A Tanuki Family

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You see ceramic tanuki (raccoon dog) statues everywhere in Japan, especially outside inns and guesthouses and in people’s gardens. But it’s quite rare to see a whole family like this one!
Dad has got a big sun hat and his saké bottle. Mum has a saké bottle too and a hair ribbon. I guess the little tanuki are a girl and a boy (the boy is wearing a hat like his dad).
These ones were in a restaurant window in Jujo in Tokyo.

The Emperor’s Music Room

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This very unusual building is called the Tokagakudo (peach blossom music hall) and it is the music headquarters for the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Probably most of the music played here is for the Shinto rituals and festivals that the Imperial family have to take part in. You can see it if you visit the Imperial Palace’s East Gardens. It was built in the 1960s for the former Empress and is 8-sided and covered in mosaics which are supposed to show flowers and stars, but look more like Tokyo Sky Tree to me!

Kids’ Cigarettes

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You probably won’t find these cigarettes anywhere else but in Japan these days! Because in most countries it’s completely illegal to sell cigarettes to kids even if they are fake candy cigarettes! You can normally find these amazing cigarette sweets in dagashiya (Japanese sweets shops). The two flavours I’ve seen so far are orange and chocolate, but there might be more out there!

Sword Master

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This is a Japanese Tengu, which is a mythical creature that lives in the mountains of Japan. It is said that Tengus have incredible sword fighting skills and if you’re lucky and they think you are worthy then they might take you on as an apprentice so you can learn how to be a master sword fighter. There are quite a lot of these statues of Tengus in Buddhist temples in Japan and supposedly if you rub the foot of the statue of a Tengu it gives you good luck and good health (see how shiny his feet are!)