JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Most viewed - Narita 成田市
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The biggest taiko drum festival in the Kanto region is held annually in April. Various taiko drum troupes perform for two full days on various outdoor stages in Narita, including the main stage in front of the Narita-san temple.1475 views
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Musashimaru and Dejima856 views
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Actress Riho Makise throwing setsubun beans at Narita-san846 views
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Musashimaru throws setsubun beans at Narita-san715 views
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Musashimaru gets his setsubun beans at Narita-san.685 views
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Bag of beans. I caught this from Dejima. They throw little bags of beans instead of individual beans. Bean bags are much easier to catch and to clean up afterward.575 views
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Hikaru Nishida at center in red for Naritasan Setsubun in Feb. 2001.549 views
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Narita-san Setsubun bean throwers. Sumo wrestlers, Nishida Hikaru, Makise Riho, etc.525 views
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Narita Gion Matsuri506 views
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Preparing unagi eel, Narita, Chiba. Also see the video at YouTube.468 viewsSlicing it in half lengthwise.
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Tired from walking, Narita Gion Matsuri420 views
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Narita-san temple's main hall.384 views
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Group photo of bean throwers. Sumo wrestlers at the top.375 views
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Cleanup.357 views
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Narita-san during Narita Gion Festival349 views
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Narita Gion Matsuri347 views
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Poster for Setsubun in Feb. 2001. The following photos are from Feb. 3, 2001.347 views
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Narita-san Park's Ukimido Floating Hall346 views
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Skewering the eel. Also see the video at YouTube.329 views
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Held in July, Narita Gion Matsuri Festival has ornate floats pulled on the streets of Narita and to Narita-san temple. Pulling a float on the street324 views
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Striping off the boney spine.324 views
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Pulling the float, Narita Gion Matsuri321 views
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Names of celebrity bean throwers in 2001. They include actresses Hikaru Nishida and sumo wrestlers Yokozuna Akebono, Musashimaru, Dejima, and Asashoryu.310 views
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Gathering at Narita-san temple307 views
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Drum troupe from S. Korea306 views
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Narita-san Dai-hondo main worship hall. These people are waiting to see the taiko drum performance. 大本堂301 views
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Priests at Narita-san.299 views
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Narita Gion Matsuri293 views
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Museum of Aeronautical Sciences291 viewsThe museum is right at the end of the runway of Narita International Airport.
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Narita Gion Matsuri285 views
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Offering prayers at Narita Gion Matsuri282 views
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Platform for bean throwers.271 views
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Narita-san Park's Ukimido Floating Hall264 views
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Narita-san Park's Ukimido Floating Hall234 views
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Tower of Peace, Narita-san Heiwa no Daito 平和の大塔233 views
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Platform for bean throwers.224 views
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Last group222 views
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Narita-san priests219 views
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Prayers at Narita-san185 views
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Komyodo Hall, Important Cultural Property at Narita-san. Built in 1701 and dedicated to the Dainichi Nyorai Buddha, the principal image of Shingon Buddhism. 光明堂177 views
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Main stage at Narita-san temple.171 views
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Taiko troupe from Okinawa168 viewsThis group stole the show with a dragon dance, lion dogs, and eisa taiko drummers.
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Side entrance to Narita-san temple.168 views
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Old YS-11 prop plane.163 views
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Haruka Ayase is in the title role of Yae Niijima in this year's NHK Taiga Drama.159 views
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Priests enter the temple at Narita-san.150 views
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Main stage at Narita-san temple.149 viewsOn Saturday evening, the festival climaxes with a free show on the main stage. The best taiko troupes from Japan and overseas performed for 2 hours.
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Inside the YS-11140 views
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L-R: Haruka Ayase, Kotaro Koizumi (son of former Prime Minister Jun'ichiro Koizumi), and Hidetoshi Nishijima at Naritasan Shinshoji Setsubun festival on Feb. 3, 2013.139 views
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Narita-san Shinshoji temple holds its Setsubun Bean-throwing Festival on Feb. 3. It was jam-packed on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. 136 views
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Cherry blossom grove134 views
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Turtles huddle for sunshine.130 views
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Tower of Peace, Narita-san Heiwa no Daito, built in 1984. 平和の大塔128 views
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Baruto and Yokozuna Hakuho at Naritasan Shinshoji for Setsubun bean throwing on Feb. 3, 2013.126 views
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Keisei Narita Station120 viewsThe Narita City Hall can be seen with the green, temple-like roof.
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The crowd try desperately to get a shot of Haruka Ayase. I was shooting blind as I raised my camera in the air to shoot. Narita-san Shinshoji temple Setsubun bean throwing.120 views
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Museum's observation deck.119 views
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Keisei Narita Station. Getting to Narita is cheaper via Keisei Railway.118 views
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Ozeki Kisenosato and Okinoumi at Naritasan.118 views
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Actress Haruka Ayase (left) throws beans at Naritasan Shinshoji temple on Feb. 3, 2013.117 views
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JR Narita Station115 views
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Narita-san Park cherry blossoms. The park opened in 1928. 成田山公園114 views
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Main road to Narita-san temple111 views
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People streaming into Narita-san Shinshoji temple's main hall.111 views
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Baruto at Naritasan Shinshoji for Setsubun on Feb. 3, 2013.108 views
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Baruto and Yokozuna Hakuho.105 views
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Narita-san Park has a Japanese garden, quite scenic in spring with cherry blossoms.104 views
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Somon Gate is what you first see, Narita-san's main gate. 総門97 views
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The Dai-hondo main hall of Narita-san temple. 大本堂91 views
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Narita-san's Three-story Pagoda, an Important Cultural Property91 views
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Most people came to see the celebrities throwing the beans for mamemaki. They included sumo wrestlers Yokozuna Hakuho, Ozeki Kisenosato, Baruto, and Okinoumi. Also Haruka Ayase, Ayame Goriki, Kotaro Koizumi and other stars of the current NHK Taiga Drama.86 views
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The path to Shinshoji has sculptures of the oriental zodiac. 2013 is the year of the snake.76 views
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After throwing beans the first session, the bean throwers started leaving. First the sumo wrrstlers, then the actresses/actors. Haruka Ayase is behind the wrestlers here.76 views
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Narita-san Shinshoji Temple is Chiba Prefecture's most famous temple. Belonging to the Shingon Buddhist Sect, it holds many of Narita's major festivals such as Setsubun. Four buildings are also Important Cultural Properties.76 viewsA short walk from JR and Keisei Narita Stations.
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Actress Haruka Ayase is in the center of this shot.74 views
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Gate to Shinshoji ahead.73 views
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The steps lead to Niomon Gate.73 views
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These are non-celebrities. They threw the beans for about a minute. Very short.73 views
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Most of use didn't get any beans. It was the first time I didn't get any beans from a Setsubun festival.73 views
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After throwing the beans, they clapped their hands.73 views
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Since I came all the way out here, I decided to stay and see the second bean-throwing ceremony at 1:30 pm.73 views
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Actress Haruka Ayase comes out of the temple.73 views
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Baruto and Haruka Ayase proceed to their places.73 views
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There's a ceremony first inside the temple.72 views
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The sumo wrestlers always stand at the top.71 views
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Niomon Gate.70 views
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Normally, you can enter the temple up the steps straight from Niomon Gate, but it was blocked off and we had to use the steps on the right.70 views
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The mamemaki bean-throwing ceremony was held three times. The first time was at 11 am. I was way too far away from the bean throwers.70 views
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Inside the main hall, people pray and throw money. It must like this during New Year's too. Setsubun is actually like New Year's Eve.70 views
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This is how close you have to be to the platform to get any beans.70 views
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People streaming to Shinshoji for the Setsubun bean throwing festival.69 views
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Passing through Niomon Gate.69 views
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Finally, the celebrity bean throwers arrived again and first posed for a group photo before going inside the temple for the ceremony.69 views
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Celebrity bean throwers wave as they enter the temple for the Setsubun ceremony.69 views
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At left is Ayame Goriki, another actress, comes out of the temple.69 views
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"Yae no Sakura" is about a woman warrior named Yae Niijima (1845-1932) from Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture...69 viewsAizu-Wakamatsu is famous for Tsurugajo Castle and as the site of a Boshin War battle between pro-Emperor forces and pro-shogun forces who lost. Yae was on the latter side. After the war, she fought for equality for women and mastered English well enough to help with the English typesetting of Kyoto's earliest English guidebooks (written by her brother and translated into English by a translator).
Her husband Joseph Hardy Neesima or Jo Niijima had studied in the US and founded a Christian school which became the prestigious Doshisha University in Kyoto.
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Shinshoji's Somon Gate. Naritasan Shinshoji temple belongs to the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. 総門68 views
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Jam-packed since Feb. 3 fell on a Sunday this year in 2013.68 views
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Finally in the central grounds of the temple. It was packed like a rush-hour Tokyo train.68 views
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I arrived just before 11 am which was too late to get close to the bean throwers.68 views
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People streaming into the temple's main hall.68 views
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I stood and waited for about 90 min. until 1:30 pm. Glad I brought lunch (riceballs).68 views
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The ceremony inside the temple had sutra chanting while there was a fire started by a priest and used to heat the bean boxes given to the bean throwers. They threw beans at the altar, not to any people.68 views
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From the train station, the main path to Narita-san is lined with shops and restaurants. The buildings look more traditional as you get closer to the temple.67 views
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This side was more crowded because that's where the celebrities would throw beans. Press cameramen were also on this side.67 views
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Crowd dispersing.67 views
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My Youtube video of Narita-san Setsubun bean-throwing on Feb. 3, 2013.67 views
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After the ceremony, the bean throwers came outside.66 views
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Shinshoji's main hall is decorated with Buddhist colors and red and white.66 views
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Meanwhile, I joined many others to worship inside the temple's main hall.66 views
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In-between the bean-throwing sessions, they held a different ceremony, called "Kaiun mamemaki" (開運豆まき), inside the main hall. They paraded into the temple at around 12:30 pm.66 views
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There she is at the center, actress Haruka Ayase who plays the title role of 2013's NHK Taiga Drama, "Yae no Sakura."66 views
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Already, hordes of people stand and wait for the second bean-throwing session 2 hours later.65 views
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After the ceremony which took about 20 min., they came out of the temple and took their places for bean throwing. This is Baruto.65 views
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Bean-throwing platform.65 views
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The people (no celebrities) participating in Kaiun mamemaki had a group photo taken. Anybody could join this by paying 10,000 yen.64 views
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The ceremony was broadcast outside so we could hear it. There was some chanting and announcement of the names of the bean throwers.64 views
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Haruka Ayase throwing beans. It ended in less than 90 sec. Ridiculously short.64 views
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Walking back to the train station.64 views
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Names of the celebrity bean throwers.63 views
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We all patiently waited. But things happened so it made the time go by faster. Fortunately, the weather was good.63 views
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Haruka Ayase posed for us for a while.63 views
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There is a small space between the platform and crowd.63 views
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So much for the first bean-throwing ceremony. I was just too far away because I arrived late.62 views
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After throwing bean, they clap their hands.62 views
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The crowds make their way into the main hall.62 views
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At around 3:30 pm, people started to gather for the day's third and final bean-throwing by ordinary folks.62 views
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Office where you can apply to be a Kaiun mamemaki bean thrower for 10,000 yen.62 views
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After passing through Somon Gate, a flight of steps ahead.61 views
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They also start a fire inside the temple to which they expose the bean boxes to be used by the bean throwers.61 views
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People line up for lucky beans.61 views
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The press cameramen who were on this platform were all gone after the 2nd bean-throwing session.61 views
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They had this altar decoration with small branches from a tree in Tohoku. The bean throwing would also be about "throwing out hardship" in Tohoku. 特別追儺豆まき式60 views
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Inside the main hall. The altar area is behind a glass wall. Photography was not allowed inside. Impressive altar where they have a Goma prayer fire ritual every day.60 views
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Bean-throwing platform.60 views
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Buy this 500-yen charm and 100 yen will be donated to the city of Rikuzen-Takada in Tohoku.59 views
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They had men from a security company to control the crowds. Except for one or two people who felt ill, there was no major incident.58 views
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Daruma dolls on a truck.58 views
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The police and security people were most fearful of people falling like dominos. They kept shouting to not push forward. And to not pick up beans on the ground. I agree that it's dangerous to pick up beans on the ground.57 views
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I was too tired to stick around for the last bean-throwing ceremony.57 views
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Map of Narita-san temple buildings.57 views
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Narita-san is a large temple complex that includes a Japanese garden, including cherry blossoms.56 views
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About Narita-san temple.56 views
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Talisman for sale56 views
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Narita-san's Three-story Pagoda was first built in 1712.53 views
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Main temple office53 views
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Next is Niomon Gate, an Important Cultural Property built in 1830. 仁王門52 views
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Going through Niomon Gate which has a large paper lantern.51 views
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Incense burner in front of the main hall.51 views
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Going through Niomon Gate which has a large paper lantern.50 views
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Inside Narita-san Shinshijo temple's Dai-hondo main worship hall.50 views
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The East Wing sells talismans.50 views
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About Shotoku Taishi Hall.50 views
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About Issaikyodo Hall (Buddhist Scriptures Hall) 一切経堂50 views
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Bell Tower first built in 1701.50 views
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Prayer tablets50 views
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Prayer tablet at Narita-san. Fudo-myoo is depicted.50 views
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This is on Setsubun day, Feb. 3. Very crowded.49 views
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