One can count the space age the black star temple of Reiyukai Shakaden Temple among the many places in Tokyo that seem straight out of a Science Fiction movie!
Completed in 1975, this red and black granite complex sheathed in electrochemically coloured black-steel shingles, is home to the Buddhist sect Reiyūkai (霊友会Spiritual-Friendship). Reiyūkai emerged as an offshoot of Buddhism in 1925 by Kakutarō Kubo and Kimi Kotani, focusing on ancestral worship without a priesthood.
The temple is open to explore and consists of: the Main Hall, the Plaza, the Kotani Hall, various conference rooms, a cafeteria, a child care room, and a nurse’s office.
In Japanese, “Shakaden” means the “House of Shakyamuni.” It is a place where anyone can seek to further practice the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra.
Interestingly, as Reiyūkai Buddhism has at its roots in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the temple houses a reservoir with 400 tonnes of drinking water for use in the event that Tokyo is struck by another major disaster.
Note: As this is an active Temple, no photo are allowed in the expansive interior.
Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0825, Japan
Kyoto’s Higashiyama is a happening area with souvenir stores, cafes, restaurants galleries and more. Yes, it is very touristic, but try not to apply a regular tourist stop mentality that one dons in other counties. Everything is priced accordingly to quality .
Guidebooks (and the actual guides) fail to give good directions on how find this district (1 of 11 in all Kyoto). They all seemed to claim ‘no definite address‘! After butting heads with taxi drivers and walking and walking and walking … we came to the conclusion the best way to get there is asking directions to The Ryōzen Kannon; a war memorial and giant white concrete statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Across the main street entrance to the memorial is an uphill walking street. This is the best place to start your walk. See map at the end of the post. (In our opinon, The Ryōzen Kannon is not worth the time in a city of more interesting temples and shrines.)
Hagashimaya District seasoned rice cakes
Start early before the crowds arrive at Kōdai-ji. Take a taxi to The Ryōzen Kannon – walk up and around the Higashiyama streets, stop for lunch wheverer catches your eye (or just enjoy all the street samples!). Follow this with a short walk to the Hokan-ji (Yasaka Pagoda) and walk back uphill and continue to Kiyomizu-dera for the astounding evening lights.
I you want to do something fun you can rent a Kimono (his & hers) at Kyoto Kimono Rental at the beginning of the Higashiyama walk . Most Japanese woman and a few men rent Kimonos to tour Kyoto and other historical cities. It is super cute, lends to wonderful photos! The rental house will also do your hair and accessorize! Returns are very easy.
Highly recommended is the the ume boshi store. It is one of the best we found in all Japan. We didn’t purchase enough at the cheaper tourist price and found the same brand at the Ginza Mitsokishi department store, but at a higher price.
Tokyo Big Sight 11-1 Ariake, Koto,
Tokyo 135-0063, Japan
If you are in Japan, GO to the International Robot Exhibition at Tokyo Big Sight!! You are witnessing the future of humanity (and not-humanity) at the beginning of its era – perhaps one day to get its own scientific classification? The Robotolithic age ?
Check the website for dates, as these change every year. In 2015 the show ran Dec 2nd – 5th. It was held at Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center) on Tokyo Bay waterfront. The complex is worth the visit just for the experience of being in a futuristic city on the set of a Sci-Fi movie. It reminded us of Caprica from the modern Battlestar Galactica !
The International Robot Exhibition is the largest robot trade show in the World. If you find yourself in Japan try to attend, a window into the future. This is the reason you are in Japan!
IREX brings together roughly 500 domestic robot manufacturers and related businesses with over 50 international exhibitors. Participating are 100,000 domestic technicians and professionals.
IREX divides itself into two parts. Large Industrial robots (IR) and then the smaller, cuter service robots (SR), along side small production systems and robots deriving from R&D activities of government, industry and academia, Medicine, manufacturing, security, etc.