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Archive for the 'Japanese Holidays' Category

Must Know Golden Week Vocabulary


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Golden week is almost here! In few days it will be the beginning of the Golden week, the longest public holiday in Japan.

It’s an exciting moment for a lot of people as it’s the period for some time off and to fully enjoy Spring. Here is the list of Top Words you need to know for your holidays!

1. Traffic jam

渋滞 (じゅうたい)


2. Warm

暖かい (あたたかい)

3. Golden Week holidays


4. Chimaki



5. Constitution Day

憲法記念日 (Constitution Day)

6. Kashiwamochi

柏餅 (かしわもち)


7. Greenery Day

みどりの日 (みどりのひ)

8. Children’s Day

子供の日 (こどものひ)


9. Trip abroad

海外旅行 (かいがいりょこう)

10. Doll for the Boys’ Festival in May

五月人形 (ごがつ にんぎょう)


11. Traveling

旅行 (りょこう)

12. Koinobori



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    Click Here to Learn Golden Week words with FREE Audio Pronunciation!

    8 Extreme places to visit in Japan

    Click here to discover 30 travel phrases you should know!

    If you are looking for exceptional and exciting places in Japan, here is a list of spots not to miss. Some places on the list are difficult to access, or even forbidden.

    1. 青ヶ島。- Aogashima.


    The island is located 358 kilometers to the south of Tokyo. It is the smallest village in Japan. It is a volcanic island 3.5 km in length and 2.5 km in width that was formed from the remains of several calderas. The island is one of the most mysterious islands and has a beautiful natural environment. It is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime!

    2. 軍艦島。- Gunkanjima.


    Once the most densely populated place in the world, the small island of Hashima, commonly known as Gunkanjima (or “Battleship Island”), is now a ghost island. The island floats off the coast of Nagasaki in Japan. It has become a tourist attraction with trips around the island on offer, but has also been a backdrop for many films.

    3. ドリームランド。- Dreamland.


    Dreamland is an abandoned theme park in Nara, with all its roller-coasters and rides still standing. It closed permanently in 2006 because of low visitor numbers caused by the popularity of Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan. It is a private place and access is forbidden, though some people visit it by jumping over the fences.

    4. 富士急ハイランド。- Fuji-Q Highland.


    This is another theme park, but it remains open. It is located near the base of Mount Fuji, and will guarantee you some thrills, with two of the biggest haunted mansions and, above all, roller-coasters ranked as the biggest and fastest in the world.

    5. 地獄谷野猿公苑。- Jigokudani Monkey Park.


    This monkey park located in Nagano prefecture is famous for its large population of wild Japanese macaques, which are also referred to as snow monkeys. It is a popular tourist spot and also easy to access. You can watch the monkeys relaxing in hot springs. Don’t forget to ask them before joining!

    6. 与那国島。- Yonaguni-jima.


    This is the westernmost inhabited island of Japan. Here, you can go diving and see submerged stone structures and ruins of a Japanese atlantis, an ancient city sunk by an earthquake about 2,000 years ago.

    7. 立山黒部アルペンルート。- Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.


    You may have seen images of mountain roads locked between great snow walls. This route is a famous mountain sightseeing route between Toyama and Nagano prefecture. The route is just 37 km in length, but the vertical elevation is as high as 1,975m!

    8. 目黒寄生虫館。- Meguro Parasitological Museum.


    For another kind of experience, this surprising museum will give you chills for sure. The museum displays some 300 samples of 45,000 parasites collected. And you will be able to buy great gifts for your loved ones.

    Click here to access the top 30 travels phrases lesson for FREE!

    Here are some handy ways you can master the quotes with this lesson:

  • Press the sound icon to hear each word and read along
  • Review all words in a slideshow by pressing “View Slideshow”
  • Listen to all the words in one lesson with “Play Audio”
  • Add the words to your Word Bank or Flashcards
  • Print the entire list out for your personal review
  • Leave us a comment and put these quotes to use
  • Speak and master even more Japanese with our fun audio and video lessons made by real teachers. Click on “Browse Lessons” in the top menu to access our massive library. Then, start speaking minutes into your lesson.

    Click Here to Learn Japanese Quotes with FREE Audio Pronunciation!

    Why Sapporo is my favorite city in Japan

    Why Sapporo is my favorite city in Japan

    わや*!That was a hard decision to make Kyushu? Okinawa? South Korea? Taiwan? No… I made it to Hokkaido and have to start this article by talking about Salmon Ikura Don (raw salmon with salmon fish eggs on rice that I ate in Sapporo), in honor of the best dish I’ve ever eaten.

    First, If you want to travel in Japan and don’t know where to start, I suggest you to take a look at this list: here

    So…why Sapporo?
    Well, my two closest Japanese friends are living there… What better reason to fly north?

    First of all, I love big cities. Tokyo is massive and I enjoy it. However, I’m still a Swiss girl from the Alps… So I was actually really excited about this trip. The image I had of Sapporo is pretty similar to the one foreigners can have of Switzerland, I guess.

