Tag Archives: 2014

Shoemaker, family & lover: touching prayers on votive plaques at Kencho-ji (Kamakura)

Read these silent prayers written on light wooden votive plaques “Ema” dancing with the wind this afternoon at the top of Kencho-ji Buddhist temple in Kamakura city, just beyond the stairs guarded by the statue of a tengu and numerous statues of karasu-tengu…

Prayer in Japanese: “くつやさんになれますように。” i.e. “May I become a shoemaker (shoe seller?).”, written in simple hiragana alphabet instead of difficult Chinese characters and signed by a young (?) Japanese boy.
Votive plaque with a prayer in Japanese to become a shoemaker at 建長寺 (Kencho-ji, Kamakura, Japan) on 04 May 2014.

Prayer in English: “My hope for 2014 is that my family and friends stay strong and healthy. I hope the woman I love finds happiness and learns to love again.” written by an anonymous foreigner (?).
Votive plaque with a prayer in English for family, friends and lover at 建長寺 (Kencho-ji, Kamakura, Japan) on 04 May 2014.

Many other wishes were written on votive plaques decorated with a mythical tengu in blue robes holding a staff or with a Migawari-jizo-son (Jizo taking one’s pain and suffering in one’s stead).
Votive plaques decorated with a 身代り地蔵尊 (Migawari-jizo-son) and 天狗 (tengu) at 建長寺 (Kencho-ji, Kamakura, Japan) on 04 May 2014.

May these touching/heart-warming wishes come true…
Votive plaque decorated with a 天狗 (tengu) at 建長寺 (Kencho-ji, Kamakura, Japan) on 04 May 2014.

And You, what would You write on your “Ema” in Japan?



  • Votive plaque = 絵馬 (Ema).
  • Tengu = 天狗, Karasu-tengu = 烏天狗, Jizo = 地蔵, Migawari-jizo-son = 身代り地蔵尊.
  • Kencho-ji = 建長寺, Kamakura city = 鎌倉市 (Kamakura-shi).

Merry Spring from Tokyo!

Merry Spring from Tokyo! This first day of Spring is a national holiday in Japan; I definitely appreciate it :) I could even see Mount Fuji from my building in Adachi ward this morning!

富士山 (Mount Fuji) seen from 足立区 (Adachi ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 21 March 2014.

Spring is gorgeous in Japan thanks to rows, skies and seas of white and pink perfumed cherry trees in streets, parks, riversides, mountains… Incomparable to the plum and peach blossoms seen since February! You can even enjoy cherry blossoms in Tokyo during walking tours with guides from March to April e.g. “2014 Best Cherry Blossoms” and “2014 Sweet Sakura Evening” by Travel Stand Japan.

Statue of a woman below cherry blossoms at 千鳥ヶ淵 (Chidorigafuchi, Tokyo, Japan) on 15 March 2014.

Why is Spring a great season in Japan? (1) You can enjoy beautiful nature through walks, hikes, rides on bicycles or horses… (2) You can eat sushi in a bento box with friends among cherry petals. (3) You can savour traditional Japanese sweets made from cherry flowers/leaves. (4) You can admire flying carps for Children’s Day on 05 May. (5) You can celebrate Buddha’s birthday at a Buddhist temple on 08 April…

Statue of Buddha at birth at 飛鳥寺 (Asuka-dera, Asuka, Japan) on 08 April 2013.

My travels in Japan and life in Tokyo formed dear “Spring memories”: a sea of cherry blossoms at Mount Yoshino in 2013, a Buddhist celebration for Buddha’s birthday at Asuka temple in 2013, sumo fights at Yasukuni shrine in 2004…

Sumo fight at 靖国神社 (Yasukuni shrine, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 April 2004.

This Spring, I plan to enjoy the 5 colours cherry blossoms festival in Tokyo, celebrate the Birth of Buddha at a Japanese temple, relax at outdoor hot springs, and visit the Fukushima prefecture. Contact me if you wish to join and enjoy inner Japan :)

  • Spring on Inner Japan.
  • Japanese calendar on Inner Japan.
  • Mount Fuji on Inner Japan.


  • Adachi ward = 足立区 (Adachi-ku), Tokyo = 東京.
  • Mount Fuji = 富士山 (Fuji-san), Mount Yoshino = 吉野山 (Yoshino-yama).
  • Fukushima prefecture = 福島県 (Fukushima-ken).
  • Asuka temple = 飛鳥寺 (Asuka-dera), Yasukuni shrine = 靖国神社 (Yasukuni-jinja).
  • Buddha’s birthday = 花会式 (Hanaeshiki), Children’s Day = こどもの日 (Kodomo-no-hi).
  • 5 colours cherry blossoms festival = 五色桜まつり (Go-shiki-zakura-matsuri).
  • Travel Stand Japan = トラベルスタンドジャパン (Torabelu-Sutando-Japan).