2017年06月01日

'Yosuien' Japanese garden in Wakayama City, which was built by the Kishu-Tokugawa family, is a typical 'daimyo' garden. *Daimyo means a feudal lord.

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The Kishu-Tokugawa family is one of the three branch families of the Tokugawa Shogun's House. The 10th lord of the Kishu-Tokugawa family built this garden at the beginning of the 19th century. This garden with an area of 33,000 square meters features 'shioiri' central pond, the water of which comes from the nearby sea making the most of the location beside the sea. The shape and the size of the pond varies according to the tide level, and this idea is the same as Hama-rikyu garden in Tokyo, originally owned by successive Tokugawa shoguns. It is said that the founder of this garden invited the greatest tea master and the richest merchant in those years to a tea ceremony in this garden. This garden is the one and only privately owned historical daimyo garden, but is open to the public. A close-range view of pine trees and water being skillfully arranged with a distant view of nearby green hills, which is so-called 'shakkei', always attracts many people.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 12:35 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2016年08月19日

'Amarube' railway bridge, upper Hyogo Prefecture, is a notorious feature of JR 'San-in Honsen' main line running along the Sea of Japan as it is one of the longest railway bridges in Japan.

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Former Amarube railway bridge was completed with iron materials from the U.S. in 1912. This engineering work connected two places, Kyoto and Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, by one railway, which had made a great contribution to the popularity of this historical and prestigious shrine. As this area has a strong prevailing wind from the sea in winter, the steel materials of the bridge had long been elaborately maintained against the rust since its completion until 2010. In December 1986, an accident happened causing 6 fatalities. An out-of-service train passing on this railway bridge fell down onto a small factory due to an unusually strong wind, and this accident stimulated the locals into rebuilding movement of this bridge. The dark brown iron bridge in the picture is an old one which is partially preserved, and the concrete one is a new bridge completed in 2010. An observatory is set up on the top of the old one.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 15:59 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2013年07月30日

There still remains a food culture of eating whale meat in Japan, so a few restaurants serving whale meat dishes can be found throughout the country.

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Like some Western countries, whale meat eating custom has taken root in Japan since time immemorial. As whale was regarded as the largest fish, even in the days when eating four-footed animal meat was prohibited because of religious reason, eating whale had been prevailing around Japan. Buddhism, that was introduced into Japan in the 6th century, had long prohibited eating four-feeted animal meat.
Compared with fish, since whale can be kept for a long time, it was eaten even in cities far from the coast.
This also is a reason why the tradition of eating whale gets fixed as a characteristic food culture in Japan.
After a worldwide ban on whaling in 1987, the opportunity to eat whale meat has gradually fallen, however, various species and parts of whale, as shown in the picture, are found at many fish markets such as Tsukiji around the country.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 15:36 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする