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08月08日

'Shimabara Castle' was built in the first half of the 17th century, by 'Matsukura Shigemasa' a newly appointed feudal lord of Shimabara domain.

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The whole area of present Shimabara City in Nagasaki Prefecture had been ruled by 'Arima' clan till the beginning of the 17th century. In 1626, after that, Matsukura Shigemasa was appointed as a new feudal lord from present Nara Prefecture. He built Shimabara Castle as shown in the first picture for his dwelling as well as a stronger fortress than old castles in other parts of Shimabara. As this castle was far too splendid for his states, and it took too much effort for the construction work because of the hard ground made of lava, the construction cost had become unexpectedly great. In order to meet this great expense, he strictly collected more and more land tax from the masses. This triggered 'Amakusa-no-ran' Japan's largest riot. He finally suppressed this riot helped by other feudal lords though, 'Tokugawa' central government beheaded him. He is the one and only feudal lord who was decapitated in the 'Edo' period, the 17th-19th century.
*Other executed feudal lords were ordered to commit 'hara-kiri (seppuku)', which was regarded to be honorable. But beheading was a very much dishonorable way, as it was applied to common people who committed a serious crime.
This beautiful castle was dismantled at the end of the 17th century though, it had been gradually rebuilt since 1960.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 15:39 | Kyushu | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年08月04日

'Unzen Onsen', lying in the mountainous area of the Shimabara Peninsula in Nagasaki Prefecture, is a graceful hot spring resort.

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Unzen Onsen hot spring resort is one of the first national parks in Japan, which was designated in 1934 together with two other ones. The origin of this resort dates back to the end of the 17th century, when the first feudal lord of the Shimabara domain built a 'ryokan' with hot spring baths in this area.
*As a passing reference, this ryokan is still running after ups and downs by the name of 'Unzen Yumoto Hotel'.
After the middle of the 19th century, when Japan's modernization had just started, Unzen Onsen was thronged with many Westerners from the International Settlement in Shanghai, China. Present 'Unzen Kanko Hotel', built in the first half of the 20th century, is a Western style classic hotel to accommodate these Westerners. The area called 'Jigoku' inferno, where volcanic steam is gushing out everywhere, offers typical volcanic scenery to the sightseers walking along the promenade. (As shown in the first picture)
This volcanic area has gradually moved little by little, so the extinct volcanic area had changed to the wetlands for rare insects and plants. (As shown in the second picture)

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:26 | Kyushu | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする