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Imperial Palace in Tokyo

The Tokyo Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo, literally ‘Imperial Residence’) is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda district of the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains several buildings including the main palace (宮殿, Kyūden), some residences of the Imperial Family, an archive, museums and …

Welcome to the Ryokan Sawanoya Rooms

Welcome to the Sawanoya Ryokan. This traditional Japanese inn, located in Yanaka, near Tokyo’s Ueno district, offers tourists a relaxing stay in a rustically attractive residence. Sawanoya Ryokan, which has been in the service sector for more than 70 years, offers pleasant living in a warm, welcoming environment. Sawanoya’s interior is just as welcoming as …

Aquvii store with an array of trinkets and accessories

  It’s a little boutique, but they’ve packed every square inch with merchandise from largely Japanese artists and brands. In Japanese, the name Aquvii sounds like “akubi” or “yawn.” They think that good things should be passed on to those around you in the same way that a yawn can be shared from one person …

Yohji Yamamoto & Aoyama Store Tokyo,Japan

Yamamoto was born in Tokyo and received his law degree from Keio University in 1966. He dropped out of law school to help his mother with her dressmaking business, where he developed his tailoring abilities. He went on to Bunka Fashion College to study fashion design and graduated in 1969. Yamamoto made his stage debut …

Kumazawa Banzan (1619–1691)

Nojiri Kazutoshi (1590-1680), a rônin who served two different daimyo but found himself masterless at the time of Banzan’s birth, three years after the passing of Tokugawa Ieyasu, was the father of Banzan when he was born in Kyoto (1543–1616). The daimyos Sakuma Jinkurô and Oda Nobunaga (1534–1582) were served by Banzan’s grandfather (1556–1631). His …

Kido Takayoshi (Kido Koin) (1833–1877)

During the Tenpô era (1830–1843), a period of famine and political upheaval that many historians believe to represent the start of the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate, Kido Kôin, a samurai from Chôshû, was born. He was a staunch supporter of the imperial dynasty who made a significant contribution to overthrowing the Tokugawa regime. He …

Kakizaki Hakyo (1764-1826)

The Kakizaki family, a Matsumae collateral family that functioned as house councilors (karô), adopted Kakizaki Hirotoshi, the fifth son of the Matsumae daimyo (better known by his studio name, Hakyô). At the age of nine, the Ka-kizaki house head brought him to Edo, where he spent the next ten years living in the Matsumae domain …

Itô Hirobumi (1841–1909)

Itô Hirobumi (then known as Hayashi Risuke) was raised as a samurai after being adopted from a farming family in the village of Tsukari in the Chôshû domain (modern-day Yamaguchi prefecture). He studied under the late Tokugawa loyalist scholar Yoshida Shôin and was a key figure in the Meiji Restoration and the early development of …

Isoda Koryûsai (1735–1790)

Koryûsai, one of the few samurai who also created ukiyoe (woodblock prints), was active from 1769 until his death in 1790. Suzuki Harunobu and Torii Kiyonaga had a better reputation as artists than him, although art historians have recently given his innovative contributions a more favorable evaluation. Koryûsai was a talented artist who created more …

Martial Arts (bugei)

During the Tokugawa era, samurai were expected to balance their study of martial techniques and literary (civil) subjects. This idea was known as bunbu. Early in the seventeenth century, maintaining a state of readiness for battle was essential because, under the Tokugawa shogun’s new leadership, the nation faced political instability and, in 1614–1615, conflict broke …