Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

Every festival in Japan is overly attractive, especially the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri. Traditions so different and distant from ours that they deserve to be lived at least once. Colors, vivacity, and spirituality are mixed in a vortex of emotions that only the Rising Sun is able to offer.

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

photo credits: matcha-jp.com, gaijinpot.com

The intangible cultural heritage of sacred origins

For more than 700 years, Hakata Gion Yamakasa has been celebrated in the Hakata (Fukuoka) district from 1 to 15 July. Designated as "intangible cultural heritage" by the Cultural Affairs Agency, this festival has its origins in the 13th century when a plague epidemic struck the city. The population turned to the Buddhist monk Shoichi Kokusgu to pray for the plague to end. The monk was let up on a platform and was transported throughout the city by sprinkling the streets with sacred water. At the end of the tour, the platform was thrown away and the plague disappeared completely.

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

photo credits: Pascal, otsukarekun

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri: The unmissable demonstration of strength

In the period in which the festival takes place, the frenzy pervades the streets of Hakata discrict. In fact, more than one million people are preparing to attend the celebrations consisting of a chariot race!

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

photo credits: japanbullet.com, goodlucktripjapan.com

The participants, who in this case are exclusively men, are organized in 7 Nagare (teams): Daikoku, Higashi, Nakasu, Nishi, Chiyo, Ebisu and Doi. On 1 and 2 July, each district carries its own richly decorated cart, the Kazariyama, which remains on display for a week. Thus the Oshioitori is celebrated, that is the purification of the members of the 7 Nagare. After the prayer, these teams then move from the Kushida temple and go to Hakozakihama beach. Here they take sand to applaud the setting sun. Each of them wears a Mizuhappi (a short jacket), a Shimekomi (the loincloth) and a Tenugui (a band on the head that changes color according to the role played).

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

photo credits: shin7d

Training for the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

Consisting of a race with wagons in which the winner will be those who have traveled 5 km in the shortest possible time, the participants must be ready for the grand finale. It begins with the Nagaregaki, the moment in which each team raises its wagon for the first time along the streets of its own district.

The next day is the time of the Asayama and the Tanagaregaki: the elderly receive the respect of the youngest and are able to sit on the Kazariyama transported in the opponents' neighborhoods.
The next day it is still the turn of the Oiyama-Narashi which starts precisely at 3.59 pm. This is a sort of general rehearsal in which the race is timed, thus increasing the tension and the spirit of competition that now begins to meander through the Nagare.

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

photo credits: shin7d, tak_orange

The last 3 days are the most challenging. During Shudan Yamamise the Kazariyama crosses the Naka river entering Fukuoka. During this event, the mayor and city personalities take a 1.2 km ride on the wagon. The penultimate day is that of Nagaregaki, the last training. Finally, on July 15th at 4.59 am Kushida-iri begins. The first wagon fires fast, followed by the second after 6 minutes and all the others every 5 minutes. The 5 km run will decide the winning team.

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

photo credits: tak_orange

Reach Hakata

The festival takes place in the Hakata district of Fukuoka. Kushida Shrine is a five-minute walk from Canal City Hakata or Gion Subway Station. Alternatively, you can reach Hakata station within a 15-20 minute walk. It is convenient to walk 10 minutes from JR Hakata station to the Kushida Shrine. Or you can get there with the Kûkô-sen subway line, get off at "Nakasu Kawabata" station and walk for 5 minutes.

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

photo credits: japancheapo.com, otsukarekun

Celebrating Tanabata @ TENOHA

Tanabata or The Festival of the Stars, a special celebration that you can find only in Japan. But pay attention! TENOHA once again makes you a great gift: to experience Japan without taking the plane, so get ready!

tanabata TENOHA MIlano

Tanabata: let your wish come true

This is the Festival of the Stars, this is the Tanabata (七夕 "seventh night"). You can write your wish on a TANZAKU 短 冊 and hang it on the bamboo tree. The Tanzaku is a vertical sheet of colored paper that will be delivered to each customer. After writing your wish, it must be hung on the bamboo tree.

If there is someone who doesn’t know yet about the Festival of the Stars in Love, read carefully. The Tanabata celebrates the reunification of two gods Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the stars Vega and Altair. According to legend, the two lovers were separated from the Milky Way, being able to meet only on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Isn't it wonderful?

If you want to find out more about the Tanabata legend, stay tuned because in the next few days we will tell you everything in detail!

However, If you want to celebrate with us, TENOHA really makes you live the most romantic celebration in Japan. Join us in Via Vigevano 18 and let your wish come true! Furthermore, you can enjoy the now famous Nori Nori aperitif with other specialties that are characteristic of the celebration!


Cost: € 12 Aperitif (1 drink + Tanabata buffet + nori maki)
Food and beverage:
• Nori maki live cooking
• Special Tanabata buffet with typical delicacies enjoyed during the holiday (Ex. Soumen, chirashi)
• Mini slush (Kakigori)
Sponsor: Ashai superdry

When and where

Where: TENOHA MILANO - Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
When: Weekend fom July 5th to July 7th | from 18.00 to 20.30 (aperitif)

You can't miss it! Japan Italy Bridge already know what to write on the Tanzaku ...

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan soon on NETFLIX

For all the TV series addicted that lately are going through a crisis of abandonment (or disgust) for the latest Game of Thrones series, do not despair, "Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan" is on its way.

photo credits: wikipedia.org

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan, the series

According to Deadline, Netflix in collaboration with Blu Ant Media-run Smithsonian Canada, would have included in its programming Age of Samurai. in fact, described as a real Game of Thrones of feudal Japan, the series will tell the wars between the various kingdoms of that era.

According to previews, the focus of the series will be the figure of Date Masamune, the famous samurai also known as One-Eyed Dragon. He fought alongside the three founding fathers of Japan, warlords who led fierce samurai armies against one another. The purpose of these wars was the unification of the nation about 400 years ago.

The epic figure of Date Masamune, whose legend tells of having lost an eye infected with smallpox as a child, is the protagonist. Furthermore, after killing his younger brother, he succeeded his father as clan leader when he was only 17 years old.
Also conquering the neighboring clans, Date Masamune began the rise to power to unify northern Japan under his control.

Production details

Netflix has commissioned to produce the series at the Canadian production company Cream Productions, already behind the PBS series The Dictator's Palybook, BTK: A Killer Among Us and Fear Thy Neighbor.

Furthermore, executive producers, as well as Cream's CEO and co-founder David Brady, President Kate Harrison and senior production executive Matthew Booi, will be Simon George of the movie Jason Silva for Nat Geo Origins: The Journey of Humankind, Barbarians Rising for History and Showtime documentary Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston.

photo credits: dualshockers.com

According to the source, Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan is already being filmed in Japan, the United States and Canada. The series is in fact expected to land on Netflix by the end of the year.

We look forward to it and look forward to seeing this new series in one go! And you?

ARTE SU MARTE Feat “Live painting by Sebastian Notre” @ TENOHA

Another special ARTE SU MARTE x TENOHA Milano event that will tell us the essence of contemporary Japan through a new episode of LIVE ART PERFORMANCE.


Sebastien Notre is the young artist who will perform during the event. Student of the St Martin's School of London in the fashion address, he abandoned his studies to devote himself to the development of his own expression of art.
Sculpture and painting become the arts to talk about himself and the elements of his real life become an integral part of his expression.
To discover its paradise and its personal space, don't miss the new ARTE SU MARTE appointment only at TENOHA!

We remind you that ARTE SU MARTE is a cultural and artistic project that promotes emerging artists and combines art in all its forms, from painting, sculpture to photography and design.

As always, during the event, you can unleash your imagination and paint the white canvases that will be placed at TENOHA. You'll be able to show your art and what you want to tell. We are curious to know you more. Everything will be accompanied by the special and exclusive Nori Nori aperitif that you can find only here, at TENOHA. We are waiting for you on this special evening!!

Where and when

Where: TENOHA, Via Vigevano 18, 20144 Milan
When: Thursday, June 27th

RSVP: https://www.tenoha.it/events/sebastien

The artist and the project

IG: @sebastiennotre
IG: @artesumarte_


Are you ready for a day dedicated to yoga, fitness and healthy food? Don't miss the new appointment of TENOHA &|YOGA


Sunday, June 30th our yoga influencers Martina Rando and Martina Sergi will carefully explain what Mens Sana in Corpore Sano means. Valeria Airoldi, Claudia Casanova and Silvia Fascians, other big names in the field of Healthy food, Yoga and Fitness, will illustrate how to connect body, mind, and spirit in the Yoga technique. All of them created the B.E.A.T. mission.

What's B.E.A.T. ?


B.E.A.T. is the acronym of Breathe Eat Act Together and it’s a format that has 3 important focuses:
Fitness, Yoga, and Food. Motivation, inspiration, experiences, sharing and above all aggregation. People together decide to share experiences with yoga and then recharge with healthy food. The focus is on having fun doing something important for your body and mind. Every event has a cause and the partial or complete profits of the ticket sales will be donated to the ONLUS, the event's partner organization.

Where and when

Where: TENOHA, Via Vigevano 18, 20144 Milan Event space & | DISCOVER
When: Sunday, June 30th
Workout + Yoga practice + Food healthy + Q&A


09.00 - 09.30 Registration
09.45 - 10.00 Initial greetings / short intro / project Onlus
10.00 - 11.00 Workout
11.00 - 11.15 Mats positioning
11.15 - 12.15 Yoga Lesson
12.15 - 12.45 Photo session
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
2.00pm - 3.00pm Q&A + lottery prize draw + final greetings

At the moment the event is sold out, but do register anyway at the link below to be in the waiting list, so if someone should give up, you can participate! Don’t miss it!

RSVP Waiting list: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beat-tickets-63433845339

(Italiano) Japan History: Sakamoto Ryōma

Sakamoto Ryōma (January 3, 1836 - December 10, 1867) is still recognized as one of the most important figures of the Tokugawa Shogunate and one of the greatest heroes of the Edo period.

Sakamoto Ryōma

photo credits: budojapan.com

Early youth

He was born on the island of Shikoku, in the Tosa Han (toda's Kōchi Prefecture) on the fifteenth day of the eleventh month of Tenpō according to the Japanese calendar. His family was famous for being a great sake producer, thus obtaining the lowest rank of the Samurai category, the Gōshi (Samurai of the countryside). Tosa had a very clear separation between Joshi (high-ranking samurai) and Kashi (low-ranking samurai). Even in Sakamoto Ryōma's generation, the samurai degree of his family remained Kashi. At the age of twelve, Ryōma was enrolled in a private school, but it didn't last long, because his inclination to studies wasn't very strong.

Thanks to his older sister, he then enrolled in the Oguri-Ryu fencing classes when he was 14, after being bullied at school. In adulthood, he was a master swordsman. In 1853 he was allowed by his clan to go to Edo to improve his skills as a swordsman. There he enrolled as a student at Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō Chiba-Dōjō, where he received his diploma. He then became Shihan at Chiba-Dōjō and taught Kenjutsu to students along with Chiba Jūtarō Kazutane, his close friend. In 1858 he returned to Kōchi. However, four years later the Commodore Perry of the United States arrived with a fleet to force Japan out of its centuries-old policy of national isolation. In the same year, movements against foreigners, anti-Tokugawa movements and in support of the Emperor began to form.

Sakamoto Ryōma

photo credits: jref.com

Sakamoto Ryōma and Takechi Hanpeita

His friend, Takechi Hanpeita (or Takechi Zuizan), organized Tosa's Loyalist Party "Kinnoto". Their political slogan was "Revere the emperor, expel the barbarians". The group consisted of about 2000 samurai, mostly of lower rank, who insisted on the reform of Tosa's government. As the group was not recognized, they began a plot to assassinate Yoshida Toyo, head of the Tosa domain. Ryōma participated in the plot without really supporting it.
Takechi asked for a revolution only for the Tosa clan, and Ryōma thought they would have to do something for all of Japan instead. He decided to leave Tosa and part with Takechi. In those days, no one was allowed to leave their clan without permission, on pain of death. One of Ryōma's sisters committed suicide precisely because of her brother's behavior.

In 1864, when the Tokugawa shogunate began to take a hard line, Ryōma fled to Kagoshima in the Satsuma Domain, under development as the main center for the anti-Tokugawa movement. Ryōma negotiated the secret alliance between the provinces of Chōshū and Satsuma. Satsuma and Chōshū were historically irreconcilable enemies, and Ryōma's position was seen as "neutral outsider".

Sakamoto Ryōma and the West

Ryōma was an admirer of democratic principles and studied the United States Congress and the British Parliament a lot. He loved these concepts so much that he took them as a model for the government of Japan after the Restoration.
Ryōma wrote the "Eight Proposals During the Expedition" while discussing the future model of the Japanese government with Gotō Shōjirō aboard a Tosa ship outside Nagasaki in 1867. Ryōma stressed the need for a democratically elected bicameral legislature and the drafting of a Constitution. Furthermore, he had considered the formation of a national army and fleet together with the regulation of gold and silver exchange rates. It is believed that Ryōma's proposals form the basis for the subsequent parliamentary system implemented after his death.

Sakamoto Ryōma and the Bakumatsu period

Ryōma pushed for national reform and left the domain, targeting Katsu Kaishu, a senior Tokugawa official.

When he finally managed to find his target, the latter calmly asked to be heard before he was killed. Katsu Kaishu then explained his plans to increase Japan's military strength through modernization and westernization. Instead of killing him as the plans were, Ryoma became his assistant. Together they created a naval force to be reckoned with.

Ryōma is often considered the "father of the Japanese Imperial Navy" because under the direction of Katsu Kaishū he worked to create a modern naval force. All this to allow Satsuma and Chōshū to stand comparison with the naval forces of the Tokugawa shogunate. Ryōma founded the private navy and the Kameyama Shachū trading company in the city of Nagasaki with the help of Satsuma.

Sakamoto Ryōma

photo credits: visitkochijapan.com

Chōshū's subsequent victory over the Tokugawa army in 1866 and the imminent collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate made Ryōma a precious figure for his former masters in Tosa. In fact, it is precisely in this period that he was recalled to Kōchi with many honors. Tosa's domain was anxious to get a negotiated agreement between the Shogun and the Emperor. This would have prevented Satchō's powerful Alliance from forcibly toppling Tokugawa and thus emerging as a new dominant force in the government of Japan. Ryōma again played a crucial role in the negotiations that led to the voluntary resignation of the Tokugawa Yoshinobu Shogun in 1867. With the arrival of the Meiji Restoration, thanks to Sakamoto Ryoma the Shogunate fell. Thus it was that Japan managed to come out of the 260-year Tokugawa Rule.

Ryōma often used the alias Saitani Umetarō (谷梅太郎) as he was often hunted by Bakufu supporters, like Shinsengumi members.

Sakamoto Ryōma's murder

On the night of December 10, 1867, Sakamoto Ryōma and his friend Nakaoka Shintaro stayed at the Omiya Inn in Kyoto. A group of assassins had gathered outside the inn. When one of them knocked on the door killing Ryōma's bodyguard, the rest of the group reached his room assassinating both him and Nakaoka.

The killers were never identified. However, members of the Shinsengumi and their leader Kondo Isami were accused and executed for the murder. Although the Mimawarigumi, members of the pro-Tokugawa group, confessed to the murder in 1870, no action was ever taken against them.

Sakamoto Ryōma's ultimate goal was not personal, but for the sake of Japan. His actions and beliefs have made him a national hero to this day.

Ryōma was a visionary who dreamed of an independent Japan without feudal traps. He was inspired by the example of the United States where "all men are created equal". He realized that to compete with an industrially and technologically advanced outside world, the Japanese had to modernize. It has also been seen as an intriguing mix of tradition and modernity. In fact, a symbol of these traits was his preference for the samurai dress with western footwear.

Sakamoto Ryōma

photo credits: tokyo2020.jp

Modern times

On 15 November 2003, the Kōchi airport was renamed Kōchi Ryōma Airport in his honor.

There is a Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum (坂本龍馬記念館) south of Kōchi, with a large bronze statue of Ryoma overlooking the sea. The city of Kōchi has a number of Ryōma-themed attractions and places, including the Sakamoto Ryōma Birthplace Memorial. Furthermore, the Sakomoto Ryōma Hometown Museum shows the Kōchi center during Ryōma's childhood, including the relevant aspects that may have influenced his opinions. On November 15, 2009, the Hokkaido Sakamoto Ryōma memorial museum was built in Hakodate, Hokkaido.

ARTE SU MARTE Feat “The Onigiri Art” @ TENOHA

TENOHA Milano in collaboration with Asahi super dry gives us a great surprise.


Do you know what a Matsuri is? If you don’t know it yet, the Matsuri is the typical Japanese party that inaugurates the summer, so why not start the great summer season together with TENOHA and Asahi?

A special evening, a perfect mix! The super famous Nori Nori aperitif, the street food theme, the most famous Japanese beer in Italy and a DJ SET by Andrea Ratti. You can find everything here, at TENOHA on June 20, 2019 from 18 onwards!


Matsuri Asahi Night - Where and when

Where: TENOHA, Via Vigevano 18, 20144 Milan
When: June 20, 2019, from 18 to 21

Food and beverage

• € 12 aperitif (Nori maki + buffet + drink)
• Draft beer (only € 0.2 - € 4)
• Special cocktail for Asahi event
• Mini granita (Kakigori)

And to get even more immersed in Japanese culture, there's more:
• Ikebana live exhibition
• Shodo live exhibition

RSVP: https://www.tenoha.it/taste/matsuri-asahi-night/

As always Japan Italy Bridge will be there and we are waiting for you to spend a really special evening! If you see us, stop and drink an Asahi with us (even more than one!).

Japan Folklore: Oni

Oni, yōkai in Japanese folklore

From a benevolent creature to an evil one. This is the slow transformation of the Oni (鬼), the Japanese mythological creatures that we Westerners call "demons", "trolls" or "orcs".


photo credits: tateandyoko.com

Before the Heian era, the Oni were good spirits able to ward off evil. However, during this era, they were relegated to the role of guardians of hell or torturers of damned souls. An example of this is the aka-oni (red demon) and the ao-oni (blue demon) described in the Buddhist tradition, which take on a negative connotation and become spirits to be kept away. In fact, they are considered as carriers of misfortune or agents of natural disasters.

Their appearance is certainly not reassuring. In fact, they are said to have animalistic and monstrous features, sometimes with many eyes and colored skin (red, blue, black, pink or green). They can also be clawed, wear tiger skin and carry kanabō (金棒, literally: "metal stick", a spiked war bat used in feudal Japan by the Samurai).


photo credits: forhonor.ubisoft.com

Demon Get out! Luck get inside!

In the Nara era, to avert the disasters that these spirits could provoke, people used to practice oniyarai (追儺), a ritual aimed at driving out the demon.

On the last day of each year, a person used to dress in the demon's clothes and was chased away with peach bows and reeds. Over time this custom turned into the Setsubun celebrations, in which people throw soybeans out of the house saying: "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi! "(Oni out! Luck inside!).

Despite being considered evil spirits, in tradition, there are still traces of their benevolent nature. We find these during the parades when some men wear the Oni costume to ward off bad luck. They are also depicted on the tiles of some buildings for the same reason.


photo credits: tripsavvy.com

The many curiosities of modern culture

Today we meet these demons not only in folkloristic stories and nursery rhymes for children but also as protagonists of proverbs! In fact, it is said that "Even in the eyes of the oni tears arise" (鬼の目にも涙) to indicate that even the hardest heart sometimes feels pity. Another proverb is "The wife of an oni becomes an oni divinity" (鬼の女房鬼神がなる) which refers to our "disciple surpasses the master".

Of course, it was unthinkable not to use such a particular figure in animes and mangas! There are endless references to these spirits, and one of the most famous and well-known is Lamù, the main character of Rumiko Takahashi's manga. But it is not the only one. In fact, even in The Blue Seal by Chie Shinohara the Queen of the Oni is the protagonist. There is also Shutendoji by Gō Nagai whose work title refers to the legend of an oni of the same name.

Among the most played and entertaining horror/adventure video games we cannot forget Ao Oni. Here the main antagonist is a blue demon whose anime adaptation was broadcast in Japan between October 2nd, 2016 and January 8th, 2017. The 13 3-minute long episodes were also streamed in Italy under the title Aooni The Blue Monster (あおに〜じ・あにめぇしょん〜). Despite its simplicity, Ao Oni is terrifying thanks to the background music that gives the videogame the right scary atmosphere!

Ao Oni

photo credits: giantbomb.com