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 !
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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.
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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 !

Aomori video clips

Here are 9 videos I took in Aomori, a little bit of everything from cats to castles I hope you like em!

1st. I took this video in the night buss when we were actually going to Aomori before the new year. I love that smoothing voice that you can hear.

2nd. Castle of Hirosaki! My hands were freezing when I took this! You can see a bit of the park as well and if the weather would have been better you could have seen a mountain in the background.

3rd and 4th. Two videos of the cutest cat ever called Chibi. My fiances family cat!

&

5th and 6th. Couple of small clips I took from the window of the car when we were driving in Aomori, the amount of snow is staggering.

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7th. We went to a spot where people feed swans and other birds in the winter. Sadly it was snowing again so I could not take photos there but luckily I got this video taken 😀

8th. Driving in the mountain range of Akita.

9th. You saw photos from this shrine in the last post I did. When my girl was going to pray I took a video inside of it same time 😀

Like” my facebook page “Photographer Ari helminen” if you liked these videos.

Been listening Howard stern show all morning while editing photos and uploading things 🙂

ちび..。ラメンとおにぎり 

These photos I took on that same day we went to the lake Towada but these I took with my sony. I was going to put these on the same post but kinda forgot about these photos.

We ate ramen this day like pretty much everyday we did ! Our lovely routine in Aomori was a delicious ramen and Onsen (I personally wished that everyday could be like that).

I like to sit on tatami in the restaurants I go in Japan!
Roadtrip and Ramen in AomoriRoadtrip and Ramen in Aomori

The ramen was delicious!
I had a extra meat ramen
Ramen in Aomori 青森のラメン
and my girl had miso ramen
Ramen in Aomori 青森のラメンRoadtrip and Ramen in Aomori

In the evening I took couple of shots in the store.
Roadtrip and Ramen in AomoriRoadtrip and Ramen in Aomori

Couple of Cute photos of my girlfriends family cat called Chibi (which means small)
Beautiful ChibiBeautiful Chibi

I’m sorry for posting so much today, in the mood I guess and I want to get the photos from Aomori done already so I can get back up to date!

If you like Onigiri (rice ball) Like my Facebook page “Photographer Ari Helminen”
おにぎり Onigiri

Thank you for reading my blog !

Hagoitaichi Market in Asakusa

This was my first time to visit a Hagoitaichi market. The market was full of “decorations” for new years that bring good luck for the coming year.

Of course the market was full of delicious food stands full of Japanese foods from Sushi to omonomiyaki and some more special as well like Ramen burger.

I’m now sitting here at home and watching a Christmas music show live on tv with all famous Japanese and foreign artists (including lady gaga I think), my girl is cooking delicious christmas food at the same time.

but here are some very interesting photos from this event at Asakusa, Tokyo.

Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

as you can see, the place was packed with people!
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

Few Normal asakusa photos that I took
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market
The main reason for this market was these decorations, I saw couple very good ones that I liked as well.
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

The dragon in the middle is one of my favorites !
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market
and of course One piece
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

In my site you can see much more photos of them so visit my flickr asap ! 😀

The next part of this market was the delicious food that, I will show you photos of them now but please promise me that you won’t become too hungry!

LEt’s start!!

1st. Choco banana ( a real banana dipped in Chocolate!)
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

2nd. Okonomiyaki (a little different then the normal that we eat here since that is the one from Hiroshima)
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

3rd. Sasebo Burger (I ate this, Delicious and BiiiG!)
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

4th. Ramen Burger ( I wanted to eat this but was too full after the first burger)
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

5th. Kushiyaki (they maybe look weirdish but are tasty!)
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

6th. Yakitori (always delicious chicken)
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

7th. Takoyaki (Tasty Octopus balls )
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

There were so much food seriously, you had a lot of options what you wanted !
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

Evening photos at Asakusa.
Asakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi marketAsakusa,Tokyo Hagoitaichi market

Some panorama photos I took with my Sony, (see the big version in my flickr)
Panorama photos at Asakusa hagoitaichi market.Panorama photos at Asakusa hagoitaichi market.Panorama photos at Asakusa hagoitaichi market.Panorama photos at Asakusa hagoitaichi market.Panorama photos at Asakusa hagoitaichi market.Panorama photos at Asakusa hagoitaichi market.Panorama photos at Asakusa hagoitaichi market.

I will be posting a lot of things tonight ! (I guess you could call this as a Christmas present from me) I hope you enjoy the photos and videos that I will post here tonight !

First day in Kyoto !

I’m back ! (well few days ago)

I decided to make my Kyoto & Osaka trip blog posts in few different parts since I took #cough #cough 4000+ photos (went a bit over board there). I even had to buy 2 memory cards while there since I did not have my mac with me.

These photos I will show you are from the first day there, I got very good shots even tho the weather was not perfect (at least it was not raining). Earlier today I uploaded 283 photos to my flickr from the first day I truly hope you like them and please go and check them out ! The photos from the other days I will edit and re-check them by Monday and I will get them uploaded as well (350+ photos).

The first day we arrived to the Kyoto station at 5.30am with the night buss from Tokyo. It wasn’t too cold but I was happy I had my jacket and sweater on me. We went to our ryokan to drop off our luggage and we head off to the first temple.

Here are the temples, shrines and areas we visited the first day (in visiting order)

1st. Kiyomizudera Temple
2nd. Yasaka no tou Tower
3rd. Yasaka Shrine
4th. Gion (famous for geisha)
5th. Kennin-ji Temple
6th. Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Temple)
7th. Ryoan-ji (Famous for Stone garden)
8th. Ninna-ji Temple
9th. Gion (geisha hunting with my camera ready)
10th. Shinkyogoku Street

As you see we did visit quite a few, all of them were breathtakingly beautiful!

Let’s start with the first one! (Please remember that I only post a small portion of my photos here, the rest you can see by visiting my Flirck page 

kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺
As you can see it was pretty much the best time to visit with all the leafs red and yellow.
kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺
The main gate of the temple
kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺
Saw a wicked looking bird there as well !
kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺
This was a very interesting thing that is a normal in Japanese temples (wash your hands place).
kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺
My girl of course did it.
kiyomizudera-temple 清水寺

uhm.. Just realized that this post will have way too much photos… How should I do this mmm ok well let’s try putting all in one post.

Let’s move on to the second one, that tower also was very nice!
京都 Kyoto "Old Town"

We were on foot so we accidentally went through the Yasaka shrine, a recommended place to visit while in kyoto as well.
yasaka jinja-shrine 八坂神社yasaka jinja-shrine 八坂神社yasaka jinja-shrine 八坂神社yasaka jinja-shrine 八坂神社

I wanted to go through Gion since I hoped to catch the beauty of a Geisha with my camera but did not have such luck.
祇園 Gion"the geisha area"
But in Gion we found a temple that I was so taken in with called Kennin-ji. I love dragons (my birth year was the year of the dragon), this temple had the most beautiful dragon painting I ever seen and probably will see. One of my absolute favorite places in Japan.
Kenninji-temple 建仁寺
There was also many replicas of this famous painting.
Kenninji-temple 建仁寺
Also this great looking dragon! Then we put our slippers on and continued the main part.
Kenninji-temple 建仁寺
And we saw this ! I was in shock of the beauty of it !
Kenninji-temple 建仁寺 Twin dragonsKenninji-temple 建仁寺Kenninji-temple 建仁寺Kenninji-temple 建仁寺

This place also had a beautiful garden.
Kenninji-temple 建仁寺Kenninji-temple 建仁寺Kenninji-temple 建仁寺

Time for the world famous Golden temple (kinkaku.ji), I loved the colors there!
Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣
The main Temple.
Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣
Don’t you just love those Autumn colors in Japan !
Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣
Money money money !! I tried throwing money there but went absolutely to the wrong dirrection.
Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣

At the Kinkaku-ji they were having a event that happens couple of a month where people write down their hopes and prayers to a piece of wood and give it to the Yamabushi men who placed them to the fire.
Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣Kinkakuji-temple 鹿苑寺金閣

My girl wanted to visit the famous stone garden of Ryoan-ji temple. (Japanese people soo love those stone gardens !)
龍安寺 Ryoanji-temple龍安寺 Ryoanji-temple
There was a lake as well !
龍安寺 Ryoanji-temple龍安寺 Ryoanji-temple

There is a famous Temple with a walking distance from that place called Ninna-ji, so we decided to visit there as well.
Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺
This next picture will show you how heavy those autumn leafs really are, with my girlfriend trying to lift them up!
Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺
Salarymen from Tokyo walking at the temple site.
Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺
Main part of the temple
Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺Ninnaji-temple 仁和寺

Our trip back to the “new” part of Kyoto started, took about 45 mins in a buss. Our ryokan was very close to the Kyoto station so it was easy to find. This Kyoto tower looks so small for us since we are from Tokyo with the Sky tree which is about 6 times bigger. Kyoto tower is about 131meters and Skytree about 663meter
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After we got everything done with our Ryokan check-in and a bit time relaxing in our room, we left to Gion again to find my geisha but no such luck again. We did get lost tho and found a Finland bar !!
祇園 Gion"the geisha area"祇園 Gion"the geisha area"
Day ended nicely with a hot onsen in our ryokan and with couple of asahi beers while watching tv.
I will now start editing the second days photos ! Monday I will get them uploaded ( I hope since I’m going to the Tokyo motor show and I will end up taking way too much photos there I know).

How you do you know that Kyoto is more friendly with foreigners then Tokyo… well free wifi of course !
祇園 Gion"the geisha area"

I hope you all enjoyed these photos and please visit my flickr for more photos from this beautiful day at Kyoto !