JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Due to COVID-19, traveling to and within Japan is currently being discouraged.

Last additions
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Our guide showed us the original kanji characters used for "Okegawa."Jan 28, 2020
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Our guide showed us around Okegawa-juku on foot. All the major spots are within walking distance.Jan 28, 2020
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Make your own Okegawa-juku postcard in three steps. The final print is Keisai Eisen's print of Okegawa-shuku, part of his Sixty-nine Stations of the Kiso Kaido series.Jan 28, 2020
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Nakasendo Shukuba-kan has woodblock-style postcard printing in three different colors. It's free.Jan 28, 2020
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Map of Okegawa-juku's main buildings.Jan 28, 2020
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Inside Nakasendo Shukuba-kan (中山道宿場館). Various exhibits and pamphlets about Okegawa-juku. Also a short video. No English.Jan 28, 2020
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Okegawa Tourist Association (桶川市観光協会) in the Nakasendo Shukuba-kan (中山道宿場館) building right in the middle of the former lodging town.Jan 28, 2020
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About Okegawa-juku.Jan 28, 2020
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Shukuba lodging towns in Saitama Prefecture as shown at the Nakasendo Shukuba-kan (中山道宿場館).Jan 28, 2020
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About Okegawa-juku.Jan 28, 2020
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Map of Okegawa-juku showing the old buildings that still remain.Jan 28, 2020
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Okegawa-juku marker along the Nakasendo.Jan 28, 2020
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Okegawa-juku was the 6th lodging town (shukuba 宿場) on the old Nakasendo Road (中山道) that connected Tokyo (Edo) and Kyoto through an interior route passing through Saitama, Gunma, Nagano, Gifu, and Shiga Prefectures.It was about 526 km long and had 69 lodging towns where travelers could lodge and water their horses. A few buildings from this era still remains. This Okegawa manhole has a safflower (benibana) design. Okegawa was a major producer of safflowers.Jan 28, 2020
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Event stage at Benibana Furusatokan.Jan 28, 2020
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Okegawa Tanpopo Nursery School taiko drummers.Jan 28, 2020
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Okegawa Tanpopo Nursery School taiko drummers.Jan 28, 2020
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Okegawa Tanpopo Nursery School performed the Ara-uma horse dance (荒馬踊り) backed by taiko drummers.Jan 28, 2020
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When we arrived in Jan. 2020, we were greeted by a wonderful dance and taiko drum performance by kids and parents from the local Okegawa Tanpopo Nursery School (桶川たんぽぽ保育園).Jan 28, 2020
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Large plaza outside Benibana Furusato-kan Hall is used for events.Jan 28, 2020
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Lunch at Benibana Furusato-kan Hall was udon noodles with tempura topping. Saitama is Japan's second largest producer of udon noodles after Kagawa Prefecture.Jan 28, 2020
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Benibana Furusato-kan Hall menu, mainly udon and soba noodles.Jan 28, 2020
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Lunch on the 2nd floor of Benibana Furusato-kan Hall.Jan 28, 2020
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Benibana Furusato-kan Hall (べに花ふるさと館) in Okegawa is mainly a restaurant. It was originally a late 19th century home of an industrialist. It also offers udon-making lessons. From JR Okegawa Station, take the bus and get off at "Beniban"Benibana" means safflower.Jan 28, 2020
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Inside Houtou Fudo Kitamoto Branch restaurant (ほうとう不動).Jan 06, 2020
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Lunch was Hoto noodles, famous in Yamanashi Prefecture. Thick, flat udon-type noodles in delicious miso-based broth, mixed with cut vegetables. Also came with Inari-zushi. http://www.houtou-fudou.jp/english.htmlJan 06, 2020
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Restaurant where we had lunch. The building was designed to look like clouds or snow on Mt. Fuji. Houtou Fudo Kitamoto Branch (ほうとう不動) near Lake Kawaguchi.Jan 06, 2020
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Imagine living in a town with a view like this. This is Fuji-Kawaguchiko town near Lake Kawaguchi.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji at sunset in autumn.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji at sunset in autumn. Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji at sunset. Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with red momiji maple leaves. Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with red momiji maple leaves.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with momiji maple leaves.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with momiji maple leaves. Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with momiji maple leaves. Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with momiji maple leaves.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with red momiji maple leaves.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with red momiji maple leaves. Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with red momiji maple leaves.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn with red momiji maple leaves. Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Mt. Fuji in autumn.Jan 06, 2020
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I visited Narusawa on a beauitful autumn day with snow-capped Mt. Fuji and autumn foliage. Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.Jan 06, 2020
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Narusawa is a village near Mt. Fuji and part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. At the Narusawa Michinoeki Road Station, there are nice views of Mt. Fuji.Jan 06, 2020
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Forest of Japanese beech trees nicknamed "Climax Forest." ブナ林Jan 06, 2020
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Forest of Japanese beech trees nicknamed "Climax Forest." ブナ林Jan 06, 2020
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After the lava tube, we hiked further and came to a nice forest of Japanese beech trees nicknamed "Climax Forest." ブナ林Jan 06, 2020
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Getting out.Jan 06, 2020
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This part of the cave had ice all over the bottom.Jan 06, 2020
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The helmet headlight was essential to see where we walked on craggy rocks and ice. When we all gathered here at the end of the lava tube, our guide told us to turn off our headlights to see how dark it was. Yes, it was pitch black. Our ears then concentrated on the water drops falling from the ceiling. Great place to meditate. The temperature was near freezing, but we had enough clothing. I wanted to ask the guide what would happen if there were a big earthquake while we were inside. But I refrained from doing so because I didn't want to alarm the others...Jan 06, 2020
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Remains from a commercial activity.Jan 06, 2020
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There are many lava tubes around Mt. Fuji. This one is less touristy, and not to be confused with the more touristy ones called Fugaku Wind Cave (富岳風穴) and Narusawa Ice Cave (鳴沢氷穴) near Lake Saiko.Jan 06, 2020
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Our guide gave us overalls, a helmet with headlight, and rubber gloves for this excursion. The cave entrance is narrow, steep, and dark. But once inside, you can walk upright most of the way. This lava tube is about 230 meters long, 5 to 10 meters wide, 5 meters high (except for the small entrance). Advance permission is required from the local Board of Education to enter.Jan 06, 2020
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Fuji Wind Cave first appears to be a big hole in the ground. It's a lava tube. You need a permit to enter. That's why having a licensed guide is good.Jan 06, 2020
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After walking about 15 min., we got to the Fuji Wind Cave (Fuji Fuketsu). This is the stone marker for it. There's no "wind" in the cave. It's just a name. 富士風穴 (ふじふうけつ)Jan 06, 2020
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Aokigahara Forest is on a large lava flow of Mt. Fuji, so the ground is solid lava rock. Jan 06, 2020
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Lots of wildlife here too. Deer, bears, boars, woodpeckers, and squirrels. But we didn't see any, only their foot prints, digs in the ground, chipped tree trunks, etc.Jan 06, 2020
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Despite its reputation, Aokigahara Forest didn't look or feel spooky or scary at all. It looked like any other forest in Japan. There are distinct trails and signs to follow. It's possible to get dangerously lost if you stray too far (more than 200 meters) from the trails. The forest has multiple trail entrances, and I was told a few of them have signs trying to discourage suicide.Jan 06, 2020
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Aokigahara Forest is on the northwestern foot/slope of Mt. Fuji. This forest is also known as "Suicide Forest" since some people have committed suicide in Aokigahara.But apparently not in the part of the forest we hiked in. Our guides assured us that we wouldn't see any bodies...(and we didn't.) This is our English-speaking guide from this company:
https://www.the-highestpeak.com/english
Jan 06, 2020
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Tourist information center.Jan 06, 2020
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Olympic merchandise inside Tourist information center.Jan 06, 2020
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Tourist information center at Hirano, Lake Yamanaka 平野Jan 06, 2020
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Tourist information center at Hirano, Lake Yamanaka 平野Jan 06, 2020
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Lake Yamanaka manhole showing Mt. Fuji and swans.Jan 06, 2020
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Lake Yamanaka and Mt. Fuji at Hirano no Hama beach. 平野の浜Jan 06, 2020
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Lake Yamanaka and Mt. Fuji at Hirano no Hama beach. 平野の浜Jan 06, 2020
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Lake Yamanaka and Mt. Fuji in Nov.Jan 06, 2020
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Lake Yamanaka and Mt. Fuji in Nov.Jan 06, 2020
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Lake Yamanaka and Mt. Fuji in Nov.Jan 06, 2020
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Lake Yamanaka and Mt. Fuji in Nov. There's a boardwalk. Thisis near Yamanakako Koryu Plaza. 山中湖交流プラザ きららJan 06, 2020
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View from Lookout tower.Jan 06, 2020
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View from Lookout tower.Jan 06, 2020
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Lookout tower.Jan 06, 2020
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Some fall foliage along the cycling path around Lake Yamanaka.Jan 06, 2020
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Excellent cycling path around Lake Yamanaka.Jan 06, 2020
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Feeding koi fish.Jan 06, 2020
