Monthly Archive October 2016

Oct 31, 2016

Nagoya City University Hospital

Nagoya City University Hospital – 名古屋市立大学病院

Branch of medicine: Internal Medicine and Surgery

Telephone: 052-851-5511

Address: 1-Kawasumi, MIzuho-cho, Mizuho-ku, Nagoya City Zip Code 467-8602


Reception hours Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
8:30 AM–11:00 AM ×
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, and New Year’s holidays (12/29-1/3)

– 5 minutes walk from Sakurayama Station (Exit 3).

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Use this map to find other doctors in Mizuho-ku

  1. You can click on any icon to get more information (this info is also listed below the map)
  2. Each location has its own page with more information about it.  You can access this specific location information (such as English ability, etc) by clicking the “JIS Info” link.

Ladies Clinic/Child Health=Yellow
General Hospitals=Red

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Oct 27, 2016

Kobe Animal Kingdom


For anyone who likes birds, plants and animals, but really isn’t into the whole dirty and bug infested wilderness thing, there are a variety of places in Japan where you can take in “the nature” without lathering up in DEET and lugging a sleeping bag around with you.  If you are in Kobe, that option is Kobe Animal Kingdom.  Originally created by Japanese botanist and collector Kamo Mototeru, who is well known around Kobe as that “weird guy who likes birds” (total fabrication), the business was sold a few years ago to a larger company which has improved the attraction a great deal.  Purportedly, they still have a bit of improvement to go to make the enclosures and living spaces better for the adorable little animals, but that is par for the course in Japan.

Located on Port Island within a 16,000 square meter greenhouse, the park offers a surprisingly wide assortment of exotic birds, flowers, and plants, many of which you are able to experience up close, even touching or feeding them in some cases.  From meerkats to Capybaras and Patagonian mara, to an assortment of owls including that Northern white-faced owl we know and love, back again to Two-toed slothes and Southern tamanduas, and then a weird turn into tortoise like the Aldabra giant tortoises this place may not have it all, but it has a lot.

But wait… there’s MORE!  Not willing to relegate themselves to the unusual and interesting, they also have a large collection of the more pedestrian house pet types of animals, such as American short hair cats and pekinese dogs… why?  Well if you have to ask you have obviously never spent much time with a Chinchilla; have you… (stares disapprovingly).

Anyway, this all weather attraction is great fun for the whole family, and while not particularly time intensive, it is ALSO located very near to a variety of Kobe’s other most famous attractions, helpfully listed for you on the website… as if they somehow knew you needed just a touch more convincing…but they were be wrong… as EVERYONE knows, the Binturong they care for alone is all the incentive anyone could need (stares expectantly, waiting for agreement).

Kobe Animal Kingdom

7-1-9, Minatojimaminamimachi, Chuo-ku Kobe-shi, Hyogo, 650-0047, Japan (map link)

Image by Kobe Animal Kingdom,

Oct 26, 2016

Al Iksir – Searchable Database of Japanese Medicines

pills 2

Al Iksir is a searchable database of Japanese medicines, specifically created to assist people who are living or visiting Japan and do not speak the languge. The name “Al Iksir” comes from the root word “Elixir”, a medicine that cures all illnesses, and while it will not provide you with a medicine to cure all, it will provide you with medicines commonly sold in drug stores around Japan that match the keywords you search for, inculding:

  • symptoms (headache, for example)
  • ingredients (motrin, for example)
  • effects (pain relief, for example)

Not only will it provide results for the above searches, it will provide them in the following languages: medicines


Image by ProjectManhattan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Image by, screenshot

ByJustin Hanus
Oct 25, 2016

Shorter Days + Cooler Weather = Momijigari


There is only a relatively small band of latitudes across planet earth where the chlorophyll in the leaves of deciduous trees breaks down when the daylight shortens in the fall and the natural colors of red and orange and yellow remain. Japan is one of the fortunate places in that band. The natural phenomenon has spawned a tradition in the country of “leaf peepers” banding together to visit the most scenic locations. It even has its own name – momijigari, roughly translating to “hunting red maple leaves.”

Japan is a country blanketed in trees. Nearly three-quarters of the landscape is considered forested which creates plenty of opportunities for momijigari in the mountains but there is also an abundance of nature’s eye candy in and around the cities where trees are treasured pieces of the landscape. The show begins in September in the northern islands and spreads southward into the lower elevations with the drooping temperatures; leaves around Kobe remain radiant into December.

Japan also has scores of botanical gardens and arboretums that attract the leaf hunters. Maple trees have traditionally been favorite plantings in Japanese gardens and shrines. Ginkgos, ichos in Japanese, are also widely see in ornamental gardens and their brilliant yellow foliage is a standout in Kobe area traditional gardens.

The Kobe City Forest Botanical Garden

The Kobe City Forest Botanical Garden was established in 1940 as part of a plan to honor 2600 years since Emperor Jimmu ascended to the throne. The goal was to “provide views of seasonal deciduous trees and flowers” for the people of Kobe, courtesy of the city. Since that time, some 1,200 different trees and shrubs have been planted from around the world, roughly arranged in the park according to their country of origin. The arboretum spreads across 142.6 hectares in the shadow of Mount Rokko making it one of the largest “tree museums” in Japan.

In November the Kobe City Botanical Garden is given over to the World Forest Maple Leaf Tour. Three trails meander through the forests offering anything from a casual stroll to a spirited hillside climb where your purchase is views all the way to the sea. No matter what your hiking plan, all paths must eventually lead to Hase-Ike Pond located near the center of the arboretum. Here branches of spreading maples bend over the surface of the water coloring the surface in deep reds and oranges.

Offering Mother Nature a Helping Hand

Not content to leave the color spectaculars to Mother Nature, The Kobe City Forest Botanical Garden’s underground tunnel, usually given over to green leaves, is instead enlivened by an illuminated autumnal display and out on the grounds the natural tunnels of Japanese maples are lit up after 4:30 p.m. 4:30 is normally the hour of last entrance at the Kobe City Botanical Garden but during the World Forest Maple Leaf Tour the last entry is pushed back to 6.00 p.m. to enjoy the illumated leaves.

The park is open every day during November and an entrance fee is charged. There are guided tours available and a quiz rally for showing off your knowledge of kouyou, autumn leaves.

Kobe City Forest Botanical Garden

651-1242 Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe, Kita Ward, 山田町上谷上長尾1−2
078-591-0253 (JP)

By Parksj-musashi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ByJustin Hanus
Oct 24, 2016

It’s Fall in Japan; Time to get Nutty about Chestnuts


For many folks autumn in Japan means chestnuts. Asia is known as both the largest producer and the largest consumer of chestnuts in the world. Scientists studying the remains of ancient hillside villages in Japan have documented the use of nuts as food sources as far back as 9,000 years. One of the attractions of chestnuts is that they can be consumed with little preparation, once the prickly husks are dealt with. The husks can be burned to roast the nuts inside or, more commonly, chestnuts are boiled or roasted over a fire.

Many chestnut trees can still be found in the wild but many more have been cultivated in Japan over thousands of years. In Osaka Prefecture the go-to chestnut is the Ginyose variety, also known as tanba chestnuts. The trees are native to the Nose area in the northwest section of the prefecture. There are several farms in the area where families go to gather the delicious nuts off the ground. At Mizukoshi Chestnut Farm, the Ginyose chestnuts begin ripening in mid-September and continue through the season. For a small price (typically 1,500 yen), amateur harvesters can gather up about one kilogram of chestnuts to bring home.

Mizukoshi Chestnut Farm

104 Katayama Nose-chō, Toyono-gun, Ōsaka-fu 563-0354 (map link)
TEL : 072-734-0863
Mizukoshi Chestnut Farm (JP)

More Farms, More Chestnuts

Other farms offer different varieties of chestnuts which ripen at different times during the fall months. The orchards at Shionoyu Hot Spring feature the fruit of the Waseguri that are ready in September and the late-ripening Shimokatsugi that drop nuts in late October. Shionoyu also grows Ginyose trees on its terraced slopes. And of course, a soothing hot spring bath after a day of harvesting is a special treat.

The restaurant Nishikitei also owns five hills of chestnut orchards which is open for public gathering. The Kurisuen Chestnut Farm Nishikitei specializes in Ginyose chestnuts and visitors can indulge in chestnut-augmented dishes with sticky rice in addition to carting home bags of chestnuts. If you have never considered gathering chestnuts before, in Japan it is not an autumn indulgence that can be undertaken on a whim – most of the area’s chestnut farms require reservations before you pick so phone ahead for full information.

Kurisuen Chestnut Farm Nishikitei

55 Kurusu, Nose-chō, Toyono-gun, Ōsaka-fu 563-0351  (map link)
TEL : 072-734-0028
Kurisuen Chestnut Farm Nishikitei (JP)

One Last Chance to Party in the Streets

And if you are out gathering chestnuts it means that Shinno-sai is not far away. Shinno-sai is the last festival of the year in Osaka and others know the celebration by its nearly literal name – Tome-no-matsuri, or “The Stop Festival.” The party takes place in Osaka’s “medicine quarter” on the grounds of Sukunahikona Shrine. These were the stomping grounds of the Shinto deity of medicine Doshomachi and was the place in the early 1700s were dozens of brokers of medicinal potions were permitted to operate. Today the Doshomachi Pharmaceutical and Historical Museum explains these traditional herbs, roots and barks that once dominated life in Japan.

These days those practitioners of so-called modern medicine still come to the shrine in Medicine-town to offer up prayers for health and prosperity. The street festival is held in relatively tight quarters but there are typical large helpings of Japanese food and culture. The dates for the last big blow-out in the city are November 22-23 and the festival is free to all.

Sukunahikona Shrine

Japan, 〒541-0045 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ku, Doshōmachi, 2 Chome 1−8 (map link)
+81 6-6231-6958

By Ant3202 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ByRay Proper
Oct 24, 2016

Yoro No Taki – Yoro Falls in Gifu

Yoro no Taki (Yoro Falls) is a great spot to get outdoors near Nagoya. Anytime of the year is fine, but visiting the area in spring and fall is highly recommended, as the both the spring blossoms and fall colors both do a wonderful job decorating the mountains surrounding the waterfall.  Viewing fall colors, or “koyo“, is what this area is especially known for though and the trip is a rewarding experience.

Yoro no Taki is Located about an hour outside of Nagoya in Gifu Prefectu in Yoro Park in the Town of Yoro. The waterfall itself is about 32 meters high, 4 meters wide, and is one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls. The water from the falls is famously high quality, and is said to have rejuvenating powers.  In fact, its powers are legendary.

Yoro’s power is outlined in an old legend about a poor woodcutter who went into the woods to find firewood, and discovered the water of the spring had turned to rice wine. He filled a gourd with the spring water and brought it to his aged and ill father, who was returned to good health by the wine. The water-to-sake transformation was believed to be the gods rewarding the son for his dedication to his father.

The Empress Genshō, visited the area, and renamed the period of her reign after it:

“Yōrō” Exclaiming that “Rei Springs art beautiful springs. And so doth nourish the old. Perhaps it be the spirit of the waters. I hereby give amnesty under heaven, and fix the third year of the Reiki era anew to year 1 of the Yōrō era.”

At the base of the walkway to Yoro no Taki, you will find a wooden ladle set out for visitors to drink the water from the spring. You will usually also see people who have brought jugs to fill with the water and take home.

Yoro Park extends from the Falls to a prefectural road that runs along the foot of the mountain. It can be reached by taking the JR Tokaido Line from Nagoya Station to Ogaki Station. From Ogaki, you must transfer to a private rail line for the remaining leg of the journey to Yoro Station. From there it is about a 20 minute walk to the park. I usually take a cab though, it’s faster!

Keep your eye out for “Yōrō Sanroku Cider,” it is made from the local water, and is pretty tasty. This is Japan; you MUST buy tourist stuff when you stop somewhere. I think it is a law.

Yoro Station

Washinosu Yōrō-chō, Yōrō-gun, Gifu-ken 503-1261 (map link)

Image: ​WP:Ja user おはぐろ蜻蛉 [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Image: 笙ケ岳&養老山&小倉山&三方山by さぶの気ままな山旅

ByJustin Hanus
Oct 24, 2016

If It is Important in Japan There’s a Mascot

Umimaru Mascot

In their original incarnation, mascots were intended to provide luck; and so you found them most often with military units, sports teams and schools. More recently mascots have been created to generate money but in Japan mascot mania goes far beyond even commercial motivation. There are mascots oozing civic pride for prefectures. There are mascots for education. There are mascots for social causes. Even some prisons in Japan have developed oversized puppets on their behalf.

Anthropologists will point to a culture steeped in ancient polytheism as a source for the Japanese love of non-human characters. People wind up embodying these furry creatures with all sorts of religious or cultural meanings and developing sentimental attachments. And just about every institution in Japan has taken notice.

Where Did All These Mascots Come From?

Tracing the history of these spokescreatures takes one back to the 1990s and a fuzzy brown rectangle with stubby arms and legs named Domokun. Domokun was created by public broadcaster NHK and his rectangular sawtooth mouth sort of looks like a television. The character first went on the air in a stop-motion sketch in 1998 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of NHK’s first satellite transmission. There followed an entire series of sketches and a backstory was created for Domokun. Additional characters joined in its adventures and companies soon jumped in on the mascot’s popularity.

In 2007 Hikonyan was developed to promote the 400th anniversary of the construction of Hikone Castle in Shiga Prefecture. Despite already being a designated national treasure and one of only 12 extant Japanese castles, Hikonyan was credited with giving a significant bump to tourism and generating big merchandise sales. Commercial companies, corporations and civic organizations literally went to the drawing board.

Literally hundreds of mascots have invaded Japan since, occupying a spectrum from cute to creepy. There is no tried and true formula for what mascot will capture the public fancy. The giant of all mascots has been Kumamon, an ursine creature who shills for Kumamoto prefecture. Kumamon has become a national celebrity, taking up promotional duties far beyond his home territory. Since there is no trademark charges for using Kumamon, he pops up everywhere selling products and the Bank of Japan estimates he has pulled in over ¥120 billion in revenue.

Be Like Kumamon

Kumamon‘s success has not gone unnoticed in Japanese government circles. Osaka developed so many themed mascots that officials had to enact mascot population control. From a crowded line-up of some 45 mascots Moppi, a bird-like character, emerged as the city’s “core mascot.” Osaka has a point – mascots have become so ubiquitous in Japan that is impossible to identify what group is being represented when one is spotted on the street.

Even government crack-downs do not discourage the breeding of mascots in Japan. Consider the Yuru-chara Grand Prix, an event started in 2010 and now held each year in which the public can vote for its favorite mascot (Kumamon won in 2011). The first year there were 169 entrants; last year the number of costumed characters reached 1,727. Not surprisingly several world records for mascot gatherings have been broken at the Grand Prix.

By Yasuyuki HIRATA (Umimaru, mascot of Japan Coast Guard) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ByJade Brischke
Oct 21, 2016

Hungry in Hiroshima?

yataiFeeling hungry? Well look no further than the annual Hiroshima Food Festival. It’s held every year in October and with hundreds of yatai, or stalls, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Located in both Chuo-koen (Central Park) and the Hiroshima Castle grounds in downtown Hiroshima it’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather and to try not only some of the local food but food from all over Japan and abroad.

All of the food is either reasonably priced or super cheap and last year a friend and I managed to find a Japanese-style curry for only 100 yen. The portion was more than generous and even though it was cooked by school students it was higher quality stuff than I’ve tasted in some restaurants. I will definitely be paying them another visit this year if they’re there.

Of course, there’s also the usual festival food: fried chicken, fried potato and being Hiroshima, fried oysters. If you like it fried… you will be in Fried Heaven. Fried… you got it!  For the meat lovers there is a more than enough to satisfy your Cave-Man cravings and if beer is also your thing, there’s plenty to wash it down with. There’s also kakigori (かき氷) or shaved ice still available at this time of year even though it’s usually a summer staple.

Now speaking of the weather, although autumn weather is typically cool in the mornings and in the evenings, during the middle of the day it can get very hot and I would strongly advise you to take a hat or umbrella, especially if you have little ones.

As an avid food lover and Hiroshima Food Festival fan, I have two main pieces of advice for first-timers to the event:

Firstly, when you arrive, walk around to check out prices before making a purchase. Although most are fairly similar, there are some major differences in beer prices and you can save up to 200 yen per beer depending on where you get yours.

Secondly, take loose change and make sure it’s easily accessible in either your pocket or a backpack. Make sure too that you are able to eat and hold onto it. Although there is seating available in Chuo-koen, there isn’t any designated place around Hiroshima Castle. Instead, you will find people just sit down along the edge of the path to eat their snacks before moving on. Not only are you able to rest your legs, it’s a nice way to people-watch at the same time.

If you want to make a day of it, there are events held around the castle too. Last year there was the local samurai re-enactment troop and for a little extra you could get your photo taken with them. On the Saturday night there will be kagura performances on the stage at Hiroshima Castle at 10.30-11.10 and 5pm – 8pm respectively.

For a fun way to spend a day or even the whole weekend, Hiroshima Food Festival is the place to be. It opens at 10am and since there’s no entry fee, you only pay for what you eat and drink. That for me is the best part of all! Eat, drink and be merry! Where will you be on the 29 and 30 October? I know where I’ll be!

Hiroshima Food Festival 2016

29 and 30 October, 2016

Hiroshima Castle

21-1 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011
+81 82-221-7512

ByRay Proper
Oct 21, 2016

Nagoya Players Theater: Jukebox Paradise

Jukebox Paradise

Set in a teen malt shop in Hilo, Hawaii during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Phil and his younger brother, Stevie, encounter a new world where dreams of love and rock and roll stardom are possible . . . for a price.  As Stevie struggles to make his dreams come true, Phil discovers love with the mysterious girl from the jukebox.  How much is Stevie willing to pay for his chance at stardom and how much is Phil willing to risk for love?

