Most viewed
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Oiran Dochu Procession. Her clogs. 花の吉原おいらん道中702 views
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Geisha and Maiko in Kyoto702 viewsThis is in Pontocho, one of Kyoto's geisha districts. The woman on the left is a geisha (called "geiko" in Kyoto), the woman in the middle is a helper, and the woman on the right is a maiko or apprentice geisha. They are on their way to see the Kamogawa Odori dance performed by the Pontocho geisha in May.
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Explanatory map of the Battle of Sekigahara702 views
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Oiran Dochu procession, Tokyo702 views
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Whoa, almost fell into the water!702 views
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Roof ridge emblem701 views
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The Kanamara boat mikoshi is the first to leave.701 views
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Even a rock band played...701 viewsThey played '70s rock.
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Iruma Air Base is near Inariyama Koen Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line (40-50 min. from Ikebukuro). This is the crowd leaving the train platform at around 9 am.701 views
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Shinsengumi700 views新撰組
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Sake flows freely.700 views
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1. Fuji Murasaki (Purple Wisteria)697 views
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697 views
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Beware of Habu Snakes696 viewsハブに注意 - "Habu ni chūi." Finally we see the third most common word on warning signs: Chui, meaning "beware of" or "watch out for." Habu is a species of poisonous snake common in Okinawa where this picture was taken.

Place: Okinawa
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Azuchi Castle tower replica at House of Nobunaga. Very ornate and beautiful. both outside and inside.696 views
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1. Kagurazakari 神楽ざかり696 views
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Hula and cherry blossoms695 views
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Handmade male/female lollipops for 600 yen each694 views
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Then there was this group of sexy Yamagata hanagasa dancers. Holy smoke, look at that cleavage, something you never see with a yukata.693 views
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Musashimaru throws setsubun beans at Narita-san692 views
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Peace Statue691 viewsSculptor was Seibo Kitamura.
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Good location690 views
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Lock picks690 views
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Sumo ring (dohyo). A new sumo ring is constructed for every tournament. See sumo tournament photos here.689 views
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Another swinging wall door.689 views
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Musashigawa Stable wrestler wearing Aloha-print yukata687 viewsFlowery pattern (plumeria) with "Musashimaru" imprinted.
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Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum entrance686 views
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685 views
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Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit smoking area685 views
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Items for the auction's climax...684 views
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684 views
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Musical clock683 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦682 views
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No Photography680 views撮影禁止 - The sign reads "Satsuei kinshi." "Satsuei" means to take photos, and "kinshi" means "prohibited." The "No photo" symbol also makes it clear.

On Japanese warning signs, the three most common words you will see are "kinshi" (禁止), "kiken" (危険), and "chui" (or "go-chui") (注意). They respectively mean "prohibited," "danger," and "beware of."

Place: World PC Expo in Makuhari Messe in Chiba.
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Grab the rope and step into the foot rings. Of course, ninja never wore a bright red costume. You can rent a ninja suit in various colors for 600 yen.679 views
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Edo Geisha678 views江戸芸者
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Musashimaru and his flowers677 viewsThis was his last appearance at this retirement ceremony.
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や677 views
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Weeping cherry tree, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, Tokyo. Called "Shidare-sakura" in Japanese meaning cherry tree with drooping branches.677 views
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Okinawan kimono called the bingata, perhaps Okinawa's most famous kimono. The design is made by applying dyes through a stencil.676 viewsIt was originally worn by Okinawa's royal family members. It is now the costume of a slow-moving Okinawan dance called "Yotsudake."
Model: Maki Uyeunten
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Takeinadane-no-Mikoto676 views1 comments
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675 views
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Young boy kabuki actors at Nagahama Hikiyama Festival.675 views
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Just when I finally became able to recognize the different faces of the cheerleaders (at first, they looked the same to me), the season ends, and they will be replaced next season.674 views
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Costume Player671 viewsCosplay costumes are sometimes based on Japanese kimono and Japanese elements such as the cherry blossom. She's Sakura Shinguuji from a video game called Sakura Wars (Sakura Taisen).
See more photos of cosplayers here.
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Winner's trophy670 views
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Entering Tagata Shrine, dedicated to Tamahime-no-Mikoto (daughter of a local feudal lord) and Mitoshi-no-Kami (deity of harvests).669 views
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Hula and cherry blossoms668 views
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These dance photos were taken in April 2002. Note that taking pictures and videos of the dance are no longer allowed.668 views
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Tokyo Jidai Matsuri Banner and Tekomai geisha. From top to bottom, the banner reads, "Tokyo Jidai Matsuri." It marks the official and real start of the festival parade. The first Tokyo Jidai Matsuri was held in 1989. 東京時代祭本旗667 viewsThe first Tokyo Jidai Matsuri was held in 1989. Slight changes in the festival have been made since. Instead of two oiran courtesans, there is only one now. And at the end of the parade, the Asakusa Revue of showgirls used to be the anchor. But they are now gone.

東京時代祭本旗、手古舞
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Swimsuit pin-up. Another picture that makes you laugh. Apparently she felt sexy in that suit and knew how to pose like a pin-up swimsuit model.666 views1 comments
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Oiran Dochu Procession. The two little girls are called kamuro.665 views
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"Robocop" Takamisakari gets ready665 viewsThe top-division Makunouchi wrestlers went through their matches quickly.
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Japanese belly dancer.665 views
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Musashimaru gets his setsubun beans at Narita-san.664 views
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Baby Blessings at Warabi Hadaka Matsuri in Yotsukaido, Chiba. Infants are blessed in front of the shrine.663 views
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Peace memorial from China663 viewsThe park also has peace monuments from various countries.
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9:43 am: Almost front and center662 views
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The Kanamara boat mikoshi is the first to leave. 神輿の巡幸662 views
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Monument next to Peace Statue661 views
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Kusatsu Shukuba Festival, Shiga Pref.661 views
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The 36th Noge Daidogei Street Performance Festival was held on April 24-25, 2010 in Yokohama, near JR Sakuragicho Station. "Daidogei" means street performance.661 views
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Athens Gold Medalist Keiji Suzuki pyches himself up659 views
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Konishiki also sings. (His company arranged the entertainment.)659 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女658 views
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Pretty Cure657 viewsKids could have their picture taken with these characters.
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Shack for votive tablets657 views
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The Elizabeth mikoshi pumping up and down as it makes it way to town657 views
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Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit smoking area cigarette butts657 views
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Koka Ninja Museum also has showcases with various ninja costumes, documents, weapons, etc. The museum is kind of rundown though.655 views
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Shinsengumi disbanded when the shogunate collapsed and Emperor Meiji became the head of state. The Shinsegumi wore a distinct costume with a light blue haori. 新撰組654 views
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Amulets, votive tablets, etc., for sale by the shrine.653 views
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Laughing Geisha with umbrella. As you may have noticed, the umbrella (and fan) was a commonly used prop in tourist photos. Postmarked 1903 from Yokohama. The actual card is more yellowed and almost brown, but I bleached it with Photoshop.652 views1 comments
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Memorial at hypocenter650 viewsErected in July 1995 for the 50th anniversary.
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The procession is headed by tekomai geisha who sing.649 views
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There she goes.649 views
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The main Kanamara mikoshi leaves last.648 views
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Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as balloons are released from the flight deck. Kitty Hawk is returning to the United States for decommissioning after 10 years of service in Fleet Activities Yokosuka.648 viewsYOKOSUKA, Japan (May 28, 2008) Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as balloons are released from the flight deck. Kitty Hawk is returning to the United States for decommissioning after 10 years of service in Fleet Activities Yokosuka and will soon be relieved by the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brendan Morgan (Released)
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Bamboo sticks concealing a sword.648 views
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Miniskirted yukata648 views
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Edo Geisha647 views江戸芸者
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Pacific Ocean (Jan. 13, 2005) - Crash-and-salvage personnel rig a training skeleton of an F-14 Tomcat to "Tilly," a mobile crane used aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).647 viewsPacific Ocean (Jan. 13, 2005) - Crash-and-salvage personnel rig a training skeleton of an F-14 Tomcat to "Tilly," a mobile crane used aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Tilly is used to move damaged aircraft off the flight line during crash and salvage operations. Kitty Hawk's crash-and-salvage team serves as the ship's flight deck firefighting crew. Currently conducting sea trials in the western Pacific Ocean, Kitty Hawk demonstrates power projection and sea control as the U.S. Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, operating from Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Bo Flannigan (RELEASED)
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646 views
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Real ninja shuriken throwing star knives on display. Made of steel, they come in many different shapes.646 views
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Dinner at Isaburo: River fish and mountain vegetables. After dinner, the proprietress and her husband and daughter sang and danced for us. 645 viewsThey demonstrated different traditional musical instruments and had us try playing them. It was great. However, I was told that they don't do that anymore.
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A bow of thanks644 views
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Inside the Iga-ryu Ninja House.644 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ643 views
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Ninjas in the kitchen. We could not go up into the attic as we can in Koka's ninja house in Shiga.643 views
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Tsuchiyama-juku in Tsuchiyama-cho was the 49th of the 53 stations of the Tokaido Road, accessible by this "Aikuru" bus from Kibukawa Station (JR Kusatsu Line and Ohmi Railways). It takes 20-30 min, but the bus does not run so often.642 viewsTsuchiyama-juku in Tsuchiyama-cho was the forty-ninth of the fifty-three stations of the Tokaido Road, following Sakanoshita-juku in Mie. It is right after Suzuka Pass on the Suzuka mountains, one of the two most difficult sections of the Tokaido. Travelers thus were happy to see Tsuchiyama. Nicknamed "Ai no Tsuchiyama," the town is working hard to preserve its old buildings. The Tsuchiyama-juku Honjin where Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu and Emperor Meiji lodged is still intact and well maintained. The Tsuchiyama Tokaido Museum is also a major attraction. Special thanks to Uno Yoshinobu who was my guide in Tsuchiyama.
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Inside the Iga-ryu Ninja House642 views
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Look, this one even has wrinkles (probably flaccid).641 viewsYes, he actually said that.
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Honda Sports 4 Concept639 viewsI like this picture.
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7. Sawagi さわぎ639 views
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Hall entrance and sign638 views
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Map of battlefield for Western Forces. Also see Ishida Mitsunari Birthplace in Nagahama, Shiga.638 views
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The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri and Haruki Danjiri Matsuri festivals are held during the weekend before Respect for Aged Day (national holiday) which is the third Mon. in Sept. The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is held near Nankai Kishiwada Station (pictured).638 views
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Head of the portable shrine procession637 viewsTengu, shrine priest, and a little girl with an offertory tray. I put in 10 yen, and a shrine maiden came up to me and waved the sacred branch over my head as a blessing. She also gave me an amulet made of paper. I guess I'm fertile now...
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Shuriken throwing knives.637 views
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Flipper-like clogs to walk through swamps637 views
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Tengu (nose is not shaped like a phallus)636 views
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Hiroshima Castle tower635 viewsRebuilt after World War II.
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Honda633 viewsThis is what she looks like up close.
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Karyobinga 迦陵頻伽633 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine wisteria and taiko-bashi bridge. Taiko-bashi is an arch bridge.632 views
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Other activities.632 views
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The Word Called Love (恋と云う字)630 views
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Oiran Dochu Procession. This picture was taken next to the Sensoji Temple behind which the parade starts. Before, one oiran courtesan rode in a rickshaw. 花の吉原おいらん道中630 views花の吉原おいらん道中
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9:40 am: Inside the Imperial Palace. This is called the Kyudentotei. It is a large plaza in front of the palace.629 views
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Ninja's secret language. A codified system.629 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ628 viewsThis is a maiko.
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Closet with a trap door on the floor.627 views
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Line behind624 views
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Nakayama Emiri, a TV personality, tries to throw shuriken.624 views
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Storefront shutter with ninja drawings.623 views
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Sakamoto Ryoma 坂本龍馬623 views
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Female princess reigning over the Sakitama Fire Festival in Gyoda, Saitama621 viewsShe's 15 years old.
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In the 1960s and 1970s, cars had distinguishing designs. But today, most cars look almost the same.620 views
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Clarion. The ubiquitous female companions, attendants, or models that we see today started appearing at the show from as early as 1957. They do not only decorate the show, but they also reflect the fashion of the times.619 viewsI approached her and she struck this pose instinctively.
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Sacred Water (and Mud). On the the left, the water feeding the paddy is enclosed by a sacred rope. This makes the water (and mud) sacred.618 views
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Statue of Hijikata Toshizo from Shinsengumi. 土方歳三像617 views
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Close-up of Kintai-kyo Bridge615 views
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Commodore Perry Landing Monument. The Perry monument at Kurihama on the Miura Peninsula (Kanagawa Pref.) was built on July 14, 1901. It marks the spot where he first landed in Japan in 1853.614 viewsClick to see what the monument looks like today. I wonder what happened to it during the World War II. Was it destroyed or left untouched? This postcard was made to commemorate the visit of the US Fleet in Oct. 1908.1 comments
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9:31 am: Crossing the famous Nijubashi Bridge. It turned out to be a completely modern bridge, no sqeaking or anything. 二重橋613 views
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Phallus in the Kanamara boat mikoshi613 views
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The center is filled up first. The center is in front of the balcony where the Imperial family will appear. Thus, the earlier you go, the better chance of you standing in front of the balcony.612 views
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Snip and a hug by Konishiki (Question: Where was Akebono??)612 views
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Popular meeting place at Shibuya Station, south exit.612 views
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Edo Geisha 江戸芸者611 views江戸芸者
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Canon model611 viewsThis Canon ministage was surrounded by EOS 30D cameras which we could use to shoot these female models on the ministage. They let us print out a picture (A4 size) and take it home.

Compared to the 20D, the 30D has a larger LCD monitor, a higher maximum burst during continuous shooting, and spot metering. The 8 megapixels and sensor size are the same. Canon says that this is the optimum pixel count for the supporting technologies in the camera. And that the image quality does not depend solely on the megapixel count.
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Shirakawa-go 白川郷611 views
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Iron claws611 views
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After warming up at the fire, they run back to the mud.610 views
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Maiko and geisha can often be seen in Gion.610 views
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At the starting point of the procession, the oiran gets ready to wear her high and heavy wooden clogs.609 views
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SAN DIEGO (Aug. 7, 2008) The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) moves past the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), in background, as Kitty Hawk prepares to moor at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego.609 viewsSAN DIEGO (Aug. 7, 2008) The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) moves past the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), in background, as Kitty Hawk prepares to moor at Naval Air Station North Island upon her return to San Diego Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008. Kitty Hawk will be decommissioned next year in Bremerton, Wash. The 46- year-old carrier is the oldest active-duty warship in the Navy and will be replaced this summer George Washington as the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kyle D. Gahlau/Released)
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Keikyu Yokosuka-Chuo Station platform, arrival from Tokyo. 京急横須賀中央駅609 views
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Beauty with fan. The white space around her was for writing the correspondence. You could not write the message on the same side as the address. The back of the postcard was for the address only.608 viewsSo it has an undivided back, which means there is no dividing line between the address side and correspondence side, Postcards with an undivided back were made between 1900 and March 28, 1907. That's how we know the approximate age of this card even though it has no postmark.1 comments
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Former yokozuna Taiho, Takanosato, Kotozakura, and Wakanohana watch intently.607 views
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Maidens who are 36 years old, carry wooden penises for protection during their "unlucky age" (yakudoshi).607 views
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Main gate606 views
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Canon model (wireless photo studio demo)606 viewsCanon also had a photo studio to demonstrate a digital photo shoot with the top-of-the-line EOS D-SLR attached with a remote transmitter which transmitted the images to a computer via wireless. We saw the images appear on the TV monitor as it was transmitted to the computer. You can shoot very quickly, but the images don't transfer or appear as fast. I guess they were RAW. Here the model is showing off one of the photos which was taken and printed on the spot.
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Inside the ninja house. A hearth with a escape hatch at the bottom.606 views
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Takamikura Throne where the emperor sat when there was an audience.606 views
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Aoi Festival, Kyoto603 viewsHeld in May, the Aoi (Hollyhock) Festival is one of Kyoto's Big Three festivals. It is a long parade of people dressed in historical costumes from the Heian Period (794-1185) when Kyoto was Japan's capital. Each participant also wears a small branch of hollyhock.
See more photos of this festival here.
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PR poster, painting by Lynn Matsuoka. Also see my photos of Akebono's Retirement Ceremony.602 views
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The giant phallus by itself weighs about 280 kg (620 lbs.). The total weight of both the phallus and portable shrine housing is 400 kg (885 lbs.).602 views
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Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) man the rails while the ship arrives in its new home port in Japan.601 viewsYOKOSUKA, Japan (Sept. 25, 2008) Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) man the rails while the ship arrives in its new home port in Japan. George Washington and Carrier Air Wing 5 will now operate from Fleet Activities Yokosuka as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien/Released)
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Yokosuka, Japan (Dec. 12, 2005) – Sailors assigned to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Port Operations, stand by as the conventionally powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) arrives after completing a regularly scheduled underway period.601 viewsYokosuka, Japan (Dec. 12, 2005) – Sailors assigned to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Port Operations, stand by as the conventionally powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) arrives after completing a regularly scheduled underway period. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Yesenia Rosas (RELEASED)
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1. Fuji Murasaki (Purple Wisteria)600 views
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Sleek racing row boats and traditional yakata picnic boats on upper right600 views
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People waiting for the procession along the shrine steps. (Not a good place to watch the procession.)600 views
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Panasonic599 viewsAnother nice one.
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Fushimi Turret. This view of the turret can only be had when you cross the bridge. I never knew what it really looked like until this day. 伏見櫓599 views
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Shinobi Shrine is what you first see. Worships all the nameless ninja who died. The ninja never tried to gain fame. They remained unknown. 志能備神社599 views
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Maker's inscription on Japanese gun 大砲の日本語表示598 viewsIt says the gun was made by Kure Naval Arsenal in the 31st year of the Meiji Period (1898). Kure was a large naval base in Hiroshima Prefecture.

