What is the best way to go to Osaka from Tokyo?
It is by Shinkansen. The fastest type of the Shinkansen, Nozomi, will take you from Tokyo to Osaka in about two and a half hours. An airplane will get you there faster than the Shinkansen, but Haneda Airport of Tokyo, Osaka Interna-tional Airport, and Kansai International Airport are not located in the center of each city. So if you take into consideration the time spent on reaching the air-ports from the center of the city, the total amount of time is more or less the same as the time spent in using the Shinkansen.
Please tell me how to get to Mt. Fuji from Tokyo.
If you plan to take a train, use the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Shin-Fuji Station in Shizuoka Prefecture. It takes about one and a quarter hours. From the station, you can take the Tozan Bus until the last stop called “Fujinomiya New 5th Station” on Mt. Fuji. Or, if you don't want to use a train, you can take the Chuo Highway Bus from Shinjuku Station. In about two and a half hours, you can get to a stop called the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji.
Where is the best place to ski in Japan?
I would recommend that you go to Hokkaido. Among several ski resorts in this northernmost island, I think that Niseko, a collection of ski resorts in southwest-ern Hokkaido, is the best. It offers some of the finest conditions for powder skiing to be found anywhere in the world. It also offers more mogul runs and steep ter-rain than practically any other Japanese ski resort. It's definitely a hot spot for all types of skiers.
Why are there so many hot springs in Japan?
The number of hot springs has a lot to do with the number of volcanoes. Because Japan has lots of volcanoes, it abounds in natural hot springs.
Who was the last shogun, and when did he rule Japan?
The last shogun of Japan was Tokugawa Yoshinobu. He was the 15th and last shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, and ruled Japan during the period 1866-1867. Towards the end of the Tokugawa period, pro-imperial sentiment was rising in Japan. The anti-Tokugawa leaders of the Satsuma and Choshu do-mains proclaimed an “imperial restoration,” and ordered Yoshinobu to surrender the domains ruled by the Tokugawa family.
During the Edo period, what kinds of people lived in Japan, apart from samurai?
In the Edo period, there was a social class system like caste, which ranked sam-urai at the top, followed by farmers, craftsmen, and merchants, in the order of so-cial importance. In addition to these people, actors, doctors, Buddhist monks, and Shinto priests also lived in this period.
Where is the biggest car factory in Japan?
It's in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, in central Japan. Toyota Motors has become the biggest car company in the world, surpassing General Motors, and it runs the biggest car factory in Japan.
How often do Japanese people take a bath?
Most Japanese people take a bath every day. It is partly because summers are quite hot and humid, and winters are very cold in Japan. A hot bath provides escape from both extremes in temperature. Also, Japan is said to be a highly stressful society, where people try to be polite to maintain harmony in a group. A hot bath provides them with a nice and relaxing way to unwind on their own af-ter a long, hard day's work.
Can I wear a swimsuit in hot springs?
No, you can't. In Japanese hot springs, it is customary for all the guests to go naked and bathe together in large and luxurious bathing facilities which some ryokan (Japanese-style inns) boast. If you are uncomfortable bathing naked in the company of other people, you can take a bath provided in your own guest room, though you have to make do with a small bathtub.
What is Tsuyu?
Tsuyu is the early summer rainy season which begins about the middle of June and lasts about a month. This rain is needed by the farmers at rice-planting time.
Please tell me about the winter climates of Hokkaido and Okinawa.
The winter in Hokkaido is generally severe. For example, Sapporo and the rest of western Hokkaido are influenced by the seasonal winds from the northwest, causing heavy snowfall and regularly cloudy skies. As for the climate of winter in Okinawa, it is generally warm, because Okinawa is a typical subtropical region.
What kind of fish can you catch from the sea around Japan?
Since the Japanese archipelago stretches about 3,000km from north to south, there are many kinds of fish that can be caught in its waters, such as tuna, boni-to, mackerel, yellowtail, salmon, sardine, cod, and sea bream.
How was Japan modernized after the Meiji Restoration?
The Meiji period, which followed the Meiji Restoration, saw the transition from the feudal system to a capitalist economy and the modernization of Japan through various new systems. Japan imported and adopted foreign technology, a modern taxation system, the military-draft system, and the universal education system. The Meiji Constitution was officially announced in 1889, and Japan be-came a constitutional monarchy.
When did Japan host the last summer Olympic Games?
The Tokyo Olympic Games was held from October 10 through 24 in 1964. It was the 18th Summer Olympics and the first to be held in Asia. There were more than 5,500 participants from 94 nations. Twenty events were held, including newly added volleyball and judo competitions.
I heard that the Japanese language has three writing systems. What are they?
To write Japanese we use three different types of characters. They are “kanji,” or an adapted form of Chinese characters, and two other types of phonetic charac-ters representing only phonetic sounds, namely, “hiragana” and “katakana.” The two types of phonetic characters were both simplified from the Chinese charac-ters, but one of them, “hiragana,” is cursive, and the other, “katakana,” is angu-lar. The angular ones are mainly used for writing foreign loanwords.
What is the difference between shrines and temples?
Temples in Japan are Buddhist temples and they are called “tera” in Japanese. On the other hand, shrines are Shinto shrines and they are called “jinja” in Jap-anese. At most Buddhist temples, there are Buddhist statues in the main hall. At Shinto shrines there are torii gateways at the entrance. A torii consists of two upright posts connected at the top by two horizontal crosspieces.
I would like to buy electrical appliances in Akihabara. Which shop do you recommend I go to?
I would recommend big-name chain stores such as Multi-media Akiba of Yodo-bashi Camera, Bic Camera, and Ishimaru Denki. Since they are mass marketers as well, their merchandise is reasonably priced.
When do typhoons strike Japan?
It is from early summer through autumn. Every year several typhoons hit the Japanese archipelago. They are responsible for the major share of the wind and flood damage suffered by Japan, and they are particularly worrisome for rice-farmers, as it is in the typhoon season that the rice plant blooms and ripens.
Why is it so dry in Tokyo in winter?
In Japan, the climate is greatly affected by monsoons. Every winter, winds from Siberia howl across the Sea of Japan drawing up moisture and dumping it along the Honshu coast. After clearing the mountains, which cover most of the island, the monsoon has lost most of its moisture and pushes dry air through the Kanto region. This is why Tokyo is dry in winter, and also this is why Tokyo suffered from devastating fires many times during the Edo period.
Have there been any female rulers in Japanese history?
Yes, there were eight female emperors (or empresses) in Japan. One of them was Emperor Suiko, the first female emperor, whose regent was Prince Shotoku. The last one was Emperor Gosakuramachi, and there have been no female emperors in Japan since then.
What is Enka?
Enka is a type of music characterized by sentimental ballads of love, broken hearts, parting, and home. Like country music in the U.S., enka has a distinctive melodic and singing style. Enka is especially popular among older age groups.
What is the difference between Maiko, Geiko, and Geigi?
Geiko is also called geigi or geisha. A geiko is a kimono-clad female entertainer trained in the traditional arts, singing, dancing, and conversation. A geiko serves as a party companion and hostess. On the other hand, a maiko is an apprentice geisha. A maiko trains under the strict guidance of specialists for several years in the fields of traditional dance, song, and the shamisen, a three-stringed Japanese instrument similar to a banjo.
What types of Buddhist statues are there?
There are two main types of Buddhist statues. The first type represents the Buddha, who has already attained Buddhahood. It symbolizes the Buddha after renouncing the world, so it only wears a religious vestment. The second type represents a bodhisattva, a person who has vowed to remain in the world for the time being and who strives to reach a supreme state of enlightenment to become a Buddha in the future. Because it typifies a royal prince before becoming a Buddha, it is characterized by a lot of accessories.
What should I do when an earthquake occurs?
In Japan, it is commonly advised that we should disconnect the gas to the stove in the kitchen, open the door, and get under a table. But more importantly, we should always be ready for a big earthquake, by securing tall chests of drawers to the wall so that they can't fall down on you.
I would like to go shopping in Tokyo. Which shopping complex do you recommend?
Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world, so you can find a lot of shopping complexes in areas such as Shinjuku, Akasaka, Roppongi, and Marunouchi. Stores dealing in famous brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes are plen-tiful in these shopping complexes. In addition, large hotels have shopping ar-cades with stores that can send goods anywhere in the world.
Apart from cherry blossoms, what flowers are popular in Japan?
There are chrysanthemums and plums. The former is adopted in the design of the Imperial Household crest and is an indispensable flower when Japanese visit their family graves to honor the dead. And white, pink or red plums are planted as ornamental trees, and they make exquisite bonsai. Azalea are also popular as bonsai.
When did the Japanese start wearing Western clothes?
The Japanese started wearing Western-style clothes in the Meiji period (1868-1912). The Meiji government first adopted a European-style military uni-form, and decided that officials, mailmen, and railroad workers should all wear Western-style clothes. This was because they felt it necessary to quickly trans-form Japan into a modern state. This expedited the spread of Western-style clothes among ordinary people as well.
Where do you recommend as a sightseeing place in Tokyo?
①I would recommend Meiji Shrine, the largest Shinto shrine in Tokyo. This shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, who oversaw Japan's entry into the modern world following the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The shrine build-ings are made of Japanese cypress and built in a classic Shinto architectural style that is simple but grand. It is a special oasis in the midst of all the big-city hustle and bustle.
②I would recommend Tokyo Tower in Minato Ward. Having been built in 1958 and modeled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris, this 333m structure is a beloved landmark in the city's landscape. The tower boasts two observatories, both of which offer spectacular, panoramic views of Tokyo.
③I would recommend Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa. It is dedicated to Kannon, or the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and is therefore popularly called the Asakusa Kan-non Temple. This temple is Tokyo's oldest and most popular one, with a history dating from 628. Its colorful Nakamise-Dori, a pedestrian lane leading to the temple, is lined with traditional shops and souvenir stands, and is a great place to buy your gifts as well.
I would like to buy some traditional Japanese souvenirs. What and where do you recommend?
If you are looking for traditional Japanese things, the Oriental Bazaar at Ha-rajuku in Tokyo or souvenir shops at Asakusa in Tokyo are recommended. They offer a wide range of traditional Japanese things, such as fans, paper lanterns for room decorations, kimono-clad dolls, paper dolls, and happi coats.
I would like to buy some modern Japanese things. What and where do you recommend?
Go to an electronics store and buy a digital camera, a portable game console, or any other computer-based product. If you are in Tokyo, such stores can be found in areas such as Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Akihabara. If you are in Osaka, you should go to Nippombashi. In any large city, it is easy to find one or two electron-ics stores in the downtown area.
What are the main industrial products of Japan?
Japan's main products include automobiles, consumer electronics, computers, semiconductors, and iron and steel. Additional key industries in Japan's economy are petrochemicals, pharmaceuti- cals, bio-industry, shipbuilding, aerospace, tex-tiles, and processed foods.
Please explain Japanese gardens.
A Japanese garden is a landscape garden composed of rocks, trees, ponds, and other natural objects. This type of garden is designed in accordance with the ap-pearance of nature. The three most famous landscape gardens in Japan are (1) Koraku-en in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture, (2) Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, and (3) Kairaku-en in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture.