Lucky charm, directly from Japan

Japan has rich and varied traditions, one of the most famous of which is the one linked to lucky charms or amulets. In fact, o-mamori (お守り) are easy to find and just go to any temple to buy them. But what exactly are they and how are they made?

O-mamori (お守り), amulets brings luck and lucky charm

author: Sara | source: Tokyo Weekender

Lucky charm par excellence, these amulets instil protection precisely because 守り (mamori) means protection/guide. In fact, an auspicious prayer written on paper or wood is then wrapped in a fine silk cloth. Made of different colours depending on the type for which they are intended, these lucky charms represent love, health, luck, money, learning, etc.
Their effectiveness is destined to wear off after a year or to achieve their purpose. In fact, in the end, you should take them where they were purchased so that they are burned in a sacred fire.

The story of the O-mamori

Their history has Shintoist and Buddhist religious roots. In fact, priests thought they could protect people by driving away evil spirits through small pocket blessings. In fact, the strength and protection of the gods were encapsulated here.
Over time the omamori have multiplied, there are many different features and they can be purchased in the sanctuaries and in the times scattered throughout the Japanese territory.

lucky charm

photo credits: web-japan.org

Traditional Omamori: protection for every need

KATSUMORI 勝守, the success
The prayer of this omamori will ensure that the one goal you have set yourselves and to which you are dedicating your energies will be realized.

YAKUYOKE 厄除け, ward off evil
Often achieving a goal can be difficult or even hindered, so this amulet will help prevent potential demons that could inhibit success.

SHOUBAI-HANJOU 商売繁盛, money
Usually of bright yellow colour and shaped like a "bag", this omamori can be more generic and therefore guarantee monetary fortune or more specifically how-to protect investments, savings or good business.

GAKUGYOU-JOUJU 学業成就, education and learning
Encouraging and motivational in studies this omamori is very popular among students and can be seen hanging from their backpacks as a good luck charm for school careers.

KOUTSU-ANZEN 交通安全, a safe journey
Travelling safely is one of everyone's desires and this amulet has become the most loved and popular among those who drive public transport (buses, taxis and aeroplanes). Its function is to make the roads safer and protect drivers and passengers from road and aerospace inattentiveness. In fact, there is its own version dedicated to aeroplanes that takes the name of KOKU-ANZEN.

EN-MUSUBI 縁結び, love
There is little to explain, whether you are single, engaged, married or about to have a baby, these omamori have only one function. In fact, their purpose is to guarantee and strengthen love, give happiness, simplify things, protect the heart.

KAIUN 開運, Fortuna
A general omamori, that of fortune, this one does not dictate guidelines or constraints. It is simply a fortune enhancer, a lucky charm for any choice or occasion.

SHIAWASE 幸せ, happiness
In the wake of KAIUN, SHIAWASE is also a "guarantor of happiness". In fact, this becomes a motivator to improve one's life by remembering the small nuances that can change all points of view.

KENKO 健康, health
This talisman, as it is easy to guess, aims to protect against disease, keep the body healthy and help those who have it to live a long life.

lucky charm

photo credits: Fiona Dawkins

Omamori details: sometimes you have to hit the mark

FROM A LIE TO THE TRUTH
This omamori is very different from what we're used to. In fact, it is made entirely of carved wood and is shaped like a little bird. It can only be found once a year, on January 25th at the Shrine of Yushima and its purpose is to transform all the lies into a song of truth.

THE "ETERNAL" BEAUTY
There is the generic omamori aimed at overall beauty. However, there are also specific omamori to have beautiful legs, or anti-ageing or to have a slimmer waist, beautiful eyes, better skin and much more.

PETS
It's not that hard to find protective amulets for animals! They deserve a special blessing too, don't they?