砲尾の上に「呉海軍造兵廠、明治参拾壱年」 が刻まれていた。
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Kusatsu Shukuba Festival, Shiga Pref.598 views
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Geisha and maiko598 viewsNot a good photo, but their names are written in hiragana on the back. They read "Suimatsu" on the left and "Shigezuru" on the right who is a maiko, not geisha. She has more ornaments in her hair than the geisha. Also notice their blackened teeth. If they are in Kyoto, a geisha is called "geiko." In Tokyo, a maiko (apprentice geisha) is called "hangyoku." This is a postcard-size photo and not a postcard.1 comments
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Camera-tsuki keitai denwa (or keitai camera)597 viewsカメラ付き携帯電話 - "Camera-tsuki" means camera-equipped. "Keitai" is portable, and "denwa" is telephone. Ever since the camera phone was introduced in Japan in 2001, it has become hugely popular with the masses using them for snapshots and as you can see, self portraits.

Place: Takayama Festival, Gifu Pref.
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Bye-bye Konica-Minolta596 views
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Mud Fight. After clashing and crashing to the mud, they throw mud at each other.595 views
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Ceiling of Ninja House. Directly below the thatched roof.594 views
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Lumix593 views
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Tools for making medicine (including gunpowder). Many Koka (Koga) ninja were medicine makers. It was a disguise and a means to gather information from people when they went around selling medicines. Koka ninja were always in contact with the local people.593 views
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Warm Up592 views
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Back at the shrine592 views
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Kanamara mikoshi591 views
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Babies to Mud at Warabi Hadaka Matsuri in Yotsukaido, Chiba. The men carry babies to the mud paddy and use a straw strand to paint a dot on the baby. Sometimes they use a finger to do it.590 views
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No Photography590 views撮影禁止 - Another sign that reads (top to bottom) "Satsuei kinshi." "Satsuei" means to take photos, and "kinshi" means prohibited. At this Shinto shrine, you are not allowed to photograph inside the main shrine building housing the altar.

