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
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)
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
Riding the circular Yamanote Line on a Sunday in Tokyo, it is easy to daydream. Those who have found themselves at times wondering what the city might have been like in the past are likely to enjoy the aptly named “Lust, Commerce, and Corruption: An Account of What I Have Seen and Heard, by an… Read More A firsthand account of vice and profit in Edo – Book review.
Last year my family and I visited the Sapporo Beer Factory. I have been there a few times but the mission was always to eat as much ‘Jingiskan’ and drink as much Sapporo beer as I could. This time we allowed some time to explore the museum and outside gardens as well. The myth of… Read More Sapporo Beer Factory
I never get tired of going to Mt Hiei and taking photos. The three Enryakuji temple complexes are fabulous and are different within themselves. I just wish I could read more Kanji so I can read the information sheets to share with you all. You can buy a day ticket that will allow you entry… Read More Mt Hiei
Great photo of Kiyomizu Temple from the 1880s.
The newly refurbished roof of Himeji Castle is really, really white. No wonder people in Japan are bewildered. This isn’t what people are used to! Himeji Castle is one of Japan’s most famous and most beautiful castles. It is a World Heritage Site, and if you ever visit Japan, you need to visit it. Since… Read More Himeji Castle’s roof unveiled
Teradaya Inn. The simple, old inn with a lot of history. Most people would simple bypass this place without having a second look. But if are a Japanese history nut like me it is an important stop. During the Restoration Period, Ryoma Sakamoto, had an assassination attempt on his life by Tokugawa loyalists inside the… Read More Teradaya Inn – Fushimi
Two of my favourite Japanese travel books were written by Alan Booth. The Roads to Sata (1986) and Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (1995). I have collect a few articles that truly describe Booth, his personality and style of writing. I wish I could have met him, it seems a little… Read More Travel books
Browsing my photos over the weekend I realised one of the photos I posted last week has a connection with the diorama at the Edo museum I visited last year. I love it when I find these things. Original Meiji Period photo of Ginza The diorama of the same Ginza district from the Edo museum.… Read More Tokyo Ginza revisited.