All posts by Namaste Japan

02 Feb 2018

Lookout for the first AI-assisted policing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo, Japan is getting ready for the 2020 Olympics in full swing and one of the lookouts for travelers around the world will be the first AI-assisted predictive policing, a method of foreseeing occurrence of accidents and crimes using artificial intelligence.

The Kanagawa police near Tokyo are going through trial rounds with their new system.

The system is designed to predict crime scenes before it could happen, send the coordinates for the police officers to investigate and prevent them.

It employs “deep learning” method, in which the system learns by itself based on big data, using criminology knowledge, mathematical statistics, data about the time, place, weather condition, geographical condition, aspects of past crimes and accidents, and even information from social media.

The AI-assisted policing will be one of its kind innovations by Japan to ensure the safety of their citizen and the guests who will be visiting them during the 2020 Olympics.

During events like these safety is always of prime importance and it is commendable to see how Japan is working towards it by utilizing every possible avene to ensure people feel safe and enjoy their stay.

03 Oct 2017

Temples and Shrines in Japan

Temples and Shrines in Japan

Japan is a country filled with religious architectural structures. Kyoto alone has about more than 2,000 temples and shrines. However, it is not the only city where one can find magnificent Buddhist structures; almost every Japanese village and town has its religious monument.

There’s an admission fee available on the famous temples, and they are usually crowded. Most Japanese religious architectural structures are built in beautiful gardens, and the local festivals are connected to the history of these structures.

Yasukuni Shrine| Shinto Shrine

Source: BuffaloTrip.com

The Yasukuni Shrine is a national religious structure that has been created to honor the souls of those who sacrificed their lives in the service of Japan. It contains a mix of military men and some upper-class civilians who died during the war.

The 2.5 million people enshrined in this structure are said to have become ‘Kami’ or revered spirits in Shinto religion.

Bukkoji Temple in Kyoto

Source: happy-travelling.com

Initially named as Kosho-Ji, this temple was found by Ryogen, a well-known priest and the staunch believer of Shirnan. Also known as ‘the temple of light,’ Bukkoji was opened in the year 1324 and by late 15 century, it became one of the most frequently visited temples.

Located in the center of Kyoto, there’s no admission charge to this temple and is easily accessible.

Daigo-JI Temple

Source: kyoto.travel

A prestigious temple of Japan and a designated World Heritage Site, the Daigo-Ji in Fushimi-Ku is one of the world’s most beautiful religious structure.

While entering the temple grounds, one can easily spot the Sanboin, a majestic home of the head priest that was elegantly constructed and designed in the year 1115. A small walk further inside would lead you to some famous buildings, stores and a seated statue of the Buddha.

Sensoji Temple

Source: japanitalybridge.com

Built in a lovely town called Asakusa, the Sensoji temple is the oldest and the most colorful temple of Japan. A legend states that in the year 628, two brothers who once went fishing together found a statue of Kannon (known as the Goddess of mercy) in the Sumida river.

Every time they placed the statue back in the river, it kept coming back to them in mysterious ways. The Sensoji temple was then built to honor this statue of Kannon.

Kawai Shrine

Source: tatsushinkan.com

Kawai shrine is also known as the ‘beauty shrine’. Women from all over Japan gather at this shrine to pray for good looks. Visitors can draw or paint their most desired face on a vanity mirror-shaped ema votive plaque and place it on a rack.

Most women also purchase a glass of bijinsui (beauty water) which is said to be good for the complexion.

If you’ve heard any interesting stories about the temples and shrines in Japan then do tell us about them in the comments below.

03 Oct 2017

Beautiful Beaches of Japan

Beautiful Beaches of Japan

Japan is a beautiful country made up of a series of islands. Its long structure offers a vast coastline with a lot of beaches. While one can find ample of water sports and other facilities around famous beaches, some beaches are less heard of but are gorgeous.

However, the best beaches for sunbathing and swimming are usually found in Okinawa.The climate and swimming season differ from north to south.

Read on to know more about the best beaches in Japan.

Nishihama Beach

Image Credit: Chen Qu (Flickr)

Situated near the northwest part of Japan, Nishihama beach is the only beach on the island where one can swim freely.

The fine white sand and clear waters make this beach way more beautiful than it is. It is also considered to be one of the most famous beaches in Okinawa.

One can find a range of water sport activities happening at this beach because of the shallow seashore.

