This is one of my favourite temple regions and it is a World Heritage Site to boot. You will need a least a whole day to explore the three temple complexes properly. You will also need to have a basic level of fitness as the site is on top of Mt Hiei and there are… Read More Enryakuji temple – Kyoto (Pictorial)
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.
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
First radio message after the bomb… Read More Hiroshima Air Defense Radio Room ruins.
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 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
Sad news I found today about the closing of a famous and traditional Japanese inn. It dates way back to the Edo period and is even in the famous 53 Stages of the Tokaido by Hiroshige. I wish I had the money to buy this, to preserve the history and its legacy alive. Story is… Read More 360 year old inn closes its doors.
Nishi Honganji is the mother temple for the Jodo Shinshu sect of Japanese Buddhism established by Shinran Shonan who lived between 1173 to 1263. The temple has its origins in the Eastern hills of Kyoto, where Shinran’s mausoleum is currently located. The sect has an interesting history and the current site has been occupied since… Read More Nishi Honganji
Shikoku is host to the famous 88 temple pilgrimage. It is said to take up to 3 months to complete the 1200km. The pilgrimage dates way back to the time of famous Buddhist monk Kukai who lived from 774 to 835. There are several legends related to the beginnings of the pilgrimage. The most popular… Read More Shikoku Pilgrimage
Not something I have done before but I found this beautiful Ukiyo-e print with some history attached to it. It’s quite good so I thought I would share it with you. A scene from a famous Noh play. The outlaw priest Kumasaka Chohan (with long sword) fights a leaping Ushiwakamaru (later known as Minamoto no… Read More Ushiwakamaru defeats Kumasaka Chohan – Ukiyo-e print
Not a bad summary I found of Francis Xavier and Christianity in Japan. Francis Xavier, a founder of the Society of Jesus, arrived in Japan in 1549, inaugurating a century of Catholic Christian missionary activity in that country. After enjoying enormous success, Christians suffered brutal persecution and were almost eliminated a century later. Japan was… Read More A short summary of Francis Xavier and Christianity in Japan
Why did Akechi Mitsuhide turn against his lord? There are many theories, but no-one really knows for sure. New information is occasionally revealed which helps us to gain a better understanding of why. Letters suggesting a link between a feudal warlord in Shikoku and the 16th-century Honnoji Incident, in which powerful warlord Oda Nobunaga committed… Read More Letters suggest Shikoku warlord’s link to 16th-century Honnoji Incident
I have a few friends who also have a passion for Japanese history. Here is a great article about the emergence of Buddhism into Japan. Buddhism arrived rather late in Japan in the middle of the 6th century, along with Korean and Chinese priests … one thousand years after the religion had originated with Siddhartha… Read More 6th Century Japan and the Emergence of Buddhism.
I’ve been interested in Japanese style architecture for a long time but recently I’ve taken an interest in traditional home architecture. My dream home has gotta be something like one of these pictures. They are beautiful, please enjoy.
I visited Hikone castle in January 2015 with my friend Ohara san. It was a cold and snowy winters morning but we were determined to see this beautiful original castle. I have had a couple of old Meiji period photos on my hard drive for a while and I wanted to try and get to… Read More Hikone Castle – Shiga Prefecture. My photos and Meiji Period photos.
A great article about how to identify the age of Japanese postcards. http://sites.lafayette.edu/eastasia/2014/09/04/how-to-ascertain-the-date-or-time-period-of-a-japanese-postcard/
Kusado Sengen is the name of a medieval town that once used to be situated close to the mouth of the Ashida River, in the present day Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. It means, a town of one thousand houses at Kuasdo. The existence of the town had been forgotten for a long time. It… Read More Kusado Sengen – Medieval archaeological site.
I am aware of the Toyotomi campaign in Korea but I was pleasantly unaware to the extent of the construction of so many castles in the attempt to defend the Japanese held territory in Korea. Lets look a bit more at the Toyotomi Hideyoshi campaign back in the 16th Century. The seven year Imjin War… Read More Japanese Castles in Korea
The origins of the name “Yamagata” can be traced back to the early Heian Period (794-1192) of Japan. A dictionary from that time period entitled Wamyo Ruijusho refers to the area to the south of what is now Yamagata City as a province called “Yamagata.” At that time, “Yamagata” was written with different kanji (Chinese… Read More A quick history of Yamagata Prefecture
Wow, so busy teaching at the moment so I haven’t had time to do any more research into my next blog post. In the mean time I found a nice article from the Japan Times. I hope you enjoy it. The sense of antiquity on the Kunisaki Peninsula is immediate. There are those that believe… Read More Kunisaki: Into a World of Moss and Stone