January 2018 - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

[Hotel Review] Zenkoji Temple's Jizo Matsuya Ryokan (松屋旅館)

10:51:00 PM
One of the most popular things to do for visitors to Japan is to stay a night at a traditional Japanese ryokan hotel. The ryokan hotels hold a long history in Japan that goes back as far as the eighth century, and with all of the ryokans having their own unique style and history it is definitely one of the most extraordinary things you can experience as a foreigner in Japan. When my friend told me she wanted to visit me in Japan the first thing I did was to search for potential destinations not too far from Tokyo where I could show her the special atmosphere you only can find at an old ryokan.
Above: Jizo Matsuya Ryokan seen from the temple street

Our choice landed on Nagano, a city made known worldwide through the 1998 Winter Olympics, and more recently for the famous bathing monkeys of Jigokudani. While Nagano also offers great outdoor activities like skiing (see: HakubaShiga-Kogen, and Nozawa Onsen) or hiking (Kamikochi) our trip this time was focused on getting some relaxing time in a traditional ryokan hotel.
Jizo Matsuya Ryokan immediately attracted my interest with the picture of a large Jizo statue in front of the ryokan’s main entrance. Although ryokan hotels usually have a touch of traditional Japan I found this feature highly unique. After reading a bit about the history of the ryokan I learned that the main hall of the famous Zenkoji Temple (善光寺)  now situated just down the street used to stand at the very spot of Jizo Matsuya Ryokan before it burned down 300 years ago… Needless to say, I was sold.

Monday, January 15, 2018

How to sleep in a Capsule Hotel - do-c Ebisu [Hotel Review]

7:57:00 PM

If you’re looking to keep your costs to a minimum while traveling in Japan staying at a capsule hotel can provide a good alternative for you. This might not be the optimal option if you don’t like to share facilities with other guests or if you dislike being in small closed spaces, but if those two conditions are met you’ll likely be able to enjoy staying at do-C Ebisu. I recently spent some nights in the newly opened capsule hotel and summarized the stay below.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sightseeing in Kobe: A visit to the Uonotana Fish Market (魚の棚)

11:11:00 PM
Japan is a country that has a lot to offer its visitors, with anything from new and modern to graciously traditional. I never get tired of visiting local areas and seeing their colorful and lively markets where old and new come together like nowhere else. During this year's new year holiday to Kobe (See also: New Year Celebration at a Japanese Temple - Taisan-ji (太山寺)) we stopped by the local Uo no tana (魚の棚) fish market to try out some local delicacies and feel the atmosphere.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year Celebration at a Japanese Temple - Taisan-ji (太山寺)

2:21:00 PM
My seventh year since moving to Japan has just come to an end. Last year I spent the New Years Eve with new year's countdown in the crowded Shibuya crossing, so this year it was time for something quieter. With my friend Camilla visiting from Norway it was a nice opportunity to show her the traditional Japanese new year celebration, and so we decided to spend the holiday with my darling's family in Kobe.
By midnight we went to a nearby temple called Sanshinzan Taisan-ji  (三身山太山寺), or Taisan-ji for short. The main hall of this temple was built in 1293, and this building has been designated a National Treasure of Japan. I've included some pictures from the temple below:
Above: Yuma lighting up an incense stick

Above: Entering the Main Hall

Above: Visitors ringing the bell inside the Main Hall

Above: View from the top of the stairs to the Main Hall

Above: Lucky items sold at the temple
Above: New year with family and friends
The Japanese new year holiday strongly resembles the Western Christmas celebration. This is a festivity where family comes together and enjoy delicious food. The name of the commonly eaten Japanese cuisine is "osechi ryori" (お節料理). Here is a photo from the following morning (January 1st) where we got served osechi ryori breakfast prepared by Yuma's mother:
After a refreshing holiday it is time to start a new year. Although I don't have any new year's resolutions I hope to continue to challenge myself in the upcoming year, and to bring exciting stories for those out there who might be interested in reading more about life in Japan.

Happy new year and thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.
- Anette

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 Basic Info
  • Taisan-ji Sanshinzan Taisan-ji  (三身山太山寺)
  • ・Address:Taisanji 〒651-2108 Hyōgo-ken, Kōbe-shi, Nishi-ku, 伊川谷町前開224
  • ・Homepage: http://www.do-main.co.jp/taisanji/ (Japanese only)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

【Norwegianclass101】New Year's Day - Norwegian New Year Phrases

10:01:00 PM
Happy new year! I hope 2018 will be a year filled with new and amazing experiences for all of you. A couple of days of the new year has already gone by, but in the below video you can find some Norwegian phrases you can use to greet your Norwegian friends when you meet them for the first time this year.

Ønsker alle der hjemme et riktig godt nyttår! 

Happy new year and thanks for watching! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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