Jukebox Paradise Tickets

Tickets online here (JP only)…
or contact the Nagoya Players

Saturday November 26 – 13:00 & 18:00
Sunday November 27 – 13:00 & 18:00
Saturday, December – 13:00 & 18:00
Sunday December 4 – 13:00 & 17:00

(doors open 30 minutes before showtime)

NP_profile_logoThe Nagoya Players

The Nagoya Players is an English-language, not-for-profit, community theatre group based in central Japan. The group has been staging a wide variety of plays every year since 1975. Members come from many countries and are of all ages.

New members are always welcome! Whether you want to act, direct, design scenery, sound, lighting, props, costumes, make up etc. etc. etc… come and join the fun!














ByMark Guthrie
Oct 20, 2016

Family Fun in Tokyo at Yomiuri Land Amusement Park

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-12-28-08While the sprawling Disney resort is the most famous amusement park in the Tokyo area it is by no means the only one. Just thirty minutes outside of central Tokyo you can also find Yomiuri Land. While not as immense as its neighbor Disney, but Yomiuri Land is still an excellent day out, particularly if you have children and find the two hour waits at Disney’s park more tiresome than suspense-building.

Run by the Yomiuri Group (the parent company of both the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and the all-conquering Yomiuri Giants baseball team) Yomiuri Land has been entertaining the Tokyo thrill-seeking population, young and old, since 1964 and is still one of the largest amusement parks in the area.

Yomiuri Land’s Attractions

Yomiuri Land boasts over 43 attractions that can be enjoyed by families of all ages. Below is a list of some of the more popular rides.

  • Bandit – Yomiuri Land’s most popular ride. With a top speed of 110 km/h it was the world’s fastest when it was built in 1988 and flies deep through the surrounding woodland.
  • Ferris Wheel – On a good day, from this immense ferris wheel sitting atop of Tama Hill, 16o metres high, you can see views of Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree. It is particularly beautiful when lit up at night and is considered the symbol of the amusement park.
  • Bungee Jump – Not for the faint hearted, at 22m high – or seven stories – this bungee jump is the real deal. It’s the only experience of its kind in Tokyo, and can be enjoyed by adventurous types as young as twelve. Rather them than I…
  • MOMOnGA Roller Coaster – The first standing roller coaster in Japan, the MOMOnGA ride takes in a fall of 25 meters from the top of the loop to the bottom. Hold on to your lunch!
  • Laser Athletic – Temple of the Sun – This laser based obstacle course comes with three challenges – from beginner to expert. See if you can complete all three.

Yomiuri land for kids

Yomiuri land is particularly accessible for kids, young and old, with plenty for all ages to get involved in. In particular the Goodjoba (good job) area is well worth checking out. With an educational and vocational slant on the day trip experience, Goodjoba takes your children through four different vocational areas.

At the Nissan Car Factory you can build and then test drive your own car, and in the Fashion Factory ride on the Spin Runway, an indoor rollercoaster that shows you the world of fashion. For interactive challenge games there is the Bungu Factory which looks at campus life, and finally there is the Nissin Food Factory which includes a ride where your children can discover what it would be like to to become a portion of Nissin UFO Yakisoba. For some reason.

Yomiuri Land Seasonal Attractions

Autumn to winter – At this time of year, perhaps one of the greatest draws to the park is the nighttime illuminations. From October 14, 2016 to February 19, 2017 the park will be aglow with the various stunning “Jewellumination” light displays set to music.

Spring – As the park is based within a forest, the spring sees a beautiful array of cherry blossoms. In fact, the Bandit rollercoaster that flies through this wooded area is billed as the world’s quickest cherry blossom viewing experience.

Summer – Pool WAI at Yomiuri Land has a whopping five pools and three water slides, including the rubber ring ride ‘The Giant Sky River’ that stands at 25m high and runs for 386m. If that is a touch too thrilling for your disposition you can play it safe in the Anpanman pool.

Yomiuri Land Access

Ticket prices


Website –

Getting there

The closest train station to Yomiuri Land is Keioyomiuri Land Station on the Keiō Sagamihara Line. From the station, you can either walk the 1.2 miles uphill or take the five minute Gondola Sky Shuttle for ¥300 (one way) to reach the park entrance.

 Yomiuri Land

206-8725 Tokyo, Inagi, Yanokuchi, 4015−1 (map link)
By Mark Guthrie

Image – – Screen grab. Modified