A statue of Shiro Amakusa. The young Christian rebel who rose up and led a rebellion against the Tokugawa Shogunate. Amakusa-Shimabara Rebellion (1637) Cherry blossoms and a Tori on the way up to Nokanetenbo Park Sakitsu Church, established in 1569 by the Portuguese. Interior of the church. I have never seen tatami in a church… Read More Amakusa and the Shimabara Rebellion – Kyushu.
During the ‘isolation period’ of Japan also known as the Edo Period a few nations were still allowed to trade in Japan. The Dutch, Koreans and Chinese were the only nations granted trade rights. The Dutch company ‘VOC’ were famous around the world and they set up a trade port in Nagasaki. Dejima was established… Read More Dutch trade port of Dejima, Nagasaki.
Happy Thursday! I’m going to start posting some new blogs which only focus on my photography. Articles are great but time consuming and I have so many photos just sitting on my hard drive. Anyway I’m going to try and start posting a little more regularly between writing in depth articles with some great photos.… Read More Nanzoin Temple, Fukuoka, Kyushu
Miyajidake sits in the northern region of Fukutsu city about 1 hour from central Fukuoka. It is famous for the ‘road of faith’ and stairs leading up to the main temple which look out directly to the sea about a kilometre away. More on this later. Sunsets around October are supposed to be really beautiful.… Read More Miyajidake Shrine, Fukutsu City, Kyushu.
My friend William Baerg is a contributor for the Kumamoto International Facebook page and has nicely agreed for me to post an article on my blog. Tani Tateki (谷干城) was a military leader during the Meiji Restoration who was for a crucial period in charge of the defense of Kumamoto. Even under mustache standards of… Read More Tani Tateki – Kumamoto Castle defender during the Seinan War.
I haven’t done a post for a while about one of my favourite Ukiyo-e print series. So lets have a look. It is print #35, Narai Station, currently Narai town in Nagano Prefecture. It is a beautiful little town in the Japanese Alps and it still has the old Edo period feel to it. It… Read More Keisai Eisen – Kisokaido Narai Station, Print #35.
I visited Shiga back in 2016 in January. I was expecting it to be cold but I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up in the morning. A fresh layer of snow had fallen in the early hours of the morning which was great. Walking around on the fresh snow is great but unfortunately it… Read More Himure Hachimangu, Omihachiman, Shiga.
This article was originally going to be included in the ‘History of Aki (Hiroshima) Prefecture’ but as this article has now become too long I decided to make one for Miyajima on its own. I was surprised by the fantastic history of this temple complex and I hope you think so too. Located in the… Read More The History of Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima Island.
An amateur historian has unearthed compelling evidence that the first Australian maritime foray into Japanese waters was by convict pirates on an audacious escape from Tasmania almost two centuries ago. Fresh translations of samurai accounts of a “barbarian” ship in 1830 give startling corroboration to a story modern scholars had long dismissed as convict fantasy:… Read More Escaped convicts first ever Australian ship to Japanese waters.
The rain misted down and I had two choices: the road up the hill, or the one alongside the river. I stood next to some kind of cement plant, most of it hidden behind a corrugated metal fence dripping with moisture. My pack pulled down on my shoulders. The river, engorged by two days of… Read More Looking for Hiroshige’s Japan
In Japanese folklore the female demon (oni) Hannya figures prominently. Often depicted in traditional Noh and Bunraku plays using a wooden mask of a fierce and grimacing horned demon, this malicious entity may be Japan’s most well-known demon. An ancient legend recalls how the female Hannya persecuted all who attempted to pass through the Rashomon… Read More Hannya – (A Japanese She-Demon)
(Tenshu-kaku from the south) (Tenshu-kaku from the north. You can see the irregular shape of the base floor from this vantage point) I was originally going to post a combined Okayama castle and Korakuen gardens article but during my writing I realised that both are individually significant so I have split them into two articles.… Read More Okayama Castle
Shukkeien gardens date back to 1620, a year after feudal lord Asano Nagaakira was made lord of Hiroshima. Asano’s principal retainer, Ueda Soko, a master of tea ceremony built and designed the gardens. The gardens were built as an expression of many miniature scenes modeled on Xihu (West Lake) in Hangzhou, China. The centerpiece of… Read More Shukkeien, historical gardens in Hiroshima.
My first visit to Fukuyama and it turned out to be a beautiful day. After doing my immigration paperwork I went to the castle. Fukuyama castle is beautiful on the eye. As with most castles it was also bombed during the war, which is a sad pattern I’m finding for each place I go to.… Read More Fukuyama Castle
I went to Onomichi today hoping for clear skies and cherry blossoms. One came true, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom now. The sky was hazy so I couldn’t get nice blue/white contrasts. But it was nice and good exercise. I went to Tennei-ji, climbed what seemed like 1000 stairs to get up to… Read More Onomichi – Tennei-ji and Senko-ji
The Kamakura period 1185 to 1333 is a period of Japanese history that marks the governance of the Kamakura Shogunate; officially established in 1192 by the first Kamakura shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo. The era of the imperial courts of the Heian period were drawing to a close and feudalism was on the rise. Buddhism also… Read More Kamakura Period 1185-1333
I visited the two Nagashino battlegrounds and museum in January 2016. It was a great experience to visit this place and walk on the old battlefield which was a decisive turning point for the Takeda family and eventually lead to their eventual downfall. The Nagashino campaign was launched by Takeda Katsuyori, son of the great… Read More Nagashino Battlefield and Museum
God (Kami) When the English word God is translated into Japanese, it is generally represented by the kanji (Chinese character) 神 and pronounced kami. However, to avoid misunderstanding, it would be better to think of God, 神, and kami as three separate concepts. “God” is the supreme being of monotheism and is customarily capitalized to… Read More The Evolution of Japan’s Native Gods
Hall of the golden hue (konjikido) This print was the last print ever to be designed by Kawase Hasui. Sadly, he passed away 1957 just before this print was to be published. Thus, his “fate” did not allow him to see the production of this, his final work: ….Stepping up a long stair towards heaven,… Read More Konjikido in Snow, Hiraizumi, 1957
Everybody knows about Japan and their samurai. But did you know men were not the only ones being trained to kill, lead, and fight with deadly weapons back in feudal Japan? Lesser known than their male counterparts, the Onna Bugeisha played an important role in Japan’s history and Empress Jingu is perhaps the most legendary… Read More Empress Jingu and the Onna Bugeisha