2019年08月06日

'Saruhashi' bridge, spanning the Katsura in Otsuki City, Yamanashi Prefecture, is known as one of the three strangest bridges in Japan.

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This unusual bridge, 31 meters long, 33 meters wide and 31 meters above the surface of the river, has no piers. This bridge spans the very place, where the sheer bluffs of the both sides of the Katsura, running across the Old Koshu Highway, are the highest and narrowest. They built this bridge in the 18th century at the place, where the distance from the surface of the river is the maximum, so that it can survive floods. A suspension bridge is likely spanned at this kind of place though, this unique bridge was built with new construction technologies at that time. Four horizontal pillars each from the holes made on both sides of the bluffs, and the upper pillars are gradually longer than the lower ones. Then the main bridge body, floor and parapet, is constructed on these pillars. All the pillars, which are vital to support the bridge, have to be protected from the rain against decay. Thus the decorative roofs are put on each pillar as shown in the picture, and these pillars with roofs are helpful to draw attention to the difference of this bridge.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 10:01 | Suburbs of Tokyo | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2019年04月01日

'Yokohama Shokin Ginko' (Yokohama Specie Bank) was Japan's one and only bank focusing on trade finance and foreign exchange before the Second World War.

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This special bank , which was built in Yokohama City in 1880, originally was a quasi-national bank for Japanese companies to carry out overseas trade just with cash. And it was one of the largest banks of this kind in the world before the Second World War, however GHQ liquidated this bank right after the Second World War. Thereafter this bank was revived as a commercial bank and became a part of MUFG Bank, one of the four megabanks in Japan. The picture shows the former head office building built in 1904, which stands in the heart of Yokohama City. This old building survived the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 as well as the fierce air raids during the Second World War, and was designated as an important cultural asset in 1969. This prestigious building is a place for Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:24 | Suburbs of Tokyo | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年12月27日

'Ohya-ishi' stone is mainly used for building materials, as it is easy to cut and is resistant to fire.

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Ohya-ishi stone is formed from volcanic ashes settled on the bottom of the sea. It is reserved in Ohya town, Tochigi Prefecture, and 120 quarries were running in the golden age in the 1960s. However the number of them has dwindled now to one-tenth of that time. As shown in the first picture, open-cut mining is found there though, underground mining is the mainstream now to get the better quality of stones. The second picture shows the interior of the mine which already shut down the operation. These ruins are opened to the public as a museum named 'Ohya-shiryo-kan'. As the temperature deep inside the ruins is stable all the year, from 5 to10 degrees Celsius, it was used as a warehouse for rice, other cereals and fermented foods. In recent years, it has become a popular place for a filming location and event site.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 12:54 | Suburbs of Tokyo | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする