The delicate tinkling of traditional wind chimes (or furin) is one of the typical sounds of summer in Japan. In days past, when strong winds were a portent of evil, the chimes would serve to alert a household to be on guard and alert to possible calamities (such as fire or sickness). Primarily cast of bronze in earlier eras, today’s wind chimes range from more traditional metal bells to delicate glass spheres, often hand-painted with summer motifs.
One place to enjoy (and purchase) Japanese wind chimes is at the Nishiarai Daiishi temple, a short ride from the Tokyo Skytree area on the Tobu Daiishi Line. From the beginning of July until August 5th (2018 dates), a wind chime fair will be held on the grounds of the temple, with around 50-60 vendors selling chimes of various materials. Visitors are free to browse the stalls, either simply enjoying the sound of the furin or perhaps purchasing their own as a keepsake. On Sundays, there is also the chance to participate in a wind chime painting workshop (adults – ¥1000, children – ¥500).
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