Place: A shrine in Kyoto.
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Kanayama Shrine's head priest590 views
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Rikugien Garden's famous weeping cherry tree. In Japanese, it is called "shidare-sakura" meaning drooping cherry.588 views
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Ninja house attic showing the thatched roof.588 views1 comments
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Crazy sumo fan587 viewsThey also sold the real banzuke for 50 yen.
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Letter of Thanks from Phil586 viewsI really enjoyed my first trip to Finland during September 4-18, 2005 (Sept. 8-17 in Kuusamo) and savored every hour. The people in Kuusamo were all so nice and it was a great pleasure to meet and see the work of many talented and dedicated photographers from Europe.

They have definitely piqued my interest and opened my eyes to the nature and wildlife in northern Europe and the Arctic region. I've also become much more keenly aware of the seriousness of global warming. People in Finland have told me how the climate has become noticeably warmer over the decades. Such countries near the polar regions are the first to feel and see the detrimental effects of global warming. I really hope we can someday reverse the trend.

I want to thank the people who made my sponsored trip and participation in Kuusamo Nature Photo 2005 possible and very enjoyable. After months of email correspondence with the festival staff, it was great to finally meet all of them face to face. It makes a big difference when you know the face and person behind the name.

I know they worked very hard to pull off a very successful nature photo festival. For all the email correspondence, coordination, and making all the arrangements, I especially want to thank the following:

Lassi Rautiainen, Kuusamo Nature Photo Director
Pekka Pirhonen, Kuusamo Culture Department Manager
Seija Väisänen
Hannele Pappila
Town of Kuusamo
Corporate sponsors

I also want to personally thank the following people:

Pirkko Väätäinen, my interpreter who interpreted my three slide shows into Finnish.
Hannu Hautala and wife Irma, for having us over at his home/office. Despite his fame, Hannu is a very down-to-earth and warm-hearted man. It was a great pleasure to meet him, to see his collection of Japanese photo books, and hearing about his two trips to Japan.
Barbara, for videotaping my slide shows with my video camera and taking some great snapshots of me enjoying myself in Kuusamo. And also for providing transportation to/from the airport.
Tõnu Ling, for taking snapshots of me in Kuusamo and being my first friend in Kuusamo (we met on the plane to Kuusamo).
Koillis sanomat newspaper and reporter Tuomo Pirttimaa for interviewing me in an article they published.

Again, I have to thank Lassi for everything. He was the one who took care of all the details even during our nature trips. Lending sleeping bags, carrying hot drinks in heavy thermos bottles, driving us all over the place, answering all our questions, taking pictures of us, and making sure everyone had an enjoyable time. He turned out to be quite humorous. I can highly recommend him to anyone who needs a very knowledgeable local guide to watch or photograph wildlife in Finland.
See his Web site: Articmedia

Finally, I want to thank all the people and photographers I met at Kuusamo for their pleasant company and friendship. Remember that you have a friend in Japan. If you ever come and visit, let me know.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this permanent online gallery of Finland photos explained in both English and Japanese.

