三社祭 Sanja Matsuri 2012 浅草 東京

Finally got around to this post !
I’m sorry that it took this long to get this done but you know that the WiFi in Aomori was not that fast to upload all these photos.

Sanja Matsuri which means “three shrine festival”, it’s one of three biggest Shinto festivals in Tokyo area. The festival lasts three days and it is held yearly on the third weekend of May.

The festival is for the honor for Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari and Hajino Nakatomo, three men who founded Senjo-ji Temple.

Sanja Matsuri is mostly about people carrying portable shrines called Mikoshi for three days but on the third day they bring out the three biggest Mikoshi which makes the other mikoshi look small.
That what the festival is famous for but I loved the part that came after which was all the parties, Japanese people drunk everywhere and lots of fun and making new friends.

You could even see a lot of Yakuza there who are some of the biggest supporters of this event. I got some amazing photos of them.

Everyone should add this event to their bucket list!!

I’ll be making two different post of this festival because the amount of photos I have from there.
First one which is this post will be about the festival and the second one will be about all the food and drinks they had in there!

In my flickr you can find 170 photos from there so check out more in my flickr site ! Ari Helminen in Flickr

I’ll do my best not to make this post too long.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

I saw japanese school students posing for a photographer so I decided to snap a shot too.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Beautiful Sky Tree.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

One of the best festivals in the world !
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

This is probably the cutest thing I saw at that festival.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

三社祭
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) at Sanja Matsuri. Yakuza is part of the Japanese culture and way of life. Without Yakuza many of these beautiful festivals would not be around any more. They were nice enough to pose for couple of photos after they were done with carrying the Mikoshi.

I took a lot of photos of them because I love their tattoos and just because they are Yakuza. See more photos of them in my flickr page.

三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
You can see that I wasn’t the only one excited
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

People tired after all the carrying.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
Doing this all day will make you tired.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

if you were wondering how many people are in this festival, during the three days 1.5 to 2 million locals and tourists every year. You are wondering what that looks in a photo ?
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

I’d love to try carrying this all day. Probably I would die half way tho but would be an experience.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Couple more Yakuza photos. Sorry that there are so much, I’m just so happy I got these photos.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Was a very beautiful day for the festival.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

All through the festival there were these wagons with singers and players which made the mood of the festival so much better.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Here are some close up photos of the people who were carrying the shrines.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
This guy was cool !
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
not surprising that legs hurt after everything.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
Let the drinking start!
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

I truly hope that you liked these photos! check out my flickr to see much much more.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

If you liked these photos, “like” my facebook page !

Advertisements

Curry Ramen in Asakusa

My friend Matti who is Finnish-American had his last day in Japan so we wanted to eat something special and I happened to see a limited time offer of Curry Ramen.

It was actually very good 😀 When I get back to Tokyo I need to have it once more.
Curry Ramen in AsakusaCurry Ramen in Asakusa
Doesn’t that just look delicious !

The waiter took a photo of us and you can see that cool advertising poster in the back as well.
That’s myself, Matti and Juan ( I think it is written like that 😀 )
He didn’t want to be in the photo and I wasn’t sure how he felt that I would post it here so I blurred him a bit 😀
Ramen with friends !
Half Finnish Half American !

After my friend left to Narita international. I went back to the hostel to clean my bed area a bit since my fiance was arriving to Tokyo that same day.

In the evening I took my girl to my favorite bar at Asakusa called err.. Shot music bar asakusa (or something like that). When I get back to Asakusa I will make a video for you to find it since it is kinda hidden in a small side street second floor.
best bar in Asakusabest bar in Asakusabest bar in Asakusa

Great music and all drinks 600 yen except some special imported beer.

Who was watching AKB48 2012 election yesterday ? 😀

Happy life in Tokyo

These couple of days were great, Cat cafes and delicious food !

Coming home after a long drinking night in Tokyo is always interesting. First train comes around about 5am-ish and in that train you can see a lot of weird things.

I arrived to Asakusa at 5.40am and the streets were so quiet and peaceful, very good time to take photos.
Early morning in Asakusa
I went straight to sleep but I did saw people getting ready for the Sanja matsuri.
Early morning in Asakusa

In Ginza there is a famous waffle shop that I never tried before and now I understand why there is a long queue everyday. They were deeeelicious and Cheap !
belgian wuffels in Ginzabelgian wuffels in Ginza

I’m absolutely mental about Ice cream ( you should know that already), in a hot day in Tokyo I normally eat 3-5 ice creams and most of them are macha (green tea) ice cream.
Eating macha ice cream

One of my weird traditions is to go to Shakey’s pizzeria and after I’m full I go to the cat cafe !
Shakeys pizza is a good place to go if you want ok tasting pizza, very tasty onion rings and 300yen drinks.
ps. that place is very cheap.
Shakeys pizza in ShinjukuShakeys pizza in ShinjukuShakeys pizza in Shinjuku
Here are some very cute photos of the cats at my favorite cat cafe at shinjuku called Calico.
Cat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near Kabukicho

In the last post post I wrote about the best Japanese fried chicken place (唐揚げ)
that is located in Asakusa. The chicken is very cheap so one evening I ate a lot of it 😀
浅草の唐揚げ浅草の唐揚げ

M.O.S Burger is best fast food restaurant in the world. Just look how tasty it looks ! When you visit Japan you have to go to eat there even once !
M.O.S. Burger in AkihabaraM.O.S. Burger in Akihabara

I went to the famous One Piece event in Roppongi Hills which was great but the entrance fee was 2000 yen and you could not take photos inside there and it was in the same floor as the Tokyo city view but you could not enter to that side without paying 1500 yen more so I gave up and went only to see the One Piece event. It was worth the money but I would have been happier if I could have taken photos inside.
One Piece exhibition in Roppongi Hills
Long line of people getting the tickets to the event that was held in the 52nd floor if I’m not mistaken.
One Piece exhibition in Roppongi Hills
I did get a lot of One piece merchandise from there tho 😀
One Piece exhibition in Roppongi Hills

If you are going to the Solamachi mall in Tokyo Sky Tree you have to check out the kyoto green tea ice cream shop ! Look what I got and you understand why.
Macha Azuki ice cream in sky tree, まちゃ あずきMacha Azuki ice cream in sky tree, まちゃ あずきMacha Azuki ice cream in sky tree, まちゃ あずき
Also when you visit the tokyo Sky Tree you absolutely have to buy a Tokyo Banana Tree from there, they sell these almost everywhere in there so would not be too difficult to find.
Tokyo Banana Tree (famous souvenir from the Sky Tree)

As a nice end to this post, here is a homeless man with an expensive Finnish design bag called Marimekko. 😀
Homeless man with marimekko

I hope you liked this post ! check out my facebook page “photographer ari helminen” where I will add details about my trips, life and photography.

Odaiba the best place in Tokyo ???

yesterday (16th may) I went with my french friend to Odaiba to see the amazing Gundam (for people who don’t know it is a big robot from a famous anime) at new mall that just opened.

Let’s start what happened at the morning, I woke up and had a serious hangover going and I was just sitting at the hostel lobby and watching to the emptiness (I’m sure some of you know that feeling), then my English friend made Pakistani curry which was delicious !
Pakistani curry in JapanPakistani curry in Japan

It helped my hangover a lot and with it I got energy to go to Odaiba.

Took some shots at Asakusa while we were walking to the station.
Himiko is always a beautiful boat to see in the Sumida river and always when you see it you should take a photo.
Beautiful Himiko
Could it be?!?! Could it be possible !!! the cutest dog in Asakusa (I gave her the title !)
cutest dog in asakusa !cutest dog in asakusa !cutest dog in asakusa !cutest dog in asakusa !
You know me.. Always when I get a chance to take a photo of a Japanese school girl I take it.
Japanese school girls

I need to start taking more photos in the stations and metro! I know it is kinda a bad manner but I’m pretty fast taking a photo without people noticing.
mysterious Ginza linemysterious Ginza line

Took the Yurikamome train to Odaiba which is always fun
Beauty of OdaibaBeauty of Odaiba

When we were walking on a bridge and you could see bit by bit the amazing gundam, I got more and more excited. I been a big fan of it for a while and I have wanted to see that real size gundam for years and years ! I was so so so so so so so happy hah ( I know I sound like the weird guy ever..)

can you say that this thing is not cool ?
Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Beauty of OdaibaBadass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !

Took some other great photos in odaiba that I’m sure you’ll like. I also got a one photo that I’m especially proud of !
Beauty of OdaibaBeauty of OdaibaBeauty of OdaibaBeauty of OdaibaBeauty of Odaiba
This is that photo that I’m very happy about.
Beauty of Odaiba

We decided that we did not want to pay other 315 yen to use the yurikamome train so we just walked through the rainbow bridge and I got some nice shots there as well.
Beauty of Odaiba
Beauty of OdaibaBeauty of Odaiba

I hope you enjoyed the photos ! Now that tomorrow Asakusa has a huge festival coming up I will take crazy amount of photos there !

Love Tokyo Love Japan。愛の東京 愛の日本

Showing you some photos of Tokyo that I have taken in the last year. Some of my favorite places I like to go sometimes.

Let’s start with one of the most obvious choices.
Senjo-ji Temple (金龍山浅草寺 )
東京,日本 Tokyo, JapanAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

Most people who visit Tokyo probably go here first when they arrive to the city. Senjo-ji is a beautiful place night and day. I like it because it’s a great place to take some photos and meet new people also the best hostel in Tokyo called “Sakura hostel asakusa” is there and I like to go there to use their fast wifi and meet old friends and get new ones.

Ueno Park (上野公園)

東京,日本 Tokyo, Japan花見 上野公園. Hanami, Ueno park. Tokyo Japan 東京 日本

Not one of the best parks in Tokyo but still I like it with the nice little lake they have there and of course the museums and the Ueno zoo. I remember the first month in 2011 when I was in Japan I often came here with a bentou (Japanese lunch box) or with some pastries to have nice quiet time relaxing and eating.

Spring when the cherry flowers are at full bloom the park is breathtakingly beautiful, full of colors and full of people having a great time.

Tokyo Disneyland (東京ディズニーランド)
東京ディズニーランド, Tokyo Disneyland東京ディズニーランド, Tokyo Disneyland

A great place to spent a day waiting 2-4 hours (if it is a good day) to get in to an attraction. Let your inner child out have fun! This place is a bit on the expensive side but still a awesome place to enjoy your time. I have been here couple of times now and always had a blast.

Odaiba (お台場)
Tokyo, Japan/東京 日本Tokyo, Japan/東京 日本

One of the best places for date or a day of shopping! Odaiba is full of malls and stores where you can find anything you want and then some. With it’s beautiful shore line and romantic view makes it one the best places to take photos. I especially like the restaurants on the top floors of one of the malls called Aqua city, where you can eat delicious food and watch the breathtaking scenery.

Rainbow Bridge (レインボーブリッジ)
東京 日本。Tokyo JapanHappy,Tired, Full of Food! 幸せ、疲れた、お腹いっぱい!

The amazing bridge that connects Odaiba to the rest of the Tokyo. I love to walk to odaiba through this bridge, the wind and the view make it worth it! I haven’t seen that many bridges in my life but this bridge is my favorite!

Tokyo is full of great places where I like to be including Nakano,Akihabara,shibuya,ikebukuro and so on but I will write more about them later on 🙂

Here are couple of little polls because I want to know a bit about you (my readers) as well.

You can add your own options to this one 🙂

Shopping day in Akihabara

Few days before I left Japan to come to Finland I was busy with work and shopping. Yodobashi Akiba is my main place to buy electronics and camera equipment in Tokyo since the points you get to your yodobashi point card are awesome and of course that place is cheapish.
Akihabara shopping

This day we went there and I bought two new webcams I got the Logitech C910 (photo) and I got one cheaper one for my girl as well. Long distance relationship is hard but these days the technology has made it much easier.
logitech c910 webcam in japan
Also I did buy other things like portable battery that works with ipad2,iphone4 etc so I’m never without power and got some memory card boxes and so on.

In the morning we had meals in Lotteria, I don’t often eat there so I wanted to try their morning set out. I do love their cheap shakes tho!
Lotteria TokyoLotteria Tokyo

Always when we are walking near Akiba and we see the New york doughnut plant and we say to each other that we will buy from there someday and this was the day and damnnnn they were deeelicious ! When I get back to Tokyo I will get them the first day !
Deeelicious !

Japanese toilet map!
Japanese toilet
Shopping bags!!
Akihabara shoppingshopping in japan

I saw these Surprise bags in Asakusa again ! I almost bought one since they were fairly cheap and you could get the psp vita, camera or Wii 😀 Next time this season comes I will get one
Japanese surprise bag

Swedish Party at the Sakura Hostel Asakusa


I’m good friends with manager of the famous Sakura hostel Asakusa and she invited my girlfriend and I to a Swedish party she was having with her Swedish friends at her hostel.

Before I show you photos of this party and tell you the story of the party, I’d wanna throw a advert for sakura hostel asakusa.

If you are visiting Tokyo and thinking where to stay I recommend highly this hostel with it’s friendly staff and great atmosphere. Sakura hostel asakusa also has many different events monthly from calligraphy drawing lessons and Kimono trying  to sightseeing tours as well (most are free or very cheap). When I came to Japan the first time I stayed with Sakura house which is another part of the Sakura company but the first Hanami (flavor watching event in spring) was through Sakura hostel asakusa, they invited me there and I met many friends that has become very close to me here in Japan.

More about the Hostel. Free wifi (difficult to find in Tokyo to be honest) and of course if you are staying there you can use their computers free as well. Great kitchen area where you can actually cook well with all the space.

For entertainment the place has a flat screen tv with game consoles and board games and let’s not forget a piano 😀 !

Top 10 things about Sakura hostel Asakusa:
1st. Free WiFi
2nd. Cheap
3rd. Location, in the middle of Asakusa and close to the station
4th. Staff, some of the most friendliest people in Tokyo. ps. they can speak many languages.
5th. The size of the kitchen area
6th. Events that they organize
7th. trust worthy
8th. Big tv,game consoles and board games for a boring night
9th. Vending machines (alcohol as well)
10th. two great smoking areas right outside

If you have followed my blog you have seen that I go there pretty often to use their wifi and to meet new people and have fun.

(Sakura hostel is not paying me to write this just want to give a advert to the best hostel in Tokyo)

But now to the party !

Party was great ! there were 3 Swedish people, 1 Estonian, 1 Finnish (me), 1 German and 3 Japanese including my girlfriend. So almost all of Scandinavia you might say. Food was delicious as well with traditional Swedish meatballs and sushi with beer and hot wine. I was at the hostel already like 4-6 hours earlier to upload photos and edit, so I was taking photos when they were cooking and putting everything together as well.
Swedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura Hostel
Talking about Sweden with serious faces 😀
Swedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura Hostel