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The Japanese Shugendo Religion: Going Back to One’s True Nature

Taichi Tani is a monk in a village in Kochi Prefecture on Shikoku Island.  Although Shikoku is famous for its pilgrimage and numerous Shingon Buddhism temples, Mr. Tani’s temple is outside the pilgrimage route and from another tradition: Shugendo. Shugendo is a Japanese religion mixing Buddhism, Shinto, and Taoism. Ascetic training in the mountains is a central…

Omisoka and O-Shogatsu: The Japanese Year-End and New Year’s Holidays

The New Year, called “O-Shogatsu” in Japanese, is a traditionally very important holiday for Japanese people. In ancient times, January used to be early spring according to the lunar calendar. It was the season when everything started flourishing again. Like in many other cultures, people gathered and wished each other a prosperous year. Today’s Japanese…

Discover Japanese Arts and the People Who Make Them

Japan is home to numerous passionate artists. Some express themselves through traditional painting, calligraphy, traditional dances, or music, while others do it through modern means like animation or modern theater.  Read our interviews of inspiring artists in Japan: their personal connection to their art, their place in Japanese society, and the messages they want to…

Tsukimi, the “Moon-Viewing” Celebration

Praying to the Harvest Moon As it is often depicted in Japanese pop culture, manga, anime, or video games, you may have already heard about ”tsukimi,” or more formally “otsukimi,” literally “moon viewing.”  It is the most emblematic celebration in autumn, and shops often have decorations or sell items bearing the moon, rice cakes, or rabbits (more about this…

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