The most centrally located amusement park in Tokyo is in Bunkyo, next to the Tokyo Dome stadium. It features a large centreless Ferris wheel (the “Big O") and an impressive roller coaster, interestingly designed to fit into a relatively small area.
With a diameter of 60 meters, the “Big O” is the world’s largest centreless Ferris wheel, and the “Thunder Dolphin” roller coaster passes right through its center, while also passing through a hole in the nearby LaQua building (the white triangular construction in the middle of the photo).
Opposite to the main entrance to the Hirosaki Castle there’s a wide, modern square that borrowed its name from the castle’s gate, Otemon Square.
Built in 1990 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Hirosaki city, the complex features an architecture inspired by a traditional gate. Inside, you will find a very useful Hirosaki Tourist Information Center, a souvenir shop, and a nice exhibition about local handicrafts and the Neputa Festival.
The western style building visible in the background is the Former City Library, built in 1907…
In some cities related to famed manga stories or authors, you may see various forms of public art inspired by the respective stories. Photographed here is one such example, a mural art in Kitakyushu representing characters of the Galaxy Express 999 series.
The city is located only 70 kilometers away from the birthplace of mangaka Leiji Matsumoto, the respected creator of Galaxy Express and many other manga and anime masterpieces.
In front of the Japanese tea houses (chashitsu), right under the roof eaves, you may notice a small, carefully shaped hole in the ground, marked with a large stone placed on one edge (as in today’s photo, taken at a chashitsu inside the Sengan-en garden in Kagoshima).
The hole is actually a dust pit called chiriana and, as everything related to tea ceremony, it has a practical role enhanced by a symbolic meaning. The dust pit is used to collect the fallen leaves and the trimmed twigs. However, while preparing the tea house for guests, the host also places inside the chiriana several green twigs. This indicates the care and attention to detail the hosts puts into preparing the tea ceremony…
Among my favorite urban photography themes in Japan are the scenes with narrow commercial streets. I took such photos daytime and nighttime, during all kind of weather, and I came to the conclusion that, for some reason, they simply look best close to sunset, while it’s raining.
Then, an entire puzzle of billboards is lit up, and the scene is enriched by colorful umbrellas. Take a look at this backstreet from Nakano, Tokyo… I find it simply beautiful!
Matsukaze means “wind in the pines", and it is the name of the best known horse in the history of Japan, the horse of Maeda Keiji, a famous samurai of the Sengoku Period.
The story is somehow similar to the Old Shatterhand Western story by Karl May, because Matsukaze was a fine but wild horse, refusing to let anyone ride him. Maeda Keiji, who was also a wild man, managed to tame Matsukaze and, man and horse, they fought many battles together. After the samurai’s death, Matsukaze run into the wild and was never seen again…
Here they are, represented on a spectacularly iluminated Nebuta float, inside the Warasse Nebuta Museum, in Aomori.
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