration had little owl-shaped paper balloons. These girls are blowing air into the balloons with a straw. Sendai Tanabata.60 views
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The boat passes by numerous pine-clad islands of Matsushima.60 views
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Statue of Hasekura Tsunenaga, a samurai retainer of Date Masamune who sent him to the Vatican in 1613. 支倉常長60 views
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Sendai Tanabata Fireworks on Aug. 5, 7:30 pm to 9 pm. It was impressive. The theme was "Ring of Love."59 views
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These people are spreading the wings of the origami cranes.59 views
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Statue of Lord Date Masamune at Sendai Castle's Honmaru. Very popular for picture-taking.59 views
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According to the legend, the original date of Tanabata is July 7 according to the lunar calendar which is about a month behind the calendar we use today. Some places hold the festival on July 7 to match the original, numeric date.58 views
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Tanabata decorations outside S-PAL, a shopping complex next to Sendai Station.58 views
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Another famous and unique island in Matsushima is Niojima, shaped like a Deva King found at the gate of Buddhist temples. 仁王島58 views
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During the Tohoku Industrial Expo in 1928, the forerunner of today's Tanabata Festival was held. Sendai merchants strived to uphold the tradition, resulting in today's elaborate and gaudy Tanabata decorations.57 views
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This is the Hapina Nakakecho arcade. "Hapina" stands for "Heartful Amenity Place Interfaced Natural Arcade." It also refers to "happy." When the Japanese create a new name, they love puns.57 views
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Inside Sendai Station is a large information booth where you can obtain maps and pamphlets of Sendai and Tanabata Matsuri.57 views
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THis is one of the more famous Matsushima islands, named Kanejima with three holes. 鐘島57 views
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Sendai Castle's Honmaru.57 views
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Miyagi-ken Gokoku Shrine enshrines Miyagi Prefecture's war dead since 1868. There are over 56,000 war dead.57 views
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The weaver is represented by the Vega star and the herdsman by the Altair star. As a prayer to produce better arts and crafts, the Imperial Court and the warrior class paid homage to these two stars from ancient times. This practice spread to the masses.56 views
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Bottom of the paper cranes.56 views
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Local cheerleaders included these kids.56 views
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THe Nio Maru boat which I rode for the cruise. For an extra 600 yen, you can go on the first-class upper deck. I waited until it got sunny later in the day, then went on the cruise. The islands look better when it's sunny.56 views
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Inside Sendai Station, heading to train platforms.56 views
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Morning rush hour at Sendai Station. People heading for the exit inside Sendai Station.56 views
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The shopping arcades on the west side of Sendai Station is where the Tanabata decorations are. The main arcades where you can see the streamers are basically on two arcade roads: Chuo-dori and Ichibancho-dori. They intersect at a T-intersection.55 views
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Next to the boat pier is this building selling cruise tickets. No reservations required. You can buy a ticket even 5 min. before departure. 55 views
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Stone wall at the site of Otemon Gate.55 views
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About the Otemon Gate.55 views
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Map of the original Sendai Castle also called Aobajo or Aoba Castle since the castle is on Aobayama or Mt. Aoba. Sumo fans might know the name Aobajo, a sumo wrestler from Sendai active in the 1980s.55 views
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Monument for the war dead.55 views
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One bamboo pole has several decorations and each one hangs on a rope.54 views
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Tanabata decorations at the entrance of Sendai Station.54 views
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Sendai Castle site's torii. The torii is here because there's a Shinto shrine in Honmaru.54 views
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Sample stone work on a castle wall.54 views
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Kamikaze suicide fighter pilot memorial next to a war museum within the shrine.54 views
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Origami paper cranes is actually one type of Tanabata decorations. Many decorations had paper cranes as you can see here.53 views
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Most boat cruises cost 1400 yen, taking about 50 min. Boats leave almost every 30 min. The boat cruise is the main and most popular activity at Matsushima.53 views
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The sea gulls follow where there's food, and the tourists are happy to toss junk food at them.53 views
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Sendai City Loop bus goes to the major tourist spots in Sendai. Most convenient to get to Sendai Castle. 250 yen per ride or 600 yen for a day pass.53 views
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The area has these nice multi-lingual plaques explaining the points of interest with a map included.53 views
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The decorations can cost thousands of dollars or even tens of thousands of dollars (US$). (Hundreds of thousands of yen or a few million yen.) 52 views
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Nishi Park in Sendai is full of people on fireworks night.52 views
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Setting up Tanabata bamboo decorations.52 views
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Inside Nio Maru's lower deck. Comfortable and air-conditioned. The places of interest are explained in Japanese and English during the cruise.52 views
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Honmaru northern stone wall.52 views
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You can see Tanabata in various locations (smaller scale) in Japan such as Hiratsuka in Kanagawa held around July 7 and Asagaya and Fussa in Tokyo around Aug. 7.51 views
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These decorations cannot be massed produced, all one of a kind.51 views
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Kids loved to jump and try to touch the streamers.51 views
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During the morning of Aug. 6 the first day, a team of judges wearing a white cap and yellow shirt proceed through the decorations for judging. Dressed in pink is the back is one of the three Sendai Goodwill Ambassadors (not Miss Tanabata).51 views
