Setsubun at Nakayamadera Temple

Setsubun (節分) is a holiday that marks the start of Spring, and includes some fun traditions that both children and adults enjoy. The most common way to celebrate setsubun is at home, with a family or group of people throwing roasted soy beans at someone designated as a demon (and wearing a demon mask). The…

Nishinomiya Tooka Ebisu Festival

Running every year from January 9th to 11th (the name tooka referring to the main day on the 10th), the Tooka Ebisu Festival at Nishinomiya Shrine draws  as many as a million visitors. The festival celebrates the Japanese god of commerce and sailing: Ebisu. People from all around the Hanshin area (including Osaka, Kobe, Amagasaki,…

A Bit of Europe in Kobe – Kitano Ijinkan Foreign Residences (Part 2)

This article is a continuation of our first article on the Kitano Ijinkan here. So, you’re done having your amazing cheese fondue at the Swiss Chalet and want to do more exploring? In this article we’ll take a look at two of the biggest and grandest foreign residences, visit a hilltop Shinto shrine, and eat…

A bit of Europe in Kobe – Kitano Ijinkan Foreign Residences (Part 1)

We’ve been publishing a lot of travel info on great countryside locations in Hyogo, so this time I thought I would write about a beautiful spot right here in Kobe. The Ijinkan, or Foreign Residences, are the perfectly-preserved homes of wealthy foreign traders and diplomats who lived in Kobe in the late 19th and early…

Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum

Traditional Japanese craftsmanship. You may be interested to learn that almost all Japanese historical architecture was made of wood. If you love wood crafts and would like to know more about wooden architecture or tools, then this museum is the place to visit! After the museum, take the opportunity to visit the small but charming…