2019年04月04日

Beautiful cherry blossoms are appreciated in every spring at 'Tsukudo Hachiman Shrine' standing in the heart of Tokyo.

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The name of 'tsukudo' stems from that the foundation of Tsukudo Hachiman Shrine was built in the 9th century with the soil all the way from 'Usa Hachiman Shrine' in Kyushu. Usa Hachiman Shrine is the head temple of all Hachiman shrines in Japan, and tsukudo means to build soil base for a building. Thereafter this shrine gradually became a full-scale tutelary shrine thanks to the support of a powerful feudal lord in this area. Although this shrine was destroyed by fire during the Second World War, yet this was reconstructed in 1963 with a donation from the locals. One of the oldest stone 'torii gate' over old stone steps leading to the shrine's main building. The shrine grounds are well maintained, thus lovely cherry blossoms are in full bloom in every spring as shown in the picture.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 10:38 | Tokyo-shrines and temples | 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 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 build 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

2019年03月25日

'Hokoku-ji' Buddhist temple in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture, features remarkably beautiful bamboo grove.

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Talking about a bamboo grove, the one in Sagano in Kyoto is widely known, but a beautiful bamboo grove comparable with Sagano's can be found in Kamakura City in the suburbs of Tokyo. About 1 km west of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, an elegant Buddhist temple named Hokoku-ji Zen Temple stands in a quiet environment. This temple is not as big as 'Enkaku-ji' and 'Kencho-ji' Buddhist temple, both of the are the leading temples in Kamakura, however it was built in 1334 and is one of the oldest temples in this district. The ground of this temple is very well maintained, so that the visitors can enjoy the bamboo grove as shown in the first picture, dray landscape garden and old bell tower in the second picture while walking around the promenade. 'Maccha' powdered tea with Japanese sweet are available at a tea house in the bamboo grove. A little far from Kamakura Station though, this temple is worth visiting for all the people who have no time to visit Kyoto.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 20:06 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする