A few years ago my wife and I went to Kokura for the day. It`s a big industrial city now and actually it has been since the industrial revolution back in the Meiji Period. Before that, it was a beautiful castle town right at the tip of northern Kyushu overlooking the very important Kanmon Straits.… Read More Kokura Castle, Kitakyushu, Kyushu
Firstly, I would like to say hello to the people who have recently followed me. I really appreciate your support and I hope you can learn many things about Japan from my blog. Before the coronavirus took hold my family and I went to Tokyo to visit family for a few days. We had an… Read More Toyota Automobile Museum
The end of this semester is nearly here. I have no lessons today but I still have to be here at school for the closing ceremony. So I have a few hours to spare. One of my friends came to Fukuoka recently and we went to Dazaifu and Onojo together.. I’d like to share with… Read More Ancient Dazaifu, Fukuoka
Ikedaya Incident The Ikedaya Incident, in which members of the Shinsengumi attacked and killed anti-Tokugawa activists thwarting their supposed plans to torch Kyoto, took place 155 years ago on July 8, 1864. The attack is known as the Ikedaya Incident, as the rebel Choshu (modern-day Yamaguchi Prefecture) and Tosa (now Kochi Prefecture) clan samurai had… Read More Shinsengumi Attack Rebels- Ikedaya Incident, 1864
Despite Fukuoka castle being one of the all time great castles of Japan (I’m a bit biased as I live in Fukuoka) there is not a whole lot of research material in English about it. Wikipedia has quite a nice write-up, but as we don’t know who the author is, it is not usually used… Read More History of Fukuoka Castle
If you’re a fan of Japanese history as I am I strongly suggest you visit the National Museum in Sakura City, Chiba. You should also allow yourself the whole day to explore this great museum. There is a restaurant for you to re-fill and gift shop with many nice souvenirs. There are 6 different galleries. … Read More National Museum of Japanese History.
I have been to the Sapporo Beer factory a few times but the mission was always to eat as much ‘Jingiskan’ and drink as much Sapporo beer as I could. This time I allowed some time to explore the museum and outside gardens as well. Sapporo Beer was the first brewery in Japan. The beautiful… Read More The home of Japanese beer. Sapporo Beer Factory, Hokkaido
A few years ago I wrote about the history of Kendo. I recently updated the post and submitted it as a Taiken article which they approved. Thankyou Taiken Japan for your continued support of my articles. Please find the article here: https://taiken.co/single/a-history-of-kendo-and-why-i-love-it/
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.
While I was living in Kumamoto one of things I really wanted to do is visit the cave Musashi Miyamoto retired to after his last duel with Kojiro. Musashi spent the last 5 years of his life at Reigando, a cave located on the western side of Mt Kinpo just outside of Kumamoto city. Unganzenji… Read More Reigando (Musashi’s last resting spot) – Pictorial
History of the Japanese Tea Ceremony Drinking of green tea was known in China from the fourth century. Tea plants didn’t grow in Japan until the first seeds were brought from China during the Tang dynasty (China 618-907), when relations and cultural exchanges between the two countries reached a peak. In the eighth century the… Read More History of the Japanese Tea Ceremony
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.
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)
On the hill overlooking the historical Bikan area is the ancient Achi Shrine. According to the Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) it was founded way back in the 4th Century AD during the reign of Emperor Ojin. Since that time the shrine has been an important stop for sea travelers and merchants between eastern and western… Read More Achi Shrine, Kurashiki, Okayama.
(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
First radio message after the bomb… Read More Hiroshima Air Defense Radio Room ruins.
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.