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About the Waki-yagura turret.51 views
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Statue of Hasekura Tsunenaga acros the road from the Waki-yagura.51 views
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Next to the Honmaru northern stone wall is this large torii gate and steps going up to the Honmaru, the castle's central keep. This place in front of the torii was a parking lot before. Glad that parking is no longer allowed here.51 views
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It rained sometimes during the Tanabata Festival since the Tohoku region was still in the rainy season.50 views
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It's nearly impossible to define or describe an outstanding decoration, but you know it when you see it.50 views
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Tanabata Matsuri is held in many parts of Japan, usually in shopping arcades to draw customers. The more famous ones are in Hiratsuka in Kanagawa and Asagaya in Tokyo.50 views
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THe name "Matsushima" of course means "Pine Islands," so you may hear "Matsushima" in other places in Japan wherever there are pine-clad islands. 50 views
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Way to Godaido.50 views
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Trains in Tohoku have a door open/close button to save on air-conditioning or heating.50 views
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Sculpture in Sannomaru.50 views
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Monument for Doi (Tsuchii) Bansui who created the song, "Kōjō no tsuki" (荒城の月 lit. "Moonlit castle ruins") which is about Sendai Castle. 土井 晩翠50 views
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It's also possible to walk to the park from Sendai Station, about 20 min.50 views
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Origami paper cranes.49 views
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This road was filled with people as well for the fireworks.49 views
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By 10 am on the first day of Aug. 6, most all of the Tanabata decorations were set up. Large crowds soon followed.49 views
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The streamers can also be quite hypnotizing if not captivating.49 views
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From Matsushima Kaigan Station, almost everything is within walking distance. If it were cherry blossom season, you could proceed first to Saigyo Modoshi-no-Matsu Park on a hilltop behind the station.49 views
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Nio Maru at Matsushima Port.49 views
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These birds fly very close, within arm's reach.49 views
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Godaido 五大堂49 views
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Godaido is also noted for wooden carvings of Eto zodiac animals. Cock.49 views
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Outside Sendai Station, they are constructing the Tozai subway line due to open in 2015.49 views
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Goshikunuma Swamp is a moat of Sannomaru.49 views
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From the city, this is what the castle site looks like on Aobayama. You can see the lookout deck.49 views
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Matsushima from his "Famous Views of the 60 Provinces" series.49 views
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After the festival ends, many of these decorations are discarded. But some are donated to a shopping arcade in Fukuoka (Kyushu). 48 views
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Write your wish on a paper tag and affix it to the bamboo branch.48 views
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This is Sun Mall Ichibancho. This Ichibancho-dori road is also straight, but consists of three seamless shopping arcades: Sun Mall Ichibancho, Brand Dome Ichibancho, and Ichibancho Yon-chome.48 views
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Organizations who made the 1 million+ paper cranes. About 25,000 people from all over Japan from age 5 to 103 made over 1 million paper cranes. That's an average of 40 cranes per person.48 views
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Female lover in heaven48 views
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Matsushima Kaigan Station48 views
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As each boat leaves, sea gulls follow.48 views
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Nearby is Godaido temple on a small island close to shore. 48 views
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Godaido is another famous and storied icon of Matsushima. In any painting or depiction of Matsushima, Godaido is always there.48 views
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Godaido temple in Matsushima. This building was built in 1604 by Lord Date Masamune.48 views
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Sankeiden hall at Entsuin temple is an Important Cultural Property. This is a mausoleum for Date Mitsumine. 三慧殿48 views
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Also in the Honmaru area is Gokoku Shrine decorated here during the Tanabata Star Festival in early Aug. 宮城縣護國神社48 views
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Interview by local TV.47 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.47 views
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First time I saw a train station sign on the platform with a photo on it.47 views
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The first bridge to Godaidojima island.47 views
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Site of Nenomon Gate. This leads to Sendai City Museum in the castle area called Sannomaru. 子門47 views
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As you climb up the Aobayama, you pass through the sites of former gates. This one was Nakanomon Gate. 中門47 views
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View from Sendai Castle's Honmaru.47 views
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These photos were taken in early May 2012.47 views
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The decorations are given awards such as the Gold and Silver Awards. The winners are announced later in the day, and the winning decorations are tagged with the awards. This is the Gold Award.46 views
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Gold Award + Outstanding Award.46 views
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Perhaps she wished for a rich husband.46 views
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Tourist info next to Matsushima Kaigan Station.46 views
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Welcome to Matsushima. Getting out of Matsushima Kaigan Station.46 views
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Famous for centuries, Matsushima has inspired many haiku poets like Matsuo Basho and painters.46 views
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This was my favorite island in Matsushima.46 views
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Original letter written by Lord Date Masamune from a battlefield.46 views
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This odd-loking building calls itself Matsushima Castle. I saw nobody there so decided not to enter.46 views
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Inside Sankeiden hall which also has a painting of a rose.46 views
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Altar inside Sankeiden with a statue of Mitsumune.46 views
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Climb further and you'll reach large stone walls, called the Honmaru northern stone wall. 46 views
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About the Honmaru northern stone wall.46 views
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Sendai's shopping arcades were obviously designed for tanabata decorations. There are eyelets or hooks for ropes on the ceiling.45 views
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It says "No More Hiroshima."45 views
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They even sell bird food on the boat.45 views
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Face to face with a bird. "Hey, any food for me??"45 views
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Godaido was first erected in 807 called Bishamondo. We cannot go inside. Important Cultural Property.45 views
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Sanseido hall for three saints. 三聖堂45 views
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Inside Sendai subway train.45 views
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The original Otemon Gate was here, between the Waki-yagura on the right and stone wall on the left.45 views
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View from Sendai Castle's Honmaru.45 views
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Waki-yagura as seen from afar.45 views
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Votive tablets for sale at Gokoku Shrine. Special tanabata ones during early Aug.45 views
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People were amazed at these cranes. This is one type of streamer you won't see at other Tanabata Festivals in Japan.44 views
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Kids writing their wishes.44 views
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Peace message.44 views
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Another crowd favorite was these streamers made of tiny origami paper cranes. 44 views
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This was the 34th Tanabata Decoration of Peace. Aug. 6, the first day of the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri, also happens to be the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.44 views
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Hapina arcade44 views
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This large tanabata bamboo was being set up on Aug. 4.44 views
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The decorations usually arrive in huge plastic bags, especially the outdoor ones. This is the Fujisaki decoration.44 views
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Closeups of one of the best take-kazari of 2009.44 views
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Matsushima Rest House is next to the pier, where you can buy cruise tickets or just rest on chairs. Tourist info counter also provided.44 views
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Second bridge to Godaido.44 views
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Monkey44 views
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The Chuo-dori arcade is about 750 meters long. Although this arcade is a straight and continuous road, it is actually consists of three seamless arcades named Hapina Nakakecho (ハピナ名掛丁), Clis Road, and Marble Road Omachi.43 views
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The crowd take pictures in front of this Outstanding Award decoration.43 views
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Fujisaki's decoration is at the T-intersection between Chuo-dori and Ichibancho-dori.43 views
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On the evening of Aug. 5, the Tanabata Festival Eve, a fireworks display is held at Nishi Koen Park. Here are many girls in yukata waiting for friends at Sendai Station to see the fireworks.43 views
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Matsushima would also be interesting to geologists.43 views
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Route 45 running parallel to the shore. Busy road with shops and restaurants.43 views
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Godaido enshrines five statues representing the Mikkyo teachings of Shingon Buddhism.43 views
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Godaido 五大堂43 views
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Map of Fukuura island. Points 3 and 5 are worth seeing. You have to leave the island by 5 pm or (4:30 pm during winter months).43 views
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About Zuiganji temple caves.43 views
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About Enmei Jizo, the Guardian Deity of Lnogevity.43 views
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Ojima island is accessible by a red bridge.43 views
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About the sample stone walls.43 views
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Regular-size paper cranes.42 views
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No smoking in the shopping arcades.42 views
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Date Masamune42 views
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Marble Road Omachi42 views
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Attaching ropes. The decorations will later be attached to these ropes.42 views
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Hoisting up the bamboo support pole.42 views
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Many decorations are really advertisements. But others have no ads and they are splendid. Keep in mind that the Tanabata Festival was started by local merchants, so it has commercial roots. It's not a religious event.42 views
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Matsushima Kaigan Station on the JR Senseki Line. This is the closest to Matsushima's main attractions. Note that there is also a Matsushima Station. Don't get off there.42 views
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Boar42 views
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Another noted building in Matsushima is Kanrantei, perched on a low hill. Now it is a rest place where they serve tea.42 views
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Nice walking path on Ojima42 views
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Corner of Honmaru northern stone wall.42 views
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These are original Edo Period stones removed when the stone wall was renovated. These stones could not be reused.42 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.41 views
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The walls also have eyelets/hooks for ropes to support the bamboo poles.41 views
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Types of tanabata decorations.41 views
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Silver Award. Besides awards for individual decorations, awards are given to the shopping arcade as a whole for the bext decorations.41 views
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