2016年01月29日

'Nirayama reverberating furnace' in Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture, is the one and only full-scale reverberating furnace existing in Japan.

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It was great shock for the feudal Japan, when it took a seclusion policy, to know that the Ching Dynasty, a big power of Asia, gave way to the U.K. in the Opium War started in 1840. Since then, Japan had hastened the strengthening of maritime defense against the overwhelming military power of the Western countries. Reverberating furnace was the only equipment to make a large amount of molten iron for cannon manufacturing. The construction work of this furnace was originally started in Shimoda, on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula, however the building site was changed to the present location because Commodore Perry's sailors intruded into the original site in 1853. The furnace in the picture was completed in Nirayama in 1857, and more than 10 modern cannons seem to be manufactured here from 1857 to 1864. This is on the United Nations World Heritage List.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 17:44 | Nagoya and the central districts | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2015年11月01日

"Chirihama Driveway" is the one and only sandy beach where cars and buses are allowed to to go around freely.

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On the west coast of the 'Noto Peninsula', the outskirts of Hakui City, Ishikawa Prefecture, the sand of the long beach of this area is tightened when wet in that this sand is very much fine. Accordingly cars and large-size vehicles can be driven without getting stuck. To be more precise, even bicycles and motorcycles can be ridden here. Anybody can enjoy with vehicles all year though, this coast is occasionally closed when a gale advisory is announced.
During summer vacation, interestingly, traffic signs are placed for the safety of the sea bathers as this beach is packed with many people and cars. This sandy beach, however, is gradually shrinking from 50 meters to 35 meters in width by encroachment. The local government started to tackle this issue with many counter measures.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:05 | Nagoya and the central districts | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2012年11月23日

"Gokayama" in Toyama Prefecture, where "gassho-zukuri" houses are well preserved, is on the World Heritage List together with "Shirakawa-go" in Gifu Prefecture.

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Unlike Shirakawa-go which can be easily accessed from Takayama, Gokayama has not been spoiled with too many sightseers as it is secluded. Both Gokayama and Shirakawa-go are located in a valley surrounded by high mountains, therefore these villages had nothing to do with the modernization after the Meiji Restoration in the 19th century.
The unique houses with steep roofs, what is called gassho-zukuri, are the distinctive feature in this area , because the steep roof works against the very heavy snow.
*Gassho-zukuri: A house with steep thatched rafter roof.
The picture shows the settlement in Ainokura, Gokayama.
As the settlements in Gokayama area lacked a flatland for rice and other cereal cultivation, saltpeter, which was used to make gunpowder, was the local special product in the feudal days.
In addition, this area is well known as the birthplace of Japanese folk songs, such as "kokiriko-bushi" and "mugiya-bushi".

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:42 | Nagoya and the central districts | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする