Tokyo Imperial Palace: All You Need to Know

As a popular and historic tourist attraction in Tokyo, Imperial Palace is visited by numerous visitors all year round. The current Imperial Palace is built on the former Edo Castle grounds and is surrounded by a moat and large stone walls. It contains several buildings, including some residences for the Imperial Family. It will be impossible to visit these parts of the park-like area, but there are many ways to enjoy the palace buildings and parts of the grounds. For locals the loop around the Imperial Palace is a popular running spot, where they can enjoy a 5km running course around the scenic palace and its natural surroundings. Despite its […] …continue reading

    

Buddhism in Japan – Brief History and Best Buddhist Temples to Visit

Together with Japan’s indigenous religion Shintoism, Buddhism is strongly embedded in the Japanese culture. Despite the majority of the Japanese people not considering themselves to be Buddhist, or belonging to any particular religion at all, the two religions are strongly reflected in the daily lives of Japanese people. Temples and shrines are located everywhere, between the skyscrapers of the city of Tokyo as well as on the top of remote mountains. When travelling to other countries that you have never been to before, exploring the local culture and religion will help you to understand the country better. It will be easier to enjoy your time better by knowing the stories […] …continue reading

    

The 11 Best Japanese Gardens

Japanese gardens are breathtaking. One of the core principles of Shintoism, Japan’s native religion, is to respect and appreciate nature. To this end, Japan has some of the best gardens imaginable. There are traditional gardens that take one back to feudal Japan as they walk on the same trails as ancient samurai warriors and philosophers. And there are modern gardens that borrow design queues from European parks and other international sources. Here is a compilation of 11 of the best gardens to visit across Japan. 1. Kenroku-en (Ishikawa) Kenroku-en is located in Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. It is considered one of The Three Great Gardens of Japan. It was created […] …continue reading

    

Cold Brewing Japanese Green Tea

Cold brewing Japanese green tea start

To make tea with this method, use a ratio of one to two tablespoons of tea leaves per liter of water.

Place the tea leaves in the bottom of a large teapot or container.

Add water, cover the container, and place it in the refrigerator to steep. Let it steep in the refrigerator for about three hours.

When your tea is ready, give the finished pot a gentle swirl or a stir before you drink it, since leaves may settle at the bottom during brewing.

Cold brewing Japanese green tea add leaves

cold brewing Japanese green tea steep

Cold Brewing Japanese Green Tea (Iced Method)

Cover tea leaves with quality ice from purified water. Let the tea melt. It takes about 30 minutes to one hour.

cold brewing Japanese green tea add ice

Pour into a teacup or glass. Enjoy a healthy and delicious serving of cold Japanese green tea!

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History of Japan: Showa Period (1926-1989)

The Showa period is often described as a significant break point in Japanese history that followed the Taisho Period that represented a continuation of Japan’s rise on the international scene and liberalism. Other episodes in the Japanese history such as the Sengoku period and Edo period draw often much more attention and interest from foreigners. However, the Showa Period, about the 60 years of history, is full of historical events including the World War II which have totally changed the entire nation and people’s lives. Learning about Showa period and its politics, culture, economy and wars will help you get to know the period deeply and how Japan became one […] …continue reading

    

Bonsai Tree – A Traditional Japanese Art Form

Bonsai (盆栽) are miniature potted trees and plants, they are grown in pots or containers and cared for in such a way that they look their most beautiful. Bonsai are the Japanese version of the Chinese Penzai, the difference between the two is that bonsai are a representation of a single tree that resembles the shape of a real life tree, whereas Penzai are often displayed in a landscape form and look more natural and wide. Bonsai trees come in different sizes, shapes and prices. You can get your own bonsai for as cheap as ¥2,000 or, when looking for something more special, up to millions of yen. A bonsai […] …continue reading

    

How To Cook Rice The Japanese Way

How_to_Cook_Rice_4

This post – How to Cook Rice The Japanese Way – is all about the Japanese way of cooking rice. Preparing rice is one of the fundamentals of Japanese cooking. It is not boiled like pasta, it is cooked using the so-called absorption method. But there are more secrets to it.

