Today, I would like to share a news with you that our rain chain has been adorned by a new hotel in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan.

kyoto, touji

Ever since the transfer of the capital from Nara to Kyoto in 794AD, the city has flourished as the center of Japanese culture and politics. You will find many historical buildings that have been designated as national treasure or world heritage, as a former capital that still embodies Japanese culture today.

 

And, one of the world heritage designated temple is Toji-temple. Toji is a Buddhist temple and a headquarter for the Shingon sect. After the transfer of the capital, the city was renamed “The Imperial City of Heiankyo” (the former name of the city of Kyoto), and the temple was build two years later in 796AD to represent protection of the country. It was burned down several times due to fire but contribution from Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1644, the five-storied Toji-Pagoda was rebuilt.

 

This is the picture of the Toji-pagoda. 54.8 meters in height, this wooden pagoda is the largest of its kind in Japan.

kyoto, touji

Right in front of this remarkable pagoda, a new hotel adoring our rain chain was built. The picture was taken from one of the guest room of the hotel.

 

The hotel’s decoration is representative of an old capital with its Japanese culture theme, the hanging lanterns, bamboo and stone lanterns are intricately displayed. Among them, the rain chains are our company’s Migumo (L), hanging directly from the 4th floor and in the colonnade, there are 12 of them hanging in total.

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This is a picture during installation and the Japanese garden is located in the courtyard with an arcade and authentically decorated with stones, bamboo and rain chains as it should.

 

It opens this month in February, so when visiting Kyoto for travels, I think it would be wonderful if you stay at this hotel and enjoy Toji temple as well as the rain chains while at it.

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Hotel Name: Sun Rise Suites Toji

We received a pleasant picture from our rain chain enthusiast in Canada and I would like to share it with all of you

capturing the fascinating transformational characteristic of rain chains

Can you recognize the icicle on the right of the picture? The cold temperature up North had turned the trickling water into ice thus icicle that hangs down from the eaves.

Lila, who we introduced in our past blog, as pasted below, sent us the wonderful picture, capturing the fascinating transformational characteristic of rain chains.

http://rainchainsjp.com/blog/504/

 

The house is situated in Vancouver, Canada, and Lila shared with me that although the Western Canada is usually not as cold as the East coast, the especially cold winter this year had frozen the rain chain. Lila mentions that the icicle formed on the rain chain looked stunning and holding up well despite the added weight from the snow.

 

Toyama Prefecture, where I live in Japan, is also known for severe winters and snow piles high like the scene in the picture. Indeed, when it gets really cold the rain chain freezes and at times it becomes an icicle just like the one in Lila’s picture. The actual ice pillar directly seen with our eyes look absolutely gorgeous with sunlight causing it to sparkle.

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This transformational aspect while offering variety of expressions in every seasons is one of rain chain’s great intrigue.  

 

As shown in the picture, rain chains may freeze in extremely cold conditions, but it will not be damaged. It just needs enough structural strength to withstand the weight caused by the formation of ice on it.

About Japanese Customs upon Welcoming the New Year

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Happy New Year!!

 

As this is our first edition on our blog in 2017, I would like to provide a simple guideline and speak upon Japanese customs related to our new year celebration.

 

We call the days from January 1st to the 3rd “San ga nichi”, an auspicious time to appreciate the fact that we were able to welcome the new year. This is the time we call “oshougatsu” as a whole, and many people take days off for the holidays to spend time with families and to have a grand celebration, although much more quiet than in the U.S. for comparison.

 

During oshogatsu period, we have distinct customs and one of them is decorating a “shimenawa”, a sacred or holy straw rope tied in a knot, on the front door. This can be traced back to Shintoism in Japan. It was said in the past that every year, that particular year’s divine spirit would be present on earth from the heavens and as a preparation to welcome the divine god we decorate our doors with the shimenawa, the holy rope.

 

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In addition, we have a custom of sending greeting cards at the end of the year to those we are indebted to through associations in the passing year. Or, “osechi” cuisine that is only consumed during the oshogatsu period, and also a ritual to pay one’s respect to the shrine. These customs are deeply engrained in the fabric of our culture even today.

 

We have shipped our rain chains to many different countries but I assume that every country has its own customs to welcome the new year. Sometime in the future, I hope to spend the new year season in other countries to experience its unique custom.

 

As in the years past, we received many orders from various countries abroad and even received pictures of them being installed!

 

I wish all those that purchased our proud handmade rain chains and everyone visiting our site a Happy New Year and wish for a prosperous 2017!!