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One of many boat docks.Jan 06, 2020
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Map shows the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycling road race course.Jan 06, 2020
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Yamanakako Tourism Association has tourist information and also rents bicycles. We rented bicycles here. It's slightly away from the main part of the lake.Jan 06, 2020
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Views of Mt. Fuji are beautiful in fall and winter. There's a good bicycling path around the lake. The road around Lake Yamanaka will also be part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycling road race course from Tokyo to Fuji Speedway.Jan 06, 2020
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Lake Yamanaka is the largest of the Fuji Five Lakes near Mt. Fuji. It's not as touristy as Lake Kawaguchi, but there are many vacation lodging owned by universities and companies. Jan 06, 2020
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Trash collection at the exit.Jan 05, 2020
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One thing they need to fix is trash collection. On the 2nd floor concourse.Jan 05, 2020
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This football/soccer match was also an Olympic test event for the new Olymoic Stadium and officials observed the crowd flow.Jan 05, 2020
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The man waving is Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder of Rakuten that owns Kobe Vissel.Jan 05, 2020
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They are in front of the Back Stand.Jan 05, 2020
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After the awards ceremony, Vissel Kobe walked around the stadium and posed for photos.Jan 05, 2020
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Princess Takamado during the Awards ceremony.Jan 05, 2020
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Awards ceremonyJan 05, 2020
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Awards ceremonyJan 05, 2020
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Awards ceremony had Princess Takamado (in white) giving the trophy. She is an Honorary Patron of the Japan Football Association.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans go wild.Jan 05, 2020
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Final score.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe celebrate their first ever championship.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe won 2-0.Jan 05, 2020
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On Tier 2, view from the Back Stand, Block 241, nearer to the North Stand.Jan 05, 2020
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Game attendance of 57,597. (sold out).Jan 05, 2020
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Andrés Iniesta, Spanish professional footballer.Jan 05, 2020
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Andrés Iniesta, Spanish professional footballer.Jan 05, 2020
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Andrés Iniesta, Spanish professional footballer.Jan 05, 2020
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The sun finally went down.Jan 05, 2020
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Watering the field (natural grass) during halftime.Jan 05, 2020
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Lots of afternoon sun on this part of the Back Stand.Jan 05, 2020
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"Goal"Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe scores again.Jan 05, 2020
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Ball boy.Jan 05, 2020
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Current score and player roster.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe celebrate their first goal.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe celebrate their first goal.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe scores their first goal.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe in maroon, Kashima Antlers in white.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe before the kickoff at 2:35 pm.Jan 05, 2020
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Players entered the pitch.Jan 05, 2020
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This huge banner was unfurled on the pitch. Looks upside down on my side of the stadium, but it reads "Battle for the Pinnacle." 頂上決戦Jan 05, 2020
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At the halfway line from the Back Stand's Tier 2 concourse with a long row of guys on the bottom edge.Jan 05, 2020
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Kashima Antlers fansJan 05, 2020
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Kashima Antlers fans unfurl large banners.Jan 05, 2020
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Kashima Antlers fansJan 05, 2020
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Kashima Antlers fansJan 05, 2020
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Kashima Antlers fansJan 05, 2020
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Kashima Antlers fans on the opposite end. Kashima, a city in Ibaraki Prefecture, literally means "deer island." That's where the "Antlers" come from.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans. "1995 to 2020, Kobe"Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. "Vissel" combines the words "victory" and "vessel." "Vessel" because Kobe is a port city.Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. Jan 05, 2020
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. Loud cheers. The roof overhead carried their cheers very well.Jan 05, 2020
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Seats with lounges.Jan 05, 2020
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Seats with tables on the Main Stand.Jan 05, 2020
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Seats with tables on the Main Stand.Jan 05, 2020
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It's an oval stadium with a track and field and a partial, fixed roof. Everyone was relieved that the stadium was completed in time for the Olympics after a flubbed initial design.Jan 05, 2020
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Wheelchair space on 2nd tier concourse (right below the "We came to win" banner).Jan 05, 2020
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Wheelchair space on 2nd tier concourse. Jan 05, 2020
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Wheelchair space on 2nd tier concourse. Seats are for abled-bodied wheelchair companions. This space also has power outlets for recharging power/electric wheelchairs. Mounted on the ceiling is a cooling fan.Jan 05, 2020
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Drink holder is slightly above the floor unlike on the 3rd tier where the drink holder is on the floor.Jan 05, 2020
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When people are sitting, there's very little room to pass through a row of seats.Jan 05, 2020
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Seat numbers (without row number) are on the seat edge, not on the seat back. If there are people sitting, you cannot see the seat number.Jan 05, 2020
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2nd tier seats, less steep than the 3rd tier.Jan 05, 2020
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Row and seat numbers on steps on 2nd tier steps.Jan 05, 2020
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Corridor to seats in Blocks 240 and 241.Jan 05, 2020
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Short corridor to 2nd tier seats.Jan 05, 2020
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Map of a block of seats on 2nd tier. Each block has two corridors/entrances. Enter the corridor closest to your seat.Jan 05, 2020
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The seats have a random mosaic design in shades of green, brown, and white look like fallen autumn leaves. Ingenious. Sort of like having fake followers/spectators.Jan 05, 2020
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The seats have a random mosaic design in shades of green, brown, and white. It makes it look like there are spectators even when the seats are empty.Jan 05, 2020
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2nd tier concourse.Jan 05, 2020
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2nd tier concourse (3rd floor) does not have any crosswinds.Jan 05, 2020
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Extra space on 2nd tier concourse (3rd floor).Jan 05, 2020
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Comcession stand on 2nd tier concourse (3rd floor).Jan 05, 2020
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LCD screen showing the layout of each concourse. The wheelchair symbol is for the accessible toilets which are always near the wheelchair spaces.Jan 05, 2020
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2nd tier concourse (3rd floor) does not have any crosswinds.Jan 05, 2020
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Layout of the North Stand which was the Vissel Kobe fan section.Jan 05, 2020
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Turnstile at Gate A1. Barcode scanner lets you in.Jan 05, 2020
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Gate A1 on the 2nd floor leading to the 2nd tier.Jan 05, 2020
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Stadium gate directions.Jan 05, 2020
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Stadium layout. Top part is the Back Stand, bottom part is the Main Stand. The Side Stands on both ends were the fan stands. The stadium has three seating tiers on five floors. Tier 3 is the cheapest seats.Jan 05, 2020
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Outside the stadium, a large soccer ball was a popular selfie spot.Jan 05, 2020
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On New Year's Day 2020, Emperor's Cup JFA All-Japan Soccer Championship final game was the first sports event to be held at the new Olympic Stadium. Vissel Kobe vs. Kashima Antlers.Jan 05, 2020
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View of the Olympic Stadium in July 2018 from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.Jan 04, 2020
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Passed by the Olympic Stadium in June 2018 when it was still under construction.Jan 04, 2020
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Large crowd heading to Sendagaya Station, but it went smoothly and trains came often. My next visit to the this stadium will be on New Year's Day for a national soccer/football final game.Jan 04, 2020
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People in my block didn't heed this request. As soon as they said "This concludes today's program," we all up and left the stadium via the stairs. Got out in no time.Jan 04, 2020
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Leaving the stadium. Glad it was over. It was cold.Jan 04, 2020
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J-pop duo Yuzu appeared as an unannounced, surprise guest performer. They sang "Eiko no Kakehashi." 栄光の架橋Jan 04, 2020
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Next, the stadium went dark and the MC asked everyone to turn on their cell phone flashlight. There was one more thing... Spotlight on a surprise...Jan 04, 2020
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The runners celebrate on the podium.Jan 04, 2020
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Kiryu Yoshihide, who had finished, applauds Usain Bolt and others crossing the finish. For us spectators, it was hard to see and understand what was going onJan 04, 2020
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Anchors Marlou van Rhijn and Usain Bolt.Jan 04, 2020
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