2016年02月16日

On the top of 'Katsuyama' hill in the heart of Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, the original 'honmaru' donjon of Matsuyama Castle stately stands, having survived the confusion in the last days of feudal government.

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During Tokugawa feudal times which lasted for 250 years, there were about 300 castles in Japan. Most of them were destroyed by the civil wars and other causes in the course of Japan's modernization, and only 12 original honmaru donjons survived the state of disorder. Matsuyama Castle with the honmaru and other original annexed buildings in the pictures are one of them. This castle has two stars in the Michelin Green Guide. The second picture, taken from the top floor of honmaru donjon, shows the other buildings against the backdrop of the town scape of Matsuyama City, the largest city in Shikoku region. When spring comes, the cherry trees start to bloom at their best.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久

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posted by masahisa at 10:58 | Shikoku | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2016年02月05日

'Uchiko', located 40 kilometers in the southwest of Matsuyama City, a prefectural capital of Ehime Prefecture, is known for the old townscape flourished as 'mokuro' Japan wax production and trading center.

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Japanese candles had been indispensable until electric lights appeared late in the 19th century. The main material of Japanese candles is wax tree nuts in the western part of Japan, or varnish tree nuts in the eastern part of Japan. Compared with Western candles made from paraffin, Japanese candles are inferior to them brightness wise, but Japanese traditional candles are still used mainly for family alters in Japan because of less soot and beautiful orange flames with flickers.
Uchiko in the picture was one of the major production as well as trading centers of wax tree nuts for Japanese candles. The main old road running for 600 meters is flanked with well preserved buildings with white wall dating back to the 18th-19th century. This kind of townscape preservation district can be found in other places in Japan though, Uchiko is first class in the scale and quality. It is comfortable to walk along the lonesome street in a carefree manner, since this place is far from Tokyo and Osaka.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 10:43 | Shikoku | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2016年01月10日

'Kazura-bashi' means a primitive rope bridge made of vines, and four bridges of this kind remain in Japan.

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It is said that there used to be 13 kazura-bashi bridges in Iya district in Tokushima Prefecture in the 17th century. The picture shows the longest bridge among the existing 4 bridges, the dimensions of which are 45 meters in length and 2 meters in width. This bridge was originally made of vines entirely though, present one is partially made of wire ropes covered with vines. About 350 thousand people vist here every year in spite of the poor transportation facilities, so this bridge is renewed every three years.
This most well-known kazura-bashi aside, there are three other shorter ones are found in Japan. Two are called 'Oku-Iya niju kazura-bashi' double bridges, a combination of a 42 meter long one and a 20 meter long one, in this neighborhood. The last one, 44 meters long, is in Fukui Prefecture.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:51 | Shikoku | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする