Nihon Arupusu or the Japanese Alps is a mountain range in Japan.
In summer, the south wind brings hot humid air from the Pacific ocean, which meets with cooler air over Japan and causes rain.
The den-den daiko (でんでん太鼓) is a Japanese drum. Held on a rod, it has two beads which strike the heads of the drum when the rod is twirled.
The jūnihitoe (十二単) or "twelve layers" is a kind of formal court dress dating from the Heian period. Worn by noble women and ladies-in-waiting, it actually included varying numbers of kimonos and other garments of many colors and patterns. Watch videos of dressing up with makeup, and without makeup but commentary on how the robes are made.
A yukata is a lightweight summer kimono. Traditionally men wear darker colors such as indigo, while women often wear florals.
Sudare (簾 or すだれ) are screens or blinds typically made of bamboo. In the past, women would not speak face-to-face with unrelated men, so courtships and other interactions took place across such screens.
Rice planting involves transplanting seedlings from their seedbed to a larger rice paddy.
In Japan, May 5 is Tango no Sekku or Boy's Day. It is celebrated with flags shaped like carp.
Kanda Matsuri (神田祭) or the Kanda Festival celebrates the kami. These are nature or ancestral spirits of the Shinto religion.
Gion Matsuri (祇園祭, ) or the Gion Festival happens in Kyoto and features purification.
Tenma Matsuri includes a big boat festival.
Nagoshi no Harae ("the Purification Ritual of Summer's Passing") helps people put aside misdeeds of the past half-year and prepare for the next. It involves passing through a prayer ring made of reeds.
Horornis diphone, also known as the Bush Warbler or 鴬 uguisu, is a welcome herald of spring. However, it doesn't stop singing then, and is less appreciated in summer when it is called an "old warbler" instead.
The water rail (Rallus aquaticus) flocks across Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Its narrow body allows it to slip through reed beds.
Hamo or eel is a strong and aggressive fish. Popular in Kyoto, it doesn't get eaten much beyond that.
In Japanese culture, a moth symbolizes the soul of a living person.
Tree peonies stand for wealth and nobility of spirit. They appear in all kinds of Japanese art.
The ume or green plum is technically a type of apricot. It can be made into various foods along with plum wine.
Camphor trees drop leaves in summer.
Paulownia represents feminine beauty. Historically, a family would plant one to mark the birth of a daughter.
Japanese tradition holds that iris flowers protect against evil.
In the Japanese flower language, tiger lily represents wealth.
Fuki or bog rhubarb has edible blossoms and stems, although they require soaking to remove toxic alkaloids.
Makomo まこも【真菰】 is a type of wild rice, also known as water oats (Zizania latifolia).