Japan Reference (JREF) is an online community to discuss the Japanese language, culture, history, and travelling in Japan. Launched in 1999, it has evolved into a comprehensive resource site for All Things Japanese.

Latest Articles

  • Travel Ishikawa Travel Guide

    Ishikawa Prefecture (石川県 Ishikawa-ken) is located in the Chūbu region in central Honshū and bounded by the Sea of Japan on the west and the north...
  • Travel Kaizo-ji Temple

    Kaizō-ji (海蔵寺), officially known as Senkokusan Kaizō-ji (扇谷山海蔵寺), is a Buddhist temple that belongs to the Kenchō-ji school of the Rinzai Zen sect...
  • Travel Kameido Tenjinsha

    . Kameido Shrine (亀戸天神社 Kameido Tenjinsha) is a Shintō shrine in the Kōtō Ward of Tōkyō. It was founded in 1662 and enshrines the deified spirit...
  • Travel Hie Shrine

    Hie Shrine (日枝神社 Hie-jinja) is a Shintō shrine located in Nagatachō, Tōkyō. It is a popular venue for Shichi-Go-San (七五三) celebrations and famous...
  • Biographies Taira Masakado

    Taira no Masakado, a member of the Kanmu Taira clan, was the son of Taira no Yoshimasa, a provincial lord in the Kantō region. In 939, Masakado...
  • History The Late Hojo

    The Late Hōjō clan (後北条氏 Go-Hōjō-shi) were powerful regional lords at the end of the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) and in the Azuchi-Momoyama...
  • Culture The Japanese Calendar

    The Old Solar Calendar While the Japanese civil calendar was a lunar calendar, a solar calendar derived from ancient Chinese astronomers was in...
  • Travel Nagoya Castle

    Nagoya Castle (名古屋城 Nagoya-jō) ranks among the three greatest Japanese castles and was built after the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) by Tokugawa...
  • History Glossary of Japanese Historical Terms

    A glossary with essential terms relating to the history of Japan. This list will be continually expanded. TERMKANJIDESCRIPTION bakufu幕府Government...
  • Travel Hokai-ji Temple

    Hōkai-ji (宝戒寺), formally known as Kinryūzan Shakuman-in Endon Hōkai-ji (金龍山釈満院円頓宝戒寺), is a Buddhist temple of the Tendai school located in the...
  • History Himiko

    Japan's fabled shaman queen Himiko (卑弥呼, c. 170–248 CE), also known as Pimiko, was a female ruler of the early Japanese political entity known as...
  • Travel National Museum of Japanese History

    The National Museum of Japanese History (国立歴史民俗博物館 Kokuritsu Rekishi Minzoku Hakubutsukan) is located in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture. Also known...

Latest Journal Entries

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Almost two weeks ago, @Maciamo and I ventured into the city of Kamakura, south of Tokyo. Kamakura has been the de facto capital of Japan from 1192...
5.00 star(s) 2 ratings
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A few impressions of CP+ 2019 at the Yokohama Pacifico, a comprehensive event at which all people living a "life with photography," from those who...
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This video was posted a few days ago by SeaWorld San Diego. It shows a Giant Japanese Spider Crab moulting, a procedure that takes up to six...
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It was a summer (and perhaps will be an autumn) of superlatives: the shortest rainy season, the hottest months of July and August, the deadliest...
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Typhoon No. 20 ('Cimaron') left flooded rivers, disrupted train services and several thousands of households without electricity in its wake, but...
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After a hearty breakfast, we set out for Izumo-taisha (出雲大社), the Izumo Grand Shrine. It is located on the northwestern outskirts of the city and...
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On Day 5, we left early for Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, about 120 km west of Tottori. There are no highways along the coast of San’in, only...
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Busy day in Tottori. We visited: The dunes the Sand Museum the Tottori Castle Ruins the Ikeda clan graves Iwami to join a boat tour the Hakuto...
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We planned a brief stopover in Amanohashidate, one of the three Scenic Views of Japan, but ended up spending the whole day. Here’s why...
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The second day of our journey saw us set out south for Fukui Prefecture. After a brief stop at the scenic cliffs of Tojimbo, we were headed for...
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This year’s summer trip will bring us from Kanazawa to Shimane and back to Kobe via Ako and Himeji. It’s the first time for me to travel along the...
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Latest reviews

  • Travel Book Lonely Planet Tokyo (2019)
    5.00 star(s)
    Last week (20 Aug), Lonely Planet released the 12th edition of their Tokyo city guide, and it doesn't disappoint. We reviewed their Best of Tokyo...
    • thomas
  • Travel Book Best of Japan 2017 (Lonely Planet)
    5.00 star(s)
    This is a more condensed version of Lonely Planet's regular Japan Guide. Apart from the (as usual) excellent survival guide for first-time...
    • thomas
  • Accomodation Shunran-no-sato
    5.00 star(s)
    Shunran-no-Sato is a farm-inn group in Ishikawa Prefecture and we stayed in one of them, Shunran-no-Yado. The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Tada, are very...
    • Azusa

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