2017年08月19日

The dropping of the world's first atomic bomb on Hirosima brought the devastating destruction in the heart of the city though, a few strong buildings survived.

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The first atomic bomb in human history violently exploded 600 meters high over the downtown of Hiroshima in August 1945. Just one bomb killed 160,000 innocent people in 6 months. All the buildings, within a 500 meter radius from the ground zero, were destroyed and reduced to ashes in a moment by the vehement blast and incandescent heat ray reaching 3,000-4,000 degrees Celsius. Strictly speaking, however, a few strong ferroconcrete buildings fortunately survived the bomb. The first picture shows 'Rest House of Hiroshima Peace Park', which is currently used as a tourist information office and rest station. This building had been originally built as a 'Kimono fabrics shop', then was converted into the office of 'Fuel Distribution Association' during the second World War. All the 37 people , working in this building at the very moment, were killed except for just one who fortunately was on the basement floor. The second picture shows the former building of Bank of Japan Hiroshima Branch. This building is used now to display the photos and materials relating to the A-bomb victims and the traces of damage. Lots of damage caused by the A-bomb are still found everywhere inside this building.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 14:12 | Chugoku | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年07月17日

'Kintaikyo' in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, built in 1673, is a long wooden bridge made up of a continuous row of five arch bridges.

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Kintaikyo was built by a feudal lord of the Iwakuni domain to connect Iwakuni Castle with the downtown over the Nishiki. The specialists carried out a feasibility study though, any instructive bridges couldn't be found in Japan, because the total length of the bridge was needed up to 200 meters. Finally, a stone arch bridge in China was used as a reference. The original bridge built in 1673 was partially washed away by a flood in the next year after the completion, but the stone bridge piers were reinforced immediately. Since then, this bridge had never been destroyed for some 276 years until a typhoon hit it in 1950. The history of restoration works of this bridge, 210 meters long and 5 meters wide, has long been perfectly kept. Every 15 years for the floorboards and every 20 years for the main structure, this bridge has been regularly maintained since its first completion, which is in order to hand down the bridge building techniques. All the timber for the maintenance works is provided from nearby afforestation area exclusively for the bridge.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 14:31 | Chugoku | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年06月29日

'Shiomi-nawate' street along the moat running on the north side of Matsue Castle is lined with the houses of middle-ranking samurai in the feudal years, the 16th-19th century.

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An old castle town 'Matsue' is a small city with a peaceful townscape. This city features 'Matsuba-gani' snow crab in winter and 'Izumo-soba' noodles all the year, which has put this city on the map as a gourmet city. As this city didn't suffer air raids at all during the Second World War, old townscapes are found everywhere. The first picture shows one of the examples called 'Shiomi-nawate', where the old houses of the middle-ranking samurai stand on the street 800 meters in length. Two houses are opened to the public now. One is a typical samurai house with a big gate called '*nagaya-mon', and the other one is the former house of 'Koizumi Yakumo', who was a well-known literary giant.
*Nagaya-mon is a gate building complex, which means a small house for a security guard and a firm gate are combined into one.
The second picture shows the exterior of Koizumi Yakumo's former house. He, a naturalized Japanese from Greece, lived here for one year at the end of the 19th century while working as an English teacher.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 16:18 | Chugoku | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする