JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Most viewed - Koka 甲賀市
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Koka Ninja House (Koka-ryu Ninjutsu Yashiki) is the former residence of Mochizuki Izumonokami, the leading Koga ninja family of the 53 Koka ninja families. 望月出雲守 MAP1174 viewsThe house is in its original location in the Koka area of Shiga Prefecture.
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The Ninja House, built in 1703, is owned and maintained by a local medicine company having ninja roots. Many Koka ninja were makers of medicine as a front for their clandestine activities. This background also made them expert at making gunpowder.1158 viewsNot a National Historic Site, but it should be.
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The Mizugumo Water Spider Pond where you can walk on water. A few visitors, wearing ninja costumes, try it out.1115 views
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Metal finger claws worn on the fingertips.1052 views
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As a theme park, the Koka-no-Sato Ninjutsu-mura or Koka Ninja Village offers a good tourist sampling of ninja in a hidden village of former ninja houses transplanted to this "village." Entrance to Koka Ninja Village, tucked away in a hidden, lus1015 viewsEntrance to Koka Ninja Village, tucked away in a hidden, lush forest. Quite far from the nearest train station (Koka Station on the Kusatsu Line). You can call them from the train station to be picked up.
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There he goes, not exactly walking on water. Just dragging himself across with the rope. This is only for anime-like amusement. This is not how the ninja did it.901 views
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Gift shop sells shuriken. Also see the Koka Ninja House. Koka Ninja Village Web site here.877 views
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Ladder going to the 2nd floor. There's also a trap door on the floor below the ladder where the ninja could hide. Notice the rope. The ninja hiding under the floor would tug the rope connected to the 2nd floor.829 views
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The Ninja house (Ninja yashiki) is one of the main attractions of the Ninja Village. This was an actual ninja house belonging to the Fujibayashi ninja family. It was disassembled and transplanted here from Ohara Ichiba in Koka.823 views
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Ninja armored suit for protection against swords.788 views
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The first room you see in the house is the living room. You can sit and have free "ninja tea" while waiting for a guided tour of the house. Along with the geisha, the ninja is one of the most recognized but misunderstood things about Japan.781 views
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Shuriken target practice at the Shuriken Dojo in Koka Ninja Village, Shiga Prefecture. 手裏剣道場769 views
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Trap door on the floor opened.756 views
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Water spider: How the ninja did it. This drawing from the Koka Ninja House shows how it was done. The ninja sat on the board inside the wooden ring and waded through the water while partially submerged. His wooden clogs had small flippers.746 views
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Whoa, almost fell into the water!721 views
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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.692 views
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Real ninja shuriken throwing star knives on display. Made of steel, they come in many different shapes.678 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.671 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.653 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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Shuriken throwing knives.652 views
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Closet with a trap door on the floor.652 views
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Other activities.644 views
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Ninja's secret language. A codified system.641 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620 views
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Inside the ninja house. A hearth with a escape hatch at the bottom.619 views
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Ceiling of Ninja House. Directly below the thatched roof.619 views
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Ninja sword, very short.616 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.607 views
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Ninja house attic showing the thatched roof.605 views1 comments
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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 1990.603 views1 comments
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Soft rubber shuriken (toys). Special thanks to Takayuki Mochizuki (ninja descendant) for taking me to this Koka Ninja House.602 views
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Little ninja at target practice.600 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.597 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.595 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.594 views1 comments
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A pair of floating rings with a platform in the middle.592 views
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Ninja well with an escape tunnel which you can almost walk through.591 views
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Hearth with a escape hatch at the bottom. A tour guide shows you the gimmicks of the house.581 views1 comments
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A flaming star580 views
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Revolving door (opened). The floor also has a trap door (see next photo) where you can go down and escape through a tunnel leading to a well in the garden outside.576 views
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Shuriken throwing knives.575 views
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Maki-bishi spikes thrown on the ground to poke your feet. These are made from dried water chestnuts (aquatic plant found in marshes). One of the four spikes will point upward.573 views
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Inside Koka Ninja Museum which opened in 1983. The dirt-floored room has various ninja ladders.566 views
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Display case showing ninja costumes. Real ninja mainly wore one of seven disguises instead of the stereotypical black costume. They could be dressed as a priest, merchant, jester, etc.563 views
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The 2nd floor, between the first floor and ceiling, has a very low height which can entrap an intruder going upstairs.560 views
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Giant Buddha's hand. Used in a 1982 ninja movie. The hand has the same scale as the Giant Buddha's hand in Nara's Todaiji temple.555 views
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Ninja tools553 views
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Shigaraki tanuki racoon dogs.552 views
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Trying my shuriken skills. You throw it with an overhand throw (like a baseball) and not like a frisbee. Also see my YouTube video here.552 views
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Shinobi Shrine has a statue of Daikokuten, one of the seven gods of good fortune. He is worshipped for good marriage, food, and prosperity. Made during the early Edo Period, it's Japan's largest wooden statue of Daikokuten. 大黒天548 views1 comments
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This room has display cases showing various ninja weapons, tools, and costumes. The ceiling is also quite low, designed to impede the wielding of samurai swords.546 views
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Path to Koka Ninjutsu-mura Village. Admission is 1,000 yen for adults. Cheaper for students. Open 10 am - 5 pm. Free shuttle bus available from JR Koka Station. Phone: 0748-88-5000545 views
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The rope is connected to a noise maker on the 2nd floor here. The intruder would then think that the ninja is on the 2nd floor and go up the ladder in pursuit. When the intruder is on the 2nd floor, the ninja below the trap door would remove the ladder.545 views
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The left sliding wooden door is very heavy, about 50 kg, making it difficult to open. This buys more time for the ninja to escape.543 views
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Certificate of Appreciation from UNICEF to the medicine company. Koka Ninja House Web site here. Phone: 0748-86-2179. Also see the Koka Ninja Village.537 views
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Ninja dolls535 views
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Entrance to another room on the first floor. Although the Koga ninja and Iga ninja (in Mie Prefecture) were the most famous, there were actually numerous ninja groups in many other parts of Japan as well. They were most active during wars.533 views
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Small gun concealed as a sword.529 views
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Dart-shaped shuriken. Shuriken were not only star-shaped. These were either thrown straight-on, or thrown while the point rotated 180 degrees turning toward the target. It was difficult to throw, and much practice was required..527 views
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Hooks for hoisting ropes on walls, etc. The Koka ninja reluctantly moved to Edo (Tokyo) around 1634 as requested by the shogun, and worked as castle guards, gathered intelligence on daimyo lords, and formed a gun battalion.516 views
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Trap door behind a scroll with the kanji "shinobi" (stealth).515 views
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The wooden railing on the right is slimmer than the left one. It means it is removable, allowing the ninja to escape from the 2nd floor.513 views
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Going through the trap door.513 views1 comments
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Ninja souvenirs512 views
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That rope goes to the second floor (see next photo).509 views
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One of Japan's renown and historical centers for pottery, Shigaraki's heart is the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.508 viewsTo reach Shigaraki by train, first get on the JR Kusatsu Line, get off at Kibukawa Station where you transfer to the Shigaraki Kogen Railway Line (photo).
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Ladder going up to the attic.505 views
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The Ninja House also displays autographs by celebrities who visited the house. This is actor Harrison Ford who visited in Feb. 2000. He came unannounced with a taxi driver, interpreter, and his son.504 views
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Maki-bishi made of steel. Used for escape when they encountered an enemy. Many of the ninja's weapons were designed to buy time for the ninja to escape.502 views
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Roof with ninja family crest.495 views
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The upper walls have explanations about the Koka ninja and Mochizuki ninja family. "Koka" is the correct pronunciation, but the kanji can also be pronounced "Koga" which has become more common.489 views
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Next to the Ninja house is the Koka Ninja Museum (Koka Ninjutsu Hakubutsukan). This was also a fomer house transplanted here. 甲賀忍術博物館488 views
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Shuriken Dojo Hall 手裏剣道場488 views
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Gunpowder case483 views
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Stairs to go back down to the 1st floor. There's a rotating door. Ninja worked behind the scenes and were very secretive. They hardly told others about their activites nor left written records. Sometimes they worked as spies or mole.475 views
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Monument for Sarutobi Sasuke, a famous Koga ninja who was born in Koka. However, he was only fictional character. Ninjas never tried to become famous. 猿飛佐助の碑469 views
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The Ninja house was built in 1842. There is a guide (dressed in ninja costume) inside to show you around.467 views1 comments
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Ninja costumes for sale. 10,000 yen for adult costume, and 7,000 yen for children's size.464 views
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Swinging down a rope.463 views
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This entire ceiling was designed to fall down on any assailant in this room.462 views
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Medicine ad sign reading Ninjutsu-gan. For belly aches. Although the ninja's medicine-making remains today, the art of ninjutsu is ironically no longer practiced in Koka. It is not a martial art like karate and judo.461 views
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Ceiling of Ninja House.457 views
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Medicine packages from Koka ninja-related medicine companies. Even today, Koka has numerous medicine manufacturers.454 views