Philbert Ono
Tokyo, Japan

P.S. In case you don't know, "kiitos" means thank you in Finnish.
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Honolulu Advertiser newspaper from Hawaii featuring a photo of a ninja from Koka who performed at Ala Moana Shopping Center in 1990.586 views1 comments
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View from top of bridge in 1997. The shrine has two "taiko-bashi" arch bridges. This is the view from the top of the first one soon after you pass under the torii.585 views
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Female ninja climbing over a wall.585 views
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Kenrokuen Garden, Ishikawa Pref., Karasaki Pine Tree whose seedlings originally came from the Karasaki Pine Tree in Shiga Pref.584 views
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Hula and cherry blossoms583 views
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Ninja sword, very short.583 views
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They changed their outfit and looked more like cheerleaders now.583 views
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They are in the mud for only a few minutes. Then they go back up to the shrine nearby and warm up near a fire. They go back and forth between the shrine and mud paddy about 4 or 5 times.582 views
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Hamura Tulip Festival, Tokyo582 views
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Map of Japan showing numerous ninja schools which existed during the feudal era. Iga-Ueno and Koga ninja were the most famous.582 views
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The warrior monk costume is interesting. The collar makes them look bigger and more fearsome. 僧兵行列580 views
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Men in happi coats which read "Honen Matsuri." Honen literally means "year of abundant harvest."580 views
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Statue of Lord Todo Takatora (in Kora, Shiga Prefecture) who became the 11th lord of Tsu Castle (Mie Pref.) in 1608. Behind it is the Takatora Waterfall.580 views
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Ninja well with an escape tunnel which you can almost walk through.580 views
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The climax was this small truck dancing via remote control. See my YouTube video here.580 views
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Sword demo580 views
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Torch runner at Omotesando, for Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay579 viewsMiura Yukari, a high school student from Fukushima Pref.

福島工業高等専門学校に通い、部活動はソフトボールという三浦由香里さん。
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A pair of floating rings with a platform in the middle.579 views
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Ninja looked at a cat's eyes to find out what time it was. If the iris was almost closed, it was noon. If dilated, it was late at night. Must've been troublesome to find and snatch a cat to find out what time it was.579 views1 comments
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Pesto noodles, a specialty of Genova ペスト、ジェノバの名物577 views
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3. Edo no Nigiwai (Liveliness of Edo)577 views
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3. 梅にも春 Ume ni mo Haru577 viewsDancers: 千丸、史織
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Oiran Dochu procession, Ichiyo Sakura Festuval, Tokyo. Her obi sash is tied in the front in a knot called manaita-musubi.577 views
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I first heard about Nara's 1300th anniversary a few years ago through this mascot named Sento-kun. A boy priest with deer antlers was so absurd that he has become very popular and recognizable.577 views
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Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena as seen from Ryogoku Station576 views
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Weeping cherry tree, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, Tokyo. 枝垂桜576 views
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Soft rubber shuriken (toys). Special thanks to Takayuki Mochizuki (ninja descendant) for taking me to this Koka Ninja House.576 views
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Shot in 2003.575 views
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575 viewsKids could have their picture taken with these characters.
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About the Bonsho temple bell at Chusonji temple. 梵鐘574 views
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Inside the trap door is a hole and tunnel leading to a well in the garden outside. Hence the water.573 views
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Yohei Takai vs. Tatsuhiro Muramoto (semi-final)572 views
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Tying the rope at the back.572 views
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花魁道中571 views
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Kitchen in Iga-ryu Ninja House.571 views
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White Heron Dance is one of the highlights of the festival. It is also performed on other occasions in Asakusa. The dance was revived in 1968 in Asakusa to mark the Meiji Period Centennial. It has been performed annually on Nov. 3 ever since. 白鷺の舞570 views
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Himeji Castle tower, a National Treasure. 大天守569 views
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Tokyo Station Yaesu Central Entrance in 2007. 東京駅八重洲中央口569 views
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Early postcard history: Japan's Postal Service was first established in March 1871. Japan's first postcards, pictured above, were issued in December 1873, a few years after the first postcards were issued in Europe. Click to read more.569 viewsIn 1900, a revision of the postal act allowed private-sector (non-governmental) postcards to be made and used. Picture postcards then became very popular and gave rise to a new postcard culture and a new era in postal history.

The postcards featured a great variety of subjects: Scenics, women, geisha, war, disaster scenes (especially earthquakes), Japanese customs, the Emperor, buildings, animals, etc., etc.

Color printing had not been invented yet so hand-painted postcards became very popular up to around the 1910s when offset printing gradually replaced collotype printing.

In June 1902, the postal service issued its first commemorative picture postcard. It marked the 25th anniversary of Japan's membership in the International Postal Union.

The postal service later issued more commemorative postcards and stamps for other important events and imprinted commemorative postmarks on letters and postcards for the occasion. Especially popular were postcards commemorating triumphs in the Russo-Japanese War during 1904-5 and the enthronement of Emperor Taisho.

During the war with Russia, people lined up all night in front of post offices before new war-related commemorative postcards went on sale. Postcard exchange meetings were held and many collectors had tens of thousands of postcards. However, after the war ended, the postcard boom waned in Japan.

Meanwhile, foreign tourists visiting Japan continued to send souvenir photographs and postcards back home. Because of them, many of the postcards that were published were able to escape and survive the natural (earthquakes) and man-made (World War II) disasters Japan was to experience later on.
Those early postcards became highly collectible overseas and have continued to delight their owners and collectors for over a century.
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Iga-ryu Ninja Museum 569 views
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For more info, see miyako-odori.jp in English or call 075-541-3391.568 views
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Minamoto no Yoritomo (Hatakeyama Shigetada). His prayers for victory were answered. 源 頼朝 隅田川陣営 (畠山重忠)567 views
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Asakusa Folk Entertainment. Behind the Asakusa Temple, there was a variety of shows, street performers, plays, and other characters. Asakusa has always been Tokyo's entertainment center. 浅草奥山風景567 views
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Bye-bye Agfa566 views2005 was also the last time for Agfa to have a booth.
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Seibu Ikebukuro Line train station entrance at Ikebukuro, Tokyo. It takes about 90 min. from Ikebukuro to Yokoze Station via Tokkyu express train. Cheaper trains take 2 hours.566 views
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Hearth with a escape hatch at the bottom. A tour guide shows you the gimmicks of the house.566 views1 comments
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If you go early in the morning, there are fewer people.565 views
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Yubin Hag(k)aki. All postcards were required to bear the words "Yubin Hagaki (or Hakaki)" which means "Post Card." The words appeared on the address side of the card along the right edge of the horizontal card.565 viewsThis string of Japanese kanji characters underwent two changes during Japan's postcard history. (If you don't read Japanese, it might be a little difficult to understand the changes.)

The image above shows a closeup of three postcards. At the top, "Yubin Hakaki" is read from right to left. On February 15, 1933, the word "Hakaki" was changed to read "Hagaki" as shown by the middle card above. Then after World War II ended in 1945, the Japanese reading style from right to left changed to left to right (when written horizontally) similar to English. Japanese captions on the picture side also changed to read from left to right after 1945.

Also note that from July 22, 1905, private postcards were allowed to have a foreign-language designation (i.e. "Carte Postale" or "Post Card") in addition to the Japanese "Yubin hakaki."

On the bottom card, notice the five red boxes. They are for the postal code within Japan. From Feb. 1998, Japan's postal code system was expanded to seven digits. Postcards having seven red boxes were made after Feb 1998. (See next image.)
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