TECHNOLOGY
It might make us smile at the thought of an amulet that can protect against the pitfalls of the internet or the difficulties of using electronic devices, yet it exists!

lucky charm

photo credits: Ryuko Studio Mexico

We could say that there is a lucky charm for each of us, unique combinations that probably won't change our existence. However, they are a nice way to wish the good of those we love or simply adorn our objects and means with something that reminds us of our goals.


Things to do during Quarantine: Visit the museums of Japan virtually

Visit every museum in Japan, it's possible but only virtually

written by: Sara | source: Tokyo Weekender

Phase two here in Italy has started but traveling is still impossible, so let's continue our section on things to do in quarantine, and today we talk about how to visit the museums of Japan, virtually.

Museo

photo credits: https://enjoy.vivi.city/

In an instant, we were overwhelmed by an invisible enemy that has inevitably turned everyone's lives around the world. The spread of the new coronavirus and the pandemic that followed unfortunately led to the closure of many economic sectors, but also places of cultural interest.

The situations are the most varied and we at Japan Italy Bridge want to try not to share sadness, but to give small brackets of leisure to all our readers. In fact, although COVID-19 has deeply affected us all, our mission remains to take you on a journey with us among the wonders of the Rising Sun.

Embracing the slogan #stayathome, the hashtag that has spread in recent months, and thanks to Google Art And Culture and other individual initiatives, Japan has also opened the virtual doors of its wonderful museums and exhibitions, allowing us to visit them comfortably from the living room of our house! The list is very long, but we have selected our favorites. So how about distracting us a bit and starting this virtual itinerary? Between art, fashion, ceramics, and history: let the journey begin!

Chihiro Art Museum

photo credits: gotokyo.org

The Chihiro Art Museum in Tokyo was established in 1977 in honor of the artist Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974), famous for his delicate pastel-colored illustration for children. Today this museum also houses exhibits with works by other illustrators from around the world.

Fukuoka Art Museum

Opened in 1979, the Fukuoka Art Museum offers a collection of 16,000 works: tea utensils, Buddhist art, paintings not only local but also famous paintings by Dalì, Mirò, and Chagall.

Fukuoka City Museum

Asian art takes on charm and originality that no other museum in the world will ever be able to offer. In fact, at the Fukuoka City Museum, we find works by artists who "exceed" the standard to create a "contemporary" Asia.

The Keio University Library museum

The Keio university has always been one of Japan's most important and its library includes collections of inestimable value, such as the Gutenberg Bible, ukiyo-e, and over 10,000 rare editions consisting of manuscripts and letters written by leading figures in history.

Kyoto National Museum

Museo

photo credits: intk-token.it

The Kyoto National Museum was opened in 1897 with the name of the Kyoto Imperial Museum. In 2014, the museum opened a new wing, the Heisei Chishinkan, to host exhibits from its vast collections, which include over 12,500 traditional Japanese works of art.

Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum exhibits a large collection of works of art and antiques from Japan, from ancient ceramics to prints of the Edo period and works from other Asian countries.

The Kyoto Costume Institute

Japanese fashion has always influenced the world and the Kyoto Costume Institute (KCI) systematically collects and conserves exceptional examples of Western clothing through centuries.

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

Museo

photo credits: shoreexcursions.asia

There is very little to tell for the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. It was born not to forget what happened on August 9, 1945, at 11:02 am when all the clocks stopped, visiting this place it's a tremendously moving experience.

The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka

Founded in November 1982, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka includes about a thousand pieces of Chinese and Korean ceramics as well as works from the Rhee Byung-Chang collection and works signed by Hamada Shoji.

Sagawa Art Museum

Opened in March 1998, the Sagawa Art Museum offers the public the works of Japanese artists such as Ikuo Hirayama, Churyo Sato, and Raku Kichizaemon XV.

Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds

photo credits: smarthistory.org

In the Museum of Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds we find a collection of artifacts, which later became national treasures. In fact, in the rooms of this museum, we see extremely valuable resources that will let you understand the ancient history of Japan.

