Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Top 5 Scariest/ Most Haunted Places in the World

Top 5 Scariest/ Most Haunted Places in the World

Are you sceptical about the supernatural? Let's face it, we all love a well concocted ghost story, but when it comes to hard evidence, most of us are inclined to believe that photos are little more than cleverly articulated fakes produced by Photoshop junkies. Or are they? From the stately halls of the White House in Washington DC to the labyrinthine corridors of Hampton Court Palace, England, there have been no end of spine-chilling accounts and photographs that could lend credence to the existence of restless spirits. But, while they may harbour the ghosts of more prominent historical characters, these fascinating old buildings have nothing on some of the more obscure haunted properties across the globe. Still don't believe in ghosts? We dare you to spend the night in one of our top five picks!

Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Constructed in 1926, the eerie Gothic Sanatorium at Louisville was originally built to house patients during the mid-20's tuberculosis epidemic, and allegedly saw as many as 40,000 deaths in its 20 year history. Unfortunately for its residents, Waverly Hills was also one of the few places in America earmarked as a research facility; it's patients subsequently becoming guinea pigs for a host of painful experimental procedures that often resulted in scarring and disfigurement. Avid ghost hunters report of hearing the screams of former patients echoing along the corridors at dusk, coupled with grisly sightings of disfigured entities roaming the many empty rooms. The 'Death Chute', an underground tunnel once used to ferry bodies to a waiting hearse beyond the grounds, has become one of the main attractions of the Sanatorium and a popular place to spend the night!

Fort Bangharh
Rajasthan, India

Once the crowning glory of a flourishing Persian kingdom, the crumbling 14th Century fortress of Bangharh lies abandoned and forgotten in a wilderness that few will dare to travel across after dark. Legend has it that, after being spurned several times by Queen Ratnavali, the wicked sorcerer Sevra Singh imposed a dark curse on the city and its inhabitants, swearing death upon any who did not flee. The ensuing year saw the queen and many of her people perish whilst fighting invading forces from Ajabgarh – forces allegedly sent by Sevra to destroy Bangharh forever.

Whether or not the legend of Queen Ratnavali's demise is true, there's something about Bangharh that causes people to steer well clear. Visitors have reported an uneasiness when entering the main complex, accompanied by feelings of severe nausea, dizziness and being watched. Strange sightings, shifting brickwork and collapsing roofs in neighbouring properties have all been attributed to the Bangharh curse, prompting authorities to impose a strict ban on entry after nightfall!

The Skirrid Inn
Llanfihangel Crucorney, Wales

With its quaint lead panelled windows and old world charm, The Skirrid Mountain Inn at Llanfihangel Crucorney looks like a warm, inviting place to grab a pint on a Sunday afternoon. But it's after dark that visitors should beware, for this is when the Skirrid Inn's other regulars are prone to making their presence felt. According to locals, the Skirrid Inn was formerly a courthouse in which as many as 180 people were hanged during the 19th Century – perhaps some explanation for the strangling sensation many visitors have felt when passing the main staircase. Guests have also reported glasses flying from shelves of their own accord, faces peering out from the upper floor windows and dark orbs floating past their beds in the dead of night. Such is the level of paranormal activity at the Skirrid Inn, it has fast gained rank as one of the most haunted places anywhere in Britain!

The Whaley House
San Diego, California, USA

The troubles started at Whaley House when entrepreneur Thomas Whaley came to town in 1857, and subsequently built his house upon the site where boat thief Yankee Jim had been hanged just a year before. Following the death of their son Thomas at 18 months and their store being targeted by arsonists, the family vacated to San Francisco in an attempt to put an end to their run of bad luck. Sadly the pull of the house was too strong and the family returned to take up residence in 1868 in the hope of a fresh start. A fatal accident involving their daughter's playmate beside the swimming pool, and subsequent suicide of their own daughter Violet in 1885 would prove them wrong.

The strong odours of perfume and cigar smoke reported by visitors would suggest the family are still in residence at Whaley House. Apparitions matching the descriptions of both Anna and Thomas Whaley have been sighted in the former living room, and at one of the windows upstairs. Visitors have also reported seeing an extremely life-like little girl with red hair playing on the verandah, and the heavy footfalls of Yankee Jim on the stairs.

Monte Cristo Homestead
Junee, New South Wales, Australia

With its beautiful iron-work verandah and stunning rural aspect, the historic Junee manor house has long been a place of fascination for visitors. But, the real attractions of Monte Cristo are the countless spirits who are still in residence, including the young maid who was pushed from the upper balcony, the caretaker mortally wounded by a 'Psycho' fanatic, and Harold Steele, the mentally disabled son of the housekeeper who was chained to a chair for over forty years. Residents nearby reckon you can still hear his anguished cries by night as he howls for his mother to return.

Mrs Crawley, the mistress of the house is a particularly active spirit, and on more than one occasion has been heard yelling at visitors to leave her house. Although chilling, her apparition has nothing on the entities who prefer to remain out of sight, such as the faceless ghost in the Boy's Room, and the animal-hating demon which allegedly mutilated an entire litter of kittens in 1981.

Could this be the most haunted house in the world? There's only one way to find out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Co-founder Tatsuo Sato reports on "WebSummit 2012 in Dublin" on Japan's one of the finest tech news resource "Tech Wave"

Co-founder Tatsuo Sato reports on "WebSummit 2012 in Dublin" on Japan's one of the finest tech news resource "Tech Wave".

The article is written in Japanese but you can read it with some
translation tool available on the net!

Thank you for your support!

Shiroube Team

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

5 most historic temples to visit in Japan

5 most historic temples to visit in Japan

In today’s fast-paced, high tech world, the lines between personal and professional time are rapidly blurring. Many people get up in the morning, check their emails before leaving for work, work a full day, then come home and check emails again or finish up that spreadsheet or Powerpoint presentation before going to bed. And for those that work from home, the lines are even fuzzier. The interconnectivity of today’s technology is a great boon in terms of professional productivity and personal connections, but it leaves most people overworked and overstressed much of the time. Vacation time is intended to give people a chance to get away from work and unwind and distress. But many people don’t take their vacation time, or if they do, they have trouble disconnecting from their smartphones, ipads or any other connected device and truly relax. But in this world where the constant connectivity means we work harder and longer, the ability to get away from it all is all the more important despite. However the very electronic culture that creates more of a  demand for true vacations also makes taking them all the more difficult.
But there is a solution: leave your tablet or laptop at home and take a vacation not only in space, but in time. The more you can get away from electronic devices and the internet culture, the more you can relax and de-stress. And you can’t get much further removed from the high tech, fast-paced internet culture than in the ancient temples in Japan. And with literally thousands of to choose from there are plenty to see and experience. There are over 2000 in Kyoto alone.
To truly appreciate the temples, you should know a little bit about the significance of the temples in Japanese culture. Temples in Japan have been an important part of Japanese culture since their first appearance 1200 years ago. However unlike Christian churches and Muslim mosques, they aren’t designed as houses or worship. The most important function of a temple is the safekeeping of sacred objects. Furthermore, these objects are not on public display. There are also other buildings that are specialized for certain rites. These building are also typically not accessible to the general public. However the public can visit these temples and enjoy the beauty and serenity. Below are some of the most historic temples that are well worth a visit.

Built in 788, the Enryaku-ji is one of the most important temples in Japanese history.  It was the headquarters of the Tendai sect founded by Saicho in 788 and is registered as a Unesco “World Heritage Site.” It has had enormous influence in Japanese Buddhist culture over the centuries, and the founders of Judo-shu, Soto Zen and Nichiren Buddism all studied for a time at this temple. In his attempts to unify Japan, Oda Nobunaga killed most of the inhabitants and burned most of the temple in 1571. Therefore most of the buildings date from the 1700’s: the restoration of most of the buildings. Visitors to this temple find it deeply inspiring. It’s a beautiful temple that is not “showy.” It has a spiritual feel to it that is inspiring to all visitors, regardless of their religious beliefs or even lack of them. This quiet, peaceful spot is the embodiment of a true Japanese Bhuddist temple.

This is the oldest temple in Tokyo. It was originally associated with the Tendai sect, however it became independent after World War II. The original temple was constructed in 645 and is said to have been founded by two fishermen. Legend has it that two brothers netted a statue of Kannon and returned it to the river. However it kept coming back to them. So Hajino Nakamoto, the chief of the village, turned his own house into a temple. Within the temple he enshrined the statue so that villagers could worship it. Much of the site was destroyed during World War 11 and it was later rebuilt. Within the temple grounds is a tree that hit by the bombs that destroyed the temple. The stump regrew and is today considered by the people as a not only a symbol of the resilience of the Japanese people, but further symbolizes rebirth and peace.
This temple is a bold and brightly colored temple. Popular with both Japanese and foreign tourists alike, it has a more festive atmosphere than some other temples in Japan. The entrance is dominated by a massive gate: “Thunder Gate.” Beyond the gate is a series of shops known as “Nakamise-dori which sell everything from sweets to scrolls and everything in between. While it sounds like a typical tourist trap, in face these shops are part of the culture of the temple and have catered to pilgrims for generations.

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ryoan-ji is home to one of the most famous and perhaps the finest example of a zen rock garden or kare-sansui. The original temple was built in the 11th century by Fujiwara Saneyoshi. In 1450, Hosokawa Katsumoto acquired the land and built his residence and Zen temple on the site. While his temple was destroyed in a war between rival families, Hosokawa’s son rebuilt it in later years. While certainly the Zen garden is one of the most striking and famous of the attributes of this particular temple, it is still not know when or by whom it was originally built, but most accounts have it built somewhere around the 1500-1600’s. The garden itself is composed of 5 groups of stones: one of five, two of three and two of two. There are no plants or flowers in the garden, only some moss around the stones. Most importantly, the stones are placed in such a way that a view can never see all fifteen stones from any angle on the ground: only fourteen are visible at a time. This  has symbolic significance: it is said that only through attaining enlightenment can one see all fifteen boulders together.

Horyu-ji is believed to be one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. In fact, the site is unique in that it has many structurally significant buildings spanning the 7th-19th centuries. This makes the site a culturally significant site and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, many of the buildings and artifacts are listed as a Japanese National Treasure.

Horyu-ji was originally built by Prince Shotoku who is widely believed to be the one who introduced Buddhism to Japan. Completed in 607, it is believed to have burnt in down in 670 and rebuilt in 711, however recent research has raised questions as to the historical validity of this belief. In 1950, the maintainers of Horyu-ji broke from the Hosso sect. The temple is currently called Shotoku. The sheer number of building and the different ages and cultures they represent make this a highly desirable to visit for anyone wanting a true immersion in the culture of Japanese temples.


Shitenno-Ji is the oldest officially administered temple in Japan.  Built in 593 by the Prince who brought Buddhism to Japan, this temple is a favorite among the Japanese people. Prince Shotoku built this temple to celebrate his victory over the Monobe who were opposed to the Prince’s attempts to bring Buddhism to Japan. The location of the temple also meant it played a vital role in Japan’s trade. Being near to Osaka bay meant the temple was able to display’s Japan’s wealth, power and culture to the outside world.

That is just a short list of the thousands to choose from throughout Japan, but they represent some of the best the temples have to offer. However to have a true temple experience, you may want to consider going one step further: there are some temples in Japan that offer food and lodging for travelers. There are many of them throughout Japan and they offer a chance to experience a truly not only of a different culture, but of a different time. When you stay at a shukubo, you live like the monks do: you eat vegetarian food, sleep on a matt on the floor and rise early to pray. One particularly good town to visit for this type of experience is Koyasan as it has over 50 shukubo to choose from. Having so many to choose from facilitates reservations and communication. However, if you want a truly transcendental experience, you may want to find a more remote shukubo that is even farther removed from modern society. They are harder to get to, but if you are the type that likes unique and authentic experiences, it may be worth the time to really search for the perfect shukubo.

So, armed with some vacation ideas to truly remove you from the hectic, stressful, high tech lifestyle, pack your bags and take a vacation not only in space but in time. You will relax, distress and you may even find yourself reevaluating your life and your priorities. But if nothing else, it will be a truly amazing experience that will not only re-energize you, but give you a lifetime of memories.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hello Geneva!

Hello Geneva!

Hi All!

On Feb. 6-8 2013, Internet companies and innovators in Europe will gather in Geneva to participate Lift 2013.

Shiroube will put on a showcase at the event.We are very excited about it!

Lift is one of Europe's leading technology and innovation events exploring the business- and social implications of digital technologies. Its unique format allows for a rich experience where participants mingle in a dynamic and informal environment. Together they share, connect and create new opportunities. Every year Lift welcomes over 1,000 participants from 30 countries, including 70 journalists and bloggers.

For more details, visit the website at:

Thank you.

Shiroube Team

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

On behalf of everyone connected to Shiroube, we wish all of our members, partners and supporters a happy and safe new year!

2012 was a markedly improved year for Shiroube, counting 3,000 cities world wide. In 2013 Shiroube will be looking to take another step or two forward in our efforts to become world's largest micro guide market.

We look forward to seeing you on Shiroube!

Thanks again

Tatsuo, Founder