Sunayama Beach

Source: matcha-jp.com

Known for its beautiful silver sand, the name of this beach translates into ‘sand dune’.
Sunayama Beach houses a natural limestone structure crafted by the swirling waves.

However, this beach stands out as a major tourist spot mainly because of its crystal green waters and abundant greenery. What’s surprising is that travelers often discover that it is rarely crowded.

Shirahama Beach

Source: cnn.com

If you are the kind of person who likes to spend vacations at a luxurious resort, then this place is just for you. Shirahama is a resort town situated on the south coast of Wakayama Prefecture.

The white sand found at its beaches is imported from Australia. The name Shirahama also translates to “white beach.” This best time to visit this place is during the summer, as tourists get to witness nightly fireworks.

Yonaha Maehama Beach

Source: i.pinimg.com

Imagine walking on a beach covered with bright white sand consisting a combination of emerald green water, so peaceful that it makes you feel the entire beach was made for you.

Now save this imagery in your head as it will soon lead you to the Yonaha Maehama beach. A resort beach that represents an isolated island of Okinawa, Miyako Island, and is a place which a considerable number of tourists from Japan and abroad visit.

However, the beach is little crowded owing to 7 m length of the coastline despite its name recognition.

Aharen Beach

Source: http://keramaislands.asia

Known for its abundant marine life and deep coral reef, the Aharen beach located Tokashiki Island, is slightly curved in shape. The level of transparency present in the water makes it a perfect spot for swimming and other water sports.

It is also called as the Mecca of snorkeling and diving among other marine sports.

Tell us which of these stunning beaches would you visit on your trip to Japan?

12 Sep 2017

Highlights of 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan

Highlights of 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan

It’s been ages since Japan last hosted Summer Olympics. After 1964, the country will now be hosting this prestigious championship in Tokyo. Needless to say, they are all set to impress the world with their new age technology and strategic planning. Here is a list of things you should watch out for if you plan to visit Tokyo for 2020 Summer Olympics.

1. Manga Parade

All the anime fans out there, we hope you’ve selected your costumes for the Manga parade happening at 2020 Summer Olympics! Yes, you heard that right. Chairman of the organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori is all in favor of the anime pop culture for the opening ceremony. He wants the opening and the closing ceremony of 2020 Olympics to be a memorable experience for everyone. This parade will feature some iconic anime characters like the ‘Doraemon’, ‘Astro Boy’ and ‘Hello Kitty’.

2. Self-driving cars

It has been rumored that the Japanese government is working on a project that will ensure the availability of driverless taxis for those attending the Olympics. These taxis will be made using the latest technology and smart control features. The tourists can enjoy their privacy in these cabs and also take advantage of 5G wireless service and TV broadcasts.

3. Bringing the old games back and introducing some new

This time around, the Olympic Summer Games will witness the return of softball, wrestling and, baseball as well as the introduction of sports climbing, surfing, karate, and skateboarding to grab the attention of youngsters. Yagihara Kunio, the president of International Federation of Sports Climbing, says that the inclusion of this sport in the Olympic Summer Games shall inspire many people once they see it happening in real conditions. Craig Cress, the softball director of US, has also expressed his gratitude for bringing softball back. He claims that it would provide a great opportunity for many athletes around the world.

4. A peek into the future

Imagine entering a village where instead of humans, you see robots residing. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Well, if you happen to visit Japan during the Olympics, you might get a chance a see it. The managing committee has spoken about their plan to create a “Robot Village” close to the Olympic Village which will also consist a 60-foot Gundam statue. For all the Westworld fans, this is going to be a dream come true.

5. Expect some cool fireworks

A startup plans to launch a satellite during the opening ceremony that will brighten up the sky with man-made meteors. We don’t know about you, but we’re already going bonkers over this news!

If you haven’t already, then you need to start saving up because this once-in-a-lifetime-trip is now just three years away!

12 Sep 2017

5 Interesting Japanese Traditions

5 Interesting Japanese Traditions

The traditions of Japan distinguish the country from all other parts of the world. The practices and beliefs of the Japanese have always remained an intriguing topic for everyone. So if you are planning on a to Japan this year, then this article is sure to prepare for some unusual traditions that you might witness during your visit.

1.Christmas celebrations are incomplete without KFC

Roast turkey, stew and fruit cake? Nah, the Japanese are way more advanced when it comes to Christmas menu. The dishes prepared during Christmas is mostly standard around the world, but not in Japan. Japanese only prefer food from KFC on their Christmas Eve. You will also notice KFC coming up with various Christmas themed sets to boost their sales for that particular period.

2.Want to book a spot? Get a blue mat!

If you want to attend an event in Japan such as a festival, fireworks or Hanami, it’s customary to reserve your spot using a plastic mat. The plastic mats used for such purposes often happen to be blue. All the citizens strictly respect this tradition. You don’t have to guard your space, as once you’ve placed the mat, the spot automatically becomes yours. At large events, you will notice hundreds of mats placed by people with a label of their name on it.

3.Not without our coffee

If you think Americans are the ones who just can’t survive without their coffee, you’re in big for a surprise! Americans are not the only importers and providers of coffee; Japan also accounts for 85% of Jamaica’s coffee. This beverage is extensively served in all workplaces, gas stations and hotels.

4.Floating dolls

Hina Nagashi is a rare tradition usually seen in the remote areas of Japan. In this practice, the Japanese dolls are stacked in a boat that is later pushed into the sea. This tradition is performed because it’s a common belief that any evil can be transferred from the children into the dolls and cast out into the sea.

5.The lucky bag

Fukubukuro or the “lucky bag” is a Japanese shopping tradition of offering mystery bags to people during New Years. These bags are usually given on purchase of heavily discounted items and in most cases, valuable items may be inserted by the sales person into these bags. Sounds interesting doesn’t? Try shopping in Japan this New Year and you might just get lucky with some expensive prizes in your Fukubukuro!

Have you heard of any such fascinating Japanese traditions? Tell us about them in the comments below!

12 Sep 2017

What makes Japan the best destination for tourists?

What makes Japan the best destination for tourists?

The perfect blend of culture and futuristic technology is what makes Japan an excellent tourist destination. One can find ample of temples and shrines around the country, where visitors not only get to witness the beautiful architecture but also uncover the ancient stories related to it.

Along with rich culture and traditions, the tourists also get to experience the great Japanese architecture which is a testament to the advancement in technology and modern life.

Check out the reasons that make Japan the ultimate tourist destination.

Travel that doesn’t exceed your budget

The public transport in Japan is highly developed and widely used by the local people. The bullet trains taken by the Japanese for commute are the safest and the cheapest option. The best part about these bullet trains is their punctuality. While in other countries it’s difficult to imagine a train that is due to arrive at 7.30, pulls in at 7.29, in Japan, it’s actually quite possible.

A mix of traditional and modern culture

Japan is a country where the ancient and modern meet. While there are many historical, monuments, castles, shrines and mythical stories, there is also an existence of luxury brands, Anime and Manga, cat cafes and robot restaurants.

On the one hand, you’ll get to see department stores, skyscrapers and people checking their email on their Palm Pilots. On other, you will notice that the civilians still hold the ancient rituals close to their hearts. You will find teahouses, where people take off their shoes before they are served by a tea master wearing her traditional gown.

Enjoy the best sushi money can buy

Nothing beats the taste of authentic Japanese flavors. You may have tried amazing sushi delights from various restaurants, but the ones served in Japan are what dreams are made of!

The Japanese chefs are born to craft the best sushi in the world. Whatever may be your craving Tsugu Sushimasa, Ikura Gunkan or Sake Nigiri, name it, and you have it.

Attain Nirvana

One of the major reasons for travel is to escape the daily routine and give yourself a break you deserve. A break where you can rejuvenate your mind, body, spirit. And what better way to do so than to take a trip to the Kamakura Kotokuin Temple and meditate under the open sky?

Your visit to this temple will not only fill your soul with tranquility but will also help you discover many interesting stories associated with the statue of Great Buddha.

Witness the majestic Mount Fuji

The beauty of the majestic Mt. Fuji will take your breath away in one glance. When in Tokyo, don’t forget to visit this active volcano located in the southwest region.

Popularly known as “Fuji-san,” this mountain stands to be Japan’s tallest peak, at 3,776 meters. Many summit hikes are carried out on Mt Fuji. Considered as one of the most sacred mountains in Japan, it has continued to remain a pilgrimage site for many centuries.
Its iconic beauty has inspired well-known artists in the Edo Period.

Excited to take a tour through this fabulous country? Tell us which spot are you most intrigued to visit in the comments below.