If you think it is still not enough and you feel the desire to walk virtually through the cities of Japan, today it is possible! In fact, visiting the buildings and streets of the Rising Sun becomes easy thanks to Google Street View. Here millions of absolutely breathtaking panoramic images that will make you dream and transport you beyond any geographical border!


Travel guide: Tokyo - Episode 06 - the Shinkansen of the future

Tokyo - Osaka in one hour with the Shinkansen of the future

written by: Sara | translation: Erika | source: TimeOut Tokyo

We continue with our practical guides about Tokyo and today we talk about the Japanese railway system, one of the most efficient in the world, and the jewel of this system: the shinkansen.

shinkansen

photo credits: repubblica.it

An integral and characteristic part of Japanese infrastructure, the shinkansen (新幹線) are the famous "bullet trains". They travel very fast up to 320 km / h, to take us from one city to another in no time.

The Shinkansen lines

Currently, there are 15 known lines that allow us to travel to different destinations in Japan. From Tokyo towards the south we have the Tokaido Shinkansen line, which connects the capital with Osaka. The Sanyo Shinkansen line connects Osaka to Fukuoka, while the Kyushu Shinkansen line from Fukuoka crosses the island of Kyushu from north to south. Shinkansen Akita, Hokkaido, Hokuriku, Joetsu, Tohoku and Yamagata also depart from Tokyo.

The challenge of the Rising Sun is always constant: to offer safety and maximum efficiency.
In 2015, Japan Railways Group (JR) managed to break the world speed rail record with the magnetic levitation train that reached 603 km/h. From here, the company developed a program to maintain this impressive record, something we could define futuristic. We are talking about the Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka section. This new initiative is called the Linear Project and is expected to be completed in 2037.

shinkansen

photo credits: business-standard.com

The trains of the future

Japan Railways has always been committed to implementing ultra-modern trains. In fact, the company is now focusing on building a linear Shinkansen capable of traveling with magnetic levitation. This type of technology would have retractable wheels that do not touch the tracks making the train elegantly "slide" without any friction. This futuristic shinkansen would travel at a top speed of 500 km/h, taking us from Tokyo to Nagoya in 40 minutes and from Tokyo to Osaka in 67 minutes.

tokyo Osaka shinkansen

photo credits: agatetravel.com

Obviously, this project requires a new infrastructure that allows a connection from Tokyo to Nagoya situated for the most part underground. In fact, this would avoid areas prone to strong earthquake shocks. With costs that would be around 50 and a half billion, the first part of the route could already be completed in 2027. So, we just have to wait and follow developments.

What do you think of traveling at high speed? These futuristic trains are now part of our reality and the shinkansen has an incredible charm: have you had the opportunity to try it? Tell us about your experiences!


Travel guide: Tokyo - Episode 05 - Rent in Tokyo

Cheapest Apartment rent in Tokyo

written by: Sara | translation: Erika | source: Soranews24

We continue with our practical guides about Tokyo with a focus on the cheapest apartments ret that can be found in the city.

Tokyo

photo credits: tgcom24

How many times did we think "What if I went abroad to look for new opportunities?" and at the same time the fear of the prohibitive prices of the apartments kept us from realizing this intention?
Today pursuing this dream is possible! If you are thinking of Tokyo as a destination, you should know that there is nothing prohibitive. Small apartments at affordable monthly prices will allow you to start a new life in this wonderful megalopolis.

photo credits: facebook.com/suumo.jp

The Japanese real estate agency Suumo has published the result of a study demonstrating the convenience of rental rates of the great cities of the Rising Sun. Of course, the apartments taken into consideration are one-bedroom apartments between 10 and 40 square meters and are not located in the city center. In fact, as we know, in this area we find offices, commercial activities together with the most luxurious multi-story residences. However, thanks to the proximity to the stations or subways that allow you to move easily and reach any destination, also the external areas become important options to consider!

