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[Translation from Japanese to Native English ] Aizome Aizome is a blue dye that is made from plants. It imparts a navy bl...

mangetsu_1982 Translated by mangetsu_1982

Aizome is a blue dye that is made from plants. It imparts a navy blue or indigo colour.

It has the advantage of being fade-resistant. It has a long history, beginning in the Nara period. Abroad, it has been called 'Japan Blue' or 'Hiroshige Blue', (referring to blue often seen in the Ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige Utagawa's woodblock prints). It has been used extensively in Tokushima prefecture in Shikoku, and the region is famous across Japan for its Aizome even today. The rich variety of shades which can be produced through different dyeing techniques have come to be called 'The 48 shades of blue', and it is also been used as an anti-bacterial agent, to stop bleeding, and to repel insects. Nara is the birthplace of Japan's civilization, and for this reason, there is an era known as the 'Nara Period'. As the final destination of the Silk Road, a colourful international culture flourished here in the regin of Emperor Tempyou. Many historical treasures were made at this time. Nara was unusal in that wild deer were allowed to roam the streets. They were though of as messengers of the gods, and highly prized.

There are many must-see examples of historic architecture in Nara prefecture, such as Horyuji Temple (a world heritage site).

Around the picturesque strees of old Nara, or 'Naramachi' you will see many soft toy red monkeys. These are considered to be a protective charm.
There are also many bars and cafes to enjoy around the Naramachi area. Mount Fuji

Mt. Fuji is a national symbol of Japan, and is somtimes thought of as a god.

It is an active volcano which straddles the prefectural borders of Shizuoka and Yamanashi.

The strikingly beautiful image of Mt. Fuji is known the world over as a national symbol of Japan. Since ancient times, it has been revered as a sacred peak. Until the latter part of the Edo period in 1800, it was forbidden for women to tread on Mt. Fuji.
The appearnce of Mt. Fuji changes according to location, viewing angle, season and time of day. Sometimes it appears red, sometimes a totally different colour. The climbing season for Mt. Fuji usually starts on the first of July and lasts until late August.
Mt. Fuji can be seen even in metropolitan Tokyo, from tall west-facing buildings and high places.
Rural Minshuku (lodging in a private house)

Like 'farmstays' in Australia, it is possible to get a taste of life in a rural village by staying at private dwelling. Many people offer this service across Japan, but they are especially common in Nagano and Nara.

Amidst the beautiful natural scenery and the homely atmosphere of a rural village, it is possible to try your hand at farm work, cooking traditional foods and making traditional handicrafts.
You may also have the chance to sample fresh seasonal local produce, cooked in a traditional and homely way.
Depending on the location, it may be possible to self-cater, but in most cases, you will enjoy a meal with the family.
By visting local festivals and historic locations, you can also get a feel for the region's culture and place in history. From the Kamakura period to the Edo period, There were organisations and individuals who worked as spies for feudal lords. They were black clad, used a variety of specialised tools, as well as acrobatic skills to scale walls and escape over roof tops.
They have also been the subject of traditonal Japanese Kabuki theatre and woodblock prints, as well as frequently appearing as heroes in Anime shows.

In 1853, The Edo government dispatched ninjas to the survey the famous 'Black Ships' that had arrived from America.
This was to be the last official task for the ninjas of Japan. The arrival of the Black Ships heralded the end of the Edo period.
Some legends have it that Haiku poet Matsuo Basho (author of 'The Narrow Road to the Interior') and Ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai were ninja. Japanese Cuisine

To speak of Japanese cuisine, is to speak of cuisine that developed on Japanese soil and within the Japanese millieu, as well as as using Japanese ingredients. It is also called 'Washoku' or 'Nihonshoku' in Japanese. Abroad, dishes such as Sushi, Sashimi, and Tempura are widely known.

Rice agriculture has been extensive in Japan since the Yayoi era. When Buddhism and tea culture arrived from China, a vegetarian food culture known as 'Shoujinryouri' as developed. Thanks to Japan's abundance of sea and mountain, a unique food culture which greatly values freshness emerged. Later, foods such as Sushi, Soba, and Tempura grew out of the urban culture of the Edo period. In Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo, you can find many quality establishments in which you may sample the traditional foods of Japan. Grains such as rice are consumed alongside vegetables, soyabeans, seafood, seaweeds and poultry, but dairy products are seldom used. A particularly notable feature of Japanese cuisine is the abundance of seafood and and soyabean products. It may be thought of as low-fat, high-salt diet. Compare to other asian cuisines, the use of spices is rare.
Since Japan is blessed with good quality water and fresh ingredients, flavours which reflect the quality of the basic ingredients are highly prized.
Umami-rich ingredients such as Dashi (a stock made from dried bonito and Konbu), as well as fermented Soy-based products such as shoyu and miso are often used.
Season ingredients are also popular- in Summer, conger eel, in Autumn, mackrel pike and matsutake mushrooms, and in Summer, Bamboo shoots. Festivals in Japan

Festivals are an opportunity to experience Japan's dynamic traditional culture.
Festivals are a good chance to find out about all about the values and beliefs of Japanese people.
You can have a great time trying traditional Japanese 'fast food' and absorbing the bustling atmosphere.

Festivals are religious ceremonies which aim to strengthen the bonds between humans and the gods. A great many festivals are held in every region of Japan throughout the year.

Festivals are held at Kyoto's Yasaka shrine from the first of July until the 29th.
The 'Pre-festival' on the 17th and the 'Post-festival' on the 24th are the high-ponts of the festivities, and the city will throng with the sound of Taiko drums and flutes as the portable mikoshi shrine is carried throught the streets. Osaka: Tenjin Festival

On the 24th and 25th of July, the sacred spear will be carried from the boat and the portable mikoshi shrine will cross the river.

Tokyo: Summer Festival at Asakusa Shrine

This festival is held every year on the three days leading up to the last Sunday in May, and is held to pray for good health. The procession of hand-crafted lamp-bearers winds its way around the town, so it's a very enjoyable spectacle.

Nagasaki: Nagasaki Kunchi

This three day festival is held at Nagasaki's Suwa shrine from the 7th of September. Highlights include a parade and stringed instruments made to look like dutch boats. Nikko

At Nikko there is a scenic volcano, and also an exquisite shrine complex built to honour the Shogun of the Edo period.
Here, you can enjoy both the 'baroque' architecturel style of old Japan and the majesty of nature.

In this town in the north of Tochigi prefecture, you can experience historic architecture set against a natural backdrop.

-Nikko Toshogu

This shrine was built for the death of the founding Shogun of the Edo period, Tokugawa Ieyasu, with the purpose of deifying him.
The guady and florid style of architecture and sculpture has been viewed by some as 'baroque' Japanese architecture.

Chuzenjiko lake

(The private residences of the French and Belgian ambassadors are located on this lake shore, and this resort has long since been favoured by foreign tourists.)

Kegon Waterfall (Considered to be one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. It is grandly beautiful, and in winter it freezes, turning a blue colour.)
User's Request Text


色が褪せにくいという優れた特徴を持つ。奈良時からの歴史があり、海外では「Japan Blue」と呼ばれ、藍色を指して「Hirosige Blue」(浮世絵師の歌川広重の絵に見られる青)と呼ばれることもある。江戸時代から四国の徳島県で盛んに行われ、現在でも徳島県の藍染めは全国的に有名だ。染め方による色が豊富で「藍48色」といわれるほどである。また、抗菌性や止血作用、防虫作用もある。















大阪市 天神祭り

東京 浅草の浅草神社の夏祭り。


長崎市 長崎くんち







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