This harmony of three colors, red vermilion, green and white, can be seen at many Japanese shrines and temples. When I took this photo at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, I was charmed by the colors, warmed up by the setting sun. Simply beautiful…
The Osaka castle has a history of almost 450 years, and the tower we see today is the 3rd reconstruction. The first castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and was destroyed during a siege in 1615. The Tokugawa shogunate reconstucted the castle a few years later, but the castle burned in 1665 after it was struck by lighting.
At the middle of the 19 century, the castle received some renovation, but the main tower wasn’t rebuilt until 1931. Then, nearby the main tower was also arranged a small garden with pond, from where we can admire today this beautiful image with the castle reflected in the water…
The Japanese castles are classified according to the landform on which they were built. On the mountainside, there are two types, castles built on the top of the mountain, called in Japanese yamajiro ("mountaintop castle") and castles built on large hills or on low mountains, known as hirayamajiro, “flatland-mountain castles".
The Matsuyama castle, photographed here, is a hirayamajiro. These castles were somehow more vulnerable because they were not protected by relief, so they were surrounded by strong turrets and concentric walls.
Many times during my trips in Japan I returned filled with pleasant memories from otherwise common places such as this scene in Ōzu. I walked on this street after visiting the Ōzu castle, returning to the train station… It was on a lovely autumn day, towards the sunset, and everything around seemed charming…
I wrote several months ago about the Uwajima manhole covers decorated with Ushi-oni festival art. But the town’s manhole covers are also featuring another famous local festival, the Uwajima Bullfighting.
Held for five days every year, in January, April, July, August and October, this bullfighting is in no way similar to the Spanish corrida. It is a completely different sort of competition, that looks more like… Sumo wrestling with bulls, hence nicknamed “Bull Sumo"…
By looking at this small house, squeezed between towers and with its concrete facade, it is quite hard to realize that this is, in fact, a machiya, a traditional Japanese townhouse. Actually, this is a kanban kenchiku ("signboard architecture"), a traditional house with a modern facade, part of a growing trend during the last decades in Kyoto.
The old style wooden lattice and mushiko mado windows were replaced by modern structures, and it is estimated that more than 80% of the still existing machiya have lost at least part of their original, traditional elements.
Why this trend? The main problem is that, although highly valued, the traditional houses are expensive to maintain in the today’s world, not to mention the fire prevention and the earthquake resistance concerns…
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