    There are a few things you should know about Sapporo. It’s not only a beer brand, this is also the fifth largest city in Japan, and almost 2 million people live there! The 1972 Winter Olympic Games were hosted there and it’s famous for its yearly Snow Festival as well.

    Now let me tell you why the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture has became my favorite city in Japan, and how I managed to escape from the real world for 4 whole days (I didn’t even realize that Google had a new logo!)

  • Incredible Atmosphere
  • I’ve lived in Canada, England, and Switzerland and have been able to travel around, including to Japan. But Sapporo has something that other cities clearly don’t have! There is still that urban vibe with areas such as Susukino, as well as a Western touch with the Former Hokkaido Government office and the area around that building.

    The enormous park around the Hokkaido University reminded me of those I could relax in when in was in Toronto. The Maryuyama Park area has many bakeries, small cafės, and restaurants. I would describe this spot as fancy but cosy at the same time.

  • Beautiful Natural Surroundings
  • It is part of the atmosphere, but it needs its own paragraph. My friend took me to Mount Moiwa and the night view was breathtaking… Sapporo is a large city, so seeing all those lights sparkling from the mountain was magical, and I will simply never forget it.
    It might seem insignificant, but the city is full of flowers and greenery, and this is what is missing in Tokyo. Almost every sidewalk has colorful flowers, and you can also find them in parks and even outside people’s front doors. It’s a small detail but it makes a big difference.
    My other friend took me to Otaru, which is by the seaside north of Sapporo. It’s a small and picturesque city intersected by a river and many small boutiques.

    Finally, wherever you are in Sapporo, if the weather isn’t foggy, you can see mountains! It really reminds me of where I am from. Now I can’t wait to go back to Hokkaido during the winter time and enjoy the snow up there!

    Mount Moiwa

  • Kind People
  • The hospitality in Japan is no secret. But in Hokkaido, I was touched by the people’s kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm. I guess life is more peaceful there, so everyone takes the time to do whatever they have to. I felt relaxed from the beginning to the end. And of course, I am so thankful to my friends who were my reason for spending my precious time there.

  • Delicious Food
  • I started with food and I am ending with food. If you do love Japanese cuisine, this is a no-brainer – you just have to go to Sapporo. Curry soup is famous there. I also had the chance to eat えび味噌ラーメン (ebi miso ramen)、うに (uni), and 鮭 いくら 丼 (salmon ikura don), which as you know tasted like heaven.
    If you like cheese and milk, you won’t be disappointed in Hokkaido – just trust the girl from Switzerland, AKA ‘cheese land.’
    Food quality isn’t a problem in Sapporo, and the prices are affordable too.

    Salmon Ikura Don

    If you want to know more about Japanese food, check out this audio lesson: The 5 most popular foods in Japan

    Before visiting this northern part of Japan, I’d heard many times that Sapporo was a great city to live in. Now I totally understand why and if you are planning to go to Japan, drop by Hokkaido, because you can find pretty good deals online to get there ;)

    * わや waya is popular slang meaning ヤバイ (yabai) in Hokkaido-ben.

    Don’t forget to discover more about Japanese culture and language on http://japanesepod101.com

    Must-Know Japanese Holiday Words: Bean-Throwing Ceremony

    Click here to check out the lesson for free and learn more about this holiday!

    Click on the video below to learn about Setsubun for FREE!

    Setsubun (the Bean-Throwing Ceremony) is celebrated on February 3rd in Japan. Can you talk about this holiday in Japanese?

    In this special Weekly Words lesson, Risa will teach you about the customs and vocabulary related to Setsubun.

    You can also get the lesson notes, review the vocabulary and try fun quizzes on our lesson page.
    >> Click here to visit the lesson page on JapanesePod101!

    Want to find out more about Setsubun?
    >> Check out our FREE advanced video on JapanesePod101!

    Are there any events like Setsubun in your country? Let us know in the comments!

    Golden Week in Japan PLUS Exclusive Discount!

    Dear Listeners,

    Golden Week has started! In Japan, almost everyone gets the week off from work - even us! As a student of Japanese, you should enjoy Golden Week too! We can’t give you days off of work or school, but we can offer you an Instant 28% OFF 1-year Premium subscription at JapanesePod101.com.

    Click here to get it now!

    So what is Golden Week exactly? At the end of April/beginning of May, 4 national holidays fall within the workweek. This gives everyone a super long weekend. In Japan, Golden Week is synonymous with travel - both domestic and international. The Shinkansen trains are super crowded and hotel reservations are impossible to find. To learn more about Golden Week, listen to these Golden Week audio lessons:

    And, remember to get your discounted 28% OFF 1-Year Premium Subscription! That’s a year of interactive voice recording, kanji vocab review lists, one-click premium downloads and much much more! Hurry, this exclusive offer is only valid through Sunday, May 9th, the last day of Golden Week.

    Click the following to take advantage of this exclusive one-week offer:

    Have a restful and wonderful Golden Week!

