All About Japan

Experience the Beauty of Japan in 4K!

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There are many videos of Japan floating around on YouTube, but there’s one special channel that’s aiming to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Called TokyoStreetView—Japan The Beautiful, this is a project that’s working toward compiling a library of high-definition 4K videos showcasing unique aspects of Japanese culture and locations.

Here we take a look at four of their stunning videos: filmed within the nation’s capital, at Akihabara and the famous Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa; and in its more picturesque regional areas, at Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture and Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture. The superb quality of the images is so remarkable, you’ll feel as if you’re seeing the country not through a lens but through your very own eyes!

The goal of the project is to produce the first high-quality 4K video library of Japan, with at least 1,000 videos, 100 to 200 of which will focus on aspects of Japanese culture such as cuisine and martial arts. Since the group of videographers began last year, they’ve uploaded about 140 short clips and they aim to produce at least two new videos every week, with the majority of scenes capturing everyday life in various locations around the country. Let’s take a look at some of their most captivating clips below.

Tokyo: Asakusa Temple / Senso-ji

Asakusa is known as the home of Senso-ji, an impressive temple with an enormous lantern at its entrance. The 4K video gets in among the crowds of visitors making their way to the main temple and captures close-up details of the manji (whirlwind) symbol on the lantern at the entrance. This symbol, commonly seen at Buddhist temples around Japan, has been used in Buddhism for centuries to represent Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites.

Tokyo: Akihabara

Akihabara is hallowed ground for the world’s otaku (geeks), who can’t get enough of the maid cafés, manga and video game stores, and live performances by pretty "idol" girl groups in the area. This gorgeous video takes in all the local sights and sounds beloved by anime fans and showcases some of the interesting items that can be found in the electrical stores located in the famous "Electric Town" district.

Tochigi: Autumn Colors Around Nikko

One of the most stunning spots for enjoying vivid displays of autumn foliage is a short, two-hour train trip from the capital of Japan, in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. The stunning scenery and expanse of peaceful nature dotted with waterfalls makes this a must-see destination for local and foreign tourists. The only downside is the massive crowds of visitors who make the pilgrimage to the area every year, making this one of the most packed places to visit in Japan. Now you can avoid the crowds and breathe in the clear mountain air with this 4K experience!

Mie: Ise Grand Shrine

The Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture is the most sacred shrine in all of Japan. Known as Ise-Jingu, the complex is divided into two main areas: the Inner Shrine (Naiku) and the Outer Shrine (Gekku). This video takes in all the beauty of the Inner Shrine, which is said to house the sun goddess Amaterasu. The buildings here are constructed using a unique architectural style called Yuitsu-shinmei-zukuri, which is not permitted to be used in the construction of any other shrine. The structures are rebuilt every 20 years, as part of the Shinto belief in the transience of life and the renewal that follows death. It’s also a process that helps to pass on the ancient building techniques from one generation to the next. The current buildings date from 2013 and worshipers from all around the country continue to visit to pray at the revered shrine.

These are just four out of more than 100 videos that can be enjoyed on the TokyostreetView—Japan The Beautiful YouTube channel. While they’re accepting support from sponsors in order to help expand the 4K video library, their videos are all free to view and share online. It’s the cheapest way to travel to some of Japan’s most far-flung destinations from the comfort of your lounge room!

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