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
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.
The Battle of Shiroyama, the battle that inspired the final scenes in the movie The Last Samurai, took place on September 24, 1877. The Battle of Shiroyama was fought between the Imperial Japanese Army and the Samurai of Satsuma, in Kagoshima, Kyushu. 30,000 Imperial troops faced off against some 500 samurai, led by Saigo Takamori.… Read More Battle of Shiroyama – Saigo’s last stand.
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
This is a very pretty scene. It shows travellers walking along the track by a fast flowing stream on a clear morning after heavy overnight snow. Snow scenes can be very monochromatic, as with this, but the artist has added bits of colour to break the dreariness. Some of the travellers have colourful coats, the… Read More 69 Stations of the Kisokaido. Plate 15-Itahana snow.
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
After 2 years with the same theme, I decided to make a change. Please tell me what you think. I hope this new theme will showcase more of the articles on the front page so people can get a better idea what the article is about. The layout I think is a little more organised… Read More Site Update
鷺娘の精 (The Spirit of the Heron Maiden) woodblock print by Taniguchi Kokyo (1864-1915), dated 1925; from my collection. Oban tate-e (27.0 x 42.5 cm). “Sagi Musume no Sei,” the “Spirit of the Heron Maiden.” A kabuki hengemono dance (one actor/many roles) wherein the spirit of a heron changes into a girl and then back again.… Read More 鷺娘の精 (The Spirit of the Heron Maiden)
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.
Not far from Minowa station on the Hibiya line is a nondescript temple called 浄閑寺—Jokanji. From the street, it looks like many other Tokyo temples, but behind the new main building is an old cemetery that has one particular point of interest, a crypt and monument to twenty-five thousand prostitutes interred there. Being so close… Read More The Throw Away Temple – Dumping Ground of the Yoshiwara Prostitutes.
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
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.
Great photo of Kiyomizu Temple from the 1880s.
The Battle of Tabaruzaka was one battle within the Satsuma Rebellion fought between the rebels lead by Saigo Takamori and the newly established Imperial Japanese Army. I do not quite label Takamori as a rebel but I will go with that for this article. Tabaruzaka, also known as ‘Suicide Pass’ was the location for one… Read More Battle of Tabaruzaka
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
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.
Origins of Japanese tattoos.… Read More Ainu culture and the origins of tattooing in Japan.