pilgrimage

Japanese tourism companies to begin offering official anime pilgrimage tours next month

New collaborative efforts will promote anime tourism while cooperating with local communities. 

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Real-world music shop from K-On! anime closes its doors, but the music isn’t ending

If this particular anime pilgrimage spot was on your bucket list, you won’t be able to cross it off anymore (well, at least in its original location).

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The weird and wonderful things people leave behind on Japanese trains

Japan Rail has just released a list of the most rare and frequently lost items found on their trains, and when they’re most likely to find them.

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The top 10 spots in Tokyo to make an anime pilgrimage

A bulk of the anime we know and love are set in real-life locations in Japan. Often, the stories are based on a specific location mentioned in the anime, such as Ikebukuro where popular anime Durarara! and its sequel are set. In other cases, the setting is not mentioned but fans are quick to identify the location using scenes found in each episode. One such example would be the hit franchise The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, which featured scenery from Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture. Avid anime fans have had a long tradition of making pilgrimages to key spots in their favorite series through an activity known as Seichi Junrei. There’s now even a website dedicated to documenting these spots and they have recently released a ranking of the wards in Tokyo that contain the most number of pilgrimage spots.

If you only have a couple of days in Japan to go on a pilgrimage, this ranking should probably come in handy!

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The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei: Better than Olympic athletes?【Part II】

In the previous article The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei: Better than Olympic Athletes? Part I, I explain the sennichi kaihogyo, or 1,000 Day Challenge, in which the Tendai Buddhist monks of Mt. Hiei, sometimes referred to as the “marathon monks,” walk the equivalent of one time around the earth–at the end of which they become living Buddhas.

In Part II, I trace the monks’ steps on the 30 km pilgrimage route, or gyoja michi, which passes through the sacred mountains and forests near the temple complex of Enryakuji. It’s a rigorous course that winds through the mountains, down into the town of Sakamoto, taking them past more than 250 spiritual places. This is the route they circumambulate for days on end over a seven-year period. For tips on the meaning behind the route, be sure to read Part I before continuing!

Rather than walking the course, I decided to run it. Running pilgrimages is a hobby of mine and I find it is a great way to combine the physical with the metaphysical. It brings joy to my runs and this fulfillment keeps the challenge. If you’re a skier, you’re always looking for more mountains. Sky divers jump at different locations. Runners look for new paths and new trails give running purpose. Leave it to your RocketNews24 running reporter to tackle the famed gyoja michi and reveal its intricacies.

I figured that running the 30-km course through the mountains would take the better part of a day. There is no map and from what I have read, Mt. Hiei can be fickle weather-wise. It has snow much of the winter and spring and there are bears. In June, when the weather was perfect, I set out with a small backpack fitted with a water bladder, some medical accoutrements and an extra pair of socks inside (for those inevitable foot and toe problems), plus an ultra light sleeping bag, just in case I got lost and had to spend the night in the forest (been there, done that!).

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