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info@HennaGaijin.org Send us your jpg files and we will post the most interesting ones. Please let us know how to credit them to you, and send us your captions too.

This collection was taken by Marshall R. Goldberg on his November 02 trip to Japan when Maiyim accompanied him as his escort interpreter.

Click here to find out how you can arrange your fabulous trip to Japan, with a personal interpreter who will take you to places you simply could not go on your own. Photographic and journalistic tours a specialty.


Cece Frank, who has lived in Kobe for years, sends these travel recommendations:

Two books I have use as guides are: Japan Inside Out by Jay and Sumi and Garet Gluck. Second Edition 1992. Yes, it's old but not out of date. Temples, shrines and the places missed by other "guides" don"t or shouldn't change appreciably from one year to the next. Jay gives the flavor of so called Lost Japan because he knew where to look.

The prices of meals and lodging have probably gone up since he disconnected his typewriter or computer.

Gateway to Japan by June Kinoshita and Nicolas Palevsky is the other book I have carried with me for 11 years of traversing Japan from Wakkanai Hokkaido to Naha Okinawa. They offer more Japanese history than most other books I have looked at. I have the 1990 edition. They have done an update but the print in the newer edition is too small for my nearsighted eyes. The prices they quote are most likely out of date.

Tea Ceremony at beautiful 1400 year old
Arima On-sen hot springs resort near Kobe.

Minatogawa-Jinja Shinto Shrine in Kobe, Shichi-Go-San, November.

Hyogo-ku DiaButsu "Great Buddha"THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN THE KANSAI –The Hyogo-ku DaiButsu “Great Buddha”

"Didn't know that. Where is it?"

This is the reaction of many Kansai people when they hear the third largest Buddha in Japan is located in Hyogo-ku.

The starting point to see the Hyogo Daibutsu is the JR Sannomiya station in Kobe. It is necessary to take a local or rapid service train three stops west to the Hyogo station. Coming from the JR station in Osaka take a rapid service train to Sannomiya and on to Hyogo station. That is the get off place.

The "Hyogo Buddha" is identified on the tourist map in the Hyogo JR station. It is a 10 minute walk from the JR station to the Nofuku-ji compound where the bronze outdoor Buddha is located. It is possible some kind person will walk you the 10 minutes from the station to the temple where the Buddha sits and waits.

When in doubt and if reading a map is a problem, ask at the station, "Daibutsu doko? Where’s the Big Buddha?”

Although Nofuku-ji suffered extensive damage during the Great Hanshin Earthquake and underwent drastic repairs, the Buddha was not disturbed. The original bronze Daibutsu was put in place in 1891. Sadly it was melted down during WWII to make weapons. The present statue was cast about 40 years ago. The bronze has developed the smoky green patina that comes from exposure to the idiosyncrasies of salt air, wind and weather. The statue weighs 60 tons, is 18 meters tall and sits on a 10 meter pedestal.

The more celebrated Kamakura Buddha and the Nara Buddha are only centimeters taller. They are impressive but remote. The steps leading up to the lotus flower where the Buddha sits makes the "Hyogo Buddha" approachable.

And here is another “Insider’s Tip” from Cece:

If you want to visit the mountains go to Yamagata-shi(city) and ken(prefecture). I think it is one of if not the most beautiful places in Japan. We stayed at Sendaiya Ryokan in Yamagata-shi, small, friendly, not too expensive, with or without meals, and the only ryokan we ever stayed in where my shoes were polished during the night.



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