Hiroki | Nippon PLUS Blog

Nippon PLUS

English | Japanese

All Posts of Hiroki

Winter is the best season to visit Ueno Area!!

★Short days of winter are good for enjoying the breathtaking night view of Ueno Area like below!!

Bentendo-do Temple on the Naka-no-jima islet on the Shinobazu Pond modeled on the Benzaiten Temple on Chikubu Island in Lake Biwa.

Kiyomizu Kannon-do Temple modeled on the Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, which was moved to the current site in 1695, has survived frequent fires and earthquakes since its construction.

Ameya Yokocho is a maze of bustling shopping streets lined with some 500 shops where you can find anything from foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, amd marine products, to other consumer items such as footwear, clothes, and brand-name items!!

Unexpectedly, Ameya Yokocho has a Temple of Marishiten Tokudai-ji with long history, which is worshipped by the locals!!

The contrast between the modern view of huge billboards and traditional temple precinct is a must-see!!

★Needless to say, it has many highlights good for viewing during daytime like below!!

Ueno Toshogu is a shrine of Shinto established in honor of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1627.

The shrine’s Chinese style gate of “Karamon” built in 1651 has survived wars and great earthquakes!!

The magnificent Shrine Building of “Golden Shrine” built in 1651 also survived wars and earthquakes!!


Highly recommended destination “Sawara”

Traditional townscape lies along a canal.

The views seen from a boat reminds you Sawara was a Merchant Town of water transport.

Boating on the Onogawa River.

The canal lined with Long-established shops

Hokusai”Armillary Sphere at Official Business Residence”

These materials multilaterally convey his studies, the concrete method of creating maps.

A sample of Armillary Sphere

【True “Off the beaten track”, Sawara】

◆About Sawara
SAWARA’s locational advantage(30 minutes to Narita airport by train) makes easier for many tourists including people of the layover in the Narita Airport to use the available time effectively.
Besides its locational advantage,it exposes all visitors to the traditional Japanese culture and lifestyle dates the Edo Period(1603~1868). Because, it’s a Merchant’s Town flourished as a center for the trade activity benefiting from the Tonegawa River transport to support Edo(present Tokyo), a big city with a population of over one million, by being a riparian port to accumulate and send a broad range of things necessary of daily life for Edo.
The Onogawa River that flows through the town of Sawara, leading to the Tone River and continuing to the megacity of Edo was an important water transportation route during the Edo period.
It’s also called the “Eastern Nada” comparable to the famed “Sake” brewing area of Nada(present Kobe).
Even now, many traditional buildings, such as machiya townhouses and storehouses in kurazukuri-style that line both banks, remain elegant.
“If you want to see Edo,come to Sawara; Sawara Honmachi(central Sawara) exceeds Edo”was a limerick of the Edo Period which best describes the prosperity of Sawara in those days.
Specifically,it’s also home to administrative operations conducted by upper-class merchants called “danna-shu” (“the masters”),many artisans in Edo were summoned to Sawara.
The fusion of Edo artisans’ craftsmanship and stylish spirits of “danna-shu” allowed Sawara to develop the distinctive culture based on the spirits of exceeding Edo called “Edo-masari”!!
Incidentally,Inoh Tadataka(1745~1818) who surveyed all over Japan and made the very first surveyed maps of Japan’s coastal area , was one of them.
After being active as a leader of “danna-shu” community, he retired at the age of 50 and left for Edo later to study Western astronomy and surveying techniques under the famous astronomer Takahashi Yoshitoki, who was officer in charge of astronomy bureau in Edo feudal government, there.
Mastering astronomy in a amazingly short time of 5 years, he set out on his journey to Ezo(present Hokkaido) with
some followers to calculate the accurate distance of one degree of meridian line with the aim of obtaining the earth’s size through surveying activity under the supervision of Yoshitoki. He spent some 17 years traveling 40,000km to survey all the coastal line of Japan. His maps,many of which are accurate to 1/1,000 of a degree, remained the definitive maps of Japan for nearly a century. This episode suggests that Sawara was a Merchant’s Town with a sophisticated culture,and even now this distinctive culture based on the spirits of exceeding Edo called “Edo-masari” is still alive along with the traditional townscape here in Sawara!!
Incidentally, the central part of Sawara was designated as Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings by Japanese government in 1996!!



Hello everyone!! I’m Hiroki,national licensed guide interpreter focusing on offering tours on the subject of hidden Japan charms,such as indigenous cultures, life styles, and highly skilled craftsmanship!! Let me now intoroduce myself little bit, I’ve been living in Chiba city near Tokyo for more than 40 years since when I was a student of a university located in Tokyo. After graduation, I joined a petrochemical company in 1980. As is customary with Japanese style lifetime emplpoyment, I worked for the company until the retirement in 2014!!(same company for 34 years!!) And,after passing the state examination in the year 2015, I’ve started a new career of a guide interpreter as my second life. Since then,I maily had an actual experience of a interpreter in a variety of traditional Japanese culture lessons for foreign tourists. (Specifically,Chanoyu Tea Ceremony,Ikebana-flower Arranging,Shodo-Calligraphy,Tougei-Pottery,Washoku-Japanese Cuisine,Iai-The art of Drawing the Sword,and so on.) Fortunately,as every instructor in the lessons was an authority on the subject, I was able to develop a capability of giving proper explanation on Japanese culture through the great experience of acting as an interpreter with the masters. Additionally,for all my long experience in petrochemical industory,the reason for choosing a brand-new career is to make my dream of transmmiting traditinal Japanese culture to the people all over the world come true.(I’ve always wanted to do this kind of thing after being inspired by my ancestral origin of being Samurai retainer served a Daimyo feudal lord for generations!!) And so, that’s why I’m so happy to have a great opportunity to make your trip in Japan much more enjoyable!! I’m really looking forward to seeing you in my tours!!

Back to TOP

%d bloggers like this: