2017年08月28日

'Shuzenji Onsen' in the north of the Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture, is the oldest hot spring resort found in this peninsula abounds in hot springs.

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A direct bus service from Shinjuku takes you to Shuzenji Onsen in 100 minutes. This major hot spring resort is said to be discovered by 'Kobo Daishi', a well known high-ranking priest, in the 8th-9th century. Many hot spring inns as well as restaurants line both sides of the Shuzenji flowing across the central part of the resort. The first picture shows the Shuzenji and 'Tokko-no-Yu' public foot bath in the center. Tokko-no-Yu is the first source of hot springs in this area, which used to be used as a public bath. A promenade runs along this river by way of 'Chikurin-no-Komichi' bamboo path, which attracts many sightseers. The second picture shows 'Shuzenji' Buddhist Temple standing in the heart of the resort, which is the origin of Shuzenji Onsen. This temple is not large-scale though, the certain history for as long as 1,200 years old has passed.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 15:27 | 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

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