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Castle wall to climb on.454 views
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Real ninja obviously did not wear a pink costume, but in the manga/anime world, pink looks cute.453 views
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Blow tube and blow darts.451 views
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The array of ninja weapons and tools was very impressive. This Ninja House strives to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions of the ninja. A visit is highly recommended.450 views
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The veranda is another escape route after opening trick windows from the inside. Ninja avoided direct combat and preferred to defend themselves and escape from enemies. Assassination was only a minor part of their activities.449 views
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Path down to Koka Ninja Village. Lots of greenery. MAP445 views
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The famed Bansenshukai Ninja Bible detailing ninja tools and techniques. This is a replica.445 views
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The Koka Ninja House also has a Shuriken Dojo. Pay 200 yen for five shuriken throwing stars (300 yen for 10) and try hitting the bull's eye.443 views
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They wore wooden geta clogs with flippers which helped them propel themselves underwater. The wooden floating ring is collapsible and quite light. Almost like balsa.441 views
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Contrary to popular belief, ninja cannot walk on water. "Mizugumo" means water spider. To move across water, they used a wooden floating ring shown here, and sat in the middle.441 views
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Wall to climb on438 views
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Shuriken Dojo has a few stalls. For a few hundred yen, you can throw real shuriken at wooden targets.433 views
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Small revolving door connected to a closet. The Koka ninja's main activity was gathering information. As they traveled and sold medicines, they always talked to people and their customers. They tried to find out how many guns the enemy had, etc.433 views
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Bullets with various gauges.430 views
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The Koka Ninja House is located 2 km from JR Konan Station on the JR Kusatsu Line. There are no buses going to the Ninja House. The house is open every day 9 am - 5 pm. Closed Dec. 27-Jan. 1. Admission is 600 yen for adults. 望月出雲守424 views
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Shigaraki pottery lessons423 views
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A sketch shows how they were "water spiders." They were largely submerged in the water, with the wooden ring also submerged, but buoyant enough for them to float across while kicking through the water with the flipper clogs.420 views
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Straw sandals with metal claws for traction.411 views
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Swinging chain with weights on the ends. Wrap it around the opponent's neck.411 views
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Straw ninja hat with a deep brim to hide their face. Dressing like a priest, merchant, etc., would arouse the least suspicion while they traveled.409 views
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One room's upper walls display a chronological history of the Koga ninja.407 views
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Outdoor stage, where they hold events like the Miss Kunoichi Contest.405 views
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Three out of five of my shuriken at least stuck on the board. But all missed the target which is quite low. Probably geared for kids.402 views
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Gift shop selling medicines, tea, and ninja goods.402 views
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Manga cells. Ninja manga characters are famous. However, real ninja never became famous. Being famous in name or face would greatly decrease the value of that ninja.401 views
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The Saio princess wears a juni-hitoe (12-layer) robe reserved only for Imperial family members. For this festival in 2009, the Saio princess is portrayed by 20-year-old Chiaki Koyama (神山千明) from Shigaraki, Koka. 396 views
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For 500 yen, you can rent a ninja costume of various colors.394 views
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Ninja phone straps391 views
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Blow darts with poison tips maybe.389 views
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Healthy "Ninja tea." Free samples in the living room.379 views
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Medicine (gunpowder?) case.374 views
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Medicines made by the company which owns the house.374 views
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Saio princess in juni-hitoe kimono.368 views
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By now, you will notice that the tanuki (racoon dog) is the symbol of Shigaraki. This giant tanuki greets you at Shigaraki Station. Wish they removed that pay phone.359 views
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Outside the ninja house. This ninja house is very impressive. It does have an air of authenticity, although there are, unavoidably, a few touristy elements. This house should be designated as a Important Cultural Property or an National Historic Site.356 views
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Wooden ad sign for aspirin.333 views
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This is an autograph by Shiga Governor Kada Yukiko who visited the Ninja House on April 24, 2009. In red reads "Mottainai," her motto meaning "Wasteful," in reference to spending of tax dollars.333 views
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The festival started at 11:30 am with the Saio princess carried on a palanquin arriving at a small park called Yume no Ogawa next to Ono Elementary School. 318 views
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Held on the last Sunday in March, the Tsuchiyama Saio Princess Procession reenacts the Tsuchiyama segment of the Saio Gunko procession when a new Saio princess traveled from Kyoto to Ise to be the High Priestess of Ise Grand Shrines in Mie Prefecture. 314 viewsThe Saio princess was an unmarried, young Imperial princess, often the Emperor's daughter or sister, who was appointed (by divination) to be the High Priestess of Ise Grand Shrines from the 7th to 14th centuries. For about 660 years, over 60 Saio princesses served at Ise Grand Shrines.
The journey took 5 nights and 6 days, and passed through Otsu and Tsuchiyama in Shiga Prefecture. Tarumi Tongu in Tsuchiyama was one of the five palaces where the Saio lodged along the way.
Take the "Aikuru" bus from Kibukawa Station (JR Kusatsu Line and Ohmi Railways). After about 30 min., get off at Ono Higashi-guchi (大野東口) and walk to Ono Primary School.
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Art work on a vending machine.313 views
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Similar to the beckoning cat, the Shigaraki tanuki is a common good luck charm placed at the entrance of homes and shops. Tanuki of all sizes for sale year round.306 views
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Minakuchi-juku was the fiftieth of the fifty-three stations of the Tokaido Road. The most prominent remnant is Minakuchi Castle. Short walk from Minakuchi Jonan Station and Minakuchi Ishibashi Station on the Omi Railway Line.269 viewsOmi Railway Line at Minakuchi Ishibashi Station platform, the closest station to Minakuchi-juku.
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The memorial is a short walk from Shigarakigushi Station.243 views
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Saio princess of the Ai-no-Tsuchiyama Saio Gunko Matsuri festival in March.241 views
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Saio princess going to Tarumi Tongu in Tsuchiyama, Shiga.240 views
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Memorial for Safety235 views
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Along the way, you will see pottery shops with tanuki dolls to catch your attention.222 views
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The Saio drinks the tea.213 views
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Pine tree from Tsuchiyama at the site of Shinagawa-juku's Honjin in Tokyo.211 views
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Diamond Shiga's hot spring. Special thanks for Uno Yoshinobu for driving me around for my first trip to Tsuchiyama.200 views
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This is Shinagawa-juku in Tokyo, the site of the Honjin. On the left is a pine tree from Tsuchiyama.197 views
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Tsuchiyama Saio Princess Procession あいの土山斎王群行196 views
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Shigaraki Station 信楽駅194 views
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At Yume no Ogawa park, the Saio princess performed the Misogi-shiki purification ceremony in Tsuchiyama, Shiga. 禊ぎ式192 views
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On the Shigaraki Kogen Railway Line, get off at Shigaraki Station at the end of the line. 信楽駅 MAP187 views
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Shigaraki Kogen Railways Shigaraki Station. You can take a bus to reach Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in 5 min., or walk for 20 min. 信楽駅186 views
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Banners for the Saio Gunko festival. It was a great festival. A lot of people were behind the scenes to hold this festival, and thanks to them too. Also see my photos of the Saiku Matsuri here.184 viewsA similar festival is held in Meiwa, Mie Prefecture, the location of the Saiku Palace where the Saio princess resided near Ise.
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"Anagama" kiln diagram and explanation in Japanese and English.182 views
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Noborigama sloping kiln 登り窯167 views
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Also see my photos of the Aoi Matsuri here.167 views
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"Anagama" kiln.166 views
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"Noborigama" sloping kiln 登り窯161 views
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The Saio is actually on a wheeled cart.160 views
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Tea fields next to Tarumi Tongu. When the Saio princess was called back to Kyoto, she took a different route back to Kyoto.159 views
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The tanuki have different faces and doing different things, even karaoke. Didn't see any looking like a photographer though.153 views
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If you like the tanuki raccoon dog, this is the place to be.152 views
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Bowls147 views
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Shigaraki tanuki is said to bear Eight Lucky Omens (八相縁起).144 viewsShigaraki tanuki is said to bear Eight Lucky Omens (八相縁起). 1. The hat is protection from unexpected disasters. 2. The smiling face is for affability, 3. The large eyes is for seeing the situation and making correct and considerate decisions, 4. The large belly is for being calm as well as bold, 5. A sake flask in the left hand for innate virtue, 6. An unpaid bill in the left hand symbolizes trust, 7. Large gonads between the legs which is the money bag for prosperity, and 8. A thick tail for reliability and stability no matter what.
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JR Koka Station on the JR Kusatsu Line opened its new station building in Nov. 2005. Resembling a farmer's warehouse on the outside, the inside has a number of surprises. This is the north (Kitaguchi) side. MAP142 views
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Numerous Shigaraki pottery vendors display and sell their wares. MAP141 views
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Shigaraki Toki (Pottery) Matsuri banner139 views
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Held only once every five years, the Aburahi Festival with the yakko-furi procession was held by Aburahi Shrine in Koka, Shiga Prefecture, Japan on May 1, 2011.139 viewsThe procession features yakko samurai laborers who carry a trunk and sing. Others also dance. The procession makes a circular route near Aburahi and Koka Stations on the JR Kusatsu Line. Aburahi Station on the JR Kusatsu Line. Very nice design.
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Minakuchi Castle was originally built in 1634 as a rest place for shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu during his travels to and from Kyoto. But the shogun stayed at the castle only once.138 views
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A great time to visit Shigaraki is during the Shigaraki Pottery Festival (信楽陶器まつり) and Ceramic Art Market in mid-Oct. Bridge to the Shigaraki Pottery Fair in mid-Oct.137 views
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Prices are quite reasonable. They sell pottery for any type of budget.137 views
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Tanuki faces. This one is probably the most typical in the modern age.137 views
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Placard holders called Waranbe (童部).137 views
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Resembling a pair of praying hands, the train accident memorial is right next to the railway track.135 views
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Inside the kiln. This one was open and empty, but some were closed and you could feel the warmth on the door.131 views
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The Ceramic Art Market in Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park has ceramics artists having their own booth to sell their wares.131 views
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A dance by the Warawame child attendants. 131 views
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Pottery vendor130 views
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Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is in a large park-like area with various pottery facilities such as this Exhibition Hall of Industrial Ceramics. 産業展示館130 views
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Side entrances of noborigama kiln. 登り窯130 views
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Inside Tanuki-kan store.130 views
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They dance to live music with drums, bell, and flute. The Kenketo Odori dance of Tagi Shrine is a National Intangible Folk Cultural Property. 国選択無形民俗文化財130 views
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JR trains no longer run to Shigaraki directly.129 views
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Vases128 views
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Bargains to be found.128 views
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Shigaraki Tanuki mascot walked around the site.128 views
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"Noborigama" kiln127 views
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Inside a large pottery shop.127 views
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The bridge obviously has ceramic materials.126 views
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Welcome to Shigaraki. On special days such as pottery fairs, just follow the crowd from the train station.125 views
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After reaching Higashi-Mitsuke Gate, backtrack back to the train station and cross the train tracks to the other side of the Tokaido Road. You will be heading toward Minakuchi Castle. Minakuchi manhole. Shiga Pref.125 views
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Tagi Daimyojin-no-Miya Shrine is dedicated to the water god, for protection against floods. Long ago, nearby rivers often flooded this area. 龍樹大明神宮125 views
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"Noborigama" kiln explanation in Japanese and English. 登り窯123 views
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Miho Museum has several exhibition rooms featuring art from various parts of the world. It also has a restaurant and coffee shop.123 views
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When I visited in mid-Oct., the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park was holding the Ceramic Art Market. Notice the tents for the ceramic artists selling their works.121 views
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My video of the Aburahi Matsuri. The yakko-furi procession reenacts the samurai coming to worship at the shrine. You have to watch this video to understand the soundless photos.121 views
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Pottery kilns require large amounts of wood.120 views
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Diamond Shiga, a luxury hotel with a golf course.119 views
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If you go to Shigaraki by car, you will see large pottery shops along the road catching your eye with giant tanuki and small tanuki armies.119 views
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Ceramic seats119 views
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For about 660 years from the 7th century, over 60 Saio princesses served at Ise Grand Shrines. Each time there was a new emperor, a new Saio princess would be appointed to serve at Ise.119 views
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Kenketo dancer, Shiga119 views
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They repeat the same thing over and over. The hasami-bako yakko-furi unit dressed in red do not perform enroute. Apparently, they perform only at the major rest stops like at the shrine and Otabisho.118 views
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This is one of two pottery fair sites during the Shigaraki Pottery Festival.117 views
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117 views
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Kamoshika-so Onsen lodge, offering hot spring waters next to a scenic river. Phone: (0748) 69-0344116 views
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Stone plaque with the names of the 42 fatalities, including five employees of Shiga Kogen (Highland) Railways (SKR).116 views
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Vending machine trash bin with tanuki design at Shigarakigushi Station.116 views
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A short bus ride takes you to Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, opened in June 1990. Open from 9 am to 5 pm, closed on Mon. (open if a national holiday and closed on Tue.). This is Shigaraki's main attraction and home of Shigaraki-yaki pottery.116 views
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Shigaraki-no-miya Palace ruins. National Historic Site MAP115 views
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Held on May 3 by Tagi Jinja Shrine (龍樹神社) in Tsuchiyama, the Kenketo Matsuri Festival is highlighted by the Kenketo Odori Dance. The road to the shrine is marked with festival banners.115 views
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Route taken by the Saio princess from Kyoto to Saiku Palace, near Ise Grand Shrines. The journey took 5 nights and 6 days, and passed through Shiga at Seta (Otsu), Kafuka (Koka), and Tarumi before going to Mie at Suzuka and Ichishi. 114 viewsThe Saio princess stayed at a different palace each night, and three of them were in Shiga. The temporary palace for the Saio princess was called Tongu (頓宮). Only the Tarumi Tongu's former location is known today.
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Diamond Shiga's golf course.113 views
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113 views
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At the parking lot is this Tanuki-kan store full of tanuki.113 views
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The new Saio princess traveled from Kyoto to the Saiku palace near Ise Grand Shrines. It took 5 nights and 6 days. From 886 to 1264 (378 years), one stop along the way was Tarumi Tongu in Tsuchiyama.113 views
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Kenketo Odori dance at Tagi Shrine, Tsuchiyama, Shiga.113 views
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113 views
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Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park also has pottery kilns. Here's one "Anagama" cave kiln. 112 views
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Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is called Togei no Mori in Japanese. It is operated by Shiga Prefecture. Free admission. 陶芸の森 MAP112 views
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More outdoor ceramic art. This is outside the Institute of Ceramic Studies where invited artists in residence create and do research and workshops and lectures are held.112 views
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My YouTube video of the Kenketo Odori Festival.111 views
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Ninja statue on the north side of JR Koka Station.111 views
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Shigarakigushi Station on the Shigaraki Kogen Railway Line. This is where you get off to see the Shigaraki-no-miya Palace Ruins or the train accident memorial. 紫香楽宮跡駅110 views
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Owls too109 views
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Sports tanuki109 views
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Giant tanuki dressed as a Yokozuna grand champion sumo wrestler.109 views
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Kibukawa Station, terminus of the Omi Railway Line and connection to the JR Kusatsu Line.109 views
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Inside a side entrance of a noborigama kiln. 登り窯108 views
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Minakuchi Jinja Shrine, which holds the annual Minakuchi Hikiyama Matsuri on April 19-20, is decorated for the festival. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/yZ2c6hMoGQJ2108 views
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The Saio princess was an unmarried, young Imperial princess, often the Emperor's daughter, who was appointed (by divination) to be the High Priestess of Ise Grand Shrines in Mie Prefecture from the 7th to 14th centuries.107 viewsThis Ai-no-Tsuchiyama Saio Princess Procession was started in 1998.
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Ceiling painting of ninja appearing from a cloak. You can have someone "touch" the tip of the cloak.107 views
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Ninja painting in Koka Station.107 views
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At the top of the hill is the Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art called Togeikan. 陶芸館106 views
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This festival reenacts the Tsuchiyama leg of the Saio Princess Procession. It started at Ono Elementary School and proceeded to the site of Tarumi Tongu, one of the five temporary palaces for the Saio.106 views
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Kyoto-based Emperor Shomu first built a Detached Palace in Shigaraki in 742. This became the the Shigaraki-no-miya Palace.105 views
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She and her entourage arrived to perform the Misogi-shiki purification ceremony. 禊ぎ式 MAP105 views
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Lemme outta here...104 views
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Koka City Hall, Shigaraki Branch103 views
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Confection102 views
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A warehouse converted into a pottery fair.102 views
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Inside the Exhibition Hall of Industrial Ceramics. 産業展示館101 views
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Free shuttle bus to move between the ceramic park, pottery fair, and train station.101 views
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Koka Station's 2nd floor corridor has shuriken (ninja throwing knives) design on the floor.101 views
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And rivers. It's a pleasant drive. It's also part of the Suzuka Quasi-National Park.99 views
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Small taiko player, Tenjin-machi99 views
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Steps going up the hill at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park. Good exercise.98 views
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