    Peter Galante

    P.S - At JapanesePod101.com, every membership is backed by our 60-day unconditional money-back guarantee. If, for ANY reason, you are not 100% satisfied with our revolutionary fun and exciting way to learn Japanese, we will happily refund you the full amount of the unused portion of your membership.

    Learn Japanese Culture - Valentine’s Day in Japan

    Many of our readers are probably familiar with Valentine’s Day, and even celebrate it in their home country. Valentine’s Day probably conjures up images of hearts, red roses, Valentine candy, and maybe even the cute little Valentine’s Day cards you used to exchange in elementary school.

     But do you know how Valentine’s Day works in Japan? The Japanese Valentine’s Day has its own set of unique customs and rules that set it apart from the holiday celebrated around the world.

     First of all, while in western countries it is common for both men and women to give gifts on Valentine’s Day, in Japan, the gift-giving is left strictly to the women. Girls and women give chocolate (either handmade or store-bought) to a significant other or someone they are interested in. Surprisingly, though, women do not give chocolate only to that special someone they are interested in romantically, which is known as 本命チョコ (honmei choko, “chocolate for someone special”). There is also a tradition of giving chocolate to platonic male friends, co-workers, and bosses. This chocolate is given out of obligation, which is reflected in the name, 義理チョコ (giri choko, “obligation chocolate”).

    So, do the girls walk away with nothing, you may wonder? Not quite. Lately on Valentine’s Day, many women decide to give chocolate to their female friends, which is known as
    友チョコ(tomo-choko, “friend chocolate”), or even buy chocolate for themselves, known as マイチョコ (mai-choko, “my chocolate”). The main event for women, however, takes place on March 14th, one month after Valentine’s Day. This marks White Day, a day where men give chocolate back to the women they received chocolate from a month earlier. White Day was created by the Japanese National Confectionary Industry Association in 1980 as a way to sell more sweets such as candies. Surprisingly, gifts of flowers, non-chocolate candies, and dinner dates that are strongly associated with Valentine’s Day in Western countries are uncommon in Japan.

     What do you think about the Japanese way of celebrating Valentine’s Day? What kind of Valentine’s Day traditions do you celebrate in your country?

    Japanese Holidays: Kinrou kansha no hi ”Labor Thanksgiving Day”

    In Japan, November 23rd is a National Holiday called 勤労感謝の日(Kinrou kansha no hi) which means Labor Thanksgiving Day.  This holiday was originally a national festival called “Niinamesai” meaning “Harvest Festival.” At the festival, the emperor dedicated the year’s harvest to the Shinto Gods and ate it to celebrate the harvest of that year. Read the rest of this post »

    Japanese Holidays: Health and Sports Day(体育の日)

    The second Monday in October is a national holiday called “Health and Sports Day”, which is known as “Taiiku no hi” (体育の日) in Japanese. It falls on October 12th this year.

    The first Health and Sports Day was held on October 10, 1966, two years after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, to commemorate the Olympics which started on October 10 of that year. This holiday was held on October 10 until 1999, and in 2000, it was moved to the second Monday in October as part of the Happy Monday system. (Because of this sytem, some National holidays were moved to Monday to make three-day weekends.)

    This holiday is a day to promote sports and physical and mental health. Some sports facilities discount or drop their fees, and many schools hold their sports festivals on this day.  These sports festivals are called “undōkai” (運動会) in Japanese.  This is a big annual event for school kids and their families. They usually do track events such as a relay or a sprint race, or fun events such as three-legged races, ball games, and so on.  Parents and/or grandparents of the children partcipating come to see them at the event, bringing lunch from home and eating it together as a family on the field. Some parents line up early in the morning in order to secure a good spot to see their kids.

    Here are some lessons we have that are about Health and Sports Day or Sports day.  Please check them out!

    Japanese Culture Class #28 - Health and Sports Day
    Audio Blog #57 - Sports Day Memories
    Lower Intermediate Lesson #33 - Sports Day
    Upper Intermediate Lesson S2 #14 - Battle of the Classes 1
    Upper Intermediate Lesson S2 #15: Battle of the Classes 2
    Upper Intermediate Lesson S2 #16 - Battle of the Classes 3

    Japanese Holidays: Silver Week

    A string of consecutive holidays in autumn is called Silver Week in Japan, as opposed to Golden Week, which is a period that includes several Japanese holidays from the end of April to the beginning of May. Read the rest of this post »

    Japanese Culture - Do you know what Marine Day in Japan is? (海の日)

    On the third Monday of July each year, the Japanese celebrate what is known as Marine Day (”Umi no hi”). This is a relatively new national holiday to celebrate the honor of the ocean and wish for the prosperity of Japan as an ocean country.

    In the past, the sea has played a very significant part of Japan’s economy.  Marine Day was originally designated in 1941 as the anniversary of the day when Emperor Meiji returned in 1876 from his boat trip to Hokkaido after an inspection. Read the rest of this post »