I have included methods not only for cooking rice in a saucepan but also using a rice cooker in this post.

In Japanese culture, cooking rice (okome, お米) is almost an art. At home appliance stores in Japan, you will find so many different types of electric rice cookers on display.

About Rice in Japanese Cooking

Rice is one of the most important staple foods for Japanese people. People have a favourite brand of rice grain, and they strive to cook the best rice possible. Hence, most Japanese people have an electric rice cooker that will deliver consistent results.

Japanese rice is a short grain white rice that is fluffy and slightly sticky. Unlike long grain rice, including Basmati rice and jasmine rice, Japanese rice grains stick to each other when cooked. This is quite important because you can easily pick up a mouthful of rice with chopsticks.

Rice grains in a wooden measuring cup.

The brand of rice grain is also a critical factor. There are so many different brands from all over Japan as well as overseas and competition is fierce. Japanese farmers put a lot of effort into the pursuit of producing the best rice grain.

The high quality of rice however also means a high price. But many Japanese people say that they are happy to pay a lot for good rice, even if they have to buy cheaper side dishes to go with it.

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Things to Do in Kiyosumi Shirakawa

Kiyosumi Shirakawa (清澄白河) is a historic downtown district in the Fukagawa (深川) area located in eastern Tokyo. In the Edo Period (1603-1868), the area was home to merchants and other working-class specialists. Due to its low ground level and large lower class population, it was aptly named “Low Town”. Much of Tokyo has gone under development but Kiyosumi Shirakawa has managed to keep its original charms. Many of the old charms still shrine through today and many artisans have created their own home in the town. The town has become increasingly popular for its art spaces, coffee cafes, and cycling pathways. So to help you escape the hustle and bustle […] …continue reading

    

Japan’s 10 Most Beautiful Lakes

Japan is a blessed country with natural sights and spectacular views that can take anyone’s breath away. This includes some of the most amazing lakes in the world. Take a boat across to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding nature like giant mountains and seasonal foliage. Visitors can also enjoy fishing and even swimming in the lakes during the summer season. If you’re interested in seeing some of the best water Japan has to offer we put together a list of the 10 most beautiful lakes in Japan. Lake Chuzenji (Tochigi) Located in Japan’s sacred Buddhist city Nikko, Lake Chuzenji serves as a popular tourist destination in the area. Nikko […] …continue reading

    

The 9 Best Japanese Knives You Need To Have In Your Kitchen

Best Japanese Knives - Shun Cutlery Premiere 8” Chef's Knife

Japanese knives have shot through the ranks in popularity over the years, and for good reason. When you’re traveling Japan and witnessing firsthand the precision and skill that sushi chefs display when slicing through fish, you’ll be immediately enraptured.

Unlike the heavier counterparts that you may be used to at home, Japanese knives are lighter and slimmer than most. Traditionally, chefs in Japan tend to favour sharpness and precision over heaviness and durability. Some say that Japanese knives were initially inspired by the long-revered Samurai sword. If you think of samurai swords in movies, they can easily slice through a tree trunk in one motion!

Now, think back to the Japanese dishes you experienced in Japan; you’ll notice how almost every dish contains minute details of every ingredient. Even the smallest of garnishes would have been prepared with utmost care to ensure perfect presentation.

That is the result of using Japanese knives.

Why Japanese knives are so popular?

You’re probably thinking, any proper chef would be able to re-create that! Well, that may be true, but most of us are normal beings who just want to prepare good home cooked meals for our families and friends. Most of us haven’t had years of training under chefs who have been slicing fish for 30 years!

That’s where Japanese knives come into play. The intense engineering and thought process that has gone into creating these small, lightweight pieces is beyond what people can imagine. Using these knives to prepare food in your kitchen is bound to elevate your cooking skills to the next level.

When you hold a Japanese knife for the first time, you’ll immediately notice that they’re thinner, lighter, harder, and see that they’re sharper than most. You’ll also find that, although the handle is majestic (they’re traditionally designed after Samurai …continue reading