Tokyo

photo credits: Japanexperterna.se

The most convenient residential areas in Tokyo

The result of Suumo's research was the following:

59,000 yen per month near Kasai Rinkai Koen Station (JR Keiyo Line). Akihabara, Tsukiji, Ginza or Roppongi can be reached in just 14 minutes by train from Tokyo station and with a one-way transfer to the Hibiya subway line.

60,000 yen per month near Kanamachi Station (JR Joban Line), from which you can reach Ueno and Keisei Kanamachi (Keisei Kanamachi Line).

62,000 yen per month near Kita Ayase Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line), which leads to Harajuku and Shinozaki Station (Toei Subway Shinjuku Line), which, as the name suggests, catapults us directly to Shinjuku.

63,000 yen per month near Funabori Station (Toei Subway Shinjuku Line), Horikiri Shobuen Station (Keisei Main Line), Ichinoe Station (Toei Subway Shinjuku Line), Keisei Tateishi Station (Keisei Oshiage Line), Shibamata Station (Keisei Kanamachi Line) and Takenotsuka Station (Tobu Isesaki Line / Tobu Skytree Line).

Tokyo

photo credits: hansjohnson

Don't you feel heartened? That feeling of being able to say, "then can I make my dream come true if I want?". There is really nothing unattainable if we can seize the right opportunity.


Atsuta Matsuri, lanterns and fireworks

There are many Japanese matsuri but today we decide to focus on Atsuta Matsuri, in the prefecture of Aichi.

Atsuta Matsuri

photo credits: thegate12.com

In the Chubu region, more precisely in Nagoya in the Aichi prefecture, if we enter the city, hidden among centuries-old cypresses, we will discover one of the most sacred shrines in Japan: the Atsuta Jingu. Venerated since antiquity with its 1900 years, it is believed to be the home of the Holy Kusanagi Sword of the Emperor, one of the three imperial insignia.
In this magical place, Atsuta Matsuri (諸ブー祭), better known as Shobu-sai, is held every year on June 5th.

Atsuta Matsuri day

Atsuta Matsuri

photo credits: kawaii-aichi.jp

Around 10:00 in the morning the celebrations begin with a special ceremony in which an imperial messenger is sent to the shrine to offer goheimotsu. These are in fact strips of white paper for Shinto rituals and which are used to celebrate a special ceremony dedicated to the gods and goddesses of Atsuta Jingu. After that, this splendid and characteristic Matsuri hosts various shows between the precincts of the Shrine.

The shows

The shows during this festival are many and varied, including kyudo, Japanese-style archery and kendo, Japanese fencing. But the real protagonist is the Atsuta-kagura, a type of traditional local Shinto dance accompanied by flutes and taiko, the typical Japanese drums. In addition to this, we find various performances including the Sumo and entertainment competitions such as the Kodomo Mikoshi, the portable shrines for children!

Atsuta Matsuri

photo credits: kawaii-aichi.jpgoinjapanesque.com

The Festival reaches its climax when, at 18:00, the five makiwara kento, huge allegorical altars decorated with 365 lanterns each, are placed next to the entrances of the three torii doors of the sanctuary and are illuminated. Of course, there are stalls offering typical products and souvenirs of all kinds.
The chatter of people stops at 21:00 in the Jingu Koen park when a wonderful fireworks display raises heads and fills the eyes with lights and colors.

photo credits: goinjapanesque.com

The Atsuta Festival is the largest festival among the approximately 70 events held at the Atsuta Shrine every year.

Atsuta Matsuri Atsuta Matsuri

photo credits: nagmag.jp, kichijapan.com

If you are in the surrounding area, don't miss these magical lanterns and fireworks show to spend a fun day in the name of tradition! Like any festival, participation is free. For any information on how to reach the location, visit the official site of the Shrine in English.


Travel guide: Tokyo - Episode 04 - Breakfast in Tokyo

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this rule also applies to Tokyo! Today for the new post dedicated to our practical guides we will talk about the best places to have breakfast in Tokyo.

colazione a tokyo

photo credits: oyakata.com.pl

The typical breakfast in Tokyo and Japan

When it comes to "breakfast", each of us has different ideas according to their habits: sweet, savory, protein.

I'm accustomed to fresh fruit and oat smoothies every morning, and I recently said to myself: "If I lived in Tokyo and wanted to try Japanese traditions, what could I eat for breakfast?"

Fortunately, even in Japan, breakfast has long been considered the most important meal of the day and is prepared and eaten at home. The traditional breakfast of the Rising Sun is based on the concept of ichiju-sansai (一汁三菜 = a soup, 3 dishes). The main dishes are Gohan (ご飯), a bowl of steamed rice, Shiru (汁) a bowl of soup, Okazu (おかず) the main dish and Kouno mono (香の物) a small dish of pickled seasonal vegetables.

Hatsufuji in Nihonbashi

photo credits: timeout.com

This is a place loved by everyone who goes to the office every morning. Hatsufuji in Nihonbash i is a restaurant where, through a simple machine, you can order a complete set of breakfast dishes between 7:00 and 11:00 in the morning.

Tsumugi in Tsukiji

colazione a tokyo

photo credits: favy-jp.com

As part of the information center of the ancient Tsukiji Hongan Temple, Tsumuji offers a small shop and a spacious cafe with a warm and relaxing atmosphere. The breakfast, served until 11, offers the possibility to choose between two menus. The first choice is the traditional set which includes grilled fish, sweet and sour vegetables, tamagoyaki, rice and miso soup, muesli with rice crackers and fresh fruit.

Alternatively, the spectacular 18 Hinmoku No Asagohan which includes 18 dishes! Inspired by the teachings of the 48 great vows of Amitabha Buddha, it includes rice porridge, miso soup and 16 small seasonal dishes, such as duck with sansho pepper, konnyaku shiroae, tamagoyaki, tofu with white bean paste, yuzu and matcha jelly.

Tsukiji Sushi Sei in Marunouchi

colazione a tokyo

photo credits: picrumb.com

Walking through Tokyo station, in the GranSta Dining sector, you come across the Tsukiji Sushi Sei. Here breakfast, served from 7 to 10, includes a special dish. We are talking about tai goma (red snapper sliced with sesame) and many other variations such as braised fish with salmon bacon and ikura. Each portion is rigorously accompanied by a bowl of rice, miso soup, tamagoyaki and sweet and sour vegetables.

Shinpachi Shokudo in Shinjuku

colazione a tokyo

photo credits: tripifyapp.com

The morning frenzy of the Japanese can be experienced in this particular place located between the back streets of Shinjuku. Inspired by a rustic farm, the horseshoe-shaped counter guarantees fast service and tasty food. Here breakfast includes mackerel, grilled saikyo, marinated salmon and goma-aji.

Odashi Tokyo in Shinagawa

colazione a tokyo

photo credits: ryutsuu.biz

Odashi belongs to a chain and as such offers a set menu and small ones extra additions that can be chosen from various offers. Breakfast, served between 7 and 10, includes lobster miso soup, pork and spinach in ginger soy milk broth, chicken congee, lotus root and Chinese pumpkin congee. These are all dishes to which you can add tofu, broth with pork and potatoes and saikyo miso soup.

Which of these local traditions intrigued you? Have you already found your favorite or do you know other fantastic niches to suggest? One thing is certain: breakfast in Tokyo is also an extraordinary experience!


2020, the year of the Rat

We are in 2020 and the time of the year of the rat has officially struck. Have you ever wondered why in Japan, at the stroke of each new year, the name of an animal is announced? For example "the year of the ram" or "the year of the ox" and so on?

Topo Topo

photo credits: amazon.com , https://tokyo5.files.wordpress.com

This custom originates from the Chinese zodiac, which unlike our tradition, is not based on the month of birth, but on the year! Therefore, each year corresponds to one of the 12 animals of the horoscope: rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, ram, monkey, bird, dog and boar.

Topo

photo credits: pinterest.it

Astrology has always fascinated everyone, even the most scepticals. 2020 is the year of the Rat, the first of the 12 signs, characterized by positivity and energy. In fact, if its influence will be that promised, this new year should see the evolution or start of new projects, promising juicy fruits for those who work hard.
In addition, famous astrologers such as Jessica Adams and Cathryn Moe say that 366 days await us in which "the union will be a strength". In this new year, nobody should face big challenges alone but join together to achieve a goal. Consequently, "sharing of power" will be one of the keywords.

anno del topo

photo credits: pinterest.it

We could witness an evolutionary process on a global scale, in which people could come to understand each other and collaborate for the collective good. This would have great positive social consequences.

The rat represents that part of the darker psyche where the true "I" expresses itself. The masks that have surrounded us so far will fall. This would lead to greater compassion and understanding even towards our own Planet (just think of the fight for climate change).

New energy within us will release all its power. And you? Are you ready to face this revolution given by the year of the rat?


"Giapponismo, Venti d’Oriente nell’arte europea. 1860 – 1915" at Palazzo Rovella, Rovigo

Still today, after two centuries, Japan "contaminates" us with its elegance and its mystery, we are talking about the "Japonism" exhibition available at Palazzo Rovella, Rovigo.

Giapponismo

photo credits: palazzoroverella.com

How simple can falling in love with Japan be and how easily are we affected? Form, synthesis and refinement are the elements that characterize the "Japonisme". A sort of "addiction", a "fashion", a suggestive and innovative art that has swept western art and culture. In fact, in 1853, the Rising Sun opened its doors to diplomatic and commercial relations with the rest of the world by bringing its culture to our lands.

First in London in 1862 and then in Paris, the world capital of art from the second half of the nineteenth century, the style of Japonism conquered Europe. From the spectacular porcelains, the clothing, the ukiyo-e prints and the Japanese furnishings that spread to all the remaining nations at great speed. From Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Bohemia, up to Italy.

The artists of Japonism

Also, the great artists like Gauguin, Van Gogh, Klimt, Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Sir John Lavery, Giuseppe De Nittis Antonio Mancini, Antonio Fontanesi, Maurice Denis and Henry Van De Velde (just to name a few) mixed their own style with that of the rising sun. All these artists took inspiration from that wave of "Japonism" that unveiled and amplified the new style coming from the magical overseas, translating into Art Nouveau.

Giapponismo

photo credits: arte.it

That stranger beauty to the superficiality that is behind every form, trait, and curve hides concepts foreign to western culture and it began to spread in society. From the upper classes of the bourgeoisie, to the lower social ones where the posters contributed to the expansion of Japonism.

Society changes, evolves, runs, collides with new needs and consumerism makes its way. Advertising becomes a weapon, but also a catalyst of influences, which attracts, which speaks for itself, which gives rise to needs just before unknown. An art form that drew from the precise morphological and aesthetic oriental characteristics. Japan becomes a model and guide, with its colors, its balance and the Japanese graphics that captures with its key concepts.

Giapponismo

photo credits: ansa.it

The exhibition Giapponismo, Venti d’Oriente nell’arte europea. 1860 – 1915

A real artistic current to be counted among the immortal ones and this is the purpose of the great exhibition "Japonism, Winds of the East in European art. 1860 - 1915 " in progress since 28 September 2019. The exhibition on display in Rovigo at Palazzo Roverella will be available until 26 January 2020. A journey in 4 stages expertly designed by Francesco Parisi to help us admire the priceless artistic and cultural heritage that we have inherited.

Absolutely not to be missed!

photo credits: palazzoroverella.com

Details

Official Website: http://www.palazzoroverella.com/mostra/giapponismo/
Information: info@palazzoroverella.com
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.00 - 19.00 | Sat - Sun - Holidays 9.00 am - 8.00 pm
Online Tickets: Buy now