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Cultural attractions of Japan

Wine bath at the Yunessun. See Notes for more information on the baths.

Chris and I visited several Buddhist shrines in Kamakura.

Note the swastika symbol in this picture, an ancient Buddhist symbol used long before more recent historic events.

In this picture, the tallest part of the building in the back contains a Buddha statue that stands two stories tall.

Each of the figurines in the picture represents an unborn child that lost its life. There were many more figurines than what you see in the photo.

One Buddhist shrine had a traditional Japanese wedding going on. If you look carefully, you might spot the bride in white and groom in black.

Really big Buddha.

The Kamakura Music Box Museum was a pleasant and unexpect surprise. I walked in out of curiosity, not knowing what it was, because I heard beautiful music coming from it. The music box watch and bird cage both are priced at over $4,400.

Yes, the big metal wheel in this wardrobe-sized music box is covered with pegs for generating music.

An arcade doesn't seem like an attraction but they are quite a bit different in Japan. Both of the ones we visited were four stories tall. The first two stories predominantly had claw and coin games (see below). The claw games include prizes such as food, stuffed animals, toys, figurines, and music CDs.

Mimi won a Winnie-the-Pooh out of the machine below and a can of hot spices out of another. The Winnie-the-Pooh took up a third of Mimi's suitcase when she brought it home. It's head is larger than the typical Winnie-the-Pooh head because oversized heads and oversized eyes are considered cute in Japan.

The top two stories of the arcade contained video games, some of which had incredible graphics and mechanisms which are not normally used in US games such as collectible game cards (see the video), 180 degree video screens, and non-traditional controllers (mushroom-shaped). The first photo shows someone playing Mah Jong in an arcade.

A coin game is where you drop a coin into the game, hoping that it lands in such a way as to push one or more coins over the edge, which you win as a prize. You've no doubt seen these in Vegas or in US arcades ... but not like this. The first video shows all the lights and movement of one coin game - it reminded me of one of those cartoon contraptions where you send a ball rolling and it starts a chain of events like a boot kicking a hammer than falls and lights a candle that burns a string that ...

Video of fancy mechanical coin game

Video of dinosaur coin game

Of all the video games, this next one intriqued me the most. After dropping in a significant number of coins, the game gives you cards with which to play the game. I'll bet the cards are available in other ways, as well. You then select your desired playing cards for each round of the game. Actions take place by moving the cards, tapping the cards with your hands/fingers, and pushing large buttons tp the side of the card field. The troops you select perform an assault against a Japanese castle, fighting the mixed forces that they send against you. Both sides can pick from various military units including archers, cavalry, foot soldiers, battle hero, etc which vary by strengths and weaknesses.

Video of card battle video game

Disney Tokyo, smaller than some other parks but just as grand in architecture, appearance, animatronics, cleanliness, and happy happy music.

The US Disney parks don't have a teapot vending machine like this one.

Look at the Queen of Hearts landscape looming above the teapots. The photo does not capture the size and depth of Alice's wonderland.

This was a samurai era village replica with activities for learning about Japanese arts, crafts, and history. The "sidewalks" are made of woven grass. The buildings are very large with wooden floors inside. Despite being a rural mountain community in a time of war and bandits, the village is quite orderly and comfortable. We saw paintings of the village made by artists centuries before.

Chris and Andy in traditional samurai ceremonial garb - our favorite part of the village visit.

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